Cities Consider Privatizing TSA To Speed Up Checkpoints, But Would It?

The excruciating wait times at Chicago’s O’Hare and Midway airports the past couple of weeks have travelers fuming and some city officials looking for other options. Chicago Alderman Ed Burke is calling on the city to do airport security the way it’s done in Kansas City, San Francisco and several smaller airports around the country. He wants to hire a private company to staff the screening checkpoints…”Privatization doesn’t actually solve any of the problems we have,” says Bruce Schneier, a security expert with Harvard University’s Berkman Center. “The problem with the TSA right now is there aren’t enough people for the demand and that’s a function of budget. It is not a function of who signs the paychecks of agents — it’s how many agents there are.”

The Case for Treating Animals as Humans

Earlier this month, when Louisiana’s New Iberia Research Center, the world’s largest chimpanzee research facility, announced it was moving all 220 of its chimps to a sanctuary in Georgia, it’s a safe bet the news made attorney Steven Wise the happiest man on the planet. That’s because two of the chimps, Hercules and Leo, had been the subjects in an ongoing legal battle about the rights of chimps, a legal case brought by Wise, president of the Nonhuman Rights Project, and the subject of D.A. Pennebaker a Chris Hegedus’s Unlocking the Cage, a documentary out now in New York, followed by a national rollout and an HBO broadcast early next year…“It’s a very novel approach and [Wise] is pushing the envelope,” says Chris Green, Executive Director of Harvard Law School’s Animal Law and Policy Program. “As far as acceptance goes, the jury is still out. And there is concern that the animal protection community might get too far in front of itself that if they find a judge who is too far ahead of public sentiment, there might be some sort of backlash.”

Unlimited resolve

Doaa Abu Elyounes believes that law can change people’s lives. After all, it was the law that changed hers. A blind Israeli of Arab descent, she attended a Jewish school. Israeli law mandates that schools accommodate students with disabilities, regardless of their origin. Now, set to graduate with an LL.M. degree from Harvard Law School (HLS), Abu Elyounes plans to become a public service lawyer to ensure that everybody has access to the law.

Court Rules Companies Cannot Impose Illegal Arbitration Clauses

A federal appeals court on Thursday ruled that companies cannot force their employees to sign away their right to band together in legal actions, delivering a major victory for American workers and opening an opportunity for the Supreme Court to weigh in. The United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in Chicago struck down an arbitration clause that banned employees from joining together as a class and required workers to battle the employer one by one outside of court…“The increasing use of mandatory arbitration agreements and the prohibition on workers proceeding as a class has been one of the most major developments in employment the last decade,” said Benjamin Sachs, a professor of labor law at Harvard Law School. “Most of the court decisions have facilitated this development. This is a major move in the opposite direction.”

A Big Legal Question Behind the Texas Transgender Lawsuit

A federal lawsuit brought by states against the Obama administration marks the first major court test of its new policy that transgender students should be allowed to use the bathroom of their choice. On one level, the case is about whether civil rights laws that Congress enacted decades ago envisioned such protections of transgender rights. But underlying the complaint are also fundamental questions about the discretionary power of federal agencies, checks and balances and the difference between clarifying laws and rules and writing new ones…In a recent op-ed, Harvard law professor Jacob E. Gersen described it as an example of stealth regulation. “[T]his letter was one of those nonbinding documents. Yet it contains obligations that exist nowhere else in federal law,” the professor wrote.

What Really Makes People Queasy About Engineered Foods

An op-ed by Cass Sunstein. Democrats pride themselves on their commitment to science. Citing climate change, they contend that they are the party of truth, while Republicans are “denialists.” But with respect to genetically modified organisms, many Democrats seem indifferent to science, and to be practicing a denialism of their own — perhaps more so than Republicans. What’s going on here?

Judge Cries Foul Over a Chicago Law That Favored the Cubs

An op-ed by Noah Feldman. Chicago squared off against the First Amendment this week — at Wrigley Field, of all places. An appeals court upheld a city ordinance that bans all peddling, including printed matter, on the blocks immediately around the stadium. But at the same time, the court insisted that the rules must apply to everybody, including the Cubs. The home team is accustomed to selling team merchandise in this area. The First Amendment is as American as baseball, and it was at the heart of this interesting and important case.

Sarah Jessica Parker Speaks at Harvard Law School Class Day 2016

“Know that listening is your secret weapon,” award-winning actor and humanitarian Sarah Jessica Parker told imminent Harvard Law School (HLS) graduates and their families on Class Day…Parker shared the dais with professor of law Jeannie C. Suk, recipient of the Albert M. Sacks-Paul A. Freund Award for Teaching Excellence, and Gabriela Follett, HLS program assistant in the Human Rights Program, who has been a strong supporter of the student movement on campus, Reclaim Harvard Law. She received the Suzanne L. Richardson Staff Appreciation Award. Both Suk and Follett talked openly about campus activism.

Why the Law Failed to Punish Wrongdoers in the Financial Crisis

An op-ed by Noah Feldman. Historians of the future will want to know why almost no one went to jail in connection with the collapse of mortgage-backed securities that triggered the 2007-8 financial crisis. Monday’s appeals court decision reversing a $1.2 billion fraud judgment against Bank of America will be an important part of the answer. To put it bluntly, the law failed — because the law as it existed didn’t properly anticipate or cover the events that occurred.

Poland’s Europe Problem Has Deep Roots

An op-ed by Noah Feldman. On a sunny day in Warsaw, it’s difficult to understand why the city’s well-kept streets simmer with anger and discontent over the European vision. The economy has been growing at 3.6 percent, roughly twice the overall European rate. And there’s little or no influx of Syrian or Afghan refugees: Warsaw must be whiter than any other major city in Europe, including Budapest. Yet the far-right Law & Justice Party, led by Jaroslaw Kaczynski and known as PiS, bitterly denounces the European Union for invading Polish “sovereignty” — language reminiscent of the advocates of British exit from the EU.