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The Washington Post
The Supreme Court should strike down the death penalty
An op-ed by Laurence Tribe
. After more than 40 years of experimenting with capital punishment, it is time to recognize that we have found no way to narrow the death penalty so that it applies only to the “worst of the worst.” It also remains prone to terrible errors and unacceptable arbitrariness. Arizona’s death-penalty scheme is a prime example of how capital punishment in the United States unavoidably violates the Eighth Amendment’s requirement that the death penalty not be applied arbitrarily. The Supreme Court will soon consider accepting a case challenging Arizona’s statute and the death penalty nationwide, in Hidalgo v. Arizona.
The New York Times
A Tax Cut That Lifts the Economy? Opinions Are Split
With the release of an ambitious overhaul of the tax code, House Republicans are moving to fulfill a long-held desire of corporate America: a large and audacious tax cut. Yet economists are divided over whether the plan is likely to revitalize the economy or merely bestow a windfall on the wealthiest investors...Such dismissiveness failed to deter fans of the twin pillars of the House bill: lowering the top nominal tax rate on corporations to 20 percent from 35 percent, and changing the way global profits are taxed. “This will make the United States a better place to invest and a better place to be headquartered in,” said Mihir A. Desai
, an economist at Harvard Business School who has at times complained about the White House’s economic claims.
Mueller’s Definition of ‘Collusion’ Will Be Clear
An op-ed by Noah Feldman
. One legal question looms larger than others over special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and its possible Russia connections: What laws, exactly, would be violated by collusion if it could be shown? Remember that the word “collusion” itself has no formal legal status in this investigation. No relevant federal criminal statute that I know of makes “collusion” -- as opposed to conspiracy -- a crime. The letter appointing Mueller directs him to investigate “links and/or coordination” between Russia and the campaign, with no mention of “collusion.”
The Wall Street Journal
Banks Sidestep a Big Tax-Plan Pitfall
Banks do pretty well under the tax bill unveiled Thursday: it puts them on track for big tax cuts yet lets the firms avoid some of the biggest potential downsides of the overhaul. At a 20% corporate tax rate, banks stand to be the among the biggest winners from tax reform, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence...The legislation proposed by the House Ways and Means Committee appears to let banks sidestep that issue, though. It does so by limiting the deductibility for companies that spend more money on interest than they take in, said Mark Roe
, a professor at Harvard Law School. Banks by and large bring in far more in interest than they pay out.
What Makes a Parent? A Judge May Soon Decide
When the New York State Court of Appeals ruled in 2016 that a person who acted as a parent — despite the absence of a biological or adoptive relationship to a child — had legal standing to seek custody and visitation rights, it was hailed as progress for nontraditional families, including same-sex couples...Noah Feldman
, a Harvard law professor on Gunn’s legal team, says Nervo did not correctly apply the 2016 Court of Appeals ruling in deciding the case Brooke S.B. v. Elizabeth A.C.C. It also was not in keeping with the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2015 marriage equality decision, which mandated that same-sex couples have access to all the legal benefits that straight couples do, Feldman says. “As a constitutional matter, the judge’s ruling failed to treat Kelly [Gunn] in her role the same way the law would treat a heterosexual, biological parent under those circumstances,” Feldman says.
The New York Times
Are You First Gen? Depends on Who’s Asking
Trying to help a high school senior get into his dream school, Laurie Kopp Weingarten called the college to emphasize that the boy should be able to lay claim to the latest, and fuzziest, of all admissions hooks: being a first-generation student...Some public policy experts believe the definition should be narrowed for admissions and financial aid. Tomiko Brown-Nagin
, a Harvard law professor, argues that only those most in need should receive special admissions considerations. She wants both parental education and income taken into account, limiting the definition to those whose parents never attended college and are eligible for Pell grants.
The Harvard Crimson
‘Okay to be White’ Stickers Crop Up at Harvard, Around Country
More than a dozen handmade stickers reading “It’s okay to be white” surfaced around Harvard Square Wednesday, prompting Cambridge officials to remove them and a Harvard Law School Dean to denounce the signs as “provocations intended to divide us.”...“It seems likely that these anonymous postings, made in the middle of the night, were provocations intended to divide us from one another,” Law School Dean of Students Marcia L. Sells
wrote in an email sent to Law students Wednesday after the stickers were spotted at Wasserstein and Hastings Halls. “HLS will not let that happen here. We live, work, teach, and learn together in a community that is stronger, better, and deeper because of our diversity and because we encourage open, respectful, and constructive discourse,” Sells wrote.