Celebrating the Class of 2016


A Reversal of Fortune

An op-ed by Tomiko Brown-Nagin. In a stunning win for the University of Texas, the U.S. Supreme Court last week rejected Abigail Fisher’s challenge to the university’s affirmative action program. The court’s decision is a striking reversal of fortune for affirmative action’s critics. Just a few years ago, affirmative action appeared doomed. The first time Fisher v. the University of Texas was heard (known as Fisher I), the court in a 7-2 vote vacated an appellate court’s decision upholding the very same admissions policy at issue in the matter decided last week (known as Fisher II). The justices ordered more exacting judicial scrutiny of Texas’ race-conscious system. Fisher I sent a strong signal to the University of Texas and universities with similar admission systems: Seriously consider “race-neutral” alternatives to affirmative action, or else federal courts would strike down unnecessary – and thus unconstitutional – race-sensitive programs. Entirely consistent with the Roberts court’s school desegregation and voting rights decisions, Fisher I signaled that race-conscious decision-making by government had run its course.Against that backdrop, Fisher II was an upset victory for the University of Texas. What accounts for the court’s about-face? More pointedly, what caused Justice Kennedy – the court’s swing vote and a vocal skeptic of race-conscious state action until now – to change course? The underlying facts and the law shaped the outcome, but race and legacy likely mattered as well.Continue Reading at U.S. News & World Report »

Strong statement on abortion access

The Supreme Court issued a historic decision Monday, weighing in again in the nation’s fractious abortion debate. In a 5-3 ruling, the court overturned a Texas law requiring that abortion clinics maintain hospital-like standards at their facilities as well as admitting privileges at local hospitals. Pro-life activists argued that the rules were aimed at protecting women’s health, but those in the pro-choice camp countered that the law left many abortion clinics with no choice but to shut down and infringed on women’s constitutional rights…Harvard Law School’s I. Glenn Cohen, a professor of law and faculty director at the School’s Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology & Bioethics, spoke with the Gazette about the ruling. Cohen filed an amicus brief in support of the court’s decision.Continue Reading at Harvard Gazette »

A Cost-Benefit Test Defeats Texas Abortion Restrictions

An op-ed by Noah Feldman. Today the Supreme Court upheld the constitutional right to abortion — and laid down a new framework for how courts should evaluate future legislation limiting it. For the first time, the court expressly held that laws limiting access to abortion must be evaluated on a cost-benefit basis, to see if health benefits to women outweigh the costs in making abortion less available. The cost-benefit scheme gives greater precision to the undue-burden test established in the landmark 1992 case of Casey v. Planned Parenthood. But it also raises the difficult question of how, exactly, costs and benefits should be determined if and when other states pass laws that limit abortion access while purporting to protect women’s health.Continue Reading at Bloomberg »

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Recent Highlights

  • Diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, Professor Ogletree vows to fight it


    Charles Ogletree ’78, the Jesse Climenko Professor of Law and director of the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race & Justice at Harvard Law School, recently announced that he has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. He said he will work to raise awareness of the disease and its disproportionate effect on African Americans.Continue Reading »

  • Veterans clinic files rulemaking petition on access for veterans with ‘bad-paper’ discharges


    More than 125,000 veterans who have served since 9/11 are denied access to basic services like health care by the Department of Veterans Affairs, according to a report by the Veterans Legal Clinic at the Legal Services Center of Harvard Law School.Continue Reading »

  • Jon Coates (HLB Fall 2014)

    Coates named to SEC Investor Advisory Committee

    The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that HLS Professor John Coates and Former SEC Chairman Elisse Walter are two of three new members appointed to its Investor Advisory Committee. The SEC also reappointed five members whose terms recently expired. Continue Reading »

  • Ron Sullivan on changing the dynamics of confrontation

    Sullivan, Ron_Official Faculty Portrait (OP14)

    In a Q&A with the Harvard Gazette, Professor Ron Sullivan discusses the shooting deaths last week of two black men in Louisiana and Minnesota at the hands of police, and the subsequent killing of five Dallas officers by a retaliating sniper, events that shocked the nation and left many feeling like the country is unraveling.Continue Reading »

  • Cops Corner students HLBSP16

    Meeting at Cops’ Corner

    In just one decade, Everett, Massachusetts, once a predominantly white city, has become the most racially and ethnically diverse in the commonwealth. Building communication between police officers and local youth is a priority for Chief of the Everett Police Department Steven A. Mazzie, who is white, as are 86 percent of his officers. Last fall he invited a team of HLS students from the Harvard Negotiation & Mediation Clinical Program to Everett for an impartial assessment.Continue Reading »

  • 10.23.15Gala319_MichaelRKlein2550

    Michael R. Klein LL.M. ’67 supports future of cyberspace exploration and study

    Harvard Law School and the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University have announced that Michael R. Klein LL.M. ’67 has made a gift of $15 million to the Berkman Center, which in recognition, will now be known as the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society.Continue Reading »

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    Minow honored with Sargent Shriver Equal Justice Award

    Harvard Law School Dean Martha Minow was honored by the Sargent Shriver Center on Poverty Law with the Equal Justice Award. She and John Levi ’72 LL.M. ’73 were recognized for their significant contributions to the movement for equal justice for low-income individuals.Continue Reading »

  • HLS Thinks Big

    Big ‘thinks’ come in small packages: HLS Thinks Big

    In late May, four Harvard Law faculty — Scott Brewer, Gerald Neuman ’80, Esme Caramello ’99, and Urs Gasser LL.M. ’03 — shared snapshots of their latest research with the Harvard Law School community as part of the HLS Thinks Big speaker series.Continue Reading »

  • Alumni Notes HLBSP16

    Time Capsule

    In the fall of 1962, Caroline “Cal” Simon ’65 started at Harvard Law, one of 23 women in a class of 540. Her reflections on the experience are perfectly preserved in dozens of sharply witty letters she wrote to her family—letters she rediscovered when her father died. Together, they give an indelible sense of life at the school in the mid-1960s, and specifically, life as a woman there, a decade after women were first admitted.Continue Reading »

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