MayDay PAC: The end of the Super PAC era? (Audio)

Money plays a crucial role during the political campaign season. The amount of money backing your campaign could mean a win or loss in a seat in Congress. And when Super PACs were deemed legal by the Supreme Court in 2010, the game changed…Fair or not, this is one issue that is set in stone… or at least was. Lawrence Lessig, a Harvard Law professor, wants to take down these Super PACs… by creating one of his own. This past weekend, the MayDay PAC reached its fund raising goal of $5 million. Lessig plans to start the anti-Super PAC campaign for this year’s House of Representative election.

Heston, Guns and Booze: A Harvard Law Professor’s Strange Tale

When having people over to dinner, it’s best not to discuss politics, religion – or guns. That’s something the actor Charlton Heston and Laurence Tribe, the Harvard constitutional scholar, figured out – sort of. But first, a little background. Tribe, the liberal legal expert who spoke with editors of The Fiscal Times this week about his new book, Uncertain Justice: The Roberts Court and the Constitution, includes a chapter about gun rights.

How the Supreme Court Changed America This Year

Cass Sunstein: The most important Supreme Court decision of the 2013 term may well be EPA v. Homer City, which upheld the Environmental Protection Agency’s cross-state air pollution rule…Laurence Tribe: In a year in which the high court weighed in on presidential appointment power, public unions, abortion and religious freedom, many observers will say that the court is reshaping our politics and culture with sweeping pronouncements that inject it squarely into the most salient, controversial issues of the day…Martha Minow: Free speech and religious expression win; equality does less well; growing reliance on communications technologies and on government to address environmental harms informs the law; corporations and employers gain power relative to employees; tensions between branches continue, amid bold assertions of humility…Mark Tushnet: …The court is constructing what in fancy terms we can call an ideology or philosophy of constitutional law. And, the current court’s philosophy is, broadly speaking, conservative, skeptical of expansive exercises of government power in the domestic arena, tending in a mildly libertarian direction.

Rightward Bound

In “Uncertain Justice,” Laurence Tribe, the Harvard Law School professor and a pre-eminent authority on the Constitution, and Joshua Matz, a recent graduate of that school and, beginning this fall, a clerk for Justice Anthony Kennedy, refuse to either “stereotype the justices” or draw the familiar, categorical lines between the court’s liberals and conservatives, its Democratic and Republican appointees, its “activists” and apostles of “restraint.” Instead, Tribe and Matz set out to portray the Roberts court in what they see as its messy complexity.

Rare Unanimity In Supreme Court Term, With Plenty Of Fireworks

The nation greets the coming of July each year with fireworks on the National Mall and, days earlier, explosive decisions at the U.S. Supreme Court…The theme of what one wag called “faux-nanimity” repeated itself again and again. “It represents a success in herding cats, but there is deep division underneath,” observes Harvard Law School professor Laurence Tribe…”Precedent is getting a very hard knock all over the place,” says Harvard Law professor Charles Fried, who served as solicitor general in the Reagan administration.

When Religious Freedom Clashes with Access to Care

An op-ed by I. Glenn Cohen, Holly Fernandez Lynch, and Gregory D. Curfman. At the tail end of this year’s Supreme Court term, religious freedom came into sharp conflict with the government’s interest in providing affordable access to health care. In a consolidated opinion in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores and Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. v. Burwell (collectively known as Hobby Lobby) delivered on June 30, the Court sided with religious freedom, highlighting the limitations of our employment-based health insurance system.

Supreme Court rulings to reverberate in midterm elections this fall

Following this week’s Supreme Court ruling that some businesses can refuse to offer contraceptive coverage to employees for religious reasons, a prominent antiabortion group used the case as an argument against Sen. Mark Pryor of Arkansas and other Democrats seeking reelection…Harvard Law School professor Richard Fallon said the high court rarely has had a major impact on off-year elections. But “if we’re in a new era of politics” in which the base plays an increasingly important role, he said, “it’s more possible that it would matter.”

Denial of coverage

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 decision that closely held, for-profit corporations have a right to exercise the religious beliefs of their owners and therefore cannot be required by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to provide contraception coverage to employees if it conflicts with those views. The Gazette spoke with Mark Tushnet, William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, about the decision and what it means for future corporate challenges to the ACA.

Op-Ed: Advice of ‘Wise Counsel’ Comes Back To Haunt U.S. Corporations

An op-ed by Charles Fried. Taking a page from former Yale Law School dean Anthony Kronman’s book, “The Lost Lawyer,” at Harvard as at many other law schools we try to teach our students that being a good lawyer is not just thinking of clever legal arguments to beat our clients’ adversaries but offering our clients persuasive, wise counsel. There has been sad evidence lately that this lesson may not be getting across. Among those belatedly fired by General Motors Corp. in the faulty-ignition-switch fiasco were whole teams of lawyers who advised that cases be closed with confidential settlements and apparently did not persuasively urge prompt admissions and safety recalls.