Elie Honig is joined by Harvard Law School student Eli Nachmany ‘22. The pair discuss the likelihood of Supreme Court expansion, the Court’s “shadow docket,” and the (increasingly political) process for selecting Supreme Court justices.
May is blooming with brand-new reads with a little something for everyone… ‘Noise: A Flaw in Human Judgment’ by Daniel Kahneman, Olivier Sibony and Cass R. Sunstein (available May 18): Ever wonder why people sometimes make such bad judgments? Nobel laureate, Princeton psychology professor and bestselling author Daniel Kahneman, along with Cass R. Sunstein, a legal scholar and Harvard law professor, and Olivier Sibony, an HEC Paris business professor, tackle that question and explore how variables of “noise,” akin to bias, affect errors in decision-making. The authors also offer ways to reduce noise and bias — important advice in today’s complicated world.
A podcast by Noah Feldman: Noah Feldman comments on the Facebook Oversight Board’s decision about Trump’s account.
An op-ed by Evelyn Douek: No one has set any clear standard about how badly a politician can break Facebook’s rules before getting kicked off the platform, and yesterday the company’s wannabe court missed a chance to fill the void. In a decision anticipated with the fervor that might attend a high-profile Supreme Court ruling, the Facebook oversight board told the platform that, while it might have been right to ban then-President Donald Trump on January 7 for his role in stoking the Capitol riot and because of the risk of continuing violence, the ongoing “indefinite” nature of the ban is not justified. The board gave Facebook six months to go back to the drawing board and work out what to do with Trump’s account now. But this is the exact question Facebook had asked the board to settle. The board respectfully declined. In fact, the board’s decision resolved essentially nothing—except that Facebook wasn’t exactly wrong on January 7—and leaves open the possibility that this whole charade will happen again before the year is out.
Facebook tried to pass the buck on former president Donald Trump, but the buck got passed right back. For several years, Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg has pushed the idea that he and his company shouldn’t be in the position of creating the rules of the road to govern the personal expression of billions of people. He went so far as to dedicate $130 million to fund an independent panel of outside experts to which the company could outsource the thorniest decisions about what types of content — and voices — should be allowed to stay up on Facebook…But on Wednesday, the 20-member panel punted the decision back to Facebook, recommending the company decide within six months whether to permanently ban or restore Trump’s account. He is currently suspended “indefinitely,” a one-off penalty outside Facebook’s usual rules. The board, set up to act as a “Supreme Court-like” body to police Facebook’s content decisions, scolded the company for trying to pass it off, too…Others said it was the board refusing to do its job. “Their role is to constrain Facebook’s, and Mark Zuckerberg’s, discretion,” wrote Evelyn Douek, a Harvard Law School lecturer, in a Lawfare article Wednesday. “The [Facebook Oversight Board] has declined to do that almost entirely, and did not even provide meaningful parameters of the policies it calls on Facebook to develop.”
President Biden is seeking about $2 trillion in higher taxes on companies over 15 years to pay for his infrastructure plan. But corporations are just entities composed of people, so if corporate taxes go up, who ultimately pays? The Biden administration says the greater tax burden would fall largely on high-income shareholders of profitable companies that wouldn’t reduce investments even if taxes rose. That view makes the corporate tax a useful tool for redistributing income and taxing people the U.S. individual-income tax can’t always reach…Economists have long puzzled over the question of who pays the corporate tax. “This is one of the great mysteries in public finance, and so empirical estimates are people feeling around to try to figure it out,” said Mihir Desai, a finance professor at Harvard Business School…Mr. Desai said lawmakers concerned about income distribution should focus more on assisting poorer households and less on raising corporate taxes that could slow investment. “The puzzle to me about the entire debate is just how quickly the corporate tax got mired in this issue of fairness when we know the [effect] is so unclear,” he said.
In a decision announced Wednesday, Facebook’s new Oversight Board sustained the social media giant’s initial decision to deplatform President Donald Trump in the wake of the January 6 Capitol insurrection. But the panel also criticized the company for imposing “the indeterminate and standardless penalty of indefinite suspension,” and demanded it review that decision within six months. Harvard Law School Professor Noah Feldman first proposed the idea of the Oversight Board to Facebook, helped design it, and continues to advise the company on issues related to free expression. Harvard Law Today spoke to Feldman about the panel’s ruling, the board, and the criticism both have received.
In this era of misinformation, and claims of “fake news,” the truth is essential — and in question. Noted historian Jill Lepore joins us to talk about the second season of her podcast “The Last Archive,” which tracks the rise of doubt through the last 100 years of American history. Lepore is also a Harvard professor, author, and staff writer at The New Yorker.
Facebook’s Oversight Board is expected to make its decision public today on whether or not former President Donald Trump will be allowed to return to the platform after a January ban following the deadly assault on the Capitol, accusing him of inciting the violence. Laurence Tribe, professor emeritus of constitutional law at Harvard Law School, joins CBSN AM to discuss.
An essay by Jeannie Suk Gersen: The story of Mahanoy Area School District v. B.L. began when Brandi Levy, a high-school freshman in eastern Pennsylvania, was passed over for the varsity cheerleading team. Levy took to Snapchat to express frustration…According to a coach, some students who saw the posts were “visibly upset” and found them “inappropriate.” Levy was suspended from cheerleading for a year for violating the team’s rules, which require that students “have respect” for the school, coaches, and teammates, avoid “foul language and inappropriate gestures,” and refrain from sharing “negative information regarding cheerleading, cheerleaders, or coaches…on the internet.” The coaches as well as the school district also maintained that she violated a school rule that athletes must conduct themselves during the season “in such a way that the image of the Mahanoy School District would not be tarnished in any manner.” Levy, represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, filed a lawsuit, alleging that her suspension from the team violated the First Amendment. Last week, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case, which the Justices understood not only to raise the question of whether public schools may discipline students for speech outside of the school-supervised setting but also to implicate public schools’ power to punish students for discrimination, harassment, and bullying.