An op-ed by Noah Feldman. Sometimes the law is an ass — but not, apparently, when it comes to Aereo, the cable-television-to-your-computer service that was designed to save you money by exploiting a loophole in the copyright laws. The U.S. Supreme Court closed the loophole today — and with it shut down Aereo. This was a victory for the cable companies, to be sure. But more important, it should send a message to anyone who wants to start a company based on an innovation that means nothing in the real world.
Imagine that you are a diabetic. Except you can’t speak English, don’t read, and don’t have any food in the cupboard. It’s a scenario likely to end in an emergency room visit, and is a predicament that Massachusetts-based Community Servings, and more recently Harvard Law’s Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation, is seeking to alleviate. The two organizations have partnered together in a recently released study to prove why food is medicine, and to encourage insurance providers and hospitals to help pay for medically tailored meals.
Why the hell is Eric Holder still around? That’s a question many of Barack Obama’s political advisers have asked at various points throughout Holder’s tumultuous five years at the helm of the Justice Department…“He’s a race man,” says Charles Ogletree, a longtime friend of Holder’s who taught and mentored Obama and his wife, Michelle, as Harvard Law School students in the 1980s. “He’s gone farther and deeper into some issues of race than the White House would like, but I know he has the president’s well-wishes. It’s clear [Obama and Holder] believe in the same things.”
Hayat Mohamed, a Tougaloo College senior, and Laurel Oldershaw, a 2014 graduate of Brown University, recalled their experiences on each other’s campus…Their conversation, joined by several current and former students from both schools, was part of Freedom 50, a conference on the Tougaloo campus commemorating the 50th anniversary of the bloody 1964 Freedom Summer in Mississippi…Lani Guinier, the Bennett Boskey Professor of Law at Harvard University, presented findings from her current research on meritocracy in academia. She said standardized tests such as the LSAT are placing students who are not from upper middle-class backgrounds at a distinct disadvantage. “It’s what I call a testocracy,” she said noting that 86 percent of the time LSAT scores are “totally irrelevant” in predicting student performance in law school.
A group of leading American constitutional and criminal law scholars and practitioners wrote to US President Obama to urge that he commute American-Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard’s sentence to time served. The letter, dated June 20, was signed by seven professors from Harvard Law School, Obama’s alma mater: Alan M. Dershowitz, Charles J. Ogletree, Jr., Philip B. Heymann, Mary Ann Glendon, Gabriella Blum, Frank I. Michelman and Irwin Cotler (a Canadian law professor emeritus, former justice minister and attorney general of Canada, and a sometimes visiting professor at Harvard).
Insurance companies may have found a way to skirt one of Obamacare’s most popular promises: equal access to insurance coverage for patients with preexisting conditions…”Insurance companies have a long history of undertaking practices designed to restrict [high-risk pools]—through preexisting-protection preclusions, and higher premiums,” said Robert Greenwald, director of the Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation at Harvard Law School. “All those options are now off the table clearly and explicitly. So what we’re seeing instead are other practices—lack of transparency, failing to cover other medications, refusing to accept third-party payments, or the tiering of medicines.”
…But how can schools attract and retain good principals? One education-policy think tank suggests that part of the answer may be making the role more like an executive and giving each principal a $100,000 salary raise…But while there’s certainly a “you-get-what-you pay-for” aspect to any profession, educators don’t necessarily correspond neatly to executives. Generally, bonuses work, so long as they don’t cause principals to focus on certain criteria at the expense of their job as a whole, according to Jesse Fried, professor of law at Harvard and co-author of Pay without Performance: The Unfulfilled Promise of Executive Compensation. “People going into teaching are obviously not motivated solely by the prospect of financial gain,” he says. “[But] if society substantially underpays principals, many good people will not seek these jobs or stay in them.”
An Illinois healthcare worker’s legal challenge of mandatory union dues from public employees reaches a climax on Monday when the U.S. Supreme Court is due to rule in the case at the final session of its nine-month term. If the justices agree with the sweeping argument made by home healthcare worker Pamela Harris that compulsory union dues are forced association and speech prohibited by the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment, it would essentially establish a national right-to-work law and deliver a blow to public employee unions. Harvard Law School professor Benjamin Sachs said that if the perception holds that the Supreme Court saves blockbuster opinions for the end, it will mean a union loss. “If the union wins, it means the Supreme Court is affirming longstanding precedent. That is less of a ‘blockbuster’ kind of opinion than overturning longstanding precedent,” Sachs said.
An op-ed by Noah Feldman. Class-action securities litigation survived today — and the big news is that it was saved not just by swing voting Justice Anthony Kennedy, but also by Chief Justice John Roberts. Roberts wrote the opinion for the court affirming the presumption that, if you bought stock in a reasonably well functioning market, you relied on material information that the market knew. The decision showed once again the realism that has cost Roberts the admiration of hard-core conservatives ever since his pragmatist treachery in upholding the individual mandate in the Affordable Care Act case.
An op-ed by Cass R. Sunstein. Consider this hypothesis about modern presidential elections: Whenever American voters elect a new president, they choose someone who is, along a critical dimension, the antithesis of the incumbent. The Incumbent Antithesis hypothesis, as I’ll call it, fits recent history, and it may be correct. If so, it suggests a real challenge for the next Democratic nominee, even if it is Hillary Clinton — perhaps especially if it is.