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News@Law, 11/08/2016

News@Law is a selection of the day's news clips regarding Harvard Law School.
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Today's News

USA Today
Why can’t we vote for president online?
Our social lives are conducted on the Internet, along with purchases, entertainment and cab hailing. So why are we still using paper ballots to vote for elected officials? ...Online voting “makes it hard to forestall vote-selling, because people could much more easily prove for whom they've voted,” says Jonathan Zittrain, a Harvard Law School professor. “ Countries unlike the United States that do not emphasize ballot secrecy might be better able to embrace Internet voting.”
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Wall Street Journal
Big Deals Beget Big Merger Contracts
As M&A transactions have increased in size over the years so have their contracts. The average merger agreement has more than doubled in length over the past 20 years, according to new research from John Coates, a Harvard law professor. Contracts have gone from about 17,000 words in 1994 to nearly 45,000 in 2014. Some of the added heft is a response to new regulations, Mr. Coates found.
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Dallas Morning News
Report: Death sentences in the U.S. are declining, even in the ‘execution belt’ of Texas
This year, new death sentences across the U.S. are set to hit their lowest levels since capital punishment was reinstated in 1976. Support for the death penalty in the U.S. is still high, but the option of life in prison and flawed prosecutions — which have resulted in more than 150 death-row exonerations— have caused district-attorney candidates to campaign on platforms of restraint, according to a report from Reuters. ... A Harvard Law School study, The Fair Punishment Project, recently named Harris and Dallas counties as "outlier" counties, where prosecutors imposed five or more death sentences between 2010 and 2015.
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New Hampshire Public Radio
The Enigma and Contradictions of Thomas Jefferson
For an Election Day broadcast, we go back to our country's founding with a recent book on Thomas Jefferson that challenges some of the cliches about our third president.  We talk with Annette Gordon-Reed, co-author of "Most Blessed of the Patriarchs" about Jefferson's life at Monticello, his sojourn in Paris, and his views on slavery and race.  GUEST:  Annette Gordon-Reed, co-author with S. Onuf, of "Most Blessed of the Patriarchs".  Gordon-Reed is the Charles Warren Professor of American Legal History at Harvard Law School.  Gordon-Reed won the National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize for "The Hemingses of Monticello."
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Republican American
Insurers alleged to use skimpy drug coverage to discourage HIV patients
The health law prohibits insurers from discriminating against people with serious illnesses, but some marketplace plans sidestep that taboo by making the drugs that people with HIV need unavailable or unaffordable, complaints filed recently with the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights allege. The effect may be to discourage people with HIV from buying a particular plan or getting the treatment they need, according to the complaint. The complaints, brought by Harvard Law School’s Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation, charge that plans offered by seven insurers in eight states are discriminatory because they don’t cover drugs that are essential to the treatment of HIV or require high out-of-pocket spending by patients for covered drugs.
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Bloomberg View
Miami Tries to Hold Banks Accountable for Bad Loans
An op-ed by Noah Feldman:  It’s hard to imagine much work getting done in most offices on Tuesday -- except at the U.S. Supreme Court, which will hear cases, pretending to be blithely oblivious to the history being made in voting booths across the country. As it turns out, one of those cases is actually pretty important. It concerns whether the city of Miami can bring claims against Wells Fargo and Bank of America for racially discriminatory predatory lending under the Fair Housing Act -- or whether the law only allows suits by individuals directly affected by discrimination. The justices may split, 4-4. And the issue is exactly the kind that will be affected by the election results.
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O'Dwyers
Cellphone Industry Battles Free Speech in Berkeley
The court battle between the cellphone industry and Berkeley, Calif., which wants notices posted at the point of sale, exposes flaws in the U.S. legal system. The battle was covered in an extensive article in Newsweek Nov. 3 by Ronnie Cohen. ...Lawrence Lessig, attorney for Berkeley, says it is a matter of "free speech" and companies are discouraging governments from imposing regulations by filing First Amendment lawsuits that are prohibitively expensive to defend.
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Harvard Crimson
White Collar Felon and Former FBI Informant Visits HLS
A classroom in Hauser Hall was filled to capacity Monday afternoon as Tom Hardin, a white collar felon and subsequent FBI informant, recounted his experiences with insider trading and federal investigations to about 100 Harvard Law Students. The Harvard Association for Law and Business hosted Hardin after he approached the organization about his desire to speak at the Law School. Hardin is currently visiting elite institutions across the country to share his “cautionary tale” about insider trading and white collar crimes, event coordinator David Kafafian ’18 said. “Tom actually reached out to us and was quite frank in his introduction around who he was, that he was a convicted white collar felon, and what he did,” Kafafian said.
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