An op-ed by Sabi Ardalan. Attorney General Jeff Sessions recently upended decades of U.S. legal precedent by asserting that women fleeing domestic violence will not generally qualify for asylum. To do so, he challenged the principle that women victims of domestic violence are members of a “particular social group.” This phrase – “particular social group” – is critical to the work of immigration lawyers like myself. It allows us to argue that women, LGBTQ people and other vulnerable groups face specific kinds of persecution based on who they are. If left unchallenged, Sessions’ ruling could endanger thousands of asylum-seekers, including many of my clients.
The Presidential pardon power is as old as the United States itself. But few Presidents — if any — have thrown this constitutionally enshrined power into the spotlight like Donald Trump. In recent weeks Trump and his lawyers have even suggested he has the power to pardon himself. All this talk got me curious. Just why was the president given the power to pardon in the first place? As Harvard Law School’s Michael Klarman explained to me, it goes back to the 55 men who met in Philadelphia to create the U.S. Constitution. “The main model they have is Great Britain,” he explained. “There are lots of things in the Constitution that are directly derived from British practice.”
Comcast is taking shots at Mickey Mouse. The Philadelphia cable and entertainment giant made a $65 billion cash offer for the assets that 21st Century Fox is already selling to the Walt Disney Co. for $52.4 billion in stock, setting up what may be a punishing takeover battle between the two legacy media giants…“We know from the personalities involved there will be blood on the floor somewhere,” Susan Crawford, a professor at Harvard Law School and author of Captive Audience, about the Comcast/NBCUniversal merger. “It’s clearly going to be a battle of male wills. These are guys who are used to being in control and want their way and will do about anything to get it.” Of Murdoch, she added that “it’s hard to imagine an 87-year-old media mogul being in the backseat.”
Harvard law professor Laurence Tribe wants to teach Americans a lesson about impeachment, warning that it is “too important and too vital a power to be bandied about as ordinary politics.” Trump’s most ardent critics have been calling for impeachment since the day he was inaugurated, and while Democratic Party leaders have said it’s premature to talk about impeachment, a few House Democrats have already advocated for it…Tribe’s new book To End a Presidency, written with attorney Joshua Matz, offers a guide to the process of impeachment — a power they argue “should be invoked only under dire circumstances” — and wrestles with the consequences of taking such an action. Tribe spoke to TIME about his book, Trump’s pardon power and the trouble with impeachment.
An interview with Nancy Gertner. A report released today by the Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General found that former FBI Director James Comey acted outside the procedural norms of the FBI and the DOJ while conducting the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server. The report also found no evidence of political bias in the FBI’s handling of the case.
A federal court in Boston will receive motions for summary judgment on Friday in a lawsuit involving Harvard College’s admissions process that experts say could reshape the nation’s higher education landscape and undermine efforts to foster diverse student communities at colleges and universities across the country. A trial date has been tentatively set for October…Assessing the 2016 ruling, Tomiko Brown-Nagin, incoming dean of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study and Daniel P.S. Paul Professor of Constitutional Law at Harvard Law School, said, “Once again you had a decision upholding a state’s interest in pursuing educational diversity, and upholding the limited use of holistic admissions.” Yet given the narrow way in which the court has tailored previous rulings, Brown-Nagin added that colleges and universities “certainly should be aware that they need to not only endorse the educational benefits of diversity but show that the way in which they are implementing their mission is consistent with the law, that it’s fair, and that applicants are not being denied opportunities based on race.”
…But since the late 1970s, despite a “Reagan revolution” inspired in part by Friedman, the scope of the U.S. government has arguably increased, while business’s influence over it has surely grown. The academic study of this influence has over the years focused largely on campaign donations and lobbying expenditures, and it has not come to particularly strong conclusions. But some of the most dramatic examples of increased corporate sway aren’t directly linked to such spending. The U.S. Supreme Court, for example, has since the 1970s used a novel interpretation of the First Amendment to assert ever-stronger protections for business, as John Coates of Harvard Law School described in an impassioned 2015 essay.
Immigration attorneys in Greater Boston are scrambling this week after a decision from U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions overturned a precedent determining who is eligible for asylum in the United States. Survivors of domestic violence and gang persecution, in many cases, were considered legitimate candidates for asylum — until now. Many immigration attorneys say the attorney general’s decision is devastating…Deborah Anker has been working on asylum cases with domestic violence survivors for decades. She’s the founder and director of the Harvard Law School Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program. Anker said the decision from Sessions is a big blow, but she believes attorneys can still prove the need for asylum in some cases. But, she said, it’s going to take a lot more work. “I think we will be very careful to submit extensive country condition evidence, condition evidence about the positions of different governments regarding women, and we’ll be thinking through, carefully, other grounds for protection.”
Nearly half of the 374 Big Law firms recently polled by U.S. law schools declined to say whether they require new associates to sign mandatory arbitration agreements. Dozens of U.S. law schools sent the survey to law firms in mid-May following outcry from students that the firms might require them to give up their rights to sue over employment practices in court. The schools released the results of the survey June 11. 188 firms—including Kirkland & Ellis, which is known to require associates to sign arbitration agreements—didn’t respond. A copy of an arbitration agreement given to a current summer associate was shared with Bloomberg Law. “We don’t know how many other firms do this, and it’s hard for people make an informed decision” whether to apply for or accept a position until “they know if they’re going to be forced to sign an arbitration agreement,” Sejal Singh [`20], a rising 2L at Harvard Law School, told Bloomberg Law.
Bruce Schneier is an internationally renowned security technologist. An author of 13 books including Data and Goliath: The Hidden Battles to Collect Your Data and Control Your World, his newsletter Crypto-Gram and his blog Schneier on Security are read by over 250,000 people…In an interview, Schneier speaks about some of the biggest online security threats that individuals, companies and governments will face in 2018; how these threats have ballooned because of the IoT (Internet of Things); learnings from the Cambridge Analytica-Facebook data compromise issue; Surveillance Capitalism; and his thoughts on artificial intelligence (AI) and cyberwar among other things.