Gov. Brown is Supporting a Giveaway to Polluters

“California currently has one of the most comprehensive climate change and greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction programs in the world,” writes Mark Paul, a postdoctoral associate at the Samuel DuBois Cook Center on Social Equity. However, legislation supported by Gov. Jerry Brown “falls woefully short” if the goal is to safeguard both the Earth’s climate and the health of Californians, while promoting economic security of Californian families, he writes.

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Potential Legal Troubles for Kushner, Trump Jr.

“… The statute is pretty clear that it`s a federal crime to solicit a campaign contribution from a foreign source,” says law professor Samuel Buell. “It`s pretty clear that anything of value can count as a campaign contribution and certainly opposition research is something that`s routinely paid for in the political world, and this could be something of value.”

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The Impact of Trump Ignoring Political Norms

Duke Law School professor Neil Siegel says President Trump’s failure to follow long-standing political and constitutional norms “that have long disciplined the White House,” including hostility toward the news media and judicial system, has contributed to a “toxic” political climate.

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Legal Experts Say There’s Evidence of Collusion

“When alleged crimes arise from conversations, there are always fine lines to be drawn,” says law professor Lisa Kern Griffin. “But it is intent that governs which side of the legal line such a meeting falls on, not success. This is obviously not a cast of characters out of some John le Carré novel, and the meeting may have been a bumbling effort.”

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What Is Collusion? Is It Even a Crime?

“Collusion, of course, is not a legal thing. The question of the underlying crime here might be tricky, and would include possible violation of campaign contribution laws. But if there is an underlying campaign violation in play legally, the email and meeting are very strong evidence of a nascent conspiracy and attempt to commit such an offense,” says law professor Samuel Buell.

Read More in Politico
Rubenstein Fellow Jack Matlock, a former U.S. ambassador to the Soviet Union during the Cold War, talks about future U.S.-Russia relations.

Collusion? Conspiracy? Here’s What the Law Says

“Anytime you are talking about coordinating or collusion, you are talking about the possibility of conspiracy charges,” says law professor Samuel Buell, a former federal prosecutor. “But conspiracy is not a crime that floats by itself in the air. There has to be an underlying federal offense that is being conspired to be committed.”

Read More in The New York Times

The All (Un)Important Vote That Occurred In Puerto Rico

Last month, the Puerto Rican people went to the polls to  vote on whether to become the 51st state, become an independent nation, or remain a territory with no voting representation in Congress. They chose statehood. Since only Congress can grant statehood, the conventional wisdom declared that’s not going to happen. “And yet international law, the U.S.’s post-WWII promises of self-governance for Puerto Rico, and perhaps even constitutional law all suggest that Congress might not have the legal authority to deny Puerto Rico’s choices,” write law professors Joseph Blocher and Mitu Gulati.

Read More in The Hill

Al-Qaida in the Age of ISIS: Redouble Our Efforts

“As the fight against ISIS has demonstrated, if al-Qaida is to be defeated, we must redouble our efforts to track down and degrade al-Qaida’s channels of communication, recruitment and finance. It is time to look beyond the threats that ISIS poses and focus once again on al-Qaida before it is too late,” writes Andrew Byers, a visiting assistant professor of history, and a colleague.

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South Carolina Schools are Failing Students Like Me

“The state of South Carolina perpetuates what’s called the ‘Corridor of Shame,’ a string of rural school districts where students receive inferior educational opportunities,” writes Ehime Ohue. “As a rising sophomore at Duke University, I now see what the phrase means. I was educated in one of those districts from Head Start to 12th grade. I know firsthand the issues these students face.”

Read More in The Washington Post

Belief Superiority and Political Discord

“To all voters and elected officials, I have a question:  In all of the instances in which you disagree with people on the other side of the political spectrum, is it really plausible that your position is always the correct one?  And, if so, how did you become endowed with such knowledge, judgment, and wisdom that your views on the issues are always right?” writes Mark Leary, a professor of psychology and neuroscience.

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An FDA Drug Voucher Program Needs A Reboot

Professors David Ridley (Fuqua School) and Jeffrey Moe (Global Health) write about Congress updating the laws governing prescription drugs this summer, including changes to a program designed to spur drug development for neglected diseases like dengue, Ebola, Zika and river blindness. “Unfortunately,” they write, “the fix as written to the FDA Reauthorization Act does too little to help the millions of people at risk for these diseases.”

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American Exceptionalism and The Making of a Non-Patriot

“It’s not as though other countries are better than ours. Every nation bears the healed scars and the still-open wounds of its history,” writes philosophy professor Alex Rosenberg. He adds that “American exceptionalism is at best an innocent mistake that uninformed patriotism makes difficult to surrender. Once the process of disillusionment is completed, so is the making of the non-patriot.”

Read More in The New York Times