City attorney sues blogger for libel. Is it ‘a threat designed to silence?’

Local politics blogger Kevin Vericker is better known for putting an occasional toe — OK, foot — over the line than for pulling punches. Wielding hyperbole in the rabid manner endemic to the blogosphere, the retired software analyst relentlessly details the palace intrigue of tiny North Bay Village for his 1,000 local readers…The suit is part of a growing trend of public officials taking bloggers to court for posts they see as harmful to their personal or professional image, according to Kendra Albert of Harvard Law School’s Cyberlaw Clinic. Melania Trump filed a high-profile libel suit against a Maryland blogger that settled last year in her favor, with a full retraction and significant reparations. While some cases are legitimate, Albert said, the increase in lawsuits against journalists (think Hulk Hogan vs. Gawker) has publications thinking twice before publishing. These days, even facts can be expensive to defend.

Withdrawal From DACA Litigation Becomes Key Point In Texas Attorney General Race

An op-ed by Samuel Garcia `19. “Why do you think that you can win as a Democrat in Texas?” This is the biggest question hanging over Justin Nelson, Democratic candidate for Texas Attorney General. His response: “I will withdraw Texas from the DACA suit on my first day in office.” Figures from the Department of Homeland Security show that there are approximately 690,000 children in the United States under the protection of DACA (Deferred Action for Children Arrivals). Although altering immigration policy is usually the responsibility of the federal government, children under the protection of DACA may have their status in this country impacted by the results of the Texas Attorney General race. This is because Texas is the lead plaintiff in a multi-state lawsuit to end DACA…According to Phil Torrey, Managing Attorney of the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program, the outcome of the Texas Attorney General race may have fatal consequences to the DACA suit since other states may not be willing to put forth the resources necessary to litigate.

Defrauded student loan borrowers in limbo in wake of judge’s ruling

A tug-of-war between student borrowers hoping to get tens of thousands of dollars in loans they took out for their education discharged and the government may be a step closer to resolution. A federal judge ruled this week that repeated delays by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos of an Obama administration plan to provide debt relief to defrauded borrowers was unlawful…”We think this is an incredibly important ruling both for cheated student loan borrowers and anyone who cares about the government under the rule of law instead of under the thumb of a predatory, for-profit college industry,” said Toby Merrill, director of the Harvard Law School’s Project on Predatory Student Lending.

Legal Experts Urge Release of Watergate Report to Offer Mueller a Road Map

…Echoing a move by the Watergate prosecutor in March 1974, the grand jury with which Mr. Mueller has been working could try to send a report about the evidence it has gathered directly to the House Judiciary Committee. And on Friday, seeking to draw more attention to that option, three prominent legal analysts asked a court to lift a veil of secrecy that has long kept that Watergate-era report hidden…The petition was filed by Benjamin Wittes, a Brookings Institution senior fellow and the editor in chief of Lawfare, an online publication that specializes in national security legal policy issues; Jack Goldsmith, a Harvard Law School professor and senior Justice Department official in the George W. Bush administration; and Stephen Bates, a University of Nevada, Las Vegas, law professor who, as a federal prosecutor working for Ken Starr, the independent counsel who investigated President Bill Clinton, co-wrote the report to Congress recommending that Mr. Clinton be impeached. The three are represented by Protect Democracy, a government watchdog group…In another declaration, Mr. Goldsmith noted the incongruity that the Watergate-era document has a better historical reputation than the Starr report and yet is unavailable for public scrutiny. He argued that making it public would help inform discussion of any effort by Mr. Mueller to send information to Congress, a task that could require navigating “difficult and sensitive issues of executive power, separation of powers and individual rights.”

Indexed Investments and “The Problem of Twelve”

John Coates has a thoughtful paper on the legal and economic challenges of “the problem of twelve,” the prospect of a majority of shares in public companies being managed by just twelve entities, in effect twelve people. “[T]he rise of indexing presents a sharp, general, political challenge to corporate law. The prospect of twelve people even potentially controlling most of the economy poses a legitimacy and accountability issue of the first order – one might even call it a small “c” constitutional challenge.”

The Crisis Was in the System

…Here is a recent paper by John Coates of Harvard Law School with the imposing title “The Future of Corporate Governance Part I: The Problem of Twelve.” The “problem of twelve” is his name for “the likelihood that in the near future roughly twelve individuals will have practical power over the majority of U.S. public companies”: We are rapidly moving into a world in which the bulk of equity capital of large companies with dispersed ownership will be owned by a small number of institutions.

Federal court rules against DeVos in for-profit fraud case

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ move to delay Obama-era protections for students defrauded by for-profit colleges was dealt a setback when a federal judge found her actions to be “arbitrary and capricious.”…Toby Merrill, a litigator at Harvard University’s Project on Predatory Student Lending, which represents defrauded students, hailed the decision as “a huge a rebuke to the department. It’s a really big deal, it’s an incredibly important win for student borrowers and really for anyone who cares about having a government that operates under the rule of law as opposed to as a pawn of industry,” Merrill said.

Judge strikes down DeVos attempt to weaken rule for scammed student loan borrowers

The efforts by Betsy DeVos’s Department of Education to stymie an Obama-era rule surrounding for-profit colleges just hit a major roadblock. A district court judge ruled Wednesday evening that the multiple attempts by the Department to delay the regulation, known as the borrower defense rule, don’t have basis in law. The decision came as part of litigation brought on behalf of borrowers by Public Citizen, a consumer advocacy organization and Harvard Law School’s Project on Predatory Student Lending. The ruling also addresses similar litigation brought by 19 states attorneys general challenging the Department’s efforts to slow implementation of the rule. “This is not the first time, but it’s a really, really important time that we’ve gotten the Department’s illegal attempts to deny people their rights struck down,” said Toby Merrill, the director of the Project on Predatory Student Lending.