“An Unusual Situation”: Experts Weigh in on Trump’s National Emergency Declaration

After weeks of sparring with Congress, President Donald Trump invoked a national emergency Friday in an attempt to secure money for a barrier along the United States’ border with Mexico. The declaration came a day after the passage of a bipartisan spending bill that caps funding for the wall, a key Trump campaign promise, at just under $1.4 billion…. But declarations like Obama’s have not been wielded as a means to skirt Congress over funding disputes. “This is an unusual situation … because here a president asked for something and Congress said no, essentially, and now he’s going to declare an emergency to do what he couldn’t get Congress to do,” said Harvard Law professor Mark Tushnet. “That is new.”

Growth, Brexit and plant agriculture

A farming conference will address the implications of the rise in plant-based food for the environment, land use and Britain’s farmers. The Grow Green conference, held at the British Library in London on 11 April, will explore how a plant-strong future can help meet climate change targets and what policies might support a transition towards it. It will see the launch of research findings from the Animal Law & Policy Program at Harvard Law School, modelling alternative agriculture production in the UK. The research will show the impact of a shift to plant-strong farming on national food sovereignty, protected forest and heathland areas, and carbon sequestration.

Legal challenges to Trump emergency declaration face uphill battle

Democratic lawmakers, states and others mulling legal challenges to President Donald Trump’s national emergency declaration to obtain funds to build a U.S.-Mexico border wall face an uphill and probably losing battle in a showdown likely to be decided by the conservative-majority Supreme Court, legal experts said. …Trump is running for re-election next year and a loss would mean his presidency ends in January 2021. It is possible the legal fight over the emergency declaration might not be resolved by then. “My guess is the money, the significant amount of money, won’t flow before the 2020 election,” Harvard Law School professor Mark Tushnet said.

What Boston Owes To The Bauhaus, As The Experimental School Turns 100

Despite all the Victorian-era townhouses and quaint colonial streets, Boston owes more than you might think to the Bauhaus. …The Busch-Reisinger Museum exhibit is not the only exhibit to catch in this Bauhaus 100th birthday year. In the University Research Gallery at Harvard, Hans Arp’s “Constellations II” is on view for the first time in 15 years. Commissioned by Gropius for a dining room in the Harvard Graduate Center, it consists of 13 biomorphic shapes inspired, in part, by the grouping of stars in the night sky. Other Harvard exhibits include “The Bauhaus at Home and Abroad: Selections from the Papers of Walter Gropius, Lyonel Feininger, and Andor Weininger” on view in the Amy Lowell Room at Houghton Library through May 24 andCreating Community: Harvard Law School and the Bauhaus,” on display in the Caspersen Room at Harvard Law’s Langdell Hall through July 31.

Democrats’ Compromise Strengthens Case for Trump’s Wall ‘Emergency’

An op-ed by Noah Feldman: In retrospect, it seems obvious that President Donald Trump would want to have his cake and eat it, too. That’s essentially what he’s doing Friday by both signing a government funding bill that provides $1.375 billion for a barrier with Mexico and also declaring a national emergency to allocate other federal funds for the same purpose.

The Orphan Drug Act Revisited

An article by Shailin Thomas ’21 and Arthur Caplan, PhD: The Orphan Drug Act (ODA) was first passed in 1983 to address the concern that pharmaceutical manufacturers were not pursuing drug development for diseases that affect limited patient populations. The concern was in part that companies viewed pursuing these therapies as undesirable because the markets for them are small in comparison with the markets for more widespread chronic diseases. To promote the development of orphan drug therapies, the ODA provided companies that engaged in research for drugs with populations of fewer than 200 000 patients with tax incentives, research subsidies, and extended patent protection.

U.S. News to Launch New Way to Rank Law Schools

U.S. News & World Report plans to launch a new law school ranking—one that will sort schools according to the “scholarly impact” of their faculties. The new ranking, announced Wednesday, will be separate from the closely watched “Best Law Schools” ranking, at least initially. … Every three years, they update their citations data to show the most cited faculties and individual scholars. (The 2018 update showed Yale Law School, Harvard Law School, and the University of Chicago to have the greatest scholarly impact.)

Trump’s emergency declaration would face legal challenges

Legal challenges to President Trump’s planned national-emergency declaration to build a border wall are likely to come fast and furious — but legal experts caution the law is “murky” on the extent of his powers. … Harvard Law professor Noah Feldman said the Constitution is intentionally “murky” on what constitutes a national emergency and what powers the president has during one. “A lot of these laws are not super clear and that gives a lot of space to the president,” Feldman said.

Regulate Facebook and Twitter? The Case Is Getting Stronger

An op-ed by Cass SunsteinThe U.S. government should not regulate social media. It should stay far away from Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and the rest. Any regulatory effort might well violate the First Amendment. Even if it turned out to be constitutional, it would squelch creativity and innovation in the very places where they are most needed. 

Until recently, I would have endorsed every sentence in the above paragraph. But as Baron Bramwell, the English judge, once put it, “The matter does not appear to me now as it appears to have appeared to me then.”