Follow HLS on
The New Yorker
Gavin Grimm’s Transgender-Rights Case and the Problem with Informal Executive Action
An op-ed by Jeannie Suk Gersen
. President Obama’s mantra for the past year has been that Congress is broken, so the executive will act. And now, as the stage is set for the new executive, it is dawning on Democrats that living by that sword may mean dying by it. A President can unilaterally revoke prior Presidents’ unilateral actions, and we may soon see just that, in response to Obama’s moves on immigration, climate change, and gun control. Among the myriad areas subject to upheaval is the President’s administration of Title IX, the 1972 law that prohibits schools that receive federal funding from discriminating “on the basis of sex.” The civil-rights statute has been the primary federal guarantee of equality in educational opportunity for male and female students.
Minnesota Public Radio
Pipeline decision marks victory in tribal effort to protect sacred sites
For the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, the massive effort to block the Dakota Access pipeline is about much more than oil or water. It's also about religion. The proposed $3.8 billion, nearly 1,200-mile pipeline runs through sites on the North Dakota prairie the tribe considers sacred..."When I work with tribal leaders, they spend a tremendous amount of time and energy attending consultations with federal agencies, only to find out that the agency gives lip service to the information they have shared and goes ahead with its plans anyway," said Kristen Carpenter
, a visiting professor of Indian law at Harvard Law School.
Mistrial in ‘Open and Shut’ Police Shooting Stuns Observers
The video was unambiguous: A white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black man in the back as the man ran away. But a South Carolina jury was unable to agree on a verdict in one of the nation's ghastliest police shootings, with a lone holdout forcing a mistrial. The outcome stung many African-Americans and others. If that kind of evidence can't produce a conviction, they asked, what can?...Randall Kennedy
, a black Harvard University law professor and author of several books on race relations, had difficulty reconciling the law with the mistrial, which he called "frightening." "It appeared as though it was open and shut," said Kennedy, a native of Columbia, South Carolina. "Obviously, this is a case of some criminal action on the part of this police officer. Is it at all plausible that you have a man running and a police officer says, 'I'm firing in self-defense?'"
The Huffington Post
Corinthian Colleges Files Show Big Fees to Google, BET, Lead Generators
As eight years of zigzagging but ultimately valiant efforts by the Obama administration to protect students and taxpayers from predatory for-profit colleges comes to a close, new documents, released to us under the Freedom of Information Act, shed light on a key chapter in that saga: The 2015 demise of one of the most abusive companies in the industry, Corinthian Colleges...Aided by ace lawyers Toby Merrill
and Eileen Connor
from Harvard Law School’s Project on Predatory Student Lending, Republic Report
in September 2015 filed a FOIA request with the U.S. Department of Education seeking, among other things, communications between the Department and Corinthian as the company started to collapse under the weight of government, media, and public scrutiny of its predatory practices.
Supreme Court’s Text Message in Samsung v. Apple
An op-ed by Noah Feldman
. The U.S. Supreme Court gave Samsung Electronics Co. its first good news in a while on Tuesday, reversing a nearly $400 million verdict against it for infringing on Apple Inc.’s iPhone patent. The holding was narrow, and the justices sent the case back to the appeals court to figure out what the correct damages should be. But the thrust of the opinion was that damages could be computed based on the profit Samsung made from specific infringing features of the phone -- not based on the overall profit from all sales of infringing smartphones.
The Huffington Post
Law Firm Offering Free Legal Advice To Electors Who Don’t Want To Vote For Trump
A new organization is offering pro bono legal assistance to any Electoral College member who decides to break with the will of the people in his or her state, in hopes of derailing President-elect Donald Trump before he is sworn in. The vote to determine who will become president is set to take place on Dec. 19. Christopher Suprun, a paramedic who lives in Texas and is one of the 538 members of the Electoral College, announced this week that he will not cast his vote for the president-elect. Larry Lessig
, a Harvard Law School professor heading the project, told The Huffington Post that the law firm Durie Tangri handles intake and may wind up representing Suprun. Durie Tangri generally plans to offer confidential advice to anonymous electors, but Lessing said Suprun’s case was different. “He came to us just as he published his piece in the Times,” he said. “Our assumption is we’re talking to people who want to be anonymous, so he’s an exception. The whole community is going to step in and do what they can to help him.”