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The Wall Street Journal
The Fed’s Stress Tests Need to Be Transparent
An op-ed by Hal Scott and John Gulliver
. The stress tests that big American banks face each year are about to get more stressful. The Fed is planning to substantially increase—by an average of 57%, we calculate—the regulatory capital that the eight largest banks in the U.S. need to pass the annual tests. Had these expected higher capital levels been in effect this year, it is likely that the country’s four largest banks ( J.P. Morgan Chase, Bank of America, Wells Fargo and Citigroup ) all would have failed the test. As a consequence, they would have been barred from remitting more profits to their shareholders. The higher capital requirements will diminish these banks’ ability to lend, potentially affecting economic growth. That isn’t all: The Fed’s secretive process for designing stress tests might well be illegal. It likely violates the Administrative Procedure Act of 1946, requiring government agencies to be transparent and publicly accountable.
Why President Obama won’t, and shouldn’t, pardon Snowden
An op-ed by Jack Goldsmith
. A “pardon Snowden” campaign was launched Wednesday in conjunction with the Snowden film. Snowden himself made the “moral case” for why he should be pardoned, and Tim Edgar made a much more powerful case. I remain unconvinced. I don’t think the president will, or should, pardon Snowden...But to say that the intelligence community benefited from the Snowden leaks is not to say that the president should pardon Snowden, for the price of the benefits was enormously high in terms of lost intelligence and lost investments in intelligence mechanisms and operations, among other things. Many Snowden supporters pretend that these costs are zero because the government, understandably, has not documented them. But it is naïve or disingenuous to think that the damage to US intelligence operations was anything but enormous.
The Washington Post
Is environmental destruction a crime against humanity? The ICC may be about to find out.
This week, the International Criminal Court announced that it would give special consideration to pursuing crimes involving environmental destruction and land grabs. The announcement, made in a policy document released by the ICC's prosecutor on Thursday, appeared to show a deliberate expansion in focus for The Hague-based court..."They aren't changing the definitions of crimes or expanding the law or creating new crimes or anything like that," said Alex Whiting
, a professor at Harvard Law School. "They are paying particular attention to crimes that are committed by use of environmental impact or have consequences of environmental impact."
The Philadelphia Inquirer
Government transparency: How much is enough?
Cass R. Sunstein
, the Harvard Law polymath who annoyed business and activists in his three-year ride as Obama's White House regulatory chief and the author of The World According to Star Wars and heavier-thinking books, is a prescient student of our digital way of talking. As I noted in my 2004 book Comcasted, while Web evangelists were still idealizing online as the place to tie our world into one big friendly village, Sunstein worried it was ghettoizing into "echo chambers" where we avoid people we disagree with, sharpen prejudices, and abandon standards of evidence. Now, the professor (whose Philadelphia ancestors make him a cousin of Comcast boss Brian Roberts) is asking the question: Do we really want to read our leaders' emails?
The Harvard Crimson
Celebrating Black Alumni, and Engaging With Activism, at Law School Reunion
When Bishop C. Holifield was a student at Harvard Law School in 1967 at the apex of the civil rights movement, the fledgling organization he had founded—the Harvard Black Law Students Association—had just two members: himself and co-founder Reginald E. Gilliam. Nearly 50 years and six deans later, BLSA has a membership of around 150 students, the Law School has seen a marked increase in the numbers of black students and faculty, and several waves of race-related activism have swept its campus...The Celebration of Black Alumni was started by alumnus and Law professor David B. Wilkins
in 2000 to showcase the accomplishments of black Law School graduates and entice them back to campus. He said he had observed that many black alumni previously avoided general class reunions, because of their troubled relationship with the Law School. “For many of the black alumni, it was a difficult experience for a variety of reasons and one of them was they didn’t feel welcomed or included in the school in many ways,” Wilkins said. “[CBA] was a kind of transformative experience for people, and it gave them an opportunity to work through some of the pain that they had associated with the school, and to reconcile with themselves that the school had actually done wonderful things for them over the years.”
For This Judge, the Civil Rights Movement Isn’t History
An op-ed by Noah Feldman
. Judges aren't history teachers. Or are they? That question lies at the heart of a deep left-right split over voting-rights laws. One side says that changes in state voting requirements should be assessed in the context of the American civil rights struggle. The other side says that history is irrelevant to the legality of modern voting practices. It's an emotional issue, exposed last week in an unusual dissent by a 94-year-old African-American federal appeals court judge in Ohio. The judge, Damon Keith, gave readers a history lesson complete with photographs and biographies of 36 men and women killed in pursuit of civil rights between 1955 and 1968.
Are We Safer 8 Years After the Financial Crisis and Collapse of Lehman Brothers? (video)
Harvard University Professor Hal Scott
doesn't think financial markets are safer eight years after the 2008 financial crisis. He said the government has a limited ability to bail out banks, something that saved the financial system from further turmoil in 2008. He also comments on the effectiveness of the extra capital banks are required to hold.