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Native leader, legal beacon
Growing up in the mostly white city of Lethbridge in southern Alberta, Canada, Julian SpearChief-Morris
[`18] often felt out of place...But after graduating from a local college and coming to Harvard Law School (HLS), with its diverse student body, SpearChief-Morris felt right at home. And when he was admitted to the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau, one of the three honor societies at the School, he found a family. It’s a place that SpearChief-Morris has made his own...He is the first indigenous student to lead the bureau...As the bureau’s president, SpearChief-Morris worked to build bridges with other student organizations on campus. Esme Caramello
’94, J.D.’ 99, the bureau’s faculty director and clinical professor of law, praised him. “Julian is brilliant, organized, and mission-driven,” Caramello said in an email...His leadership is a source of pride for indigenous students at Harvard, said Leilani Doktor
[`19], co-president of the Native American Law Students Association. SpearChief-Morris was co-president of the association last year, and during his term made unique contributions, said Doktor. “He spearheaded initiatives to collaborate with other student organizations, build community for native students, and infuse public service into our everyday lives,” she said.
We Were Eight Years in Power by Ta-Nehisi Coates review – on white supremacy
A book review by Annette Gordon-Reed
. It is no surprise that the election of the first black president of the United States would occasion much thinking, writing and talking about the subject of race in America...At the same time, how galling it was for the not insignificant number of white Americans who fervently believed that the US began as a country for white people, and should forever remain so. The president of the United States serves as a symbol of the nation; America’s face and voice to the world. All the reasons why many saw Obama’s election as evidence of the country’s endless capacity for adjustment and renewal, an occasion for pride, were for others evidence of America’s degradation, a source of intolerable shame and anger. Something had to be done. What was done, Ta-Nehisi Coates says in We Were Eight Years in Power, the book of essays that follows his bestselling and influential Between the World and Me, was to seek to erase with extreme prejudice the effects of the country having lived under a black president by electing the man Coates dubs in the book’s final essay “The First White President” (Trump’s “ideology is white supremacy, in all its truculent and sanctimonious power”).
Trump’s Judgment Is Debatable. His Sanity Is Not.
An op-ed by Noah Feldman
. The claim that President Donald Trump is mentally unwell has a particular valence in today’s charged political environment. It isn’t supposed to sound like a partisan criticism. It’s supposed to sound like an objective statement of medical fact.
Clamor for justice: Yugoslav court leaves global legacy
When a court on the Dutch North Sea coast issues its final verdict this week, it will signal the end of an experiment that has reverberated around the world, from the killing fields of Rwanda to the CIA’s secret cells in Europe...The glass is either half full or half empty, said Alex Whiting
, professor of practice at Harvard Law School. “You can say we haven’t come far enough and the new institutions, particularly the ICC, have not replicated the success of the ICTY, but you can just as easily say it’s remarkable how far we’ve come in just 25 years,” he said.
Diverse: Issues in Higher Education
Harvard Symposium Examines Charles Hamilton Houston’s Enduring Legacy
Two universities recently convened a symposium to honor the work and influence of the late civil rights lawyer Charles Hamilton Houston. Harvard University’s Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice (CHHRIJ) and Clemson University’s Charles H. Houston Center for the Study of the Black Experience in Education hosted “The Enduring Legacy of Charles Hamilton Houston: 3rd Biennial Symposium” at Harvard Law School last week...“The theme of building bridges to the future follows directly from the work of Charles Hamilton Houston, whose work was always built on establishing a foundation from which one could go further,” said Dr. David Harris
, managing director of CHHRIJ. “He did not see school desegregation as an end but a beginning of a pathway forward. Although he would surely be disappointed in the delays we have experienced as a nation in closing the gaps between students of color and White students, he would applaud the efforts of all our panelists to eliminate obstacles and create opportunities.”...“We believe that there is so much unfinished business with regard to educational access,” [Tomiko Brown-Nagin
] added. “Students of color still suffer disadvantages: disproportionate punishment, fewer resources, less experienced teachers. By working in the educational space around issues of access and quality, the Houston Institute continues the legacy of its namesake,” she added.
Mladic trial to end, where will next war crimes court start?
When a panel of U.N. judges hands down a verdict next week in the trial of former Bosnian Serb military chief Gen. Ratko Mladic, it will mark the end of a ground-breaking era in international law. Yet a new age of international justice is already underway, with other temporary courts and tribunals springing up around the world to prosecute atrocities. Mladic's trial is the last at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, which was set up in 1993 to prosecute crimes committed in the Balkan wars of the early 1990s..."I think people now see that the ICC cannot be the answer for everything," said Alex Whiting
, a professor at Harvard Law School. "Both because of capacity and resources but also because of institutional fit. I think there will be ad hoc tribunals again. They may be designed differently, a stronger tilt toward hybrid tribunals."
Harvard Forum: Should Older Politicians And Judges Be Tested For Mental Decline?
The speculation spreads every time an older politician of either party blunders verbally or seems to lose the thread: Is it Alzheimer's? Early dementia? Impaired judgment? Professor Francis Shen
of the Center for Law, Brain and Behavior shared a crop of typical headlines at a Harvard Law School Petrie-Flom Center forum called "Dementia and Democracy" this week. They included politicians of various stripes targeted by weaselly phrases like "may have Alzheimer's" and "may have early-onset dementia."...Shen's central point: Politicians, who have huge advantages as incumbents, and federal judges, who serve for life, tend to stay on the job well past typical retirement ages. Yet we know that some cognitive decline with age is normal, and that the risk of dementia skyrockets as we get older.
Human Rights Watch
Incendiary Weapons: New Use Shows Need for Stronger Law
Countries should respond to reports of new use of incendiary weapons in Syria by working to strengthen the international law governing these exceptionally cruel weapons, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today...It urges countries at a UN disarmament meeting, held in Geneva from November 22 to 24, 2017, to initiate a review of Protocol III of the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW). This protocol, which regulates incendiary weapons, has failed to prevent their ongoing use, endangering civilians. “Countries should react to the threat posed by incendiary weapons by closing the loopholes in outdated international law,” said Bonnie Docherty
, senior arms researcher at Human Rights Watch. “Stronger law would mean stronger protections for civilians.”...“Existing law on incendiary weapons is a legacy of the US war in Vietnam and a Cold War compromise,” said Docherty, who is also the associate director of armed conflict and civilian protection at Harvard Law School’s International Human Rights Clinic, which co-published the report. “But the political and military landscape has changed, and it is time for the law to reflect current problems.”
No End Seen to State-Federal Tensions
State-federal tension over electricity policy is likely to continue even after current debates over nuclear and coal subsidies end, speakers told the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners’ Annual Meeting last week. In fact, said former FERC Commissioner Tony Clark, “things are probably going to get more tense and more difficult before they get easier.”...Ari Peskoe
, of Harvard Law School’s Environmental Policy Initiative, said legal challenges to Illinois’ and New York’s zero-emission credits for nuclear plants “expose a question that courts have not addressed in the 20 years of restructuring: May a state provide an incentive for energy production without intruding on FERC’s exclusive jurisdiction over energy sales? Perhaps the state authority over generating facilities means just that — the facilities themselves, and not the energy that they produce,” he said.
Law & Crime
Trump Had ‘No Duty’ to Help LaVar Ball’s Son, Says Law Professor
...To recap, we have three Americans–UCLA basketball players LiAngelo Ball, Jalen Hill and Cody Riley–arrested by Chinese authorities for alleged shoplifting. Trump took credit for their return to the states, saying he asked the country’s president Xi Jinping for help. Now we have that same president saying he should’ve done nothing. What does it mean if provable spite motivated a president’s decision to refrain from helping an American held in custody on foreign soil? Law&Crime reached out to Harvard Law Professor Noah Feldman
for his take on the matter, and asked if such behavior, or something like it, could be impeachable. “Not impeachable,” Feldman wrote in an email. “He was under no duty to help and no duty to be nice about it after the fact.”