An op-ed by Noah Feldman: The decision by the New York Police Department to fire the police officer blamed for the choking of Eric Garner marked a troubling end to the five-year search for justice for the man whose death sparked Black Lives Matter protests. A police department trial found that the officer, Daniel Pantaleo, had not been truthful when he said he had not used a chokehold on Garner. Because both New York state and federal prosecutors declined to bring criminal charges against the officer, and the city settled a civil suit by Garner’s heirs, this is the only “day in court” Garner’s legacy will ever receive. All in all, this outcome shows how important the Black Lives Matter movement remains. The legal system is primarily designed to look backward and assign blame for particular, individual events. Even at that task it performs imperfectly. But the legal system is truly terrible at forward-looking transformation of institutions like police departments. For that you need political will and new cultural attitudes, not courts. In other words, transformative change requires a social movement, not a judicial verdict.
An op-ed by Jesse M. Fried and Steven Davidoff Solomon: The House of Representatives recently voted 398-17 to reject the global Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions effort against Israel. Against this lopsided vote, Congresswoman Ilhan Omar offered a resolution defending BDS as an exercise of free speech by Americans. We strongly support free speech, but BDS supporters often use free speech talk to try to dodge accountability for their misbehavior. Case in point: The American Studies Association’s Israel boycott. In 2013, the ASA’s leadership, known as the National Council, endorsed a resolution to cut ties with Israeli universities. The proposal was put to member vote. Turnout was low; only 20 percent voted in support. But the National Council declared victory anyway and, ever since, claims the resolution was adopted.
Daniel Shapiro, world-renowned expert on negotiation and conflict resolution, founding director of the Harvard International Negotiation Program, and bestselling author of “Negotiating the Nonnegotiable” will be speaking on Saturday, August 24 at 5 p.m. at the Tanglewood Learning Institute’s Big Idea Event at Ozawa Hall in Lenox, Massachusettes. This keynote speech also features cellist Maya Beiser and coincides with the August 25 performances of Schoenberg’s “Peace on Earth” featuring the Tanglewood Festival Chorus conducted by James Burton, and Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony which culminates in the choral movement popularly known as the “Ode to Joy.” Composed more than 80 years apart, the two works present powerfully contrasting portraits of protest, freedom, peace, and shared humanity.
An article by Nancy Gertner and Gail Heriot: In the early days of the Republic, states typically limited the right to vote to “freeholders”—defined as persons who owned land worth a certain amount of money. It was thought that, among other things, property-less individuals had no stake in the community or might be inclined to vote for profligate spending, since they were not subject to property taxes. Still, land was cheap, and the qualification level was usually set low, so a large majority of free, adult males could vote.
An op-ed by Cynthia Giles, guest fellow at the HLS Environmental and Energy Law Program: As the world warms and people, wildlife and the natural environment suffer increasingly devastating impacts, the Trump administration is systematically erasing climate change from government regulations and policies. The latest: In June 2019, the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) requested comments on draft guidance on how federal agencies should consider climate when they evaluate federal actions under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Incredibly, the phrase “climate change” does not appear in the document.
Last August, “Crazy Rich Asians” took the box office by storm, raking in more than $170 million in the U.S. alone. The film was one of several big blockbusters to premier last summer featuring all-Asian casts and Asian leads. The phenomenon was dubbed #AsianAugust, and sparked excitement about a turning point for positive representation in Hollywood. A number of films starring Asian casts have since graced the silver screen, but has the momentum of #AsianAugust continued in the way fans and critics had hoped? Guests: Elena Creef – Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies at Wellesley College. She specializes in Asian American visual history in photography, film and popular culture. Jenny Korn – Fellow and the Founding Coordinator of the Race and Media Working Group at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University. Marella Gayla – A recent graduate of Harvard University who has written for The Boston Globe, Curbed and The Marshall Project.
Should the government apply any standards to the quality of the companies that get to sell their shares to the public in an IPO? I realize the SEC has minimum requirements but when I consider some of the companies going public these days, I wonder whether those standards are high enough. …A corporate governance expert at Harvard Law School, Jesse Fried, told CNN that having a couple within its C-suite could be the least of its problems. “[It] could be a plus or a minus. If it’s a minus, it pales in comparison to the other risks. From investors’ perspective, WeWork is associated with many business and governance risks.”
As the Trump administration takes steps to expedite fossil fuel projects and reduce environmental regulations, it has veered in the opposite direction on offshore wind, delaying a highly anticipated project in Massachusetts. ..Avangrid Renewables said in a statement that it remains committed to the $2.8 billion project but must revise its schedule because “the original timeline is no longer feasible.” “Offshore wind is a new area of development—what the whole picture looks like is changing pretty rapidly as interest increases,” said Hana Vizcarra, a staff attorney at the Harvard Law School Environmental and Energy Law Program. “So it wouldn’t surprise me that this is just sort of a normal hiccup for an agency trying to get through the full process for its first major project.”
In many American cities, the cheapest rental housing is single room occupancy, or SRO units or rooming houses. These are tiny rooms with no kitchens and shared bathrooms out in the hallway. As investors buy up SRO properties in urban neighborhoods, several cities have seen low-income tenants pushed out. Chris Burrell from WGBH’s New England Center for Investigative Reporting found such renters are struggling to hold on. …He’s not alone. In San Diego, city officials last spring were helping nearly 200 people relocate after a large SRO closed. In Boston, housing advocates see a similar pattern. Eloise Lawrence is an attorney at Harvard Law School’s legal clinic, defending SRO tenants against eviction. ELOISE LAWRENCE: People are being thrown out. That’s happening across the city because these properties now are so valued. What was considered sort of housing at the last resort is now seen as desirable and profitable.
…Twinem helped write the reply brief for a Kentucky couple at the heart of the lawsuit as a member of Stanford’s Supreme Court Litigation Clinic. The clinic, founded in 2004 by appellate powerhouses Pamela Karlan and Jeffrey Fisher, allows students to work on real-life Supreme Court cases while still in law school. These clinics, which have since cropped up at top law schools across the country, provide quality representation to groups who can least afford it and act as a pipeline to elite appellate work, including at the U.S. Supreme Court. … “Getting into the certiorari part of the courts’ practice is actually one of the most revealing and educational things we can do in the short time we have,” said Tejinder Singh, a partner at D.C.-area boutique Goldstein & Russell and an instructor at Harvard Law School’s clinic. “So that’s why we tend to focus on it.” Students in some Supreme Court clinics, in addition to working on cert petitions, also work on merits briefs—briefs on the legal arguments in the case.