Open Letter: We Condemn President Trump’s Incitement of Violence

To our students and the wider HLS community,

We write to condemn a series of acts by President Trump that incite violence and are inconsistent with a democratic legal order.  On November 29th, the President circulated unverified videos that explicitly vilified members of a religious community as dangerous.  In his tweet, the videos appeared without any comment, context, or explanation, as if the fact that they concerned “Muslim” actors itself established their relevance.   In that way, the videos justified hostility towards individuals on the ground of their faith alone.  The President’s message further endorsed violence insofar as it expressly retweeted, thus apparently approving, a source convicted of religiously aggravated harassment.

Continue reading “Open Letter: We Condemn President Trump’s Incitement of Violence”

Response to the Oneida Nation

I used a racial epithet in my last column. I didn’t mean to use one. It didn’t even occur to me that I had at the time. While sitting in my family’s home and digesting a holiday meal, I was thinking about which teams would come out on top in the upcoming football games. I wasn’t thinking about how my use of the name of the Washington, D.C. football team, the R-word, would denigrate an entire race of people. But none of that changes the fact that it did.

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Letter to the Editor: Don’t Use the R-Word in Football Coverage

Dear Editorial Board,

As a Native American and proud alumnus of Harvard Law School, I was very disappointed to see your esteemed publication use the dictionary-defined R-word slur last week in your coverage of the Washington NFL team. I am writing today to respectfully request that you join other leading media organizations in refraining from using the offensive epithet in your future reporting.

Continue reading “Letter to the Editor: Don’t Use the R-Word in Football Coverage”

You Should Move to Texas

We know this is a little out of the blue, but … we think you should move to Texas. Let us explain.

Not long ago in the Gulf of Mexico near Palacios, Texas, Vietnamese refugee and fisherman Vin Nguyen explained how he decided to make his home in Texas.

“It’s very good for shrimping,” he said. “Make money more.”

Vin’s right, of course. The opportunity to make more money is what led New York real estate speculators to found Houston in 1836, and is what continues to make Houston the most diverse city in the country, and Texas the top destination in the United States for refugees. No offense to the up-and-coming HLS West Coast Club, but more people are moving to Texas than any other state, and Californians are leading the exodusNew Yorkers aren’t far behind.

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3Ls: This Holiday Season, Give More Than Thanks

If you’re at HLS, you likely have many reasons to give thanks. For example, you are receiving a world-class education, are likely to be financially secure for the rest of your life, and now have the political access that comes with a degree from this institution.

You are also (currently, at least) living in a country where no war rages, death by infectious disease has been nearly eliminated, functional-if-flawed public health and education infrastructures exist, infant mortality is low, and almost nobody lives in the extreme poverty that still afflicts hundreds of millions of people around the globe.

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The Series Finale of All Rise!

The series finale of All Rise!, Brady Bender and Pete Davis’ longform legal interview podcast, is live:

 

It has been a joy interviewing folks over the past two years: from tech law expert Jonathan Zittrain to Demos President Heather McGhee to death penalty abolitionist Carol Steiker.

The good news is that the podcast isn’t going away — SJD Evelyn Douek and 3L Hannah Solomon-Strauss are taking over the Record’s podcast mics to launch ‘Leading Questions.’

Many thanks to all who listened! Stay tuned in the feed next week for Evelyn and Hannah’s first episode.

Boston Should Lead the Way Toward the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons

Everyone in Boston knows that when a house catches ablaze, lives are saved by pulling the fire alarm. Sirens wail, trucks race down the street, and a fire crew comes to the rescue. But what if the fires haven’t started, yet are close to being ignited, on a scale that would dwarf – by more than a thousand-fold – the 1942 Cocoanut Grove fire that killed 492 Bostonians?

Today and every day, those fires could be only minutes away, ignited by the detonation of even a single nuclear warhead in Boston, perhaps as a result of a Russian computer malfunction, perhaps from a ship in which a single terrorist warhead lies smuggled in a disguised shipping container. But what can Bostonians do? Continue reading “Boston Should Lead the Way Toward the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons”

NFL Previews, Week 11

It’s week 11 and the postseason picture is beginning to come into focus. This week’s matchups offer a glimpse of the playoff match ups to come. Here are some of the key games this weekend.

Rams at Vikings, Sunday, November 19th at 1:00 PM on FOX.

What a difference a year makes. The Rams are sitting at 7-2 thanks to Jared Goff and the league’s #1 scoring offense (32.9 pts/gm). They’ll be looking for a signature win this week against the Vikings and one of the league’s youngest and most talented defenses. Look for Vikings CB Xavier Rhodes to match up against the potent Rams passing attack while Case Keenum leans on the potent duo of Adam Thielen and Steffon Diggs to move the chains. These are two young and talented teams looking to make a deep playoff run for the first time in several seasons. This should be a spirited competition. Continue reading “NFL Previews, Week 11”

College Football Previews, Week 12

LSU at Tennessee, Saturday, 7 p.m., ESPN

This week, the 7-3 Tigers travel to Knoxville to take on the 4-6 Volunteers. Tennessee has yet to secure a single SEC win and head coach Butch Jones was fired last Sunday after a 50-17 loss to Missouri – a team with four SEC losses of its own. Defensive line coach Brady Hoke has been named as interim head coach. Although he is in his first year at Tennessee, Hoke has prior head coaching experience – most notably at Michigan, where he lead the Wolverines to their first bowl game in five years during his inaugural season. Hoke has a solid track record of turning teams around, but it’s not clear how much he’ll be able to do in a single week.

This should be an easy win for LSU. The Tigers have collected four conference wins and looked strong since their September loss to Troy. However, SEC fans are acutely aware of the unpredictability of college football. We’ll have to tune in Saturday night to see if the Tigers bring home the victory.

– Megan Fitzgerald, 3L

At the Harvard Law Forum: R.L. Stephens

R.L. Stephens is an elected member of the National Political Committee of the Democratic Socialists of America and the former A. Philip Randolph Fellow at Jacobin Magazine. His writing on race, class and social movements has appeared in The Guardian, Gawker, and Jacobin. He was a campaign strategist at labor union Unite Here in Chicago and previously participated in a campaign to end unfair scheduling practices in the retail sector while working at Gap. He graduated from George Washington Law in 2014.

On November 16, 2017, he came to the Harvard Law Forum to share his thoughts on class, race, and the future of solidarity. The video is below:

The HLS 300 Project: Vocational Goals

Last year, in advance of the bicentennial, we invited students, staff and faculty to reflect on who we are and what we believe in as a school community.  With a focus on vocation-building, we asked three questions: (1) As we look to the past, who should we admire? (2) As we look to the future, what challenges are important? (3) As we look at the present, what are we being called to do?

We received dozens of submissions of: first, Harvard Law alumni, living and historic, with important legal vocations; second, important public challenges that merit the attention of our generation of lawyers; and third, exciting vocational goals of current Harvard Law students. To spur our collective reflection on who we are and where we want to go as a vocational community, below are submissions in response to the third question, “what are your vocational goals?”:

Vocational Goal #1: Apply advances in information technology and data science to make healthcare more efficient

(Submitted by Hugh McSwain ’18)

Modern healthcare in the US intersects medicine, business and law. I came to HLS to take advantage of the tremendous opportunities available for students who want to pursue entrepreneurship and non-traditional legal careers.

My experiences at HLS—including the Health Law and Policy Clinic, the Entrepreneurship Project, and course work—have expanded my knowledge base and skillset by allowing me to participate in advising local start ups, to advocate for changes within the healthcare system, and to learn from venture capital attorneys and investors.

I am proud to say I am an HLS student, and I fully believe HLS provides me with skills and resources to succeed in health IT/digital health entrepreneurship.

Vocational Goal #2: Protecting at least one child — and hopefully many more.

(Submitted by Ha Ryong Jung ’18)

Recognizing that children have specific rights under the Convention on the Rights of the Child, I aspire to understand the variety of frameworks used around the world to protect children and to find the most effective combination of these systems to deliver the much-needed protection for this overlooked population.

Child-sensitive measures should exist whenever children come into contact with the justice system, and core principles of the child’s best interest and non-discrimination should be upheld. I hope to contribute to these efforts in working for and with children. Continue reading “The HLS 300 Project: Vocational Goals”

The HLS 300 Project: Legal Challenges

Last year, in advance of the bicentennial, we invited students, staff and faculty to reflect on who we are and what we believe in as a school community.  With a focus on vocation-building, we asked three questions: (1) As we look to the past, who should we admire? (2) As we look to the future, what challenges are important? (3) As we look at the present, what are we being called to do?

We received dozens of submissions of: first, Harvard Law alumni, living and historic, with important legal vocations; second, important public challenges that merit the attention of our generation of lawyers; and third, exciting vocational goals of current Harvard Law students. To spur our collective reflection on who we are and where we want to go as a vocational community, below are submissions in response to the second question, “which challenges should we be tackling?”:

Legal Challenge #1: How can we promote economic development without displacement?

(Submitted by Dan Traficonte ’17)

Across the US and the rest of the world, economic growth demands space for new infrastructure, housing, and businesses. But new development often comes at the cost of displacing people—sometimes even entire communities.

Development without displacement is possible. e terms of economic development projects, most of them hashed out in contracts and in local land-use provisions, can be structured to minimize the displacement of communities and maximize the locally shared benefits of each new project.

Lawyers should work to create development for people, not just profit.

Legal Challenge #2: How can we restructure the family law system to reflect how families actually function

(Submitted by Gillian Schaps ’18)

Lawyers like rules—and we craft the law to function as a set of clear-cut, predictable rules. But if there is one thing that breaks this mold, it’s family.

Families come in all shapes and sizes, and thus far the law has been unable to keep up. Today outdated laws rip families apart when they don’t meet the two (cisgender, heterosexual) parent model.

We need to build flexibility and creativity into the laws that define and govern family life, rethinking parental rights and zero-sum frameworks. It’s time family law moves beyond white, normative views of the nuclear family to support the wide variety of loving, stable environments that enable people to grow and thrive. Continue reading “The HLS 300 Project: Legal Challenges”

The HLS 300 Project: Inspiring Careers

Last year, in advance of the bicentennial, we invited students, staff and faculty to reflect on who we are and what we believe in as a school community.  With a focus on vocation-building, we asked three questions: (1) As we look to the past, who should we admire? (2) As we look to the future, what challenges are important? (3) As we look at the present, what are we being called to do?

We received dozens of submissions of: first, Harvard Law alumni, living and historic, with important legal vocations; second, important public challenges that merit the attention of our generation of lawyers; and third, exciting vocational goals of current Harvard Law students. To spur our collective reflection on who we are and where we want to go as a vocational community, below are submissions in response to the first question, “Which alumni had inspiring careers?”:

Inspiring Career #1: Cornelius Hedges (Class of 1856) became the intellectual father of Yellowstone National Park

(submitted by Shaun Goho, Clinical Instructor, Environmental Law and Policy Clinic)

Hedges, a 1856 graduate of HLS, moved to the then-territory of Montana in 1864, where he would live until his death more than 40 years later. There, he held a variety of public offices, including U.S. District Attorney for Montana Territory; territorial superintendent of public schools; member of the 1884 Constitutional Convention; and State Senator from 1889-1893.

In 1870, Hedges was part of the Washburn Expedition that explored the Yellowstone region. Near the end of the journey, the participants sat around the campfire and discussed Yellowstone’s future. Many of them said that they planned to file land claims, intending to profit from the anticipated influx of tourists eager to see the region’s natural wonders. Hedges, however, suggested that Yellowstone “ought to be set apart as a great National Park.” In the following years, he actively campaigned for the creation of the park. In 1872, Congress enacted and President Grant signed into law the statute establishing Yellowstone National Park—the first of its kind in the world.

“Thoughtful, kind, charitable, ever ready to heed the call of the unfortunate, without selfishness or guile, no better man has ever lived in Montana, nor to any is there a higher mead of praise for what he did and gave to Montana.”

Inspiring Career #2: Lam Nguyen Ho (Class of 2008) is setting a standard for community activism lawyering in Chicago.

(Submitted by Tess Heligren ’18)

After graduating from HLS in 2008, Ho moved to Chicago where he set up free community-based legal clinics. In 2014, with support from HLS’s Public Service Venture Fund, Ho founded the Community Activism Law Alliance (CALA).Under Ho’s leadership, CALA sets an innovative example of community activism lawyering by working with local activists to help advance social justice for undocumented immigrants, sex workers, day laborers, and other underserved populations.

Under Ho’s leadership, CALA sets an innovative example of community activism lawyering by working with local activists to help advance social justice for undocumented immigrants, sex workers, day laborers, and other underserved populations.

“My background (immigrant, poverty, domestic violence, queerness) exposed me to the dehumanizing consequences when our justice system fails. It instilled a sense of responsibility to help others struggle against similar, and harder, challenges.” Continue reading “The HLS 300 Project: Inspiring Careers”