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Charles Ogletree

  • ‘Her honesty and directness were stunning’: A Globe reporter shares how she told the Ogletrees’ story

    October 29, 2019

    On Sunday, the Globe’s Jenna Russell told the tale of renowned Harvard Law School Professor Charles J. Ogletree Jr.’s journey into the fog of Alzheimer’s disease. We caught up with Russell to ask about the process of reporting this sensitive story and about the outpouring she’s received from readers..."One thing that was important to Pam [Ogletree] was to tell people about some of the treatment possibilities that do exist, in the hope that others might find them sooner than the Ogletrees did, and reap more benefits. But it’s been so interesting to see the different ways readers are responding. A handful found the story too hopeful or too sweet, not dark enough in what it shows of the disease. But overwhelmingly, I am hearing from caregivers who recognize themselves and their own experience in what Pam and Charles are living through, in love that survives the worst things life can offer. I think that recognition means the most to me."

  • As his Alzheimer’s looms, Charles and Pam Ogletree take one last walk in love

    October 28, 2019

    The couple walk shoulder to shoulder, stride for stride, like two people who have walked together a long time. The man looks steadily ahead and moves with purpose. The woman turns to him, smiling, and speaks quietly. He nods his head slightly but does not reply. His silence would have once surprised her, but it is expected now, painfully familiar, four years into their life with Alzheimer’s. The great man at her side goes days sometimes without speaking. She isn’t certain, now, if he knows her name, or if he always recalls his own. His name is Charles J. Ogletree Jr., and he was, not long ago, a dazzling, dominating legal mind, a theorist and scholar internationally revered for his brilliance and compassion. He inspired generations of students as a Harvard Law School professor, including the young Barack and Michelle Obama. He was a crusader for civil rights, the founder of the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice, and a prolific author who investigated police conduct in black communities and the role of race in capital punishment, long before the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement.

  • A Brief Guide to the Joe Biden–Anita Hill Controversy

    April 29, 2019

    Hours after Joe Biden made his presidential run official last Thursday, Anita Hill’s name was back in the news. Earlier this month, with an eye toward getting into the race, Biden called Hill to “express his regret” for her treatment during the Clarence Thomas Supreme Court confirmation hearings, the New York Times reported. ... Lastly, Biden’s critics say that his own questioning of Hill was unfair, blaming him for “setting an accusing, skeptical tone and losing control,” the Washington Post reports. Charles Ogletree, a Harvard law professor and Hill’s attorney at the time, told Politico he still blames Biden for mishandling the hearing: “I was shocked and dismayed that Joe Biden was asking questions that didn’t seem appropriate and was not in her corner as a Democrat,” Ogletree said. “The point is that he’s supposed to be neutral, but his questions to Anita Hill were as piercing as anyone’s.” Ogletree said he’s brought up the hearings with Biden in the years since, but hasn’t been satisfied with the response. “He’s said that this job was to control the hearing, that he was surprised by the result as well,” Ogletree said.

  • To do good in the world

    January 30, 2019

    Alumni discuss pathways to public service work in advance of Public Interested Conference. ... For [David] Harris, Ph.D. ’92, that path was long and meandering. It began with his grandfather, a Unitarian minister who preached the imperative to demonstrate faith by improving society. Harris struggled, however, with how to go about that. He ultimately chose to follow his mother’s example and study sociology, but it would take him nine years and stints at three schools to finish his undergraduate degree. ... After 10 years there, he met with Harvard Law School Professor Charles Ogletree about the possibility of joining a new institute at Harvard that Ogletree had created to work on race and justice issues. “It was clear to both of us that it was just a perfect fit. And it has been,” said Harris, who has been the managing director of the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice since 2006.

  • ‘I go way back with Professor Ogletree’

    ‘I go way back with Professor Ogletree’

    June 26, 2018

    On the HLS campus this past fall, eminent friends, students, and colleagues gathered to celebrate a man the world knows as a leading force for racial equality and social justice, and the Harvard community knows affectionately as Tree.

  • Tomiko Brown-Nagin on the Civil Rights lawyer who paved the path

    Tomiko Brown-Nagin on the Civil Rights lawyer who paved the path

    May 17, 2018

    On the anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education, the Harvard Gazette sat down with Tomiko Brown-Nagin, Daniel P.S. Paul Professor of Constitutional Law at Harvard Law School and faculty director of the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race & Justice, to discuss Houston’s role and influence in the Civil Rights Movement.

  • Civil rights attorney Charles Ogletree’s mind is a weapon. Now, it’s fighting him.

    December 4, 2017

    Blocks away from Harvard Law School, renowned civil rights attorney and law professor Charles J. Ogletree Jr. was at home with family, readying himself for a celebration in his honor...In his decades-long career, Ogletree’s mind has been his weapon in legal cases that took him from D.C. Superior Court to the U.S. Supreme Court. He represented Anita Hill when she made her 1991 sexual harassment claims against then-Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas. And he was a longtime moderator of a 1990s PBS series on ethics, where he challenged some of the nation’s top business and political leaders in debate...Now Ogletree’s mind is battling him. Four years ago, when he was 60, family and colleagues noticed he had begun stumbling over names and repeating stories. The following year, he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, a disease that usually ensnares victims 65 and older...Ogletree, sitting next to her, is optimistic. “This disease hasn’t done nothing. It doesn’t bother me,” he said with a large smile.

  • Mentors, Friends and Sometime Adversaries 4

    Mentors, Friends and Sometime Adversaries

    November 29, 2017

    Mentorships between Harvard Law School professors and the students who followed them into academia have taken many forms over the course of two centuries.

  • ‘Superstar’ Law Professor Honored with Criminal Justice Professorship

    October 13, 2017

    Hundreds of friends, family members, and colleagues of Law School professor Charles J. Ogletree Jr. celebrated his lifetime of legal work at an event announcing a professorship endowed in his honor earlier this month. Law School professor David B. Wilkins said the idea of endowing a Law School professorship in Ogletree’s honor came about during a discussion between some of Ogletree’s good friends, including Harvard Corporation members Kenneth I. Chenault and Ted V. Wells...Tomiko Brown-Nagin, a Law School professor and the current faculty director of the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute, also emphasized Ogletree's work regarding sexual harassment..."He also helped raise consciousness about the sexual harassment of working women—an enduring issue for women across a range of industries—through his representation of Professor Anita Hill,” Brown Nagin wrote in an email.

  • Charles Ogletree and family in audience

    ‘Tree’s’ tremendous legacy: Celebrating Charles Ogletree ’78

    October 11, 2017

    It took an all-star team of panelists to honor the scope and influence of Charles Ogletree’s career last week at HLS—eminent friends, students and colleagues all paying tribute to a man that the world knows as a leading force for racial equality and social justice, and that the Harvard community knows affectionately as Tree.

  • Honoring Charles Ogletree

    Honoring Charles Ogletree

    October 11, 2017

    Hundreds of friends, former students, colleagues, and well-wishers gathered last Monday in a joyful celebration of the life and career of Harvard Law Professor Charles Ogletree, advocate for Civil Rights, author of books on race and justice, and mentor to former President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama.

  • Honoring Charles Ogletree

    October 5, 2017

    It felt like a family reunion — with 600 relatives. That many friends, former students, colleagues, and well-wishers gathered Monday in a joyful celebration of the life and career of Harvard Law Professor Charles Ogletree, advocate for Civil Rights, author of books on race and justice, and mentor to former President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama...And when John Manning, the Morgan and Helen Chu Dean and Professor of Law at HLS, announced that a group of Ogletree’s friends had established an endowed professorship in his honor, the Charles J. Ogletree Jr. Chair in Race and Criminal Justice, the news brought down the house...The chair was made possible through the generosity of a group of Ogletree’s close friends, said David Wilkins, Lester Kissel Professor of Law. “When the history of Harvard Law School in the 20th century is written, Charles Ogletree’s name will be among the first ones mentioned,” said Wilkins...The panelists told stories to “bring home the Tree-ness of Tree,” as Randall Kennedy, Michael R. Klein Professor of Law, explained...Tomiko Brown-Nagin, Daniel P.S. Paul Professor of Constitutional Law, said, “Throughout his career, Ogletree has embodied law in the service of society, just the same as other great beacons of the American legal profession, men and women like Thurgood Marshall, Constance Baker Motley, and Charles Hamilton Houston.”...Another frequent participant was Obama classmate Kenneth Mack ’91, the Lawrence D. Biele Professor of Law. Mack said he learned about Houston in a Saturday School class. It was a time, he added, when few people knew about the lawyer whom Ogletree deemed one of the 20th century’s greatest legal minds and Civil Rights lawyers.

  • Brown-Nagin named faculty director of Charles Hamilton Houston Institute

    April 21, 2017

    Harvard Law School Dean Martha Minow has appointed Professor Tomiko Brown-Nagin to be the faculty director of the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice (CHHI) at HLS.

  • ‘Hidden Figures’ takes top honor at NAACP Image Awards

    February 13, 2017

    “Hidden Figures” was the big winner at the 48th NAACP Image Awards...Special honors were presented to Harvard Law School professor Charles J. Ogletree Jr. and Lonnie G. Bunch III, the director of the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, who won the chairman’s award and the president’s award, respectively. Both received standing ovations. “I’m very honored to receive this amazing award, thank you very much,” said Ogletree

  • The Complicated Legacy of Our First Black President

    January 11, 2017

    Tonight President Obama will deliver his farewell address. He will use the opportunity to remind the nation of what he accomplished during eight difficult but historic years in office...I thought of this while waiting at a White House reception in September for the president to dedicate the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture. I found myself with Harvard law professor Charles Ogletree, who represented Anita Hill during her testimony to the Senate confirmation committee and who taught both President and First Lady Obama when they were in law school. Ogletree had recently gone public about his Alzheimer's diagnosis and its effects were becoming apparent. When the Marine Corps Band started to play "Hail to the Chief," everyone in the large crowd pressed forward, but Ogletree was the only one the president and first lady stopped to greet. The professor immediately assumed the role of teacher—speaking clearly, cogently, and with composure during his brief personal encounter with the Obamas.

  • 25 years later, Anita Hill says she would testify again

    October 26, 2016

    Twenty-five years after Anita Hill testified during the Senate confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas, the acclaimed attorney and academic denounced a long list of sexual harassment and assault cases, illustrating that the national conversation about such issues continues to evolve. Hill’s comments came during a ceremony Monday night in which she was presented with UC Merced’s Spendlove Prize for social justice, diplomacy and tolerance...Charles Ogletree Jr., a Merced native and the first recipient of the prize, represented Hill during the hearings. He’s now a Harvard Law School Jesse Climenko law professor, among numerous other titles and accomplishments. He said Monday night that Hill is one of the strongest and most courageous people he’s ever met.

  • Notable Harvard professor speaks to San Diegans about Alzheimer’s (video)

    October 24, 2016

    Professor Charles Ogletree was diagnosed with Alzheimer's several months ago and he and his family want to stress the importance of education and of early diagnosis. Professor Ogletree has been a professor at Harvard Law School for the past 30 years. He's an advocate for continued education and empowers children to chase their dreams. His work has been recognized all over the world and dozens of schools have been named after him.

  • Taking on a New Cause

    October 21, 2016

    HLS Professor Charles Ogletree ’78 announced this summer that he has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and said he will work to raise awareness of the disease and its disproportionate effect on African-Americans. In sharing his story and putting a spotlight on this disease, he is continuing his lifelong efforts to help others.

  • CBA 2016: Turning Vision into Action

    September 30, 2016

    Over 800 alumni returned to Harvard Law School for the fourth Celebration of Black Alumni (CBA), Turning Vision into Action. The event brought together generations of black alumni to reconnect with old friends, network with new ones and take part in compelling discussions about the challenges and opportunities in local, national and global communities.

  • Diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, Professor Ogletree vows to fight it

    July 14, 2016

    Charles Ogletree '78, the Jesse Climenko Professor of Law and director of the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race & Justice at Harvard Law School, recently announced that he has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. He said he will work to raise awareness of the disease and its disproportionate effect on African Americans.

  • Obama saddened by Ogletree’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis

    July 13, 2016

    President Obama is fondly voicing support for his close friend and mentor, Harvard Law School professor Charles Ogletree, who has announced he has Alzheimer’s disease. Obama has spoken of Ogletree as a constant source of inspiration to him, particularly during difficult times. In a statement to the Globe, the president said Tuesday that he and his wife, Michelle, are saddened to hear of the diagnosis. Michelle Obama is a 1988 Harvard Law School graduate. “Professor Charles Ogletree has been a dear friend and mentor to Michelle and me since we met him as law students more than two decades ago,” Obama said. “But we are just two of the many people he has helped, supported, taught, advised and encouraged throughout his life. “We were saddened to hear of his recent diagnosis, but we were also so inspired by Charles’s courageous response,” the president continued.

  • Charles Ogletree, Harvard law professor, says he has Alzheimer’s

    July 13, 2016

    After decades of fighting for justice, civil rights, and equality, the man whose friends call him “Tree” is now ready for a new battle. “You have to fight it; you have to address it,” Charles J. Ogletree Jr. says of his recently announced diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease. Despite revealing that he has the disease, the Harvard Law School professor, activist, and author said Monday that he has no plans to retire or clear his busy schedule. Instead, he feels called to spread awareness, especially among other people of color, who are disproportionately likely to develop the neurological disorder.

  • The K-12 Funding Crisis

    May 18, 2016

    An op-ed by Charles J. Ogletree Jr. & Kimberly Jenkins Robinson. Current discussions about K-12 education often highlight the reforms that seek to improve the quality of schooling. Some of these measures—the common-core standards, teacher evaluation, and, most recently, the Every Student Succeeds Act—undoubtedly have the potential to improve educational opportunities for students. However, what is often missing from education reform conversations is how these reforms can create sustainable changes to the education system. We believe the system's very foundations are broken, and school funding is one of the most pressing issues in need of repair.

  • Power Lunch: Charles Ogletree

    May 16, 2016

    Q&A with Charles Ogletree: The internationally renowned legal theorist reveals the inside scoop on the Obamas, talks race relations at Harvard, and shares his thoughts on the new Supreme Court nominee.

  • Merrick Garland

    A Mensch on the Bench

    May 10, 2016

    A judicial temperament involves many qualities. For Merrick Garland, patience is one of them.

  • Seizing the Opportunity

    April 28, 2016

    Since graduating from Harvard College in 1985 and then getting his law degree, Alan Jenkins '89 had been on a career fast track, but he felt frustrated about the forces of injustice and inequality he saw around him.

  • Garland maintains deep ties to Harvard

    March 18, 2016

    At intensely competitive Harvard Law School, Merrick Garland was known for explaining complex topics to classmates. Later, as a member of Harvard’s Board of Overseers, he led an initiative to improve the quality of life in the college’s residential houses...“It was evident he was enormously intelligent, but he is also a very decent person, a very generous, kind, thoughtful person,” said Bill Alford, a Harvard Law School professor who attended the school with Garland. Both graduated in 1977.Garland still calls Alford when he wants to know about students who have applied to clerk for him, Alford said. Garland takes time to ask about students’ personalities, in addition to their analytical skills, he said....Charles Ogletree, a Harvard Law School professor, also knew Garland in law school. He recalled the two sharing meals in the dining hall and at each other’s homes and discussing Supreme Court decisions — but never the idea that Garland might one day sit on that bench. Ogletree said Garland likes to fish and draw, and although he loves his family, was never afraid to work tirelessly. “Even though people hate nominees by President Obama, I think that Merrick Garland is the kind of person who has all the qualifications one needs,” Ogletree said.

  • Merrick Garland

    President Obama nominates Merrick Garland ’77 to the U.S. Supreme Court

    March 16, 2016

    Merrick Garland ’77—President Obama’s pick for the Supreme Court—has been very much involved in the life of Harvard Law School since receiving his degree from HLS nearly four decades ago. Dean Martha Minow described as “an outstanding, meticulous, and thoughtful judge with a superb career of public service.”

  • Hundreds of Law Profs Call on Senate Leaders to Consider SCOTUS Nominee

    March 8, 2016

    A group of more than 350 legal scholars on Monday called upon Senators to fulfill their constitutional obligation to consider a U.S. Supreme Court nominee submitted by President Obama. In a letter sent to Senate leaders, 356 professors and scholars said that leaving an eight-justice court in place would have dire consequences. They asserted that allowing Justice Antonin Scalia’s seat to remain unfilled until after the presidential election could cripple the court and set bad precedent...Law scholars from more than 100 law schools signed on, including Harvard Law School professors Charles Ogletree and Laurence Tribe; University of California, Irvine School of Law Dean Erwin Chemerinsky; University of California, Berkeley School of Law professor Herma Kay; Stanford Law School professor Deborah Rhode; and New York University School of Law professor Kenji Yoshino.

  • ‘Make your place in history’

    February 24, 2016

    Books served as a window to the world for a young Charles J. Ogletree Jr. His parents and grandparents may not have been formally educated — they weren’t even high school graduates — but Ogletree says they let him go to the library every Saturday. It was there he’d read and imagine places he’d never been and explore future career paths. “I didn’t read the books for no reason,” Ogletree said. “I read them because I wanted to be somebody who wrote books.” That was back then. Today, Ogletree is a Harvard Law School graduate and professor who’s written several books on education, race and other topics. He serves as both founder and executive director for the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice — an institute that’s engaged in a wide range of educational, legal and policy issues in the past six years. On Tuesday, Ogletree addressed students on the campus of Kentucky State University as part of its African-American Living Legends series.

  • Ogletree: Time for a woman to be president

    February 22, 2016

    Prominent legal theorist Charles Ogletree long ago said that an Obama would become the first African-American president. Though it became reality — Barack Obama is in the final year of his second four-year term — it turns out Ogletree was a bit off in his assumption. The Obama he was referring to is First Lady Michelle Obama...Ogletree talked about his relationship with the first couple and the current presidential election during a Feb. 11 conversation prior to his lecture as part of the University at Buffalo Distinguished Speaker Series at Alumni Arena. A professor and author known for his work related to issues of race, equity and social justice, he was UB’s 40th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration Speaker.

  • The costs of inequality: Education’s the one key that rules them all

    February 16, 2016

    Third in a series on what Harvard scholars are doing to identify and understand inequality, in seeking solutions to one of America’s most vexing problems....Trauma also subverts achievement, whether through family turbulence, street violence, bullying, sexual abuse, or intermittent homelessness. Such factors can lead to behaviors in school that reflect a pervasive form of childhood post-traumatic stress disorder. At Harvard Law School, both the Trauma and Learning Policy Initiative and the Education Law Clinic marshal legal aid resources for parents and children struggling with trauma-induced school expulsions and discipline issues. ...With help from faculty co-chair and Jesse Climenko Professor of Law Charles J. Ogletree, the Achievement Gap Initiative is analyzing the factors that make educational inequality such a complex puzzle: home and family life, school environments, teacher quality, neighborhood conditions, peer interaction, and the fate of “all those wholesome things,” said Ferguson.

  • Antonin Scalia’s Other Legacy

    February 15, 2016

    In addition to his fiery rhetoric, his originalism, and his profound impact on his fellow Supreme Court justices and the court itself, Antonin Scalia was famous for another thing: his surprising support of criminal defendants in many cases. “I ought to be the darling of the criminal defense bar,” Scalia once pleaded. “I have defended criminal defendants’ rights—because they’re there in the original Constitution—to a greater degree than most judges have.” ... Still, Scalia’s opinions for the court—and, as ferociously, his dissents—have shaped the landscape of protections afforded to criminal defendants. Charles Ogletree, a famed public defender, adviser to President Obama, and Harvard Law School professor, said of Scalia, a brilliant, colorful, towering giant of the legal community who died suddenly on Saturday at the age of 79, “We are from different worlds, but we both appreciate the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.”

  • A looming fight over the SCOTUS nomination?

    February 15, 2016

    Law professor at Harvard University, Charles Ogletree talks to Alex Witt about President Obama’s considerations for judicial appointees.

  • UB speaker assesses modern race relations (audio)

    February 12, 2016

    Race relations in America have improved, but they aren't always good. This assessment was provided by Harvard Law School Professor Charles Ogletree, who spoke Thursday at the University at Buffalo. Ogletree was the 40th Annual Martin Luther King Commemoration Speaker and also participated in a conversation with students, faculty and university friends.

  • Group pushes for automatic voter registration in Mass.

    January 29, 2016

    As Massachusetts nears another presidential primary, thousands of residents interested in voting will have to provide proof of identification, find their polling station, and — most important — register before the government-imposed deadline of 20 days before Election Day. But according to activists with the New Democracy Coalition in Boston, these small actions combine to create a voter registration system that is outdated and favors the wealthy and politically astute. Their solution: a statewide database of eligible voters that effectively ends the need for registration...Charles J. Ogletree Jr., a prominent professor at Harvard Law School and former mentor of President Obama...called the expansion of voter registration a civil rights issue. Because, he said, when voting and voter registration is difficult, the most affected populations are the groups to whom voting has been extended to most recently — women, communities of color, and the poor. “The people voting in this state have to understand that every single vote matters and that they have to reach out to people, and people should be not be denied about their race or gender, or sexual orientation,” Ogletree said. Also, he argued, the creation of a statewide of automatic voter registration system would be an important symbolic step.

  • Corruption or Politics: Supreme Court Weighs McDonnell Case

    January 11, 2016

    Corruption in politics is as old as government itself. But so has been the challenge of interpreting in law what corruption actually means. On Friday, the U.S. Supreme Court was scheduled to discuss whether to take up a case that could further sharpen the line that a government official must cross to be convicted of bribery. The case that justices are considering — the conviction of former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and his wife, Maureen — is one awash in shades of gray. And if the high court agrees to take it up, the McDonnell case has the potential to further limit the scope of federal bribery laws used to prosecute malfeasance...Former federal judge Nancy Gertner and Harvard law professor Charles J. Ogletree are also critical of the prosecution’s case. In a friend-of-the-court brief, they and other legal scholars argued that the conviction conflicts with the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling on campaign finance. “While Citizens United dealt expressly with political activity protected by the First Amendment, its dicta went further— suggesting that money in exchange for ‘ingratiation’ or ‘access’ is part and parcel of American politics,” their brief says.

  • Death Penalty 2015: Lowest number of executions in 25 years, but marked by disability and impairment

    December 23, 2015

    In 2015, America had the lowest number of executions in 25 years, according to a new report released by Harvard Law School’s Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race & Justice. But of the 28 people executed, 68% suffered from severe mental disabilities or experienced extreme childhood trauma and abuse.

  • Harvard Law School: 2015 in review

    December 17, 2015

    Supreme Court justices, performance art, student protests and a vice president. A look back at 2015, highlights of the people who visited, events that took place and everyday life at Harvard Law School.

  • Meet the Press – December 6, 2015

    December 7, 2015

    This Sunday morning, the terror attacks in San Bernardino. Did the killers get help? Why did no one see this coming? And can we prevent these kinds of attacks from happening here in the United States? We'll get the latest on the investigation from the very top. Attorney General Loretta Lynch joins us. Plus, the role of Islam. Are we dealing with a perversion of the religion or a strain of it? We'll have a debate. Also, terror and the campaign. Do the attacks help tough-sounding candidates like Donald Trump pull away from the pack?..Joining me this morning for insight and analysis are Rich Lowry of the National Review, Amy Walter of the Cook Political Report, Elisabeth Bumiller of The New York Times, and Harvard Law School's Charles Ogletree.

  • Obama still pondering death penalty’s role in justice system

    November 30, 2015

    Even as President Barack Obama tries to make a hard case for overhauling sentences, rehabilitating prisoners and confronting racial bias in policing, he has been less clear about the death penalty. Obama has hinted that his support for capital punishment is eroding, but he has refused to discuss what he might call for...Charles Ogletree, a Harvard law professor who taught the president, said: “Though not definitive, the idea that the president’s views are evolving gives me hope that he — like an increasing number of prosecutors, jurors, judges, governors and state legislators — recognizes that the death penalty in America is too broken to fix.”

  • Police Investigate Vandalism on Portraits of Black Law Professors

    November 20, 2015

    Black tape, stuck systematically across the portraits of black law professors, spurred on Thursday a police investigation into vandalism and a pronouncement from the dean of Harvard Law School that the school has a “serious problem” with racism. ... Law School professor Charles J. Ogletree, whose portrait was among those vandalized, said he was still waiting to learn more about the incident before making too strong of a judgement. “We’re just trying to figure out what happened and try to figure why someone targeted black faculty,” Ogletree said. Still, among students and other Law School affiliates reacting to the incident on Thursday, many condemned it through posts on social media and formal and informal gatherings on campus. Leland S. Shelton, the president of the Harvard Black Law Student Association, described it as “actually one of the most clear-cut, overt instances of very, very vile and disrespectful behavior from somebody”; second-year Law School student Michele D. Hall, who posted photographs of the vandalized portraits in a post on the website Blavity, wrote, “This morning at Harvard Law School we woke up to a hate crime.”

  • National Call For U.S. Attorney General Probe Of Orange County’s Snitch Scandal

    November 19, 2015

    Citing "grave concern" for the pending "crisis," more than three dozen prominent legal community members today asked Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch to launch a formal investigation into "compelling evidence of pervasive police and prosecutorial misconduct" in Orange County. ... Others joining in the sentiment of the communication include Harvard legal theorist Charles Ogletree, criminal justice professor Angela Davis, former Los Angeles District Attorney Gil Garcetti, former Chief Assistant United States Attorney Richard Drooyan and Alex Whiting, a Harvard professor and former prosecutor of international crimes at the Hague as well as the American Civil Liberties Union and the Constitution Project.

  • Harvard scholar Charles Ogletree Jr. tells Portland audience why Black Lives Matter movement matters

    November 13, 2015

    One of the country's leading scholars on race and justice issues offered simple answers to complex questions during a Wednesday evening talk in Portland. Harvard law professor Charles Ogletree Jr., speaking on Veterans Day about the Black Lives Matter movement, mixed personal anecdotes about his upbringing in central California with pointed responses to questions during a moderated discussion at a downtown Portland church. Ogletree's talk came on a day when Oregon made national news with the revelation that the state had conducted surveillance on Oregonians using the Black Lives Matter social media hashtag and, in Virginia, video emerged of a black man dying in police custody after repeated Tasering while shackled. "It has to stop," Ogletree said, citing repeated deaths of black men and women in police custody. "It just keeps happening."

  • 19 Harvard Law professors pen letter denouncing ‘The Hunting Ground’

    November 12, 2015

    Nineteen Harvard Law professors have written a letter condemning "The Hunting Ground," a film purporting to be a documentary about campus sexual assault. The film has been getting some Oscar buzz, and CNN is preparing to air the program next week. In a press package for the film, CNN singled out a story in the film about a sexual assault accusation at Harvard. The press packet named the accused student, even though he was not identified in the film. The 19 professors want to be sure viewers are aware that the film is highly misleading...The 19 professors include feminist icon Nancy Gertner; outspoken critics of campus rape hysteria Elizabeth Bartholet, Janet Halley and Jeannie Suk; as well as President Obama's former mentor Charles Ogletree.

  • Obama calls death penalty ‘deeply troubling,’ but his position hasn’t budged

    October 26, 2015

    President Obama calls the death penalty "deeply troubling," but he still has not changed his position in favor of using it for particularly heinous crimes. In an interview Thursday with the Marshall Project, Obama said, "At a time when we’re spending a lot of time thinking about how to make the system more fair, more just, that we have to include an examination of the death penalty in that.” ... Charles J. Ogletree Jr. — a prominent death penalty opponent who was a law professor of the president and first lady Michelle Obama when both were students at Harvard Law School — has also urged Obama to alter his position. "He's not there yet, but he's close, and needs some help," Ogletree said in an interview with The Washington Post earlier this year.

  • Honored ‘ambassadors for Harvard Law School’ reflect on long friendship

    October 22, 2015

    The Harvard Law School Association presented its highest award this past spring to William P. Alford ’77 and Charles J. Ogletree ’78 —two of Harvard Law School's most distinguished professors, mentors to generations of jurists, advisers to senators, presidents and world leaders, and celebrated doers of good works—and longtime friends.