Boston Public Radio full show: Jan. 19, 2022

Juliette Kayyem on BPR … Blair Miller and Elizabeth Bartholet discussed the state of adoption laws and child welfare amid the disappearance of Harmony Montgomery. Miller is a Boston Channel 25 reporter and the adoptive father of Harmony Montgomery’s brother. Bartholet is the Morris Wasserstein Professor of Law, Emeritus, at Harvard Law School and faculty director of the Child Advocacy Program.

How Jan. 6 Gave the 14th Amendment New Life

An obscure 19th-century provision of the U.S. Constitution that barred members of the Confederacy from holding political office is back in the national conversation — and some are hoping it can keep Donald J. Trump and his allies off the ballot. … Laurence Tribe, an influential law professor at Harvard University, has held private conversations with several members of Congress on the topic as they puzzle through how statutes written in the 1860s might apply in an entirely new context. And while Tribe’s view is that Jan. 6 was indeed an insurrection, it is by no means obvious how courts will interpret the 14th Amendment without clearer signals from Congress.

‘Her Detractors Do Not Have to Invite Her to Dinner!’: Pursuit of Sanctions Against Penn Law Prof Amy Wax Proves Divisive

News that University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School Dean Theodore Ruger intends to pursue sanctions against controversial law professor Amy Wax has sparked a debate about academic freedom, with members of the legal academy nationwide weighing in on both sides. … “The racist anti-Asian statements by Professor Amy Wax are so beyond the pale that she should be shunned by colleagues and students alike, no less than if she had urged the exclusion of Blacks, Jews, or Women from American life,” wrote Laurence Tribe, Carl M. Loeb University Professor, Emeritus, at Harvard Law School.

D.C.’s gang database highlights unconstitutional systems nationwide

A recent federal appeals court ruling calls into question the legality of gang databases and how law enforcement agencies around the country use lists of mostly Black and Latino men and boys to target policing activity, from stop-and-frisks to deportations. … Lawyers at Harvard Law School’s Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program filed an amicus brief on Diaz Ortiz’ behalf arguing that unsubstantiated gang allegations violate the Constitution’s due process requirements, regardless of how they’re used.

Gorsuch v. the Administrative State Is Really Heating Up

 An op-ed by Noah Feldman: In the shadow of Thursday’s Supreme Court ruling against a sweeping federal vaccine mandate, another crucial legal battle is playing out: a fight about whether and how much to dismantle the regulatory apparatus of the U.S. government. The latest skirmish unfolded in a concurrence to the mandate decision by Justice Neil Gorsuch, who has emerged as the point man of an attack on existing constitutional doctrine governing administrative agencies like the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Joined by Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito, Gorsuch seized the opportunity to advance his cause through the legal challenge to OSHA’s authority to regulate vaccine requirements.

States unwind FERC plans for grid expansion

A decade after federal regulators opened the door to competition for development of large transmission projects, states — acting at the request of incumbent utilities — are slamming it shut. … “That’s particularly true in MISO where regional projects basically disappeared as competition went into effect,” said Ari Peskoe, director of the Electricity Law Initiative at Harvard Law School’s Environmental and Energy Law Program. “One reason that’s happening is because it’s so much easier to spend your money where there’s no competition and basically no oversight than to risk going through a competitive process.”

Harvard immigration clinic sues for records on ICE detention

A Harvard Law School clinic has sued federal immigration officials for failing to release records about the use of solitary confinement in immigration detention facilities. The Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program said in a lawsuit filed in Boston federal court that it submitted records requests to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, but the agencies haven’t fully complied in more than four years. The Cambridge-based clinic said immigrant rights advocates have raised concerns over the use of solitary confinement on vulnerable immigrant populations, including LGBTQ individuals and people with disabilities.

Historian urges us to resist the ‘cuddly’ version of MLK and remember true legacy

The legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. as a relentless fighter for equality and justice is being distorted, says historian and Harvard Law Professor Annette Gordon-Reed. … “The interesting thing about Black people is that we have founding mothers and founding fathers: Douglass, Tubman, Sojourner Truth,” Gordon-Reed said. “Men and women participating on an equal basis, however they could, to try to advance Black people.”

Details emerge about DOE, FERC grid plans for clean energy

The Biden administration’s plan announced yesterday to pump $20 billion into expansion of the nation’s transmission networks will target “shovel ready” projects that deliver clean energy, at the same time a nationwide grid expansion is planned and advanced, according to an administration official. … DOE’s initiative could also inform FERC’s potential transmission reforms by providing additional, informed research and analyses on transmission needs, said Ari Peskoe, director of the Electricity Law Initiative at Harvard University. Typically, FERC has relied on industry players to identify transmission solutions, even though the independent agency and others have argued that the industry has “underinvested in large-scale projects,” Peskoe said.