A MLK Day reflection: On our own Jericho road

Perhaps the strangest thing about living in the late 2010s is that everybody seems to talk about how they don’t want to live in the late 2010s. Some of us want it to be the past again. Some of us want it to be the future already. Some of us pine for a time before some technology or politician messed everything up, while others pine for a time after some barrier will be lifted by the next best thing. Indeed, if we are not reminiscing about the good old days — those days before “they” made this, that, or the other happen — then we are likely waiting for the good new days — when “they” finally make this, that, or the other happen. If only, if only it were the 1950s or the 2050s…then everything would be better, we think. We just have to pretend or we just have to wait — and all we have to say, or post, in response to every passing indignity of the present moment is: “Ugh, 2018!”

But many people do not have the luxury of pretending or waiting. They are forced to survive right now, in the harshest conditions of the present. Almost fifty years ago, on the morning of February 1, 1968, Echol Cole and Robert Walker couldn’t pretend or wait — they had to go to work. They were Memphis “tub-toters” — the overworked and underpaid men who rode on the back of garbage trucks, hopping on and off at every suburban house to empty each family’s trash cans into the trucks’ compactors. It was raining that Thursday, and Cole and Walker did not have raincoats. They did not have much at all, in fact — the city gave them, in the words of Memphis historian Hampton Sides, “no benefits, no pension, no overtime, no grievance procedure, [and] no uniforms.” They did not even have a functional machine with which to work. The rickety orange trucks they rode on were known by the city to be dangerous.

To escape the rain after completing their rounds that day, Cole and Walker sat inside the jaw of their truck’s compacting mechanism. A little after 4:15 in the afternoon, the wires to the compacting motor shorted, triggering the truck’s hydraulic ram to begin the compacting process. When they heard what was happening, the two men tried to escape, but they were hampered by their heavy clothes, which were drenched in rain and liquid refuse from a long day’s work. The ram caught part of their clothing, dragged them further into the truck, and crushed them to death. Continue reading “A MLK Day reflection: On our own Jericho road”

Can Environmentalists Eat Meat?

Among the many internecine conflicts within the environmental community, one that seems particularly relevant as we struggle with our 2018 New Year’s resolutions is whether someone can be a card-carrying environmentalist while continuing to consume meat and other animal products.

Besides arguing against meat consumption from the premise that animals have an inherent right to life, one of the main arguments environmentalists put forth against meat consumption focuses on its connection to climate change. According to this argument, methane emissions involved in meat production are one of the biggest contributions to GHG emissions. If you seriously care about stopping climate change, then you should exercise responsible consumption and stop eating meat. In terms of gratuitous consumption, eating a filet mignon for dinner is equivalent to driving a Hummer to work, and no real environmentalist would do that.

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Meet the Real-Life Justice League

The real-life Justice League. From left to right: Richard Painter, The Honorable Justice Robert Katzmann, Douglas Elmendorf, Lesley Rosenthal, Juan Carlos Botero, and David McCraw.

Move over, Batman. Statman has arrived—and not a moment too soon.

What do Aquaman, Batman, Cyborg, the Flash, Superman, and Wonder Woman all have in common? None can save the world alone. Turns out, the same is true for the rule of law.

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Take the Power Back: Samantha Power Has No Place at HLS

This past April, Samantha Power ’99, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations during the latter part of President Obama’s tenure, was named to a joint appointment at both the Law School and the Kennedy School. The article from Harvard announcing her appointment cites her work in human rights, diplomacy, and international justice as qualifications for the appointment[1], but a critical examination of her record as ambassador reveals a much more sordid history of promoting American imperialism and enabling the very human rights abuses she sought out to prevent.

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Denise Ghartey Elected HLAB President

Denise Ghartey ’19 has been elected President of the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau for 2018.

“We are excited to continue the work of this year’s board and to support the HLAB mission, which aims to promote racial justice and disrupt racial and socio-economic inequalities,” said Ghartey. “We will also increase our engagement with the Cambridge and Greater Boston Area community through community partnerships and radical political lawyering.”

HLAB’s outgoing President, Julian SpearChief-Morris ’18, is “thrilled” that Ghartey will serve as his replacement.

“[Ghartley] is a strong leader, she has an infectious personality, and she knows how to make those around her feel welcome and included,” he said. “She has a great understanding of the community in which the Bureau operates, and a unique insight into how the Bureau can be made more accessible to the people which it serves.”

Big Law Harms Society

The purpose of this article is to introduce a new perspective around the discussion about career choices at HLS. Some argue that the school should become more civic-minded and encourage people to go into public service. Others argue that working for a Big Law firm is socially beneficial. Notably missing from this discussion is the idea that working for Big Law harms society.

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A Christmas Prince: Netflix’s Holiday Legal Drama for the Ages

The Empire State Building. Rockefeller Center. Central Park. The Statue of Liberty. The Christopher St. stop on the Seventh Avenue Line.

And for the final establishing shot … the Chicago River.

What was A Christmas Prince director Alex Zamm or film editor Marshall Harvey thinking? Have they never been to New York? Or Chicago?

The Record apologizes for being late to the A Christmas Prince party, but unlike Netflix’s foray into Christmas movies, at least we’re not lost.

It’s hard to say whether anyone should watch this movie. On the one hand, it’s not a very good movie. On the other hand, it’s decently entertaining. Rose McIver, who plays heroine Amber Moore,[1] somehow makes Amber seem reasonably believable despite the absolutely absurd premise of the movie.

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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.

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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.

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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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