In new age of wealth and inequality, calls for intervention go unheeded

An op-ed by Richard D. Brown and Bruce H. Mann. Thomas Piketty, writing from France, is the latest person to sound an alarm about the growing inequality of income and wealth. But his ideas have distinctly American roots that date to the country’s formation…Today, however, as Americans arrive at the brink of a new Gilded Age of wealth and inequality, calls for intervention are going unheeded. Wages have stagnated. Executive compensation has ballooned from about 20 times the average wage income to nearly 300 times…The economic, social and political consequences of these changes are profound

Gays Have Rights, the Pill Doesn’t

An op-ed by Noah Feldman. The U.S. Supreme Court says closely held religious corporations get a religious exemption from providing contraceptive insurance. Should President Barack Obama follow the court’s lead and exempt religious affiliates from an executive order requiring federal contractors not to discriminate against gay people? The answer is no — not because the court was wrong, and not because the religious affiliates aren’t sincere. The reason is that the contraceptive case and the question of federal contractors respecting gay rights are fundamentally different. One case is about a right against government coercion; the other is about the privilege of getting a federal contract. And while contraceptive insurance is nice, it isn’t a constitutional value — anti-discrimination is.

Boehner v. Constitution

An op-ed by Cass R. Sunstein. One of the most appealing features of modern conservative thought is its insistence on fidelity to the Constitution. Whether or not we endorse “strict construction,” or the claim that the Constitution means what it originally meant, it is certainly honorable to emphasize that public officials are bound by our founding document. How odd, then, that prominent conservatives have been embracing Speaker John Boehner’s proposed lawsuit by the House of Representatives against President Barack Obama — an idea that reflects a stunningly cavalier approach to the Constitution.

Let Public Officials Work in Private

An op-ed by Cass R. Sunstein. Senators Patrick Leahy of Vermont and John Cornyn of Texas, leaders of the Judiciary Committee, have long shown an admirable commitment to open government, and their recent bill to amend the Freedom of Information Act is winning a ton of praise. Some of its reforms make sense, but, unfortunately, its key provision is a horrible idea. By reducing the protection now given to deliberations within the executive branch, it would have a chilling effect on those discussions.

The Legal And Ethical Concerns That Arise From Using Complex Predictive Analytics In Health Care

By I. Glenn Cohen, Ruben Amarasingham, Anand Shah, Bin Xie and Bernard Lo. Predictive analytics, or the use of electronic algorithms to forecast future events in real time, makes it possible to harness the power of big data to improve the health of patients and lower the cost of health care. However, this opportunity raises policy, ethical, and legal challenges.

Hated the Facebook experiment? You’ll hate what’s next for health care.

Facebook isn’t the only company that wants to capitalize on information collected from millions of people do do research. Health care systems want to use the immense sea of data in patients’ medical records to try and improve health and reduce costs…. Glenn Cohen is a professor of health law and ethics at Harvard Law School. He recently co-authored a paper on the new role that data is starting to play in health, and the legal and ethical wrinkles introduced by using that data to make medical decisions. We discussed some of those problems, and how they might be handled in the future.

U.S. Companies Step Up Business Conducted in Yuan

American companies are conducting a record amount of business in Chinese yuan, looking to benefit from cost advantages over dollar transactions…”If China in the long run is interested in having the renminbi challenge the dollar as a reserve currency, given the size of the U.S. economy, U.S. firms will have to get on board,” said Mark Wu, a former World Bank economist who teaches at Harvard Law School.

Pope Francis names new head of scandal-plagued Vatican bank

The Vatican named a new head and board for its scandal-plagued bank Wednesday, capping a cleanup campaign overseen by Pope Francis that has seen hundreds of suspect accounts shut down. French financier Jean-Baptiste de Franssu, who called his new job “a mission,” will oversee a two-year program to cede the bank’s asset-management business to a newly formed Vatican department, leaving the institution handling only payment services for priests and religious organizations…The new six-person board of lay experts appointed Wednesday to work with De Franssu includes Mary Ann Glendon, a Harvard law professor and former U.S. ambassador to the Vatican.

Academic boot camp

…This week, Harvard is entwined once more as it hosts a weeklong pilot program presented by the Warrior-Scholar Project. The nonprofit group, started at Yale University three years ago, organizes academic boot camps for veterans thinking of making a transition from the military to college…Why Harvard? “It was the next logical move for us, expanding from Yale,” said co-founder Christopher Howell. He said the move was also eased by support in Cambridge from Jesse Reising [`15], a student at Harvard Law School, and Lowry Pressly, a Ph.D. student in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.

With Differential Response, History Repeats Itself and Children are Placed at Unnecessary Risk

Michigan, like other states, struggles to keep abused and neglected children safe while controlling the number of children in foster care, which is costly. Our law and policy attempt to balance the protection of maltreated children (the paramount consideration), respect for parents’ rights to raise their children, and the state’s interest in keeping children safe, all with too little money…Conservatives like these programs because they hope to save money, liberals because they minimize government intervention into families and because they often think child protection is simply an attack on poor and minority parents. Harvard Law Professor Elizabeth Bartholet calls this right-left convergence “the unholy alliance.”