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A President’s Guide to ‘Obstruction of Justice’
An op-ed by Cass Sunstein
. There is talk these days about a complex and somewhat arcane legal concept: obstruction of justice. The term refers, broadly speaking, to willful efforts to interfere with the operations of the legal process, including criminal investigations. Let’s bracket the hardest definitional puzzles for now, and ask a question that could become pressing before long: What happens if special counsel Robert Mueller concludes that President Donald Trump has, in fact, obstructed justice? In answering, we should take a vow of neutrality. We should not allow our views about any particular president — negative or positive — to color our understanding of the meaning of the Constitution.
Trump Plans to Fight California Car Rules With Twice-Failed Strategy
The Trump administration is preparing to battle California’s tough car pollution regulations using an approach that federal courts have already rejected. Twice. Federal regulators are drafting a proposal that takes aim at California’s cherished authority to set its own smog-busting rules. A leaked draft of the plan that is being finalized for submission to the White House shows that it wouldn’t outright revoke the state’s ability to set pollution standards, but it asserts that a 1975 law prohibits states from setting their own limits on greenhouse gas emissions...The so-called preemption argument in the draft EPA-NHTSA proposal “looks like an effort to do an end-run around the waiver,” said Jody Freeman
, a Harvard environmental law professor.
The Washington Post
Banning Chinese phones won’t fix security problems with our electronic supply chain
An op-ed by Bruce Schneier
. Earlier this month, the Pentagon stopped selling phones made by the Chinese companies ZTE and Huawei on military bases because they might be used to spy on their users. It’s a legitimate fear, and perhaps a prudent action. But it’s just one instance of the much larger issue of securing our supply chains. All of our computerized systems are deeply international, and we have no choice but to trust the companies and governments that touch those systems. And while we can ban a few specific products, services or companies, no country can isolate itself from potential foreign interference.
Authorities Use DNA Testing Service to Identify “Golden State Killer” – What Does This Mean for You? (audio)
An interview with Glenn Cohen
. More than 12 million people have had their DNA analyzed by direct-to-consumer genealogy tests like 23andMe and ancestry.com. That number more than doubled last year, giving the industry a huge boost. Late last month, authorities charged a man in Sacramento County, California as the so-called Golden State Killer after tracking him down with a private DNA test company, one called GEDmatch. Joseph James DeAngelo is accused of a string of rapes and murders in the 1970s and 80s. The suspect never gave his own DNA to GEDmatch, but his relatives did, and that allowed police to find him. Some law enforcement officials say such tests are a promising tool to catch criminals, while privacy advocates are worried that innocent people might be swept up if a search is too broad.
Is the global trade system broken?
...Today's trading system may be bent, but it is not broken. Import tariffs are low. Quotas are relatively uncommon. In 2016, some $15.4trn of merchandise flowed between countries belonging to the World Trade Organization...Then there is China. After its entry into the WTO in 2001, its government cut tariffs and undertook domestic policy reform. But its economic model of state-infused capitalism, referred to by Harvard Law Professor Mark Wu
as “China, Inc”, also evolved in ways that sat awkwardly alongside the world’s trade rules. The “Made in China 2025” industrial policy, its apparent tolerance of industrial espionage and intellectual-property theft from foreign companies, and its cheap loans from state-owned banks to Chinese manufacturers all rub up against the spirit, if not the letter, of the global trading system.
The Boston Globe
Boston had a plan to tackle evictions. The state just killed it under its tough home rule process
The housing advocates began to descend on the State House early Wednesday afternoon for one last push for the Jim Brooks Stabilization Act — a city-backed measure they say could help prevent tenant displacement amid Boston’s housing crunch. But then, as advocates prepared to hoist their banner, word began to spread: A legislative committee had just killed the proposal...The home rule process, which is meant to ensure state oversight of municipal matters involving taxes, fees, and elections, is strict in Massachusetts, relative to other states, legal experts say. A Harvard University law researcher described in a 2004 report how a home rule petition can halt a minor municipal plan, such as to regulate dog fees. “We need a new way of thinking about home rule, one that would empower cities and towns to work together to solve regional problems, not just go to the state with hat in hand — or dig in their heels against changes they have little power to control,” wrote David J. Barron
, the Harvard Law School researcher, who is now a federal appeals court judge in Boston.
U.S. Voting System Remains Vulnerable 6 Months Before Election Day. What Now?
As America heads toward the 2018 midterms, there's an 800-pound gorilla in the voting booth. Despite improvements since Russia's attack on the 2016 presidential race, the U.S. elections infrastructure is vulnerable — and will remain so in November. Cybersecurity expert Bruce Schneier
laid out the problem to an overflowing room full of election directors and secretaries of state — people charged with running and securing elections — at a conference at Harvard University this Spring. "Computers are basically insecure," said Schneier. "Voting systems are not magical in any way. They are computers."..."This is the problem we always have in computer security — basically nobody has ever built a secure computer. That's the reality," Schneier said. "I want to build a robust system that is secure despite the fact that computers have vulnerabilities, rather than pretend that they don't because no one has found them yet. And people will find them — whether it's nation states or teenagers on a weekend."