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Spring 2000

Spring 2000

(January 2000 - May 2000)

Prof. Michael Dorf is a contributor to the inaugural issue of "WRIT," the first e-zine dedicated to the law, launched by FindLaw.  Prof. Dorf's article, "They Are All Activists Now," can be found at:  http://writ.findlaw.com/commentary/ 20000501_dorf.html

WRIT's home page can be found at http://writ.findlaw.com. Business Wire, May 30, 2000

Prof. John Coffee was quoted in an article about Ford Motor Company's recent acknowledgment that sport utility vehicles can be hazardous to other motorists. "There isn't any clear duty by Ford to other motorists, they owe a duty to their customers," said Prof. Coffee. The New York Times, May 30, 2000

Article about the confirmations of Prof. Gerard Lynch '75 and Nicholas Garaufis '74 appeared in the Legal Times on May 29, 2000.

Appearing again on CNN to discuss Napster, its rival technology Gnutella, and the overall debate in the music industry over copyright infringement and new Internet technology, Prof. Coffee said, "There's really no one to sue. There's just a faceless sea in this online community of hackers who are using this new technology." "CNN Moneyline News Hour," "Moneyline," and "Digital Jam" (May 26, 2000); "Market Coverage" (May 29, 2000) 

Announcements of the pending Senate vote on -- and final confirmation of -- the nominations of Prof. Gerard Lynch '75 and Nicholas Garaufis '74 to the federal bench appeared in Legal Times (May 22, 2000), The Recorder and The Legal Intelligencer (May 24, 2000), and The New York Times and The Legal Intelligencer (May 25, 2000). 

Prof. Mark Barenburg's treatise on the debate over granting permanent, normal trading status to China was referenced by U.S. Rep. Robert C. Scott, D-3rd District. The Virginian-Pilot (Norfolk, VA), May 25, 2000

Prof. Peter Strauss was quoted in an article titled "Compliance Education Goes Self-Service," about the trend toward businesses hiring consultants to decipher and ensure compliance with federal health, safety, environmental, and equal-opportunity regulations. Many providers of such services are now using the Web to help their clients. "The White House has stressed consumer service," said Prof. Strauss. "You can find fantastic information that you couldn't find before from the Internal Revenue Service, the EPA and the Social Security Administration. What is a lot less consistent is involvement in regulatory activities." The Washington Post, May 23, 2000

Prof. Richard Gardner was quoted in an article titled "Spain's Surge," about the resurgence and globalization of Spain's economy. Prof. Gardner, former U.S. Ambassador to Spain and Italy, said, "Right now, Spain is overtaking Italy on many fronts, and the reason is political stability and the vitality of a new generation of talented managers." Business Week, May 22, 2000

Prof. Michael Dorf appeared on ABC's "World News Tonight" to discuss gun control rights and the Second Amendment. "The evidence is quite clear, since colonial times, that that right has been subject to reasonable regulation," said Prof. Dorf. 

Prof. Oscar Schachter '39 received an honorary degree from Columbia at the University's commencement exercises on May 17, 2000. The New York Times, May 18, 2000 

Prof. John Coffee was one of several academics asked by the judge to file amicus briefs in the antitrust case against Sotheby's and Christie's auction houses. The Legal Intelligencer, May 18, 2000

Prof. Coffee was quoted in articles about the recent decision against Bear Stearns Company, which ordered the company to pay an investor $111.5 million for failing to warn him of the risks of foreign currency speculation. Prof. Coffee said, "This is a number that is off the charts. It will raise eyebrows all over Wall Street." The New York Times and the San Antonio Express-News (May 17, 2000)

Dean Ellen Wayne was a guest on NPR's "All Things Considered," where she discussed last winter's jump in salaries for associates. Dean Wayne said: "We're seeing people that are getting calls from headhunters six months out of law school. They don't even have a full year's experience yet, and yet, they're being courted by people who are trying to place them with another agency or firm. People staying at the same firm for two years or more is unusual." She continued, "Clients in the past have helped to support the training effort of new associates coming into the profession, and I would hate to see that change. I would hate to see it impact not only training of associates, but pro bono activities that law firms are engaged in." NPR Transcripts, May 16, 2000

Prof. Harvey Goldschmid was quoted in an article titled "SEC regulators touch a populist nerve." Discussing a new SEC proposal designed to curb selective disclosure, called "Regulation Fair Disclosure," Prof. Goldschmid said, "There is nothing publicly useful when a favorite analyst of the company gets a call before a stock goes down. It gives them an unfair advantage and interferes with the integrity of the market." Financial Times (London), May 11, 2000

Prof. Robert Ferguson was scheduled to participate in the first annual Stanford/Yale Junior Faculty Forum at Yale Law School on May 12-13. Prof. Ferguson served as a commentator on "The Crisis of Child Custody: A History of the Birth of Family Law in England." M2 Presswire, May 11, 2000

Prof. John Coffee was quoted on several CNN shows about the case against Napster. Prof. Coffee said: "Napster is going to be a very simple story on the legal level; namely, that the owners of intellectual property will win against organizations like Napster that create a technology for the illegal sharing of intellectual property. But on the enforcement level, there is no answer. There is very little way that it can use legal remedies against a diffuse community of online users, where generally, there is no large corporate defendant at the center of the process." "CNN Moneyline News Hour" (May 9, 2000); "Before Hours" and "Entrepreneurs Only" (May 10, 2000)

Prof. William Sage is scheduled to participate in a June 28 conference titled "National Symposium on Patient Safety." PR Newswire, May 10, 2000

Prof. John Coffee was the subject of an article titled "Foe Becomes Friend for Fen-Phen," about his involvement with the massive class action diet drug settlement. Pennsylvania Law Weekly, May 8, 2000

Prof. Jane C. Ginsburg was quoted in an article titled "Bye-Bye, American Pie," about an amendment to copyright law that strips songwriters of any right to their own recordings. "It is not a minor change," said Prof. Ginsburg. "If a work is a work for hire, the authors are completely cut out." The National Journal, May 6, 2000

Prof. Gerard Lynch '75 and Nicholas Garaufis '74 were both confirmed this week as federal judges -- Prof. Lynch in the Southern District of New York and Mr. Garaufis in the Eastern District of New York. 

Prof. Vivian Berger was quoted in an article about the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision interpreting a 1996 law designed to speed up executions. The court refused to adopt a new standard that would have limited a prisoner's ability to fight a state conviction in federal court. Prof. Berger, a general counsel of the ACLU, said the case was "the most important of the term" for civil rights groups who had feared a contrary ruling. Had the court affirmed the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, she continued, no prisoner could ever have prevailed when attacking the constitutionality of a conviction in federal court. "The downside potential was immense," Prof. Berger said. She added that for a law designed to speed things up, it has created much legal wrangling. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and the Chicago Tribune, April 19, 2000

Prof. John Coffee was quoted in an article titled "Case's Spot: No. 2 with a Bullet; Broad Duties Outlined at AOL Time Warner" about the announcement by AOL and Time Warner that AOL CEO Steve Case will have even more power than anticipated in the merged company, AOL Time Warner. In the combined company, Case will serve as chairman and Gerald Levin, his counterpart at Time Warner, will be CEO. Prof. Coffee said, "The kind of structure where senior executives report to different people like this has been the prelude to organizational tension and bureaucratic infighting. I can't say it's an iron law, but the experience at other companies suggests that this can't persist for a number of years." The Washington Post, May 5, 2000

Prof. and former Dean Lance Liebman and former Dean Benno Schmidt were both mentioned in an article about a report issued by the Assoc. of the Bar of the City of NY's Special Commission on the Future of CUNY. Dr. Schmidt chaired the mayor's task force on CUNY last year, and Prof. Liebman is on the City Bar Association's Commission. PR Newswire, May 4, 2000

Prof. John Coffee was the subject of an article titled "Critic of Class Actions Backs Settlement in Fen-Phen Case." Prof. Coffee testified in the settlement hearings for the class-action suit against American Home Products, makers of Fen-Phen. He defended a proposed $3.75 billion national settlement, saying it could benefit those claiming injuries from the drugs. The Record (Bergen County, NJ), May 4, 2000

Prof. John Coffee was quoted in an article about a dispute over the stock report of a California company, Environmental Solutions Worldwide Inc. An analyst says he was paid by Teodosio Pangia to write a glowing report of the company -- which caused stock prices to jump considerably -- just several weeks before Mr. Pangia announced his intention to sell his 3.2 million shares in the company. Mr. Pangia denies having paid the analyst for the report. Prof. Coffee said that as a case study, Environmental Solutions seems "consistent with a short-term manipulation of the market for the benefit of a selling insider." The National Post, May 2, 2000

Prof. Eben Moglen was quoted in an article titled "Privacy is a thing of the past online; Prying eyes can download your personal info in seconds." Prof. Moglen said, "It's not a constitutional problem. It's a consumer protection problem. We need laws to protect consumers against the collection and distribution of their information in ways they don't approve of." Daily News, April 30, 2000

Prof. George Bermann was quoted in an article titled "A Haider in Their Future," about Jorg Haider, the recently resigned leader of Austria's far-right Freedom Party. Discussing recent sanctions by the European Union against Austria, Prof. Bermann questioned on what basis European states can "collectively punish a sister state, given the language in the E.U. treaty on human rights and the fact that any violations on Austria's part are purely anticipated." The New York Times (NYT Magazine), April 30, 2000

Prof. John Coffee was mentioned and quoted in several articles about the class action settlement hearings in the fen-phen/American Home Products case. Prof. Coffee is serving as a legal expert for American Home Products in the fairness hearings that began on May 2, 2000. The Legal Intelligencer, May 1, 2000, and The Star-Ledger, May 2, 2000

Prof. John Coffee appeared on the CNN show "Street Sweep" to discuss the government's recommendation to break up Microsoft. CNN Transcripts, April 28, 2000

Nathan Lewin, lecturer in law, wrote an article titled "Without a Justice: The Properly Unattended State of the Union," published in the Legal Times on April 24, 2000.

Prof. Michael Dorf was quoted in an article titled "Two Justices Seen as Critical in Nebraska Abortion Case." Discussing the first significant abortion-rights case to be taken up by the U.S. Supreme Court since the 1992 case Casey v. Planned Parenthood, Prof. Dorf said the arguments on April 25 would be unusual because both sides will be arguing whether banning the dilation-and-extraction (D&X) procedure is constitutional and whether the Nebraska law applies to abortion procedures other than D&X. In most cases, Prof. Dorf said, the scope of a law has been determined long before it reaches the U.S. Supreme Court. He also said the case breaks ground in that it deals with a law that bans a method of abortion, while the Casey decision dealt with regulations on all types of abortion. "The Casey opinion says that a law that imposes a substantial obstacle on a woman trying to get an abortion is going to be held unconstitutional," Prof. Dorf said. "This case provides the court with an opportunity to clarify what constitutes a substantial obstacle." Omaha World-Herald, April 24, 2000 

Prof. Michael Dorf appeared on CBS News to discuss the removal of Elian Gonzalez from the home of his Miami relatives. In response to the question of whether the INS made a "fatal mistake" by placing Elian with his family in Miami before finding out what his father's wishes were, Prof. Dorf said, "Well, in retrospect, it looks like it was a fatal mistake, although actually, I think at the time it was the right thing to do. Perhaps they should have gotten some more information out of Cuba about the status of his father. But the United States doesn't even have formal diplomatic relations with Cuba, and so the information that flows back and forth there is less than it is with other countries." Discussing the actual removal process, during which heavily armed INS officers entered the Miami home and took the boy, Prof. Dorf said, "The argument that the Justice Department made, and I think reasonably, is that they were afraid of possible violence by the crowd outside the house.... It's, in some ways, similar to U.S. military doctrine, which is you go in with overwhelming force and strike quickly and then get out. Now the very fact that we're talking about this, the taking custody of a six-year-old child, the analogies to military doctrine, I think, are a little unsettling, but under the circumstances, it worked out pretty well." CBS News Transcripts, April 24, 2000

Prof. Jim Liebman's comments on the U.S. Supreme Court's rulings in two death-penalty cases were also quoted in the New Jersey Law Journal on April 24, 2000. 

Prof. Michael Dorf
was quoted in an article titled "No Quick Answers in Elian's Case; But Delays May Help Boy's Miami Relatives Keep Him in U.S." Referring to the federal appellate court's decision preventing Elian Gonzalez from leaving the U.S., Prof. Dorf said, "What you are seeing here is a clash of two worlds. The political system needs to move on an expedited basis, and the court system is not persuaded to depart from its deliberate procedures." The New York Times, April 21, 2000 and International Herald Tribune, April 22, 2000

Prof. Carol Sanger was quoted in an article discussing the case of Elian Gonzalez and its ramifications on the rights of children to be heard. The article states that the legal question is complicated in this case, partly because there is no absolute rule in American law setting forth how old children should be before their opinions are considered in court. "We tend not to draw the line," said Prof. Sanger. But, she continued, the courts had not expanded their flexible approach to credit the wishes of a 6-year-old on an issue as important as where he should live when a living parent has expressed a strong desire. "We use a maturity standard. But the judicial system thinks a 6-year-old is inherently immature. We think they discuss what they want now: chocolate milk, an electric car," she said. The New York Times, April 22, 2000

Prof. John Coffee
was quoted in an article about the class action suit filed on behalf of all people whose civil rights were allegedly violated by the Los Angeles Police Department during the ongoing Rampart scandal. Prof. Coffee said that the Rampart case might be looked at skeptically by a federal judge because of two decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court in the last three years in which the court threw out class action settlements of asbestos litigation on the grounds that the interests of the class members were too diverse to be valid. "The principal problem is a lack of factual homogeneity," Prof. Coffee said. "To the extent that there is not a centrally coordinated conspiracy of high-ranking police officers, rather than a loose network of officers who have an understanding that they can break the law, class certification seems inappropriate." Los Angeles Times, April 21, 2000

Prof. Jim Liebman was quoted in several articles about the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling last week in a Virginia murder case. The court limited federal judges' authority to review a prisoner's claim that his conviction or sentence was constitutionally flawed (i.e., that his lawyer was incompetent or that prosecutors hadn't turned over important evidence). The decision reduces the federal courts' role in death penalty appeals, but doesn't close them out entirely, the Washington Post reported. In that paper, Prof. Liebman said that while the court retreats from "the view that federal judges should always maintain control, it leaves intact more federal habeas corpus power" than some appellate courts had read into the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996. Prof. Liebman also observed that the ruling, and another issued separately that coincidentally involves a Virginia defendant named Michael Williams, repudiate the famously conservative 4th Circuit's narrow interpretations of inmate appeals. "There is a message," he said, "that there are limits to what the Supreme Court will tolerate." The Washington Post, April 19, 2000; also, The Recorder, The Post and Courier (Charleston, SC), the Austin-American Statesman, The Plain Dealer, and The Legal Intelligencer, April 19, 2000

Prof. Vivian Berger
wrote an article titled "Get out of jail with DNA." The New York Law Journal, April 17, 2000

Prof. Vivian Berger was quoted in an article about Stephen Pack, a doctor at Montefiore Medical Center who has been charged with assault and abortion after attacking his pregnant mistress, a nurse at the hospital, with a hypodermic needle allegedly filled with a drug that induces abortion. Prof. Berger said that under New York law, a fetus is not human and therefore the doctor could not be charged with assaulting or killing it. However, she continued, attempting to perform an abortion on a woman without her consent is against the law. Daily News, April 16, 2000

The obituary of James Vorenberg, in which Prof. Jack Greenberg was mentioned, appeared in The Record (Bergen County, NJ) on April 14, 2000.

Prof. Debra Livingston was mentioned in an article about aggressive policing in NYC. The article referenced comments made by NY Police Commissioner Howard Safir at a seminar conducted by Prof. Livingston in 1999. The New Republic, April 10, 2000

Prof. Patricia Williams was quoted in an article about the book "Police Brutality," a collection of essays by scholars, lawyers, writers, a former NYC cop, and many others. According to the article, Prof. Williams points out that we are victims of the "innocent profiling" of white kids, which allowed Dylan Klebold, one of the Columbine High School shooters, to drive around with bombs and guns in his BMW without being stopped and searched. Newsday, April 6, 2000

Prof. John Coffee was quoted in an article about the Microsoft ruling. The article states that because a judge has made a final determination in the case, future litigants can cite his findings. In addition, Microsoft can be barred from using the same defenses used in this case. Prof. Coffee said, "Once you have had a chance to defend on the merits and there has been a full decision by the court, you can be denied the opportunity to re-litigate the same issue." The article said that Prof. Coffee foresees billions of dollars in potential damages. That procedural advantage alone will attract swarms of new lawyers, he said. "Merely the potential application of that doctrine gives Microsoft a significant problem. It leverages up the level of risk to Microsoft." Los Angeles Times, April 6, 2000

Prof. Eben Moglen was quoted in two articles about the Microsoft ruling. In The Baltimore Sun on April 5, 2000, he said, "Technology in itself is not some sort of amulet that protects you from the general purpose of the Sherman Act. Antitrust law protects competition." Also on April 5, he was quoted in the Cincinnati Enquirer, saying, "regardless of the remedies Judge Jackson may ultimately decide to impose, private litigation will distract and dismember Microsoft." 

Prof. John Coffee was quoted in an article titled "Expedited Appeal Proposed by Judge in Microsoft Case." The article stated that based on Judge Jackson's ruling that Microsoft was a "predatory" monopolist that had repeatedly violated antitrust laws, the company could now face many suits from the private sector because plaintiffs have a far less daunting challenge in suits already filed, and in actions being considered by companies that believe they have suffered at Microsoft's hands. "This is now an awfully big invitation to plaintiffs' lawyers," said Prof. Coffee. "We may have reached a point for Microsoft, as there was in the tobacco cases, that basic attitudes have shifted, and a powerful defendant is no longer seen as invulnerable." The New York Times, April 5, 2000

Prof. John Coffee
was quoted in an article titled "MicroStrategy to Hire Accounting Expert," about the company that recently issued a restatement of its financial results on March 20, 2000. The restatement caused its stock to drop 62 percent in one day, lopping off $11 billion of the company's market valuation. Prof. Coffee said, "For high-tech companies, there is a strong incentive to maintain continuity in revenue growth because the first time you break that continuity and have a flat or declining quarter, you are likely to pay a price in your" stock value. Speaking about high-tech companies in general, Prof. Coffee said that pressure can give chief executives an incentive "for, if need be, borrowing revenues from the next quarter and booking them in this quarter." The Washington Post, April 4, 2000

Prof. Jim Liebman
was quoted in an article about the expected issuance of a stay in the execution of convicted murderer Philip Workman in Tennessee. According to the article, the only person who claimed he saw Mr. Workman shoot Memphis police officer Ronald Oliver admitted last year that police and prosecutors had coerced him to lie during the 1982 trial. Prof. Liebman said, "In a case like this one, the court could be saying we ought to think about this again. A decision has been reached based on one point of view. Other judges could say we believe a combination of doubts about the case lead us to think we ought to take another look at this before we let it go." The Tennessean, April 4, 2000

Prof. Eben Moglen was quoted about the Microsoft ruling. He said, "With clarity and care, Judge Jackson brought the Microsoft Era to a certain and devastating end.... The facts Judge Jackson found last November are now unquestionable by Microsoft in any other antitrust litigation brought by those who allege that they have been harmed by this or similar conduct.... The chances of reversal on appeal are comparatively low.... Regardless of the remedies Judge Jackson may ultimately decide to impose, private litigation will distract and dismember Microsoft, while the free software movement continues to replace the lower-quality higher-price goods provided by any monopolist, with superior software that anyone can get, improve and redistribute for nothing." Institute for Public Accuracy, April 4, 2000

Prof. Issacharoff's
comments (below) were reprinted in The Washington Times on April 4, 2000.

Prof. Samuel Issacharoff was quoted in an article titled Bus Stop; The Lost Promise of School Integration." Responding to the Supreme Court's recent decision to let stand a ruling by a federal appeals court, which held that school authorities in Montgomery County, MD, violated the constitution when they tried to prevent a white student from transferring to a magnet school from his predominantly black middle school, Prof. Issacharoff said, "You can't reconcile choice with diversity, and that's the tragedy. Fifty years after Brown versus Board of Education, there is still no non-coercive mechanism for racial integration that has evolved in this country." The New York Times, April 2, 2000

Prof. Eben Moglen
was quoted in an article about a US District Court judge's issuance of an injunction barring two men from publishing a software program that overcomes Mattel's Internet filtering program Cyber Patrol. Cyber Patrol is used by parents to block children's access to certain Web sites. The men had made their program available on the Web; Mattel brought suit, claiming that its copyright was violated and that the company would suffer financial harm if its program were defeated. The article said that Prof. Moglen called the geographic sweep of the judge's order "audacious." He said that it represented "a sudden tumor-like expansion of the power of the courts." The International Herald Tribune, April 3, 2000

Prof. Richard Uviller
wrote an Op-Ed piece titled "Cutting Crime, Keeping Our Rights." The piece was written in response to an editorial request for expert opinions on how police can aggressively fight guns and drugs, while respecting a citizen's civil rights. Prof. Uviller said, "Aggressive street patrol is the most effective strategy for illegal handgun interdiction. But 'aggressive' does not mean brutal or abusive, much less murderous. Officers assigned to these gun runs must be carefully selected and rigorously trained. It's not the only way to reduce violence, but it is a critical component of any sane policy." The New York Times, April 1, 2000

Prof. Gerard Lynch
was quoted in an article titled "The man who placed truth over justice," about former Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr. Prof. Lynch said that the coercive tools available to prosecutors were not designed to accomplish generalized oversight interests. "Journalists naturally want the 'whole story,'as do historians, sociologists, and the public. But the criminal process is designed to decide whether an individual, at a particular moment in time, violated a very specific social norm without qualifying for any of a limited number of particular defenses, and subject to a standard of proof beyond a reasonable doubt," he explained. "To confuse the power to prosecute for crimes with the power to broadly investigate malfeasance in office is terribly dangerous." The New Republic, April 1, 2000

Prof. Bill Sage
was co-author of an article titled "'Clear and convincing evidence' law cruel," about NY State's laws on medical decision-making. The article states that NY is one of only a handful of states whose laws explicitly prohibit family members from making critical decisions about life-sustaining medical treatment for patients too sick or too young to decide for themselves. Rather, NY's law requires "clear and convincing" evidence of the patient's own wishes. The authors wrote, "New Yorkers concerned about compassionate treatment of dying patients should press their legislators to pass the Family Health Care Decisions Act this session. In the meantime, take a few moments to create a health care proxy or living will." The Times Union (Albany, NY), March 31, 2000

Profs. Jane Ginsburg
and Eben Moglen have both been actively involved with Columbia University's Committee on Intellectual Property (CIP). Prof. Ginsburg is CIP's co-chair. Both were quoted extensively in a Columbia Spectator article titled "Copyright policy proposal sparks debate at Columbia U." Columbia Daily Spectator, March 30, 2000

Prof. John Coffee was quoted in an article about an SEC judge's decision to suspend and fine Monetta Financial Services, Inc. for improperly allocating shares of hot IPOs in 1993 to the personal accounts of three Monetta funds directors. Prof. Coffee, who testified on the SEC's behalf in the case, said that the decision will be closely watched in the mutual fund industry. "This is the first case that really involved hot IPO allocations and the use of them to achieve an investment adviser's objectives, rather than mutual fund shareholders' objectives," he said. When a mutual fund group gets an allocation of hot IPO stock, "it is not because they are good friends of the underwriter but because they have given the underwriter enough brokerage business from the mutual fund," he continued. "So the mutual fund is the source of this allocation of a kind of free money." Chicago Tribune, March 29, 2000

Prof. John Coffee
was quoted in an article titled "Dark Side of the IPO Frenzy; Some High-Tech Businesses Co-opt IPO Buzz to Their Own Sinister Ends." Prof. Coffee said, "In a superheated market the pressure to go public makes the usual gatekeepers more prepared to say, 'Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead.'" The San Francisco Chronicle, March 28, 2000

Prof. Jane Ginsburg
was quoted in an article titled "Battle Brews on Rights to Web Content, Those Who Think Material Should Be Free Are at Odds with Owners, Current Law." Referring to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 (DMCA), a federal law that, according to the article, made it a felony for someone to even attempt circumvention of protective code, Prof. Ginsburg said that she worries about the inability of code to identify motives behind the copying of a film in the wake of the DMCA. "The same device that could stop me from copying a whole movie could also stop me from copying a small amount of the movie to show to my class," she said. "In that case, the copy would be locked up and I couldn't circumvent the lock because of the DMCA. Here is where the existence of an alternative copy is very important." The Boston Globe, March 26, 2000

Prof. Richard Uviller was quoted in an article about the guilty verdict in the trial of "subway pusher" Andrew Goldstein. "People who are mentally ill can nonetheless be guilty of crimes -- it's designed to achieve that result," he said. The verdict was not surprising, he continued, considering Mr. Goldstein's statement to the police that he knew his act was wrong. The New York Times, March 23, 2000

Prof. Richard Uviller was quoted in an article about the guilty verdict in the trial of "subway pusher" Andrew Goldstein. "People who are mentally ill can nonetheless be guilty of crimes -- it's designed to achieve that result," he said. The verdict was not surprising, he continued, considering Mr. Goldstein's statement to the police that he knew his act was wrong. The New York Times, March 23, 2000

Prof. John Coffee was quoted in an article about the potential for Big Tobacco companies to claim bankruptcy rather than face potentially enormous punitive damages in a Florida case. If the companies were to appeal rather than file for bankruptcy, they would have to post a bond equal to the damages awarded. Prof. Coffee said, "If the bond is high, many if not all of the tobacco companies may not be in the position to post." The New York Times, March 22, 2000

Prof. John Coffee
was quoted in an article about the Georgetown University Law Students who were charged with Internet securities fraud by the SEC. The article states that some people argue that the SEC is stretching the law to fit alleged bad behavior. Prof. Coffee said that he thought the SEC's case was strong, but he questioned its appearance, as the agency settled without collecting any money, despite the students' profits of $345,000. "The facts justify the fraud prosecution, but the settlement is so weak [that it appears to express] the SEC's own doubts of the merits," he said. "It's rare to quantify ill-gotten gains with no attempt to get restitution." The National Law Journal, March 20, 2000

Prof. John Coffee was quoted in an article about the Georgetown University Law Students who were charged with Internet securities fraud by the SEC. The article states that some people argue that the SEC is stretching the law to fit alleged bad behavior. Prof. Coffee said that he thought the SEC's case was strong, but he questioned its appearance, as the agency settled without collecting any money, despite the students' profits of $345,000. "The facts justify the fraud prosecution, but the settlement is so weak [that it appears to express] the SEC's own doubts of the merits," he said. "It's rare to quantify ill-gotten gains with no attempt to get restitution." The National Law Journal, March 20, 2000

Prof. John Coffee was quoted in two articles about the potential for a Miami jury to hand out the largest punitive damages award ever, sending Big Tobacco companies into bankruptcy. In one article, discussing Big Tobacco's attempts to lobby Georgia, Kentucky, Virginia, and North Carolina (where the companies have headquarters) to pass bills that shield industry assets, Prof. Coffee said that he believed the new laws would be overturned because they appear to violate the "full faith and credit" clause of the U.S. Constitution, which requires the authorities in one state to enforce court judgments from another state (The New York Times, March 20, 2000). The second article discussed the Virginia Legislature's passing of a law seeking to cap at $25 million the bond required for one tobacco company to appeal an out-of-state judgment. Prof. Coffee called the measure constitutionally dubious (Los Angeles Times, March 20, 2000)

Prof. Richard Uviller was quoted in three articles about the indictment last week of an unknown rapist based on his DNA genetic profile. The indictment names "John Doe," the man considered to be the East Side rapist in Manhattan, who is accused of three rapes. It was filed just four days before the five-year statute of limitations lapsed for the first rape. A John Doe indictment is legal if it contains sufficient description of the suspect, said Prof. Uviller. "DNA certainly fits that bill. You can change your name, physical features, but you can't change your DNA." The Post and Courier (Charleston, SC), The News and Observer (Raleigh, NC), and The Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN), March 16, 2000

Prof. Uviller was quoted in an article about the NYPD's continued resistance to reform, even in the face of the Louima, Diallo, Ferguson, and Dorismond cases. Prof. Uviller said, "The mayor and the police commissioner are in a tough spot. If they react to all of this by saying we've got major problems with the police, it can be very demoralizing. What they say and do publicly has to throw something to the community but also support the troops." Los Angeles Times, March 20, 2000

Prof. Richard Briffault was quoted in an article about a debate in Mississippi over business improvement districts. Arguments that self-taxing business improvement districts are racist and corrupt have led to a review of Jackson, Mississippi's district by the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. The DOJ's findings may hold ramifications for dozens of business improvement districts in states and counties monitored under the Voting Rights Act of 1965. "There would be no reason to have a tougher rule...[in Mississippi]. I assume the Justice Department has to think about that," said Prof. Briffault. He continued, "New York City has 40 [business improvement districts], most in jurisdictions subject to the Voting Rights Act." The Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN), March 19, 2000

Prof. John Coffee
was quoted in an article about SEC Chairman Arthur Levitt's call for the securities industry to prepare a plan under which limit orders -- which are placed by customers to trade at specific prices rather than the market price -- would be pooled by exchanges, brokerages, and electronic trading networks (ECNs). The best orders for each stock would be consolidated by private data vendors and sold to brokerages for use by investors. Prof. Coffee said, "Exchanges have a deep-seated resistance to any integration of order flow because it tends to make their specialists obsolete and cheapens the value of their seats." He continued that specialists on exchange floors, who smooth the execution of orders for individual stocks, might have a diminished role if limit orders were to be electronically pooled. He also said that Chairman Levitt's plan may be overtaken by fast-moving developments in the private sector, specifically citing the alliance announced last week between Archipelago, an ECN, and the Pacific Exchange, a regional stock market. "This may create a kind of central order book and reduce the need for authoritative SEC action," Prof. Coffee said. The Seattle Times, March 17, 2000

In a USA Today article about the Freeman case, Prof. Coffee also said, "This is The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight of insider trading. This is one of the dumber insider schemes I've encountered, because they left too much information on their trail." Prof. Coffee noted that the celebrated insider trading cases of the 1980s involved the selling of inside information at the wholesale level to big players such as Ivan Boesky, who then poured massive sums of money into companies at precisely the right time. In the case of Freeman and his accomplices, Prof. Coffee said the information was being sold at the "retail" level. "Once you've started selling the information on the retail level, it leaks out, provides signals and clues and gets back to regulators. You've got someone here advertising to a broad audience. That has proven to be a dumb way to exploit inside information. No one should copy him." USA Today, March 16, 2000

Prof. John Coffee was quoted in an article about the case of John Freeman, a temporary worker charged with conspiracy and insider trading. Mr. Freeman was a part-time computer graphics worker at Goldman Sachs and Credit Suisse First Boston, where he obtained information about companies about to merge, then used the Internet to gather more information about the companies before passing confidential information via email and Internet chat rooms. Mr. Freeman and 18 people he tipped off made a total of $8.4 million in illegal stock-trading profits. Several of the people who received the information were also charged. Prof. Coffee called the case "somewhat bizarre" because of the way Mr. Freeman communicated his information and the large number of people who were caught. "The Internet is the great fear of people handling securities cases these days," said Prof. Coffee. "But it's suicidal to communicate this way because there's a trail." The Washington Post, March 15, 2000

Profs. John Coffee and Harvey Goldschmid are both scheduled to participate in a Complex Litigation Conference sponsored by Duke University Law School and the Institute for Law and Economic Policy on April 14 and 15, 2000. Prof. Coffee will be a presenter in a session titled "Ethical Issues and Mass Tort Class Actions After Amchem and Ortiz," and a commentator in a session called "Attorney's Fees and Ethical Issues." Prof. Goldschmid will moderate a session titled "Securities Litigation Under PSLRA and the Uniform Standards Act." Business Wire, March 14, 2000

Prof. John Coffee wrote an article titled "Selective Disclosure" for The National Law Journal, published on March 13, 2000.

Prof. John Coffee was quoted in a Time magazine article about the SEC's efforts to curb online stock scamming. "Traders today are willingly complicit in the dissemination of false information," said Prof. Coffee. "That's why they often flock to [the] chat rooms with the worst information, so they can find material that will destabilize the market one minute before they profitably pull out the next." Time, March 13, 2000

Prof. Jane Ginsburg was quoted in the Columbia Daily Spectator discussing the question of students selling class notes to Websites such as Versity.com, which provides the notes free to other students. Prof. Ginsburg, a co-chair of Columbia's recently formed Intellectual Property Committee, said the concept of Versity.com rests on shaky legal ground. Because the notes are based on someone else's work, they are "derivative property," which the original owner has some rights over. "The notes would be worthless if they didn't correspond to what the professor said," added Prof. Ginsburg. "It's clearly a copyright infringement, and they probably should be shut down." Columbia Daily Spectator, via University Wire, March 10, 2000

Prof. Patricia Williams was a panelist at a March 9 NYU forum on the acquittal of the four NYPD officers who killed Amadou Diallo. Prof. Williams said that solutions offered by the government in the wake of tragedy often miss the mark, and referred to a recent case in which a 12-year-old boy was shot by police who thought his toy gun was real. In the wake of that shooting, she continued, officials pushed to have realistic toy guns pulled from the market. Prof. Williams called the reaction irresponsible, saying that attention should have been focused on the improper conduct of the officers. Washington Square News, via University Wire, March 10, 2000

Prof. Bill Sage will be a panelist at the American Enterprise Institute's (AEI) Amgen Forum Conference on "The Rise of Class Action Lawsuits Against Health Care Providers." The event will take place on Friday, March 10 at the AEI Wohlstetter Conference Center in Washington, D.C. U.S. Newswire, March 2, 2000 and FNS Daybook, March 10, 2000

The announcement that Prof. Harvey Goldschmid '65 will join Weil Gotshal as counsel in June also appeared in The Lawyer, March 6, 2000.

Prof. Michael Sovern '55
was featured in a short piece titled "Michael Sovern: A Top Gun for Sotheby's," about his appointment as chairman of the auction house. Business Week, March 6, 2000

Prof. John Coffee was quoted in an article about four Georgetown University Law Center students and the mother of one of the students who have been charged with violating securities laws. One of the students set up a free stock-picking Web site called Fast-Trades.com and persuaded many of its 9,000 visitors to buy certain stocks--stocks that he and his friends and mother had already purchased before his recommendations caused the prices to swell. Prof. Coffee said that the "First Amendment does not protect fraud, and when someone is selling a stock while urging their customers to buy it," there is a duty to disclose this conflict. The Washington Post, March 3, 2000 

The announcement of Prof. Gerard Lynch '75's nomination to the federal district court in New York City was also featured in The New York Times and M2 Presswire. (See ALUMNI/AE IN THE NEWS) 

Prof. Richard Uviller was quoted in an article about the trend of children being prosecuted as adults. Referring to the shooting of a six-year-old girl this week by her six-year-old classmate, Prof. Uviller said, "States have been rolling back the age of responsibility. It used to be 16, and it's been pushed back to 14, and even 12. What we have done is become more and more punitive to younger and younger children. But at 6 years old, [a prosecution] is unthinkable." Daily News. March 1, 2000

Prof. H. Richard Uviller was quoted in an article about the second trial of Andrew Goldstein, the subway pusher.  In this trial, defense attorneys have urged Mr. Goldstein to go off his anti-psychotic medication in an attempt to show the jury how he behaves when not medicated.  Since he stopped taking his medication, he has punched a court social worker twice.  Prof. Uviller has criticized the defense strategy, and said that the legal issue in this case will be his state of mind at the time of the killing, not during the trial.  "Mental illness is something you don't fool around with," he said, asking if defense lawyers should break a client's leg to demonstrate the severity of that injury.  "You don't make a demonstration out of your own client at his peril."  The New York Times, February 29, 2000

Prof. Gerard Lynch was nominated by President Clinton to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.  In addition to teaching and working as part-time counsel with Howard, Darby & Levin (now the NY office of Covington & Burling), Prof. Lynch has also served as chief of the criminal division of the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York from 1990-92, as associate counsel for the Office of Independent Counsel from 1988-90, and as an assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York from 1980-83.  He also clerked for the Hon. Wilfred Feinberg of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit from 1975-76, and the Hon. William J. Brennan, Jr. of the U.S. Supreme Court from 1976-77.  U.S. Newswire, February 28, 2000

Prof. Vivian Berger was a guest on NPR's Talk of the Nation to discuss the verdicts in the Diallo trial.  NPR transcripts, February 28, 2000

Prof. Vivian Berger spoke extensively on the acquittals of four police officers accused of murdering Amadou Diallo.  Referring to testimony that one of the officers had shouted "gun," Prof. Berger said in Newsday, "That made it obvious they were acting out of fear, and that made it a second-guessing case.  The defendants and their lawyers were really effective in arguing, 'How would you like to be judged in the cool light of Monday morning hindsight about how you behaved in a situation that took place in seconds?'"  On NPR's All Things Considered, she was asked if she had been surprised by the verdict.  "Not terribly surprised," she responded.  "I had thought that quite likely the two officers in the rear, Kenneth Boss and Richard Murphy, would be acquitted because they really seemingly just depended on what was said and done by the officers ahead of them.  With respect to those officers, Sean Carroll and Edward McMellon, if I'd had to lay odds, I would have said that they would be convicted of negligent homicide.  So I'm not terribly surprised that, being considered with the others, they got off altogether."  Newsday and NPR transcripts, February 26, 2000 

Prof. Jim Liebman was quoted in an article about Federal Appeals Court Judge J. Michael Luttig.  Judge Luttig sits on the notoriously conservative 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and has a track-record of denying death penalty appeals.  He is also a man whose own father was brutally murdered by a car-jacker in 1994.  The article discusses his ability to remain impartial when trying death penalty cases.  In a preliminary study, Prof. Liebman found that in capital cases where the Richmond, VA-based 4th Circuit determined the final outcome, it found in favor of the condemned only 9 percent of the time.  "When only cases from Virginia are studied, the rate of error found by the 4th Circuit was 7 percent, the lowest rate of error found on habeas review in the country for any state with substantial numbers of death cases," wrote Prof. Liebman in his study.  The Richmond Times Dispatch, February 20, 2000

Prof. H. Richard Uviller was quoted in an article about the second murder trial of subway pusher Andrew Goldstein.  Mr. Goldstein and his defense attorneys are trying a new tactic in this trial:  Mr. Goldstein, a schizophrenic, has stopped taking his anti-psychotic medication for the duration of the trial in an attempt to demonstrate to the jury the debilitating effects of his mental illness.  "It seems irresponsible to take a man off medication to produce some kind of dramatic effect before a jury," said Prof. Uviller.  "A lawyer's first duty is to preserve a client's health."  The New York Times, February 23, 2000

Prof. John Coffee was quoted in an article about changes in the structure and functioning of the nation's stock markets due to the boom in online trading.  The article states that the SEC is facing new legislative challenges as Wall Street and cyberspace meet, as SEC Chairman Arthur Levitt discussed in his speech here at Columbia Law School in September 1999.  In that speech, Mr. Levitt addressed the issue of self-regulation versus one central, regulating body.  Prof. Coffee said, "When you turn the primary (self-regulating exchange) into a privatized body, the first thing you discover is that law enforcement is not a profit center."  The National Journal, February 19, 2000

Prof. Michael I. Sovern '55 has been appointed chairman of Sotheby's.  The former chairman, Alfred Taubman, resigned under pressure from government investigations and potential class-action lawsuits by customers alleging that the 256-year-old auction house and its competitor, Christie's, violated federal anti-trust laws by agreeing to fix commissions.  Prof. Sovern is president emeritus of Columbia University, and former dean of the Law School.  The New York Times and the Financial Times (London), February 22, 2000

Visiting Prof. Mark Tushnet was quoted in an article about upcoming debates in Congress over taxes on e-commerce.  Two years ago, Congress passed a moratorium on Internet taxation, making online vendors exempt from collecting sales taxes on Internet purchases.  Prof. Tushnet said, "If the moratorium...becomes permanent, there may be really quite substantial effects on state revenues as shoppers shift from mail-order and retail outlets to the Internet.  That would place the states under fiscal strain.  There are various scenarios in which they would have to raise other taxes, like property taxes.  Most states are now limited by their constitutions from doing that."  The issue is turning into a classic struggle between states' rights and federal authority.  Boxed in by constitutional limits and potential Internet revenue loss, the states want either to expand their taxing authority in return for a simplified sales tax system or set up a national body that will collect taxes on Internet sales and redistribute them to the states, continued Prof. Tushnet.  Either option would infringe upon a prime measure of state power -- the right to levy taxes -- and be one step closer to a nationalized sales tax system such as Europe's.  "The tradeoff the states are facing is between giving up power to the Internet corporations and giving up power to Congress.  In the first one, they don't get any money.  In the second one, they do get money.  Odds are, they'll go with the second."  The Times Union (Albany, NY), February 20, 2000

Prof. Michael Dorf was quoted in an article titled "Critics Slam Judge's No-Pregnancy Sentence."  The article discussed the case of Dawn Marie Sprinkle, who was convicted of child endangerment (for using drugs while pregnant) and forbidden from getting pregnant for 10 years.  Ms. Sprinkle was ordered by a Montana judge to report to the county jail every few months for a pregnancy test.  If she becomes pregnant, the judge said, she could be placed under intensive supervision or jailed to keep her from using drugs.  Prof. Dorf said, "Telling people they can't reproduce is problematic and fraught with moral questions.  It's saying any child you have while taking drugs is better off not coming into existence.  There is a constitutionality question underlying the criminal prohibition of criminal punishment.  The court is saying, 'You can't reproduce,' which is the opposite of saying, 'You can't have an abortion.'"  Because Ms. Sprinkle is 29, critics argue that a 10-year sentence could put her ability to have children in the future at risk.  "This could mean she never has another child," said Prof. Dorf.  APBnews.com, February 18, 2000

Prof. Vivian Berger, who has been speaking extensively on the Diallo trial, was quoted in an article about the testimony of the four police officers charged with Mr. Diallo's murder.  Some experts say that the officers' testimony seemed too canned and rehearsed, raising questions about their candor.  "They need to show they gave warnings to show they were behaving reasonably, but they don't have to say they approached him super-politely," said Prof. Berger.  "If a witness earns the jury's distrust by seeming to lie even on a minor point, that may cause jurors to mistrust him on a major point."  The jury's belief in the warnings could be critical, because none of the non-police witnesses within earshot said they heard such warnings, and the absence of clear identification might explain Diallo's otherwise unexplained attempt to get in his door.  In the absence of clear identification, noted Berger, "It quickly crosses the line from reasonable police conduct to negligence, and it may cross into recklessness."  Newsday, February 20, 2000

Prof. Vivian Berger was quoted in an article titled "Defendants Put Jurors in Bronx Vestibule," about the testimony of the four policemen accused of killing Amadou Diallo.   The officers have each taken the stand in their own defense and attempted to put the jurors in their shoes in the vestibule of Mr. Diallo's home, where they thought he had a gun.  State law allows police officers or anyone else to kill someone in self-defense if they "reasonably believe" their lives are at risk.  The law also allows for the prosecution and defense to ask the jury to consider lesser charges.  "They certainly have a decent shot at something less than murder," said Prof. Berger.  She continued that Officer Sean Carroll, who broke down several times on the stand, gave compelling testimony that could help his fellow officers.  "Everything seems to hinge on Carroll.  He was the most user-friendly.  He was able to let it all hang out."  But, she added, "there's always the danger that people will think this is totally canned."  Daily News, February 16, 2000

Prof. Jim Liebman was quoted extensively in an article about the recent series of stays of execution granted by the U.S. Supreme Court -- six since July.  The stays, which require the vote of at least five justices, signify a subtle shift in the way the Court is approaching death penalty cases.  A larger-scale sign of change, according to Prof. Liebman, can be seen by comparing the Court's death penalty docket five years ago or so with today's cases.  In previous years, many of the Court's death penalty cases came on appeal by states from decisions of the liberal U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit.  "The Court felt the 9th Circuit was out of line, and that it needed disciplining," said Prof. Liebman.  Now, and for the last several terms, the death penalty cases before the Court come most often from Virginia and the conservative U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit, and, said Prof. Liebman, all have been filed by inmates rather than the state, suggesting the Court is open to arguments that the death penalty is being improperly administered.  And though the Court has decided in favor of the state in these cases, it is often by a 5-4 vote.  "The Court may have thought two or three years ago that it could withdraw from these cases and let the system exist," said Prof. Liebman.  "But it's clear from all the cases they still take that they can't extricate themselves.  The death penalty continues to present difficulties they can't let go by."  Referring to Illinois Governor George Ryan's January moratorium on executions in that state, Prof. Liebman said, "The Illinois moratorium could confirm the Court's sense that there are deep problems with the death penalty that it can't see very well.  Seeing the governor of Illinois take this action may give justices a  greater sense of safety when they express their own concerns."  Legal Times, February 14, 2000 

Dean David Leebron was quoted in an article about navigating the new minefield of online investing.  The article discussed the fine print in most online trading companies' customer agreements, which makes it clear that the company is not liable in case of shutdown-related losses, and that it is incumbent upon the customer to use "alternative methods" to communicate with the trading company during an outage.  Dean Leebron said that the law has yet to catch up with the new online reality.  "There is no liability for the firms unless investors can prove negligence," he said.  "It's as if you walked to your brokerage firm and they had a power outage because of a flood and you couldn't get in to trade.  When you're online, that's the risk you take."  Newsday, February 16, 2000

Prof. Vivian Berger was quoted in an article about the ongoing Amadou Diallo trial.  Discussing testimony by two of the police officers accused of murder, who said that they had believed that Mr. Diallo posed a threat of deadly force, Prof. Berger said, "The question now is whether their fear was reasonable, and that's where all the other evidence comes in -- the number of shots, Diallo's gesture and the rest."  Daily News, February 15, 2000

Prof. Vivian Berger was quoted in an article on the front page of The New York Times about the Amadou Diallo trial.  The article discussed the testimony of three witnesses for the prosecution, who all claimed to have heard a pause in the shower of 41 shots fired by the defendants.  Prosecutors may use the pause to argue that the officers would have had time to realize that Mr. Diallo no longer posed a threat to their safety.  Prof. Berger said that a pause could bear on the charge of intentional murder that the officers face.  "It is much harder to infer intent at the beginning -- the officers were reacting in fright.  But if they had even a few seconds to stop and think it over and realize their mistake," she continued, it could support a murder charge.  The New York Times, February 8, 2000

Prof. Philip Genty and Alex Roth '00 were mentioned in an article about former death row inmate and Black Panther Lawrence Hayes, who spoke at St. Paul's Chapel on the Columbia campus on February 3.  Mr. Roth and Prof. Genty worked with the organization Campaign to End the Death Penalty (CEDP) to secure Mr. Hayes' release from prison on the grounds that a parole board member had "inappropriately intervened" in Mr. Hayes' parole revocation hearing.  University Wire, February 4, 2000

Prof. Lance Liebman was quoted in an article titled "Union Reels Over Ban, Goes to Bat for Rocker," about the Major League Baseball Players Association's reaction to the suspension of player John Rocker.  The union filed a grievance this week to overturn Commissioner Bud Selig's decision.  Prof. Liebman said that because Rocker is a unionized employee, an arbitrator would have to interpret his contract.  Referring to the "loyalty clause" language in each player's contract, requiring that each player "...pledges himself to the American public and to the club to conform to high standards of personal conduct, fair play and good sportsmanship," Prof. Liebman said, "This is broad language that needs to be defined.  Obviously the commissioner has given it an interpretation.  An arbitrator will have to think hard about the role of a prominent professional athlete in our society."  Daily News, February 2, 2000

Prof. Victor Goldberg's comments on the antitrust case resulting from the Federal Trade Commission's move this week to block BP Amoco's takeover of Atlantic Richfield Co. appeared in many publications.  Prof. Goldberg said that there have been other industry challenges and price fixing cases, but "this would be the first one attacking the basic market structure of the oil industry" since the Standard Oil case nearly a century ago.  Saying that the government may have a tough time proving its case, Prof. Goldberg continued, "Oil flows.  They're going to have to find some sort of argument to show why the international (market) is not going to solve the problem."  The Austin American-Statesman, The Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN), The News and Observer (Raleigh, NC), The Record (Bergen County, NJ), and The Toronto Star, February 3, 2000

Vice Dean Richard Briffault was quoted in an article about Sandy Springs, Georgia, a community that has filed a lawsuit in its fight to become a city.  The suit alleges that the county delegation system is unconstitutional because it violates the "one person, one vote" principle of the 14th Amendment.  Though one expert said that courts have generally resisted extending this principle from elections to the inner workings of a legislature, Vice Dean Briffault said, "But I wouldn't rule it out because there's a certain logic to it."  The Atlanta Journal and Constitution, February 2, 2000

Prof. H. Richard Uviller was quoted in an article about the Amadou Diallo case and the subsequent outrage over the NYPD's conduct in minority communities.  Prof. Uviller said, "The challenge to develop an aggressive patrol that is not murderous or excessive is a constant puzzle."  U.S. News & World Report, February 7, 2000

Prof. John Coffee was quoted in an article titled, "Once Again, Milberg Weiss Lands on Hot Seat," about the firm's questionable involvement in the massive securities fraud class action suit against Oxford Health Plans, Inc.  There has been some debate over a judge's July 1998 interpretation of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act, in which he formed a triumvirate of lead plaintiffs to litigate the case and put Milberg Weiss in place as lead counsel.  Prof. Coffee said, "The judge got it wrong originally."  He surmised that the judge's goal was a practical one because he wanted to move the case as quickly as possible toward settlement.  "Firms like Sullivan and Cromwell and Milberg Weiss have negotiated class action settlements once a week for decades," Prof. Coffee continued.  "[The judge] knows that repeat players are more likely to get to settlement faster than strangers.  However, that's not the congressional goal."  The Recorder, January 26, 2000

Prof. Vivian Berger spoke on NPR's Morning Edition about New York State Supreme Court Justice Joseph Teresi's ruling that struck down a New York law banning cameras from the courtroom.  "If another high-profile case arises tomorrow, say in Buffalo, and the judge feels differently, the judge does not have to follow Judge Teresi's ruling even if you could somehow hypothesize the same facts as the Diallo case," Prof. Berger said.  National Public Radio transcripts, January 26, 2000

Prof. John Coffee was quoted in an article titled, "Firm Takes Big Gamble On AOL-Time Warner Deal," about Cravath, Swaine & Moore's involvement in the merger.  The article states that according to several sources close to the agreement, the firm has agreed to receive one of the biggest transaction fees ever for a law firm -- $35 million -- if the merger closes.  If the deal falls through, however, the firm will receive little or nothing.  There is one exception built into the agreement:   if the deal falls apart, the firm will recover a percentage of fees for associates' time spent on document production.  Prof. Coffee said that he is not certain that other companies will imitate this arrangement.  "It'll be interesting to see how this turns out," he continued.  The Recorder, January 20, 2000

Prof. Patricia Williams delivered the keynote address at a January 17 ceremony at the Brooklyn Academy of Music honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  In her remarks, Prof. Williams said that civil rights must advance until it is no longer remarkable when a Latino from the Bronx becomes a chief executive; until black is really seen as beautiful and "not a suspect profile," and until "Martin Luther King himself could come down from heaven, land in the middle of Times Square and hail a cab without a moment's thought."  Speaking to a crowd of more than 2,100 people, Prof. Williams reflected on her childhood in the South, saying, "My life has exceeded not only my parents' but my own wildest dreams when I think back to the world in which I was born."  Also a columnist for The Nation, Prof. Williams noted that her success story was "too often used as the exception that proves the rule."   Hilary Rodham Clinton and U.S. Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) also spoke at the event.  Newsday, January 18, 2000

Prof. Patricia Williams was quoted in an article about the celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day in light of the December 8 verdict that Dr. King was not killed by a lone gunman, but rather the victim of a far-reaching conspiracy that included the U.S. government.  A Memphis jury declared that 73-year-old Loyd Jowers was liable in Dr. King's death for purportedly hiring a Memphis restaurant owner to kill him.  Dr. King's family had long questioned the 1969 conviction of James Earl Ray.  Discussing the speech she would give at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Prof. Williams said, "Martin Luther King's birthday is about celebrating his life, and that is what I feel is appropriate to do."  The New York Times, January 17, 2000

Prof. Vincent Blasi was quoted in an editorial piece titled "Abroad at Home; 'No Limit But the Sky.'"  The author of the piece, Anthony Lewis, discusses what he calls "judicial overreaching" by the U.S. Supreme Court.    Referring to federalism cases decided last June, the author quoted Prof. Blasi as saying, "After this I want to hear no more about original intention, textualism, strict construction or judicial restraint."  The New York Times, January 15, 2000

Prof. John Coffee was quoted in an article titled, "AOL's Case Moves to Ensure His Power."  As the merger of AOL and Time Warner evolves, AOL chief executive Steve Case has named to the new company's board four executives and close associates who will answer directly to him rather than to the new company's CEO, Time Warner Chief Gerald Levin.  Prof. Coffee said, "Normally the key person to whom everyone reports directly or indirectly is the chief executive officer.  You've got a small little enclave here that is carved out of the general managerial and executive authority of the chief executive officer."  Prof. Coffee called the arrangement "very rare" because it gives the members of that enclave a safety net amid the power plays and job shifting that occur when two corporate hierarchies merge.   The Washington Post, January 15, 2000

Prof. John Coffee was quoted in an article about "Tokyo Joe" Park, the Internet stock picker who has been charged with civil fraud by the SEC.   The SEC has claimed that Mr. Park's disclosures weren't frequent enough and that he deceived investors, some of whom paid as much as $200 a month to belong to his subscription-based email club, "Societe Anonyme."  Referring to other stock pickers such as Mr. Park, Prof. Coffee said that these pundits fear that they may have to register with the SEC and be subjected to closer oversight and new restrictions if the agency prevails in the case.  Los Angeles Times, January 14, 2000

Prof. Coffee was quoted in an article titled "Class Clarity," about class action suits.  Referring to defense counsels who shop for favorable class action outcomes, removing many cases from state court to a more sympathetic federal forum, Prof. Coffee said they can also decide to negotiate with, or offer favorable terms to, more tractable plaintiffs' lawyers rather than deal with their more recalcitrant adversaries.  The American Lawyer, January 2000

Both Prof. Coffee and Prof. Harvey Goldschmid '65 were quoted in an article titled "SEC takes aim at disclosures."  The article states that the proposals to stop the selective disclosure of corporate information to analysts has been expected for months as the swan song of Prof. Goldschmid's tenure as general counsel of the SEC.  Under the new proposals, a company could continue to have closed conference calls with analysts, as long as contemporaneous public disclosure of any material information is made by either press release or SEC filing.  Prof. Coffee said that the SEC "debated whether it should mandate open conference calls" but feared that it "would chill" the release of company information.  One instance that may prove problematic under the new proposals is if a company inadvertently discloses material nonpublic information.   Companies will have up to a day to inform the public if this happens, but, Prof. Goldschmid said, a company that evidences a pattern of frequent inadvertent statements could wind up being investigated.  Though he said he is proud of the proposals, Prof. Goldschmid added that he has enjoyed teaching his students about the ambiguities of insider trading law.  The new rules, he says, "will make the classroom less fun, but the rest of the world much better."  The National Law Journal, December 27, 1999

Prof. Harvey Goldschmid '65 appeared on CNN's shows "Moneyline" and "Moneyline News Hour" to discuss the antitrust issues involved in the merger of AOL and Time Warner.  Referring to the expectation of some legal experts that AOL's competitors and some public interest groups will speak out about the potential limiting of open access, Prof. Goldschmid said, "That restriction of access for independent competitors who may not be able to get into the game, that is a key antitrust concern.  And so it's blockage, it's restriction of access that may create a competitive problem.  And certainly, the antitrust agency's going to want to look at it hard." CNN Transcripts, January 10, 2000

Prof. Harvey Goldschmid '65 was also quoted in an article titled "Merger a landmark of Cyber Age."  Again discussing potential antitrust issues with the merger of AOL and Time Warner, Prof. Goldschmid said, "The question is, are they going to be too powerful?"  The Christian Science Monitor, January 11, 2000

Prof. John Coffee was quoted in an article about the U.S. Supreme Court's refusal to consider lower court rulings that health funds in New York, Oregon, and Pennsylvania cannot sue the tobacco industry to recover money spent on treating smoking-related illnesses.  The high court upheld the decisions without comment.   Prof. Coffee said, "It looks like this line of cases has dwindled to a complete failure," although he acknowledged that some lower federal courts still might permit such cases to proceed.  Los Angeles Times, January 11, 2000

Prof. Eben Moglen was quoted in an article about a lawsuit filed two weeks ago to shut down Web sites that were distributing software allowing people to copy DVDs.  The article states that the DVD Copy Control Association's lawsuit is so narrow that the case may not become what Internet experts hoped would be a precedent-setting showdown over free speech rights in cyberspace.  The DVD industry claimed in its suit that Web sites have pirated proprietary technology designed to copy DVD movies and have illegally distributed the software on the Internet.  Web site operators sued by the industry, backed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), claim that the DVD industry is stepping on First Amendment rights and impeding the exchange and development of new technologies.  The case, however, is resting more on the question of trade secrets than on the greater First Amendment issue, and does not invoke the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 (DMCA), which experts thought it would.   Referring to the DVD industry, Prof. Moglen, who is advising EFF, said, "I think they wish to avoid litigating the DMCA question right now.  They wanted the maximum bang for the minimum buck.  If they can get a California state court judgment, they can race from court to court to enforce it."  San Jose Mercury News, January 11, 2000

Prof. Carol Sanger authored an Op/Ed piece in The New York Times.   The article, titled "The Needs of the Children," discussed Troxel v. Granville, a case now before the U.S. Supreme Court that raises the question of non-parental visitation rights.  In Troxel v. Granville, the paternal grandparents are suing the mother of their late son's children for visitation rights.  Washington State has a statute permitting "anyone" to petition to visit children.   Prof. Sanger wrote, "...why should adults who have had established, significant relationships with children be denied the right to seek continuing contact with them?  It is important to keep in mind that what Washington's law entitles 'anyone' to do is not demand visitation, but only ask for it.  Visitation statutes should not be ruled unconstitutional; they should be drafted to include careful safeguards."  The New York Times, January 5, 2000

Prof. Eben Moglen wrote an article in the Commentary section of the San Jose Mercury News titled, "Bill Gates' best bet:  Set software free."   He wrote, "Microsoft should make the deal to strengthen free software before the rush of events deprives it of the chance.  If it doesn't, a decade from now industry experts and disappointed investors will be wondering why Microsoft chose instead the path that led to its complete destruction."  The San Jose Mercury News, December 30, 1999

Prof. Michael Dorf was quoted in an article titled "Gun Fight" about the possibility that a case affecting gun-control laws will come before the U.S. Supreme Court.  In February 1999, a Texas judge ruled that the Second Amendment may provide greater rights to gun ownership than the courts have agreed to in the past.  It may even guarantee individual citizens the right to "own" guns -- a subtle but important distinction from the "right to keep and bear arms" within a government-regulated militia.  Based on the precedent set in Texas, many legal experts believe that the decision, which is currently before a three-judge panel at the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans, could be the first Second Amendment case to reach the Supreme Court since 1939.  "I suspect the chief justice of the United States, William Rehnquist, has sympathy for this position," said Prof. Dorf.  "If this decision stands up and the U.S. Supreme Court agrees, then I think it is quite possible that many existing gun-control laws would be invalid."  Texas Monthly, January 2000.