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Harvard provides the benchmark for Supreme Court justices
There are 205 accredited law schools in the US. If Neil Gorsuch is confirmed for the Supreme Court, two-thirds of the current justices will have studied at just one of them: Harvard...“It does mean something and it does matter,” says Noah Feldman
, a professor at Harvard Law School. “The Supreme Court didn’t use to be this way...Earlier courts were quite geographically diverse and educationally diverse.”...Laurence Tribe
, a constitutional law specialist at Harvard, says the court would benefit from greater diversity. The homogeneity of education and professional experience among the nine justices “skews the perspectives they bring” to the 70 or so cases decided each year. Along with complex legalities, those disputes turn on “questions of perspective and empathy, understanding of how the world works and what makes human, rather than just legalistic, sense”, he says...Richard Lazarus
, a Harvard professor who has argued 13 Supreme Court cases, says the Trump presidency, already entangled in a series of legal challenges, could reverse the decline as idealistic young people conclude anew that “law matters”.
Prohibiting sperm donor anonymity in the US and possible effects on recruitment and compensation
An article by Andrew Hellman `19 and Glenn Cohen
. Many children conceived using donor sperm or eggs want to know their biological parents. In the US, some clinics make the identity of the sperm donor available to a donor-conceived child at age 18. Most intending parents, though, choose sperm donation programs that do not reveal the identities of the sperm donors – so-called 'anonymous sperm donation' (though some have questioned whether true anonymity is possible in a world of social media and direct-to-consumer genetic testing).
Federal Judge Advances Lawsuit Challenging Academia Boycotting Israel
The United States District Court for the District of Columbia has rejected efforts by the American Studies Association (ASA) to suppress a lawsuit filed against the Association by its own members challenging its boycott of all Israeli academic institutions. The judge ruled in favor of the ASA professors in four out of six claims, and authorized the case to go forward...“The circumstances of the ASA’s purported adoption of an anti-Israel BDS resolution are deeply shocking,” stated Harvard University Law Professor Jesse Fried
who served as an expert adviser to the litigation team representing the plaintiffs.
How Social Media Affects Our Democracy (audio)
An interview with Cass Sunstein
. Back in 2010, Eric Schmidt, then-CEO of Google, had a vision for a personalized web. He said, in a Wall Street Journal interview, that one day, "technology will be so good, it will be very hard for people to watch or consume something that has not in some sense been tailored for them." Of course, Schmidt was exactly right — think Netflix, Pandora, Google News. But, according to Harvard Law professor Cass Sunstein, that personalization, especially on social media, has also isolated us, polarized our political parties and divided our democracy.
Gorsuch May Be Trump’s Last ‘Well Qualified’ Judge
An op-ed by Noah Feldman
. In the abstract, there’s nothing wrong with the decision by Donald Trump’s White House to stop the practice of giving the American Bar Association access to its judicial nominees in order to rate them. But in practice, the decision is scary and hypocritical -- because the administration waited until after the ABA gave Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch its highest rating before making it. That’s frightening because it implies that Trump’s future court nominees will be the kind of people who have no chance at the coveted “well-qualified” rating.
Hungary takes aim at Soros as parliament backs university curbs
...Hungarian lawmakers on Tuesday approved a fast-track amendment to Hungary’s higher education act that tightens the rules for foreign registered universities, most notably CEU — or “Soros University” as some ministers call it...Kim Lane Scheppele
, professor of international affairs at Princeton University in the US, says the amendment illustrated the ruling Fidesz party’s longstanding suspicion of academic independence, citing reforms in 2011 that granted the government power to appoint rectors of most universities. “CEU was the last untouched university in Hungary, it was only a matter of time before the government came for them,” she says.
The Boston Globe
Judge Gorsuch is more dangerous than he appears
An op-ed by Nancy Gertner
. He sounds so judicial. He talks about neutrality, raising plain vanilla issues about deference to the expertise of administrative agencies. It is boring, hardly likely to engender indignation. He says his decisions are required by the law — not affected by his own background. He is Judge Neil Gorsuch and he may soon be on the Supreme Court. Don’t be fooled. His approach is not neutral, not required by the law, and far out of the mainstream. Quite apart from social issues like abortion or gay rights, his approach could gut health and safety and antidiscrimination laws.
The Harvard Crimson
Sexual Assault is Gender Inequality: Reframing the Single Sex Sanctions
An article by Emma O'Hara `17, Kelly J. Popkin `17, and Dixie Tauber `17
. Like many members of the Harvard community, the Gender Violence Legal Policy Workshop at the Law School was deeply disturbed by the 2015 American Association of Universities report disclosing the widespread sexual abuse that takes place at Harvard. While initially grateful that the College appeared to have taken affirmative steps to address this issue through its proposed sanctions on single-gender social organizations, we were dismayed to learn that sexual assault prevention is no longer the driving force behind the sanctions.
India’s National ID Program May Be Turning The Country Into A Surveillance State
In February 2017, Microsoft announced Skype Lite, a brand-new edition of Skype just for India. A more spartan version of Microsoft’s marquee messaging service, Skype Lite is designed to run well on cheap Android phones and to handle calls over flaky 2G data networks — the trappings of an app made by a large, wealthy corporation for a large and largely poor emerging market. But that’s not all it does. Skype Lite also taps into a giant government-owned database filled with the demographic and biometric records — names, dates of birth, addresses, phone numbers, photographs, iris and fingerprint scans — of more than a billion Indian citizens...Cryptographer and cybersecurity expert Bruce Schneier
echoed Hunt’s assessment. “When this database is hacked — and it will be — it will be because someone breaches the computer security that protects the computers actually using the data,” he said. “They will go around the encryption.”
Analysis: Trump’s ‘America First’ Vision Could Upend Postwar Consensus
In his first two weeks in office, President Donald Trump's "America First" pledge has proven more than an idle slogan. In word and deed, the White House has signaled an aggressive unilateral stance toward the world that's antagonized allies abroad and divided supporters at home. Trump's orders barring travel from seven Muslim-majority countries, temporarily halted in part by courts after sparking confusion and chaos at airports, were an exclamation point. In his short time in office, he's also defended the use of torture, tossed out the Trans-Pacific Partnership, demanded Mexico pay for a border wall, and threatened to withdraw from NAFTA, the sweeping hemispheric trade deal, if he can't renegotiate its terms..."Treating the system like its optional, or that it doesn't have any important function at the moment, is more dangerous than trying to destroy it deliberately," Kim Lane Scheppele
, a professor of international affairs at Princeton University, said.
The Christian Science Monitor
Report: Populist leaders often add to corruption they vow to remove from governments
From the Philippines to Britain, 2016 was a year of political shake-ups, with voters in several countries across the globe ushering populist candidates or policies into office to combat inequality and "politics as usual," often highlighting corruption in the "insider" system they opposed. But in the push to reform their countries, such politicians can play a role in further corrupting government offices, a new report cautions, leading to continued social disparities and decreased transparency...“We’re seeing a wave of voter anger sweeping across a lot of democratic systems,” Kim Lane Scheppele
, a sociology and international affairs professor at Princeton University, tells the Monitor.