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Democratizing the Senate from Within

Gould, Jonathan and Shepsle, Kenneth and Stephenson, Matthew Caleb, Democratizing the Senate from Within (March 25, 2021). Harvard Public Law Working Paper No. 21-11, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3812526 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3812526

“The U.S. Senate is an undemocratic institution in two respects. First, the filibuster rule allows a minority of Senators to block a final vote on most measures. Second, the Senate’s malapportionment means that a Senate majority often represents a minority of the population. Eliminating the filibuster would address the first problem but would exacerbate the second. Most proposals for addressing the Senate’s malapportionment either do so only indirectly and contingently, or would require unlikely changes to the Constitution or constitutional doctrine. We therefore propose that the Senate replace its current filibuster rule with what we refer to as a “popular-majoritarian cloture rule.” Under this rule, a motion to close debate and proceed to a final vote would carry if but only if supported by a majority coalition of Senators who collectively represent a larger share of the population than those Senators in opposition. This rule, which would be a constitutional exercise of the Senate’s power to set the rules of its proceedings, would make the body more democratic, legitimate, and functional, and would be prefer-able both to the current filibuster rule and to simple majority rule. The democratic illegitimacy and dysfunction of the U.S. Senate as it currently operates justifies the consideration of institutional reforms that might seem, at the moment, both extreme and unlikely. Repairing American governance requires fixing the Senate, and our proposal illustrates one way to democratize the Senate from within.”

The Limits of Law and AI

McCarl, Ryan, The Limits of Law and AI (March 16, 2021). University of Cincinnati Law Review, Vol. 90, No. 3, 2022, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3805453 “For thirty years, scholars in the field of law and artificial intelligence (AI) have explored the extent to which tasks performed by lawyers and judges can be assisted by computers.… Continue Reading

Over a billion records belonging to CVS Health exposed online

ZDNet: “In another example of misconfigured cloud services impacting security, over a billion records belonging to CVS Health have been exposed online. On Thursday, WebsitePlanet, together with researcher Jeremiah Fowler, revealed the discovery of an online database belonging to CVS Health. The database was not password-protected and had no form of authentication in place to… Continue Reading

UK libraries and museums unite to save ‘astonishing’ lost library from private buyers

The Guardian: “From the British Library to the Brontë Parsonage Museum, a consortium of libraries and museums have come together in an “unprecedented” effort to raise £15m and save an “astonishingly important” set of literary manuscripts for the nation. The plans were formed after the announcement last month that the “lost” Honresfield library was to… Continue Reading

Juneteenth holiday marking end of slavery becomes law after decades of inaction

Washington Post: “President Biden on Thursday signed into law a measure that establishes Juneteenth as a federal holiday, taking advantage of sudden and broad bipartisan agreement to commemorate the end of slavery in the United States after years of debate and inaction. In signing the measure — which resulted in an unexpected day off Friday… Continue Reading

How do you quantify the value of a public library? Here’s what one report finds

MarketWatch: “Libraries are a bedrock of local life in America. But there has been little study of the quantifiable impacts libraries, and spending on them, have on communities and residents. A recently published working paper addresses that, with some unsurprising findings for everyone who grew up with a love of reading, thanks to the local… Continue Reading

One Year After Stop Hate for Profit: Progress Update from the Coalition

“One year ago, the Stop Hate for Profit coalition called for Facebook to address the prevalence of hate, racism, and misinformation on their platforms. Led by prominent civil rights groups and nonprofit organizations including ADL, Color Of Change, Common Sense, Free Press, LULAC, Mozilla, NAACP, National Hispanic Media Coalition, and Sleeping Giants, Stop Hate for… Continue Reading

Experts Doubt Ethical AI Design Will Be Broadly Adopted as the Norm Within the Next Decade

Pew: “A majority worries that the evolution of artificial intelligence by 2030 will continue to be primarily focused on optimizing profits and social control. They also cite the difficulty of achieving consensus about ethics. Many who expect progress say it is not likely within the next decade. Still, a portion celebrate coming AI breakthroughs that… Continue Reading

Making it easier to find government agencies

USA.gov Blog: “Finding contact information for a federal department or agency is a top task at USA.gov and USAGov en Español. Our A-Z Index of U.S. Government Departments and Agencies directory is a popular feature and the result of many years of user testing and website user metrics. Over time, we’ve noticed a pain point… Continue Reading

The Good Finance Framework June 2021

Women in Banking and Finance: “In this study, suggested actions for firms to take to reduce the headwinds relayed by the women are identified. Equally valuable is information on tailwinds and ways in which they can be replicated or artificially constructed by firms to improve the growth and retention of women have been recommended. This… Continue Reading