Democrats Griping About False Ads Respond With Deception

Even as Democratic Party leaders denounce billionaire Republicans Charles and David Koch for filling the airwaves with misleading commercials, they’re also playing with the facts…“Harry Reid’s in a difficult position,” said Harvard Law School Professor Larry Lessig, who started a super-PAC focused on campaign-finance reform. “It’s hard to see the difference between what he’s attacking and what he’s doing.”

Review Mixed verdict on Supreme Court in ‘Uncertain Justice,’ ‘Court of One’

The U.S. Supreme Court is majestic, immensely powerful and deceptively fragile. It commands by the power of reason, and its justices are, as the great Robert Jackson once observed, not “final because we are infallible, but we are infallible only because we are final.” And yet Americans today increasingly regard the court in an unfavorable light. In 2001, almost two-thirds of Americans approved of the court’s work; by last year, that number had dropped to less than half. “Uncertain Justice: The Roberts Court and the Constitution” takes the measure of the court at this puzzling juncture. The book is full of bright and unconventional wisdom, as one might expect from its author, the venerable law professor Laurence Tribe, here teamed with a young collaborator, Joshua Matz. They portray a court tip-toeing into new areas of constitutional law, divided and without a clear sense of mission or purpose.

How to Take Criticism Well

No one likes getting criticism. But it can be a chance to show off a rare skill: taking negative feedback well…Tempering an emotional response can be hard, especially “if you’re genuinely surprised and you’re getting that flood of adrenaline and panic,” says Douglas Stone, a lecturer at Harvard Law School and co-author of “Thanks for the Feedback.”

Old Harvard, old France, old crime

The Harvard Law School Library is a launching point for well-trained modern lawyers, but it is also a time machine….The latest exhibit drawn from the collections is “Spanning the Centuries,” open in Langdell Hall’s Caspersen Room through Aug. 22 and curated by collections manager Karen S. Beck. Two glass cases contain items from 1579 to 1868, most of them added during the three years she has been on the job. “It gives a taste of the breadth and depth of our collections and what we’re adding,” said Beck.

The Supreme Court Will Always Split 5-4

An op-ed by Cass R. Sunstein. Everyone knows that under Chief Justice John Roberts, the U.S. Supreme Court often divides 5-4 — an even split between liberals and conservatives, with Justice Anthony Kennedy providing the swing vote. But here’s a puzzle. Over recent decades, and under many different chief justices, the share of 5-4 splits in the Court’s docket has been fairly constant — on average, in the vicinity of 20 percent. Is the Court always split between liberals and conservatives, or is there some other explanation?

International Law Firm Mergers Bring Rebound

The nation’s 350 largest law firms showed the biggest headcount growth during 2013 since the nosedive of the recession years, with a respectable 3.9 percent increase…Among leaders of the bigger firms, an international game plan is the focus, said Harvard Law School professor David Wilkins. “It is so clear that all the growth is going to come from outside the U.S.,” said Wilkins, whose scholarship focuses on law firms. “Everyone is trying to figure out what their strategy is.”

Don’t Let Sprint Buy T-Mobile

An op-ed by Susan Crawford. Several years ago, I abandoned my Verizon Wireless subscription for a phone from Sprint, thinking I’d get a better deal from a smaller player. Earlier this year, I left Sprint for T-Mobile, drawn by the maverick carrier’s no-contract, no-subsidy approach and applauding the idea that international data service — slow but nonetheless valuable — came with my new subscription. When I opened the door of the T-Mobile store in my neighborhood, I silently praised the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division and the Federal Communications Commission for blocking the proposed merger of AT&T Inc. and T-Mobile US Inc. in 2011. Because of that, I had choices. For the same reason that deal didn’t go through, a Sprint Corp./T-Mobile joinder shouldn’t be permitted: No matter how the deal is conditioned, it will cause a reduction in competition.

Data on our Data: The cost of surveillance

This month marks the first anniversary of the Edward Snowden leaks that changed our understanding of online privacy…So this week, we’re posting a short series about all that data. Every day we’ll bring you another number that reminds us how much we have learned in the last year about online surveillance and the reach of the NSA. $278,000,000 spent in 2013 by the NSA on “corporate-partner access project “This is the amount spent by the NSA in fiscal year 2013 under what it calls its corporate-partner access project,” Says Susan Crawford, visiting Professor at Harvard Law School. “What they’re doing is reimbursing telecommunications companies for domestic surveillance of all internet traffic.”

California’s Weak Case Against Teacher Tenure

An op-ed by Noah Feldman. State constitutions are law’s Cinderellas. Ignored most of the time by their cruel stepsisters in the federal courts, they emerge suddenly as belles of the ball when a spectacular state court decision puts them front and center. The latest Prince Charming is the California judge who struck down teacher tenure as violating the right to education and equal protection. Unfortunately, the glass slipper doesn’t fit. The decision yesterday by Superior Court Judge Rolf Treu is terribly reasoned — and it should be reversed.

Supreme Court Laps Up POM Wonderful’s Case

An op-ed by Noah Feldman. Antioxidants got you down? They would if you were POM Wonderful LLC, which makes pomegranate and blueberry juices that have to compete with the Coca-Cola Co. Coca-Cola makes its own juice product that mentions pomegranates and blueberries on the label but has only 0.3 percent of the former and 0.2 percent of the latter. POM sued Coke alleging false advertising. Coke replied that the government regulates food labeling, and that its label was fine. Who should win?