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News@Law, 06/20/2016

News@Law is a selection of the day's news clips regarding Harvard Law School.
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Today's News

Los Angeles Times
Why the possibility of ‘Brexit’ has markets shuddering
Already the pound is dropping, money is moving into bonds, London stocks are declining, and central banks in the U.S. and Europe are looking at contingency plans to stave off market shocks if Britain votes Thursday to leave the European Union....“What I’m concerned about is the unpredictable,” said Hal Scott, a Harvard law professor and expert on international finance and securities regulations. His biggest worry about a Brexit is the possibility that it could set off a panic that leads to a global financial crisis, something akin to what happened in 2008 after the Wall Street firm Lehman Bros. filed for bankruptcy. Big banks may be better capitalized than a decade ago, but Scott argues that the U.S. is less equipped today to respond to a run on the financial system. That’s because the Dodd-Frank financial reform legislation, adopted in part to prevent future bailouts of big financial firms, would prevent some of the moves government officials had available in 2008 to rescue broker dealers, hedge funds, insurance firms and other so-called non-banks, which are vital to the stability of the financial sector.
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Reuters
Williams-ETE $20 billion merger heads to courtroom showdown
A high-stakes trial will open on Monday to determine if Dallas billionaire Kelcy Warren's Energy Transfer Equity can back out of a $20 billion agreement to buy rival pipeline operator Williams Cos Inc...John Coates, a professor at Harvard Law School and former M&A lawyer, said Williams needs to prove to the judge, Vice Chancellor Sam Glasscock, that the tax issue was just an excuse. "Does the judge, in the end, see a pattern of bad faith and refusal to move as quickly as reasonably possible? If so, then Williams wins," Coates said.
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Law360
Future Of US-China Trade In Flux As Obama’s Term Nears End
This week’s conclusion of the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue marks the twilight of high-level engagement between the two trading powers under the Obama administration, leaving experts with questions about how best to tackle thorny policy squabbles with Beijing in the coming years...To the extent that results have been mixed in recent years, Harvard law professor and former U.S. trade negotiator Mark Wu said that the meeting is sometimes at the whim of the political circumstances surrounding it. “I think the success of the S&ED is highly dependent upon both the prevailing domestic politics as well as the relationship between the leading principles,” Wu told Law360. “It’s not surprising that at the end of an administration and also in the run-up to a critical Communist Party Congress that the outcomes at the S&ED are not as significant, but that’s not to say that the S&ED isn’t serving its role.”
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KCBS
FDA Regulations Limit Blood Donations From Gay Men (audio)
On World Blood Donation Day and in the wake of the Orlando mass shooting, a leading bioethicist Tuesday called for a change in the FDA’s policy regulating blood donations from gay men. Professor Glenn Cohen who studies bioethics and the law at Harvard told KCBS radio that the policy in place since December is based in fear and not facts...“We are talking about a policy more based on fear than a policy based that makes sense based on the facts,” he said. Annually, the Harvard bioethicist said the policy is robbing blood banks around the country of more than 300,000 pints of much needed blood. Cohen said the one-year restriction tells gay men “not to donate blood.”
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Associated Press
Trail Translator: Gun debate revolves around 27 words
If there's one thing Republicans and Democrats can agree on when it comes to guns, it's their proclaimed respect for the Second Amendment. Ah, but then there's the trickier matter of what they think those 27 words mean. Lawyers, scholars, judges, politicians and ordinary Americans have been puzzling over that question for much of two centuries...Harvard Law scholar Laurence Tribe says it's time for partisans to stop oversimplifying. Supporters of strong gun regulation act as if Supreme Court rulings affirming the right to bear arms were "just aberrations," he says, and opponents act like any regulation is a slippery slope to the day when "Big Brother will be breaking down our doors and taking away all our guns."
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The Washington Post
To manage the stress of trauma, schools are teaching their students how to relax
...Like a growing number of schools nationwide, Houston Elementary in Washington, D.C., is using mindfulness and other therapies to help children manage the stress they encounter in their daily lives...“The brain cannot focus when it’s not calm,” said Susan Cole, a Harvard Law School professor and director of the Trauma and Learning Policy Initiative, which advocates for “trauma sensitive” schools. “Children have to feel safe enough to learn.”
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Harvard Gazette
Support for second chances
Early in the spring, first-year Harvard Law School (HLS) students Chloe Goodwin, Nora Ellingsen, and Josh Looney jumped at the opportunity to volunteer with a national organization to help felons get a second shot at life. Working with Clemency Project 2014, a coalition that supports petitions by nonviolent drug offenders for executive clemency, the students wound up enlightened and inspired...Anna Kastner, a legal fellow with the HLS Criminal Justice Policy Program, which coordinated the HLS Clemency Project, said students completed their work last month. “Our goal was to put a very concentrated effort on this work this semester so that the petitions would be reviewed by Obama before he leaves office,” said Kastner.
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Santa Cruz Sentinel
Santa Cruz Biotech fine too little, too late
An op-ed by fellow Delcianna J. Winders. The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently levied the largest fine in the history of the Animal Welfare Act, which will turn 50 this summer. In an unprecedented settlement agreement, Santa Cruz Biotechnology agreed to $3.5 million in penalties and to surrender its Animal Welfare Act license. Animal protection groups have lauded the settlement, and, to be sure, getting this chronic animal welfare violator out of the business is huge. But it is also too little, too late. While $3.5 million is nothing to scoff at, it is less than 1 percent of the more than $20 billion in potential fines Santa Cruz Biotech faced. And the Department of Agriculture made itself complicit in untold animal suffering when, year after year, it renewed the company’s Animal Welfare Act license despite knowing of chronic egregious violations.
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The Street
Brexit Could Be a Massive Event for Markets, Warns Harvard Professor (video)
A UK departure from the European Union could trigger a massive panic for financial markets, similar to what took place after the collapse of Lehman Brothers in September 2008, according to one expert. "It could be [a Lehman event]," said Hal Scott, a professor at Harvard Law School and author of "Connectedness and Contagion: Protecting the Financial System from Panics." "I don't think we will see that, but there's not an insignificant possibility that would happen -- we need to be worried about that." Scott said a Brexit could prompt investors to ditch short-term bonds in favor of safer, longer-term Treasuries and cut off liquidity to banks and nonbanks, including money market funds and broker-dealers. "In 2008, that's what we saw after the Lehman collapse," he added. "That was part of the panic -- a run on the financial system."
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Bloomberg
Bloomberg Law: High Court Gives UHS Partial Win (Audio)
Brian Miller, a shareholder at Rogers Joseph O’Donnell and writer for Bloomberg BNA, and Noah Feldman, a Harvard Law School professor and Bloomberg View columnist, discuss a partial Supreme Court Victory for Universal Health Services and other government contractors, in which the Court limited the reach of a whistle blower law that was designed to prevent fraud under the U.S. False Claims Act. They speak with Bloomberg Law host June Grasso on Bloomberg Radio’s "Bloomberg Law."
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Live Science
Losing Control: The Dangers of Killer Robots
An op-ed by Bonnie Docherty: New technology could lead humans to relinquish control over decisions to use lethal force. As artificial intelligence advances, the possibility that machines could independently select and fire on targets is fast approaching. Fully autonomous weapons, also known as “killer robots,” are quickly moving from the realm of science fiction toward reality.
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Western Herald
Google doesn’t want you to know who Hillary Clinton is
Harvard law professor Jonathan Zittrain has been searching tediously for answers involving impact websites like Google and Facebook may have on the election, according to Huffington Post. Zittrain has been floating around ideas about modified search results and customizing the news available to users, which could potentially sway undecided voters. Looking at all the dimensions of this picture makes one realize; this is one of those puzzles that came with some missing pieces.
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Politico
Politico Morning Education
As part of the summit, the Education Department plans to announce a new toolkit for community college students that helps them successfully negotiate their first salary. The toolkit, which is a collaboration with Harvard Law School’s Negotiation and Mediation Clinical Program, is aimed at arming new workers — especially women — with the negotiation training they need to succeed as they enter the job market.
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Bloomberg
The Problem With Congress Might Not Be Fixable
An op-ed by Cass Sunstein. Congress is in the midst of a breakdown in longstanding institutional norms. The latest example is the Senate’s refusal to hold confirmation hearings for Merrick Garland, President Barack Obama’s nominee for the Supreme Court -- a refusal that is probably without precedent. But something broader is occurring, and it threatens to undermine the federal government’s ability to carry out its central functions. To see what has happened and what might be done about it, we should say something about norms in general.
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Bloomberg
Jesse Ventura’s First Amendment Lesson
An op-ed by Noah Feldman. Unless you followed professional wrestling in the 1980s, you might be tempted to confuse Hulk Hogan with Jesse “The Body” Ventura. To make matters even more confusing, both have been involved in high-profile defamation suits. But while a Florida court’s $140 million verdict for Hogan against Gawker still stands, Ventura hasn’t fared so well in his lawsuit against the estate of Chris Kyle, the former SEAL who wrote the book “American Sniper” and was depicted in the movie of the same name. On Monday, a federal appeals court overturned the jury’s judgment in Ventura’s favor.
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Bloomberg
Supreme Court Asserts Itself and Patent Trolls Win
An op-ed by Noah Feldman. In what has become a U.S. Supreme Court ritual in recent years, the justices Monday smacked down a patent-law precedent created by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, the unusual appellate court that specializes in patent law. The high court’s decision makes it easier for patent holders to get higher damages against willful patent infringers.
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Bloomberg
Two Wins for Gun Control Buck the U.S. Legal Trend
An op-ed by Noah Feldman. Gun-rights advocates have been on a roll, as lower courts building on Supreme Court jurisprudence have subjected gun control laws to heightened scrutiny. But last week, the trend stalled. One appeals court upheld laws against carrying concealed guns in two California counties. Another stayed the judgment of a lower court that had struck down Washington, D.C.’s concealed-carry restrictions, signaling it would probably reach a different result. The changed momentum suggests that localities may not lose the ability to regulate concealed handguns -- at least for now. But last week, the trend stalled. One appeals court upheld laws against carrying concealed guns in two California counties. Another stayed the judgment of a lower court that had struck down Washington, D.C.’s concealed-carry restrictions, signaling it would probably reach a different result. The changed momentum suggests that localities may not lose the ability to regulate concealed handguns -- at least for now.
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WGBH News
After The Orlando Massacre, Many In The LGBTQ Community Are Turned Away From Giving Blood (video)
Early in the 1980's, there was a lifetime ban or deferral for any man who had everhad sex with another man. Even once. But in May, the FDA released new recommendations that would allow gay men to donate blood with a big 'if'- if those men had been celibate for a year.  Critics charge these restrictions have no scientific bearing and are discriminatory. Harvard Law Professor Glenn Cohen (@CohenProf) joined Adam on Tuesday night to discuss these restrictions.
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The New Yorker
Dodd-Frank Reform: To Rig to Fail
Congressman Jeb Hensarling, a Republican of Texas, delivered a straightforward message in a speech to the Economic Club of New York, on Tuesday: the Dodd-Frank Act is broken and can’t be fixed. The occasion for his speech was the unveiling of his new financial-reform plan, which would scrap Dodd-Frank entirely and replace it with a new regulatory regime. Its broad thrust would be to reduce regulation and give financial institutions more freedom...From a “small d”-democratic point of view, these changes might sound harmless, even reasonable. Who could be against cost-benefit tests, for example? But cost-benefit requirements are hard to apply coherently to financial regulation, as the Harvard law professor John Coates IV has argued—because it’s rarely possible to get “precise, reliable, quantified” measures there. How, after all, would you count the economic benefits that arise from reducing the risk of a systemic financial crisis by a few per cent, or from limiting the types of mortgages that consumers can take out? And since the costs of regulation are often more easily measured, the result of imposing a cost-benefit test is to make regulations harder to implement.
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Bloomberg
Supreme Court Affirms That Puerto Rico Is Really a U.S. Colony
An op-ed by Noah Feldman. Last week the Supreme Court insulted Puerto Rico by saying its people aren’t sovereign. This week the court added injury to the insult, denying Puerto Rico access to federal bankruptcy laws that would have created a path to recovery for its struggling utilities.
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The Washington Post
Can the White House explode the Barbie Myth? It’s trying.
More than two dozen companies — including Airbnb, Amazon, American Airlines, Dow Chemical and Pepsico — agreed Tuesday to undertake a yearly company-wide gender pay analysis as part of the summit. Tina Tchen, executive director for the White House Council on Women and Girls, said in an interview Monday that while “there’s been a continued sense of frustration at not getting a national paycheck fairness act,” the 28 firms’ adoption of the White House’s equal pay pledge shows that companies are willing to take steps ranging from reviewing their hiring and promotion processes to identifying other ways of ensuring that women and men in similar occupations are paid at comparable rates...Other commitments include a tool kit that Harvard Law School’s Negotiation and Mediation Clinical Program will develop for community college students across the country, so women can become better prepared to negotiate for higher salaries when they enter the workforce, and a $15 million pledge by the nonprofit group CARE to help educate 3 million adolescent girls in six countries. Oracle pledged to spend $3 million worldwide to help girls learn in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math.
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Chicago Tribune
‘Star Wars’ vs. ‘Star Trek’: The authoritative judgment
An op-ed by Cass Sunstein. Who's better, Michael Jordan or LeBron James? (Jordan, because he'd rip your heart out.) Abraham Lincoln or Franklin Delano Roosevelt? (FDR, because he saved the country twice, and because he was cheerful rather than melancholy, and more characteristically American.) Taylor Swift or Adele? (Swift, by a million miles, because her sense of mischief and fun ensures that she is never, ever saccharine.) Ronald Reagan orBarack Obama? (Obama, but I worked for him for four years, so I'm biased.) "Star Wars" or "Star Trek"?
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