States File Suit Against Trump Administration Over Wall Emergency

Sixteen states on Monday filed a federal lawsuit challenging President Trump’s national-emergency declaration to pay for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, setting up a showdown with the administration that could go to the Supreme Court and last through the 2020 election. …The states’ best chance could be to argue that the border wall doesn’t meet the statutory definition of a military construction project, as the president asserts, Harvard law professor Mark Tushnet said.“It’s not a slam dunk for them,” he said, “But there’s a decent chance they will ultimately prevail.”

The antibodies fighting off Trump’s assault on democracy have been impressive

The human body generates antibodies when it senses invasion from a harmful source. So, too, in our body politic, when a malign force such as an authoritarian executive attacks the foundation of a democracy, a healthy democracy will respond. That process of fighting a dangerous executive — President Trump — began on Friday when he declared an national emergency to justify spending that Congress had declined to authorize (a funding bill the president had signed, by the way). …Many of these suits, as well as any brought by landowners whose property is taken to build the wall, are likely to make it past the first skirmishes on “standing.” Constitutional scholar Laurence Tribe tells me, “The House has standing to challenge the circumvention of its appropriations power under the district court’s holding in House v. Burwell [challenging Obamacare].” He adds, “Others with standing are those concretely injured by either the impending withdrawal of funds (as with states like California), the threatened uses of eminent domain (as with ranchers on the border) or the defamatory lies about their safety as communities (as with El Paso).”

Four False Assumptions About Trump’s Wall Emergency

An op-ed by Cass SunsteinA full evaluation of the legality of President Donald Trump’s decision to declare a national emergency, and to order the building of a wall between the U.S. and Mexico, is best deferred until the appearance of a supporting memorandum from the Justice Department. But even now, four points are clear – and they are at risk of getting lost in the national discussion. 1. It is wrong to say that if Trump can declare a national emergency, he can necessarily order the Defense secretary to build a wall.

How Big a Problem Is It That a Few Shareholders Own Stock in So Many Competing Companies?

Many critics claim that anti-trust enforcement has dangerously weakened since the 1980s, often citing the dominance of the tech giants as evidence of this. They argue that any benefit gained from Google’s free services or Amazon’s low prices is outweighed by their chokehold on suppliers, their possession of mountains of personal data, and more. Others have noted rising concentration outside of tech: two-thirds of U.S. industries became more concentrated between 1997 and 2012. …Horizontal shareholding therefore hurts competition because, as Einer Elhauge of Harvard Law School has argued, it reduces “each individual firm’s incentives to cut prices or expand output by increasing the costs [to shareholders, and thus managers] of taking away sales from rivals.” These issues are easy to imagine with direct investors (such as activist hedge funds) who typically have more concentrated holdings and thus greater ability to influence practices within a company or industry.

CNN Analyst: Donald Trump 25TH Amendment Talks Were ‘Patriotic’ Not ‘Treasonous’ in Rebuke of Trump’s Claims

A CNN legal analyst rebuked President Donald Trump’s response to recent remarks from Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe, calling prominent public officials critiqued by Trump “patriotic.” … Other legal scholars criticized Trump’s tweets. Laurence Tribe, a professor at Harvard Law School, also called McCabe a patriot. “By Donald Trump’s ignorant and constitutionally illiterate definition of ‘treason,’ it’s he and not Rosenstein or McCabe who’s committing it almost daily. They are patriots. He’s the one betraying our country,” Tribe tweeted.

With stock buybacks, the government should intervene subtly — if at all

Long controversial, the practice by which public corporations use spare cash to buy back their own stock has turned into a policy flash point for both Democrats and Republicans. The basic allegation is that profits devoted to stock buybacks — $583 billion by S&P 500 companies during the first three quarters of 2018 — are profits not plowed back into new plants, equipment or higher wages. This is especially galling now, the critics argue, given that last year U.S. corporations got a huge tax cut, whose Republican authors advertised it as a boon to productivity and investment. … Undoubtedly, stock buybacks favor corporate executives lucky enough to cash out, but to the extent this increases inequality, it mainly favors the very rich (CEOs) over the somewhat rich (shareholders). Opponents of buybacks commonly cite figures showing that they swallowed up 96 percent of S&P 500 profits between 2007 and 2016; research by Harvard professors Jesse M. Fried and Charles C.Y. Wang, however, suggests that the actual figure is more like 41.5 percent after accounting for new stock issuance and expenses for research and development. Contrary to the concerns about diverting investment funds, U.S. nonresidential investment and job creation have been rising for most of the past decade. When shareholders get cash for their stocks, the money doesn’t disappear; it flows through the economy, often as productive investment elsewhere.

“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.