Will anyone be prosecuted for the Malaysia Airlines shootdown?

Samantha Power, U.S. ambassador to the U.N., said Friday that whoever shot down Malaysia Airlines flight 17 over the Ukraine “must be brought to justice.” But how likely is it that anyone will be compelled to appear in a courtroom and answer for the death of 298 passengers and crew?…Alex Whiting, a professor of international law at Harvard Law School, told NBC News he felt it would be hard to bring a criminal case in the ICC against Russian officials, because prosecutors would need to establish that the shooters knew they were firing at a passenger plane.

JAMA opinion piece calls for ending lifetime ban on blood donation by gay men

Gay marriage laws and court rulings against sexual-orientation discrimination are all signs that it’s time for the federal government to change its blood-donor policy for gay and bisexual men, authors said in a commentary released Saturday. The lifetime ban for blood donation by men who have sex with men (MSM) “may be perpetuating outdated homophobic perceptions,” wrote Dr. Eli Y. Adashi of Brown University and scholars I. Glenn Cohen and Jeremy Feigenbaum, both of Harvard Law School, in the July 23/30 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Mass. would house hundreds of migrant children

Governor Deval Patrick provided new details Thursday about a federal request to house some of the migrant children crossing the US border, saying he has asked officials to find a location for several hundred Central American children for about four months…John Willshire Carrera and Nancy Kelly, immigration lawyers in Boston, said they will ask federal officials to provide the children with access to lawyers. “As a bar, we are very ready to take on representation of these children. We are definitely welcoming of these kids and we’re going to fight for them,” said Willshire Carrera, a lawyer with the Harvard Law School Immigration and Refugee Clinic at Greater Boston Legal Services.

Abortion Clinic Protections Proposed in Massachusetts

Massachusetts lawmakers expressed support for a bill filed on Monday that they say would address safety concerns that arose when the United States Supreme Court last month struck down 35-foot buffer zones for demonstrators standing near entrances to abortion clinics…Laurence H. Tribe, a professor of constitutional law at Harvard, said the new measure appeared to clear both of those lines of criticism. “It is a much more narrowly focused bill in terms of the conduct that it prohibits,” Mr. Tribe said. “It prohibits obstruction of access, which is not an expression of free speech.”

After Abortion Ruling, Mass. Pushes To Replace Buffer Zone Law

Just three weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a Massachusetts law that created a 35-foot buffer zone around clinics that perform abortions, lawmakers there are rushing through a replacement. The new bill, which they hope to pass before the legislative session ends in two weeks, would give police more power to disperse unruly protesters…Harvard Law professor Richard Fallon says that in spirit, at least, Massachusetts has done what the court directed. “What’s innovative about this is that it’s a buffer zone triggered by bad conduct, and it’s a narrower buffer zone,” he says. “But then the questions will be whether this is narrow enough.”

Roberts Turns Supreme Court Into Friendliest Bar in Washington

The Supreme Court concluded its annual term last month once again in acrimony, this time over contraceptives and collective bargaining. That followed earlier schisms over campaign finance and prayer at town council meetings. Yet Chief Justice John Roberts sees friends everywhere…”Many times they literally are friends,” says Harvard law professor Richard Lazarus, a (literal) friend of the chief justice. Besides, he says, “I think it does have an impact on the atmosphere. I think it tends to make it less hostile, less accusatory, less of an effort of one side to demonize the other.”

Little Sisterhood at Supreme Court

Women lawyers have argued before the U.S. Supreme Court since 1879, but in a forum where opposing counsel traditionally were called “brother,” it took nearly a century for the female sex to gain third-person equality…”I would love to be able to say that I had noticed this,” said one Stewart protégé who didn’t, Harvard law professor Laurence Tribe. Mr. Tribe, who clerked for Justice Stewart during the 1967-68 term, adds that he’s not surprised by Justice Stewart’s egalitarian vocabulary. “He was as close to being a nonsexist as I could imagine back in that time,” Mr. Tribe says.

Harvard legal star hired by Cape Wind opponents

Opponents of the proposed Nantucket Sound wind farm will appeal the dismissal of a federal lawsuit challenging the contract for the project with an all-star constitutional scholar. Harvard law professor Laurence Tribe will represent the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound in its appeal of a federal court decision, which dismissed a challenge Cape Wind’s contract with NSTAR. Tribe will be the “principal author of the appeal briefs by the Alliance and will probably present the oral argument of the Alliance in the First Circuit,” he told the Herald.

Some Insurance Companies Ask Their Customers to Cross the Border for Care

By Glenn Cohen and Adam Teicholz. Before dawn on a Wednesday in January, Cesar Flores, a 40-year-old employed by a large retail chain, woke up at his home in Chula Vista, California. He got in his car and crossed the border into Tijuana. From there, he headed for a local hospital, where he got lab tests—part of routine follow-up to a kidney stone procedure. He had his blood drawn and left the hospital at 7:30. He arrived home before 10. Uninsured Americans have long known that seeking medical care abroad is often more cost-effective than seeking it at home…But Flores’s situation isn’t medical tourism as we know it. Flores has insurance through his wife’s employer. But his insurer, a small, three-year-old startup H.M.O. called MediExcel, requires Flores to obtain certain medical treatment at a hospital across the border.

A new tactic to halt child abuse in Maryland

Baltimore is changing the way it handles cases of alleged child abuse and neglect — part of a broad social-services strategy that has been touted by Maryland officials but abandoned in some other states…Elizabeth Bartholet, a professor at Harvard Law School, said an emerging body of research shows that claims about the success of alternative approaches might not be what they seem. Some research is promoted by groups pushing a premise that children are almost always better off staying in their home, she said. She’s worried that will lead to federal policy changes and further drain resources from traditional child protective services in favor of in-home treatment programs, leaving the most vulnerable children in dangerous situations.