Panel focuses on Pope Francis during launch of Crux

Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley joined a panel of journalists and academics Thursday night in a discussion of the new pope that was part of an event marking the launch of The Boston Globe’s new website Crux, which will cover the Roman Catholic Church across the world…The cardinal was joined on stage by Globe associate editor John L. Allen Jr., of Crux; Mary Ann Glendon, Learned Hand professor of law at Harvard University and the former US ambassador to the Holy See; Robert Christian, editor and blogger; and Hosffman Ospino, a Boston College assistant professor of Hispanic ministry and religious education.

Berkman Center Kicks Off Digital Problem Solving Initiative

The Berkman Center for Internet and Society held a kickoff event for its Digital Problem Solving Initiative, a year-long program that brings together students and mentors from across the University to solve campus-wide issues through technology, at the Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Gutman Library on Thursday. Following an introduction from Law School Dean Martha L. Minow and a lecture on best practices for entrepreneurship from Business School professor Thomas R. Eisenmann, students and advisors split up into eight teams focused on particular on-campus problems…Law School professor and Berkman Center Director Urs Gasser said the initiative not only aims to tackle problems across the University but also seeks to develop students “digital literacy skills.”

Cameras can’t be silenced

An op-ed by Jaimie McFarlin `15. In both tragedies of domestic violence and alleged police brutality, the victim can be silenced. Cameras can’t. In a domestic violence incident, the victim can be silenced through the psychological trap of the relationship. In cases of alleged police brutality, victims can be silenced through death. So let the cameras talk.

Cruel summer

As President Obama made his case for deepening U.S. military involvement in Syria and Iraq and the country prepared to mark the 13th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, scholars from Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) and Harvard Law School (HLS) came together to explore the circumstances surrounding the recent upheavals in the Middle East and the complex forces driving the many strategic challenges to peace. In a Tuesday panel moderated by HLS Professor Noah Feldman, Nicholas Burns, Michael Ignatieff, and Meghan O’Sullivan assessed the global threat now posed by the Sunni jihadist group known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

A Harvard Professor Learns a Little Money Isn’t Enough to Beat Big Money

Harvard Law School professor Lawrence Lessig just learned a lesson: It takes more than some money to win an election. It takes a lot of money. Earlier this year, Lessig announced the creation of MayDay, a super PAC that would take advantage of newly loosened campaign finance laws to spend lots of money supporting candidates who commit to tightening those same campaign finance laws. The big bet was New Hampshire, where MayDay spent $1.6 million supporting long-shot candidate Jim Rubens in the state’s Republican Senate primary. That’s nearly six times the $270,000 that Rubens’s own campaign spent through Sept. 10 and more than any other outside group spent on the race, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. But it was far less than Scott Brown, a former U.S. senator, had at his disposal, and only a fraction of the total that a coalition of other outside groups poured into the race, including Americans for Prosperity, the conservative group backed by the billionaire Koch brothers, and the liberal Senate Majority PAC.

Record Response Urges SEC To Require Disclosure Of Corporate Political Spending

More than a million comments have been filed with federal regulators urging the government to begin requiring publicly traded corporations to report on their political spending….“The overwhelming support from public comments the petition has attracted, and the strength of the arguments for transparency put forward in the petition, provide a strong case for SEC initiation of a rulemaking process,” Lucian Bebchuk, director of the corporate governance program at Harvard Law School and one of a group of academics who, in 2011, submitted the original petition on the issue, said at a press conference here last week. “Furthermore, opponents of the petition have failed in their comments to provide any good basis for avoiding such a process.”

Blindfolds Off: Judges on How They Decide

For the past 29 years, Joel Cohen has been an accomplished litigator at Stroock & Stroock & Lavan in New York City. He is also the author of a regular column in the Law Journal. And he has somehow found time to write four works of fiction, three of which tackle religious subjects. Blindfolds Off is his first non-fiction work, and it sets out to “examine what goes on in a judge’s mind that may not be reflected in the record.”…Cohen’s technique is the probing interview. Thirteen federal judges, all but two of whom are still sitting, agreed to be interviewed about a significant case over which they presided…Judge Nancy Gertner talks about awarding Peter Limone and others $100 million in their wrongful conviction lawsuit arising out of the FBI’s insidious relationship with Whitey Bulger.

Apple Pay Could Make You Poorer

An op-ed by Cass R. Sunstein. The new Apple payment system has extraordinary promise. With Apple Pay, you might not need a wallet, and you can leave your credit and debit cards at home. In terms of ease and convenience, payment cards represented a big leap from the era of cash. Apple hopes its system will be a comparable leap from the era of cards. Skeptics have focused on questions of security and privacy, but prospective users might want to pause over a different problem: When payment becomes easier, and when people don’t see the money they’re handing over, they tend to spend a lot more. And as payment becomes more automatic, people become less sensitive to what they’re losing. Apple Pay users might find that their thinner phones are making their bank accounts thinner as well.

A circle completed

Aldel Brown grew up just a 20-minute drive from Harvard’s campus, but attending the University seemed like distant possibility. Yet this year Brown — who regularly describes himself as “just a kid from Boston” — has arrived as a member of the Harvard Law School (HLS) Class of 2017. “As far back as second grade, I’ve wanted to go to law school, and attending HLS is a dream,” he said. “I always felt that there were wrongs in the world, and I wanted to help solve those problems. So I was always thinking about the law. It was something I always wanted to pursue.” While Brown’s future lies in a courtroom, his past is rooted in two other courts: basketball and tennis. From a young age, he played both sports in neighborhoods all over Boston. Taking tennis lesson in the summers and after school, and playing basketball after tennis lessons, Brown’s prowess in both games flourished. Tennis taught him self-reliance and focus, while basketball emphasized the importance of teamwork and collaboration.

Obama’s Breathtaking Expansion of a President’s Power To Make War

An op-ed by Jack Goldsmith. Future historians will ask why George W. Bush sought and received express congressional authorization for his wars (against al Qaeda and Iraq) and his successor did not. They will puzzle over how Barack Obama the prudent war-powers constitutionalist transformed into a matchless war-powers unilateralist. And they will wonder why he claimed to “welcome congressional support” for his new military initiative against the Islamic State but did not insist on it in order to ensure clear political and legal legitimacy for the tough battle that promised to consume his last two years in office and define his presidency.