Follow HLS on
Northeastern Student Sues University Alleging Mishandling Of Rape Accusation
A Northeastern University student has sued the school and several administrators, alleging they failed to prevent her rape on campus by another student, and that the school failed to protect her rights. ... Harvard Law School Professor Jeannie Suk Gersen
said Title IX can cut both ways, as it’s been used around the country in the last year both by alleged victims and by those accused of sexual assault.
No candy-coating lack of charity at Hershey School
Here amid the screaming riders of the Hersheypark roller-coasters and delighted customers of Hershey's Chocolate World is an educational institution unlike any other: a boarding school for poor kids that has more money than it can spend. Gushing with cash, the charitable Milton Hershey School has amassed more assets than every elite private college-prep school in the nation. ... Robert Sitkoff
, a Harvard Law professor who has studied the Hershey School, said that when a charity "has resources out-of-proportion to its mission, you invite waste and mismanagement because there is all this slack. The trend in the law is to expand the charitable purpose when there are more resources, not buy golf courses."
Billions in damage, but no charges: How U.S. banks pay for protection
The list is long and shameful. The Wachovia Bank helped launder hundreds of millions for Mexican drug cartels. Wells Fargo illegally created nearly two million fake accounts and then charged customers service fees for them. ...Lawrence Lessig
, a Harvard professor who specializes in the study of corruption and had a quixotic run for the 2016 Democratic presidential candidacy, said in an interview with the Star, “This is business as usual. It is deeply corrupt, but it’s not criminal. This is why the system needs to change.” The regulation of the American financial system is a series of shifting parts that includes the Federal Reserve, Treasury and several other agencies. The Senate is supposed to oversee this complicated machinery through the 22-member banking committee. “The American system is made deliberately to have a number of overlapping veto points,” Lessig said. “So all (the banks) have to do is capture one of those veto points and they can make sure that nothing gets into legislation. In fact, control over a veto point gives tremendous power over questions of staffing and personnel as well.”
How a series of fringe anti-Muslim conspiracy theories went mainstream — via Donald Trump
As far as the Rev. Terry Jones knows, they were his ideas first. “We are asking for the immediate halting of all Muslim immigration and the removal of all illegal aliens from the United States,” the controversial Florida pastor told a Detroit radio station back in 2011. “We are asking for the monitoring of all the mosques in America.” ... Sharia is not a codified document like the U.S. Constitution, say religious and legal scholars, but rather a broad and variably interpreted set of ideas and principles for how to live life as a Muslim. It offers an array of guidance, including on prayer practices, marriage, diet and finances. It also draws on tens of thousands of texts and scholarly interpretations, meaning that there is no universally approved body of Islamic law, said Intisar A. Rabb
, an Islamic legal scholar at Harvard University.
Death sentences decline, even within Texas’s ‘Execution Belt’
... Across the United States, 49 new death sentences were handed down in 2015, a drop from a recent peak of 315 in 1996, according to the Death Penalty Information Center. ... According to a Harvard University Law School
study this year, three people sentenced to death in Harris County have been exonerated and there have been dozens of instances of prosecutorial misconduct in death penalty cases.
The Harvard Admissions Lawsuit, Explained
For two years, Harvard’s admissions policies have been at the center of an ongoing lawsuit alleging race-based discrimination against Asian American applicants. The case was put on hold in advance of a Supreme Court ruling on the affirmative action case Fisher vs. The University of Texas at Austin. Now that the Court upheld that admissions policy over the summer, Harvard’s case is again moving forward. ,,,Harvard Law School Dean Martha L. Minow also filed an amicus brief
in conjunction with her legal counsel and Yale Law School Dean Robert C. Post ’69 last November in support of UT Austin. They wrote that a ruling against using race as one factor in a “holistic” admissions process would have “devastating” effects.
The New Yorker
The sexual-assault election
An article by Jeannie Suk Gersen: In a strange triumph for feminists, the election that may give us our first female President has brought extraordinary attention to women’s sexual victimization. The election turned in Hillary Clinton’s favor, perhaps decisively, when footage emerged of Donald Trump bragging about assaulting women.
Don’t Believe the Experts
Africa is “rising,” or so authoritative sources declared a few years ago. An Economist cover story in 2013 amplified the claim; the Wall Street Journal carried a series of articles on economic growth in Africa under this title. African “lions,” according to a report published as recently as September by the McKinsey Global Institute, are “on the move.” ... Those concerned about the health of democracy must reckon with the extraordinary influence of technocratic expertise. For, as David Kennedy
, a legal scholar at Harvard, argues in a brilliant new book, “The World of Struggle: How Power, Law, and Expertise Shape Global Political Economy,” experts only appear to be describing pre-existing economic and political worlds.
Thn ICC exit by African nations
The initial fear when a troika of African countries announced their intention to quit the International Criminal Court (ICC) was that the tribunal would unravel like granny’s knitting grabbed by an unruly puppy. Happily, this has not happened. ... Harvard Law professor Alex Whiting
, who worked in the ICC prosecutor’s office, says the most serious challenge facing the court is not disaffected members leaving but getting the major powers to commit to fight against impunity. “If you take the long view, countries like the United States and China and Russia have to decide that either joining the court or finding other ways to ensure that there is international criminal accountability in places like Syria and other places around the world. And that is, to bring it back to the question about Africa, that’s the real problem. The real problem is not a bias of the court, but the real problem is the uneven justice around the world,” says Whiting.
Professor has Ed Portal audience vote on legalization of marijuana
... The initiative, known as Question 4, would legalize and create a commission to regulate marijuana in Massachusetts. Under the new law, individuals at least 21 years old would be able to use marijuana, possess it, and grow up to six marijuana plants in their homes. For Charles Nesson
, Weld Professor of Law at Harvard Law School and co-founder of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University, the issue was the subject of an in-depth discussion at the Harvard Ed Portal in Allston. Nesson’s discussion Tuesday evening on the upcoming vote was part of the faculty lecture series at the Ed Portal, and drew strongly from Nesson’s HarvardX course “JuryX: Deliberations for Social Change.”
Election Day Is a Turning Point for Supreme Court
An op-ed by Noah Feldman:
Lots of people who don’t otherwise care for Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton say they’re going to vote Tuesday based on which presidential candidate will be best for the U.S. Supreme Court. With the hours ticking away, it’s worth running through the three most plausible scenarios to see what the election outcome will mean for the court. Most desirable for liberals will be if Clinton wins the White House and gets a Democratic majority in the U.S. Senate. If that happens, the lame-duck Republican Senate might or might not confirm the relatively moderate Judge Merrick Garland, President Barack Obama’s nominee to fill Justice Antonin Scalia’s seat.
Finding stable ground
An interview with Adrian Vermeule:
In the midst of scandals, intra-ecclesial ideological battles, and a widespread attitude of indifference—if not scorn—toward religion in general and the Catholic faith in particular, a steady stream of courageous souls continue to convert from other confessions—or no confession—to the Catholic faith. ...Below, Adrian Vermeule, the Ralph S. Tyler Professor of Constitutional Law at Harvard Law School, answers a few questions about his own recent conversion experience.
PHH Decision May Not Subject CFPB to Cost-Benefit Order
A recent federal appeals court ruling
that gives the White House more power over the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau doesn't necessarily mean it will now be subject to the same cost-benefit mandates as other federal agencies. ... John Coates
, a Harvard Law School professor, said Executive Order 12866 explicitly excludes “independent regulatory agencies,” as listed at 44 U.S.C. 3502(10). And the CFPB was specifically included by Congress when the agency was created. “Nothing in the PHH decision purported to interpret, address or even refer to this clear statement of Congressional intent. Nothing that I saw in the Hensarling letter addresses it, either. It remains law,” he said.