Senators Are Asking the Wrong Question on Kavanaugh

An op-ed by Cass Sunstein. The scheduled testimony by Judge Brett Kavanaugh, responding to Christine Blasey Ford’s accusation of sexual assault in the early 1980s, raises a central question: With respect to that accusation, who has the burden of proof? In the coming weeks, the answer to that question might turn out to be decisive to Kavanaugh’s prospects for confirmation. Invoking the standard used in criminal law, some people have said that Judge Kavanaugh should be presumed innocent. Others say that senators should avoid any presumption and ask instead: Who is more credible? Who is the most likely to be telling the truth? It’s not so simple.

‘Trumpwashing’: the danger of turning the Republican resistance into liberal heroes

The empire strikes back. At late senator John McCain’s funeral earlier this month, the Clintons, Bushes and Obamas sat side by side in the front pew along with the former vice-presidents Dick Cheney and Al Gore and Cheney’s wife, Lynne. A clip of the former president George W Bush handing a sweet to ex-first lady Michelle Obama went viral…Other observers agree that to hero worship or demonise Bush and the intelligence agencies is a gross and unnecessary over-simplification. Lawrence Lessig, an author and professor at Harvard Law School who in 2015 launched an abortive campaign for president, said in an email: “Of course, the left encourages the reasonable right, to defend against the crazy right. That’s not inconsistency. That’s practical politics. I’m sure none of them would select the people they’re now praising over their equivalent on the left. But the equivalent isn’t an option, so you must work with who you have.

Ban On ‘Scandalous’ TMs Is Probably Dead For Good

Will the U.S. Supreme Court revive a federal ban on the registration of profane trademarks like “Fuct,” less than two years after it categorically struck down a similar rule used against the Washington Redskins? Not f***king likely, experts say…According to Rebecca Tushnet, a professor at Harvard Law School who focuses on the First Amendment and trademark law, the ban on “scandalous” marks raises even more constitutional concerns than the “disparaging” ban, not less. “Unlike ‘disparagement,’ which protected all groups equally from disparagement, ‘scandalousness’ protects the majority against the opinions or moral toleration of the minority,” Tushnet said. “That is definitely viewpoint-based.”

Harvard Law School Celebrates 65 Years of Female Graduates

Harvard Law School celebrated its bicentennial last year, but women were not fully included in that history for more than a century. The first class of women graduated from the school in 1953 — and 65 years later, Law School alumnae, students, and professors gathered last Friday and Saturday to celebrate the anniversary…Elizabeth Papp Kamali ’97, an assistant professor at the Law School, wrote in an email that she was “heartened” to see many of her former classmates and commented on the great advances women have made in the past 65 years.“While 1953 seems like shockingly recent history, one recurring theme throughout the celebration was the incredible strides women have made within the law in the last half century,” Kamali wrote…Rebecca F. Prager, a third-year Law student, said she wished that more students had been a part of this “amazing experience.”…Law School Dean of Students Marcia L. Sells wrote in a statement that “students were involved in every step of the process” and “forg[ed] connections” with many of the alumnae….Dean of the Law School John F. Manning ’82 also commented via a spokesperson on Celebration 65, calling it “inspiring.”

Defrauded students inch closer to victory in DeVos lawsuit

A federal judge has ruled that Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ move to ease protections for former students of for-profit colleges should be reversed, handing a victory to those who said they were defrauded by their schools…Toby Merrill, director of the Project on Predatory Student Lending at Harvard University, which is representing the students, hailed the decision. “Students are continuing to push back and win against the department’s unfair and corrupt policies,” Merrill said. “We are one step closer to these important provisions taking effect.”

Trump is violating his oath, again

…The move is unprecedented. Never have we seen a president declassify documents in contravention of clear warnings from the intelligence community that doing so would harm national security…Others see the abuse of presidential power regarding classification as a parallel, but distinct, issue. Constitutional scholar Laurence H. Tribe argues, “Has this president repeatedly and dangerously abused his powers to classify and declassify information — risking our national security to punish his critics (as with [former CIA director] John Brennan), undermine the work of those investigating him and his family, and reward family members with access to sensitive information they would otherwise be unable to access? The answer appears to be “yes” and, at least, the question warrants systematic investigation by the House Judiciary and Intelligence Committees.”

The Problem With All Those Liberal Professors

An op-ed by Cass Sunstein. Suppose that you start college with a keen interest in physics, and you quickly discover that almost all members of the physics department are Democrats. Would you think that something is wrong? Would your answer be different if your favorite subject is music, chemistry, computer science, anthropology or sociology? In recent years, concern has grown over what many people see as a left-of-center political bias at colleges and universities. A few months ago, Mitchell Langbert, an associate professor of business at Brooklyn College, published a study of the political affiliations of faculty members at 51 of the 66 liberal-arts colleges ranked highest by U.S. News in 2017. The findings are eye-popping (even if they do not come as a great surprise to many people in academia).

Harvard Law’s Minow addresses ‘changing ecosystem of news’ in Smith talk

With the rise of the internet, national and local news organizations alike are struggling. Budget cuts and shrinking staffs are all too common. Martha Minow, a human rights expert and Harvard Law School professor, took on these and other changes in the media landscape at a public lecture at Smith College, Monday, “Freedom of the Press and the Changing Ecosystem of News.” The talk marked Constitution Day, the anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Constitution in 1787.

Kavanaugh Accused Of Sexual Assault

It’s not every presidential administration in which news that the former campaign chairman has agreed to cooperate with the special counsel, gets knocked off the front page in a matter of hours. But the Trump team is ever the exception. And today, all anyone nationally can talk about is his Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, and the woman who has publicly accused him of sexual assault. Jim Braude was joined by Nancy Gertner, retired federal judge and senior lecturer at Harvard Law, Martha Coakley, former state Attorney General and now a partner at Foley Hoag, and Jim Rappaport, former chair of the Mass. GOP.