Nasty medicine

POISON pills are again being dispensed by corporate America with all the enthusiasm of an exterminator in a rat-infested basement. The metaphorical rodents nowadays are not just hostile bidders—the pests that the poison-pill defence was designed to exterminate, back in the 1980s—but in some cases shareholders simply trying to change the way companies are run…Lucian Bebchuk, a Harvard law professor and campaigner for corporate-governance reforms, calls this “pernicious”: the board would be seeking to stifle legitimate debate among the owners of the company by making it hard to build a majority for change.

Money Is Raised; Now Lessig’s Super Pac Must Win

The “super PAC to end all super PACs” reached its fund-raising goal in just over two months, but now comes the hard part: winning elections. The Mayday PAC, a project begun May 1 by the Harvard Law School professor Lawrence Lessig, seeks to elect a Congress that will achieve “fundamental reform in the way political campaigns are funded by 2016,” beginning with five pilot races in this year’s House elections. In a July 4 posting to supporters after announcing the PAC reached its goal, Mr. Lessig wrote, “You have guaranteed” change.

Hilary Clinton’s Real Challenge

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.

Waning ranks at law schools

Years after the end of the recession, enrollment at the nation’s law schools continues to plummet, a wrenching shift that has forced many schools to cut expenses and raised concerns about the long-term financial prospects of some…At Harvard, applications for the first-year class of about 600 are up significantly this year, a promising sign and part of a national increase among students who score high on the LSAT. “The turn-around at the top of the pool shows that people who are serious about law school are coming back,” said Jessica Soban, assistant dean and chief admissions officer at Harvard Law School.

Coakley, Patrick press for new abortion clinic protections

Governor Deval Patrick and Attorney General Martha Coakley, responding to last week’s Supreme Court decision striking down the state’s buffer zone law, called Wednesday for legislation to crack down on harassment and obstruction outside abortion clinics…But Laurence Tribe, a constitutional law professor at Harvard University, said that any effort to narrowly tailor the legislation could go too far and appear to target antiabortion protesters for the content of their speech. Crafting “a package that is limited to the abortion situation just raises the suspicion that these are all indirect ways of suppressing antiabortion speech,” he said.

Troubles at Embark

Embark, whose software helps colleges to process online applications, has owed graduate and professional schools millions of dollars and misled university officials about why it wasn’t quickly paying up, a former executive of the company is alleging amid an ongoing legal dispute…In February 2013, a graduate program within Harvard Law School asked Embark for $120,000 owed to it since November and December 2012. “Despite the promise of wire transfers by Embark (supposedly made on Feb. 1 initially and then again on Feb. 20), and despite our request for actual confirmation of the transfers, we have not received anything, not even evidence that any of the wire transfers were actually made,” Harvard assistant dean Jeanne Tai wrote in a February 2013 email, which appeared in the court filing. Harvard is not a party to the litigation. Reached last month by phone, Tai said everything had since been squared away.

The Supreme Court Was Right to Allow Anti-Abortion Protests

An op-ed by Laurence H. Tribe. Even as a committed supporter of a woman’s — increasingly imperiled — right to choose, I must acknowledge that the Supreme Court got it right on Thursday. In McCullen v. Coakley, the Court unanimously struck down a Massachusetts law setting a 35-foot buffer zone around abortion clinics. While the buffer zone was enacted to ensure the safety of women seeking abortions, it also restricted the peaceful activities of the plaintiff, Eleanor McCullen, and other opponents of abortion, who sought to stand on the sidewalk and urge those women not to make what they see as a tremendous mistake.

Did Obama Fail Black America

An op-ed by Randall Kennedy. On January 20, 2009, when Barack Obama assumed the presidency, the overwhelming majority of African-Americans cheered and prayed for him. His inauguration was a signal moment in black history, reminiscent of the celebrations that accompanied the Emancipation Proclamation, Joe Louis’ victory over Max Schmeling and the March on Washington…For many, the passion has cooled. For some, the thrill is gone.

The Examiners: Mark J. Roe on Municipal Distress

An op-ed by Mark Roe. Detroit’s bankruptcy offers a cautionary tale for responsible municipal officials on how, and how not to, manage their budget. The pressure from pension obligations was a big factor in the Detroit bankruptcy. The simple lesson focuses on how municipalities save up to pay pensions to their retired police, firefighters, and other municipal employees. The city sets aside funds for the future retirement payments and expects earnings from the investments to help pay the pensions.