U.S. Capitol Commemorates First Anniversary Of January 6 Attack

Weighing President Biden’s first year

Harvard Law School faculty evaluate the Biden administration’s successes and failures after 12 months in office

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January 20, 2022 marks the one-year anniversary of the inauguration of President Joseph Biden. Where is his administration succeeding — and where has it fallen flat? How will — or should — the president adjust his priorities and goals in the months and years ahead? In this series, Harvard Law experts turn a critical eye to the Biden administration’s efforts on health care, the economy, criminal justice reform, and other areas important to Americans — and share their thoughts on its agenda for the future.


Health care and the pandemic

Line of people outside wearing face masks and winter coats. Sign with arrow reads: COVID TESTING.

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Harvard Law and public health experts I. Glenn Cohen ’03, James A. Attwood and Leslie Williams Professor of Law, and Carmel Shachar J.D./M.P.H. ’10, executive director of the Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics, say vaccine mandates and testing rules are good steps, but that more coordination and effort is needed as COVID-19 becomes endemic. Read more


The federal courts

Interior of United States Supreme Court

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Harvard Law School expert Mark Tushnet says the administration has succeeded in appointing federal judges and also “opened space” for discussion of Supreme Court reform. Read more


Voting and elections

Man voting

Election law expert Ruth Greenwood, director of Harvard Law School’s Election Law Clinic, applauds the administration’s support for new voting legislation, but says the filibuster remains an obstacle to finishing the job. Read more


The environment

Harvard Law Professor Richard Lazarus says Biden has ‘quickly and effectively’ reversed many of former President Trump’s executive orders on the environment, but Congress ‘presents a major obstacle’ to the new administration. Read more


The economy and monetary policy

Man sitting at a table in front of a blue sign that says "Build Back Better"

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Harvard Law Professor Christine Desan says the Biden administration is harnessing fiscal and monetary policy to bolster the economy, but should move faster to address climate change, crypto markets, public banking. Read more


Executive power

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Former White House Counsel Neil Eggleston says Biden has “restored dignity and public purpose to the White House” but that his agenda faces strong opposition from some state attorneys general. Read more


Criminal justice reform

Large sign that says Rikers Island with a sign below it that says "less is more"

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“This administration needs to get out of its own way … take action where it can, and create pathways for others to take action where it cannot or will not,” says Premal Dharia, executive director of the Institute to End Mass Incarceration. Read more


Immigration

Four individuals wearing backpacks crossing over river at night

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Sabrineh Ardalan, of the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinic, praises Biden for jettisoning some Trump-era policies, but says he has also ‘doubled down on’ on the former administration’s ‘draconian … border policies.’ Read more