April 27 - 30, 2008

CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Indiana voter ID ruling is victory for GOP
April 29, 2008
BYLINE: James Oliphant
“For years, Republicans have shouted from the mountaintops that fraud at the polling place is commonplace. … The Monday decision, added Nathaniel Persily, a law professor at Columbia University, ‘has implications not only for voter ID laws but for election laws more generally.’ He said the court has now placed the burden on challengers to such laws, not on the states that pass them.”

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Supreme Court hands Hillary a gift – maybe
April 29, 2008
BYLINE: Abdon M. Pallasch
“In a ruling that could help White House hopeful Hillary Clinton's chances in Indiana next week, the U.S. Supreme Court Monday upheld the state's right to demand photo IDs from voters. … ‘The effect of this law is to create a barrier for those voters not experienced with voting -- those voters [Barack] Obama is mobilizing are those least likely to have photo ID,’ said Columbia University law Professor Nathaniel Persily.”

CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR: U.S. high court upholds voter photo I.D.
April 29, 2008
BYLINE: Warren Richey
“Requiring prospective voters to present a photo ID before casting a ballot does not violate the right to vote. … ‘This is a huge victory for defenders of such laws, and the effect of the loss for critics will begin to be felt next week when Indiana holds its presidential primary using the voter ID law the court just upheld,’ says Nathaniel Persily, an election law expert and professor at Columbia Law School.

THE TAKEAWAY: You got ID? Supreme Court upholds Indiana voter identification laws
April 29, 2008
HOSTS: Adaora Udoji and John Hockenberry
“The Supreme Court voted 6-3 Monday to uphold a law requiring voters in Indiana to present ID at the polls. … Joining The Takeaway are Columbia Law Professor Nate Persily and Karen Vaughn, a voter who found her right to vote limited by the law.”

GLOBO: Brasil, Rússia, Índia e China debatem economia e investimentos em educação
April 29, 2008
BYLINE: Roberto Kovalick
“O futuro dos negócios no Brasil é o que esta em discussão em Nova York, em um debate sobre a nossa economia e a de outros países que pertencem a um grupo especial. … Essas novas multinacionais vêm de países que têm em comum um problema: a pobreza. Para os participantes da conferência na Universidade Columbia, o investimento de países emergentes no exterior não dá resultado imediato, mas a longo prazo compensa.”

REUTERS: Supreme Court upholds photo ID voting law
April 28, 2008
BYLINE: James Vicini
“The Supreme Court on Monday upheld a tough state law requiring voters to show photo identification, a decision critics say could keep some blacks, poor people and other traditional Democratic supporters from voting in the November election. … ‘The effect of the loss ... will begin to be felt next week when Indiana holds its presidential primary using the voter ID law the court has just upheld,’ said Nathaniel Persily, an election law expert at Columbia University in New York.”

WALL STREET JOURNAL: Justice Department Letters Cloud Legal Understandings of 'Torture' (subscription required)
April 28, 2008
BYLINE: Evan Perez and Siobhan Gorman
“Despite a presidential order designed to clarify the limits on interrogation practices, new Justice Department letters to Congress appear to muddy the public understanding of what is and isn't legal when intelligence officials question terrorism suspects. … ‘Where it serves an administration's purpose, attorney memos and opinion letters do find their way really quickly into the public domain,’ says Daniel Richman, Columbia law professor, adding that administrations use privilege to shield legal opinions when they are on the defensive.”

WALL STREET JOURNAL: Rise of Nationalism Frays Global Ties
April 28, 2008
BYLINE: Bob Davis
“The world isn't as flat as it used to be. During the long march toward globalization, international borders and trade barriers came down. Communism fell. Protectionist walls in Latin America and elsewhere were dismantled. Governments -- long prone to meddling in trade -- took a back seat to broader market forces. … ‘We're facing a step-by-step Balkanization of the global Internet,’ says Columbia University law professor Tim Wu. ‘It's becoming a series of national networks.’”

NATIONAL LAW JOURNAL: Law school graduation season draws a variety of commencement speakers (subscription required)
April 28, 2008
BYLINE: Peter Page
“Few commencement addresses are uplifting enough to remember much past the graduation parties, but at least one law school will have an unforgettable speaker this year. Jerry Springer, famous tabloid television show host — but also the former mayor of Cincinnati and graduate of Northwestern University School of Law — is the school's commencement speaker. … Cynthia McFadden, co-anchor of the ABC News, will address the graduates of Columbia Law School, where she graduated in 1984. McFadden was selected based on her unusual career path and her long-time commitment to the law school, said Devora Whitman, who co-chaired the Columbia graduation committee with fellow student Chandra Jones.” Back to top

April 20 - 26, 2008

WNYC RADIO: Brian Lehrer Show: Acquitted
April 25, 2008
HOST: Brian Lehrer
“Guests, including: Patricia Williams, professor of law at Columbia University, writes the Mad Law Professor column for The Nation magazine, Eugene O'Donnell, professor of law and police science at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, WNYC’s Arun Venugopal and Cindy Rodriguez, Richard Aborn, president of the Citizens Crime Commission, a group that monitors, the police civil rights attorney Ronald Kuby, Errol Louis, columnist for the Daily News, New York Times reporter Michael Wilson, and Queens City Council Member Leroy G. Comrie, Jr. (D- 27), react to and offer analysis of the verdicts in the trial of the police officers charged in the shooting death of Sean Bell.”

COLUMBIA DAILY SPECTATOR: Seeking Course Variety, Law Hires 4 New Profs
April 25, 2008
BYLINE: Mary Kohlmann
"Just as April showers bring May flowers, spring brings academic hires—especially at Columbia Law School, where four new professors have recently joined on as part of an ongoing initiative to broaden the faculty and course selection."

GLOBE AND MAIL: Are Rust Belt race relations working against Obama?
April 25, 2008
BYLINE: John Ibbitson
“There's a theory making the rounds about Barack Obama. … Nathaniel Persily, a professor of law and political science at Columbia University, observes that the voting spectrum is more subtly shaded. While ‘there is certainly a subset of the population that will not vote for either candidate based on their individual immutable characteristics,’ he said, there are all sorts of others who are attracted to these candidates because of those characteristics. … ‘The relevant question for the fall is whether those voters are going to come back to the Democratic Party, whether they're not going to vote at all or whether they're going to vote for [Republican candidate John] McCain,’ he said.”

FINANCIAL TIMES: Left in the cold: Foreign bidders find themselves out of favour
April 24, 2008
BYLINE: Alan Beattie, Stephanie Kirchgaessner and Raphael Minder
“At last year’s meeting of the Group of Eight rich countries in Germany, leaders issued a strident call against what they referred to as ‘investment protectionism’. … Karl Sauvant, executive director of the programme on international investment at Columbia University in New York, says there are clear signs of a re-evaluation of the benefits of FDI. Usually, around 90 per cent of the new laws governing FDI passed around the world each year made it easier for foreigners to invest, he says. ‘But in the last three years, 30 or 40 per cent of the laws have gone in the other direction of being less welcoming to investment,’ Mr Sauvant says. ‘Something is definitely cooking.’”

April 23, 2008
“Columbia Law School students—in an effort to get fellow students, faculty, and staff across the University to be more eco-conscious—exchanged traditional incandescent lightbulbs for more energy-efficient, compact fluorescent bulbs, a project aptly named the Student Lightbulb Brigade Project.”

PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS: Hillary wins an epic Pa. battle - but now what?
April 23, 2008
BYLINE: Will Bunch
“FOR SIX LONG WEEKS, they tossed bowling balls and downed shots of whiskey, quaffed beer and invoked the patron saint of Rocky Balboa, praying that Pennsylvania would deliver a knockout blow in the fight for the White House. … Nathaniel Persily, a Columbia University law professor and political pundit, noted that Clinton will also continue to use her victories in big states, now including Pennsylvania, to make a case to a couple of hundred uncommitted and unelected party leaders called ‘superdelegates’ that she should get the nomination. … ‘Think about the convention as a jury that decides on the merits of a case that the candidates will lay out,’ Persily said. ‘She has a set of arguments, and the remaining primaries will give her evidence why she should be the nominee.’”

LAW.COM: Proposals Abound for Doling Out $580 Million to Claimants With Smoking-Related Illnesses
April 23, 2008
BYLINE: Billy Shields
“Sick smokers in Florida have until mid-June to line up for a piece of a $580 million mound of cash set aside unconditionally by cigarette makers, and prospects for claiming a share are heating up. … ‘This is a story of legal heroism,’ John C. Coffee Jr., a professor at Columbia University's law school wrote in an affidavit supporting the Rosenblatts' fee award. ‘To be sure, it may not have the drama or sex appeal of Erin Brockovich, but far more was accomplished in this case and against far greater odds.’”

NEW YORK TIMES: Appellate Argument: An Artist’s View
April 22, 2008
BYLINE: Adam Liptak
“For three days last week, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. heard arguments in a real court in Washington. Then he came to New York to preside over a fake one — the finals of the moot court competition at Columbia Law School.”

WALL STREET JOURNAL LAW BLOG: Scotus Roundup: Justices Roberts, Thomas Go Back To School
April 22, 2008
BYLINE: Ashby Jones
“In the midst of a busy stretch of the current Supreme Court term, two justices recently found time to head back to school; one to preside over an Ivy League moot court competition, another to attend the spring football practice at a Big 12 school. First, the NYT’s Adam Liptak, soon slated to take over for the departing Linda Greenhouse as the NYT’s lead Supreme Court reporter, reports today on Chief Justice John Roberts’s recent trip to Morningside Heights, where he served as a judge in Columbia Law School’s moot-court finals.”

CNN: Harry Potter case brings the law into Internet Age
April 22, 2008
BYLINE: Sunny Hostin
“It's a battle worthy of Harry Potter himself. … But Professor Tim Wu of Columbia University law School said Vander Ark (and other creators of fan Web sites like the Lexicon, for that matter) is an author in his own right. ‘These may not be authors like Rowling, who are going to become millionaires. But I think, however humble, they are they deserve a little respect, and that's where I think the law needs to go.’”


COX NEWS: Democrats dig into past in push for Pennsylvania
April 22, 2008
BYLINE: Scott Shepard
“Hillary Rodham Clinton invoked Pearl Harbor, the Berlin Wall and Osama bin Laden as she reached for a victory in Pennsylvania's Democratic presidential primary to recharge her comeback effort. … ‘Her only hope is to make the evidence of his popularity among pledged delegates seem murky, irrelevant or illegitimate,’ said Nathaniel Persily, an expert on politics at Columbia Law School.”

AMERICAN PUBLIC MEDIA: Marketplace: Senate committee to grill SEC chair
April 22, 2008
HOST: John Dimsdale
“Today, Senate Banking Committee members are expected to take the chairman of the SEC to task for lax oversight of Wall Street credit rating agencies while they were approving risky loans. … JOHN DIMSDALE: Columbia University securities law professor John Coffee says the ratings companies didn't do enough of their own research and merely believed the assurances of the banks that were selling the investments. JOHN COFFEE: Right now, rating agencies are basically flying blind when they accept at face value these statements made by the issuer or underwriter about what the quality of the loan collateral is.”

ASSOCIATED PRESS: Ahead of the Bell: Credit Rating Agencies
April 22, 2008
“Did the credit rating industry do enough to alert investors about risky mortgages? … Speaking at the hearing will be: Columbia University law professor John Coffee; Arturo Cifuentes, managing director of bond dealer R.W. Pressprich & Co. and a former Moody's analyst who developed a standard method for rating complex debt transactions; Stephen Joynt, chief executive of Fitch Ratings; Claire Robinson, senior managing director at Moody's and Vickie Tillman, executive vice president of Standard & Poor's.”
Media outlets to pick up this story include CNNMoney, Houston Chronicle and Forbes.

NATIONAL LAW JOURNAL: Inventing a better index
April 21, 2008
BYLINE: Marian Underweiser
“Congress and the U.S. Supreme Court have begun addressing problems in our patent system. Now it's our turn to help. … We are tackling this issue by working with Ronald Mann, a Columbia Law School professor and nationally recognized scholar in commercial law and electronic commerce. His scholarship includes how examination of statistical trends yields qualitative information on patent characteristics.”


FINDLAW: How the Supreme Court's Lethal Injection Ruling Elevates Appearances Over Reality
April 21, 2008
BYLINE: Michael C. Dorf
“Last week, in Baze v. Rees, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected a constitutional challenge to Kentucky's administration of the death penalty via lethal injection. To say that the case divided the Justices would be a gross understatement. There was no opinion for the Court as a whole, and the nine Justices wrote a total of seven separate opinions. In the short term, the Baze decision will result in the resumption of executions, which had been subject to a de facto moratorium since the Court agreed to hear the case. In the long term, the decision's likely impact is unclear. … Michael C. Dorf is the Isidor & Seville Sulzbacher Professor of Law at Columbia University.”

NEW YORK TIMES: Some Mutual Fund Numbers Look Great, but for Whom?
April 20, 2008
BYLINE: Harry Hurt III
“THE public stock markets are in the throes of one of the biggest and most egregious financial scandals in modern history, according to Louis Lowenstein. … This unprecedented scandal is documented in succinct but gory detail by Mr. Lowenstein in The Investor’s Dilemma: How Mutual Funds Are Betraying Your Trust and What to Do About It (Wiley, $29.95). Mr. Lowenstein is a lawyer, a former business executive and a professor emeritus of finance and law at Columbia Law School. Like Warren E. Buffett, he is a proud disciple of the ‘value investing’ principles outlined by Columbia professors Benjamin Graham and David L. Dodd in 1934.”

April 20, 2008
BYLINE: Daniel Byman
“Philip Bobbitt thinks big. His latest book, Terror and Consent, even gently criticizes Samuel Huntington's Clash of Civilizations and Francis Fukuyama's End of History as ‘not big enough.’ … Bobbitt, a professor at Columbia University who previously wrote The Shield of Achilles, a monumental history of warfare, has held senior positions in several Democratic administrations.”

Back to top

April 13 - 19, 2008

NEW YORK TIMES: Identity of ‘Max’ Revealed; Rodriguez May Face Questions From Investigators
April 19, 2008
BYLINE: Michael S. Schmidt and Tyler Kepner
“Alex Rodriguez stood in the visitor’s locker room at Camden Yards on Friday afternoon, looked at the reporters before him and for the second time in recent weeks was forced to respond to steroid accusations contained in José Canseco’s new book, ‘Vindicated.’ … When he meets with investigators on Tuesday, he could be in a vulnerable position, said Daniel C. Richman, a professor of law at Columbia University and a former federal prosecutor. ‘It sounds like the government is looking at Canseco as just a witness,’ Richman said. ‘But a witness who proves uncooperative can easily turn into a subject or even a target if the government wants to push hard. And the range of statements that Canseco has already made in his book and to Congress will make it easier for investigators to pin him down, forcing him to either reaffirm past claims or explicitly deny them. He has far less wiggle room than witnesses who can fairly claim not to remember.’”

STAR-LEDGER: SEC's role reconsidered after bailout
April 19, 2008
BYLINE: Robert Cohen
“The Federal Reserve's $30 billion bailout of Bear Stearns last month has prompted questions from lawmakers and financial experts about the role of the investment banking firm's primary regulator, the Securities and Exchange Commission. … Harvey Goldschmid, a former SEC commissioner and now professor at Columbia Law School, said there should be changes to allow oversight of hedge funds, to better police credit rating agencies and to permit more scrutiny of the liquidity and capital ratios of Wall Street firms. He said some of this authority requires new legislation, while in other cases it may just mean the SEC using powers it already has. ‘It's important to rethink how we are supervising and overseeing financial markets, and the idea of the Fed playing a larger role on safety and soundness is appropriate,’ Goldschmid said. ‘Giving the SEC more power in a number of areas also certainly makes sense.’”

SLATE: Convictions Blog: Papal Benediction for International Law
April 19, 2008
BYLINE: Diane Marie Amann
“An encomium to international law is headline news this morning. Not, alas, because of its content, but rather because of its source: Pope Benedict XVI. … I'm among those skeptics, so too José Alvarez, Columbia law professor and immediate past president of the American Society of International Law.”

ASSOCIATED PRESS: Chief Justice Roberts presides at Columbia moot court
April 18, 2008
BYLINE: Colleen Long
“U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts and three federal appeals court judges grilled the counselors on their oral arguments, pushed for answers on policy questions and interrupted speeches for clarification on law. But this was no regular hearing; it was the final round of a moot court competition at Columbia University School of Law on Thursday.”

NEW YORK SUN: Chief Justice Weighs In at Columbia Moot Court
April 18, 2008
BYLINE: Joseph Goldstein
“It was a weighty middle of the week for Chief Justice Roberts. On Wednesday, he issued an opinion upholding lethal injection as a method for executing prisoners. The same day, he heard arguments on whether the death sentence can be imposed for crimes other than murder. But his workweek lightened yesterday when he entered the jurisdiction of Columbia Law School and heard arguments in Nafziger v. Kaergard, a fictitious case of no consequence that is unlikely to be discussed in future years, other than by the four Columbia law students who argued it for a moot court competition before the chief justice.”

NEW YORK TIMES: Busy Day at Court Handling Sect’s Children
April 18, 2008
BYLINE: Kirk Johnson and John Dougherty
“It took only a few minutes from the judge’s opening gavel Thursday morning for an emergency court hearing on the fate of 416 children taken by the state from a polygamist compound two weeks ago to dissolve into chaos. … ‘Putting the culture of the religion on trial is exactly what is going to happen,’ said Jane M. Spinak, a professor at Columbia University Law School and the director of the school’s Child Advocacy Clinic. ‘If you can establish a pattern that occurs in just about every family, then you begin to say, maybe this is something that can be addressed wholesale,’ Professor Spinak said, referring to under-age marriages. ‘But you still need to establish harm to individual children to remove them from their families.’”

ABA JOURNAL: Lawyers Serve As ‘Backboard’ to Judges’ Debate, Chief Justice Tells Moot Court
April 18, 2008
BYLINE: Debra Cassens Weiss
“Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. let students into a little secret when he presided over a moot court hearing yesterday at Columbia Law School: Lawyers in oral arguments are really just a catalyst for a debate among judges.”

ABA JOURNAL: Milberg Forfeitures Total $32M So Far, Well Below the $251M Target
April 18, 2008
BYLINE: Debra Cassens Weiss
“Prosecutors claim Milberg Weiss and its lawyers pocketed $251 million in attorney fees that were tainted by kickbacks paid to lead plaintiffs in securities cases. But so far the government has recovered only $32 million in plea deals with nine defendants. … Prosecutors probably won’t reach the targeted $251 million amount in the Milberg case even if they obtain forfeitures from the remaining defendants, said Columbia Law School professor John Coffee. The remaining defendants are the firm itself and lawyer Paul Selzer, who formerly represented Seymour Lazar, a lead plaintiff who agreed to forfeit $1.5 million. ‘A firm like Milberg probably couldn't come up with $200 million,’ Coffee told the NLJ, ‘but probably could pay $50 million.’”

LOS ANGELES TIMES: L.A.'s top federal prosecutor accused of setting quotas
April 18, 2008
BYLINE: Scott Glover
“U.S. Atty. Thomas P. O'Brien is facing sharp criticism from prosecutors within his office who say he is pressuring them to file relatively insignificant criminal cases to drive up statistics that make the office eligible for increased federal funding. … Quotas are controversial because they call into question whether prosecutors are motivated by the pursuit of justice or are merely trying to ‘hit a number,’ said Daniel Richman, a law professor at Columbia University and a former federal prosecutor in New York.”

WALL STREET JOURNAL LAW BLOG: Final (For Now!) Reflections on the Harry Potter Trial
April 18, 2008
BYLINE: Dan Slater
“Yes, as some readers have pointed out, the Law Blog temporarily went a bit native on the Potter trial. … To this, Tim Wu, the Columbia copyright prof, remarked that while her comments have nothing to do with the law, ‘you can imagine the pressure of being the person who’s rung the death knell of Rowling writing about Potter.’”

COLUMBIA SPECTATOR: CU Law Profs Bring Expertise in Clinical Teaching to Eastern European Schools
April 18, 2008
BYLINE: Taylor Napolitano
“‘How would you feel about a doctor who had never interacted with a patient?’ asked Columbia Law School professor Barbara Schatz, chair of the Public Interest Law Initiative, about the opportunity students have to represent real-world clients. … But clinical legal teaching does more than train students in the field, according to its proponents. It has also proven effective in giving a voice to the underrepresented. ‘We serve people that would ordinarily not receive representation,’ said Jane Spinak, a professor of clinical law. Citing the example of a mother who has killed her children, she described a typical marginalized member of society as ‘not a popular client, and yet a client who needs representation.’”

WALL STREET JOURNAL LAW BLOG: The NY Tax Proposal: Pushing More Hedgies to Greenwich?
April 17, 2008
BYLINE: Shasha Dai
“As if a credit crunch, slowing economy and job losses on Wall Street weren’t taking enough of a bite out of the Big Apple, the city is thinking of taking a bigger tax bite out of the hedge and private-equity funds that call it home. … Whether the bill gets approved depends on what rationale law makers will adopt, said Alex Raskolnikov, an associate professor at Columbia Law School. If the legislators take a pragmatic view, they would consider the departure of businesses and, therefore, the smaller tax base. If they take a fairness view, then the lost tax base doesn’t matter. ‘If the funds move [out of New York City], so be it,’ Raskolnikov said of this rationale. ‘We’d rather have a fair tax system.’”

FINANCIAL TIMES: Japan in move to block TCI stake bid
April 17, 2008
BYLINE: Michiyo Nakamoto and Alan Beattie
“The Japanese government yesterday rejected a bid by The Children's Investment Fund to increase its stake in J-Power; the first time Japan has blocked a foreign investment in a public company. … Karl Sauvant, executive director of the programme on international investment at Columbia University, said: ‘There is clearly a widespread reassessment of the benefits of foreign direct investment going on.’”

NEW YORK SUN: Skadden, Arps To Steer Poor, Minorities To Law
April 17, 2008
BYLINE: Elizabeth Green
“Responding to what is being called a ‘crying need’ for greater diversity in the legal profession, a top Manhattan law firm and the City College of New York are launching a program aimed at steering poor and minority students to top law schools. … The dean of Columbia's law school, David Schizer, said in an interview yesterday that he plans to ‘take a careful look’ at the program's graduates.”

NEW YORK TIMES: Bits: Comcast’s Concession to Net Neutrality
April 17, 2008
BYLINE: Saul Hansell
“On Tuesday afternoon, Comcast put out a vague, jargon-filled press release about working to create a “Bill of Rights and Responsibilities” for users of peer-to-peer file-sharing software. … Still, Tim Wu, a professor at Columbia Law School, suggests that the public attention to net neutrality in general, and the Comcast crackdown on BitTorrent in particular, will have a significant effect on how policy evolves. ‘We are in the formative period of the broadband age where we are figuring out what the norms in this area will be,’ Mr. Wu said. ‘More important than the legal battle is the battle over what is acceptable or not acceptable, what will attract an angry mob and a hearing and what will be seen as completely normal.’”

NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO: Justices Rule Lethal Injection Is Constitutional
April 16, 2008
BYLINE: Nina Totenberg
“The Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that states may execute condemned prisoners with a sequence of three drugs that had been challenged as ‘cruel and unusual punishment’ in a Kentucky case. … Columbia University Law School Professor Michael Dorf, however, sees a newly energized conservative majority on the current Supreme Court that is unlikely in the long run to invalidate the three-drug method of lethal injection. Professor MICHAEL DORF (Law, Columbia University Law School): This court as currently configured is not about to strike down a state’s method of execution if it looks more or less like Kentucky’s.”

MSNBC: Supreme Court to weigh McCain-Feingold law
April 16, 2008
BYLINE: Tom Curry
“Next Tuesday, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in a case that will decide how tightly Congress can regulate candidates and campaigns. … The outcome of the Davis case ‘turns entirely on the question of whether or not you think that this law burdens the speech rights of the self-financing candidate,’ said Prof. Richard Briffault, a campaign finance law expert at Columbia University Law School in New York. ‘It’s a fork in the road. If the court thinks this is not a burden on First Amendment rights, then Congress doesn’t have to have a very heavy burden to make in justifying it,’ he said. But if the justices look at the millionaire’s amendment as a penalty for exercising one’s First Amendment rights, then they’d require a higher level of justification from Congress, Briffault said. If the court concludes that it is a constitutional problem to allow a candidate to raise more money because his self-funded foe has been able to do so, ‘ths could raise questions for some of the state public funding laws out there,’ Briffault said.”

BLOOMBERG: EU Commission, STEC, Affliction, TSX: Intellectual Property
April 16, 2008
BYLINE: Victoria Slind-Flor
“The European Commission issued recommendations for technology transfer at public research organizations and universities that warn against offering exclusive licenses to entities outside the European Union. … The Copyright Clearance Center is holding a seminar on new trends in copyright May 1 in New York, the rights-licensing group said in a statement yesterday. … Other participants are Jim Griffin from Time Warner Inc.'s Warner Music; Professor Mark Tribe, who teaches modern culture and Media Studies at Brown University; Douglas Rushkoff, an author, teacher, and documentarian; Professor Tim Wu from Columbia University Law School; Paul Fakler, a partner at Moses & Singer; Stanley Pierre-Louis, vice president and associate general counsel at Viacom Inc.; and Clay Shirky, author of ‘Here Comes Everybody.’”

CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Virginia Tech served as warning on campus privacy
April 16, 2008
BYLINE: Stevenson Swanson
“In the year since a mentally disturbed student went on a shooting rampage at Virginia Tech, federal regulators, educators and legal experts have tried to reach a new understanding of the complex web of privacy laws that came under heavy criticism as one of the reasons no one acted in time to prevent the tragedy. … ‘A hands-off approach is often seen as the safest method of dealing with these students,’ University of Virginia law professor Richard Bonnie said at a recent Columbia University conference on campus violence.”


FORT WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM: Is that inheritance racially tainted?
April 15, 2008
BYLINE: Katherine Franke
“No one enjoys preparing, let alone paying, taxes. But this time of year offers us an opportunity not only to complain about taxes but to think about why we pay them and for what. Paying taxes today funds the budget for next year, but our progressive tax structure implements a fundamental value in American society: It redistributes wealth from the most fortunate to those who are least well off. Warren Buffet recently testified before Congress that the heirs of the wealthy should be taxed, and taxed quite heavily, on their inheritance. Buffett, ranked No. 2 in Fortune magazine's list of the wealthiest Americans, has unique moral authority to argue against the consolidation of wealth in a U.S. aristocracy. But the richest men and women on the Fortune 400 list shouldn't be the only ones speaking out. My peers -- white middle- and upper-class baby boomers who stand to inherit nicely from our parents -- also ought to weigh in on this debate. … Katherine Franke, a professor of law at Columbia University, has just completed Emancipation Approximation, a book on the enduring relevance of the incomplete abolition of slavery in the United States.”

WALL STREET JOURNAL LAW BLOG: Day One of the Harry Potter Trial: Rowling Holds Her Own
April 14, 2008
BYLINE: Dan Slater
“When J.K. Rowling concluded her testimony today in the case of Warner Bros. and Rowling vs. RDR Books, the Law Blog stepped outside at the recess to have a chat with Columbia copyright professor Tim Wu. ‘She was the definition of a star witness,’ he said. ‘It was hard for [the defense] to get anything out of her.’”

NATIONAL LAW JOURNAL: Hiring more deeply into top schools
April 14, 2008
BYLINE: Leigh Jones
“A bigger percentage of students graduating from top law schools in 2007 took jobs at NLJ 250 law firms than those graduating in 2006. Columbia Law School landed in the No. 1 spot again as the school that sent the greatest portion of graduates to NLJ 250 law firms, with nearly 75% of its students in 2007 taking jobs among the nation's largest law firms. The school ranked No. 1 last year, when 69.6% of its graduates went to NLJ 250 law firms. … Columbia's strong showing among all NLJ 250 firms was due to its quality of students and its location, said David Schizer, dean of the law school. ‘Many students come here because they love New York City and a significant fraction of them decide to stay,’ he said.”
This story was picked up by the Wall Street Journal Law Blog, ABA Journal and Legal Week.

NATIONAL LAW JOURNAL: Milberg Weiss case yields small recovery
(subscription required)
April 14, 2008
BYLINE: Amanda Bronstad
“The defendants who have pleaded guilty in the Milberg Weiss case have collectively agreed to pay more than $32 million in monetary recoveries — a far cry from the $251 million in attorney fees that federal prosecutors allege the firm and its lawyers obtained by paying kickbacks to lead plaintiffs. … ‘A firm like Milberg probably couldn't come up with $200 million,’ said John C. Coffee, a Columbia Law School professor who is following the case, ‘but probably could pay $50 million.’”


LOS ANGELES TIMES: Guantanamo closure no simple prospect
April 14, 2008
BYLINE: Julian E. Barnes
“A wave of change appears headed toward the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, with all three major presidential candidates vowing to abolish the military prison. … ‘When it comes to closing Guantanamo, talk is cheap,’ said Matthew C. Waxman, a former Defense and State department official, now a Columbia University law professor. ‘The question is: Who is willing and able to lead the difficult policy and political decisions necessary to get it done?’”

VOICE OF SAN DIEGO: Brian Maienschein, Lawyer
April 14, 2008
BYLINE: Will Carless
“Of the five candidates to become San Diego's next city attorney, Brian Maienschein has spent the least time as a working lawyer. … Familiarity with the workings of a local government and a database of knowledge about the city's residents, interests and concerns helps a city attorney immensely, said Richard Briffault, a professor of law at Columbia Law School in New York. ‘Experience is certainly an important and relevant factor, but so is the ability to use that experience in a meaningful way,’ Briffault said.”

April 13, 2008
BYLINE: Niall Ferguson
“The age of ‘Atlantic man’ is conventionally thought to be over. … Philip Bobbitt, however, is homo atlanticus redux. A dapper Southerner, renowned almost as much for his sparkling literary allusions as for his acute thinking, he divides his time among Austin, Tex.; New York, where he teaches law at Columbia; and London, where he has lectured in war studies. His new book, ‘Terror and Consent,’ is in many ways a manifesto for a new Atlanticism, not just a reassertion but a reinvention of the dominant role of the trans-Atlantic alliance.”

BOSTON GLOBE: The holes in the war on terror
April 13, 2008
BYLINE: Steve Weinberg
“Philip Bobbitt has been thinking broadly, deeply and innovatively about war for a long time. … Bobbitt has a sweeping grasp of international relations and surely works out some of his cogent arguments while traveling between jobs and homes. His biography says he teaches law at Columbia University and also lectures at the University of Texas in Austin.”

AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN: Member fight to stop lawsuit settlement begins
April 13, 2008
BYLINE: Claudia Grisales
“A storm is gathering over the terms of a proposed settlement in a lawsuit against officials of the Pedernales Electric Cooperative because the agreement could exempt them from accountability for any wrong actions that may have occurred on their watch. … ‘The settlement will bind the corporation and end all its rights against these various officers and directors who are the defendants,’ said John Coffee, a law professor and expert in corporate law at Columbia University. It also helps protect the defendants from recovery of any money they received from Pedernales. The co-op's members may receive small credits on their electric bills as part of the settlement. But ‘you are not getting any personal contribution from any of the defendants,’ Coffee said. ‘The individual defendants are escaping liability.’”


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April 6 - 12, 2008

BLOOMBERG: Terror Expert Imagines Four Catastrophic Scenarios: Book Review
April 9, 2008
BYLINE: Craig Seligman
“‘We should make no mistake,’ Philip Bobbitt writes in ‘Terror and Consent,’ his magisterial analysis of the long struggle civilization is facing: ‘This is war.’ From this single, salient point, the rest of his complex argument grows. Bobbitt is a professor of law at Columbia, senior fellow at the University of Texas and a sometime government official who is best known for his 2002 book, ‘The Shield of Achilles.’”

NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO: On the Media: How to Fix Tech Policy
April 11, 2008
HOSTS: Brooke Gladstone and Bob Garfield
“What can the next president do to right the wrongs of the Bush Administration when it comes to technology policy? Columbia University law professor and co-author of Who Controls the Internet Tim Wu makes his recommendations regarding broadband, the FCC and government transparency through technology.”

MS. MAGAZINE: A Preference for Deception
Winter 2008
BYLINE: Kimberle Crenshaw
“RUTHIE STEVENSON WAS ON HER WAY TO THE POST OFFICE IN Mt. Clemens, Mich., when she was asked to sign a petition to “make civil rights fairer for everybody.” The circulator named the president of the local NAACP as a supporter. This would have been surprising, since the petition—known euphemistically as the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative—sought to amend the Michigan constitution to eliminate all affirmative-action programs in the state. Moreover, Stevenson knew firsthand that fraud was afoot: She was the president of the local NAACP, and had certainly never lent her support. …
KIMBERLE CRENSHAW is a professor of law at Columbia and UCLA Law School, and directs the African American Policy Forum (, which advances social justice through public education initiatives.”


HUFFINGTON POST: A McCain Court: Likely Less Than Maverick
April 9, 2008
BYLINE: Alexander Heffner
“Over the decades, John McCain has established a reputation as a center-right Republican, a so-called maverick among the mostly party-line voting Senate. … Asked if he could name any current lawyers or justices who fit this profile, Columbia law Professor Michael Dorf named Judge John T. Noonan of the 9th Circuit Appellate Court in California. Moving away from judges, Dorf mentioned Gov Mike Huckabee as another example of a social conservative whose views on fiscal and tax policy are more centrist than purely conservative. But Dorf concedes, ‘Most [nominees'] judicial philosophies come in packages rather than a la carte.’”


COLUMBIA SPECTATOR: Death Brings Security Into Question, Students and Administrators Address Local Safety
April 8, 2008
BYLINE: Daniel Amzallag
“While the campus mourns the loss of Minghui Yu, a student in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences who was killed by a passing car Friday night while fleeing an assailant, the circumstances of the tragedy have raised larger questions about juvenile crime and the strength of security on and around campus. … According to Columbia Law School professor Jeffrey Fagan, juvenile prosecution allows for greater rehabilitation than the adult correctional system and prevents the lifelong stigma of a permanent criminal record. Fagan said, ‘He’ll be in an environment where people will be at least nominally concerned with making sure he doesn’t screw up when he goes back out.’ The group setting may have provided Sheldon with the ‘additional motivation of trying to look good in the eyes of peers,’ Fagan added. ‘Kids are risk takers—this kid took a huge risk and discounted what the cost of this risk was.’”

April 7, 2008
HOST: Tavis Smiley
“Law professor Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw addresses the Democratic presidential candidates' support of affirmative action programs.”
More information:

NEW YORK TIMES: Status of Lawyer for Clemens at Issue
April 7, 2008
BYLINE: Michael S. Schmidt
“A federal judge in Houston will hear arguments Wednesday on a motion to disqualify Roger Clemens’s lead lawyer, Rusty Hardin, from representing him in a defamation lawsuit against his former personal trainer Brian McNamee. … ‘Judges have a lot of room to accommodate these conflicts, including disqualification,’ said Daniel C. Richman, a former federal prosecutor. ‘If Pettitte is a witness in another case, including a criminal matter, then that judge would have to decide whether Hardin could still represent Clemens.’”

COLUMBIA SPECTATOR: Panel on Campus Suicide Calls for More Prevention
April 7, 2008
BYLINE: Joy Resmovits
“In light of increased focus on campus violence, experts from different disciplines convened at the Columbia Law School on Friday to discuss ‘Violence on Campus: Prediction, Prevention, and Response.’ … Columbia’s Program in Health, Law and Society, which organized the conference, is a Law School-based program that spans faculty and students from the Mailman School of Public Health, the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, and the College of Physicians and Surgeons.” 

INSIDE HIGHER ED: Predicting and Preventing Campus Violence
April 7, 2008
BYLINE: Elizabeth Redden
“Harvard University’s first president was an English cleric who reportedly attacked his assistant with a stick ‘big enough to kill a horse,’ Ann Franke, the founder of Wise Results and a consultant on campus risk management issues nationally, related Friday during a conference on ‘Violence on Campus: Prediction, Prevention and Response.’ … Still, speakers weren’t fans anyway of such automatic policies, which, without consideration of individual circumstances, remove students from their support systems and send the wrong message — discouraging students from seeking help from authority figures or, even, their friends, said Paul Appelbaum, a professor and director of the Division of Psychiatry, Law and Ethics at Columbia. Citing lawsuits that colleges have settled with students who were forced out of college or from their dormitories (at George Washington University and Hunter College), ‘One would hope that other schools would get the message without being defendants themselves,’ Appelbaum said. ‘The safest approach to these issues is also the fairest approach’ — individualized assessments of students, individualized evaluations of risk, and a respect for due process rights, he said.”

FINDLAW: A Small Religion Brings a Big First Amendment Question to the Supreme Court: When Does Private Religious Speech Become Government Speech?
April 7, 2008
BYLINE: Michael C. Dorf
“Last week, the Supreme Court agreed to review a ruling of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, granting a small religious organization the right to place monuments in two city parks in Utah. The unusual case of Summum v. Pleasant Grove City sits awkwardly at the intersection of three First Amendment doctrines: (1) the doctrine establishing the rights of speakers, including religious speakers, in a so-called ‘public forum’; (2) the doctrine delineating government's ability, as a speaker itself, to control the content of its message; and (3) the doctrine concerning limits that the Establishment Clause places on government favoritism among religious messages. … Michael C. Dorf is the Isidor & Seville Sulzbacher Professor of Law at Columbia University.”

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April 1 - 5, 2008

NATIONAL POST: Knee-jerk reaction seen as unlikely
April 5, 2008
BYLINE: Janet Whitman
“About a year and a half ago, Henry Paulson, the U.S. Treasury Secretary, bemoaned to a gathering of business leaders here that the country's confusing and complex regulations were hurting Wall Street's competitive edge. … Harvey Goldschmid, a Columbia University law professor and former Securities and Exchange Commission member, expects positive regulatory changes in the . ‘My sense is that, after the presidential election, whoever wins, we're going to have a much more serious and more effective regulatory system,’ he says.”

COLUMBIA SPECTATOR: CU Law School Hosts Annual Mock Trial
April 4, 2008
BYLINE: David Xia
“Roberta Quinlan and Brian Kane’s attorneys showed off their legal prowess with every direct- and cross-examination Thursday night during Columbia Law School’s annual Jerome Michael Mock Jury Trial. This year’s mock trial finals, which were attended by about 20 Belleville High School students from New Jersey and presided over by Judge Alvin Hellerstein, involved an alleged case of a breach of contract. The student jurors who decided the case, many of whom are interested in careers in law, were brought in by the high school’s Law-Related Education program and Columbia Law School’s Moot Court Program.”

ABC NEWS: Fighting Back Against Foreclosure
April 3, 2008
BYLINE: Jim Avila, Beth Tribolet, Lauren Pearle and Scott Michels
“David and Karen Shearon decided to buy their first house so they could give their three children stability and security. … ‘There are some people who are clearly victims of fraud, and judges are reacting differently,’ said James Tierney, Maine's former attorney general and the director of the National State Attorneys General Program at Columbia Law School, who was not familiar with the Shearons' case. ‘In the meantime, people are losing their homes. A number of judges are saying, fraud is fraud, and we're not going to let this proceed.’”

MCCLATCHY-TRIBUNE: Bankers blame federal officials for forcing Bear Stearns fire-sale price
April 3, 2008
“The Federal Reserve and Treasury Department orchestrated the ‘fire sale’ price for the quick purchase of investment bank Bear Stearns, the chief executive officers of the banks involved told Congress on Thursday, disagreeing with each other about whether such a rushed deal was necessary. … ‘People hadn't appreciated the extent to which these nonbank institutions perform the functions of banks and were susceptible to bank runs,’ Jeffrey Gordon, a law professor at Columbia University in New York, said in an interview. ‘The relevant players have much quicker means of getting their money out than lining up outside the bank and waiting at the teller window.’ … Gordon, the Columbia law professor, said government officials shouldn't be faulted for not anticipating the Bear Stearns meltdown: ‘Who is going to predict with any reliability an unprecedented event? It's not realistic. The key question is not that they failed to anticipate it.’ He said the key question was what steps they'd take to prevent further surprises and that the Fed had answered that by broadly expanding credit.”

THE NATION: Another KBR Rape Case
April 3, 2008
BYLINE: Karen Houppert
“It was an early January morning in 2008 when 42-year-old Lisa Smith*, a paramedic for a defense contractor in southern Iraq, woke up to find her entire room shaking. … Even more appalling, the Justice Department, which can and should prosecute most of these cases, has declined to do so. ‘There is no rational explanation for this,’ says Scott Horton, a lecturer at Columbia Law School who specializes in the law of armed conflict. … Horton wonders what the 200 Justice Department employees and contractors stationed in Iraq do all day, noting that there has not been a single completed criminal conviction against a US contractor implicated in a violent crime anywhere in Iraq since the invasion. ‘We have a complete process in place for solving military criminal violations when soldiers commit crimes, but for the 180,000 employees of private contractors over there, there is nothing,’ says Horton. ‘It's like Texas west of the Pecos in 1890 over there!’ It's just common sense that you're going to have some violent crimes when you throw this many people together, he says. ‘Think about it. You have 180,000 people over there, you're going to have a few crimes. I don't know how anybody could fairly view this as a partisan issue. Crimes happen when you bring people together anywhere, and in a war setting, without adult supervision, crimes are going to increase. That is just a fact. And if you eliminate law enforcement, the crimes are going to get worse because people will quickly learn they can get away with it.’”

CNBC: Squawk Box: Brave New Fed (segment begins at 3:57, Prof. Coffee at 6:50)
April 2, 2008
“Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke heads to the Hill to face to hot seat, with Jonathan Macey, Yale Law School; John Coffee, Columbia Law School and CNBC's Steve Liesman.”

NEW YORK SUN: Russians Suing Bank of New York for $22.5 Billion
April 2, 2008
BYLINE: Julie Satow
“New York’s oldest bank could be on the hook for $22.5 billion if the Russian government gets its way. … ‘It is certainly innovative to apply RICO in a Russian court,’ the Jean Monnet chair in European Union law at Columbia University, George Bermann, said, adding that he thought it was one of the first times the statute had been applied abroad.”

SLATE: Tech Policy
April 1, 2008
“Perhaps the only thing that's actually improved over the last eight years under President Bush is technology (if not tech policy). In the sense that Nixon presided over an age of great films like The Godfather, the Bush era was also the age of Wikipedia, search engines, YouTube, and Facebook. But the Bush system of benign neglect can only go so far, leaving plenty to fix as soon as the next president takes office. … Tim Wu is a professor at Columbia Law School and co-author of Who Controls the Internet?”

ABA JOURNAL: Rut or Role?
April 2008 Issue
BYLINE: Richard Acello“In acting, they call it typecasting. in the law, it is known by an even less flattering term, pigeonholing. … ‘I think pigeonholing has always been an issue,’ says Ellen Wayne, dean of career services at Columbia Law School. ‘There are a couple of things that might help young associates,’ says Wayne, who is chair of the ABA Task Force on Law Career Paths. ‘First, they have to know how to use their assigning partner for the summer, or the assigning partner for the first few months.’ Some firms, Wayne says, rotate associates through a number of specialty departments, especially in summer programs. ‘Summer students have more leverage because the firm is still in a marketing or sales mode with them,’ she says. ‘Or the firm will have a way to take work from a variety of places’ so associates gain different work experiences.”

SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE: Overhauling financial rules will take years
April 1, 2008
BYLINE: Carolyn Lochhead
“It was only by coincidence that the giant overhaul of U.S. financial regulations proposed by the Treasury Department on Monday arrived during a financial crisis, but a key part of the plan, to extend the Fed's regulation of investment banks, is a reaction to what has become the biggest U.S. financial crisis since the Depression. … John Coffee, a leading securities law expert at Columbia University, cites the proposal to merge the Commodity Futures Trading Commission with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The idea, while sensible, has languished for two decades, Coffee said. Aside from resistance by both the futures exchanges and stock exchanges, a bigger problem could lie with the Senate and House Agriculture committees. ‘Historically, Congress has been unwilling to do this for the most selfish of reasons,’ Coffee said, because the Agriculture Committees currently have authority over the commodity exchanges and do not want to cede their turf - and the political contributions that go with it - to the House and Senate banking committees. ‘They'll lose much of their political funding, and that's a nonstarter,’ Coffee said.”

GLOBE AND MAIL: Paulson unveils 'bold' new plan to rule markets
April 1, 2008
BYLINE: Kevin Carmichael and Sinclair Stewart
“Henry Paulson wants to reorder the universe he once dominated as the head of Goldman Sachs Group Inc. … John Coffee, a professor of law at Columbia University in New York, also predicted that attempts to overhaul the current system will encounter stiff political headwinds and bipartisan finger-pointing. While some proposals, like giving the Federal Reserve more power to act as the ‘super cop’ of Wall Street, aren't viewed as terribly controversial, other ideas, like combining the SEC with the commodities futures trading commission, are already raising hackles, he said. ‘This is the full employment act for lobbyists,’ he added.”

COLUMBIA SPECTATOR: Law Students Address Sustainability in São Tomé
April 1, 2008
BYLINE: Kim Rapkins

“Columbia Law School’s Environmental Law Clinic helped students learn the meaning of ‘Global University’—a favored phrase of University President Lee Bollinger—by co-sponsoring a trip to São Tomé and Principe, a country imperiled by deforestation. … Columbia’s Earth Institute has been working with São Tomé’s government because of recently discovered oil deposits. ‘They expect that oil will be discovered off the coast and that that will have a significant impact,’ said professor Edward Lloyd, who came to the Law School in 2000 to establish the Clinic. ‘As the Earth Institute was working with the government of São Tomé, the Minister of the Environment asked for advice on some of their environmental law. After having some discussions with them, they said deforestation is what they really wanted us to look at.’”

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