Book Talks • Et. Seq: The Harvard Law School Library Blog

Faculty Book Talk: In Hoffa’s Shadow: A Stepfather, a Disappearance in Detroit, and My Search for the Truth, Wednesday, October 30th at noon

The Harvard Law School Library staff invite you to attend a book talk and discussion in celebration of the recent publication of In Hoffa’s Shadow: A Stepfather, a Disappearance in Detroit, and My Search for the Truth by Jack Goldsmith (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, Sept. 24, 2019).

Wednesday, October 30, 2019, at noon
Harvard Law School Milstein East B/C
(Directions)
1585 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA
No RSVP required

Poster for Jack Goldsmith's book talk, In Hoffa's Shadow with book cover and photograph of Jack Goldsmith.

About In Hoffa’s Shadow: A Stepfather, a Disappearance in Detroit, and My Search for the Truth

“As a young man, Jack Goldsmith revered his stepfather, longtime Jimmy Hoffa associate Chuckie O’Brien. But as he grew older and pursued a career in law and government, he came to doubt and distance himself from the man long suspected by the FBI of perpetrating Hoffa’s disappearance on behalf of the mob. It was only years later, when Goldsmith was serving as assistant attorney general in the George W. Bush administration and questioning its misuse of surveillance and other powers, that he began to reconsider his stepfather, and to understand Hoffa’s true legacy. In Hoffa’s Shadow tells the moving story of how Goldsmith reunited with the stepfather he’d disowned and then set out to unravel one of the twentieth century’s most persistent mysteries and Chuckie’s role in it. Along the way, Goldsmith explores Hoffa’s rise and fall and why the golden age of blue-collar America came to an end, while also casting new light on the century-old surveillance state, the architects of Hoffa’s disappearance, and the heartrending complexities of love and loyalty.” — Farrar, Straus and Giroux

About Jack Goldsmith

Jack Goldsmith is Henry L. Shattuck Professor of Law at Harvard University. He is the author, most recently, of The Terror Presidency: Law and Judgment Inside The Bush Administration (W.W. Norton 2007), as well as of other books and articles on many topics related to terrorism, national security, international law, conflicts of law, and internet law. Before coming to Harvard, Goldsmith served as Assistant Attorney General, Office of Legal Counsel, from October 2003 through July 2004, and Special Counsel to the General Counsel to the Department of Defense from September 2002 through June 2003. Goldsmith taught at the University of Chicago Law School from 1997-2002, and at the University of Virginia Law School from 1994-1997. He holds a J.D. from Yale Law School, a B.A. and M.A. from Oxford University, and a B.A. from Washington & Lee University. He clerked for Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, Court of Appeals Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson, and Judge George Aldrich on the Iran-U.S. Claims Tribunal.

Recent Reviews

“This is an incredible story, plainly rebutting the clear understanding of many that Charles O’Brien drove Jimmy Hoffa to his death, and offering a profoundly beautiful recognition of the nature of paternal love. This book will make you weep, repeatedly, for the injustice, and for the love.” —Lawrence Lessig, Harvard Law School Professor and author of They Don’t Represent Us and Republic, Lost

In Hoffa’s Shadow is a masterpiece and a page-turner—I couldn’t put it down. Brilliant, suspenseful, and deeply moving, it offers a personal view of one of the greatest unsolved crimes in American history. At the same time, it offers startling insights into organized crime, the labor movement, and the surprising origins of today’s surveillance state. Beautifully written and full of unexpected turns, this book is gripping and revelatory from start to finish.” —Amy Chua, Law School Professor and author of Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother and Political Tribes: Group Instinct and the Fate of Nations

“A thrilling, unputdownable story that takes on big subjects—injustice, love, loss, truth, power, murder—and addresses them in sentences of beauty and clarity informed by deep thought and feeling. Goldsmith, one of the finest minds of his generation, has told an insane tale with a storyteller’s flair. This is one of the best works of autobiography that I’ve read in a very, very long time.” —Bill Buford, former fiction editor of The New Yorker and author of Heat and Among the Thugs

Faculty Book Talk: Taiwan and International Human Rights: A Story of Transformation, Tuesday, October 8th at noon

The Harvard Law School Library staff invite you to attend a book talk and discussion in celebration of the recent publication of Taiwan and International Human Rights: A Story of Transformation, edited by Jerome A. Cohen, William P. Alford & Dr. Chang-fa Lo (Springer, June 8, 2019).

Tuesday, October 8, 2019, at noon
Harvard Law School Milstein East A/B
(Directions)
1585 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA
No RSVP required

This book talk is co-sponsored by the Harvard Law School Library and East Asian Legal Studies at Harvard Law School.

The book talk discussion will include:



Jerome A. Cohen
, Professor, NYU School of Law and Faculty Director, NYU U.S.-Asia Law Institute.


Dr. Chang-fa Lo

Dr. Chang-fa Lo, former Grand Justice of the Constitutional Court of the ROC (Taiwan) and former Dean, National Taiwan University Law School.


William P. Alford, Vice Dean for the Graduate Program and International Legal Studies, Jerome A. and Joan L. Cohen Professor of Law, Director, East Asian Legal Studies Program, and Chair, Harvard Law School Project on Disability.

Commentators:

Steven Goldstein, Sophia Smith Professor of Government, Emeritus, Smith College and Fellow, Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies.

Dr. Yu-Jie Chen, Academia Sinica (Taiwan).

Dan Zhou, LL.M. ’16 and SJD candidate, Harvard Law School.

About Taiwan and International Human Rights: A Story of Transformation

“This book tells a story of Taiwan’s transformation from an authoritarian regime to a democratic system where human rights are protected as required by international human rights treaties. There were difficult times for human rights protection during the martial law era; however, there has also been remarkable transformation progress in human rights protection thereafter. The book reflects the transformation in Taiwan and elaborates whether or not it is facilitated or hampered by its Confucian tradition. There are a number of institutional arrangements, including the Constitutional Court, the Control Yuan, and the yet-to-be-created National Human Rights Commission, which could play or have already played certain key roles in human rights protections. Taiwan’s voluntarily acceptance of human rights treaties through its implementation legislation and through the Constitutional Court’s introduction of such treaties into its constitutional interpretation are also fully expounded in the book. Taiwan’s NGOs are very active and have played critical roles in enhancing human rights practices. In the areas of civil and political rights, difficult human rights issues concerning the death penalty remain unresolved. But regarding the rights and freedoms in the spheres of personal liberty, expression, privacy, and fair trial (including lay participation in criminal trials), there are in-depth discussions on the respective developments in Taiwan that readers will find interesting. In the areas of economic, social, and cultural rights, the focuses of the book are on the achievements as well as the problems in the realization of the rights to health, a clean environment, adequate housing, and food. The protections of vulnerable groups, including indigenous people, women, LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) individuals, the disabled, and foreigners in Taiwan, are also the areas where Taiwan has made recognizable achievements, but still encounters problems. The comprehensive coverage of this book should be able to give readers a well-rounded picture of Taiwan’s human rights performance. Readers will find appealing the story of the effort to achieve high standards of human rights protection in a jurisdiction barred from joining international human rights conventions.” — Springer

Read more…


Faculty Book Talk: Levinson and Balkin, Democracy and Dysfunction, Thursday, October 3rd at noon

The Harvard Law School Library staff invite you to attend a book talk and discussion in celebration of the recent publication of Democracy and Dysfunction by Sanford Levinson and Jack M. Balkin (Univ. Chicago Press, Apr. 2019).

Thursday, October 3, 2019, at noon
Harvard Law School Milstein East B
(Directions)
1585 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA
No RSVP required

The book talk discussion will include:

Sanford Levinson


Sanford Levinson
is Visiting Professor of Law at Harvard Law School and W. St. John Garwood and W. St. John Garwood, Jr. Centennial Chair in Law, University of Texas Law School.

Jack M. Balkin is the Knight Professor of Constitutional Law and the First Amendment, Yale Law School.

Commentators:

Jennifer L. Hochschild is the H.L. Jayne Professor of Government, Professor of African and African American Studies, and Harvard College Professor, Harvard University.

Steven Levitsky is Professor of Government, Harvard University.

About Democracy and Dysfunction

“It is no longer controversial that the American political system has become deeply dysfunctional. Today, only slightly more than a quarter of Americans believe the country is heading in the right direction, while sixty-three percent believe we are on a downward slope. The top twenty words used to describe the past year include “chaotic,” “turbulent,” and “disastrous.” Donald Trump’s improbable rise to power and his 2016 Electoral College victory placed America’s political dysfunction in an especially troubling light, but given the extreme polarization of contemporary politics, the outlook would have been grim even if Hillary Clinton had won. The greatest upset in American presidential history is only a symptom of deeper problems of political culture and constitutional design.

Democracy and Dysfunction brings together two of the leading constitutional law scholars of our time, Sanford Levinson and Jack M. Balkin, in an urgently needed conversation that seeks to uncover the underlying causes of our current crisis and their meaning for American democracy. In a series of letters exchanged over a period of two years, Levinson and Balkin travel—along with the rest of the country—through the convulsions of the 2016 election and Trump’s first year in office. They disagree about the scope of the crisis and the remedy required. Levinson believes that our Constitution is fundamentally defective and argues for a new constitutional convention, while Balkin, who believes we are suffering from constitutional rot, argues that there are less radical solutions. As it becomes dangerously clear that Americans—and the world—will be living with the consequences of this pivotal period for many years to come, it is imperative that we understand how we got here—and how we might forestall the next demagogue who will seek to beguile the American public.” — University of Chicago Press Books

Faculty Book Talk: Lawrence Lessig, Fidelity & Constraint: How the Supreme Court Has Read the American Constitution, Wednesday, September 25th at noon

The Harvard Law School Library staff invite you to attend a book talk and discussion in celebration of the recent publication of Fidelity & Constraint: How the Supreme Court Has Read the American Constitution by Lawrence Lessig (Oxford Univ. Press, May 1, 2019).

Wednesday, September 25, 2019, at noon
Harvard Law School Milstein East B/C
(Directions)
1585 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA
No RSVP required

Poster Fidelity & Constraint

About Fidelity & Constraint: How the Supreme Court Has Read the American Constitution

“The fundamental fact about our Constitution is that it is old — the oldest written constitution in the world. The fundamental challenge for interpreters of the Constitution is how to read that old document over time.

In Fidelity & Constraint, legal scholar Lawrence Lessig explains that one of the most basic approaches to interpreting the constitution is the process of translation. Indeed, some of the most significant shifts in constitutional doctrine are products of the evolution of the translation process over time. In every new era, judges understand their translations as instances of “interpretive fidelity,” framed within each new temporal context.

Yet, as Lessig also argues, there is a repeatedly occurring countermove that upends the process of translation. Throughout American history, there has been a second fidelity in addition to interpretive fidelity: what Lessig calls “fidelity to role.” In each of the cycles of translation that he describes, the role of the judge — the ultimate translator — has evolved too. Old ways of interpreting the text now become illegitimate because they do not match up with the judge’s perceived role. And when that conflict occurs, the practice of judges within our tradition has been to follow the guidance of a fidelity to role. Ultimately, Lessig not only shows us how important the concept of translation is to constitutional interpretation, but also exposes the institutional limits on this practice.

The first work of both constitutional and foundational theory by one of America’s leading legal minds, Fidelity & Constraint maps strategies that both help judges understand the fundamental conflict at the heart of interpretation whenever it arises and work around the limits it inevitably creates.” — Oxford University Press

About Lawrence Lessig

Lawrence Lessig is the Roy L. Furman Professor of Law and Leadership at Harvard Law School.

Prior to rejoining the Harvard faculty, Lessig was a professor at Stanford Law School, where he founded the school’s Center for Internet and Society, and at the University of Chicago.

He clerked for Judge Richard Posner on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals and Justice Antonin Scalia on the United States Supreme Court. Lessig serves on the Board of the AXA Research Fund, and on the advisory boards of Creative Commons and the Sunlight Foundation.

He is a Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Philosophical Association, and has received numerous awards, including the Free Software Foundation’s Freedom Award, Fastcase 50 Award and being named one of Scientific American’s Top 50 Visionaries.

Lessig holds a BA in economics and a BS in management from the University of Pennsylvania, an MA in philosophy from Cambridge, and a JD from Yale.

Book Talk: Ambassador Samantha Power, The Education of an Idealist, Monday, September 23, at noon

The Harvard Law School Library staff invite you to attend a book talk and discussion in celebration of the recent publication of The Education of an Idealist by Ambassador Samantha Power (Dey Street Books, Sept. 2019).

Monday, September 23, 2019, at noon
Harvard Law School Milstein East A/B (Directions)
1585 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA
No RSVP required

Ambassador Power will be joined by commentators:

William P. Alford, Vice Dean for the Graduate Program and International Legal Studies, Jerome A. and Joan L. Cohen Professor of Law, Director, East Asian Legal Studies Program, and Chair, Harvard Law School Project on Disability;

Graham Allison, Douglas Dillon Professor of Government, Harvard University; and

Ambassador Wendy R. Sherman, Professor of the Practice of Public Leadership and Director, Center for Public Leadership, Harvard Kennedy School.

This talk is co-sponsored by the Harvard Law School Library and by Harvard Law School’s International Legal Studies program.

About The Education of an Idealist

“In her memoir, Power offers an urgent response to the question “What can one person do?”—and a call for a clearer eye, a kinder heart, and a more open and civil hand in our politics and daily lives. The Education of an Idealist traces Power’s distinctly American journey from immigrant to war correspondent to presidential Cabinet official. In 2005, her critiques of US foreign policy caught the eye of newly elected senator Barack Obama, who invited her to work with him on Capitol Hill and then on his presidential campaign. After Obama was elected president, Power went from being an activist outsider to a government insider, navigating the halls of power while trying to put her ideals into practice. She served for four years as Obama’s human rights adviser, and in 2013, he named her US Ambassador to the United Nations, the youngest American to assume the role.

A Pulitzer Prize–winning writer, Power transports us from her childhood in Dublin to the streets of war-torn Bosnia to the White House Situation Room and the world of high-stakes diplomacy. Humorous and deeply honest, The Education of an Idealist lays bare the searing battles and defining moments of her life and shows how she juggled the demands of a 24/7 national security job with the challenge of raising two young children. Along the way, she illuminates the intricacies of politics and geopolitics, reminding us how the United States can lead in the world, and why we each have the opportunity to advance the cause of human dignity. Power’s memoir is an unforgettable account of the power of idealism—and of one person’s fierce determination to make a difference.” – HarperCollins Publishers

About Ambassador Samantha Power

Ambassador Samantha Power is the Anna Lindh Professor of the Practice of Global Leadership and Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School and William D. Zabel ’61 Professor of Practice in Human Rights at Harvard Law School.

From 2013 to 2017 Power served as the 28th U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, as well as a member of President Obama’s cabinet. In this role, Power became the public face of U.S. opposition to Russian aggression in Ukraine and Syria, negotiated the toughest sanctions in a generation against North Korea, lobbied to secure the release of political prisoners, helped build new international law to cripple ISIL’s financial networks, and supported President Obama’s pathbreaking actions to end the Ebola crisis. President Obama has called her “one of our foremost thinkers on foreign policy,” saying that “she showed us that the international community has a moral responsibility and a profound interest in resolving conflicts and defending human dignity.”

From 2009 to 2013, Power served on the National Security Council as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights, where she focused on issues including atrocity prevention; UN reform; LGBT and women’s rights; the promotion of religious freedom and the protection of religious minorities; and the prevention of human trafficking.

Called by Forbes “a powerful crusader for U.S foreign policy as well as human rights and democracy,” Ambassador Power has been named one of TIME’s “100 Most Influential People” and one of Foreign Policy’s“Top 100 Global Thinkers.”

Power has been recognized as a leading voice internationally for principled American engagement in the world. Her book “A Problem from Hell”: America and the Age of Genocide won the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award in 2003. Power is also author of the New York Times bestseller Chasing the Flame: Sergio Vieira de Mello and the Fight to Save the World (2008) and was the co-editor, with Derek Chollet, of The Unquiet American: Richard Holbrooke in the World (2011).

Power began her career as a journalist, reporting from places such as Bosnia, East Timor, Kosovo, Rwanda, Sudan, and Zimbabwe. Before joining the U.S. government, Power was the founding executive director of the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at the Kennedy School, a columnist for TIME, and a National Magazine Award-winning contributor to the Atlantic, the New Yorker, and the New York Review of Books

Power earned a B.A. from Yale University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School.

Faculty Book Talk: Transparency in Health and Health Care in the United States: Law and Ethics, Monday, September 16th at noon

The Harvard Law School Library staff invite you to attend a book talk and discussion in celebration of the recent publication of Transparency in Health and Health Care in the United States: Law and Ethics edited by Holly Fernandez Lynch, I. Glenn Cohen, Carmel Shachar & Barbara J. Evans (Cambridge Univ. Press, Apr. 30, 2019).

Monday, September 16, 2019, at noon
Harvard Law School Milstein West A (Directions)
1585 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA
No RSVP required

Poster, Transparency in Health and Health Care

The book talk discussion will include:

Panelists:

I. Glenn Cohen, James A. Attwood and Leslie Williams Professor of Law and Faculty Director, Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law, Biotechnology & Bioethics, Harvard Law School.


Holly Fernandez Lynch, John Russell Dickson, MD Presidential Assistant Professor of Medical Ethics and Health Policy, Assistant Faculty Director of Online Education, and Senior Fellow, Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics, University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine.


Ameet Sarpatwari, Assistant Professor, Harvard Medical School; Associate Epidemiologist, Brigham & Women’s Hospital; and Assistant Director, Program On Regulation, Therapeutics, And Law (PORTAL), Division of Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacoeconomics, Brigham & Women’s Hospital.


Moderator:

Elena Fagotto, co-investigator, Project on Transparency and Technology for Better Health and former Director of Research, Transparency Policy Project, Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation, Harvard Kennedy School of Government.


This talk is co-sponsored by the Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics at Harvard Law School.

About Transparency in Health and Health Care in the United States: Law and Ethics

“Transparency is a concept that is becoming increasingly lauded as a solution to a host of problems in the American health care system. Transparency initiatives show great promise, including empowering patients and other stakeholders to make more efficient decisions, improve resource allocation, and better regulate the health care industry. Nevertheless, transparency is not a cure-all for the problems facing the modern health care system. The authors of this volume present a nuanced view of transparency, exploring ways in which transparency has succeeded and ways in which transparency initiatives have room for improvement. Working at the intersection of law, medicine, ethics, and business, the book goes beyond the buzzwords to the heart of transparency’s transformative potential, while interrogating its obstacles and downsides. It should be read by anyone looking for a better understanding of transparency in the health care context.” — Cambridge University Press

Read more…


Book Talk: The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities: A Commentary, Wednesday April 17th at noon

The Harvard Law School Library staff invite you to attend a book talk and discussion in celebration of the recent publication of The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities: A Commentary edited by Ilias Bantekas, Michael Ashley Stein & Dimitris Anastasiou (Oxford Univ. Press, Oct. 2018).

Professor Ilias Bantekas and Professor Michael Ashley Stein will be joined in discussion by:

Jacqueline Bhabha, Professor of the Practice of Health and Human Rights, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health; Jeremiah Smith, Jr. Lecturer in Law, Harvard Law School; and Adjunct Lecturer in Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School;

Professor Gerald L. Neuman, J. Sinclair Armstrong Professor of International, Foreign, and Comparative Law at Harvard Law School;

Professor Ruth Okediji, Jeremiah Smith, Jr. Professor of Law at Harvard Law School and Co-Director of the Berkman Klein Center.

The discussion will be moderated by Professor William P. Alford, Vice Dean for the Graduate Program and International Legal Studies, Jerome A. and Joan L. Cohen Professor of Law, Director, East Asian Legal Studies Program, and Chair, Harvard Law School Project on Disability.

This talk is co-sponsored by the Human Rights Program and the Harvard Law School Project on Disability.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019, at noon
Harvard Law School Milstein East A (Directions)
1585 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA
No RSVP required

UNCRPD Commentary poster

About The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities: A Commentary

“This treatise is a detailed article-by-article examination of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). Each article of the CRPD contains a methodical analysis of the preparatory works, followed by an exhaustive examination of the contents of each article based on case law and concluding observations from the CRPD Committee, judgments from national and international courts and tribunals, pertinent UN and other reports, and literature on the topic in question.

Although primarily addressed to lawyers, the volume features commentary from a broad range of scholars across a variety of disciplines in order to provide a comprehensive study of the legal, psychological, education, sociological, and other aspects of the CPRD. This encyclopaedic commentary on the CRPD effectively covers all the issues arising from international disability law and practice.” — Oxford University Press

About the Editors

Ilias Bantekas is Professor of International Law and Arbitration, Hamad Bin Khalifa University, and a Senior Fellow at the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (IALS) of the University of London. He acts as consultant to various inter-governmental organizations, such as UNDP, UN special procedures, the Council of Europe, and the EU. He also advises state entities, law firms, and NGOs in most fields of international law, human rights, international development law, and arbitration and is regularly appointed as arbitrator in international disputes. Key books include International Human Rights Law and Practice (2nd ed, CUP 2016), International Law Concentrate (OUP, 3rd ed, 2017), Sovereign Debt and Human Rights (OUP 2018), and The International Criminal Court and Africa (OUP 2017).

Michael Ashley Stein holds a J.D. from Harvard Law School and a Ph.D. from Cambridge University. Co-founder and Executive Director of the Harvard Law School Project on Disability and a Visiting Professor at Harvard Law School for over a decade, Stein holds an Extraordinary Professorship at the University of Pretoria’s Centre for Human Rights, and a visiting professorship at the Free University of Amsterdam. Stein previously was Professor (and Cabell Professor) at William & Mary Law School, and also taught at New York University and Stanford law schools. An internationally recognized expert on disability law and policy, Stein participated in the drafting of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, works with disabled peoples’ organizations around the world, actively consults with governments on their disability laws and policies, advises a number of UN bodies and national human rights institutions, and has brought landmark litigation.

Book Talk: Cass Sunstein’s How Change Happens, Wednesday, April 10 at noon

The Harvard Law School Library staff invite you to attend a book talk and discussion in celebration of the recent publication of How Change Happens by Cass R. Sunstein (MIT Press, April 9, 2019). Professor Sunstein is the Robert Walmsley University Professor at Harvard University.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019, at noon
Harvard Law School WCC Milstein West A/B (Directions)
1585 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA
No RSVP required, light lunch will be served

Sunstein How Change Happens Poster

About How Change Happens

“How does social change happen? When do social movements take off? Sexual harassment was once something that women had to endure; now a movement has risen up against it. White nationalist sentiments, on the other hand, were largely kept out of mainstream discourse; now there is no shortage of media outlets for them. In this book, with the help of behavioral economics, psychology, and other fields, Cass Sunstein casts a bright new light on how change happens.

Sunstein focuses on the crucial role of social norms—and on their frequent collapse. When norms lead people to silence themselves, even an unpopular status quo can persist. Then one day, someone challenges the norm—a child who exclaims that the emperor has no clothes; a woman who says “me too.” Sometimes suppressed outrage is unleashed, and long-standing practices fall.

Sometimes change is more gradual, as “nudges” help produce new and different decisions—apps that count calories; texted reminders of deadlines; automatic enrollment in green energy or pension plans. Sunstein explores what kinds of nudges are effective and shows why nudges sometimes give way to bans and mandates. Finally, he considers social divisions, social cascades, and “partyism,” when identification with a political party creates a strong bias against all members of an opposing party—which can both fuel and block social change.” — MIT Press

About Cass Sunstein

Cass R. Sunstein, Robert Walmsley University Professor at Harvard Law School, was Administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs in the Obama administration. He was the recipient of the 2018 Holberg Prize, one of the largest annual international research prizes awarded to scholars who have made outstanding contributions to research in the arts and humanities, social science, law, or theology. He is the author of The Cost-Benefit Revolution (MIT Press), Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth, and Happiness (with Richard H. Thaler), and other books.

More About How Change Happens

“It’s often said that the only constancy in life is change. Cass Sunstein weaves threads from diverse traditions in behavioral science to explain how big shifts get started.” — Angela Duckworth, Founder and CEO of Character Lab and Professor of Psychology, University of Pennsylvania; author of Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance

“If you think you’d like to change something—another person, an organization, or even your society—then try this test: Pick up this book and read five pages. If you don’t have your eyes opened with a fresh insight or useful tool, well, you’re probably not serious enough about making change.” — Chip Heath, Professor, Stanford Graduate School of Business; coauthor of Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard

“For those lamenting the status quo, and questioning whether change is possible, Cass Sunstein provides a ray of hope. Integrating insights from his own, and others’, research on topics such as social norms, group polarization, and pluralistic ignorance with his intimate knowledge of law and public policy, Sunstein provides a road map of how change can and does happen. Characteristically wise and erudite, How Change Happens is a must-read for those who want to understand, and help to instigate, social change.” — George Loewenstein, Herbert A. Simon University Professor of Economics and Psychology, Carnegie Mellon University

“Many prominent scholars write about why desirable changes occur in some contexts but not others. None brings to the challenge the breadth of Cass Sunstein, or his depth of insight into the complexities involved. How Change Happens provides a breathtaking tour of the vast intellectual landscape on the subject, bringing into focus critical elements of the topography and interactions among its features. Academics and the wider public alike will benefit from Sunstein’s profound ideas, lucid exposition, and engaging writing.” — Timur Kuran, Professor of Economics and Political Science, Gorter Family Professor of Islamic Studies, Duke University

“Cass Sunstein’s new book is a tour de force exploring one of the most urgent problems of our time: how and why seemingly stable societal norms collapse and long-standing institutions come apart. Containing a feast of ideas on policy intervention, the book is bound to open up new avenues of research, and deserves to be read by students of economics, law, and politics.” — Kaushik Basu, Professor of Economics and Carl Marks Professor of International Studies, Cornell University

 

Book Talk: Lawrence Lessig’s America, Compromised, Wednesday, March 27 at noon

The Harvard Law School Library staff invite you to attend a book talk and discussion in celebration of the recent publication of America, Compromised by Lawrence Lessig (Univ. Chi. Press, Nov. 2018).  Professor Lessig is the Roy L. Furman Professor of Law and Leadership at Harvard Law School.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019, at noon
Harvard Law School WCC Milstein West A/B (Directions)
1585 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA
No RSVP required, light lunch will be served

America, Compromised Poster

About America, Compromised

“There is not a single American awake to the world who is comfortable with the way things are.”

So begins Lawrence Lessig’s sweeping indictment of contemporary American institutions and the corruption that besets them. We can all see it—from the selling of Congress to special interests to the corporate capture of the academy. Something is wrong. It’s getting worse.

And it’s our fault. What Lessig shows, brilliantly and persuasively, is that we can’t blame the problems of contemporary American life on bad people, as our discourse all too often tends to do. Rather, he explains, “We have allowed core institutions of America’s economic, social, and political life to become corrupted. Not by evil souls, but by good souls. Not through crime, but through compromise.” Every one of us, every day, making the modest compromises that seem necessary to keep moving along, is contributing to the rot at the core of American civic life. Through case studies of Congress, finance, the academy, the media, and the law, Lessig shows how institutions are drawn away from higher purposes and toward money, power, quick rewards—the first steps to corruption.

Lessig knows that a charge so broad should not be levied lightly, and that our instinct will be to resist it. So he brings copious, damning detail gleaned from years of research, building a case that is all but incontrovertible: America is on the wrong path. If we don’t acknowledge our own part in that, and act now to change it, we will hand our children a less perfect union than we were given. It will be a long struggle. This book represents the first steps. — University of Chicago Press

About Lawrence Lessig

Lawrence Lessig is the Roy L. Furman Professor of Law and Leadership at Harvard Law School. Prior to rejoining the Harvard faculty, Lessig was a professor at Stanford Law School, where he founded the school’s Center for Internet and Society, and at the University of Chicago. He clerked for Judge Richard Posner on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals and Justice Antonin Scalia on the United States Supreme Court. Lessig serves on the Board of the AXA Research Fund, and on the advisory boards of Creative Commons and the Sunlight Foundation. He is a Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Philosophical Association, and has received numerous awards, including the Free Software Foundation’s Freedom Award, Fastcase 50 Award and being named one of Scientific American’s Top 50 Visionaries. Lessig holds a BA in economics and a BS in management from the University of Pennsylvania, an MA in philosophy from Cambridge, and a JD from Yale.

More About America, Compromised

“America, Compromised is about the country in the Trump era, but not about Trump. Indeed, Lessig would have written much the same book if Hillary Clinton were president and if Democrats had control of both houses of Congress. His focus is not on bad people doing bad things, but on how incentives across a range of institutions have created corruption, with deleterious consequences for the nation. . . . America, Compromised join[s] an impressive array of books and essays that may, someday, have a future intellectual historian using them as examples to lament the fact that his or her contemporaries are not as eloquent or important as the group that arose in the Trump era to combat the threats to our way of life.” — Norm Ornstein — New York Times Book Review

“Lessig lays out a working definition and theory of corruption that is at once simple and comprehensive, a devastating argument that America is racing for the cliff’s edge of structural, possibly irreversible tyranny.” — Cory Doctorow

 

Book Talk: Sovereignty and the New Executive Authority, Wednesday, March 13th at noon

The Harvard Law School Library staff invite you to attend a book talk and discussion in celebration of the recent publication of Sovereignty and the New Executive Authority edited by Claire Finkelstein and Michael Skerker (Oxford Univ. Press, 2018).  Professor Finkelstein will be joined in conversation with Professor Charles Fried and Professor Adrian Vermeule.

This book talk is co-sponsored by the Harvard Law School Students for the Rule of Law.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019, at noon
Harvard Law School Milstein West A/B (Directions)
1585 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA
No RSVP required

Sovereignty and the New Executive Authority Poster

About Sovereignty and the New Executive Authority

“This volume explores moral and legal issues relating to sovereignty by addressing foundational questions about its nature, examining state sovereignty between states, and dealing with post 9/11 developments in the U.S., potentially destabilizing received views of democratic sovereignty. With essays addressing foundational, state and international sovereignty, the book focuses on Post 9/11 developments including the profusion of secret national security programs, including those pertaining to the interrogation, rendition, and detention of terror suspects; signal intercepts and meta-data analysis; and targeted killing of irregular militants; prompting questions regarding the legitimacy of executive power in this arena.” — Oxford University Press

Claire FinkelsteinProfessor Claire Finkelstein is the Algernon Biddle Professor of Law and Professor of Philosophy; Director at the Center for Ethics and the Rule of Law, University of Pennsylvania Law School. She has published extensively in the areas of criminal law theory, moral and political philosophy as applied to legal questions, jurisprudence, and rational choice theory. One of her distinctive contributions is bringing philosophical rational choice theory to bear on legal theory. She has focused in recent years on the implications of Hobbes’ political theory for substantive legal questions. She is the series editor, with Jens Ohlin, of the Oxford Series in Ethics, National Security and the Rule of Law. Within that series, she has co-edited three volumes to date: Targeted Killings: Law & Mortality in an Asymmetrical World (2012), Cyberwar: Law and Ethics for Virtual Conflicts; and Weighing Lives in War (2017). She is also the editor of Hobbes on Law (2005). She is the Faculty Director of the Center for Ethics and the Rule of Law at the University of Pennsylvania.

Charles FriedProfessor Charles Fried will join Professor Finkelstein in discussion of Sovereignty and the New Executive Authority.  Professor Fried is the Beneficial Professor of Law and has been teaching at Harvard Law School since 1961. He was Solicitor General of the United States, 1985-89, and an Associate Justice of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, 1995-99. He contributed a chapter to Sovereignty and the New Executive Authority titled Defining and Constraining the Sovereign.

Adrian VermeuleAdrian Vermeule is the Ralph S. Tyler, Jr. Professor of Constitutional Law at Harvard Law School. Before coming to the Law School, he was the Bernard D. Meltzer Professor of Law at the University of Chicago. The author or co-author of nine books, most recently Law’s Abnegation: From Law’s Empire to the Administrative State (2016), The Constitution of Risk (2014) and The System of the Constitution (2012). He was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2012.

 

 

 

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