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WBUR On Point
Firestorm Over FBI’s New Probe Related To Clinton Email Server (audio)
Eleven days before the election, the FBI stepped back into the realm of presidential politics Friday, with FBI Director James Comey saying agents had found emails that might be of relevance to an earlier investigation of Hillary Clinton. Comey’s letter to Congressional leaders was short. It was vague. And it was political dynamite. Donald Trump seized on it. Clinton decried it. The timing is unprecedented. This hour On Point, October surprise. The FBI and this wild campaign. Guests...Larry Tribe
, professor of constitutional law at the Harvard University Law School.
How James Comey Can Clean Up the Mess He Made of Hillary Clinton’s Emails
Until this past weekend, it was easy to construe FBI Director James Comey’s extraordinary intrusions into the presidential campaign this year as consistent with a career defined by bureaucratic turf protection, and defensiveness of the institutions he’s served. These aren’t always the most high-minded or important principles, but they’ve helped distinguish him from scores of unprincipled opportunists who’ve held and hold positions of high power in our government...As his former Justice Department colleague Jack Goldsmith
explains, Comey hasn’t really “reopened” the Clinton email investigation. “[T]he language Comey used in his letter suggests something less than a full reinvigoration of the investigation…something more like a preliminary inquiry to figure out what, if any, aspects of the earlier investigative conclusions might require revisiting.”
Crain's Chicago Business
Chicago’s top law firms lack diversity—and clients are starting to notice
Chapman & Cutler took a bruising during a City Council committee meeting last month for the racial uniformity among its lawyers. It was a public display of what some companies tell their law firms in private: Improve diversity within your ranks or lose our business..."If you talk to general counsels, they'll say things like, 'Diversity is the most important thing when we hire people; if a law firm isn't diverse enough, we kick them to the curb,' " says David Wilkins
, director of the Center on the Legal Profession at Harvard Law School. "If that were true, (law firms) would look a lot different." Wilkins, a Hyde Park native, wrote two seminal studies in the 1990s that examined the dearth of black partners in large law firms, with Chicago as his main laboratory. The two typical explanations for the underrepresentation of minorities, particularly African-Americans, in Big Law are implicit bias and a shallow pool of qualified lawyers. Both explanations have merit, he says, and neither goes far enough.
Sending Your Bills to the Government Is Silly, Not Criminal
An op-ed by Noah Feldman.
Federal prosecutors in Colorado have found a way to use a serious tool against fraud to persecute some fringe political dissenters. The protesters, who deny the legitimacy of the U.S. government, take bills they owe, add notes to the effect of “Thank you for paying this debt,” and send them to government agencies like the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The government doesn’t pay the debts -- it throws the notices in the trash. Yet prosecutors are outrageously charging the protesters under the False Claims Act with the felony of submitting fraudulent financial claims on the government. This serious abuse of power violates the First Amendment -- and verges on prosecutorial misconduct.
New York’s bitcoin hub dreams fade with licensing backlog
New York's financial regulator had sights set on becoming a global hub for innovations like bitcoin when it adopted trailblazing virtual currency rules last year. But the state lost that momentum when the agency's chief left, putting a licensing process in limbo and allowing rivals to catch up..."By putting the regulations together and having key staff members leaving almost thereafter, they really put the industry behind the eight-ball in terms of competing with traditional service providers," said Patrick Murck
, a lawyer and fellow at Harvard University's Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society. Most companies that were operating in New York when the regulations took effect can still do business there while waiting for a license. However, start-ups may face trouble raising money or expanding their business, Murck said.
There is no middle way between atheism and Catholicism, says Harvard professor who has converted
A Harvard law professor who experienced a dramatic conversion to Catholicism has suggested there is no middle way between atheism and the Church. In an interview with Christina Dearduff, Dr Adrian Vermeule
said that the logic behind his Catholic beliefs is inspired by Blessed John Henry Newman. He said: “Raised a Protestant, despite all my thrashing and twisting, I eventually couldn’t help but believe that the apostolic succession through as the designated leader and primus inter pares is in some logical or theological sense prior to everything else – including even Scripture, whose formation was guided and completed by the apostles and their successors, themselves inspired by the Holy Spirit.”
Cruelty to Circus Animals Is Not Entertainment
An op-ed by Fellow Delcianna Winders.
The recent attack of former Ringling exhibitor Vicenta Pages by her tiger Gandhi in front of dozens of schoolchildren reminds us, yet again, why banning wild animal acts is the right thing to do, not just for animals but for humans as well. Video footage of the incident shows Pages and her husband repeatedly beating Gandhi until he finally releases Pages, who was taken to the hospital for surgery. This is hardly the only incident of its kind. Just earlier this year, a Florida zookeeper was fatally attacked by a tiger. On average, captive big cats kill about one person every year in the United States and injure many more.
International court hit by planned exit of 3 African states
When the treaty creating the International Criminal Court was opened for signatories in 1998, Egyptian-born legal scholar Mahmoud Cherif Bassiouni called it “a triumph for all peoples of the world.” Fast-forward 18 years, and the lofty ideal of establishing a court that would end impunity for atrocities and deliver justice to victims is reeling from the announced departures of three African member states: Burundi, South Africa and Gambia...But Alex Whiting
, a professor at Harvard Law School and former ICC prosecution coordinator, said the court shouldn’t be blamed for the Africa focus. In six cases, the African countries themselves asked the ICC to investigate, and two others were referred to the court by the U.N. Security Council. “Could the ICC really have declined to move on these cases?” Whiting said.
Telling a Half-Truth Doesn’t Work for Drugmaker
An op-ed by Noah Feldman.
Under securities law, a publicly disclosed half-truth is worse than no truth at all, according to an appeals court opinion filed this week involving Arena Pharmaceuticals Inc. The decision has an intuitive moral appeal. But it’s not at all clear that it makes sense from the standpoint of investors, who might be misled just as thoroughly by failure to disclose material information as they would be by partial disclosure.