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The Washington Post
Feds found widespread fraud at Corinthian Colleges. Why are students still paying the price?
Nearly 80,000 students of defunct for-profit giant Corinthian Colleges are facing some form of debt collection, even though the U.S. Department of Education unearthed enough evidence of fraud to forgive their student loans, according to an investigation by the staff of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.)....“The department knows that these borrowers, who have already been cheated of an education, are entitled to relief,” said Deanne Loonin
, an attorney at Harvard Law School’s Project on Predatory Student Lending, who is working on the case. “Williams is asking for a court decision that the widespread fraud of Corinthian is a bar to the collection of defaulted loans from former Corinthian students through the mechanism of Treasury offset.”
The New York Times
International Court Takes a Stand With Ruling on Destruction of Antiquities
For the first time, the world’s highest criminal court ruled this week that destroying cultural antiquities is a war crime. The case, handled by the International Criminal Court in The Hague, spotlights the risk to historic sites in places controlled by Islamic extremists, who have traded plundered antiquities on the black market or destroyed them in a twisted interpretation of religious law. Ahmad al-Faqi al-Mahdi, a member of a jihadist group linked to Al Qaeda, was sentenced to nine years in prison for organizing the destruction of centuries-old Muslim shrines in Timbuktu, Mali...The case against Mr. Mahdi “does signal that these sorts of cases are on the court’s radar,” said Alex Whiting
, a professor at Harvard Law School and a former senior official in the Office of the Prosecutor at the International Criminal Court. “The court is very much a court of opportunity,” he added. “It’s a court with very little power, little resources to investigate and very few tools to collect evidence. Is cultural heritage something the court will now focus on? Now that they’ve done one case, a second, similar case is unlikely.”
How Obama Could Lose His Big Climate Case
...On Tuesday, 10 judges of the D.C. Circuit gathered to hear oral arguments in the sweeping legal challenge to the plan, which was filed last year by 27 Republican-governed states, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and the coal industry. The hearing was careful, sometimes agitated, and unusually long: Excluding a short break for lunch, the arguments ran almost seven hours....Tatel, who is blind, asked Rivkin if the Americans with Disabilities Act would also abuse the state’s local permitting powers. (The ADA more or less forces states to approve certain curb or wheelchair ramp designs.) Rivkin could not supply a coherent answer. But Larry Tribe
could. Tribe, Obama’s one-time legal mentor and a lion of liberal constitutional law, has famously become one of the Clean Power Plan’s most unrelenting critics. The ADA itself was perfectly legal, he said. The better comparison would be if an executive agency went to the states and forced them each to pass a mini-ADA or give in to federal control...Tribe’s larger argument is that the Clean Power Plan abuses the separation of federal powers. “The solution is to go to Congress. The structural integrity of our federal government can’t depend on this court’s evaluation of whether Congress is being productive or not,” he said.
The Huffington Post
Farm Animals Actually Eat People’s Leftovers — And It’s Good For The Planet
When restaurants and grocery stores end up with scraps and other leftovers that cannot be donated to food banks, what happens to them? A lot end up in landfills, contributing to the already massive amounts of food waste that emits methane, a potent greenhouse gas, as it breaks down. But a growing amount is being used to feed farm animals...A new report from Harvard University and University of Arkansas researchers published last month aims to address any confusion about the practice by laying out all of the federal- and state-level rules and suggesting best practices for safe and effective implementation. “We want to show people that this is what you can do and this is how you do it, to encourage people to start this process again,” said Christina Rice
, a clinical fellow at Harvard’s Food and Policy Law Center and one of the report’s authors. Rice believes that the practice will continue to become more common, and as that happens, she is confident many current obstacles will dissipate.
Wells Fargo may not be the end: Clawbacks expected to become a bigger issue
In seeking to defuse the firestorm over its sham accounts, Wells Fargo & Co.’s board turned to an old, but obscure gambit – getting its top leader to pay up. John Stumpf, the bank's chairman and CEO, will forfeit about $41 million of unvested stock awards and forgo his salary while the company investigates its retail banking sales practices...Companies’ general reluctance to claw back pay may stem from their desire to retain top executives, avoid litigation by departed executives, and minimize bad publicity, says Jesse Fried
, professor of law at Harvard Law School. Some companies may choose to reduce a CEO’s current pay rather than claw back already-received pay. “It is much less embarrassing for the CEO,” Fried says. Dodd-Frank “will require companies to recoup excess pay arising in connection with a (financial) restatement. There will be a lot more clawbacks because companies will not have discretion to forgo recoupment when a covered executive has received excess pay,” Fried says.
A Loss for Citizens United. And for Democrats.
An op-ed by Noah Feldman.
A federal appeals court this week upheld an Alabama law that bans political action committees from making donations to other political action committees. That should be good news for Democrats, who generally oppose the Citizens United decision and the flood of political spending it released. But the twist is that the law was devised to interfere with the work of the Alabama Democratic Conference, and it was the losing party in the lawsuit.
Revenge of the broadband bullies
The prospects for a more competitive broadband market have grown grimmer of late, if it's even possible. Americans already have little, if any, choice when it comes to broadband providers...AT&T is also front in center in another fight aimed at forestalling competition: denying would-be competitors access to utility poles. Many cities do not have authority over their own poles, which are often controlled by utilities or the telecom companies. If a new service provider wants to move into an area and string fiber, it faces two bureaucratic nightmares: getting an agreement in place with the pole owners, and then getting the physical access to the poles to string a new wire. Susan Crawford
calls these two sources of delays and spiraling costs Swamp One and Swamp Two. "A handful of companies -- the usual villains in the internet access story -- is very interested in keeping the status quo in place by quietly making sure that access to these vertical conflict zones is fraught with difficulties," Crawford says.
A Breakdown Of The SJC’s Ruling Challenging Police Authority To Seize Cellphones (audio)
On Wednesday, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled in the case of Commonwealth v. White that police do not have blanket authority to seize cellphones in criminal investigations. The case had to do with police officers investigating an armed robbery and fatal shooting in 2010. The officers seized a suspect's cellphone from his high school without a search warrant. In order to do so, the officers needed probable cause that a warrant would have been approved, but the court ruled the suspicion that a phone may have contained evidence of the crime is insufficient. Guest: Nancy Gertner
, former Massachusetts federal judge, senior lecturer on law at Harvard Law School and WBUR legal analyst.