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News@Law, 03/17/2017

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

NBC News
Oxford Comma Defenders, Rejoice! Judge Bases Ruling on Punctuation
Writers frequently debate whether or not the Oxford comma is a necessary piece of punctuation. In an unlikely turn of events, a group of Maine dairy drivers have yielded the answer: Yes, it is. A case brought by the dairy drivers against Oakhurst Dairy and Dairy Farmers of America Inc. about whether or not they qualified for overtime hinged on the lack of a comma in a sentence outlining duties that were exempted from overtime pay...Because a comma does not appear after "shipment," U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit Judge David Barron reasoned it is unclear if "packing for shipping or distribution" is one activity or if "packing for shipping" is separate from "distribution."...Ian Samuel, Climenko Fellow and Lecturer on Law at Harvard Law School, says at least one prominent legal text, written by Justice Antonin Scalia and his co-author, Bryan Garner, recommends that "courts should not rely much if any" on text omitting an Oxford comma because some legislative style guides follow newspaper style, which often doesn't use the comma.
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Associated Press
House votes to declare Alabama ‘right to life’ state
As part of what the Alabama House's Republican leaders dubbed "pro-life day," lawmakers passed legislation Thursday that would write anti-abortion language into the state constitution, allow doctors to refuse to perform services and ban assisted suicide. Representatives in the deeply conservative state also held a moment of silence for the "millions of babies" who are aborted every year...Khiara Bridges, a visiting professor of law at Harvard University, said in a telephone interview that the state is playing "the long game" for the potential repeal of Roe under the administration of President Donald Trump. "The language is capacious enough to conflict with an abortion right or be consistent with it," she said. "It's like they want to have their cake and eat it too."
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Bloomberg
Senators Focus on Board Cyber Skills in Disclosure Bill
Public companies could be required to disclose whether they have board members with cybersecurity expertise under bipartisan legislation introduced by three U.S. senators...Harvard Law professor John Coates told Bloomberg BNA that the proposal reinforces “what better-governed boards of directors already understand.” Cybersecurity is a “first-order risk” in many industries, and institutional investors are evaluating public companies on how well they communicate their strategies for building their expertise and resilience against cyberattacks, said Coates, who teaches corporate and securities law.
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Bloomberg
Real Drama for Travel Ban Will Be at Appeals Court
An op-ed by Noah Feldman. As the saga of President Donald Trump’s ban on travel to the U.S. from six majority-Muslim countries unfolds, a federal judge in Honolulu on Wednesday blocked the operation of the second version of the executive order nationwide. The decision rests on the logic that the second iteration is the same old wine in a new bottle. As a Muslim ban, the court ruled, the executive order violates the establishment clause of the Constitution by sending a message to Muslims that they are disfavored members of the political community.
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Minnesota Public Radio
DHS questions whether Mayo policy violates law
The Minnesota Department of Human Services is probing the Mayo Clinic for possible violations of civil- and human-rights laws by putting a higher priority on patients with commercial insurance...But the practice does raise some ethical questions, especially as Washington is debating major changes to Medicaid that health policy experts say would put millions at risk of losing coverage. It also raises questions about the cost of care in the United States, said Holly Fernandez Lynch, executive director of the Harvard Law School's Petrie-Flom Center. "I think it's challenging and troubling to say that we are going to prioritize people who can pay more over people who can pay less," she said. "Better approaches would be a focus on the quality of care for less cost."
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The Economist
GRE vs LSAT: Which exam should you apply to Harvard Law with? (subscription)
Last week, Harvard Law School announced that starting in Fall 2017, it will accept the GRE as an alternative to the LSAT from applicants to its J.D. programme. This makes it the second U.S. law school – the University of Arizona launched a similar pilot last year – and the only top-tier one to open up this option...“There are any number of potential applicants who might be impacted by this announcement in one way or the other,” said Jessica Soban, Associate Dean for Strategic Initiatives and Admissions at Harvard Law School. The school covers multiple groups with its new policy, she pointed out, including those who have already completed graduate studies in another field, the international student population, U.S. college students studying abroad, and those with financial need
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