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News@Law, 10/04/2017

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

The Wall Street Journal
Victims of Takata’s Defective Air Bags Face Compensation Lags
Victims of Takata Corp.’s rupture-prone air bags face additional lag time in receiving roughly $1 billion in payouts from the Japanese supplier after a court-appointed official encountered delays in steering the compensation...Eric Green, a Harvard University law professor appointed at the end of July to oversee the compensation funds, said he has “encountered a variety of delays and anticipates additional timing issues,” according to a status report filed in a Detroit federal court.
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NPR
Facebook, Google Spread Misinformation About Las Vegas Shooting. What Went Wrong?
In the hours just after the massacre in Las Vegas, some fake news started showing up on Google and Facebook. A man was falsely accused of being the shooter. His name bubbled up on Facebook emergency sites and when you searched his name on Google, links of sites connecting him with the shooting topped the first page. It appears to be another case of automation working so fast that humans can't keep pace...Yochai Benkler, a law professor at Harvard, says that with such massive scale even if there were humans helping out there would be mistakes. Benkler says that even if Facebook and Google blocked sites like 4chan, it wouldn't solve the problem. "Tomorrow in another situation like this someone will find some other workaround," Benkler says.
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Harvard Gazette
The national anthem as lightning rod
When President Trump called for owners of National Football League teams to fire players who take a knee during the national anthem to protest racism, the response by players and others was an even more widespread dissent before games that touched a deep cultural nerve and shook a seminal American institution...“As a general rule, the Constitution’s free speech protections don’t apply in private-sector workplaces — including the NFL — so the First Amendment generally isn’t much help here,” said Benjamin Sachs, Kestnbaum Professor of Labor and Industry at Harvard Law School and an authority on labor law.
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The Desert Sun
Trump’s energy secretary wants to save coal. Will Californians end up paying the price?
A new proposal from the Trump administration could force Californians to foot some of the bill for propping up struggling coal plants in Utah and Wyoming, critics say — but only if California Gov. Jerry Brown succeeds in his quest to unify the western power grid...While the text of Perry's proposal is difficult to decipher, its goal seems to be "guaranteed profitability" for certain power plants, said Ari Peskoe, a senior fellow in electricity law at Harvard Law School who has litigated cases before the commission. "It flies in the face of everything FERC has done for the last 20 years, which is really promoting the development of competitive markets for energy," Peskoe said.
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Colorado Springs Independent
Springs man at the heart of federal lawsuit to upend the Electoral College
Last November, from his downtown Colorado Springs home, local math educator Bob Nemanich, one of the 538 members of the Electoral College, helped launch a movement to try to change the way the United States chooses its president. Nearly a year later, he is still fighting. Nemanich is named as a plaintiff in a federal lawsuit filed by national election law expert, Harvard Law School professor and attorney Lawrence Lessig, who briefly ran for president in 2016 before dropping out ahead of the Democratic primary...The legal action, filed in U.S. District Court in Denver, aims to answer a major question once and for all, before the 2020 presidential election: Do members of the Electoral College have a constitutional ability to vote for whomever they want? “Regardless of what you believe the law is, it’s really important that it be clear before the next election,” Lessig says.
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Bloomberg
Spain and Iraq Are Failing Their Secessionists
An op-ed by Noah Feldman. The secession of a region without constitutional authority is a big deal, as referendums in Catalonia and Kurdistan have shown in the last week. To get a sense of the possible consequences, think of the U.S. Civil War, which started precisely because Southern states insisted they could secede while Northern states pointed out that such a right was nowhere in the U.S. Constitution.
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South Bend Tribune
Prof who turned down Notre Dame’s Laetare Medal to receive pro-life honor
Harvard Law School professor Mary Ann Glendon, who turned down the University of Notre Dame's Laetare Medal the year President Barack Obama gave the commencement address, will receive the 2018 Notre Dame Evangelium Vitae Medal from the university's Center's for Ethics and Culture...She had been announced as the recipient of Notre Dame's Laetare Medal in 2009, but turned down the honor and did not attend the commencement ceremony because Obama was to be the primary speaker and receive an honorary degree.
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The Washington Post
Our best hope against nuclear war
Consider what is, for the moment, an entirely hypothetical question: What might Defense Secretary Jim Mattis do if he received an order from President Trump to launch a nuclear attack on North Korea in retaliation, say, for a hydrogen bomb test that had gone awry?Certainly, Mattis could try to talk the president out of the attack, if he thought the action was unwise...“The president’s view, and whatever orders stem from that view, carry the day,” wrote Jack Goldsmith, a Harvard University professor and a widely respected authority on national security law, in a recent post on the Lawfare blog. (Harvard law student Sarah Grant [`19] co-wrote the post.)
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Bloomberg
The White House and Equifax Agree: Social Security Numbers Should Go
The Trump administration is exploring ways to replace the use of Social Security numbers as the main method of assuring people’s identities in the wake of consumer credit agency Equifax Inc.’s massive data breach...Over the decades, the Social Security number became valuable for what could be gained by stealing it, said Bruce Schneier, a fellow at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. It was the only number available to identify a person and became the standard used for everything from confirming someone at the doctor’s office to school. “They appeared at an age when we didn’t have other numbers,” Schneier said in an interview. “Think of this as part of our aging infrastructure” from roads and bridges to communications. “Sooner or later we as a society need to fix our aging infrastructure.”
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Bloomberg
U.S. Needs to Join the Race for Multinationals’ Tax Revenue, Experts Say
European Union regulators’ tax crackdown on Amazon.com Inc. -- like the EU’s case against Apple Inc. -- should spur U.S. policy makers to address companies’ aggressive offshore tax-avoidance strategies before it’s too late, experts said...The rate and formula for that tax haven’t been set, but experts note that the framework calls for it to be applied “on a global basis,’’ minus credits for foreign taxes paid -- suggesting that companies could blend their results from high-tax countries like Germany with low-tax countries like Ireland to even out their global effective rates. That wouldn’t do much to prevent profit shifting to tax havens, according to Harvard Law professor Stephen Shay, a former top U.S. Treasury Department official during the tax overhaul of 1986. Instead, Shay said during an appearance before the Senate Finance Committee Tuesday that a minimum tax should be calculated on a per-country basis, preferably at 80 percent of the corporate rate.
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RSN
After Newtown, Laurence Tribe Addressed the Supreme Court’s View of the Second Amendment
In the wake of the breathtaking tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut, with a dialog in earnest on gun control and the second amendment taking shape, I reached out to Harvard's preeminent constitutional law scholar Laurence H. Tribe. What follows is my inquiry, and Professor Tribe's response in its entirety. It's important to bear in mind what Tribe said then. We're here again.
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The Intercept
The U.S. Election System Remains Deeply Vulnerable, But States Would Rather Celebrate Fake Success
When the Department of Homeland Security notified 21 states that Russian actors had targeted their elections systems in the months leading up to the 2016 presidential election, the impacted states rolled out a series of defiant statements...Still, most states lack the mechanisms to deal with large-scale changes to voter registration, said Bruce Schneier, a cybersecurity specialist at Harvard’s Berkman Center who has written frequently about the security vulnerabilities of U.S. election systems. “Imagine an election in a state office, where 20 percent of the people can’t vote, and everyone says the voting roll was hacked. There’s no system to deal with that — there’s no plan, no rules,” he said.
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Law360
Takata Special Master Reports Delays In Claims Plan
The special master overseeing the handling of a nearly $1 billion restitution fund in the criminal lawsuit over Takata’s potentially deadly air bag inflators made his first report to a Michigan federal court on Tuesday, saying that he’s hit several delays carrying out his duties so far. Harvard Law School professor and longtime mediator Eric D. Green, who was appointed special master in July by U.S. District Judge George Caram Steeh, said in his first report that he’s hit a variety of delays in carrying out his responsibilities. Green said he was working on obtaining additional data needed to develop claims valuation formulas and methodologies from Takata, car makers and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and other parties.
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