An Interview with Professor Tribe

Professor Laurence Tribe is part of a legal team that has filed a lawsuit against President Trump, arguing that transactions between the Trump Organization and foreign governments violate the Emoluments Clause in Article I, Section 9 of the Constitution. The Record recently spoke to Professor Tribe about the Emoluments Clause and the lawsuit his group has filed.

The Record: Explain the lawsuit you’ve filed against the President – what is the Emoluments Clause and how has President Trump violated it?   Continue reading “An Interview with Professor Tribe”

A Response to Alexander J. Cullen’s “In Support of the Immigration Ban” published in the Harvard Crimson on February 19, 2017

I commend Mr. Cullen’s satirical editorial recently published in The Crimson for challenging all Americans who defend the remaining rotting columns of white supremacy to face the mirror and consider our place on this land’s past, present, and future. His piece can be read here: http://www.thecrimson.com/article/2017/2/22/alexander-cullen-in-support-of-the-immigration-ban/

Read plainly, Mr. Cullen argues that Trump’s travel ban is necessary to protect American freedom from people in the seven banned countries who threaten our values from beyond our borders. Though people may “travel to the United States to partake in our democratic tradition—and even serve in our military,” he argues, “due caution is necessary to protect our solid ground of liberty from anyone who fundamentally opposes it.” This, told through the lens of Pedro Salsedo who arrived in the Americas on Columbus’ voyage of 1492. Ironic—I know.

Although difficult, at first, to recognize as satire, if you follow his arguments closely, you’ll realize that he never intended for us to consider his notions seriously. First, Mr. Cullen references Salsedo, his ancestor on the Santa Maria who traveled with Columbus to Puerto Rico in 1492. But a cursory web search reveals that Columbus did not visit Puerto Rico in 1492 and the Santa Maria ran aground in Haiti before venturing as far east as PR.[1] So what is Mr. Cullen getting at, if not signaling to the reader that she should treat with skepticism his remaining positions?

Continue reading “A Response to Alexander J. Cullen’s “In Support of the Immigration Ban” published in the Harvard Crimson on February 19, 2017”

HLS’s Student Summer Contribution Policy Disadvantages Poorer Law Students

This is the story of two talented, hardworking Harvard Law School 1Ls: Amy and Kara. Both Amy and Kara are going to be working for ten weeks this summer at a large firm in New York City. Both will earn roughly $30,000. For Amy, all her summer post-tax earnings accrue to her as financial gain, while Kara will only keep about $9,000.

The reason for this disparity is because Amy’s parents pay for her tuition and she is not eligible for Harvard Law’s need-based financial aid grants. As such, all of her earnings go to her bank account, and none will be used to offset any financial aid.

However, Kara, who comes from a modest financial background, was eligible for about $30,000 in need-based aid her 1L year, and most of her earnings will be used to offset that financial aid in her 2L year. At first it may seem strange or even counter-intuitive that Amy’s family wealth and Kara’s relative need leads to that outcome.

Here’s how it happens:

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Mark Satta is a 1L.

Animals to Humans—Listen, Learn and Respect!

I have long wondered what the animal kingdom – mammals, reptiles, birds, fish and insects – would want to tell us humans if we and the animals had a common language?

Well, in a book I recently wrote,  Animal Envy, a “Human Genius” invents a digital translation application whereby animals can speak with each other across species and also speak one way to humans so they learn to listen. The response by “subhumans” was so overwhelming that the Human Genius reserved 100 hours of global TV time for the denizens of the natural world to tell their stories before mesmerized billions of humans all over the Earth.

An Elephant, Owl and Dolphin – sensing the need for some sort of production order and fair play – called themselves The Triad and convened the Great Talkout. Driven by the complexity of raising their young and surviving generation after generation, the animals, led by the wisdom of The Triad, developed a strategy born out of their keen sense of observing the human animal whom they internally called The King of Beasts.

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Ralph Nader was the Green Party candidate for president in 2000 and a former editor-in-chief of the Record.

Record Review: The Bachelor Week 4

At the start of Week 4’s episode, Corinne asks the camera, “Why are [the other girls] so obsessed with me?” At first, it sounds like the smug redirection of an attention-seeker who’s been called out for her nonsense. But as the episode progresses, it becomes clear that Corinne kind of has a point.

Just as last week ended with Corinne drama, so does this week begin with Corinne drama. After straddling Nick in a bouncy castle, Corinne goes upstairs and passes out in bed with a creepy Joker smile on her face. Sarah and Taylor take it upon themselves to call her out, telling Corinne that she is acting entitled and privileged (I can’t provide a direct quotation because I was eating pizza at the time and my notes are incoherent. I refuse to apologize for that).

Continue reading Record Review: The Bachelor Week 4″

Laura Dismore is a 3L.

It’s Time For Some Tough Conversations

The good news is HLS students want them, but the bad news is we’re trapped in a bubble

Everyone is talking about how we university students talk. The nation seems to have convened a public forum to debate our debates. From courtrooms, to newspapers, to podcasts, to research reports – the state of speech on campuses is firmly on the agenda, and we are not receiving a glowing review. Our “political correctness” has apparently infuriated a nation.

Late last year during oral argument at the Supreme Court, Justice Alito enlisted a hypothetical college student to test the limits of concern over jury bias. “Let’s consider the standard that now applies on a lot of college campuses as to statements that are considered by some people to be racist,” he said. “What would happen if one of the jurors has the sensibility of a lot of current college students?” It seems unlikely that the fabled “reasonable man” was simply taking a sabbatical and was unavailable to feature in Justice Alito’s analogy – the Justice was making a point about our sensibilities. And he was doing so in language that just assumed everyone knew what he was talking about. A few days after the Presidential election, Alito again decried the “new orthodoxy” that prevails relating to speech campuses around the country. This “orthodoxy” has itself become a sort of stereotype in the national debate – rarely explained, the way campuses are invoked in these conversations conjures up images of oases populated by highly sensitive hipsters who don’t have time for confronting debate between picking up their dairy-free kale-infused chai lattes and their compliment-only freestyle poetry clubs. So how do HLS students stack up?

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Evelyn Douek is a Record contributor. She is an LL.M. of the Class of 2017.

Record Retrospective: Senate Should Not Subject Judicial Nominees to Simplistic Political Litmus Tests

Editor’s note: 30 years ago today, The Record printed this excerpt from a speech delivered by Abner J. Mikva to the D.C. Bar Annual Meeting in 1985. Chief Judge Mikva served on the United States Court of Appeals in the D.C. Circuit, first in Seat 11 and then as Chief Judge. Merrick Garland would eventually replace him in both seats. Chief Judge Mikva passed away last year.

In 1979 I was called by the Attorney General to tell me that President Carter was going to nominate me for one of the new judgeships on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. I remember wondering what the President’s timetable was, and how long it would be before I moved to my new offices down the street. What naivete!

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J-Term Diary: Commuting in the Philippines

I ride the train to work every day. I’ve always heard that this train is an awful way to travel. But the traffic is so bad. 25 minutes on the train compared to 90 minutes in traffic. How bad could it be?  When I tell people I commute on the train, they say “Wow,” or “I’m sorry,” or “And you survived!” I understand now.

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Robbie Gustafson is a 2L.

Record Review: Gilmore Girls Revival Surprises, Delights

gilmore-girls-netflix-winter-posterFor many reasons, 2007 was not a particularly good year for me. As I was a teenage boy then, most of these reasons involved teenage girls, one in particular. However, another reason that 2007 was lame was because that year marked the end of the original run of Gilmore Girls.

Thankfully, Netflix has brought back Lorelai, Rory, Emily, and all the rest of Gilmore Girls in the four-part mini-series Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life. In total, there’s six hours of fast-talkin’, pop-culture referencin’, Stars Hollowin’ goodness.

Look, if you’re reading this and you loved Gilmore Girls, you should absolutely watch A Year in the Life. In fact, you’ve probably watched it already. Write in with your thoughts.

Continue reading Record Review: Gilmore Girls Revival Surprises, Delights”

Jim An is the editor-in-chief of The Harvard Law Record and a member of the Harvard Law School Class of 2018.

Diverse Voices in the Law

In a new poster series, affinity groups at Harvard Law School are featuring the following professors for the diverse perspectives they bring to the law through their backgrounds and scholarship:

The Blood Price

The battle-cry of the American Revolution: “give me liberty or give me death!” Reflecting upon my first year living in America and upon what I have learned in criminal law, I find it hard to believe that Americans truly value liberty. What I see is the human spirit crushed under the yoke of an overly oppressive criminal justice system.[1] I fail to understand how to logically reconcile over-criminalization and mass incarceration with the famous American love of freedom.

The rhetoric justifying this draconian criminal system does not help. Classmates speak of deterrence and signals – which is simply a way to sugar coat what is truly happening: we are scaring people into submission. But is this the sort of human we wish to foster? A being whose conduct does not flow from virtue but from fear. This is our vision of humanity’s highest form or greatest potential? Do we want a society of craven and vindictive worms that curl up lest they get stepped on? The idea that we must design our society according to such a vision reveals a troubling pessimism regarding human nature and a profound lack of ambition regarding the possibilities for society.

And this is all for the laudable (and supposedly necessary) goal of self-preservation. But the emphasis on preserving society neglects the more important antecedent question: is it the sort of society that is worth preserving? What if the methods through which our society ensures its survival creates the sort of society that is undeserving of survival?

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Whom to Blame For Trump? You

A few days ago, I spoke to a Harvard Law alumnus, inter alia, about the recent presidential election. The alumnus had supported Barack Obama, worked as a plaintiff-side civil rights litigator, and also happens to be black. Ordinarily, he votes Democratic. Yet this year, he voted for Donald Trump.

There are many people to blame for Trump’s victory.[1] But one among the blameworthy is you, dear reader. The Democrat. The liberal who’s too cool to be a Democrat. The leftist who’s too cool to be a liberal.[2] When the American Left has lost a black Harvard-Law-educated civil rights attorney to Donald Trump,[3] it has done something very, very wrong.

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Jim An is the editor-in-chief of The Harvard Law Record and a member of the Harvard Law School Class of 2018.

People I Blame* For Trump

  1. The Republican establishment since 1960
  2. The media
  3. James Comey
  4. Minorities who voted for Trump[1]
  5. Democrats/liberals who didn’t vote
  6. Mark Zuckerberg
  7. Jill Stein voters
  8. Whites who voted for Trump
  9. Liberals who couldn’t stop labeling every Trump voter and/or white person a racist
  10. Liberals who didn’t call out the people in group 9

*The ordering is somewhat arbitrary, but I do mean to say that I saw each of these individuals/groups as but-for causes of Trump’s victory.


[1] A friend of mine would have replaced 4. with “Women who voted for Trump” (and I imagine 8. with “Men who voted for Trump”). I suppose that exposes our respective biases.

Jim An is the editor-in-chief of The Harvard Law Record and a member of the Harvard Law School Class of 2018.

Dear Heather Mac Donald

Dear Heather Mac Donald,

In September, you came to Harvard Law School on the invitation of The Federalist Society to discuss the findings of your new book, The War on Cops. Because the audience was left with a negligible amount of time to engage, I wanted to take this time to respond.

Your credentials are very impressive, and you came equipped with a significant amount of data in support of a narrative that there is currently a “War on Cops.” However, I wonder if you have ever read these words from Martin Luther King Jr. in his famous letter written from Birmingham Jail:

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Tyra Walker is a member of the Class of 2018.

Rebooting Cybertorts For The Internet of Things

Harvard Law School has a proud history of being at the forefront of progressive tort law. Chief Justice Lemuel Shaw, who studied law at Harvard College, authored the landmark decision of Brown v. Kendall in 1850, the first judicial opinion to recognize negligence.

Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. studied law at Harvard at a time when tort law was an incoherent ragbag of miscellaneous wrongs still shaped by the writ of trespass. Holmes’ 1873 book, The Theory of Torts, revolutionized tort law by breaking civil wrongs into the triad of negligence, strict liability, and intentional torts. This division is now taught in every law school in the country.

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