Is it time yet to take Trump seriously?

Many across the United States and across the world watched with horror as the events and aftermath of Charlottesville unfolded this past week. It was absolutely surreal, however, to watch these events unfold from Berlin, where I was visiting.

There, I understood with greater nuance how a charismatic leader, the repression of unfavorable journalism, and a large working class looking for someone to blame for their struggles created the perfect storm for Nazi ideology to take hold. Further, it was impossible not to recognize the extent to which Germany instilled a culture of remorse and remembrance in a way that the U.S. never did for its own crimes. I toured the Sachsenhausen concentration camp, where the sickening words “arbeit macht frei” (“work will set you free”) are wrought into the iron entrance gates. It chilled me to imagine how many people were led through those gates believing that if they simply worked hard and trusted in Hitler’s agenda, they might eventually prevail in the face of adversity.

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An Interview with Dean Manning

On July 1, Professor John Manning ‘85 was appointed the 13th Dean of Harvard Law School. The Record sat down with him for a conversation over the summer. Read on for his thoughts.

This interview has been condensed and edited for length and clarity.

The Record: I want to start out with the hard-hitting, big picture questions. What will be the effect on your teaching load this year?

Dean Manning: I plan on continuing teaching the Public Law Workshop with Professor Daphna Renan. We’ve got a great lineup of speakers. For my spring Legislation and Regulation class, Professor Jacob Gersen has kindly agreed to step in and teach that. In the first year on a new job, I want to focus on learning how to do the best job I can do. We’ll go from there and we’ll see what kind of teaching I can do in the years out.

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“All Rise!”, Episode 13: Heather McGhee

The Harvard Law Record’s podcast — All Rise! — has just released its thirteenth episode: an interview with Demos President Heather McGhee.

McGhee is a leading figure in a new generation of progressive changemakers, a fresh face on television and in the op-ed section, and the President of Demos, a public policy organization working for an America where we all have an equal say in our democracy and an equal chance in our economy. She joined All Rise! this past Spring to discuss theater, American studies, the role of leaders in the progressive movement, the ability to make change over time, and hope for the democracy movement in the Trump era.

All Rise! is a longform interview podcast in which Harvard Law 3Ls Brady Bender and Pete Davis interview members of the Harvard community. You can subscribe to All Rise! on iTunes here and listen to this week’s episode below:

Why Dean Manning Should be Welcomed

On July 1, John F. Manning became the 13th dean of Harvard Law School. Dean Manning, who joined the faculty in 2004, is a graduate of Harvard College (’82) and Harvard Law School (’85). After graduating from law school, he clerked for Judge Robert Bork on the D.C. Court of Appeals and Justice Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court. Afterwards, he worked for the U.S. Department of Justice in the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) and the Office of the Solicitor General. Dean Manning is widely considered an expert in administrative law and constitutional law, and has argued nine cases before the Supreme Court.

In announcing Manning’s appointment, Harvard University President Drew Faust highlighted his “unusual capacity for creating conversations and connections across lines of difference, and [his] deep appreciation for a wide range of perspectives and methods.” Manning succeeded Dean Martha Minow, who will begin a fellowship next fall at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. By every available metric, Dean Manning is an accomplished scholar. Even more importantly, he has garnered the respect and admiration of students and faculty.

Nevertheless, Manning’s appointment as dean has not been without some controversy. One writer at Above the Law shared his disappointment that Harvard selected a white, conservative male as dean, expressing his frustration that “HLS followed two successive women deans … with a Bork/Scalia clerk.”

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“All Rise!”, Episode 12: Bob Bordone

The Harvard Law Record’s podcast — All Rise! — has just released its twelfth episode: an interview with Harvard Law professor Bob Bordone.

Bordone is the Founding Director of the Harvard Negotiation and Mediation Clinical Program, an expert in dispute systems design, and the leader of perhaps the only class on campus that makes people cry out of emotional connection rather than academic anxiety. He joined All Rise! in the spring to discuss his love of Dan Rather, his surprising path to becoming a law professor, and the special skills required for negotiation and mediation. Plus: a negotiation lightning round!

All Rise! is a longform interview podcast in which Harvard Law 3Ls Brady Bender and Pete Davis interview members of the Harvard community. You can subscribe to All Rise! on iTunes here and listen to this week’s episode below:

Addendum to the Report of the Harvard Law School Task Force on Academic Community and Student Engagement

As student representatives to the Harvard Law School Task Force on Academic Community and Student Engagement, we believe in the potential power of Harvard Law School. We believe this institution is uniquely situated to serve as a steward of the rule of law in a time of critical global need; as a training ground for ethical advocates for social justice and responsible corporate lawyers alike; and as an academic playground for much-needed intellectual exploration. We believe that if the institution’s unparalleled resources––human and financial––were mobilized to ensure that all stakeholders in our community are heard, Harvard Law would be better positioned to fulfill its mission to train world-class lawyers, leaders, advocates, and agents for change.

Yet, the composition of this Task Force––with representatives for students, alumni, and faculty–– seems to mirror the larger challenges facing the institution: an unfulfilled voice of all members of the community. Even in the presence of student representatives, student concerns were not heard or considered. The subjects of our critique, the methods utilized to observe issues, and the innovative and imaginative proposals offered by students were often met with platitudes. Whether about the scope of the Task Force, about our role on the Task Force, or about the hard lines delineating what we could and could never question about the structure of this institution, students on this Task Force were denied the exercise of power afforded to us by the broad mandate articulated by Dean Martha Minow. This tension highlights a broader problem on campus––the wide latitude of the HLS professorate vis-a-vis the rest of the HLS community. To this end, in our capacity as student representatives to this Task Force, we felt compelled and driven by principle to articulate the concerns of students in a manner that we think best captures the concerns of our peers.

The faculty is the gatekeeper of Harvard Law School. They are a self-governing, self-regulating body that collectively determines the direction of the institution. At present, faculty answers to no one within the law school community, whether on procedural or academic matters. Therefore, Harvard Law School, like any sizable institution, has room for improvement, but only if the institution and its gatekeepers are open to progress. If the law school is serious about making positive change, faculty must genuinely listen to the ideas, suggestions, questions, and concerns of the entire community. Harvard Law School is nothing more than a partnership between its faculty, staff, students, and alumni. Only through true and meaningful engagement with all of these essential stakeholders that make up the institution will we be able to achieve the lofty goals set out in the school’s mission statement.

The Task Force itself was never expected to solve the challenges faced by the school. Instead, we were tasked to investigate; to listen; to understand; ultimately, to suggest a way forward by way of recommendations. Although we agree with many of the recommendations in the Report, we diverge on a few critical subjects. We are of the view that the problem is not articulated well enough. Instead, the Task Force Report resorts to generalities that are devoid of the concerns we heard from students, rendering the investigation piece utterly meaningless. While the recommendations are worthwhile tweaks, they are minimal in the face of the enormous task for which we were called to probe and mend. The challenges facing this law school are endemic, and nothing short of meaningful engagement and a commitment to material change will be able to address concerns expressed by students and faculty members for decades.

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Letter to the Editor: The Destruction of the Constitutional Right of “Freedom of Association” at Harvard University

Recently, the administration leadership at Harvard University has proposed a ban on fraternities, sororities, and “finals clubs”, as well as other organizations. The ban would apply to students who attend university at Harvard. As a graduate of Harvard Law School, I view this as misguided policy. The Constitution of the United States guarantees “freedom of association”.

In my opinion, if this ban goes into effect, members of these clubs simply have to sue Harvard University, in federal court, for violating their constitutional rights. The University will lose these lawsuits, but why make everyone go through that misery? To have a committee of administrators decide which private organizations students can belong to, and which they cannot belong to, is not only a clear violation of the student’s constitutional rights, it is overbearing, downright parental, overly paternalistic, and frightens this freedom-loving citizen.

Let the students make their own decisions, and let the students make their own mistakes. Accountability, legal and otherwise, should always be on an individual basis, not a form of collective punishment, and clearly never a form of collective banishment.

Perhaps the leadership of Harvard University could spend their time better by sitting around a bong, and smoking copious amounts of marijuana, and eating mountains of pop tarts. Then in their heads, they can dream of the dictatorship that they so clearly want to impose on the powerless students of the University. “Hey teachers, leave those kids alone!”

Sincerely,

Charles Facktor
Harvard Law School Class of 1990

“All Rise!”, Episode 11: Carol Steiker

The Harvard Law Record’s podcast — All Rise! — has just released its eleventh episode: an interview with Harvard Law professor Carol Steiker.

Carol Steiker is the leading national expert on the death penalty and one half of perhaps the most influential brother-sister team in the law today. She joined All Rise! in the spring to discuss growing up in a family of lawyers, beating Elena Kagan out to be president of the Harvard Law Review, clerking for Thurgood Marshall, and fighting for the abolition of the death penalty.

All Rise! is a longform interview podcast in which Harvard Law 2Ls Brady Bender and Pete Davis interview members of the Harvard community. You can subscribe to All Rise! on iTunes here and listen to this week’s episode below:

“All Rise!”, Episode 10: Khiara Bridges

The Harvard Law Record’s podcast — All Rise! — has just released its tenth episode: an interview with Harvard Law visiting professor Khiara Brdiges.

Bridges is a force in Critical Race Theory scholarship, a Professor of Law and Anthropology at Boston University, an accomplished ballerina, and, according to the Boston Globe, one of Boston’s most fashionable people. She joined All Rise! in the spring to talk about: growing up in Miami, the importance of Spelman college, finding out about 9/11 during a Columbia tax law course, the insights of legal anthropology, and how she hopes to build on the legacy of her critical race theory mentors.

All Rise! is a longform interview podcast in which Harvard Law 2Ls Brady Bender and Pete Davis interview members of the Harvard community. You can subscribe to All Rise! on iTunes here and listen to this week’s episode below:

Indulge Us: Take the Summer Pledge

The Record recently published a thoughtful piece arguing that the Public Interest Pledge is “no more than a symbolic gesture of penance for Harvard students who feel guilty about not doing enough.” Although we disagree with this characterization of the Pledge, we take the author’s moral licensing argument seriously, which is why we write here to defend the Pledge both as an end in itself and as a catalyst for increased and more effective charitable giving at HLS.

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“All Rise!”, Episode 9: Max Kenner & Vince Greco

The Harvard Law Record’s podcast — All Rise! — has just released its ninth episode (and fourth episode of its second season): an interview with prison reform advocates Max Kenner and Vince Greco.

Max Kenner is the founder and Executive Director of the Bard Prison Initiative, one of the leading programs providing college educations — and college degrees — to incarcerated Americans. He started the program while an undergraduate at Bard College and has overseen its growth over the past 16 years into a world-renowned program, copied at multiple colleges and featured in Bill Clinton’s book Giving.

Vince Greco is one of the leading formerly incarcerated prison reform advocates in Maryland. He is member of the Maryland Alliance for Justice Reform and Out for Justice. He is a beneficiary of prison education and during his three decade incarceration was a leader on the inside in expanding college programs to Maryland prisons.

Kenner and Greco joined All Rise! in March to discuss the first encounters with prison education, the philosophy behind their prison education work and their hopes for the future of prison education.

All Rise! is a longform interview podcast in which Harvard Law 2Ls Brady Bender and Pete Davis interview members of the Harvard community. You can subscribe to All Rise! on iTunes here and listen to this week’s episode below:

Indulgences for the Trump Era: The Public Interest Pledge

At the height of the Catholic Church’s power in the late Middle Ages, parishioners could pay the church fees to reduce the amount of time their souls would suffer in Purgatory before entering Heaven. This practice of paying “indulgences,” as such fees were called, was one of the principal targets of Martin Luther’s Ninety-Five Theses, and the practice has been a symbol of the medieval Catholic Church’s corruption ever since.

With EIP around the corner, and with 80 percent of Harvard Law students likely to participate in its orgy of cocktail mixers and free lunches, it’s a good time to reflect on HLS’s preferred means of moral salvation for those of us who feel guilty about settling for BigLaw: the Public Interest Pledge.

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At the Harvard Law Forum: Heather McGhee on Moving Beyond Resistance

Demos President Heather McGhee is a national leader in the fight for working families. Demos is a public policy organization working for an America where “we all have an equal say in our democracy and an equal chance in our economy.” McGhee’s opinions, writing and research have appeared in The New York Times, The Nation, The Hill, Meet the Press, among other publications. She is one of The Root’s 23 Black Political Pundits You Should Know and one of Grist’s 50 People You’ll Be Talking about in 2016.

On April 10, 2017, she came to the Harvard Law Forum to show how students can help progressive organizations earn and deserve the trust of the majority of Americans who reject Trumpism by moving beyond resistance and towards helping restore working families to power. The video is below:

At the Harvard Law Forum: Max Kenner and Vince Greco on Fighting for Prison Education

In 1999, as a college student at Bard, Max Kenner founded and developed the Bard Prison Initiative, which has become the premier program for providing incarcerated Americans with full college educations, associate’s and bachelor’s degrees.

Vince Greco is one of the leading formerly incarcerated prison reform advocates in Maryland. He is member of the Maryland Alliance for Justice Reform and Out for Justice. He is a beneficiary of prison education and during his three decade incarceration was a leader on the inside in expanding college programs to Maryland prisons.

On March 30, 2017, Kenner and Greco came to Harvard to remind students of the imperative of fighting for educational opportunity for incarcerated people, describe other innovative ways organizations like BPI are creating extraordinary college opportunity in unusual circumstances, and to show Harvard students how they, too, can open up the resources of our university to incarcerated neighbors. Their videos are below:

At the Harvard Law Forum: Elizabeth and Matt Bruenig on “Building a Moral Economy”

Elizabeth Bruenig and Matt Bruenig are considered by some to be the moral politics dream team of the Millennial generation. Elizabeth is an assistant editor at the Washington Post, whose writing focuses on ethics, politics, and culture from a Catholic social justice perspective. Matt is an incisive poverty analyst and Twitter sage who has written for Jacobin, Demos, The Atlantic, Dissent and The Washington Post.

They came to the Harvard Law Forum on April 5 to give a one-two punch of moral vision and economic analysis to wake up Harvard Law students to the imperative of working towards a moral economy. The video is below: