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An op-ed by Larry Schwartztol and Abby Shafroth
...Silva’s experience highlights an increasingly fundamental fact about encounters with the criminal justice system: long after a formal sentence ends, the punishment continues. As his story shows, a criminal sentence is no longer a singular penalty pronounced by a judge as a proportionate response to a criminal conviction. These convictions often spark a cascade of economic consequences that persist for years after the formal sentence is over and threaten a person’s ability to successfully and self-sufficiently re-enter society. These debts force individuals to navigate a maze of onerous systems and actors—criminal courts and prisons, but also private debt collectors, DMVs, credit reporting companies, and bankruptcy courts.
Could a President Donald Trump Prosecute Hillary Clinton?
In a presidential campaign featuring many firsts, one of the most startling came Sunday night when Republican nominee Donald Trump, to scattered cheers from the audience, pledged to have the Democratic nominee investigated criminally, should he prevail in November...some prominent lawyers and legal scholars took umbrage at the threat and expressed alarm. Harvard Law professor Laurence Tribe
that even threatening such a thing was “incompatible with the survival of a stable constitutional republic,” while carrying out such a threat would constitute an “impeachable offense.”
Trump Would Jail Clinton? There’s a Name for That
An op-ed by Noah Feldman
. Donald Trump’s threat in Sunday night’s presidential debate to appoint a special prosecutor to go after Hillary Clinton’s use of a private e-mail server is legally empty -- but it’s genuinely dangerous nevertheless. Federal regulations give the appointment power to the attorney general, not the president, precisely to protect us against a president who uses the special prosecutor as a political tool. What separates functioning democracies from weak or failed ones is that political parties alternate in power without jailing the opponents they beat in elections. That sometimes means giving a pass to potentially criminal conduct, but that’s a worthwhile sacrifice for making republican government work.
Historian Annette Gordon-Reed
would like to make clear that she likes “Hamilton,” the Broadway hip-hop musical phenomenon about Alexander Hamilton, which audiences and critics have adored and some scholars and writers have scorned. But she would like to make clearer that she found the show problematic in its portrayals of Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, the Founding Fathers, and the issue of slavery...“A Broadway show is not a documentary,” said Gordon-Reed, a history professor in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences who also holds the Charles Warren Professorship of American Legal History at Harvard Law School and the Carol K. Pforzheimer Professorship at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study.
Even Bugs Will Be Bugged
When Mark Zuckerberg posted a picture of himself on Facebook in June, a sharp-eyed observer spotted a piece of tape covering his laptop’s camera. The irony didn’t go unnoticed: A man whose $350 billion company relies on users feeding it intimate details about their lives is worried about his own privacy. But Zuckerberg is smart to take precautions. Even those of us who don’t control large corporations have reason to worry about surveillance, both licit and illicit. Here’s how governments, terrorists, corporations, identity thieves, spammers, and personal enemies could observe us in the future, and how we might respond...Perhaps we’ll also see a shifting of social norms. If everyone’s embarrassing behavior is accessible in perpetuity, we may become inured to employees’ college benders and even to senators’ sexts. Will paranoia reduce misbehavior, or will humans be humans and maintain our blithe and blundering ways? “It’s hard to change our daily habits,” says Jonathan Zittrain
, a co-founder of Harvard’s Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society. “I don’t know if that’s a reason for optimism, because it means we’re not going to be chilled, or pessimism, because we appear to be resigned to losing our privacy without thinking it through first.”
Five Books to Change Liberals’ Minds
An op-ed by Cass Sunstein
. It can be easy and tempting, especially during a presidential campaign, to listen only to opinions that mirror and fortify one's own. That’s not ideal, because it eliminates learning and makes it impossible for people to understand what they dismiss as “the other side.” If you think that Barack Obama has been a terrific president (as I do) and that Hillary Clinton would be an excellent successor (as I also do), then you might want to consider the following books, to help you to understand why so many of your fellow citizens disagree with you:
Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson’s Death Leaves Exoneration Movement Mourning
Not long after he was elected district attorney for Brooklyn, New York, in 2013, Kenneth Thompson cold-called a Harvard law professor and former public defender to ask for help digging through old cases for people who had been wrongly convicted. At first, the professor thought Thompson had made a mistake: Why would a prosecutor want to hire someone who made a living exposing the justice system's flaws? But Professor Ronald Sullivan
quickly realized that Thompson was not a typical DA. He wanted his Conviction Review Unit to find true justice, even if it meant unraveling old guilty verdicts, or exposing wrongdoing. That meant having an outsider run it. "
It's the right thing to do, and I'm committed to doing it the right way," Sullivan recalled Thompson telling him before he took the job.Sullivan recalled that conversation Monday as a sort of requiem. The night before, Thompson had died of cancer, five days after announcing he was ill.
The Harvard Crimson
Let’s Celebrate Stanford’s 125th Birthday by Admitting Some Things
An op-ed by Winston Shi `19
...Rightly or not, though, Stanford gets the nation’s lowest undergrad admission rate, which tends to swell people’s heads. And isn’t our little war of admission rates at the heart of why this column matters? At the end of the day, you’re reading this because Stanford gets the (highly annoying) subtitle in American pop culture as “that plucky little school in Palo Alto that’s challenging Harvard to become number one.” All of this excruciating drama even though by Week 5 it is clear that your admission to any of these schools owes far more to luck than it ever could have to fate. Getting into Harvard/Stanford/[insert school here] is not a sign that you are God’s gift to mankind: it is your first lesson that the forces of destiny are blind.
Publisher of Sex-Trafficking Ads Isn’t the Criminal
An op-ed by Noah Feldman
. It takes a lot to turn a publisher of sex ads into a First Amendment hero. But the attorney general of California has managed the feat. By charging Carl Ferrer, the chief executive of Backpage.com, with pimping and sex trafficking in minors, Kamala Harris has seriously breached the constitutional wall meant to protect the free press. Ferrer -- and the two controlling shareholders of the online classified marketplace Backpage -- aren’t charged with actually arranging sex for pay. They’ve been criminally charged based on a claim that Backpage is designed to, and does, publish third-party ads for sex trafficking. On this theory, essentially any publication that sells ads could be outlawed -- and that’s almost any publication on earth.