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News@Law, 11/02/2015

News@Law is a selection of the day's news clips regarding Harvard Law School.
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The New York Times
Guantánamo Is Leaving Obama With Choices, Neither of Them Simple
As President Obama approaches his final year in power, a political impasse over the Guantánamo prison appears increasingly likely to force him to choose between two politically unsavory options: Invoke executive power to relocate the remaining detainees in defiance of a statute, or allow history to say he never fulfilled his promise to shutter the prison....Against that backdrop, Jack Goldsmith, a Harvard Law School professor and former Justice Department lawyer in the George W. Bush administration, said Mr. Obama was heading toward a dilemma at the end of his term. “Not closing Gitmo eight years after he pledged to do so would be a failure for his legacy, plus whatever continuing costs it has to national security in his eyes,” Mr. Goldsmith said. “But the only way to close it is to use an extraordinarily aggressive interpretation of executive power to act against the will of Congress and not obviously in a way that the American people support, just as he is walking out the door.”
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Violence in the Name of the Messiah
An op-ed by Noah Feldman. In July, a house in the Palestinian village of Duma was firebombed. A family of four was inside: Saad Dawabsheh, his wife and two children, ages 4 and 18 months. Only the 4-year-old survived. The leading suspects for the attack are Jewish, part of a loose network known in Israel as “hilltop youth,” teenagers who grew up in small and often unsanctioned settlements in the West Bank, especially in the region they call Samaria...Although small, this movement represents a troubling new fusion of messianism, legalism and violence. Its aim is to create a sovereign territory under God’s law. For these reasons, it is worthy of serious analysis and consideration.
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The New York Times
In Arbitration, a ‘Privatization of the Justice System’
...Over the last 10 years, thousands of businesses across the country — from big corporations to storefront shops — have used arbitration to create an alternate system of justice. There, rules tend to favor businesses, and judges and juries have been replaced by arbitrators who commonly consider the companies their clients, The Times found...Elizabeth Bartholet, an arbitrator in Boston who has handled more than 100 cases, agreed that many arbitrators had good intentions, but she said that the system made it challenging to remain unbiased. Ms. Bartholet recalled that after a company complained that she had scheduled an extra hearing for a plaintiff, the arbitration firm she was working with canceled it behind her back. A year later, she said, she was at an industry conference when she overheard two people talking about how an arbitrator in Boston had almost cost that firm a big client. “It was a conference on ethics, if you can believe it,” said Ms. Bartholet, a law professor at Harvard.
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What is a war crime? (audio)
The phrase is often used but what we call “war crimes” are hardly ever prosecuted. Monocle’s Steve Bloomfield chairs a powerful discussion on what is a war crime and why the outrage rarely leads to an investigation. Featuring Kevin Jon Heller, Alex Whiting and Gary D Solis.
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Bloomberg BNA
Why Lawyers Can’t Ignore Technology
An op-ed by Adam Ziegler, Harvard Law School, Library Innovation Lab. Ever so gradually, some of our state bars are embracing a duty of technology competence, which requires lawyers to “keep abreast of changes in the law and its practice, including the benefits and risks associated with relevant technology.” That thin obligation may be fine as an ethical floor. But if we’re a profession committed to what’s best for our clients, can’t we do better than mere competence? Let’s strive for technology excellence.
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The Harvard Crimson
At Harvard Law School, Students Call for Change of Seal
A new student movement at Harvard Law School is organizing to change the seal at the school, which the students argue represents and endorses a slaveholding legacy. The seal is the coat of arms of the family of Isaac Royall Jr., a slaveholder who endowed the first professorship of law at Harvard. Dubbed “Royall Must Fall,” the movement styles itself after a student activist movement in South Africa that lobbied to remove imagery of Cecil Rhodes, a British imperialist, from the University of Cape Town’s campus. At Harvard, activists formally began their effort for change with a rally of about 25 people on the Law School campus on Oct. 23. They have launched a Facebook page and are now in the process of further organizing. They are drafting a letter to send to the Dean of the Law School Martha L. Minow with their positions, according to Mawuse H. Vormawor, a Law School student and organizer of the effort...Vormawor pointed to the research and scholarship of visiting Law School professor Daniel R. Coquillette, who recently published a book about the first century of Harvard Law School, as inspiration for the movement. In the book, Coquillette details the relationship between the Royall family’s slaveholding and the endowment of the Law School.
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The Harvard Crimson
Law School To Make U.S. Case Law Archive Public Online
By mid-2017, Harvard Law School’s entire collection of United States case law will be available for public search through a new online legal platform, Ravel Law, which will provide the contents of its database for bulk access for free over the next eight years. While case law documents are nominally within the public realm, actually accessing them often requires paying an intermediary like LexisNexis or Westlaw. “What comes from a judge's quill should be freely available to all,” Jonathan L. Zittrain, the director of the Law School library, wrote in an email. “This project is a step along an overdue path towards making the law worldwide freely available and searchable through as many means as there are games in an app store.”
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