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News@Law, 03/15/2017

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

The New York Times
Yes, Trump Is Being Held Accountable
An op-ed by Jack Goldsmith. Many critics of President Trump, including a sizable number of Democrats in the Republican-controlled Congress, are wary about the incipient congressional investigations of Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election and the possibly related Russian entanglements with the Trump administration and campaign. They suspect that an independent investigation from outside the government is the only hope for checking a president who seems oblivious to press criticism, whose party controls Congress and who has the executive branch under his thumb. These worries are understandable but misplaced.
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The New Yorker
A New Phase of Chaos on Transgender Rights
An op-ed by Jeannie Suk Gersen. With a one-sentence order last week, the Supreme Court dashed hopes of a big transgender-rights decision this term. The Court was supposed to review the case of Gavin Grimm, a transgender teen-age boy who sued the Gloucester County School Board for the right to use the boys’ bathroom and won, in the Fourth Circuit. But the basis of the Fourth Circuit’s decision was the Obama Administration’s view that Title IX, the 1972 law that prohibits schools that receive federal funding from discriminating “on the basis of sex,” requires schools to treat transgender students in a way consistent with their gender identity.
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BackChannel
Google Fiber Was Doomed From the Start
An op-ed by Susan Crawford. Just a handful of newsflashes have come home to me in such a way that I never forgot where I was when I heard them. Most were disasters, like the Challenger explosion or the attacks of September 11. In February 2010, I was sitting in my office in Ann Arbor when another event made the list — but this one surprised and delighted me. I cheered. Google had announced its fiber experiment, a plan to wire at least 50,000 homes with fast, bountiful connections. Finally, someone was going to try to unstick the monopolistic, stagnant, second-rate market for high-capacity internet access in the US.
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Alaska Public Media
Harvard class assignment: solve rural Alaska’s fossil fuel woes
Rural Alaska runs on diesel. Although many communities are open to alternative energy ideas, they don’t have the funding to even explore them. But help could come in the form of graduate students from Harvard University, who have been tasked with the assignment of solving some of Alaska’s fossil fuel energy woes. Harvard law student Mike Maruca [`18] may sound like he’s describing a spring break trip. “We also got to drive out to Seward and went skiing at Alyeska,” Maruca said. “We managed to catch the northern lights last night, sort of. They were not very clear.” But Maruca’s actually in Alaska for a class that’s looking for practical solutions to reduce the use of fossil fuels, especially in low-income, under-served communities.
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NPR
Researchers Examine Breitbart’s Influence On Election Information (audio)
A study of 1.25 million media stories says a Breitbart-centered media ecosystem fostered the sharing of stories that were, at their core, misleading. Steve Inskeep talks to researcher Yochai Benkler.
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The New York Times
How a Wonky National-Security Blog Hit the Big Time
A little over a year ago, Benjamin Wittes, the editor in chief of the blog Lawfare, made the case that Donald Trump, as a Republican presidential candidate, represented nothing less than a national-security threat...The warning was an early sign of the opposition to Trump that has since hardened among the national-security professionals and observers for whom Lawfare serves as a kind of bulletin board...Lawfare observes rules that most publications don’t, including a pledge never to publish classified information. Contributors generally tend to be hawkish and “more sympathetic to the executive, and more accepting of the seriousness of the counterterrorism threat and the need for tools like targeting and surveillance, than a lot of writers in the national-security space,” [Jack] Goldsmith says.
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Bloomberg
Scandal Fatigue and the Trump Ethical Swamp
Thanks to some fine work by two Bloomberg news reporters, David Kocieniewski and Caleb Melby, we now know that a major Chinese financial services firm may invest $4 billion in a Manhattan skyscraper owned by the family of President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner...In the eyes of some legal experts, the simple fact that Trump accepted the trademarks is a violation of the Constitution’s mandate against presidents accepting payments of any kind from foreign governments. “If the trademark has value in contributing to Trump’s wealth, the amount of the forbidden emolument might not be ascertainable before the transaction closes, but the constitutional prohibition doesn’t turn on how large the emolument turns out to be,” Laurence Tribe, a constitutional law professor at Harvard Law School, wrote in an email.
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Harvard Gazette
In support of international students
As President Trump last week issued a new executive order preventing citizens from six Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States for 90 days, Harvard continued to ramp up efforts to support international students and scholars in understanding and coping with the policy shift...Resources include a website that provides a centralized source of information for undocumented members of the Harvard community, weekly support groups where students can talk with a counselor, and legal assistance through the Immigration and Refugee Clinic, which recently hired attorney Jason Corral to represent undocumented students and those with legal status obtained through the DACA initiative. “We’ve been advising people since the first set of executive orders came out in January pretty consistently until now,” said Sabrineh Ardalan, the clinic’s assistant director.
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Bloomberg
Democrats’ Misguided Argument Against Gorsuch
An op-ed by Noah Feldman. I’m not sure who decided that the Democratic critique of U.S. Supreme Court nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch would be that he doesn’t side with the little guy. It’s a truly terrible idea. Like other liberals, I’m still shocked and upset that Judge Merrick Garland never got the vote he deserved after his nomination by President Barack Obama, and I’d rather have a progressive justice join the court. But the thing is, siding with workers against employers isn’t a jurisprudential position. It’s a political stance. And justices -- including progressive justices -- shouldn’t decide cases based on who the parties are. They should decide cases based on their beliefs about how the law should be interpreted.
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Bloomberg
This Secret Weapon Could Kill Needless Regulation
An op-ed by Cass Sunstein. Small businesses and startups are responsible for a big chunk of U.S. economic growth and job creation. Unfortunately, many of them are stymied by state and federal regulation. The good news is that the Regulatory Flexibility Act, originally enacted in 1980, could provide a lot of help. If the administration of President Donald Trump starts to pay attention to it, it could give that tired old law a lot more energy – and promote important economic goals.
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San Fransisco Chronicle
Panel to study wiring San Francisco with high-speed Internet
San Francisco Supervisor Mark Farrell has assembled a group of business, privacy and academic experts to discuss crucial, early-stage questions surrounding Farrell’s plan to wire the city with high-speed Internet service...Farrell will serve as the panel’s co-chair alongside Harvard Law School Professor Susan Crawford. Crawford, who teaches courses on municipal uses of technology, Internet law and communications law, worked as an assistant to the president for science, technology and innovation policy in Barack Obama’s administration and co-led the FCC’s transition team between the Bush and Obama administrations...Crawford called Internet access the “the key economic and social justice issue of the 21st century. Whether it’s educating kids, providing advanced health care, moderating our use of energy and making it possible for people to work where they live — all of that is going to be helped by a better, faster and far cheaper data network,” she said.
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