Tag Archive: Law

  1. Wikipedia to Shut Down! For Good Reasons!

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    If you were planning to get a head start on that research paper tomorrow, think again. I’m afraid I have some startling news: Wikipedia is going to shut down on Wednesday. …I know.

    After you have recovered from the initial shock of that statement, you may ask why Wikipedia would do such a thing. The answer is that they are boycotting the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). SOPA is a bill that has been criticized by civil rights groups, Nancy Pelosi, Justin Bieber, Ron Paul, and numerous others. On January 14, President Obama announced that the White House would not support SOPA; subsequently, the vote regarding it was canceled. And tomorrow, in what could truly be the most noticed move of all, Wikipedia will be down, replaced instead by a page advising people to call Congress and complain about SOPA.

    At this point, you are no doubt asking, “So? Who cares about an anti-piracy bill? What is all the commotion about? And don’t we want to prevent online piracy, while at the same time protecting intellectual property?” Absolutely. But SOPA isn’t the way to do it.

    SOPA is a nightmare for supporters of free speech. It states that a website is guilty of facilitating theft (and therefore liable to face serious penalties) if it “enables or facilitates” potential infringement. This overbroad definition would seem to cover pretty much any website on the Internet. Certainly, Google could be included. SOPA would also allow copyright holders to direct financial institutions (such as Visa or Mastercard) to cut off access to a particular website simply through an allegation of infringement — or aiding infringement, under the vague definition. And the government would have the power to black-list websites.

    Many websites (including Google, Facebook, Yahoo, and Twitter) have pointed out that SOPA could also lead to censorship online, because it mandates that Internet intermediaries (such as Facebook) censor countless websites. SOPA could also result in the closure of numerous anonymous platforms for whistle-blowing, such as ones that expose human rights violations. Finally, SOPA’s regulations and vague definitions will certainly stifle creativity for online startups.

    SOPA is a disgrace (as is PIPA), because it is based on the fallacy that piracy can be stopped if we call everything piracy. It assumes that, by limiting free speech, we can stop the theft of free speech. And it tries to curb piracy by creating harsher punishments for vaguer crimes. No inadvertent pirate should ever be made to walk the plank.

    Internet piracy is real and dangerous. However, SOPA is even more dangerous. So tomorrow, go to Wikipedia, shed a tear that it is temporarily unavailable, and then follow its instructions — call Congress to tell them that SOPA is bad news.

  2. YLS professor weighs in on recess appointments

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    At least one Yale Law professor is upset over President Barack Obama’s recess appointments, though perhaps for reasons different than congressional Republicans.

    Sterling Professor Bruce Ackerman LAW ’67, an expert on constitutional law, took to the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday to discuss the president’s controversial decision to make several high-profile appointments during the recess of the United States Senate, effectively bypassing the traditional congressional approval process.

    Such a decision normally requires constitutional backing from the Justice Department, Ackerman argued, but Obama made the decision based on an unpublished constitutional defense written by White House Counsel Kathryn Ruemmier. Ackerman said he did not necessarily think Obama’s decision to go ahead with the appointments was unconstitutional — he just wants to understand exactly what logic was governing Obama’s thinking, and accordingly is demanding that Ruemmier publish her opinion.

    “It is hardly enough for him to inform the Senate that Ms. Ruemmler has given the go-ahead,” Ackerman wrote. “At the very least, he should provide his counsel’s legal opinion explaining why he has the constitutional authority to second-guess the Senate on whether it is in recess.”

    Ackerman’s piece has racked up over 80 comments on the Journal’s website.

  3. Yale-NUS announces two joint degree programs

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    Students at the Singaporean liberal arts college Yale is building in tandem with the National University of Singapore will be able to earn a Yale diploma through a joint degree program, Yale-NUS College announced in a Thursday press release.

    Interested Yale-NUS students will be able to apply to pursue either a second bachelor’s degree in Law or a master’s degree in environmental studies. The law degree will be awarded by NUS, but the environmental studies master’s degree will bear Yale’s name, and students in the environmental studies program will have to spend three semesters at Yale — one semester in their junior year, and a full year in New Haven after graduation.

    Students who pursue a Bachelor of Laws Honours Degree at Yale-NUS will receive professional legal training through resources available from the NUS law school. Graduates of the program will be able to practice law in Singapore, if admitted to the nation’s bar.

    “The two new degree programs we have developed combine the breadth and depth of liberal arts education with the depth that comes with specializations, whether in Law or environmental studies,” Lily Kong, the vice president for academic affairs at Yale-NUS, said in the press release.

    Yale-NUS will begin its first round of admissions in February, the press release stated.

  4. New library opens on Science Hill

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    Just in time for shopping period, the Center for Science and Social Science Information opened its doors on Tuesday.

    As the new collaborative home of the science library, social science library and StatLab, CSSSI is housed in the basement of Kline Biology Tower and contains a 24 hour study-space.

    If you’re a fan of the Law Library willing to hike up Science Hill, you have extra reason to check out CSSSI — according to a Tuesday email to Law School students, Yale law librarian Fred Shapiro announced that access to the Law Library will be restricted from Jan. 4 to Jan. 18, the Law School’s reading and exam period.

    Only Law School affiliates, University faculty and Law Library pass holders will be allowed access during this period. Passes are distributed to non-law students who are conducting legal research and who can present a letter from a faculty member or college dean.

    Per student request, the Law Library will also extend its hours during this period, closing at 2 a.m. Sunday through Thursday and 12 a.m. Friday and Saturday.

  5. Want to deliver mail for the Law School?

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    Yale Law School is advertising a new — and slightly unusual — job opening on Yale’s student employment website.

    The posting is for a courier who would pick up and deliver mail “daily from 1:30-3:00” between the main YLS building at 127 Wall Street and its expansion in Swing Space accessible at 40 Ashmun — which houses extra space for YLS administrative offices and student groups.

    “Must be reliable, punctual, and very responsible,” read the job requirements. “Must be prepared to walk each day, rain or shine.”

    Couriers will receive $12.25 per hour.

  6. Dog days are over at YLS library

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    Puppy love at Yale Law? The Lillian Goldman Library is home to some surprising collections, from comic books to childrens’ books to, somewhat famously, Supreme Court bobblehead dolls. But contrary to a report posted today on the legal blog Above the Law, there’s no catalog listing for a puppy at the law school’s library.

    The report claims that students at Yale Law School are free to check out a brown, 21-pound border terrier mix named Monty — short for General Montgomery — for 30-minute intervals when they’re seeking stress relief or a little play time. But the pup’s owner, access services librarian Julian Aiken, wrote in an e-mail to the News that the General wouldn’t be available for checkout any time soon.

    “The idea of circulating a dog at the Yale Law Library is one that has been humorously kicked around,” Aiken wrote. “I’m not quite sure where Above the Law got its information from, but we have not actually proceeded with circulating Monty.”

  7. Rove kisses foreheads and disses Moleskines

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    Former White House deputy chief of staff Karl Rove visited the Yale Political Union on Tuesday night, and his speech on repealing Obamacare drew a crowd that filled the Law School Auditorium.

    But before Rove tore into the country’s current healthcare system, he planted a smooch on the forehead of Progressive Party chairman Jordon Walker ’13.

    During introductions, Walker said that Rove was similar to Progressive Party members in that “Mr. Rove has beauty.” Rove stood up, took a small bow, and then walked over and placed a large kiss on Walker’s forehead.

    Later, Rove directed a comment to Walker: “If you were only 20 years older and an attractive woman.”

    Aside from budding bro-mances, Rove used his speech to explain several other revelations he had about Yalies.

    “I have never before been in a group that was so obviously and clearly pretentious,” he said at the start of his speech.

    “Do you know how I knew it was pretentious? Moleskines!” he said, leaning over to the table in front of the YPU president Conor Crawford ‘12 and picking up two notebooks.

    “The president of the Yale Political Union has two black moleskines! Oh, I’m sorry, a red one! How appropriate is that?”

    The audience erupted into laughter and applause.

  8. Two Kohs are better than one

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    Bored during your internship? Here’s something to add to your reading list: A profile of former Yale Law School Dean Harold Hongju Koh and his brother, Howard Koh ’73 MED ’77, that appeared in The Boston Globe today. The brothers are now, respectively, legal adviser in the Department of State and assistant secretary for health in the Department of Health and Human Services.

    The whole article is worth reading, if only to find out that Harold Hongju Koh, who was once seen hoisting two Boston Red Sox World Series trophies in the Law School dining hall, will throw out the first pitch at Fenway Park on August 29. It is also worth reading because of the adorable photograph, above, that accompanies it.

  9. Firefighters: Sotomayor ruling violated our rights

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    Two New Haven firefighters told members of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday that they believe Sonia Sotomayor LAW ’79 and other judges on the Second Circuit Court of Appeals infringed upon their rights when they summarily rejected their appeal in a reverse discrimination lawsuit.

    Ricci did not address Sotomayor in his testimony, speaking only to the frustration he and his colleagues faced when they were denied promotions after no black firefighters scored well enough on a city-administered exam to earn promotion.

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  10. Two firefighters, Law School professor to testify at Sotomayor confirmation hearing

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    Updated 3:36 p.m. Two New Haven firefighters and a Yale Law School professor will testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee next week on the nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor LAW ’79 to the Supreme Court, the committee announced today.

    The professor, Kate Stith, who served as the Law School’s acting dean this year, will be called by the committee’s Democrats, while the two firefighters, Frank Ricci and Ben Vargas, will be summoned by the panel’s Republicans.

    Ricci and Vargas were among the 20 plaintiffs who claimed in the Ricci v. DeStefano reverse discrimination case that they had been denied promotion because of their race. Last week, Supreme Court ruled in their favor, reversing a decision that had been upheld by Sotomayor as an appellate judge on the Second Circuit Court of Appeals (of which Stith’s husband, Jose Cabranes LAW ’65, is also a member).

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  11. Ricci ruling won’t affect college admissions policies, experts say

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    As the Supreme Court weighed this spring whether the city of New Haven was wrong in throwing out a 2003 Fire Department promotion exam because the scores of black firefighters were much lower than the scores of white firefighters, many wondered if its eventual verdict would impact the realm of higher education. Could a decision regarding the multiple-choice firefighters’ exam be applied to other standardized, multiple-choice exams, like the SAT?

    Now that the Court has ruled, the answer, according to experts, appears to be no.

    While the SAT, like the firefighters’ promotion exam, has been found to reflect higher scores among whites — a fact obliquely referenced by Justice Anthony Kennedy in his majority opinion, which said the city was indeed wrong in throwing out the test — the SAT is not an exam relating to employment and therefore would not be affected by the Court’s decision.

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  12. Live-blogging the Ricci decision

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    Reporters and editors for the News will be posting periodic dispatches today monitoring the fallout from the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in the Ricci v. DeStefano reverse discrimination case. The Court is expected to release its ruling at 10 a.m.

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