Alan Dershowitz, marred by ties to Jeffrey Epstein, will defend Trump at impeachment trial

Ten years after O.J. Simpson was acquitted of murder, one of his lawyers, Alan Dershowitz, admitted that “sometimes you lose sleep at night” while working as a defense attorney. …After months of fiercely defending the president on Fox News, Dershowitz said he will argue constitutional issues on the Senate floor. Dershowitz said his goal is to “defend the integrity of the Constitution and to prevent the creation of a dangerous constitutional precedent” by removing the president from office. Laurence Tribe, a Harvard law professor who supports Trump’s impeachment, said Dershowitz is an “aggressive, persistent, fairly knowledgeable, quite imaginative and generally creative” lawyer who will bring “an unrealistic and unwarranted degree of self-certitude” to the trial. “He tends to be self-righteous in a way that convinces him, but not those whom he needs to persuade, that everyone but him is a hypocrite,” Tribe said.

Dershowitz to defend Trump at trial

Alan Dershowitz will be presenting oral arguments before the U.S. Senate at the impeachment trial for President Donald Trump. In a brief cell phone conversation Friday morning, Dershowitz said, “I can confirm that I’ll be presenting oral arguments.” Then he cut the conversation short and referred to his statement on Twitter. …Laurence Tribe, a professor of constitutional law at Harvard Law School and a frequent Island visitor, also weighed in. “My former colleague Alan Dershowitz knows a lot about criminal law but not much about constitutional law. He’s flashy but not all that substantive. But flashiness isn’t exactly lacking on Team Trump,” Tribe wrote in an email to The Times. “So adding Dershowitz to the defense  team suggests that Trump intends to push the argument that impeachable offenses have to be statutory crimes like blackmail or robbery, but that’s definitely wrong and reflects serious ignorance about how the US Constitution works. For constitutional expertise and legal acumen, I’d pit my own former student Adam Schiff against Alan Dershowitz any day.”

Laurence Tribe predicts how John Roberts — his former student — will rule on impeachment witnesses

The man who taught Constitutional Law to Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts expects him to vote to allow witnesses if he needs to cast a tie-breaking vote while presiding over President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial in the U.S. Senate. Prof. Laurence Tribe was interviewed by MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell on Thursday. …“Well, he was very smart,” Tribe replied. “He’s very thoughtful, he cares about the institution.” Tribe, who has reportedly advised House Democrats on impeachment, then offered a major prediction. “If he is asked to issue a subpoena, I think he will use his power to do it,” Tribe said.

A government watchdog nailed Trump. Republicans cannot say no laws were broken.

Republicans have often said in the course of the impeachment process that President Trump has never been accused of breaking any laws. Beside the fact that Framers did not require a violation of statute for the grounds of impeachment, this is wrong. …Constitutional scholar Laurence Tribe tells me, “The GAO finding that President Trump’s decision to withhold from Ukraine the military aid appropriated by Congress was illegal under the Impoundment Control Act gives the lie to the claim that the Articles of Impeachment charge no illegal act.” As Tribe points out, “It was an irrelevant claim to boot, because a ‘high Crime and Misdemeanor’ needn’t be conduct that is illegal under any federal statute.”

Harvard Law School Students Protest Paul Weiss Recruiting Event

ears ago, students chatting during the precious breaks in on-campus interviewing cattle calls would ponder who among them would really be interviewing with Chadbourne & Parke. The now-deceased firm — sucked up into the Norton Rose Fulbright megalith — was on everyone’s radar as one of the firms representing big tobacco against allegations that the company had willfully deceived the public about health risks for decades. Everyone may deserve an attorney, but not everyone deserves you as an attorney, and for law students at elite schools back then, future lawyers that every law firm would love to have, this was an opportunity to exert some social pressure on a firm tying its bottom line to a public health crisis of the client’s own making. A couple of decades down the road, law students are taking a page from the past and upping the ante. Last night, law students at HLS staged a protest at a Paul Weiss recruiting event demanding the firm drop Exxon as a client, arguing that Paul Weiss attorneys have facilitated Exxon’s efforts to undermine climate change action.

Harvard law students ramp up protest against ExxonMobil climate firm

Harvard law students have disrupted a recruiting event for Paul Weiss, the law firm representing ExxonMobil in climate lawsuits, in an escalation the protesters hope will open a new front in climate activism in the legal world. The oil giant is facing a series of lawsuits in the US related to claims that it knew petroleum products were heating the planet and sought to persuade the public otherwise. The students say Paul Weiss has cultivated a reputation as a liberal corporate law firm, despite representing oil companies, tobacco and big banks. Ted Wells Jr, a partner at the New York firm, is a prominent Democratic donor.

Gas, coal generators defend FERC’s PJM capacity market order

FERC’s December order to exclude wind, solar and nuclear power from part of its largest electricity market is drawing support from several largely fossil fuel power producers that argue the decision won’t hobble the growth of renewable energy even as it boosts coal and gas plants. FERC last month voted to set a price floor that will effectively exclude renewable and nuclear sources that receive state support from the PJM capacity market. Environmentalists lambasted the order as an attack on clean energy and a bailout for fossil fuels, but its supporters say the effects on wind and solar — which were only about 1 percent of the capacity cleared in PJM’s last auction — will be minimal…Regardless of whether FERC grants a rehearing, renewable energy companies and environmentalists are likely to challenge the order in court, arguing it violates state jurisdiction over power plant siting and contending that FERC acted in an “arbitrary and capricious” manner because it did not consider the potential costs to consumers when crafting the order. “There are lots of opportunities for ‘arbitrary and capricious’ challenges,” said Ari Peskoe, director of the Harvard Electricity Law Initiative, including FERC’s broad definition of which subsidies will qualify for the price floor, and why FERC did not include an option for individual plants to opt out of the capacity market. “Rehearing request deadline is next Tuesday. We’ll have a better picture of the legal arguments then.”

Trump takes on 50 years of environmental regulations, one by one

It was 1970. Congress was wrestling with whether to give the right-of-way necessary to build a huge, 800-mile oil pipeline across Alaska, when a district judge blocked the project, using a brand new law requiring federal agencies to consider the environmental impact of projects…Exactly 50 years later, that law – the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) – is under attack. The Trump administration last week announced proposed reforms to the act that would significantly reduce its scope. It’s the latest move in an unprecedented effort to roll back not only recent Obama-era environmental regulations but also some of the bedrock laws that have shaped federal environment policy since the 1970s…Whittling away the government’s regulatory structures has always been part of Mr. Trump’s agenda, but his dismantling of the EPA is unique, says Caitlin McCoy, a fellow in the Environmental and Energy Law Program at Harvard Law School who tracks such changes. Changing NEPA is the latest sign that the administration wants to undermine the statutory foundations of the EPA. “They’re trying to take away the very things that the agency relies upon to do its job and to really severely damage its legal authority to function,” she says. “With other agencies, it’s similar, like, yes, we’re relaxing some of these tax rates, but it’s not like we’re trying to keep the IRS from doing audits.”