Commentary

In '60 Minutes,' Ethical Problems in the Legal Profession Exposed

By John Leubsdorf and William H. Simon |

OPINION: Professors whose work was featured in the news program share take-away lessons.

Software Innovations Need Patent Protection

By David J. Kappos |

OPINION: A case before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit threatens to stymie technology.

Members of the Supreme Court gather for a group portrait at the Supreme Court in Washington, Friday, Oct. 8, 2010. Seated from left are: Associate Justices Clarence Thomas, Antonin Scalia, Chief Justice John Roberts, Associate Justices Anthony M. Kennedy, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Standing, from left are: Associate Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Stephen Breyer, Samuel Alito Jr., and Elena Kagan.

Give 'Em a Break. Our Justices Are Doing the Best They Can

By Roy Englert Jr. |

It's common to attribute SCOTUS rulings to ideology, but decision-making is nuanced.

Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX)

Ted Cruz is Fit for Office, At Least Under the Constitution

By Richard L. Hasen |

Liberals should embrace an interpretation of the Constitution that maximizes the voter choice and enfranchisement of voters, one that would minimize the reach of an archaic constitutional provision suggesting that only those born on U.S. soil are qualified to be president. Fight Cruz on his ideas, not his eligibility for office.

<b>ROE v. WADE:</b> Supporters and protestors gather on the 35th anniversary of the decision making abortion legal. A ruling in a case now before the Supreme Court could restrict access to abortion clinics.

'I Had an Abortion': One Lawyer's Story of a Life-Changing Decision

By Michele Coleman Mayes |

OPINION: New laws affecting reproductive rights compel a woman to reveal a secret.

Rebuttal: AG's Pursuit of Oil Giants Is Legally Sound

By John B. Williams, Peter J. Fontaine and Catherine Reilly |

OPINION: Responding to a previous NLJ op-ed, lawyers say subpoenas over climate change pass muster.

<b>ADDITIONAL STEPS:</b> President Barack Obama on Jan. 5 announced plans to expand background checks on those who intend to buy firearms, but the proposal won’t provide help to the victims of gun violence.

Gun-Violence Victims Should Be Compensated Via Special Tax

By Alan Morrison |

OPINION: Obama's plan falls short, but a proposal calls for firearms users and makers to pay.

<b>OUTSIDE THE LAW:</b> Ammon Bundy and a group of men have occupied the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, an area dedicated by President Theodore Roosevelt to sustain migratory bird populations.

Oregon Standoff Is Legally Untenable

By David J. Hayes |

OPINION: In order to preserve the rule of law, our government must enforce it against those who flout it.

<b>MICHAEL STEGMAN:</b> The White House’s top adviser on housing policy opposes the recapitalization of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, arguing that doing so will reduce affordable-housing resources.

How the Feds Abuse Fannie and Freddie

By Tara Helfman |

OPINION: Administration's approach keeps the entities under capitalized, to the detriment of taxpayers.

More Women in the Judiciary Means Justice for All

By Jay Newton-Small |

OPINION: When females compose even just 20 to 30 percent of courts, changes are dramatic.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman

Subpoenas Over Climate Change Flout Constitution

OPINION: New York attorney general's move against energy companies runs afoul of the First Amendment.

A Fine Balance of Protecting America and Preserving Individual Freedom

By Ilann M. Maazel |

OPINION: If we don't uphold the basic principles of democracy, what have we become?

A celebration at the Supreme Court in June.

The Year in Opinion

Snapshots of the controversies and issues NLJ readers explored on our op-ed pages in 2015.

Family Stability Hinges on Outcome in Court's Handling of Gay Adoption

By Adam Unikowsky and Cathy Sakimura |

Alabama's undoing of lesbian's parental rights could affect thousands of adoptions.

Donald Trump.

Trump's Idea on Muslims Fails, Despite Precedent

By Kevin R. Johnson |

Some scholars say his call for barring entry into the U.S. could pass muster. They're likely wrong.

<b>ANOTHER TRAGEDY:</b> A couple embraces following a mass shooting that left 14 people dead and 22 injured at a social services facility on Dec. 2 in San Bernardino, California.

Op-Ed: The Fallacy of Thomas' Objection to Restrictions on Assault Weapons

By Jonathan Lowy and Kelly Sampson |

Relying on so-called "common use" to strike down bans is logically flawed.

European Commission in Brussels

Op-Ed: International Investment Court's Time Has Come

By Douglas Singleterry |

European Commission has proposed a system to promote fairness. Obama should get on board.

Op-Ed: Don't Act Unilaterally To Close Guantánamo

By Louis Fisher |

President Obama should root his legacy in the use of legal principles, not executive authority.

Op-Ed: Lift the Ban on Academic Credit For Paid Legal Work

By Thomas Wheatley |

As a paid law clerk, the modest compensation I receive certainly makes life as a law student a little easier. For the American Bar Association, however, my paycheck is a problem. Unlike my unpaid peers, my compensation precludes my ability to earn academic credit for the experience I receive during my clerkship. The policy is economically unsound and harmful to law students.

Richard B. Russell Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse, Atlanta Ga.

Op-Ed: Richard B. Russell's Name Should Be Removed from the U.S. Courthouse

Because he was an ardent segregationist, Richard Russell’s name should not be on the federal courthouse in Atlanta.

People stand in line as they wait to cast their votes at a polling station set up at the Miami-Dade Government Center on October 18, 2010 in Miami, Florida.

Op-Ed: States Are Falling Short In Providing Voter Access

By Brenda Wright and Adam Ambrogi |

California law improves DMV registration process, but most states fail to meet their obligations.

<b>IN CRISIS:</b> A Syrian child in October sleeps in his father’s arms after arriving on a dinghy from the Turkish coast to the Greek island of Lesbos. Hundreds of thousands have fled Syria this year.

Op-Ed: Despite Dark History of Exclusion, Laws Demand U.S. Accepts Refugees

By Christian Sundquist |

The turmoil in Syria has exacerbated a "fear of otherness" held by many Americans.

Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks during a news conference at Facebook headquarters August 18, 2010 in Palo Alto, California..

Op-Ed: Constitutional Rights, Sponsored by Facebook

By Sonia Katyal |

Internet access for all is a win for free speech, but we should scrutinize corporations' roles.

Op-Ed: As Foreign Investment Balloons, A Centralized Court System Is Vital

By Douglas Singleterry |

The current private enforcement process lacks transparency and consistency.

<b>GROWING DISSENT:</b> Justice Stephen Breyer, joined by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, wrote in <i>Glossip v. Gross</i>, a challenge to Oklahoma’s lethal injection, that capital punishment “very likely” violates the Constitution.

Op-Ed: Is an End to the Death Penalty Nearing?

By Vivian Berger |

New state laws, improved science and better representation of defendants all point to change.

<b>BUYING INFLUENCE:</b> Protesters sought reconsideration in 2012 of the Citizens United decision. Opponents of the decision argue that it leaves corporate spending on elections largely unchecked.

Op-Ed: After 75 Years, Missouri Still Serves As the Model for Selecting Judges

By Liz Seaton |

Merit-selection system guards against partisanship and preserves justice.

Op-Ed: High Court Gets a Chance to Ban Racism in Jury Selection

By Gil Garcetti |

But justices could render meaningless the basic rights granted in prior rulings.

VW rear hood ornaments for Volkswagen Golf cars lie at the assembly line at the VW factory on March 8, 2010 in Wolfsburg, Germany.

Op-Ed: VW Creates the Perfect 'No-Injury' Class Action

By Arthur H. Bryant |

Automaker's emissions scandal points out fallacy of argument in case before the high court.

Op-Ed: Sentencing Reforms Need Voices From Victims

By Mary Leary |

Amid the bipartisan effort to fix a broken criminal justice system, a key perspective is missing.

Oct. 6, 2015 - Sheerness, UK - New Volkswagen cars in a compound in Sheerness, Kent, as more 460,000 new cars were sold last month - the highest September figure on record.

Op-Ed: What Did VW's Lawyers Know? The Answer Could Be Career-Ending

By Vincent R. Johnson |

If attorneys played a part in emissions deceit, they should lose their licenses.

Op-Ed: Avalanche of Charges Killed the Dewey Case

By Matt Kaiser |

New York prosecutors piled on the allegations, hoping some would stick. They didn't.

Op-Ed: Egg Donor Antitrust Suit Exposes Flaws of an Underregulated Business

By Alan C. Milstein |

The multibillion-dollar industry needs more oversight, but the case misses the mark

<b>NOW PLAYING:</b> James Donovan represented U.S. pilot Francis Gary Powers, captured by the Soviet Union. Tom Hanks, right, plays Donovan in “Bridge of Spies.” Mark Rylance, left, plays Soviet intelligence officer Rudolf Abel.

Op-Ed: Hanks' Latest Film Is One Firm's History

By Daniel G. McDermott |

James Donovan, the subject of a Spielberg movie, served as an inspiration to a New York lawyer.

<b>SEEKING PROTECTION:</b> Flor Garcia, 19, and her one-year-old daughter were among the roughly 90 Hondurans who illegally cross into the U.S. at the Rio Grande near McAllen, Texas, every day.

Op-Ed: Don't Ignore the Children of the Central American Immigration Crisis

By Stephen J. Brogan |

The news coverage has quieted down, but tens of thousands still need legal help.

Mallun Yen, RPX Executive Vice President

In Hiring, 'Perfect' Is The Enemy Of Diversity

A manager’s biases about what made an effective litigator almost doomed a great candidate.

<b>ON DISPLAY:</b> Handguns at a show in Albany, New York, in 2013. Under current federal law, background checks are only required by those who “engage in the business” of dealing firearms.

Op-Ed: Closing the Gun-Show Loophole by Executive Action Is a Feasible Plan

By Lawrence Rosenthal |

Hillary Clinton's strategy would increase background checks for firearm purchasers.

Washington Redskins and Atlanta Falcons during a game held in FedEx Field, Maryland.

Op-Ed: Concussion Settlement's Inflation Problem

By Brian Wolfman |

Third Circuit should reject deal because players with future injuries won't get fair compensation.

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy

Op-Ed: With Kennedy as Swing Vote, High Court Could Veer Right

By Erwin Chemerinsky |

A historically conservative stance on affirmative action, voting and abortion rights.

Op-Ed: Measure of Legal Education's Value Extends Far Beyond Big Law

By James Lupo |

Despite the critics, law school still provides a solid foundation for civic responsibility.

Op-Ed: High Court Must Undo Clear Case of Juror Racism

By Charles J. Ogletree Jr. and David J. Harris |

At issue is whether black man sentenced to death was denied fair trial due to juror using the n-word.

<b>LIKE AN UMPIRE:</b> Chief Justice John Roberts has described the judiciary’s role in the indigent defense system as that of an officiator. But some say the judiciary is too involved in the defense function.

Op-Ed: Indigent Defense System Needs Greater Independence From Judiciary

By E.G. "Gerry" Morris |

It has undue power over how and when almost all federal defendants get lawyers.

Op-Ed: A Threat to Class Actions Looms in High Court

By Judith E. Schaeffer |

Personal experience in a home refinancing case underscores the public policy of suing en masse.

<b>DONALD VERRILLI JR.:</b> The Solicitor General has filed a petition asking the Supreme Court to review a Second Circuit decision.

Op-Ed: Folly in Redefining Insider Trading

By Bruce Barket and Alexander Klein |

High court should revisit — and affirm — what constitutes a "personal benefit" for information.

Op-Ed: The DOJ's Crackdown on White-Collar Crime Creates 'Cruel Alternative'

By Matt Kaiser and Justin Dillon |

Stricter stance means employees could be fired for not cooperating.

<b>EDITH RAMIREZ:</b> Chairwoman of the FTC. A court ruled the FTC can go after businesses that don’t protect data.

Op-Ed: The FTC's Expanded Role to Deter Hackers

By Daniel Castro |

New authority makes it harder for companies to shirk information -security responsibilities.

Op-Ed: The Legal Profession Needs To Get Smart about Cybersecurity

By Brian E. Finch |

Training must address a fundamental duty to clients imperiled by attacks.

<b>JUSTICE SAMUEL ALITO:</b> The author of ‘Wynne’ was joined for a change by Justices Sotomayor and Breyer.

Op-Ed: A Tax Case (Yes, Tax) Was Last Term's Blockbuster

By Gary Thompson |

Amid high court's epic docket was a seemingly mundane suit — at the heart of the Constitution.

Op-Ed: Hasty Changes to Mandatory Sentencing Could Prove Unwise

By George J. Terwilliger III |

We shouldn't forget that the public needs protection from some very bad actors.

Op-Ed: Law Schools' Shell Game of Minority Enrollment

By Jay Sterling Silver |

Admitting diverse students as transfers in their second year does not improve overall numbers.

Legal Aid Society volunteer pro bono attorneys help clients with applications.

Firms Should Support Graduates' Goal to Provide Pro Bono Service

By Michael Scudder |

During job interviews, students fear revealing that they would like to volunteer.

<b>LAWMAKERS:</b> Sen. John McCain and former Sen. Russ Feingold, sponsors of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, in 2006.

Op-Ed: The McCain-Feingold Act May Doom Itself

By Richard L. Hasen |

A provision in the campaign-reform law could spur the Supreme Court to hear a challenge.

Gustave Courbet,

Op-Ed: Recovering Nazi-Looted Art Became Pinnacle of Lawyer's Career

By Lawrence M. Kaye and Howard N. Spiegler |

Charles Goldstein helped reclaim $160 million in stolen paintings and other works.