How events in Ferguson put race back on the agenda

Over the last two weeks, a formerly obscure suburb of St. Louis has become a crucible for how race is lived in America.In Ferguson, much depends on the course of the investigation and whether residents consider it impartial and thorough. A failure to charge the officer involved or to secure a guilty verdict is likely to produce fresh clashes. “It’s going to be hard to convince the African Americans in Ferguson that this police officer didn’t do something outrageous,” says Michael Klarman, a legal historian and constitutional scholar at Harvard Law School.

In Allergan Case and Others, Hostile Bidders Are Making the Most of Firms’ Weakened Defenses

America’s corporate citadels are becoming less impregnable. A more aggressive stance by shareholders is opening new avenues to hostile bids and ushering in radical changes to boards and management teams. … In 2002, 60% of S&P 500 companies had staggered boards, according to Institutional Shareholder Services Inc. Today, just 10% do. A project spearheaded by Harvard Law School Prof. Lucian Bebchuk has floated nearly 200 proposals to destagger boards since 2012. The nonbinding measures received 80% of votes cast, and at least 98 companies have voluntarily adopted them, according to the project’s website.

How to Deregulate Cities and States

An op-ed by Edward Glaeser and Cass Sunstein: A lot of attention has been devoted in recent years to overregulation at the national level. For many people, though, the regulations that hit hardest come from states and localities. The story of Uber’s fight with overzealous local regulators is only a well-publicized tip of the iceberg. A 2012 study conducted by the Institute for Justice finds that 102 trades and occupations now face licensing requirements in states or cities. The people who suffer most from them are those without a lot of money or advanced education.

Who Cares What Economists Say About Immigration?

An op-ed by Cass Sunstein: In his 2014 State of the Union address, President Barack Obama tried to attract support for one of his highest priorities when he said, “Independent economists say immigration reform will grow our economy and shrink our deficits.” He’s right. Economists disagree about a lot of things, but on behalf of immigration reform, there is a professional consensus that cuts across the usual political divisions. Why, then, has reform stalled in Congress?

The First Amendment Should Protect Disfavored Viewpoints

An op-ed by Laurence H. Tribe: The United States Supreme Court has said that “the constitutional right of free expression is powerful medicine.” Powerful and essential, and it needs to be administered to everyone, including physicians and those regulating their practice. Recent decisions by two federal appeals courts suggest, to the contrary, that the doctor’s office is becoming a First Amendment-free zone…Still, both judicial opinions are troubling for the same reason: They broadly paint medical care as “conduct,” not “speech,” and thereby entirely exempt occupational-licensing laws from the usual First Amendment scrutiny.

US has yet to overcome its tortured racial past (registration required)

An op-ed by Annette Gordon-Reed. For a founding father who usually took a sunny view of his nation’s prospects, it was a darkly pessimistic prophesy. In his Notes on the State of Virginia, Thomas Jefferson argued that if – as he hoped – America’s black slaves were one day set free, the result would be conflict and an inevitable descent into racial war. And in the hours after Governor Jay Nixon imposed a night-time curfew on the Missouri town of Ferguson following the killing there of an unarmed teenager by a police officer earlier this month, it is indeed reasonable to wonder whether a form of war (sometimes hot, sometimes cold) has been waged against blacks in America from Jefferson’s time until our own.

Harvard law prof calls for arrest of Ferguson cop; autopsy finds teen was shot at least six times

Harvard law professor Charles Ogletree is calling for the arrest of the police officer who shot and killed 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, on Aug. 9. Appearing Sunday on Meet the Press, Ferguson commented after host Andrea Mitchell noted that police still have not released details of the shooting, including whether Brown was shot at close range and where he was shot…NBC News has this transcript. Ogletree agreed that information is critical. “And I think the first thing that needs to happen,” Ogletree continued, “we need to arrest Officer Wilson. He shot and killed a man, shot him multiple times. And he’s walking free. No one knows anything about him, no one knows why he did it. We need to have that done, number one.” Second, he said, was the need for increased dialogue.