Judge Nancy Gertner On Vaccine Mandates, Challenges To Abortion Rights

Small businesses in Massachusetts employ more than 1.5 million people here. Some of those employers will now have to require their employees to be vaccinated, or test negative for COVID once a week, under new rules issued last week by President Joe Biden. Governor Baker has also mandated that more than 40,000 public sector employees in the commonwealth be vaccinated, with no testing option. In the face of more mandates, some are turning to religious exemptions: citing faith as a way to skip the shots…We turn to Nancy Gertner, retired federal judge, senior lecturer at Harvard Law School, and WBUR’s Legal Analyst.

Canada should tax bank debt, instead of bank equity

An op-ed by Mark Roe and Michael Troege: The Liberal party announced its plan to raise the corporate tax rate on large banks and insurance companies from 15 per cent to 18 per cent. Maybe the banks should pay more taxes; maybe not. But if banks need to be taxed more, this is not the right way to do it. It will incentivize them to take on more debt, creating unnecessary dangers if an economic crisis hits the Canadian banking system.

Cops’ support spotlights race issues in ex-Black Panther’s parole case

An unusual coalition is banding together in a petition to release an 84-year-old former Black Panther convicted for his role in the killing of a police officer. Sundiata Acoli was sentenced in 1974 to life without the possibility of parole until after 25 years for the first-degree murder of New Jersey state trooper Werner Foerster…Acoli’s supporters include the ACLU of New Jersey, the Center for Constitutional Rights and even four Black law enforcement organizations, including the National Association of Blacks in Criminal Justice and the Blacks in Law Enforcement of America. That group filed a brief last month in the case co-authored by lawyers at the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race & Justice at Harvard Law School.

Unilever Must Reverse Ben and Jerry’s Israel Boycott

An op-ed by Jesse M. Fried and David H. Webber: Since Unilever subsidiary Ben and Jerry’s announced an Israel boycott last month, triggering numerous state anti-boycott laws, Unilever’s market capitalization has fallen by almost $14 billion. Unilever’s contractual rights give it a strong basis for overturning the boycott. Its puzzling failure to do so shows immense disregard for its own investors.

How One Bar’s Liquor License Case Could Bring Down The New Texas Abortion Ban

Rachel Maddow tells the story of how Cambridge, Massachusetts bar, Grendel’s Den, whose case to obtain a liquor license over the objections of a neighboring church was argued before the Supreme Court and won by Harvard Law professor Laurence Tribe, setting a precedent that could put an end to the new Texas abortion ban. … Tribe: The whole case arose because of this arbitrary power that was given to a private entity. It happened to be a church. But the issue is the same whether it’s a church or not. There are cases in which the Supreme Court said you cannot give governmental power over peoples’ lives or liberty to private bodies, that have no public accountability.

Republicans attack Biden’s COVID vaccine plan and threaten court challenges

Republican candidates and conservative activists are planning to attack President Joe Biden’s COVID vaccine mandates in court and on the campaign trail, but they face uphill battles in trying to block the plan. … Laurence H. Tribe, a professor emeritus at Harvard Law School, said the threatened lawsuits reflect “ideological commitments rather than genuine constitutional analysis.” The threatened lawsuits are more political than legal, he said, adding that Republican comments on the Biden plan are in sharp contrast to “the far greater willingness to support unilateral executive actions by former President (Donald) Trump.”

Biden delivers straight talk — and wins kudos

On Thursday, the Biden administration delivered some long-anticipated tough talk on behalf of America’s sane majority. It came from President Biden directly on covid-19 mandates, and from the Justice Department on constitutional order. … Constitutional scholar Laurence H. Tribe tells me, “By emphasizing the affront to federal supremacy and the rule of law inherent in S.B. 8’s intentional blockage of women’s ability to vindicate their own rights, the complaint reaches beyond Roe v. Wade to encompass a structural attack on the basic design of the extraordinary Texas law.” In laymen’s terms: Enough is enough. Texas simply cannot do this.

How To Persuade Even Major Firms To Change

In any large firm today, top management usually includes two groups. One group is committed transform the firm digitally, as a key to survival, let alone thrival. The other group treats the need for digital transformation as a sideshow of the status quo…But within the firm, little has changed, as researchers like Harvard Law professor, Lucian Bebchuk, have noted.

Department of Correction finally hires ombudsman

AFTER A DELAY of several months, the Department of Correction has entered into a contract with the University of Massachusetts Medical School to create an ombudsman’s office within the department. But critics – including prisoners’ rights advocates and some lawmakers – are raising concerns about the appointment process and worry that the ombudsman’s office will not be truly independent…According to a statement from a group of prisoners’ rights groups – Black and Pink Massachusetts, the Building Up People Not Prisons Coalition, the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice at Harvard Law School, and Prisoners’ Legal Services of Massachusetts – epidemiologist Monik Jimenez was vetted for the position by the attorney general’s office and the Department of Public Health and put forward for the role in March. She was never hired, however, which the groups attribute to the Department of Correction not offering Jimenez the resources and hiring autonomy necessary to create an independent office.

Israeli firm unveils armed robot to patrol volatile borders

An Israeli defense contractor on Monday unveiled a remote-controlled armed robot it says can patrol battle zones, track infiltrators and open fire. The unmanned vehicle is the latest addition to the world of drone technology, which is rapidly reshaping the modern battlefield….Bonnie Docherty, a senior researcher from the arms division of Human Rights Watch, said such weapons are worrisome because they can’t be trusted to distinguish between combatants and civilians or make proper calls about the harm attacks may do to nearby civilians. “Machines cannot understand the value of human life, which in essence undermines human dignity and violates human rights laws,” Docherty said. In a 2012 report, Docherty, a lecturer at Harvard Law School, called for fully automated weapons to be banned by international law.