The Comcast-Disney Battle isn’t just Business-It’s a Grand Human Drama

An op-ed by Susan Crawford. This week, there’s a swirl of stories about Comcast, Fox, Disney, and Sky. (Nutshell: Fox and Comcast are fighting for control over Sky; Comcast and Disney are about to battle over Fox.) Although all of this has the impersonal buzz of brightly colored brands building bigger businesses, it’s actually a deeply human saga. Comcast chair and CEO Brian Roberts and media mogul Rupert Murdoch, head of the 20th Century Fox empire, are looking to win long-running personal battles.

The Perfect Way to Help Heal a Divided Country

An op-ed by Cass Sunstein. Might the World Cup, which starts this week, reduce ethnic divisions and political violence? Absolutely. To see why, we have to back up a bit. All over the world, many people closely identify with their religion, their race or their ethnicity – and much less with their country. That can be a serious problem. When people separate themselves from their fellow citizens, they tend to distrust each other. They become less able to address shared challenges. They regard each other as strangers – and, in extreme cases, as enemies.

The Supreme Court Takes a Nakedly Political Turn

An op-ed by Noah Feldman. In a 5-4 decision along party lines, the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday upheld an Ohio law that lets the state kick people off the voter rolls if they don’t show up to vote for six years and don’t return a postcard saying they haven’t moved. It would be nice if legal principle had played any role in the decision on either side, but it didn’t, not really. The five conservatives, including Justice Anthony Kennedy, found in Husted v. A. Philip Randolph Institute that the state law was consistent with federal law; the four liberals said it wasn’t.

The Trump Administration is Completely Unravelling the U.S. Asylum System

On Monday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions ruled that a Salvadoran woman who came to the U.S. in 2014 to escape an abusive husband did not qualify for asylum under United States law. An immigration court had previously granted her asylum, allowing her to remain in the country legally, but Sessions reconsidered the finding, as part of a broader rethinking of whether or not victims of domestic abuse can qualify for protection under U.S. asylum law. The decision means that the U.S. can now begin to turn away tens of thousands of women who arrive in this country every year, seeking safety from violence and abuse at home. “He could be repealing sixty to seventy per cent of asylum jurisprudence,” Deborah Anker, an immigration expert at Harvard Law School, told me, speaking about Sessions, before the decision was announced. “Its ramifications are extraordinary.”

The Establishing Shots of a Heist: The Trump DOJ Meets the Affordable Care Act

An op-ed by Ian Samuel and Leah Litman. Earlier today, the Justice Department filed a document in a case about the Affordable Care Act that was so radical, and so self-evidently without merit, that career lawyers in that agency would not sign their names to it. In fact, the document is such a transparent embarrassment that three career lawyers involved in the case withdrew their appearance before it was filed, presumably to avoid the taint of being listed on a docket where it appeared. Reading the filing is enough to explain why none of them could stomach it. The document is not so much a brief as the establishing shots of a heist.

Trump’s energy blitz and the legal showdown to come

The Trump administration’s latest bid to boost troubled coal and nuclear plants is certain to spark a legal war if it’s ever finalized. After details of a rescue proposal leaked ahead of a National Security Council meeting Friday, energy experts set to work unpacking the legal issues and gaming out potential litigation scenarios. The draft memo out of the Department of Energy, first published by Bloomberg News, proposes using two federal laws focused on emergencies and wartime needs to extend the life of coal and nuclear power plants at risk of retiring soon…While federal courts have issued decisions about contract disputes and other specific issues under the law, they haven’t reached any broad rulings about the scope of authority the DPA gives DOE, said Ari Peskoe, director of the Electricity Law Initiative at Harvard Law School.

Far from “Thin,” Evidence of Manafort’s Witness Tampering Likely Meets Necessary Standard

An op-ed by Alex Whiting and Renato Mariotti. How strong is the evidence that Paul Manafort tampered with witnesses in his criminal case, as Special Counsel Robert Mueller now alleges in his motion to revoke Manafort’s bail or modify his conditions of release? Paul Rosenzweig at Lawfare claims that the evidence is “thin,” and on the basis of that conclusion engages in a bit of “speculation” (his word) that Mueller is feeling “pressure” from President Donald Trump, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, or the public to move more quickly, and is therefore seeking to “ramp up the pressure” on Manafort in a seemingly desperate bid to get him to cooperate. We disagree.

How Artful Is Trump’s Dealmaking?

For decades, President Trump has presented himself as a master dealmaker. “I’ve made a lot of deals,” Trump told reporters last month. “I know deals, I think, better than anybody knows deals.” That was part of the shtick on Trump’s long-running TV show, The Apprentice. And it’s the subject of his bestselling 1987 book, The Art of the Deal…”Although his Art of the Deal sold a lot of copies, I don’t think he’s a very impressive negotiator,” said Robert Mnookin, who directs the Harvard Negotiation Research Project. Mnookin, who wrote his own book on negotiation called Bargaining with the Devil, says Trump often goes from tough and adversarial one minute to ingratiating the next. He used to call Kim Jong Un “Little Rocket Man.” Now he praises the dictator as “very honorable.” The president calls that flexibility. Mnookin says it makes Trump hard to trust.

Vivek Wadhwa Believes Social Media Has Hacked Into Our Happiness

…So, when during an Inc42 Facebook Live AMA, academic, researcher, writer, and entrepreneur Vivek Wadhwa painted a grim picture of a world in which social media has gone all twisted, I had a #ThursdayThrowback to the Netflix series Black Mirror. Wadhwa is a Distinguished Fellow and Adjunct Professor at Carnegie Mellon’s School of Engineering at Silicon Valley and Distinguished Fellow at the Labor and Worklife Program at Harvard Law School. Black Mirror is “a sci-fi anthology series that explores a twisted, high-tech near-future where humanity’s greatest innovations and darkest instincts collide,” and Wadhwa’s view that social media has come to a point where too much technology is ruining our lives seemed quite in line with the situations Black Mirror depicts.