An op-ed by Noah Feldman. Perhaps, like me, you trust Mormon missionaries and enjoy chatting with them even if you already have your own religion. Even so, if you happen to see one with his hand in your mailbox, you should probably tell someone. Kevin Loughrin used phony LDS missionary cover to steal checks from boxes all over Salt Lake City. He then altered the checks, used them to buy stuff at Target, and later returned the goods for cash. Today, the U.S. Supreme Court held that he was guilty of federal bank fraud.
Earlier this month, digital rights activist and Harvard law professor Lawrence Lessig launched Mayday PAC, a super political action committee aimed at reforming U.S. campaign finance laws. To date, the Super PAC has raised more than $1.2 million in pledges from 17,500 people. Through Mayday, Lessig hopes to turn the mechanism of corporate influence in politics against itself. “If we are effective,” he says, “we will reduce the power of money.”
Several Silicon Valley billionaires, many of them startup veterans, are getting behind an effort to … reduce the influence of billionaires. The group, spurred into action by digital rights activist and Harvard law professor Lawrence Lessig, is funding a Super PAC, or political action committee, designed to obviate the need for Super PACs. “We are a crowdfunded SuperPAC to end all SuperPACs,” reads the Super PAC’s web site. “Ironic? Yes. Embrace the irony.”
The mission is simple, if not counterintuitive: Design a super PAC to destroy all super PACs, huge political action committees that allow for unlimited contributions from people, corporations, associations, and unions. Mayday PAC was launched recently by Harvard Law School professor, author, and activist Lawrence Lessig, and, according to its website, is “a crowdfunded, kickedstarted super PAC to end all super PACs.”
An op-ed by Noah Feldman. Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, who died 20 years ago today by the Jewish calendar, was easily the most important rabbi of the second half of the 20th century in the U.S. At his death, his legacy was uncertain: He left no successor, and his followers, the Chabad Lubavitch Hasidim, found themselves locked in a profound internal dispute about whether the man they expected to be revealed as the messiah had in fact died with the world unredeemed.
The 2005 Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the nomination of John Roberts to be chief justice is best remembered for his oft-quoted assertion that “judges are like umpires.” Few remember the line that preceded it: “A certain humility should characterize the judicial role.” The Supreme Court will soon complete its ninth term with Roberts at the helm. In “Uncertain Justice,” Harvard Law School professor Laurence Tribe and his former student Joshua Matz find much to analyze and explain in the “wondrous complexity” of the Roberts court. Their well-told story is not one of judicial modesty, however, either for the aspirations of the Roberts court or for its impact on American life.
Just ahead of Anthony Brown [`92] in Rockville’s Memorial Day parade, his opponents in the Maryland gubernatorial primary strutted their stuff…Now, as he completes his apprenticeship under Gov. Martin O’Malley (D), Brown is far ahead in the polls, fully expecting to win the June 24 Democratic primary and the November general election. He would be Maryland’s first black governor and the first lieutenant governor to ascend to the top spot…“Anthony was always somebody who knew where he was going,” says Charles Ogletree, a Harvard law professor who knew Brown and predicts he will be the nation’s second black president. “His approach was always, ‘I’m going to be competitive wherever I can.’ ”
Catharine MacKinnon was a law student at Yale University in the mid-1970s when she had a radical idea: Sexual harassment on campus was discrimination, and it interfered with a woman’s ability to attend college. MacKinnon would put that theory to the test in a court case that her side would eventually lose, but that would have far-reaching effects. In recent months the issue of sexual assault and harassment at college has attracted the scrutiny of the White House and Congress. But some four decades ago, the gender equity law on which many federal inquiries into college sexual assault are based, Title IX, pertained primarily to sports. So in 1977, when MacKinnon advised a group of Yale students alleging harassment on campus to file their lawsuit, Alexander v. Yale, the legal argument was an untested theory.
The Obama administration has told the United Nations that Ahmed Abu Khattala, the suspected ringleader of the 2012 attack on the American Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, was plotting additional attacks on Americans and that the United States conducted the weekend raid that seized him under its right to self-defense…Jack Goldsmith, a Harvard Law School professor who was a senior Justice Department official in the George W. Bush administration, wrote Wednesday that the critics “don’t have a legal leg to stand on” and that “civilian trial appears to be the only legally available option.”
An op-ed by Susan Crawford. Last week, the city council of Portland, Oregon voted to approve Google Fiber, the high-speed Internet service that Google plans to roll out in 34 cities across the country. I recently traveled to Kansas City, the first city to get Google Fiber, to talk to people there about the arrival of the service. Google learned some lessons in Kansas City that will likely be useful in Portland, such as lowering the barriers as much as possible to less-affluent “fiberhoods” so that they get service as well.