Islamic State’s Appeal in Libya

An op-ed by Noah Feldman. The expansion of Islamic State’s franchise into parts of Libya is horrifying, as the beheading of 21 Egyptian Coptic laborers shows. It’s also frightening for a different reason. The essence of the Islamic State brand is the assertion of sovereign control over territory. Until now, Libya’s post-revolutionary problem has been fragmentation. The emergence of Islamic State there suggests that over time, Libya’s problem could become the opposite: Islamic State might create a unifying umbrella that would subject large parts of the country to its dangerous brand of control.

Texas Misjudges Obama on Immigration

An op-ed by Cass Sunstein. The decision by a federal judge in Texas on Monday to strike down President Barack Obama’s immigration reform initiative runs to a whopping 123 pages. But the crucial ruling is fairly narrow: In adopting a plan to allow unlawful immigrants to apply for “deferred action,” Judge Andrew S. Hanen said, the Department of Homeland Security acted unlawfully because it did not allow the public to comment in advance. With this conclusion, Hanen almost certainly overreached.

Law Profs Challenge Title IX Policy’s Protection of Academic Freedom

As Harvard Law School moves to depart from Harvard’s newly centralized procedures for investigating cases of alleged sexual misconduct, a group of Law professors continue to criticize the University-wide policy that defines sexual harassment, claiming that it offers lackluster protections of academic freedom…Calling the policy’s statement on academic freedom “unhelpful,” Janet E. Halley, a Law School professor, argued that “speech [in an academic context] can be a form of sexual conduct under the policy, and if it’s unwanted, speech acts could become the basis for charges of sexual harassment.”

Harvard Divestment Activists Get Extra Alumni Support Ahead Of Court Hearing

Climate change activists at Harvard University told The Huffington Post this week that they feel optimistic heading into a court hearing Friday on a lawsuit that aims to get the school to divest from fossil fuel companies. Seven students at the university filed the suit in 2014 in an effort to get the nation’s richest college to stop what they see as inherent support for an industry that contributes to global warming. The suit claims the Ivy League school’s governing body, the Harvard Corporation, is violating its duties as a nonprofit public charity by investing in gas, coal and oil companies. It also says that Harvard has breached its duties by putting profit ahead of the serious and immediate threat of climate change — which Ted Hamilton [`16], one of the plaintiffs in the suit, notes is “causing grave harm to future generations.” “Regardless of the final decision in our case, presenting our claims in a legal arena forces the Harvard Corporation to defend its actions in furtherance of climate change,” added Hamilton.

Toward total war

One hundred years ago, in the first two months of 1915, what was then called the Great War — puzzled over by experts gathered at a Harvard conference on Friday ― established its most enduring historical signatures…Moderated by Dean Martha Minow of the Law School, the title of the first panel, “The Transnational Theater of War,” was a reminder, Minow said, of the unprecedented global nature of the conflict. ..In the same panel, Samuel Moyn, a Harvard professor of law and history, was to talk about “Aggression and Atrocity: From the Great War to the Forever War.”

Obama Immigration Policy Halted by Federal Judge in Texas

A federal judge in Texas has ordered a halt, at least temporarily, to President Obama’s executive actions on immigration, siding with Texas and 25 other states that filed a lawsuit opposing the initiatives…Some legal scholars said any order by Judge Hanen to halt the president’s actions would be quickly suspended by the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in New Orleans. “Federal supremacy with respect to immigration matters makes the states a kind of interloper in disputes between the president and Congress,” said Laurence H. Tribe, a professor of constitutional law at Harvard. “They don’t have any right of their own.”

Police Protesters Desecrate Fallen Officer Memorial

An op-ed by Kayleigh McEnany [`16]. In an astonishing display of disrespect, police protesters defiled a fallen officer memorial in Denver, Colorado on Saturday, covering it in fake blood. As if this bloody, distasteful symbol was not enough, one protester knelt down and shot a bird in front of the memorial, an image the activist group “Anonymous” opted to tweet out to it’s 1.45 million followers.

Everyone Deserves a Lawyer, Even Parents

An op-ed by Noah Feldman. If you were about to lose your kids to a legal guardian who wasn’t you, what rights would you have? You’d think this would be a question of pressing national importance. But when the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court guaranteed parents the right to a lawyer in a guardianship proceeding this week, only a local paper noticed. I wouldn’t have known about this fascinating case except that it was brought, argued and won by a particularly brilliant former student of mine at New York University School of Law who has devoted her career to representing the indigent. The case is crucially important because it deals with a fundamental problem in child welfare law: who gets to take guardianship of children in troubled situations, and why.

The Wrong Path to Higher Ed Equality

An op-ed by Tomiko Brown-Nagin. President Obama’s free community college proposal and college ratings initiatives promise to further the historic expansion of college access begun in 1965, when Congress created the Pell Grant Program, which pried open the doors of higher education to deserving but poor students. But the administration’s chosen means to the praiseworthy end of further expanding college access do not fundamentally challenge inequality in higher education; instead, they reinforce our two-tiered and unequal system. Federal policy instead should encourage academically qualified, lower-income students to matriculate to selective, four-year colleges. A monetary rewards system (a Race to the Top for higher education) or statutory mandates could advance that objective.