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The New York Times
Trump Clashes Early With Courts, Portending Years of Legal Battles
President Trump is barreling into a confrontation with the courts barely two weeks after taking office, foreshadowing years of legal battles as an administration determined to disrupt the existing order presses the boundaries of executive power....Charles Fried
, solicitor general under Ronald Reagan, said the ruling by a Federal District Court in Washington State blocking Mr. Trump’s order resembled a ruling by a Texas district court stopping Mr. Obama from proceeding with his own immigration order. But rarely, if ever, has a president this early in his tenure, and with such personal invective, battled the courts. Mr. Trump, Mr. Fried said, is turning everything into “a soap opera” with overheated attacks on the judge. “There are no lines for him,” said Mr. Fried, who teaches at Harvard Law School and voted against Mr. Trump. “There is no notion of, this is inappropriate, this is indecent, this is unpresidential.”...Jack Goldsmith
, who as head of the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel under Mr. Bush argued that some of the initial orders went too far and forced them to be rolled back, said on Sunday that there were similarities. “But Bush’s legal directives were not as sloppy as Trump’s,” he said. “And Trump’s serial attacks on judges and the judiciary take us into new territory. The sloppiness and aggressiveness of the directives, combined with the attacks on judges, put extra pressure on judges to rule against Trump.”
Trump’s Unworthy Attack on a Federal Judge
An op-ed by Noah Feldman
. It’s no surprise that President Donald Trump initiated a Twitter attack Saturday on federal judge James Robart for freezing the executive order on immigration from seven majority-Muslim countries. The ultimate fate of the order will depend on proceedings in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which denied the government's emergency request to reinstate the ban, and possibly even the U.S. Supreme Court. But because judges issue rulings, not press releases, it’s also up to civil society and the news media to defend the judge and the rule of law from the president’s bluster.
The New York Times
Trust Records Show Trump Is Still Closely Tied to His Empire
Just days before his inauguration, President-elect Donald J. Trump stood beside his tax lawyer at a Midtown Manhattan news conference as she announced that he planned to place his vast business holdings in a trust, a move she said would allay fears that he might exploit the Oval Office for personal gain. However, a number of questions were left unanswered — including who would ultimately benefit from the trust — raising concerns about just how meaningful the move was...Robert H. Sitkoff
, a professor at Harvard Law School, said the new details in the trust documents were unlikely to resolve the apparent legal problems with the Old Post Office site.“Formally he is no longer the owner, but functionally he still is,” he said.
How the New Supreme Court May Tackle Tech’s Big Questions
An op-ed by Laurence Tribe and Joshua Matz.
As our Supreme Court weighed the First Amendment implications of brutal video games back in 2011, Justice Samuel Alito cut in with a sarcastic jab: “Well, I think what Justice Scalia wants to know is what James Madison thought about video games. Did he enjoy them?” This wasn’t the first time that scientific advances had divided these super-conservative justices—and that speaks to a crucial point. While the confirmation hearings for Judge Neil Gorsuch will involve familiar debates over how to read the Constitution, judicial orientations toward new technology can scramble the fields in surprising ways.
The Boston Globe
Government workers can ignore Trump’s immigration order — and we’ll defend them
An op-ed by Daniel Epps, Leah Litman and Ian Samuel
. When President Trump dashed off an executive order banning nationals of several predominantly Muslim countries from entering the United States, he encountered pushback from a surprising source — the federal government itself. At the Department of Justice, Acting Attorney General Sally Yates announced that the order appeared unlawful and directed DOJ lawyers not to defend it in court. Around the same time, more than 1,000 State Department employees signed a “dissent memo” detailing strenuous objections to the ban. Although both incidents involved rebukes to Trump by federal employees ostensibly under his command, he responded to them in remarkably different ways. He swiftly fired Yates and replaced her with someone who was willing to defend the order. But the many dissenting State Department employees were not so swiftly dispatched. Their only punishment so far has been a press conference tongue-lashing. Sean Spicer, Trump’s press secretary, angrily told the “career bureaucrats” who signed the memo that they can “either get with the program or they can go.”
The New York Times
Scott Pruitt Is Seen Cutting the E.P.A. With a Scalpel, Not a Cleaver
Scott Pruitt, President Trump’s pick to run the Environmental Protection Agency, is drawing up plans to move forward on the president’s campaign promise to “get rid of” the agency he hopes to head. He has a blueprint to repeal climate change rules, cut staffing levels, close regional offices and permanently weaken the agency’s regulatory authority...Mr. Pruitt’s draft climate rule is designed to leave most coal-fired power plants open, but require them to install energy-efficient technology to slightly lower their emissions. “A rule like that might satisfy the letter of the law,” said Richard J. Lazarus
, a professor of environmental law at Harvard, “and would probably cut emissions less than a quarter of the Obama rule.”
The Harvard Crimson
Mass. Federal Judge Declines Temporary Stay on Immigration Executive Order
A Massachusetts federal judge ruled Friday against plaintiffs supported by Harvard and other Boston-area universities, declining to extend a temporary stay on President Donald Trump’s immigration order. The suit—filed by five individuals from countries listed in Trump’s order and international non-profit organization Oxfam—called for an extension of a ruling that temporarily opened Massachusetts to travellers from the listed countries...Harvard and seven other universities in the area—Boston College, Boston University, Brandeis, MIT, Northeastern, Tufts, and Worcester Polytechnic Institute—filed an amicus brief Friday morning requesting that the judge grant “declaratory and injunctive relief” to the plaintiffs...Harvard and the other universities outlined an argument similar to Oxfam’s in their 40-page amicus brief, according to Law School professor Gerald L. Neuman
, who specializes in immigration law...“The thing that’s so unusual about this is it’s a high-profile event that affects a lot of people in so many different cases, and they’ve been able to mobilize legal representation, and all of a sudden there’s all this parallel litigation moving forward,” Neuman said.
The Berkshire Eagle
WiredWest retools after losing faceoff with MBI
A broadband vision for the Berkshires crashed and burned one afternoon in December 2015. A year later, people still poke through the wreckage. They want to understand why the Massachusetts Broadband Institute halted its long-running alliance with WiredWest, a nonprofit, grassroots cooperative that had signed up dozens of towns to build and operate a shared internet network...Susan Crawford
, a law professor at Harvard University who co-directs the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society, says a change from backing municipally owned broadband networks to preferring private-sector solutions is “killing” the communities of Western Massachusetts. In a recent online commentary, Crawford came out swinging: “This is the story of a dramatic failure of imagination and vision at the state level: Governor Charlie Baker’s apparent insistence that Massachusetts relegate small towns to second-rate, high-priced, monopoly-controlled (and unregulated) communications capacity. It’s a slow-rolling tragedy that will blight Western Massachusetts for generations.”
On Patrol With Chicago’s Last Violence Interrupters
...Chicago’s violence interrupters are in a moment of crisis. Nearly 20 years after epidemiologist Gary Slutkin founded their parent organization, Cure Violence, the program’s Illinois state funding — $4.5 million as recently as two years ago — has evaporated. A $1 million grant it got from Chicago Police in 2012 was never renewed. The Chicago chapter, called CeaseFire, now subsists on just a few small grants from private donors....Thomas Abt
, a senior fellow in criminal justice and security at Harvard Law School and the Kennedy School of Government, said that sometimes intervention workers cross the line from being independent to being adversarial with the police. If that happens, he said, “they may reinforce community distrust of law enforcement, and that can aggravate the violence they’re trying to prevent.” Abt favors an arrangement in which outreach workers and police officers can cooperate to prevent violence.
Class of ’91: Obama and Gorsuch rubbed shoulders at Harvard, but their paths split
When Barack Obama and Neil Gorsuch were contemporaries at Harvard law school as the eighties rolled into the nineties, they found themselves on a tense campus riven with ideological discord...Harvard Law professor Laurence Tribe
called Gorsuch “a very, very bright judge” whom he also recalled from his university days was not just learned but “very personable”. He says he knew Obama better at the time, as he was his research assistant, and got to know Gorsuch better later on, after he became a judge...At Oxford, he studied under John Finnis, the controversial Catholic conservative professor and strident proponent of natural law. “That’s telling,” said Harvard law professor Charles Fried.
Fried had taught Obama and knew Gorsuch because he was a prominent member of the Federalist Society at the university, of which Fried was a faculty adviser.
What’s next for Trump’s travel ban? (video)
President Trump's executive order has been halted temporarily -- but what does it mean long-term for visa holders? Lawrence discusses with constitutional law professor Laurence Tribe
and ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero.
Get Ready, Supreme Court Fans. Brush Up on Your Chevron Doctrine.
An op-ed by Noah Feldman.
Confirmation hearings for Judge Neil Gorsuch are likely to feature a somewhat offbeat topic: administrative law, and particularly a key issue known as the “Chevron doctrine.” Central to environmental law and all other forms of federal regulation, the doctrine, adopted by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1984 in a case involving the Chevron oil company, says the courts should defer to agencies’ interpretations of ambiguous laws. Dry as it may sound, the principle is in fact the subject of heated debate among scholars -- and last year, Gorsuch weighed in with a lengthy opinion proposing to abandon the prevailing approach, thus strengthening the judiciary and weakening the agencies. Democratic senators are likely to question him intensively about his views, which for the first time may make Chevron doctrine into a household word -- and a partisan flashpoint.
The Salt Lake Tribune
Trump’s immigration ban promises constitutional showdown
Did President Donald Trump's executive order on immigration ban Muslims from the country on the basis of their religion?...Laurence Tribe
, a prominent liberal constitutional scholar at Harvard University, called the order "barely disguised religious discrimination against Muslims and religious preference for Christians." The order by its own terms establishes preferential treatment for refugees identified with "minority religions" in their country of origin.
Harvard Law Prof: Trump’s Travel Ban ‘Is Going to Encourage Evil’ (video)
Harvard Law School Professor Laurence Tribe
tells Greta Van Susteren that President Trump’s executive order on immigration and refugees is “unconstitutional from the top down.”
New York Daily News
President Trump’s deep ties to his business empire remain, trust documents show
During his first news conference as President-elect last month, Donald Trump boasted that even though he could continue to run his sprawling business empire, he wouldn't because he didn't like "the way that looks."..."A revocable trust is a wholly inadequate trust to separate from a conflict of interest," Harvard Law School Professor Robert Sitkoff
told the Daily News. "Trump has the power to override any decisions … It is not a functional separation, only a formal separation."
Trump May Find Surprise Doesn’t Work for a Superpower
An op-ed by Noah Feldman
. One emerging theme of the Trump administration’s foreign policy so far has been destabilization and surprise. President Donald Trump has used phone calls and tweets to shake up previously rock-solid relationships like those with Australia and Mexico. Traditional allies in Europe and Asia are worried about whether they can still rely on the U.S. for protection from Russia and China respectively. Changing the status quo in surprising ways can be an effective foreign policy strategy, as Russian President Vladimir Putin showed with the unexpected takeover of Crimea and his intervention in Syria. But there’s a key difference between Russia, a weakened power seeking to improve its position, and the U.S., the world’s reigning superpower. Change and unpredictability favor rising powers.