It was Thursday night and the Ames Courtroom was decked out for a Hollywood-style awards ceremony–1Ls and their dates arrived in tuxes and ball gowns while a jazz combo played, and anticipation was in the air. The winter’s first snow was falling outside, but in Austin Hall, the Tortys had come to town.
On a March evening, Michael Thomas Jr. gave a tour of Gannett House to his dad and two brothers, who were visiting to see where Barack Obama first made headlines as the first black leader of the Harvard Law Review. But they were also there to celebrate Thomas, who had recently been elected the journal’s third African-American president.
“Tough Cases,” a new book in which 13 trial judges from criminal, civil, probate, and family courts write candid and poignant firsthand accounts of the trials they can’t forget, was the subject of a lively discussion at a panel sponsored by the Harvard Law School Library, which drew a packed house at Wasserstein Hall in October.
With the Supreme Court divided ideologically along partisan lines for the first time in history, the Solicitor General—no matter the administration—has become more political. How did this post, long regarded as the keel keeping the government balanced, come to contribute to forceful tacks one way or the other, to the Court’s seeming indifference?
The Harvard Law School Library hosted a series of book talks by HLS authors, with topics including Authoritarianism in America, the Supreme Court of India, and Legal Reasoning and Political Conflict. As part of this ongoing series, faculty authors from various disciplines shared their research and discussed their recently published books with a panel of colleagues and the Harvard Law community.
“It Can’t Happen Here,” the novel by Sinclair Lewis written in the 1930s as fascism was rising in Europe, imagines an America overtaken by an authoritarian regime. The new book edited by Harvard Law Professor Cass Sunstein ’78, “Can It Happen Here?: Authoritarianism in America” (Dey Street Books), does not predict the same fate. Yet the contributors—several also affiliated with Harvard Law—take seriously the possibility that it could happen here, despite the safeguards built into the American system of government.