HLS faculty weigh in

HLS weighs in

A selection of analyses and opinions from Harvard Law School experts.

UN’s Protection of Assange Is Unjustified

An op-ed by Noah Feldman. In an astonishing report, the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has accused Sweden and the U.K. of arbitrarily detaining Wikileaks founder Julian Assange because of a sexual-assault investigation against him in Sweden. To be sure, it’s unknown whether he’s guilty of the charges. Likewise, it’s impossible to know whether Assange criminally conspired with U.S. Army Private Chelsea Manning (then known as Bradley) to steal classified material, or whether Assange and Wikileaks simply published that material in a manner that should be protected by the First Amendment. But what seems highly likely is that Assange’s detention is anything but arbitrary — it’s because of the investigation of serious crimes.Continue Reading at Bloomberg »

What If We Built a C-SPAN on Steroids?

An op-ed by Susan Crawford. In her recently released book, Dark Money, Jane Mayer painstakingly traces the startlingly successful efforts by Charles and David Koch and their conservative allies to use their billions to shape American policies. Mayer’s work pays special attention to state-level politics, and for good reason: For years, groups like ALEC, the State Policy Network, and (more recently) the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity have been focused on nullifying any progressive national policymaking through state legislation…Whether or not you agree with the overall policy goals of the Koch brothers, we have a democracy problem: At the same time that state legislative activity has gained in importance, the number of traditional news reporters covering statehouses has plummeted…The first step towards righting this asymmetry is access, and there’s a good idea out there you need to know about: State Civic Networks are state-based, non-profit, independent, nonpartisan, “citizen engagement” online centers, and they should exist in every state.Continue Reading at Backchannel »

The best response to Israel’s new stop-and-frisk law: Stop showering

An op-ed by Fady Khoury, S.J.D. candidate. What does Israel’s new stop-and-frisk law mean? What should you do about it? Prior to the new law, which was passed in the Knesset on Tuesday, police were authorized to search anyone without a warrant if they had reasonable suspicion (probable cause) that the person was carrying a weapon illegally (on their person or in their car), or was planning to commit a crime with a weapon. One can question what constitutes reasonable suspicion within that framework, but in short, at least there existed an objective element the officer needed to seek: a weapon. The suspicion that someone is carrying a weapon can’t just be made up, although we know there has always been an element of arbitrariness — after all, we are talking about the Israeli Police.Continue Reading at +972 mag »

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