A Call to Defend DACA

As law students, we have spent long hours studying the breadth of power granted to our government by the Constitution. As progressives, we believe that power ought to be harnessed to advance the dignity of all people. As Americans, we were outraged when the Trump Administration instead announced that it would use this power to destroy the lives of our classmates, our neighbors, and our friends.  It is yet another step in this government’s swift descent into cruelty, divisiveness, and nativism.

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Jacob Glick is the Vice President of HLS Dems. He submitted this letter on the behalf of its Executive Board.

The Threat of Big Data Surveillance

You are being tracked by the digital clues you leave behind. On campus, every computer-log in, tweet, or electronic ID card potentially identifies your location. Outside school, depending on where you live, your car is tagged by automatic license plate readers, your face by surveillance cameras, and your social media posts captured by those wishing to monitor your activities. If you carry a smartphone, computer, or tablet, your digital life is being revealed to third party companies and the government entities that lawfully request that private information. These digital trails will only increase as the Internet of Things begins turning ordinary objects into data-rich sources of surveillance. In short, citizens (especially young, digitally savvy citizens) are creating a web of self-surveillance that offers convenience and social control in equal measure.

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Andrew Guthrie Ferguson is a Professor of Law at the UDC David A. Clarke School of Law.

NALSA Indigenous Peoples’ Day Statement

The Native American Law Students Association at Harvard Law School calls upon Harvard University to recognize Indigenous Peoples’ Day as the official school holiday on the second Monday in October. In continuing to celebrate Columbus Day, Harvard University disregards the student body’s strong support of this measure by not taking any action to catalyze this change.

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Leilani Doktor and Chris Childers are 2Ls. They are the co-presidents of NALSA.

People Kill People

Guns don’t kill people. People kill people.

In the aftermath of the shooting at Sandy Hook, in which 27 people were murdered by Adam Lanza with firearms, Senator Dianne Feinstein introduced a bill to bring back the federal assault weapons ban. Sixty senators voted against it.

Guns don’t kill people. People kill people.

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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.

Do Good and Do Good Well

Dear 1Ls, 

By now, you have presumably had your first encounter with the Socratic method. Regardless of your thoughts on it as a pedagogical tool, however, I encourage you not to consign the spirit of rigorous self-examination to the classroom, and to instead apply it to your beliefs on how to benefit your fellow creatures.

Socrates was, of course, famous for quipping that the only thing he knew was that he knew nothing. He would seek out those who claimed to know, and show them that they, in fact, did not. When I was in your place, I thought I knew how to do the most good with my law degree. I subscribed to the public interest orthodoxy that doing the most good after law school meant working for a public interest organization, or perhaps government, to advance Americans’ civil rights. Inspired by the legal heroes whose portraits adorn this campus, I dreamt of one day fighting the many injustices that still plague the United States, thereby bending the arc of the moral universe ever more slightly towards justice.

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Cullen O'Keefe is a 2L. He is the President of HLS Effective Altruism.

Using Magic Stones To Build A Better Harvard Law

Law students are often anxious, if not downright terrified, of being exposed as possessing the most shameful of all human traits—not knowing something. Well, we certainly act and feel at times like it’s that shameful. Days, even weeks, can be ruined by a misstatement during a cold call. Lecture can feel like a dunk tank, with the professor ready at any moment to throw a question at your target and drop you into a bone-chilling pool of humiliation. Early in my 1L Civil Procedure course, (the stellar) Professor Rubenstein asked me a question about establishing personal jurisdiction, and I blanked. I felt distraught for days.

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Maseeh Moradi is a 3L.

Corporate Accountability Through Compliance

Following a decade of deregulation, defense industry procurement scandals, and savings and loan crisis, corporate malfeasance captured the attention of the American public in the early 1990s. In response to these scandals and increasing prosecution of corporations, the US Sentencing Commission enacted federal sentencing guidelines for organizations in November 1991. The guidelines articulated that an “Effective Compliance and Ethics Program” would “promote an organizational culture that encourages ethical conduct and a commitment to compliance with the law.”

A decade later, the dire need for such organizational culture continued to be highlighted in a string of corporate scandals that included Enron, Arthur Andersen, WorldCom, and Tyco. As a response to these scandals, companies developed their compliance functions to prevent and detect misconduct before the misconduct grew into scandals that would devastate investors and employees.

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Hui Chen is the former Compliance Counsel Expert at the Fraud Section in the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice. She currently works as a freelance ethics and compliance speaker, consultant, and writer. She can be reached at www.HuiChenEthics.com.

PLAP Executive Board Statement on Michelle Jones

Last week, the news broke that Harvard administrators shamefully overrode the History Department’s decision to admit Michelle Jones, a formerly incarcerated woman, into its doctoral program. In a comment as revealing as it is reprehensible, one of the professors who urged university administrators to override the history department’s decision expressed to the New York Times the concern that “Fox News would probably say that P.C. liberal Harvard gave 200 grand of funding to a child murderer, who also happened to be a minority.”

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Jake Meiseles is a 2L. He is on the PLAP Executive Board.

Stepping Out of Line: Trans Activism at Harvard Law

When I was growing up, I had little knowledge of how to get to college because nobody in my family had ever gone to one. I was lucky that my public school counselor pushed my mom and dad to let me apply to a private middle and high school, and that my new school offered financial aid and college counseling.

So, I joined the Army JROTC in ninth grade because the lieutenant colonel gave an amazing presentation to eighth graders (and because I wanted to roll around in the mud like they did in Cadet Kelly). I learned that the military could be a potential avenue for me to reach a better future through ROTC in college and JAG during and after law school. JROTC helped me to dream big, opened up four years of many wonderful and difficult experiences, and brought more friends into my life.

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D Dangaran is a 1L.

It’s Okay to Not be Okay at HLS

My partner Hil has a mantra that she often tells herself: “It is okay to not be okay.” I’ve always avoided applying that to my own life, no matter how supportive I am of the idea. But this year, I am working to embrace that fully.

The summer before my 1L year, I flew out of my friend’s wedding in Madison, Wisconsin because I had called 911 on my mother. She had called me saying that she wanted to die and had gone over to the neighbor’s house to write a will.

Frantic, I called the first number that came to mind and told them my mother was trying to kill herself. I asked if they could try to get an ambulance that’s under our insurance, but they only made false reassurances.

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Jianing Xie is a 2L.

Administration’s Rejection of Formerly Incarcerated Student a Loss for the Harvard Community

As two graduate students new to the Harvard community, we came to Harvard for the same reasons many students did: a passion for inquiry, a desire to pursue excellent and truthful research, and a conscientious hope to work with integrity in the public interest.

We both previously worked for the City of New York, and during that time we helped run an organization teaching competitive debate on Rikers Island, the Rikers Debate Project.

We are dismayed to read about the Graduate School of Arts and Science’s acceptance — and subsequent rejection — of prospective history Ph.D. candidate Michelle Jones. Scholars such as Michelle Jones are most certainly, in the words of Harvard President Drew Faust, among the “most talented students and faculty” this university claims it must “attract and support.” The Department of History agreed, until Harvard’s top brass seemingly thought otherwise.

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Stefan Norgaard is an MPP candidate at the Harvard Kennedy School. Radhe Patel is a 1L.

NFL Previews: Week 2

Week 1 is in the history books, but not before offering surprise upsets (pour one out, Patriots nation) and highlight-reel plays.

Here are some exciting matchups for next week.

  1. Minnesota at Pittsburgh: Sunday, September 17th at 1:00 PM on FOX

This early matchup will pit the up-and-coming Vikings in the NFC North against the perennial contenders AFC North Steelers. The Minnesota defence, led by cornerback Xavier Rhodes, will look to make a statement against the vaunted Pittsburgh offense which features Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown. Pittsburgh will look to bounce back from last week’s surprisingly narrow 21-18 victory over the Cleveland Browns. One or both of these teams is likely to make the playoffs this year, and this game could be a preview of things to come.

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Justin Kenney is a 2L.

Record Retrospective: #SaveNelly

A year ago, our editor-in-chief and another 2L advocated on the behalf of Nelly, a recording artist who at the time owed the IRS and the state of Missouri millions of dollars.

#SaveNelly by Jim An ’18

Despite the fact that Nelly was one of the best-selling artists of the 2000s, he apparently owes the IRS a $2.4 million tax bill and may be having trouble paying it off. Based on the figures for royalties per stream, some websites have estimated that Nelly needs somewhere between 287 to 400 million streams to pay off his debts. However, as any tax student knows, Nelly will owe more taxes on these royalties, so he’d actually need as many as 660 million streams in order to pay off his debts. Anyway, if you’re in the mood to help Nelly out, here are the ten best Nelly songs to stream.

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The Necessity of Democratizing Law

The main principle of democracy is grounded in the idea that people should take part in political decision-making. Although there are a host of factors in “democratic” nations that fly in the face of this and like principles, an especially conspicuous one is the inaccessibility of law. And while there are many ways to democratize the law, an initial step would be to incorporate it into mandatory education.

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Josh Komarovsky is a 3L.

Letter to the Editor: The Turning Point of Self-Loathing

I am a second cousin, seven times removed, of President George Washington. And I am African-American.

While traveling to Charlottesville on July 26, 2017, I saw a portrait of General Washington kneeling in prayer at Valley Forge. The image stayed with me as an expression of faith in the Valley of the Shadow of Death. I made a mental note to purchase the portrait for Christmas.

When I returned home to San Diego, I shared my idea with my family in passing. I thought nothing of it.

My fourteen-year-old erupted in outrage. “Did he own slaves?” she demanded to know. I answered, yes, and he won the American Revolution. “He can’t be on our walls,” she declared with the perspective of a teenager.

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