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News@Law, 11/20/2015

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

The New York Times
Tape Found Over Portraits of Black Harvard Professors
Black slashes of tape appeared across the portraits of some African-American professors at Harvard Law School on Thursday morning, outraging students and faculty members and touching off a day of discussion about racial injustice at the school. In a statement, the school’s dean, Martha Minow, said that the portraits, which appeared on walls inside the building, had been “defaced” and that the Harvard University Police Department was investigating the incident as a hate crime. “This is my portrait at Harvard Law School,” wrote Professor Ronald S. Sullivan Jr., on his Twitter account, along with a photograph of his portrait, with a wide piece of gaffer’s tape placed diagonally across his face...“I woke up to a bunch of texts,” said Kyle Strickland, the president of the law school’s student body. “As a black student, it was extremely offensive. And I know the investigation’s ongoing; we’ll see what happened, but to me it seemed like a pretty clear act of intolerance, racism.”
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WGBH Greater Boston
WATCH: Professor Ron Sullivan Discusses Racial Vandalism At Harvard Law (video)
As you’ve likely heard, a group of Harvard students have been holding protests for the past few weeks, both in solidarity with students at the University of Missouri, and to make their own demands. Among them, they want the law school seal changed because the current image is derived from the family crest of an 18th-century slaveholder, Isaac Royall, Jr., whose estate funded the first professorship there. Now, Harvard is looking into what appears to be an incident of racially motivated vandalism overnight. Black tape was placed over the faces of the portraits of some of the law school’s black faculty. Among the defaced portraits was that of Harvard Law professor Ron Sullivan, also the director of the school’s criminal justice institute.
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The New York Times
Treasury and I.R.S. Propose Rules to Curb Corporate Relocations for Tax Reasons
The Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service on Thursday issued new rules aimed at discouraging American companies from moving their headquarters abroad in search of lower tax rates. Increasingly, American companies have been trying to reduce their tax liabilities through a tactic known as a corporate inversion — buying smaller foreign competitors and using those purchases to move their headquarters to countries with more favorable tax rates than the United States’. ...Reaction to the rules, which were released late in the afternoon, was muted. Stephen E. Shay, a senior lecturer at Harvard Law School, said they were weaker than many people expected. “It’s not going to do anything to affect in any meaningful way the largest deal that is in front of them,” he said.
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The Wall Street Journal
The Examiners: Insider Pay Disclosures Can Spark Troubling Unintended Consequences
Payments made to officers, directors and other “insiders” in control of a distressed corporate debtor are closely scrutinized by other stakeholders as well as the media in larger chapter 11 cases. Bankruptcy rules require companies to disclose insider payments during the 12-month period leading up to a bankruptcy filing. ...Whatever the merits of the disclosure debate may be, the debate is swept up in the larger controversy surrounding executive pay faced by healthy and distressed businesses alike. For example, in their controversial treatise on the unfulfilled promise of executive compensation, Lucian Bebchuk and Jesse Fried weave a detailed account of how structural flaws in corporate governance have enabled managers to influence their own pay and have produced widespread distortions in pay arrangements. They believe that directors must focus on shareholder interests and operate independently from the executives whose compensation they set by making directors more directly accountable to shareholders. In rebuttal, critics point to executive compensation practices of distressed businesses to demonstrate that reducing “agency costs”—the problem created by the separation of ownership and control in larger public companies which is mitigated in distressed situations through the consolidation of ownership interests and assertion of control by sophisticated investors—doesn’t lead to material changes in executive compensation arrangements.
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Vice News
The Paris Attacks Will Really Complicate Obama’s Plan to Close Guantanamo
President Barack Obama repeatedly promised to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility in Cuba after he took office in 2009, but that hasn't worked out so well. Now, as he approaches his final year in office in the wake of last week's terror attacks in Paris, his pledge seems as doomed as ever — but he insists he's undeterred...In testimony this week before the House Judiciary Committee, US Attorney General Loretta Lynch said that she is unaware of any effort by Obama to act unilaterally on Guantanamo. In response, Jack Goldsmith, the former head of the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel, which provides legal guidance to the president, wrote on the blog Lawfare, "Nothing in Lynch's remarks would preclude the President from later concluding that the transfer restrictions are unconstitutional."
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Harvard Gazette
Reforming criminal justice
A new program at Harvard Law School (HLS) aims to help reform the nation’s criminal justice system, with assistance from Harvard students and faculty. The program’s executive director is Larry Schwartztol, who has been a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union. Schwartztol has worked on issues including racial justice, policing in schools, educational equality, and economic justice concerns involving the home foreclosure crisis and discriminatory lending practices. When he decided to attend Yale Law School Schwartztol said, “I wanted to find ways to use the law as a vehicle for social justice.”...Our mission is to help advance criminal justice reform by bringing rigorous and creative legal thinking to bear on hard, cutting-edge policy problems. The program builds on an incredible infrastructure already at the Law School. I work with the two faculty directors, Carol Steiker and Alex Whiting, and we are excited about bringing together our own mix of backgrounds in doing this type of work.
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Vice News
Raped by Canadian Gold Mine Guards, These Women Are Looking for Justice
...That's the story of one woman among at least 130 who were raped by security guards at Barrick Gold Corporation's open pit mine in Porgera, Papua New Guinea, one of the countries with the highest rates of sexual violence in the world. And according to women who shared their stories with VICE News, guards at the mine continue to commit rape today. The company disputes that, saying no rapes have been reported since 2010, and that there are now confidential ways women can report sexual assaults by mine employees.... These rapes are undisputed by the mining company. The only matter in dispute is whether the women received justice. And a new joint report by the human rights clinics at the Harvard and Columbia law schools says they did not.
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Bloomberg
China Is Trying to Warn Taiwan Voters
An op-ed by Noah Feldman. The U.S. and Europe have spent the last week focused on Islamic State, but the possibility of conflict between China and Taiwan is far more dangerous to the world’s security. An important development took place Nov. 7, when Chinese President Xi Jinping met for a historic summit with Taiwanese leader Ma Ying-jeou. The meeting has been variously interpreted. But the best read is that it was a warning from China to Taiwanese voters not to move toward independence. That's particularly worrisome, because Ma’s nationalist Kuomintang Party (KMT) is widely expected to lose upcoming elections to the independence-minded Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).
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Bloomberg
Dark Pools Can’t Keep Themselves Clean
An op-ed by Noah Feldman. Louis Brandeis, the father of market regulation in the U.S., famously called sunlight “the best of disinfectants.” The Securities and Exchange Commission announced Wednesday that it would apply his dictum to dark pools, the electronic alternative trading systems where the size and price of orders are hidden from other market participants. The proposed SEC rules, now open for 60 days of public comment, are aimed at revealing potential conflicts of interest between the trading systems and those who use them, and clarifying some aspects of order routing in the dark pools. The proposed rules raise an intriguing question: Do we need more regulation for markets that are used overwhelmingly by extremely sophisticated traders, and that are themselves in competition with one another? Put another way, shouldn't the market for alternative trading systems (the market for markets, if you will) be sufficient to ensure that they operate fairly and efficiently?
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Payment Week
MIT Launches First Graduate Fintech Course
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, one of the most prestigious universities in the world, is launching the first graduate level financial technology course in the United States. The Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship and the Finance Group at MIT Sloan School of Management are joining forces with both MIT’s department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and Harvard Law School to make the course possible. The new course has been dubbed FinTech Ventures and will cover financial technology applications at the graduate level.
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Harvard Gazette
For French scholar, hope survives terror
It was with tragic timeliness that Professor Patrick Weil discussed “After the Paris Attacks: What Is the Future for French Society?” on Wednesday at Harvard Law School. The French sociologist, historian, and legal scholar, who is currently a visiting professor at Yale Law School, had been invited several months ago to speak on the roots and repercussions of the shootings at the offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and at a kosher supermarket in Paris in January. After the city was again torn by terrorist violence on Friday, his topic was even more current.
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Global Voices
Rastafari Rootzfest Celebrates Jamaica’s Emancipation of Marijuana
The Rastafari Rootzfest, launched on October 27, 2015 at the Bob Marley Museum in Kingston, Jamaica, brought together reggae music and ganja in a groundbreaking event on the Caribbean island that has led the way in decriminalising marijuana. It was described as “the first international wellness festival which celebrates Jamaica's indigenous peoples and their cultural heritage.” ... Charles Nesson, the William F. Weld professor of law at Harvard Law School and founder of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University, called it nothing short of amazing that the small farmers of Westmoreland can “finally reach out to connect with and feel support from small farmers everywhere.”
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CNN
Portraits of black faculty defaced at Harvard law building
Harvard University police are investigating a possible hate crime at the law school after someone covered portraits of black faculty members in tape, according to university officials. Some photographs, housed in Wasserstein Hall on the Cambridge, Massachusetts, campus, were defaced with strips of black tape and discovered Thursday morning...Harvard Law School students quickly rallied in solidarity with their professors. A.J. Clayborne, who will graduate in 2016, told CNN that the response on campus was "fairly overwhelming" and that students "are shocked." He said that students met to organize in light of the incident..."There has been an outpouring of warm wishes for the affected faculty from Harvard Law students, some of whom posted signed messages of support," said Dr. Tomiko Brown-Nagin, a professor of constitutional law at the school, in a statement to CNN. "I am so proud of the students for reacting with love and kindness, for showing leadership, and for valuing inclusion."..."I was shocked to see portraits of black faculty members defaced today in an apparent response to the peaceful protest organized by Harvard's black students on yesterday," said Dr. Ronald Sullivan Jr., who is the director of the Harvard Criminal Justice Institute. "My shock and dismay, however, were replaced with joy and admiration when I saw the lovely notes of affirmation and appreciation that Harvard law students placed on our portraits."
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The Atlantic
Black Tape Over Black Faculty Portraits at Harvard Law School
When students and faculty arrived at Harvard Law School’s Wasserstein Hall Thursday morning, they found a disturbing sight. On a wall of portraits of the law school’s tenured faculty, black tape had been placed over each of the African American faculty members. A second-year student called the tape “a hate crime” in a widely shared Blavitypost that included pictures of the portraits. Dean Martha Minow said that racism is a “serious problem” at the school. Police say they are investigating.
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The Harvard Crimson
Police Investigate Vandalism on Portraits of Black Law Professors
Black tape, stuck systematically across the portraits of black law professors, spurred on Thursday a police investigation into vandalism and a pronouncement from the dean of Harvard Law School that the school has a “serious problem” with racism. ... Law School professor Charles J. Ogletree, whose portrait was among those vandalized, said he was still waiting to learn more about the incident before making too strong of a judgement. “We’re just trying to figure out what happened and try to figure why someone targeted black faculty,” Ogletree said. Still, among students and other Law School affiliates reacting to the incident on Thursday, many condemned it through posts on social media and formal and informal gatherings on campus. Leland S. Shelton, the president of the Harvard Black Law Student Association, described it as “actually one of the most clear-cut, overt instances of very, very vile and disrespectful behavior from somebody”; second-year Law School student Michele D. Hall, who posted photographs of the vandalized portraits in a post on the website Blavity, wrote, “This morning at Harvard Law School we woke up to a hate crime.”
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Boston Globe
Harvard police calling defaced portraits a ‘hate crime’
Harvard University police are treating the discovery of strips of tape placed across photographs of black professors outside of a lecture hall as an act of hate, officials from the university said Thursday. In an e-mailed statement, Martha Minow, dean of Harvard Law School, said police are investigating who defaced portraits of black faculty members displayed at Wasserstein Hall. “The Harvard University Police Department is investigating the incident as a hate crime,” she said. “Expressions of hatred are abhorrent, whether they be directed at race, sex, sexual preference, gender identity, religion, or any other targets of bigotry.” A spokesman for the Harvard University Police Department said the incident remains an “open and active investigation.” Images of the marred portraits were shared on Twitter by Jonathan Wall, a third-year law student at the school. Wall said the pictures were sent to him from a classmate earlier that morning. “I was shocked. I was shocked, and I was obviously disgusted. Especially because it seems to be in response to yesterday’s day of activism,” said Wall.
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