Print

December

December 21 - 31, 2008

THE TAKEAWAY: Governor Blagojevich v. The Law?
December 31, 2008
BYLINE: John Hockenberry, Adaora Udoji, Noel King
"As if Illinois' political crisis wasn't complex enough. Embattled Governor Rod Blagojevich has appointed former Attorney General Roland Burris to President-elect Obama's vacant Senate seat. Joining us to discuss the thorny legal implications of that appointment is Nate Persily, professor of law and political science at Columbia University. 'The more likely scenario is to seat him one day and expel him the next.' "

DAILY NEWS: Blagojevich's Appointment of Roland Burris Sets Stage for Political, Legal Turmoil
December 31, 2008
BYLINE: Richard Sisk
"Rod Blagojevich's in-your-face move to fill Barack Obama's vacant Senate seat threatened Tuesday to tie up Congress in legal and political knots and stall the President-elect's ambitious agenda. As for the legality of appointing former state Attorney General Roland Burris to the Senate, 'we're in uncharted waters here,' said Columbia University Law Prof. Jim Tierney. 'It's gonna cause problems' in Illinois and in Congress, he said."

BLOOMBERG TELEVISION: Coffee Says SEC Concerned Madoff Money in Offshore Funds
December 31, 2008
HOSTS: Pimm Fox and Allan Dodds Frank
“John Coffee, professor of securities law at Columbia Law School,
talks with Bloomberg's Pimm Fox and Allan Dodds Frank about the Securities and Exchange Commission's decision to withhold a list of Bernard Madoff's assets from the public.”

NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO: All Things Considered: SIPC May Rescue Madoff Victims
December 31, 2008
HOSTS: Robert Siegel
“The Securities Investor Protection Corporation is the FDIC of brokerage firms. Professor John Coffee talks about what responsibilities SIPC may have to help out firms who invested with Bernie Madoff.”

THE NEW REPUBLIC: The New New Media
December 31, 2008
BYLINE: Tim Wu
“The first time Jonathan Zittrain gave a speech on the future of computing, he greatly surprised his audience. The year was 1985, and Zittrain was a magazine columnist and the ‘system operator’ of an online forum for users of Texas Instruments computers. As a leading figure in the community, Zittrain was invited to speak at a big convention in Chicago. The surprise was that Zittrain had recently turned fifteen. No one had ever met him in person: when he was appointed system operator, sight unseen, he was thirteen.
Now Zittrain is older and more worried, as is evident from the title of his provocative and engaging book. … Tim Wu is a law professor at Columbia University, chairman of Free Press, and a fellow at the New America Foundation.

FINANCIAL WEEK: Members of new accounting advisory board named
December 31, 2008
BYLINE: Ronald Fink
“International and U.S. accounting standard-setters announced the members of a new advisory panel that will help them wrestle with financial reporting issues arising from the global financial crisis. … In an announcement released on Tuesday, the International Accounting Standards Board and the Financial Accounting Standards Board said that the new panel, the Financial Crisis Advisory Board, would be chaired by Harvey Goldschmid, former commissioner of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and currently a law professor at Columbia University, and Hans Hoogervorst, chairman of the Netherlands Authority for the Financial Markets. … ‘There is much to be considered, and we will proceed as quickly as possible with an understanding these are complex issues with large public policy stakes and many interdependencies,’ Mr. Goldschmid was quoted as saying. ‘There are likely to be few quick fixes.’ ”

NEW YORK LAWYER: New Moniker for NYC Federal Courthouse
December 31, 2008
BYLINE: Mark Fass
“Flanked by Theodore Roosevelt IV, Theodore Roosevelt V and a Theodore Roosevelt look-alike, U.S. Senator Charles Schumer yesterday announced the renaming of the Brooklyn federal courthouse in honor of the 26th president of the United States. The Theodore Roosevelt U.S. Courthouse, as the building is now known, recognizes 'a great historical figure, a great New Yorker, a great president and' - following Mr. Roosevelt's posthumous receipt of a juris doctor from the Columbia Law School earlier this year - 'a man of the law,' Mr. Schumer told reporters.”

BLURRING BORDERS (blog): Book Review: The Gridlock Economy
December 30, 2008
BYLINE: Kevin Donovan
"Michael Heller is a law professor at Columbia and writes one of the most important books that the free culture movement has ever received. The subtitle of the book is, 'How Too Much Ownership Wrecks Markets, Stops Innovation, and Costs Lives' and Heller does a terrific job of providing an approachable explanation of why private property is not an absolute good, but instead a institution whose prevalence must be tuned to the happy medium."

THESTREET.COM: Washington Won't Stifle Wall Street in '09
December 26, 2008
BYLINE: Dan Fried
Despite lots of talk of the regulatory zeal expected to grip Washington in 2009, the real impact on battered Wall Street is likely to be more muted than it would initially appear…'There's no question lots of reforms will be proposed. Who knows what will actually pass,' says John Coffee, a professor at the Columbia University School of Law who specializes in securities matters."

FINANCIAL TIMES: Can the Free Market Give You Moral Backbone?
December 27, 2008
BYLINE: Tim Harford
"The economist Jagdish Bhagwati argues that globalisation makes the world a better place. However right he may be, that was not the question."

DONG-A ILBO: Protectionist Trade War
December 24, 2008
BYLINE: Chung Sung-hee
"South Korea. It was Smoot-Hawley Act. Columbia University’s economics professor Jagdish N. Bhagwati said the act 'was most clearly and extremely stupid anti-trade act.' "

NEW YORK TIMES: Rehab Center Moves; Not Everyone is Happy
December 23, 2008
BYLINE: Joseph Berger
"When the other patients and workers informed Mr. Marchiselli that the rehabilitation unit not only was moving but also that gossip had it that the new building was owned by doctors at the hospital, he had a friend check property documents in the Westchester County Clerk’s office… Still, John C. Coffee, the Adolf A. Berle Professor of Law at Columbia Law School and an expert on corporate governance, said that ‘better nonprofit institutions had a policy against self-dealing’ transactions and avoided it scrupulously unless it could be shown that the deal was significantly cheaper than other alternatives.”

CNBC: Madoff’s Billions
December 23, 2008
"Insight on where the money has gone, with John Coffee, Columbia Law School."

NEW YORK LAW JOURNAL: Experts See Few Deep Pockets for Madoff Investor Litigation
December 22, 2008
BYLINE: Karen Sloan and Julie Kay
“Lawsuits are flying in the aftermath of Bernard Madoff's alleged $50 billion investment fraud, but legal experts do not expect to see investors recovering large amounts of their lost funds.
‘There are going to be claims, but it's not going to be billion-dollar litigation,’ said John C. Coffee, Jr., a Columbia Law School professor and New York Law Journal columnist. ‘This is medium-sized litigation that will probably go to relatively small firms. I don't think there are enough assets left [in the now-defunct Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities]. It's a lean and starved corpse.’ ”
Mr. Coffee said he does not anticipate any Madoff-related financial recovery to top $20 million, making it relatively small potatoes compared to other legal issues that firms are dealing with involving the meltdown of the financial markets.”

BLOOMBERG: Hedge Funds Concede Oversight Inevitability in Wake of Madoff
December 22, 2008
BYLINE: Bob Ivry, Saijel Kishan and Ian Katz
“Hedge-fund managers say Bernard Madoff may succeed where Christopher Cox failed: forcing regulation of their $1.5 trillion industry. … Hedge funds should be held to minimum capital standards and borrowing ratios, just like mutual funds, said
John Coffee, professor of securities law at Columbia University in New York. Those requirements are needed because the failure of a major hedge fund, such as Citadel, could be just as destabilizing as the failure of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. or American International Group, Coffee said. ‘I think that the focus of any legislation will be on protecting financial stability, not consumer protection,’ he said.”

EL PAÍS: ¿Y adónde irán los presos de Guantánamo?
December 22, 2008
BYLINE: John Carlin
"El pueblo de Kansas al que el equipo de gobierno de Barack Obama estudia trasladar los presos de Guantánamo se encuentra en plena rebeldía. ... 'Llevará meses, quizá muchos meses', apunta Matthew Waxman, profesor universitario de Derecho, que durante 2004 y 2005 fue el máximo responsable en el Pentágono de la política carcelaria de Guantánamo. 'No tiene mucho valor cerrar la prisión como acto simbólico sin solucionar el problema de fondo: ¿cuál será la nueva base legal para capturar, detener, interrogar y enjuiciar a individuos presuntamente vinculados con grupos terroristas? ¿Qué hará Obama en el caso de que el número dos de Al Qaeda, [Ayman] Al Zawahiri, caiga en manos estadounidenses el día después de su inauguración presidencial?'."
Back to top

December 14 - 20, 2008

NATIONAL LAW JOURNAL: The Madoff litigation: no billion dollar jackpots; more like 'medium-sized litigation'
December 19, 2008
BYLINE: Karen Sloan
“Lawsuits are flying in the aftermath of Bernard Madoff's alleged $50 billion investment fraud, but legal experts don't expect to see investors recovering large amounts of their lost funds. ‘There are going to be claims, but it's not going to be billion-dollar litigation,’ said John C. Coffee, a Columbia Law School professor who specializes in corporate law. ‘This is medium-sized litigation that will probably go to relatively small firms. I don't think there are enough assets left [in the now-defunct Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities]. It's a lean and starved corpse.’ Coffee said he doesn't anticipate any Madoff-related financial recovery to top $20 million, making it relatively small potatoes compared to other legal issues that firms are dealing with involving the meltdown of the financial markets.”

ASSOCIATED PRESS: Dem official: Obama taps Mary Schapiro to head SEC
December 18, 2008
BYLINE: Marcy Gordon
“President-elect Barack Obama has chosen a veteran of the Securities and Exchange Commission to lead and revitalize the agency now facing growing criticism for its failure to protect investors at a time of unprecedented market turmoil. … Among other names that had been floated as possible Obama choices for SEC chairman, some consumer advocates felt more favorably toward Harvey Goldschmid, a law professor at Columbia University and former SEC commissioner, and Damon Silvers, associate counsel at the AFL-CIO labor federation.”

ASSOCIATED PRESS: Obama appointees signal tighter market oversight
December 18, 2008
BYLINE: Jeannine Aversa
“President-elect Barack Obama is turning to seasoned pros for the Herculean task of overhauling the way the U.S. regulates its financial system, an effort he says is one of his top priorities. … ‘Everyone knows Mary,’ said John Coffee, a Columbia University law professor and securities law specialist. Because she once led the CFTC, ‘the possibility of her leading a merged agency wouldn't be as threatening to Chicago’ — the hub of commodity exchanges in the United States — than if she were purely a securities regulator, Coffee said. ‘Mary is seen as a centrist who believes in enforcement.’ ”

REUTERS: Obama's SEC pick under pressure to heal agency
December 18, 2008
BYLINE: Rachelle Younglai
“President-elect Barack Obama's pick to head the Securities and Exchange Commission faces the daunting task of repairing the agency's reputation and steering it through a major overhaul of U.S. financial regulation. … ‘Gensler is close to the Obama administration on basic policy goals. I am pretty sure he was brought in to facilitate the marriage of the two agencies,’ said John Coffee, a professor at Columbia Law School.”

MARKETWATCH: Next SEC chief may be shareholder advocate
December 18, 2008
BYLINE: Ronald D. Orol
“Incoming Securities and Exchange Commission chairwoman Mary Schapiro was a solid shareholder advocate during her stint as a commissioner at the agency, signaling that she could be an activist on investor issues again, according to regulatory observers. … Her career has matched that of Elise Walter, a Democratic commissioner that joined the commission in July after leaving FINRA herself. ‘Their careers have been intertwined,’ said Columbia Law School professor John Coffee. … Her background at both the CFTC and SEC also indicate that she would be supportive of combining the two agencies. Outgoing Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson has pushed for combining the two agencies as part of his program. Columbia Law School's Coffee said he believes recent problems at the SEC indicate that this plan may be expedited. ‘She is the only person in history to be a commissioner at both the SEC and CFTC,’ Coffee said. ‘Obama will support a merger of the CFTC and the SEC, which will be resisted by the CFTC, but they will be less likely to raise obstacles because of her background.’ Coffee also suspects that Gary Gensler, who was brought in to run the CFTC, was chosen by Obama as someone that will support the marriage of the two agencies. ‘Someone like Gensler, may not want to be a chairman for too long,’ Coffee said.”

BUSINESSWEEK: Obama to Pick Schapiro for SEC: From Industry's Regulator to Government's
December 17, 2008
BYLINE: Theo Francis
“By tapping Mary Schapiro, who runs the financial industry’s own regulatory agency, to run the Securities and Exchange Commission, President-Elect Barack Obama may be sending a carefully modulated message to Wall Street: Shape up, but don’t panic. … Before her tenure, the NASD's enforcement arm was ‘seen as more a nuisance than a threat -- it just bored you to death with a thousand little paper-cuts,’ says Columbia University law professor John Coffee. ‘It has become much more serious and much tougher in the last 10 years, and she does get credit for a lot of that.’ ”

PBS NEWSHOUR: SEC Looks Inward at Regulators' Handling of Madoff Case
December 17, 2008
HOST: Jeffrey Brown
“JEFFREY BROWN: Since the arrest last week of Wall Street financier Bernard Madoff, the financial web and pain have spread, and now the government itself is on the hot seat. …we're joined by Diana Henriques, who's covering the story for the New York Times, and John Coffee, professor of law at Columbia University Law School and director of its Center on Corporate Governance.”

CNN: Commentary: Where was the SEC?
December 17, 2008
BYLINE: John C. Coffee, Jr.
“Editor's Note: John C. Coffee Jr. is the Adolf A. Berle professor of law at Columbia University Law School and director of its Center on Corporate Governance.
Seventy years ago in 1938, Richard Whitney, the chief executive of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), was sentenced to 40 months in Sing Sing for embezzling funds from clients, including the widows and orphans benefit fund of the NYSE.
It was the low moment in the history of the NYSE, and public outrage enabled the Securities and Exchange Commission to persuade Congress to pass legislation that created the National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD) as a self-regulatory body that would police Wall Street.
Now, we have come full circle in 2008 with the arrest of Bernie Madoff, a former chairman of the NASD, for perpetrating an alleged $30 billion fraud. But this scandal will only embarrass and possibly weaken the SEC, because considerable evidence suggests it was asleep at the switch.”

REUTERS: Madoff case seen fuelling SEC attacks
December 16, 2008
BYLINE: John Poirier
“The $50 billion (33 billion pound) fraud allegedly committed by broker Bernard Madoff is a major embarrassment for the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and adds to questions already being asked about the regulator's competence. … ‘This will be profoundly embarrassing for the SEC,’ said Columbia University law school professor John Coffee, who has been critical of the agency for failing to properly regulate the failed investments banks. ‘Congress will predictably give them little mercy.’ ”

BBC RADIO: Today Programme (John Coffee at 15:37)
December 16, 2008
REPORTER: Nick Cosgrove
“NICK COSGROVE: A long line of investors around the world are waiting to find out exactly how much they’ve lost after what was described on this program yesterday…as the biggest financial scandal in the history of the markets. … Earlier I spoke to Professor John Coffee who specializes in corporate and securities law at Columbia Law School in New York, and I began by asking him how significant the news overnight that the liquidation of Bernard Madoff’s firm was. JOHN COFFEE: Well I think the whole debacle is going to be very significant, both because it’s going to embarrass our Securities and Exchange Commission, and it’s getting incredible attention because it sort of has occurred at the intersection of a market crash and a scandal that has shown very wealthy investors, some of them billionaires in their own right, acting foolishly and being hoodwinked by what might be a 10- or 15-year-long fraud....”

BOSTON GLOBE: How a pyramid scheme takes shape
December 16, 2008
BYLINE: Ross Kerber
“About nine years ago, Frank Casey went to New York to check out the competition and came away unimpressed with Bernard Madoff. … The SEC has been criticized repeatedly over the years… ‘Congress will predictably give them little mercy,’ said John Coffee, a professor of securities law at Columbia University.”

JAPAN TIMES: Lessons from the tainted life of Guantanamo
December 16, 2008
BYLINE: Cesar Chelala and Alejandro M. Garro
“President-elect Barack Obama's promise to close the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, will go a long way toward ending one of the most shameful episodes in U.S. legal history.
An effective closure, however, calls for reflection on some lessons to be drawn from this sad chapter of our constitutional history and for action by new administration on those lessons. … Alejandro M. Garro is professor of comparative law at Columbia University, New York.”

MARKETWATCH: Unprecedented challenge faces next SEC chief
December 15, 2008
BYLINE: Ronald D. Orol
“Typically, the Securities and Exchange Commission doesn't top the list for a new administration's agency appointments. That situation is expected to change this time around. … Columbia Law School professor Harvey Goldschmid, who was a Democratic commissioner at the SEC between 2002 and 2004, is one nominee that is favored by labor unions and public pension fund administrators. As commissioner, Goldschmid was a key ally of Republican SEC Chairman William Donaldson's controversial proposals to make mutual fund chairmen more independent of mutual fund managers, require registration of hedge-fund managers and give investors more say in corporate board elections. All three of these measures failed, either due to court rejections or corporate lobbying efforts.”

MARKETWATCH: Madoff arrest raises questions about SEC oversight
December 15, 2008
BYLINE: Ronald D. Orol
“The arrest of investment manager Bernard Madoff on allegations that he ran a $50 billion ‘Ponzi scheme’ raises questions about the effectiveness of the Securities and Exchange Commission's oversight of the $1.5 trillion hedge-fund industry. … The agency is charged with examining the books of new funds registered with the SEC, with follow-up reviews taking place every five years. Columbia Law School professor John Coffee said that the agency is overworked and typically only examines 10% of the new funds that are registered. He added that the SEC should have looked more carefully at Madoff, because he oversaw a huge quasi-hedge fund that was audited only by a tiny firm. Madoff's fund also did not employ a reputable outside custodian, which is an institution that holds the assets of the fund. ‘The fact that this was such a huge fund that employed such a small audit firm and no custodian should have triggered red flags at the SEC,’ according to Coffee. ‘Funds of that size should have a large internationally recognized auditor.’ … Both Coffee at Columbia and Roper at the Consumer Federation of America contend that the agency must allocate more resources to fund oversight, so staffers can audit more newly registered funds. The funds, Coffee said, should be examined more frequently than every five years.”

SECURITIES INDUSTRY NEWS: Goldschmid Calls for ‘Dramatic Rethinking’ of SEC
December 15, 2008
BYLINE: Carol E. Curtis
“Harvey Goldschmid,
a former Securities and Exchange Commission member who is frequently mentioned as a possible successor to chairman Christopher Cox, is calling for major changes at the agency, including regulation of hedge funds and a merger with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) that would preserve the SEC as the dominant securities regulator. Goldschmid, a law professor at Columbia University and a recent addition to the board of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, made his comments at a Dec. 12 conference in New York on the future of financial services regulation. Asked what led to the current crisis, Goldschmid, a Democrat, noted that ‘private market self-interest’ played a role, as did naiveté about the functioning of financial markets.”

NEW YORK TIMES: ‘Terror’ Is the Enemy
December 14, 2008
BYLINE: Philip Bobbitt
“GENERALS are not the only ones who prepare to fight the previous war. Our experience with 20th-century nation-based terrorists — the I.R.A. in Ireland, the P.K.K. in the Kurdish areas of Turkey, ETA in Spain’s Basque country, the F.L.N. in Algeria and others — still dominates much of our thinking about how to deal with 21st-century global terrorists. Indeed, the lack of new concepts may well be as deadly to our national security as any lack of vaccines.
New approaches to dealing with global terrorism must first be integrated into our foreign security policies generally.

Philip Bobbitt, a law professor at Columbia
and the author of ‘Terror and Consent: The Wars for the 21st Century,’ is a former senior director at the National Security Council.”

TIMES: Only Fools and Horlicks: possibly the biggest fraud in corporate history
December 14, 2008
BYLINE: Dominic Rushe and Iain Dey
“In Romania in the early 1990s – soon after it had shot Nicolae Ceausescu, its communist dictator, and embraced capitalism – there was a rash of get-rich-quick investment schemes in which thousands lost their paltry savings. … Last week Bernard Madoff, a prominent Wall Street trader, was arrested and accused of running a £33 billion pyramid scheme that fooled some of the most prominent fund managers in the world, including Britain’s own ‘superwoman’ Nicola Horlick, and Man Group, the London hedge fund. It could be the biggest fraud in corporate history. … Legal experts doubted that Madoff could have done so much damage on his own. John Coffee, a professor at Columbia Law School, said: ‘It is very rare that a fraud of this proportion could be handled by just one man. There are trades and redemptions to be done that a 70-year-old man would have to work 20 hours a day to do.’ ”
Back to top

December 7 - 13, 2008


NATIONAL LAW JOURNAL: Columbia Law School launches Center for Climate Change Law
December 12, 2008
BYLINE: Julie Kay
“Columbia Law School is launching a Center for Climate Change Law
to train future leaders in the cutting-edge discipline. Michael B. Gerrard, a leading voice in climate change law who is head of the New York office of Arnold Porter and a partner in its environmental practice group, joins Columbia Law School's faculty as professor of professional practice and director of the new center, effective January 2009.”

THESTREET.COM: Madoff Scandal: This Could Really Hurt
December 12, 2008
BYLINE: Dan Freed
“The Thursday arrest of Wall Street investor Bernie Madoff would be great fodder for playwrights Arthur Miller or David Mamet -- the story of a great American schemer driven to desperation to maintain his relevance as the world passes him by -- except it could do real damage when the markets open Friday. … The news could deal another blow to markets already reeling from a series of blowups that began with the unraveling of two Bear Stearns hedge funds last year. ‘When the tide goes out on Wall Street, all kinds of flotsam and jetsam are revealed in the mud flats,’ wrote John Coffee, professor at Columbia University School of Law, in an email to TheStreet.com. … ‘His business used a dubious method, but it was state of the art from a technological perspective. I would have to say that I am surprised at the charges as he seemed to have a viable niche in his market,’ wrote Columbia Law Professor Coffee.”

SYDNEY MORNING HERALD: Baton charge for NYPD officers
December 11, 2008
BYLINE: Ian Munro
“IF THE city's cops had set out to mock their own appellation – ‘New York's Finest’ - they could hardly have devised a more effective episode than the subway assault on a suspected dope smoker, Michael Mineo. … A Columbia University Professor of Law, Jeffrey Fagan, said the extent of police misconduct or criminality was unknown but what was clear was departmental resistance to uncovering it. Reports of the city's Civilian Complaint Review Board showed a very strong reluctance on the part of the department to taking action against officers. ‘You really have to do something egregious, like shoving a baton up some guy's rectum, to get the attention of legal authorities,’ he said.”

SLATE: How Many ‘President-Elects’ Are There?
December 11, 2008
BYLINE: Jacob Leibenluft
“The wiretapped conversations recounted in the criminal complaint (PDF) filed against Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich on Tuesday include several references to Barack Obama, but prosecutors have apparently taken the measure of replacing his name with the phrase ‘[President-Elect].’ … Explainer thanks Randall Eliason of the George Washington University Law School and Daniel Richman of Columbia Law School.”
December 10, 2008
BYLINE: Thomas Adcock
“Michael B. Gerrard,
managing partner of Arnold & Porter's New York office, will join the faculty of Columbia Law School next month as director of the new Center for Climate Change Law. The center will expand existing programs at Columbia, including the Earth Institute. Mr. Gerrard, an environmental law columnist for the Law Journal since 1986, said "much of the most important [climate change] research is being conducted at Columbia, but much of this research has not yet found its way into the regulatory system." Of his new academic post, he added, "Scientists, engineers, economists, lawyers and scholars from other disciplines, working together, can accomplish more than the sum of their parts." He will remain of counsel at Arnold & Porter.

BLOOMBERG: Executing Accused Terrorists May Be Left to Obama
December 10, 2008
BYLINE: James Rowley
“President-elect Barack Obama may soon have to choose between executing five confessed plotters of the Sept. 11 attacks or trying them in courts that do more to protect their rights. … The confessions by the Sept. 11 plotters may lend support to any decision by Obama to scrap the tribunals, said Matthew Waxman, a former Defense Department official who teaches law at Columbia University. ‘The more circus-like the military commissions proceedings become, the more persuasive will be arguments that they need to be replaced,’ he said in an e-mail exchange.”

BUSINESS STANDARD: Messiah, pirate or anarchist?
December 10, 2008
BYLINE: Latha Jishnu
“Anyone who is interested in software theology has heard of him. … Yes, it’s Eben Moglen I am talking about. Moglen, the professor of law and legal history at Columbia University, founder-director of the Software Freedom Law Centre and travelling Messiah of Software Freedom.”

NEW YORK POST: Dillard's Row Worsens
December 9, 2008
BYLINE: James Covert
“While Dillard's is being blasted for its poor performance and sagging shares, some critics also are questioning the independence of the department store's board. … Dillard's bought the other half of CDI in August, and with Stephens' investment firm having reaped fees on the transaction, ‘that leaves good reason to doubt he can continue to serve on Dillard's board,’ says John Coffee, a professor at Columbia Law School. ‘You can't be independent of the CEO of Dillard's if you're trying to get his business,’ Coffee said.”

NATIONAL LAW JOURNAL: Closure of Gitmo raises questions
December 8, 2008 BYLINE: Marcia Coyle
“With his national security team in place, President-elect Barack Obama and the team's members now face imminent questions not only about closing the Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, detention camp but also about whether a new legal structure is needed going forward to handle detainees wherever the government holds them. … A national security court is the unknown option, said former federal prosecutor Daniel Richman of Columbia Law School. ‘We know the Guantánamo scheme, and we have a sense of the criminal justice system, and to the extent we have real concerns about the inadequacies of both of those, a number of us, including me, are very sympathetic and attracted to the notion of a third way,’ he said, adding that he is not sure what that should be.
The criminal justice system is attractive because it offers a set of procedures ‘that have a deep legitimacy and familiarity,’ he said. But he questions whether it has been truly successful in the terrorism context even when convictions have resulted.
‘Yes, there were convictions. But success also has to be measured against the costs, both in kinds of information turned over in discovery and by testimony and the kinds of procedures that standard adjudications require when it comes to investigative techniques,’ he said.
In terms of finding a ‘third way,’ Richman said, ‘I would worry about coming up with an amalgam of what we like in criminal procedure and the Guantánamo system, and creat[ing] this 'two from column A' and 'three from column B' approach.’"
Back to top

December 1 - 6, 2008


NEW YORK TIMES: Justices Take Case on President’s Power to Detain
December 6, 2008
BYLINE: Adam Liptak
“The Supreme Court agreed on Friday to decide the most fundamental question yet concerning executive power in the age of terrorism: May the president order the indefinite military detention of people living legally in the United States? … Matthew Waxman, a former Defense Department official with responsibility for detainee affairs, said the answer to the question in Mr. Marri’s case could affect some prisoners being held at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, who also have not been accused of fighting American armed forces on behalf of a foreign nation or group. ‘The main legal issue at stake here,’ said Mr. Waxman, who is now a law professor at Columbia, ‘is what does it mean to be an enemy combatant in a war against Al Qaeda?’ ”

WALL STREET JOURNAL: High Court to Take Up Enemy-Combatant Case
December 6, 2008
BYLINE: Jess Bravin
“The Supreme Court agreed Friday to rule on one of the Bush administration's most aggressive legal policies, the indefinite detention of an ‘enemy combatant’ arrested in Peoria, Ill., seven years ago. … The case ‘is an extremely controversial symbol of Bush administration detention policy, and I don't think the new administration wants to defend right off the bat the same sort of aggressive legal arguments,’ said Matthew Waxman, a former Bush administration official and now a Columbia University law professor.”

NEW YORK TIMES: The Lede (blog): Simpson and Capone, the Odd Couple
December 5, 2008
BYLINE: Liz Robbins
“It was hard not to think of Al Capone. … Daniel Richman, a law professor at Columbia University, cautioned against looking at the cases of Capone and Mr. Simpson through the same prism. ‘I think it’s the difference between irony and prosecutorial strategy,’ Mr. Richman said. He wrote a 2005 paper for the Columbia Law Review with a Harvard law professor, William J. Stuntz, entitled, ‘Al Capone’s Revenge: An Essay on the Political Economy of Pretextual Prosecution.’ ‘The so-called Al Capone strategy is one which prosecutors use either because of proof difficulties or so as not to tip their hand,’ Mr. Richman said. ‘They bring a case that is easier to prove.’ In the Simpson case, which had kidnapping as its most serious charge, he said, ‘they didn’t even seriously try the greater one.’ ”

NEW YORK TIMES: Freakonomics (blog): Judging Book Covers
December 5, 2008
“The Book Design Review has released its picks for the best-designed book covers of 2008. We’re a little disappointed not to see any economics books on the list. In the category of excellent cover design for an economics book, we’d like to nominate Robert Shiller’s The Subprime Solution, Michael Heller’s The Gridlock Economy, and Loretta Napoleoni’s Rogue Economics.”

NEW BRUNSWICK HOME NEWS TRIBUNE: Rutgers panelists examine ways to foster diversity on college campuses
December 5, 2008
BYLINE: Erica Harbatkin
“Minority students make up more than half of Rutgers University's full-time enrollment, but university President Richard L. McCormick says those numbers still aren't representative of the state's diversity. … Rutgers is playing host this week to the three-day diversity conference, which was organized by Rutgers, the Center for Institutional and Social Change at Columbia Law School, Columbia University and the College Board.”

DIVERSE: Q&A: Lani Guinier and the Pimple on Adonis’ Nose
December 5, 2008
BYLINE: Angela P. Dodson
“Lani Guinier, the Bennett Boskey Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, is among a panel of speakers participating in “The Future of Diversity and Opportunity in Higher Education: A National Forum on Innovation and Collaboration,” conference here this week. Co-sponsored by Columbia University; the Center for Institutional and Social Change at Columbia Law School; Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey; and the College Board, the conference opened Wednesday and sessions will continue at Rutgers University through today.”

AFRO AMERICAN NEWS: Thomas Refers a Previously Rejected Case Challenging Obama Eligibility
December 4, 2008
BYLINE: James Wright
“U.S. Associate Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has asked his colleagues on the court to consider the request of an East Brunswick, N.J. attorney, who has filed a lawsuit challenging President-elect Barack Obama’s eligibility to be president. …. Trevor Morrison, a constitutional law professor at Columbia University School of Law, suggested that Thomas may have been seeking an end to the matter. ‘My guess would be that Thomas referred the case to the conference so that he full Court can deny it. If Thomas denied the application on his own, then Donofrio would be free to go to the other justices for their consideration,’ Morrison said. ‘This way,’ the law professor continued, ‘the matter would be done with. Applications of this sort are hardly ever granted.’ ”

COLUMBIA SPECTATOR: Clinic Fights for HIV Awareness in Courts
December 4, 2008
BYLINE: Stephanie Tecca
“Columbia School of Law’s Sexuality and Gender Law Clinic
is pioneering a field of law that does not always receive enough attention. … ‘The law school recognized that gender and sexuality law is a critically important area,’ professor Suzanne Goldberg, the clinic’s director, said. Since the Sexuality and Gender Law Clinic began in 2006, it has helped both a gay man from Jamaica and a lesbian woman from Turkmenistan gain asylum in the U.S.”

BUSINESS WEEK: The Best Business Books of 2008
December 4, 2008
BYLINE: Hardy Green
“To look back at the books produced in the beginning of 2008 is to glimpse a more innocent world, an Eden seemingly free of financial crisis and the impending gloom of 2009. But by spring the first of the bad news reads had appeared. Regardless of the season, numerous valuable works were published in 2008, including a few that understood the sad shape of things to come. … Equally intriguing is Michael Heller's The Gridlock Economy: How Too Much Ownership Wrecks Markets, Stops Innovation, and Costs Lives (Basic Books). The Columbia University law professor explores how fragmented property ownership—whether in land, intellectual property, or the broadcast spectrum—too often allows people to block each other from optimizing a scarce resource.” 

AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE: Facebook diplomacy: peace may be just a click away
December 4, 2008
BYLINE: Sebastian Smith
“Go on the Internet to make friends -- and world peace. … ‘New technology gives the United States and other free nations a significant advantage over terrorists,’ US Undersecretary of State James Glassman told Web entrepreneurs and human rights activists at New York's Columbia University Law School.”

USA TODAY: Does the free market corrode morality?
December 3, 2008
BYLINE: Cathy Lynn Grossman
“… Three leading economic and philosophical intellectuals held a seminar today in London (I watched on webcast) to address, ‘Does the free market corrode moral character?’ … Jagdish Bhagwati, a professor of economics and law at Columbia University, added ‘ignorance’ to black marks on the free market. He said the new financial instruments, such as derivatives packaging ‘toxic’ mortgages, went beyond the knowledge of the central bankers. They took the brakes off regulation without ever understanding that this might become ‘a dagger at our throat,’ he said. … Only Bhagwati seemed to express any optimism: Markets are being used increasingly in the pragmatic mode to get at reducing poverty. That is a moral outcome... Market-oriented reforms and internationalization are in fact a good way to proceed....We are probably too much under the influence of the current crisis, a little too much obsessed about America.’ ”

SEED MAGAZINE: State of Science 2008: Intellectual Property
December 2008
BYLINE: Nikki Greenwood
“In 1980, the Supreme Court ruled that living organisms can be patented, provided they are ‘a product of human ingenuity.’ … Primary Source: HOW PATENTS CHANGED SCIENCE: Michael Heller, Columbia Law School professor and author of The Gridlock Economy.”

BLOOMBERG: Obama’s Plan to Close Guantanamo Forces Decision About Inmates
December 3, 2008
BYLINE: James Rowley
“Barack Obama’s promise to close the Guantanamo Bay prison camp for suspected terrorists will force the new president to decide what to do with inmates who can’t be tried for war crimes yet are deemed too dangerous to be released. … Logistically, Obama may be able to ‘close Guantanamo pretty quickly’ once he finds facilities on the mainland to house the prisoners, said Matthew Waxman, a former Defense Department official who teaches law at Columbia University. ‘The bigger issue is on what legal basis are you going to hold them?’ … Obama could also ask Congress to create a new legal status called preventive or administrative detention. Waxman said that would be ‘politically controversial’ and trigger a debate about ‘the dangers to our legal system and legal principles that flow from institutionalizing a system of detention without trial.’ ”

FOX NEWS: International Activists Use Facebook To Fight Terrorism
December 2, 2008
BYLINE: Eric Shawn
“Facebook, MySpace and similar Web sites were created as social networks. Now they are being used to try to change societies. ‘We are seeing communications technology as a powerful force for social and political change,’ said Matthew Waxman, an associate Professor at Columbia University who until recently was part of a special State Department think tank that advised Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on emerging issues. Waxman is part of a conference at Columbia University Law School that is bringing together activists from around the globe who have discovered the quickest way to demonstrate for a cause is with a computer.”

NEW YORK LAW JOURNAL: Kaye's Approach To Change Cautious And Pragmatic
December 1, 2008
BYLINE: Joel Stashenko
“To former Chief Judge Sol Wachtler, a case of no great importance first signaled the formidable talents of Judith S. Kaye as a judge and a leader on the state Court of Appeals. … Richard Briffault, a professor at Columbia Law School, said there has been a sort of ‘progressive pragmatism’ to her jurisprudence. ‘She strikes me in a way as Sandra Day O'Connor, only more liberal,’ Mr. Briffault said in an interview. ‘There is a kind of pragmatism about her. Will it work? How will it work? Will it address the kind of underlying real-world problem? Can it be done?’ ”

WASHINGTON INDEPENDENT: Detainees at Gitmo a Power Strategy
December 1, 2008
BYLINE: Daphne Eviatar
“Pity the Uighurs. Originally known best in this country for their unusual name…, the group of 17 Chinese Muslims has been locked up at Guantanamo Bay for the past seven years. … The new administration could reverse some of those policies. But as George Fletcher, a Columbia University law professor, points out, ‘people don’t give up power very easily.’ Many of President-elect Barack Obama’s supporters were angry when he supported recent amendments to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA, that gave immunity to telecommunications companies that helped the administration conduct warrantless wiretapping of Americans. ‘Will Obama give up the imperial presidency?’ Fletcher asked.”

CBC NEWS: Could consumers own their internet connections?
December 1, 2008
BYLINE: Peter Nowak
“What's the best way to ensure ‘net neutrality?’ Tim Wu, the Columbia Law School professor and Toronto native who first coined the term, has a simple suggestion: customer ownership of internet connections. In a study released last Thursday, the same day the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission issued a verdict allowing Bell Canada Inc. to continue slowing certain internet uses, Wu suggested an access model that would allow home owners to purchase high-speed connections rather than rent them from service providers.”
Back to top