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News@Law, 10/30/2015

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

Bloomberg
Republicans Just Killed Their Own Health-Care Idea
An op-ed by Cass Sunstein. In 2009, prominent Republicans, skeptical of requiring people to buy health insurance under the legislation that became Obamacare, proposed an alternative approach: making large employers automatically sign employees up for health insurance, while also allowing them to opt out. A version of this idea made its way into the Affordable Care Act. But as a result of this week’s budget deal, it is now out -- and Republicans are celebrating. How come? The answers shed new light on some thorny issues in behavioral economics, and also on contemporary politics.
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Bloomberg
A ‘Harry Potter’ Defense of Affirmative Action
An op-ed by Noah Feldman. The most important document in the most important Supreme Court case of the year is the University of Texas’ brief arguing that it needs to use affirmative action to achieve diversity in its undergraduate class. That brief, submitted Monday for the court’s consideration in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, says that the university can’t achieve its educational goals by admitting on numbers alone. Rather, achieving the magic of campus diversity requires a “holistic” effort to treat applicants as unique individuals with distinctive features. Think of the admissions process as a 10-gallon Texas version of the Hogwarts sorting hat, and you get the idea. Is Texas right? And, equally important, can it persuade Justice Anthony Kennedy not to end affirmative action as we know it in college admissions?
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The Huffington Post
Verizon’s Twisted Plan to Censor Your Internet
Earlier this year, the Newseum Institute asked 1,000 Americans to name their rights under the First Amendment. A clear majority listed freedom of speech first -- before freedom of religion, assembly, and other core civil liberties. And that makes sense. Protecting free speech is essential to the health of any functioning democracy...We owe this Orwellian shift in thinking to a growing number of court decisions, among them Citizens United, that define corporations as people and their business practices as speech. Harvard Law School's John C. Coates documented this change in a study released last February, noting that "corporations have begun to displace individuals as the direct beneficiaries of the First Amendment." This trend, Coates writes, isn't just "bad law and bad politics." It's also "increasingly bad for business and society."
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Bloomberg
Good Lords for Democracy
An op-ed by Noah Feldman. There’s something inescapably charming about the House of Lords, the upper chamber of the U.K. Parliament with 817 active members. But the usually discreet charm of the aristocracy is under attack this week after the Lords used its power to delay tax-credit cuts passed by the Conservative majority in the House of Commons. The prospect of a Tory government complaining about tradition is deliciously ironic, but it does raise two serious questions: Is there a place for an unelected chamber in a modern democracy? And what benefits, if any, stem from its slowing or delaying the operation of the elected government?
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Harvard Gazette
‘Free the Law’ will provide open access to all
Harvard Law School announced today that, with the support of Ravel Law, a legal research and analytics platform, it is digitizing its entire collection of U.S. case law, one of the largest collections of legal materials in the world, and will make the collection available online, for free, to anyone with an Internet connection. The “Free the Law” initiative will provide open, wide-ranging access to American case law for the first time in U.S. history. “Driving this effort is a shared belief that the law should be free and open to all,” said Harvard Law School Dean Martha Minow...“Libraries were founded as an engine for the democratization of knowledge, and the digitization of Harvard Law School’s collection of U.S. case law is a tremendous step forward in making legal information open and easily accessible to the public,” said Jonathan Zittrain, the George Bemis Professor of International Law at Harvard Law School and vice dean for library and information resources.
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