We Need a Word for Destructive Group Outrage

An op-ed by Cass Sunstein: The English language needs a word for what happens when a group of people, outraged by some real or imagined transgression, responds in a way that is disproportionate to the occasion, thus ruining the transgressor’s day, month, year or life. We might repurpose an old word: lapidation. Technically, the word is a synonym for stoning, but it sounds much less violent. It is also obscure, which makes it easier to enlist for contemporary purposes. For a recent example of lapidation, consider the case of Ronald Sullivan, a Harvard law professor who joined the team of lawyers defending Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein against charges of rape and sexual abuse.

Gaming the sharing economy

A post by Dr. Ashley Nunes, an academic at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University [Labor & Worklife Program], previously he lead research projects sponsored by the Department of Defense and the Department of Transportation. In this article, he argues that ride-sharing companies shouldn’t be surprised when its self-employed workers game the system. A storm is brewing in Washington, D.C, and this one doesn’t involve President Trump’s tweets. Uber and Lyft drivers are protesting working conditions. Drivers say after enduring years of pay cuts, action is needed. However, rather than striking, drivers are using a different tactic. As reported by WJLA, drivers band together nightly at the local airport and simultaneously turn off their ride sharing apps. This causes rider fares to surge. When the price peaks, drivers re-power up their app and lock in the higher fare.

The new case for impeachment

Some House Democrats are convinced that they’d have better luck getting testimony and documents if they launch an impeachment inquiry against President Trump — which is why they’ve been pushing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi so hard. … 2) Legislative purpose: It would be harder for the Trump administration to win a court fight by arguing that Congress doesn’t have a “legitimate legislative purpose,” the reason Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin cited in his decision not to release Trump’s tax returns to the House Ways and Means Committee. No one questions the congressional power to impeach, so launching an impeachment inquiry “removes whatever doubt a court might otherwise have about the existence of a legitimate Article I purpose for demanding information of limited facial relevance to possible congressional legislation,” Harvard law professor Laurence Tribe wrote in an email.

‘Food is Medicine State Plan’ to begin providing services in June

A group met on Wednesday to make sure healthy food is available to everyone in western Massachusetts. The Franklin County Food Council brought together groups from across the state on Wednesday to talk about expanding access to food services. Among those in attendance was the Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation of Harvard Law School, who spearheaded the Food is Medicine State Plan along with Community Servings, a Boston-based nonprofit that provides food services to people with critical and chronic illnesses. “We want to make sure that we bring those resources to western Mass as well. And so the Food is Medicine State Plan is an attempt to do that, right, to figure out where the resources are across our state and where the need is,” said Sarah Downer from the Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation of Harvard Law School.

ACLU Vermont and Harvard Law School file class action suit on behalf of prisoners

After years of advocating for Vermont prisoners to have access to life-saving medication for Hepatitis C Virus (HCV), the ACLU of Vermont and the Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation at Harvard Law School, with cooperating counsel James Valente, yesterday filed a class action lawsuit challenging the state’s refusal to treat hundreds of inmates diagnosed with chronic Hepatitis C. The case was filed in the federal district court in Burlington on behalf of two Vermont prisoners, Richard West and Joseph Bruyette, who seek to represent a class of inmates who have been or will be denied treatment without medical justification. … Kevin Costello is the Director of Litigation for the Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation of Harvard Law School: “Hepatitis C is responsible for more deaths in the United States than any other infectious disease by a mile. There is no medical reason to actively prevent hundreds of incarcerated people from receiving curative medications for Hepatitis C. In fact, the refusal to treat prisoners needlessly prolongs suffering and heightens the risk of serious health problems for a group of people who are completely at the mercy of the State of Vermont to provide their health care.”

Places we love

People from the Harvard community share their favorite spots on campus. … Samantha Power, Anna Lindh Professor of the Practice of Global Leadership and Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School, Professor of Practice, Harvard Law School: There is no more peaceful place for me around campus than sitting at the bar at Charlie’s, drinking a pint and eating grilled cheese as I watch the Red Sox game. … Tomiko Brown-Nagin, Dean, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study; Daniel P.S. Paul Professor of Constitutional Law; faculty director, Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race & Justice; co-director of Harvard Law School’s Program in Law and History; and professor of history, Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Harvard University: I love the sunken garden in Radcliffe Yard. It’s so beautiful and peaceful and brings to mind happy times.

Trump Oversight Requests Need to Pass a Simple Test

An op-ed by Noah Feldman: You practically need a scorecard to keep up with all the conflicts between Congress and President Donald Trump over executive privilege. At last count, a federal district court has required Trump’s accountants to pass along documents connected to his taxes. Meanwhile, the administration is withholding the returns themselves on the basis of a claim […]

Four deans, and their journeys

The Gazette sat down recently for an in-depth interview with four Harvard deans, Tomiko Brown-Nagin, dean of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Claudine Gay, Edgerley Family Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, and Bridget Terry Long, dean of the Graduate School of Education, who were all named to their posts in 2018, and Michelle Williams, who became dean of the T.H. Chan School of Public Health in 2016. The wide-ranging discussion focused on topics that included their personal inspirations, their thoughts on leadership, and their efforts to support one another.

The long, deep ties between Harvard and Germany

In 1971, Guido Goldman, founding director of the Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies (CES), walked into a meeting with West Germany’s then-finance minister, Alex Möller, hoping for a gift to help support the center. He left with a sweeping offer that he couldn’t have imagined. “I was kind of blown away,” said Goldman, recalling that meeting. He had envisioned a $2 million gift to the center, then known as the Western European Studies program, as a way for Germany to say thanks for the aid that the U.S. had given it in the years following the world wars. … Through high-profile programs such as these, Harvard and its experts remained steady players in German and U.S. relations. They are often called when new initiatives arise across the Atlantic. Take, for example Urs Gasser, executive director of the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society and a professor of the practice at the Law School. Last year he was tapped to become a member of Merkel’s German Digital Council, which advises her government on topics like the role of data and digitizing systems and works on projects such as streamlining applications. “If Angela Merkel calls you and says, ‘Look, I need your advice,’ you’re likely to say yes,” Gasser said.