In the News

HLS faculty weigh in on recent legal news

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

Ferguson’s Grand Jury Problem

An op-ed by Noah Feldman. When was the last time you heard of a grand jury decision causing a riot? Well … never. That’s because grand juries are obscure relics of past practice, not designed to bear the full weight of a politically and symbolically important decision like the nonprosecution of police officer Darren Wilson for the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. The decision by St. Louis County Chief Prosecutor Robert McCulloch to put the issue neutrally before the grand jury was intended to create a sense of public legitimacy for whatever result followed, and also no doubt to deflect blame from the prosecutor’s own exercise of discretion. It failed on both counts — and with good reason.Continue Reading at Bloomberg »

There will be more Fergusons

An op-ed by Nancy Gertner. It isn’t surprising that a grand jury on Monday ruled against indicting police officer Darren Wilson in the fatal shooting of Michael Brown last August in Ferguson, Mo. Although many are saying that the decision may have to do with race, it is more likely that Wilson is not facing charges because courts have decimated the law that holds officers accountable for excessive force, rulings that make incidents similar to Ferguson all the more likely. For example, two months before the Brown shooting, the US Supreme Court ruled in Plumhoff v. Rickard that even egregious police conduct is not “excessive force” in violation of the Constitution.Continue Reading at The Boston Globe »

Five principles that should govern any U.S. authorization of force

An op-ed by President Obama has stated that he wants “to begin engaging Congress” over a new Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) against the Islamic State and also that he wants to “right-size and update” the 2001 AUMF “to suit the current fight, rather than previous fights.” It appears that Congress, too, is finally getting serious about putting U.S. counterterrorism operations on a contemporary and more rigorous statutory footing. There are many politically contested questions about how the government should accomplish these goals — about, for example, whether U.S. ground troops should be banned from Syria and Iraq, how the fight against the Islamic State should be conducted consistent with U.S. policy against Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad and what rules should govern the targeted killing of U.S. citizens abroad…We differ among ourselves on some questions. We nonetheless believe that, however they are resolved, an important foundational consensus can be reached — across branches and parties — on five core principles that should guide any new or revised authorization of force related to counterterrorism.Continue Reading at The Washington Post »

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Recent Highlights

  • Ferencz-Love-Not-War-November2014

    Ferencz receives HLS Medal of Freedom (video)

    Benjamin B. Ferencz ’43, known for his role as chief prosecutor in the Nuremburg Trials and for his work promoting an international rule of law and the creation of an International Criminal Court, has been awarded Harvard Law School’s highest honor: the Medal of Freedom.Continue Reading »

  • Clive Davis and Martha Minow

    The man with the ‘golden ear’: Star-maker Clive Davis shares his six-decade journey with Dean Minow

    It’s not often that Harvard Law School Dean Martha Minow gets rattled. But then, it’s not every day that Clive Davis, the legendary record label executive, producer, and talent nurturer, stops by Wasserstein Hall to reminisce about his illustrious, six-decade career in the music industry.Continue Reading »

  • Einer Elhauge

    Obamacare, back on trial: Elhauge on new challenges to the ACA

    In a move that caught many observers off guard, the U.S. Supreme Court last week announced it would review one of four cases currently challenging provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). Currently, qualified consumers can receive tax subsidies to help them purchase health insurance through the federal- or state-run exchanges. But the plaintiffs […]Continue Reading »

  • A Recipe for Innovation–Food Challenge (HLB Fall 2014)

    A Recipe for Innovation

    This fall, Harvard Law School Dean Martha Minow and Julio Frenk, dean of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, issued the “Deans’ Food System Challenge” (one of several competitions held by the Harvard Innovation Lab and sponsored by Harvard Schools), encouraging students across the university to come up with fresh ideas for solving complex problems facing our food system.Continue Reading »

  • 2-color shield

    Clinic investigation: Senior Mynamar officials implicated in war crimes and crimes against humanity

    On Nov. 7, the International Human Rights Clinic at Harvard Law School released a legal memorandum, War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity in Eastern Myanmar, which examines the conduct of the Myanmar military during an offensive that cleared and forcibly relocated civilian populations from conflict zones in eastern Myanmar. Continue Reading »

  • Veterans Legal Clinic – Nagin, Roach and veteran

    HLS Veterans Legal Clinic lands victories for veterans

    In just two years, more than 30 HLS students have enrolled in the Veterans’ Legal Clinic—housed at the WilmerHale Legal Services Center (LSC) in Jamaica Plain, of which HLS Clinical Professor Daniel Nagin is faculty director—and represented more than 100 clients in the areas of federal and state veterans’ benefits, discharge upgrades, and estate-planning matters. Continue Reading »

  • Veterans feature image photo merge

    Veterans of war and service

    The service and unique perspective of the veterans currently enrolled at Harvard Law School enriches the entire HLS community, elevating awareness about the legal and policy issues affecting veterans and the significance of law in contemporary warfare; two of the 12 U.S. military veterans in this year’s entering class at recently shared their experiences in the military and at HLS.Continue Reading »

  • Disabled American Veterans Gift

    Clinic awarded $1M for veterans’ advocacy

    In August, the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) Charitable Service Trust significantly increased an existing grant to expand its support of the Veterans Legal Clinic and other veterans’ advocacy program at Harvard Law School’s WilmerHale Legal Services Center.Continue Reading »

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    Mary Bonauto reflects on a quarter century of seeking equal treatment under law

    Mary Bonauto, director of the Civil Rights Project of the Gay & Lesbian Advocates and Defenders (GLAD), spoke Tuesday at a brown-bag luncheon at Harvard Law School, during which she was interviewed by Dean Martha Minow and fielded questions from students in the audience.Continue Reading »