News Roundup

Afternoon Briefs: Equifax hack traced to Chinese military; law prof is under coronavirus quarantine

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Chinese military personnel are charged in Equifax hack

Four members of the Chinese military have been indicted in the 2017 hacking of Equifax that gathered names, birth dates and Social Security numbers for nearly half of U.S. citizens. The information obtained could be used to reveal whether any American officials are under financial stress, making them susceptible to bribery or blackmail. Charges in the Atlanta indictment include conspiracy, unauthorized access, economic espionage and wire fraud. (The New York Times, the Washington Post, U.S. Justice Department press release, the indictment, comments by Attorney General William Barr)

Law prof is under coronavirus quarantine

A law professor at Loyola University at New Orleans is under a 14-day coronavirus quarantine at Travis Air Force Base in California, even though she shows no signs of illness. The professor, Chunlin Leonhard, was in China on a Fulbright scholarship to research ancient Chinese dynastic contract law issues. The Fulbright program suspended its China operations on Jan. 31 and ordered its scholars to leave the country. Leonhard had to enlist the help of the U.S. Embassy to get through roadblocks and secure a chartered flight out of Wuhan. (

Justice Ginsburg points to Senate as example of partisan-polarization danger

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Friday pointed to the Senate as an example of the dangers of partisan polarization. “The U.S. Senate was once a model of civility and good fellowship, readiness to compromise for the good of the public,” Ginsburg said. “Today it’s divided sharply.” Ginsburg said a bipartisan spirit had prevailed during her Supreme Court confirmation hearings and she is hopeful for the future. She commented after receiving an award, in response to a question about modern challenges facing the rule of law. Ginsburg said a problem is that people aren’t willing to listen to people with opposing views. (CNN)

Documentary on Justice Thomas reveals little about his philosophy

A new documentary on Justice Clarence Thomas “is about as revelatory as a campaign ad,” according to a New York Times review. The documentary mostly rehashes Thomas’ life story already told in his memoir. The film “sheds frustratingly little light on his idiosyncratic judicial philosophy or how it was shaped by his experiences,” according to another review by Law360. The documentary is Created Equal: Clarence Thomas in His Own Words. (The New York Times, Law360)

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