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Honoring Charles Ogletree
It felt like a family reunion — with 600 relatives. That many friends, former students, colleagues, and well-wishers gathered Monday in a joyful celebration of the life and career of Harvard Law Professor Charles Ogletree
, advocate for Civil Rights, author of books on race and justice, and mentor to former President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama...And when John Manning
, the Morgan and Helen Chu Dean and Professor of Law at HLS, announced that a group of Ogletree’s friends had established an endowed professorship in his honor, the Charles J. Ogletree Jr. Chair in Race and Criminal Justice, the news brought down the house...The chair was made possible through the generosity of a group of Ogletree’s close friends, said David Wilkins
, Lester Kissel Professor of Law. “When the history of Harvard Law School in the 20th century is written, Charles Ogletree’s name will be among the first ones mentioned,” said Wilkins...The panelists told stories to “bring home the Tree-ness of Tree,” as Randall Kennedy
, Michael R. Klein Professor of Law, explained...Tomiko Brown-Nagin
, Daniel P.S. Paul Professor of Constitutional Law, said, “Throughout his career, Ogletree has embodied law in the service of society, just the same as other great beacons of the American legal profession, men and women like Thurgood Marshall, Constance Baker Motley, and Charles Hamilton Houston.”...Another frequent participant was Obama classmate Kenneth Mack
’91, the Lawrence D. Biele Professor of Law. Mack said he learned about Houston in a Saturday School class. It was a time, he added, when few people knew about the lawyer whom Ogletree deemed one of the 20th century’s greatest legal minds and Civil Rights lawyers.
The New York Times
The Supreme Court and Gerrymandering
A letter to the editor by Charles Fried
. Re “Top Court Puts Gerrymandering on Unclear Path” (front page, Oct. 4): At oral argument, the supremely intelligent chief justice said that proving and remedying gerrymandering might require the judiciary to parse “sociological gobbledygook.” Sorry, but that’s no excuse for not doing your job and saving our democracy. Every day, federal judges must pass on exquisitely intricate arguments in patent cases and on the admissibility of expert testimony in a wide variety of technical fields. Indeed, the social science here is not that difficult. An outside lecturer came to my grandson’s high school and explained it to the complete comprehension of a class of bright 15-year-olds.
Comcast in Abandoning Customers in the Name of Free Speech
An op-ed by Susan Crawford
. Two very American stories about high-speed internet access are colliding right now, and the dissonance is striking. One is like a five-minute Shakespearean tragedy, neatly telling the story of what a high-priced local cable monopoly does (and doesn’t do). The other is a hopeful narrative of intelligent, effective government intervention. For the brief but evocative tragedy, you probably can guess who the high-priced local cable monopoly is: Comcast.
How Unions Are Already Gearing Up for a Supreme Court Loss
Late last week, the U.S. Supreme Court announced that it will add a case critical to the future of public-sector unions to its docket. With President Donald Trump's appointment of conservative-leaning Justice Neil Gorsuch, many expect the court to rule against the unions. Such a decision would energize the recent resurgence of state laws that effectively reduce the power of unions in both the public and private sector...“It is an enormously big deal,” says Harvard law professor Benjamin Sachs
, who often writes about labor issues. “Unions have to provide services and representation equally to everyone in a bargaining unit. But if you can get those services for free, a lot of people won’t pay them. You have a classic free-rider situation.”
Impeachment was designed to protect the US from presidents like Trump. What went wrong?
Can Donald Trump be impeached? Cass Sunstein
’s new book Impeachment: A Citizen’s Guide carefully avoids addressing that question directly: Trump’s name is not mentioned in the text. But despite the effort to avoid current political controversies, the question of whether Trump can, or will, or should be impeached will be on the mind of every reader who picks up the book...The founders wanted a strong, active executive branch, but they feared that the president could become corrupt and trample on individual rights. So they devised a range of checks on executive power, including impeachment. Thus, Sunstein told me by email, “We the People have a way to protect ourselves.”
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Minnesota agencies sued over power law favoring home-state companies
A New York-based electricity provider is suing two Minnesota public agencies over a law it claims improperly favors home-state companies for new power line projects. The 2012 state law gives "incumbent" electricity transmission providers in Minnesota a "right of first refusal" for new power line projects. In other words, they get first dibs over companies that don't currently have transmission lines in Minnesota..."There are a few other states that have such laws," said Ari Peskoe
, a senior fellow at Harvard Law School's Environmental Policy Initiative. None has been tested in a federal court. The suit by LSP Transmission "could set an important precedent," Peskoe said.