Hearsay

"So what is so American about the Ten Commandments? Nothing, I submit. The rules we accept actually precede the Ten Commandments and are accepted by all civilized nations. The remaining provisions--which call for punishing children for the sins of parents, acknowledge slavery, mark Saturday as the exclusive day of rest and were read as exempting married men from the prohibition against adultery--the United States has generally rejected.

Not only do the Ten Commandments not belong in public courthouses or classrooms, they do not even belong--at least without some amendments and explanatory footnotes--in the hearts and minds of contemporary Americans."

Professor Alan Dershowitz, in a Sept. 14 op-ed in the Los Angeles Times regarding the debate over removing a monument to the Ten Commandments from the Alabama Supreme Court building.

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"The Ninth Circuit's decision was as precipitous as it was unsound. It took an incredibly close election result for the relatively small number of incompletely perforated punch cards to arguably matter in Florida, and the media recount suggests it turned out not to matter even there. Nor has the problem been replicated before or since in other elections. But because of the concern that some similar problem might affect the recall election, the Ninth Circuit is with certainty depriving the entire California electorate of its right to vote on whether it wants a different governor for the next six months."

Professor Einer Elhauge '86, in a Sept. 17 op-ed in The Wall Street Journal criticizing the initial decision by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to delay the gubernatorial recall vote in California.

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"The Ninth Circuit's critics aren't being wholly inconsistent with the game they played in the 2000 election: they're again hanging onto a purely arbitrary, artificial deadline (there it was midnight on Dec. 12; here it's the arbitrary Oct. 7 date) and treating it as sacred, elevating the "right' to elect a new regime in the governor's office by that date above the fundamental principle that nobody's vote should count less than anybody else's in a state-run election just because of where in the state the voter happens to live."

Professor Laurence Tribe '66, responding in a Sept. 18 op-ed in The Wall Street Journal and praising the Ninth Circuit Court's decision on the recall.

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"If Social Security were to present its finances on the basis of accrual accounting, the public would have to face the hard truth that the system is insolvent--and its deficit is increasing by hundreds of billions of dollars a year. Politicians would have more incentive to act. Indeed, voters might even insist that Congress and the president reduce the Social Security shortfall to a reasonable size."

Professor Howell Jackson '82, in an Oct. 9 op-ed in The New York Times on the increasing federal budget deficit, the manner of accounting of the deficit by the government and their effects on the future solvency of Social Security.

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"[W]hen should politicians and policymakers get serious about America's debt load? When should policies that encourage savings and discourage cashing out become a national priority? When does all that equity extraction translate into borrowing against our futures, instead of a Ã"support to the economy'? If America stays its course, one in seven families with children will be bankrupt by 2010."

Professor Elizabeth Warren and Amelia Warren Tyagi, in an Oct. 17 "letter to Alan Greenspan" op-ed in the Chicago Tribune, criticizing Greenspan's comments that the debt loads American families currently carry are at acceptable levels.

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"Opponents of shareholder access also claim that it will be made unnecessary by pending reforms that would require nominating committees to be composed of independent directors. To ensure that directors act in shareholders' interest, however, it is not enough that directors be independent of the company's executives. Directors must also be at least partly dependent on the shareholders. And even if most nominating committees will select well, shareholders should have a safety valve."

Professor Lucian Bebchuk LL.M. '80 S.J.D. '84, in an Oct. 21 op-ed in the Financial Times in support of a proposed SEC rule that would grant company shareholders more power in electing and replacing company directors.

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"Although some might read the Goodridge majority opinion to imply that the current marriage statute is, everything considered, irrational in excluding same-sex marriage, nowhere does the court say that the current statute cannot have a rational basis. . . . As a result, the court left open the possibility that the statute could have been adequately supported by clearer evidence. Of course, we would never wish to accept the implication that Massachusetts' marriage statute has been wanting in a rational foundation all these years. It is a matter, rather, of understanding that it can never be out of season for the law to justify itself."

Professor Mary Ann Glendon, in a Jan. 8 op-ed in the Boston Herald on the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court's decision in support of gay marriage.