There’s nothing that should stop John Bolton from testifying

The Post reports, “Former national security adviser John Bolton is willing to defy the White House and testify in the House impeachment inquiry about his alarm at the Ukraine pressure campaign if a federal court clears the way, according to people familiar with his views.” Nothing prevents Bolton from coming to testify about his knowledge of the Ukraine scandal. Other,current administration officials have been told not to testify based on a bogus absolute immunity theory. Nothing — other than Republican attacks — happens to them as a result of responding to a lawful subpoena. They face no “defiance of a ludicrous executive directive” jail…“It’s particularly ridiculous for Bolton to await some judicial ruling about his obligations to testify under oath to what he knows about a presidential abuse of power so grave that he described it to colleagues as akin to a ‘drug deal’ when other civil servants have risked their careers and endured presidential taunts and threats to speak truth to power in the face of an unprecedented White House order that they all clam up,”says constitutional scholar Laurence Tribe. He observes that Bolton’s “oath to support the U.S. Constitution should matter more to him than his loyalty to the person now occupying the White House and, frankly, his interest in maximizing the royalties from whatever tell-all book he plans to write.”

Supreme Court’s Questions Could Scramble Strategy in Water Case

Unexpected dynamics in a Nov. 6 Supreme Court oral argument might add pressure for parties to settle a high-stakes water pollution case, but the mayor of the Hawaii county involved in the dispute says that’s not an option. Several of the court’s conservative-leaning justices asked questions during the argument that indicate they may not see the litigation through a strictly ideological lens. The case, County of Maui v. Hawai’i Wildlife Fund, asks whether Clean Water Act permits are required for pollution that passes through groundwater or another intermediary before reaching a federal waterway…Harvard Law School professor Richard J. Lazarus said “it’s no longer a sure thing” the court will side with the county, a dynamic that might pressure Maui’s mayor to revisit a settlement plan he previously rejected. Referring to the law firm representing the county, he said, “If I were counsel for [Hunton] Andrews Kurth right now, I’d at least owe my client a phone call.”

Ferrell’s article ranked as the second most cited by the Journal of Financial Economics

A paper by Professor Allen Ferrell ’95, “Socially Responsible Firms,” has been ranked number two on the Journal of Financial Economics’ (JEF) list of the most cited articles since 2016. The paper is co-authored with Hao Liang of Le Kong Chian School of Business, Singapore Management University, and Luc Renneboog of Tilburg University. Using data on firms from around the world and by means of an instrumental variable approach, the paper finds that well-governed firms—meaning firms generally run so as to maximize shareholder value and which suffer from fewer agency problems—engage in more corporate social responsibility initiatives. Ferrell is the Greenfield Professor of Securities Law at Harvard Law School.

Harvard Law Professor: ‘More Than Enough Evidence Now’ Against Donald Trump

Harvard constitutional law professor Laurence Tribe on Thursday warned that “the United States of America is in real danger” as he broke down the latest developments in the ongoing impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump. “We’ve got a president who is willing to compromise our national security by hurting a country that is a buffer zone between an expanding Russia and the NATO alliance by undermining the Ukraine,” Tribe told CNN’s Anderson Cooper about the ongoing fallout from Trump’s July phone call with Ukraine’s president. During the call, Trump had requested his counterpart to dig up dirt on his  potential Democratic 2020 rival Joe Biden allegedly in exchange for the release of military aid.

Public Impeachment Hearings Will Start with a Bang

An article by Noah Feldman:  It’s no surprise that Ambassador William Taylor is expected to be the first witness to testify when the House of Representatives opens public impeachment hearings against President Donald Trump next week. First, he’s an astoundingly credible witness — straight from central casting, as Trump himself likes to say about some of his appointees. As a matter of prosecutorial strategy, that makes him an ideal first witness for House Democrats to lay out their case for the first time to the public. Second, the content of Taylor’s deposition was extraordinarily damning. That’s because it nailed Trump’s abuse of power, the fundamental element of the “high crimes and misdemeanors” for which Democrats aim to impeach.

The Big Problem With Wealth Taxes

An op-ed by Daniel Hemel, an assistant professor at the University of Chicago Law School and a visiting professor at Harvard Law School, and Rebecca Kysar, a professor at Fordham University School of Law:  Senator Elizabeth Warren unveiled a new wealth tax proposal last week that she says will raise — along with her previously announced wealth tax plan — $3.75 trillion over the next decade. Senator Bernie Sanders says his wealth tax will yield $4.35 trillion over the same period. We fear these figures are vast overestimates. The likeliest outcome is that a wealth tax will raise exactly zero dollars. The problem, alas, is the Constitution. The Warren and Sanders plans run headlong into more than two centuries of precedent that cast doubt on the constitutionality of wealth taxation. We are tax law professors who identify as liberal Democrats, donate to Democratic candidates, publicly opposed the Trump tax cuts and strongly support higher taxes on the affluent. We are heartened that prominent Democratic presidential candidates are taking the problem of wealth inequality very seriously. We are worried, though, that leading figures in our party are coalescingaround an idea whose constitutionality is doubtful at best.

New online tool tells Mass. veterans if they qualify for financial aid

For years, Massachusetts has had a program that provides financial aid for food, housing, clothing and medical care to veterans and their dependents with limited incomes. There’s only one problem — many veterans have never heard of it. On Tuesday, the Veterans Legal Clinic at Harvard Law School’s Legal Services Center unveiled the Massachusetts Veteran Benefit Calculator, an online tool the clinic created to help veterans easily determine if they’re eligible for financial assistance through the program known as Chapter 115. “We’re proud to be able to launch it statewide this Veterans Day,” said Betsy Gwin, associate director of the Veterans Legal Clinic. “Spreading the word about this tool and increasing awareness about Chapter 115 benefits is something that is tangible; it’s a concrete thing that we can all do together right now to help support low-income veterans and their families in Massachusetts.”

Taking a second look at life imprisonment

An op-ed by Nancy Gertner and Mark Mauer:  Arnie King has been serving a sentence of life without parole in Massachusetts since 1972 for the murder of John Labanara. King was a high school dropout addicted to drugs and alcohol. He was seeking his next high the night he killed Labanara. Over the last 47 years, King has changed his life. He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Boston University, has spoken to at-risk youths about making better choices in their lives, and has received awards for his community leadership, including the anti-racism leadership Award from Simmons College. Still, despite the time he has served and his rehabilitation, he has failed to secure a sentence commutation from the governor that would make him eligible for parole. A recent hearing in the Massachusetts House of Representatives shed light on this little-known aspect of mass incarceration. While there has been a great deal of attention in recent years to the impact of the drug war on growing prison populations, in fact, the main drivers of the prison system now are excessive sentences for violent offenses.

Why America’s CEOs Are Talking About Stakeholder Capitalism

An op-ed by Mark Roe: Back in August, the Business Roundtable, which comprises the chief executive officers of America’s largest companies – with combined annual revenues of more than $7 trillion – updated its long-standing statement regarding corporate purpose. It’s not just about shareholders, the CEOs say; their firms must be committed to all stakeholders, including customers, employees, suppliers, communities, and the environment. In fact, shareholders came in last on the CEOs’ new list. And the statement’s principal author, in his apparent exhilaration, is reported to have said that he felt like Thomas Jefferson drafting the Declaration of Independence. The August announcement generated three main strands of reaction. First, some liberal commentators applauded US business leaders for finally getting the message. They criticized not the goals, but the lack of a proposal for how stakeholders can hold CEOs directly accountable. More skeptical observers said that the statement differed little from previous Business Roundtable pronouncements on corporate purpose: boards and executives need, or at least want, discretion to balance the interests of various stakeholders other than the company’s owners. For these critics, this latest declaration offered nothing new, but was a restated manifesto of CEO and board discretion and power to run their companies as they see fit.

DHS Bid To Collect Social Media Info Sparks Privacy Concerns

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s proposal to collect social media handles from foreign citizens has been met with backlash from civil rights and higher education groups that caution it will chill free speech and discourage international students from studying in the U.S. … The Harvard Law School Immigration Project and Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program flagged a recent incident that made national news when a Palestinian student at Harvard College was denied entry to the U.S. because of political messages posted by his “friends” on social media, even though he had not posted any political messages on his own account. “This example illustrates the potential dangers of the department’s proposed policy,” the school’s immigration clinic wrote in their comment. “If noncitizens can be denied admission or an immigration benefit based on their friends’ social media activity over the past five years, many would likely refrain from engaging in associational activity freely on social media or even from using social media at all — which in turn would seriously and impermissibly burden their First Amendment right of free association.”