July 27 - 31, 2008

CBC RADIO: As It Happens: The death-row rows of Texas
July 31, 2008
“José Medellin is no stranger to the legal system. … José Alvarez is a professor at Columbia Law School in New York, and is also the past-president of the American Society of International Law.”

July 30, 2008
“AMERICANS today spend almost as much on bandwidth — the capacity to move information — as we do on energy. A family of four likely spends several hundred dollars a month on cellphones, cable television and Internet connections, which is about what we spend on gas and heating oil. Just as the industrial revolution depended on oil and other energy sources, the information revolution is fueled by bandwidth. If we aren’t careful, we’re going to repeat the history of the oil industry by creating a bandwidth cartel. … Tim Wu is a professor at Columbia Law School and the co-author of “Who Controls the Internet?”

WASHINGTON POST: Comcast Illegally Interfered With Web File-Sharing Traffic, FCC Says
July 30, 2008
BYLINE: Cecilia Kang
“A majority of the Federal Communications Commission has concluded that cable operator Comcast unlawfully disrupted the transfer of certain digital video files, affirming the government's right to regulate how Internet companies manage Web traffic. … ‘I don't quite see [metering] as an outrage, and in fact is probably the fairest system going -- though of course the psychology of knowing that you're paying for bandwidth may change behavior,’ said Tim Wu, a law professor at Columbia University and chairman of the board of public advocacy group Free Press.”

HSTODAY: Of Torture and Terrorism
July 28, 2008
BYLINE: Phil Leggiere
“ ‘We have to work sort of the dark side, if you will,’ Vice- President Dick Cheney famously said to Tim Russert on Meet the Press, less than a week after the 9-11 attacks. … Mayer cites such now public critics as Jack Goldsmith, the assistant attorney general who objected to the Justice Department memo allowing torture who now teaches law at Harvard, Matthew Waxman who, as deputy assistant secretary of defense fought unsuccessfully to uphold the Geneva Conventions who now has a platform as a law professor at Columbia university…”

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July 20 - 26, 2008

NEWSWEEK: Here’s to the Health of the CEO
July 26, 2008 (Magazine issue of August 4, 2008)
BYLINE: Daniel McGinn
“His trademark black turtleneck hung a little too loose. His blue jeans sagged; his face seemed hollow. When Apple founder Steve Jobs appeared at a conference in June, his purpose was to hype his company's new $199 iPhone. … Another encouraging data point: Apple has smart lawyers who probably wouldn't let its press team suggest the CEO has the flu if he's really facing a serious illness—an ‘affirmative misrepresentation’ that could open them to a class-action lawsuit if it turns out to be false, says Columbia Law professor John Coffee.”

UTICA OBSERVER-DISPATCH: Insurers back Seward campaign
July 26, 2008
BYLINE: Bryon Ackerman and Dana C. Silano
“State Sen. James Seward, R-Milford, sponsored a bill this past legislative session that could, among other things, raise drivers’ auto-insurance rates up to 5 percent per year without requiring the approval of state regulators. … Richard Briffault, a Columbia University law professor who studies campaign finance, said the real issue is connecting with important legislators. ‘Interest groups give to people that have power over their issues,’ Briffault said. ‘Interest groups don’t give necessarily because they agree with the incumbent, but because they want to guarantee access to the incumbent. Big donors are likely to get a hearing.’ … According to Columbia law professor Briffault, the insurance industry’s support of Seward is common in legislative bodies. Leaders of legislative committees receive more donations because of their level of influence on bills. And the parties making such donations are often lobbying legislators on legislative action, he said. ‘This is in many ways the way the process works,’ Briffault said.”

NEW YORK LAW JOURNAL: State Martin Act Does Not Prevent Private Claims, Panel Concludes
July 24, 2008
BYLINE: Alejandra Kim
“The purchasers of condo units are not precluded from bringing fraud and breach of contract actions against the sponsors and members of the condominium merely because their allegations could support a state suit for violation of the Martin Act, an appeals court has concluded. … ‘The Martin Act was passed to liberalize, not abolish, common law causes of action,’ said John C. Coffee Jr., a Columbia Law School professor and Law Journal columnist. ‘I'm not surprised by this decision. A claim for common law fraud would be extraordinarily hard to preempt.’ Mr. Coffee observed that New York is one of only two states that does not provide a private cause of action in its blue sky law.”

NATIONAL POST: CIBC hit by suit over subprime lending
July 24, 2008
BYLINE: Jim Middlemiss
“The subprime litigation frenzy in the United States has spilled over the border with the launching of a multi-billion-dollar class action against Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce and eight current and former executives over failed investments in U. S. residential mortgages. … Subprime litigation against banks is all the rage in the United States. Since last year, about 150 shareholder suits have been launched, said John Coffee, a professor at Columbia Law School in New York. That doesn't include claims by individual investors, which are even greater in number, he said. ‘We're seeing an awful lot of large institutions [suing banks],’ he said, adding they are often ‘very sophisticated institutions’ that were stuck holding collateralized debt obligations when the credit markets collapsed last year.”

TORONTO STAR: Lock-'em-up laws infect entire neighbourhoods
July 24, 2008
BYLINE: Patty Winsa 
“Visitors to the Museum of Modern Art in midtown Manhattan shuffle past sinewy resin chairs sculpted by computer and pixelated flowers moving on a wall. Then they stop to study an arresting red-and-black map of Brooklyn hanging in a dark corner of the Design and the Elastic Mind exhibit. Each point on the map, and the red line rising from it like a ray of light, represents the home of a person who was sent to prison in 2003. … Over time, the chances of being incarcerated increase for any resident who lives there, says Jeffrey Fagan, a Columbia law professor who studied New York prison admissions from 1985 to 1996. He believes incarceration is basically ‘grown from within’ in these areas, and coupled with more punitive police enforcement, ensured a ‘growing number of repeat admissions...even as crime rates fell.’ … It's a law Fagan would like to see change. ‘I'd leave some discretion to sentencing judges to decide who really needed to be taken off the streets and who didn't,’ says Fagan. ‘And I'd like to see the laws scaled back. It's not clear that we're deterring other people. It's not clear that we're expressing some kind of moral outrage by punishing somebody for 15 years anymore than if we punished them for five or eight years.’ ”

SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE: Democrats hope to lift 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'
July 23, 2008
BYLINE: Carolyn Lochhead
“Democrats are preparing next year to lift the ‘Don't Ask, Don't Tell’ ban on open gays in the military, an uneasy culture-war compromise instituted under the last Democratic administration, should Sen. Barack Obama win the presidency. … ‘Public opinion in favor of allowing gays to serve in the military has risen steadily in the Bush years, in part because people feel in times of war anyone who wants to serve ought to be able to serve,’ said Nathaniel Persily, a legal policy expert at Columbia University who follows gay issues. At the same time, he said, ‘opposition to expansion of gay rights is often more intense than is support. That's true of same-sex marriage, where most proponents are tepidly in favor, while those who oppose it strongly oppose.’ ”

KCBS: House Panel Revisits 'Don't Ask, Don’t Tell'
July 23, 2008
“The East Bay congresswoman leading the first Congressional examination of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ since it was implemented 15 years ago believes the military’s policy towards gay men and lesbians could be changed next year. … Just repealing the existing policy is not enough, said Nathan Persily, a professor of law and political science at Columbia Law School. ‘What exactly would replace it,’ he said. ‘Prior to the Clinton administration, there was still a prohibition on gay serving in the military, it just didn't have this more complicated law regulating it.’ ”

FREAKONOMICS (NEW YORK TIMES BLOG): Don’t Throw Away Your Capitalism Just Yet
July 23, 2008
BYLINE: Stephen J. Dubner
“The turbulence of the U.S. economy has lots of people railing against capitalism itself, and with good reason: capitalism is inherently turbulent. … Here’s an example from an interesting book I’m reading, The Gridlock Economy, by Michael Heller, a professor of real-estate law at Columbia: ‘Nowhere has gridlock been more costly than in countries that banished markets. …’”

July 23, 2008
BYLINE: Tom Plate
“Knowing that something is not working, at least not for the general good, is not the same thing as being able to remove the particular evil in the interest of the general good. … This dark side of the moon is a bit complicated to simplify, but is perhaps best explained as playing around with shares in stocks that you actually don't possess. The great academic John Coffee, security-laws professor at Columbia Law School, has famously dubbed such shady transactions as ‘naked’ short-selling.”

AMERICAN PUBLIC MEDIA: Marketplace: Too many owners lead to gridlock
July 22, 2008
HOST: Kai Ryssdal
“Private ownership can create wealth, but too much of it can bog down the economy. Host Kai Ryssdal asks Columbia law professor Michael Heller about the problems with the current property rights system.”

ABC NEWS: Private Ownership Gridlock
July 22, 2008
HOST: Alisha Davis
“The question: Is too much private ownership hurting our country? … We’re so pleased to be joined now by Columbia University Professor Michael Heller to explain all of this.”

LAW BLOG (WALL STREET JOURNAL): Michael Heller and the Perils of Too Much Ownership
July 22, 2008
BYLINE: Ashby Jones
“It seems all too infrequent an occurrence that a law professor writes a thoughtful and accessible book about law for a lay audience. But Michael Heller has done just that with his new book, The Gridlock Economy, which hit bookstore shelves last week. In the book, Heller, who teaches property law, real estate, land use and other topics at Columbia, presents a startlingly simple theory: ‘When too many owners control a single resource, cooperation breaks down, wealth disappears and everybody loses.’ ”

SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE: U.S. firms' attraction abroad is growing
July 22, 2008
BYLINE: Kathleen Pender
“Foreign tourists aren't the only ones who see the United States as a great value right now. … ‘Mergers and acquisitions are the fastest, most efficient ways to enter foreign markets, as opposed to building up foreign greenfield operations (those that will support new businesses) and distribution networks,’ say Karl Sauvant, executive director of the Vale Columbia Center on Sustainable International Investment. The timing of M&A activity is often influenced by exchange rates. With the dollar down and European currencies up, ‘This is a good time to expand in the U.S.,’ Sauvant says.”

MARKETWATCH: BankAtlantic says it sues analyst over research
July 22, 2008
BYLINE: Joyce Koh
“BankAtlantic said Monday that it filed a lawsuit alleging that Richard Bove, a veteran equity analyst, and his firm Ladenburg Thalmann, defamed the company in a recent research note examining which banks are likely to fail. … Commenting on the lawsuit, John Coffee, a professor of law at Columbia University, said there is a higher standard of proof for public institutions like BankAtlantic, which have to show the defendant was recklessly indifferent to the truth. ‘For example, credit-rating agencies have been sued a number of times, but no one has yet recovered a judgment against them,’ he said. ‘Oftentimes, these lawsuits are brought more for leverage, to get the defendant to make an apology which is less costly than having to defend a lawsuit.’ ”

CNN TV: Autism rant draws fire
July 22, 2008
“ALINA CHO: Even for a shock jock it was shocking. … PROF. NATE PERSILY, COLUMBIA UNIV. LAW SCHOOL: The Constitution protects your right to be a jerk sometimes. And this might be one of those cases where jerky speech is protected.”

REUTERS: US SEC short-selling curb seen likely extended
July 21, 2008
BYLINE: Rachelle Younglai
“An emergency rule to curb abusive short selling will likely be extended beyond 19 major financial firms as pressure mounts on the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to broaden the measure. … ‘I don't think you could limit it to those 19 names pushed on the SEC by the Federal Reserve, to protect all dealers in government securities,’ said John Coffee, professor at Columbia Law School. Under pressure from the exchanges and the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association, the SEC on Friday granted a partial exemption for market makers, or those who facilitate trading in certain stocks. Market makers don't have to pre-borrow stock before executing a short sale in the 19 financial companies but must deliver the stocks within the settlement period. ‘I do think they will extend it (past the 30 days), because the exemption... will largely nullify its effect,’ said Coffee.”

LEGAL TIMES: The Mortgage Meltdown: Fannie, Freddie Looked Inward for Help
July 21, 2008
BYLINE: Marisa McQuilken
“Lawyers at Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae got word of the plan on July 11, a Friday, after they and company executives had spent a week watching their stocks tank. … And then there’s the threat of shareholder litigation. John Coffee, a securities law professor at Columbia Law School, says if they are sued by investors, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae could possibly claim that they are the victims of larger economic forces. ‘Still, just as night follows day, such litigation will come in the wake of their sharply reduced stock prices,’ he writes in an e-mail.”


NEW YORK SUN: How Free Is Free Trade?: Bhagwati's 'Termites in the Trading System'
July 21, 2008
BYLINE: Douglas A. Irwin
“Jagdish Bhagwati is one of the world's most distinguished economists. Currently a university professor at Columbia, Mr. Bhagwati is a rare academic who has the great ability to communicate his ideas to a more general audience.”

INDEPENDENT: Philip Bobbitt: The presidents' brain
July 20, 2008
BYLINE: Cole Moreton
“ ‘Shall we break with convention,’ he says, ‘and have champagne?’ … ‘It will only go to waste,’ says Philip Bobbitt, pulling a bottle from the fridge in his apartment, which happens to share one of the great addresses of London. … Teaches at Columbia Law School in New York and the University of Texas.”

ARS TECHNICA: Rogers latest ISP to "help" customers with DNS redirects
July 20, 2008
BYLINE: Eric Bangeman
“In days past, Canada was known primarily for good beer and good hockey. Nowadays, the Great White North is home to controversies over copyright law, P2P throttling, and now, DNS redirects. … Columbia Law School professor and Free Press chair Tim Wu told Ars back in the spring that ‘good faith efforts by ISPs to help their customers’ were fine, but attempts to manipulate the system (e.g., redirecting a surfer looking for to Verizon's site) were troubling.”

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July 13 - 19, 2008

WALL STREET JOURNAL: Are Hedge Funds Root of All Evil Or Convenient Scapegoats?
July 18, 2008
BYLINE: Gregory Zuckerman
“In the latest game of markets blameball, hedge funds are getting slammed. Should they be? … ‘Tightening the rules on naked short selling, which was always technically unlawful but was never enforced, is the best of the available options to reduce financial volatility in a troubled market,’ says John Coffee of Columbia Law School.”

NEW YORK LAW JOURNAL: Immigration Team Tackles I.D. Case
July 18, 2008
BYLINE: Thomas Adcock
“A decision last week by Connecticut's Freedom of Information Commission preserves, at least for the time being, a controversial pact of confidentiality between the city of New Haven and thousands of undocumented immigrants who hold municipal identification cards allowing them access to banks and public services. … Fried Frank litigation partner Debra M. Torres and her team - associates Iván Espinoza-Madrigal, Jennifer Kim and Catherine Meza and summer associates Kelly Jo Karneeb and Michael Kleinman - are now players in what Columbia Law School Professor Nathaniel Persily calls an ‘ongoing national debate over the nexus of immigration, citizenship and national security.’ The legal dimension of the debate, said Mr. Persily, is largely being held in venues such as the Connecticut commission, or in state and municipal courts. … Professor Persily of Columbia Law said confidentiality is a key privacy component of New Haven's program. ‘There are all kinds of lists of people that governments don't make available to public view,’ he said. ‘We don't turn over the U.S. Census, for instance, or lists of people in public hospices.’ ”

ADNKRONOS INTERNATIONAL: US: Obama on image-boosting trip to Europe
July 18, 2008
“US presidential candidate Barack Obama is making his first high-profile trip to Europe and the Middle East in a bid to boost his international credentials, according to leading academics. … ‘Europe is particularly important to the United States,’ said Michael Doyle, professor of international affairs, law and political science at New York's prestigious Columbia University in an interview with AKI. ‘The big question for all is how he will be the new voice and new vision for the United States,’ he said. Doyle said that while Obama will probably receive a warm welcome from the region as a whole, his visit has a symbolic importance to Europe’s minorities. ‘There are very few senior leaders with his ethnic and racial background in Europe,’ said Doyle. … ‘For minorities in Europe it is quite unusual to see a senior political leader with his background - a man with African heritage who may be the next president.’ … ‘An enthusaistic gathering could ironically work against him,’ said Doyle. ‘McCain and the Republicans may then try to paint him as the European candidate,’ he said.”

NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO: Short Selling: Profiting From Others' Misery?
July 18, 2008
BYLINE: Alix Spiegel
“STEVE INSKEEP: We’re about to hear a defense of people whose work often drives the stock market down. … ALIX SPIEGEL: … Enron, he concluded, was nothing more than a house of cards, but, says Columbia Law Professor John Coffee, when he tried to explain his findings to other people, they simply didn’t believe him. Mr. JOHN COFFEE (Law Professor, Columbia University): Originally, he got no support because Enron was then considered to be the most admired company in America and to have the best corporate governance, according to Fortune Magazine. SPIEGEL: But, Coffee says, Chanos persisted until finally a journalist named Bethany McLean in the spring of 2001 published an article titled, ‘Is Enron Overpriced?’ Mr. COFFEE: And the fissures began to widen under Enron, and suddenly Enron began to plummet, and the person who started all this was a short-seller, performing really a function not unlike Woodward and Bernstein in Watergate in pointing out that there was something very suspicious going on in the White House. SPIEGEL: This is what short-sellers do, Coffee explains.  …”

HUFFINGTON POST: Roxanna Brown: How Can This Happen in America?
July 18, 2008
BYLINE: Mort Rosenblum
“If puzzle pieces are missing in the Roxanna Brown case, the picture is clear, a terrifying vignette of relinquished justice and lost humanity in America. … From Paris, I emailed Jeffrey Fagan, a Columbia University law professor and criminologist who travels the world as an expert witness on legal complexities. ‘This is sickening,’ he replied. ‘If they denied her bail, then they lumped her in with terrorists, drug kingpins, and serial killers, in a category of people detained “preventively” -- that is, because someone believes that she is not just a flight risk (bail deals with that) but because she is “dangerous” and likely to commit horrific crimes that put us all at risk.’ And, he stressed, they can do this with impunity.”

NEW YORK LAW JOURNAL: The Wreck of the CSX: Transparency and Derivatives
July 17, 2008
BYLINE: John C. Coffee, Jr.

“Fairer, quicker elections are held in Zimbabwe. The bitter CSX proxy fight, which was scheduled to have been resolved at CSX's June 25 shareholders' meeting, may finally reach a definitive outcome on July 25, when that shareholders' meeting is reconvened. Then again, it may not. CSX may prefer to keep the outcome unresolved until the Second Circuit hears its appeal in August of Judge Lewis Kaplan's compromise decision, which satisfied neither side. So far, excess has been countered with excess, and just about everyone has embarrassed themselves, including, most of all, the SEC, which has waffled and sadly demonstrated that it is woefully behind other major securities regulators. The one exception to this generalization is U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan, who once again has shown himself to be not only exceptionally able, but virtually fearless. In successive years, he has faced down the Southern District U.S. Attorney's Office and now the SEC's staff. … 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.”

HOUSTON CHRONICLE: Texas still plans to execute killer despite U.N. order
July 17, 2008
BYLINE: Allan Turner and Rosanna Ruiz
“Texas will go ahead with the scheduled Aug. 5 execution of Houston rapist-killer Jose Medellin despite Wednesday's United Nations world court order for a stay, a spokesman for Gov. Rick Perry said. … But international law expert Sarah Cleveland, a professor of human and constitutional rights at New York City's Columbia Law School, said if the U.S. fails to act on the world court order, other countries may follow suit. ‘This can only come back to hurt U.S. citizens when they are detained abroad,’ she wrote in an e-mail. ... ‘When a global leader like the U.S. refuses to comply with its clear international legal obligations (and everyone agrees that this is a clear legal obligation), it undermines the willingness of other states to comply with their own obligations and it inspires them not to trust us to obey ours.’ ”

POLITICO: RNC fights use of elephant logo
July 17, 2008
BYLINE: Ben Smith
“Don’t mess with their elephant. … ‘On the t-shirts that are using the logo to criticize [the Republican Party], the cases are almost open and shut’ in favor of using the logo, said Jane Ginsburg, a professor at Columbia University Law School. ‘The t-shirts that are pro-Republican are a little harder,’ she said, citing verdicts that allow sports teams to control the use of their logos on fan merchandise.”

INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY WATCH: WIPO Event Addresses Tensions Of Librarians And Publishers In Digital Archiving
July 17, 2008
POSTED BY: Kaitlin Mara
“Records of human history and creativity - glimpses into the past caught on papyrus or in carefully preserved books - might themselves become things of the past without better ways to create permanent record in an increasingly digitised world, said speakers at a 15 July conference at the World Intellectual Property Organization. … June Besek of Columbia Law School in the US explained one reason why making copies is necessary. In US copyright law, copies are allowed for missing, damaged and hard to replace copyright works. But, she said, in the digital world damage can occur quickly and without warning. In situations like these, the old laws do not allow for proactive preservation.”

REUTERS: Colombia misused Red Cross emblem in hostage rescue
July 16, 2008
BYLINE: Hugh Bronstein
“Colombia misused the symbol of the Red Cross in this month's military rescue of politician Ingrid Betancourt and 14 other rebel-held hostages, it said on Wednesday, admitting a possible violation of the rules of war. … ‘I doubt that a state can abuse the Red Cross symbol, no matter what the circumstances,’ said Jose Alvarez, a professor at Columbia University Law School in New York.”

LOS ANGELES TIMES: SEC moves to curb stock manipulation
July 16, 2008
BYLINE: Tom Petruno
“The Securities and Exchange Commission on Tuesday stepped up its war against what it believes is manipulation of stocks by ‘short sellers’ -- traders who bet on falling share prices. … Shorting is legal -- unless traders are ordering stock sales without having arranged to borrow actual shares. That would be ‘naked’ shorting, which is illegal, says John Coffee, a securities-law professor at Columbia Law School. But the rule against such stock plays hasn't been enforced much, Coffee said. … Columbia's Coffee said the risk the SEC faced in targeting illegal short selling in a specific set of stocks was that the move could appear to be panic driven, which might heighten investors' concerns that the market decline was spiraling out of control.”

710 AM KIRO: Ron and Don Show (Michael Heller interview at 17:28)
July 16, 2008
HOSTS: Don O’Neill and Ron Upshaw
“We held the callers over the top of the hour then spoke with Michael Heller, the author of the new book ‘The Gridlock Economy.’ ”

MSNBC: Helping Americans in uniform cast their ballots
July 16, 2008
BYLINE: Tom Curry
“Among those Americans with the most direct stake in the Nov. 4 presidential election are citizens serving in the armed forces. … However, Puerto Ricans are United States citizens, and Puerto Ricans who move to Florida, or any other state, and establish legal residency can vote in presidential elections. But professor Christina Duffy Burnett of Columbia University Law School points to Romeu v. Cohen, a 2001 decision by the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. The court ruled that Americans who move from the United States to Puerto Rico and establish residency on the island cannot vote in presidential elections.”

MEDIA CONSORTIUM: What's Next for Gitmo?
July 16, 2008
BYLINE: Adele M. Stan
“Now that detainees held by the U.S. at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, have the right of habeas corpus, members of one congressional body are asking, how will that work? … Matthew Waxman, now a Columbia Law School professor, served as the Pentagon's chief legal adviser on detainee issues, where he earned the ire of David Addington, the famed enforcer for Vice President Dick Cheney. Waxman's transgression? Insisting that Pentagon guidelines on detainee treatment incorporate language from the Geneva Conventions prohibiting cruel, humiliating and degrading treatment. At Monday's hearing, he advised lawmakers not to seek an easy fix to a complicated problem. ‘When I say that there's no simple and ready alternative, what I'm really getting at is there's no easy solution out there that's gonna take care of the whole problem on its own,’ Waxman told the commission. ‘[R]ather than looking for a one-size-fits all solution, such as “send them all to their home countries,” “bring them all into the United States”, “prosecute them all,” the solution to Guantanamo probably lies in a combination of all of those things.’ Then he added another option to the list, one he conceded was ‘controversial’: ‘new legislation that might create what's sometimes called administrative detention or preventive detention authority—to hold somebody inside the United States.’ ”

NATIONAL POST: Inviting trouble
July 16, 2008
BYLINE: Ed Morgan
“The announcement that an indictment is pending against Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir has been greeted with enthusiasm in Western capitals. … The dominance of human rights lawyers in a criminal justice context has, in turn, led to what Columbia Law School scholars George Fletcher and Jens David Ohlin have labelled a ‘legality deficit.’ ”

ASSOCIATED PRESS: WTO powers seek compromise trade deal amid widespread skepticism
July 16, 2008
BYLINE: Bradley S. Klapper
“The United States, European Union, China and other trade powers are sending negotiators to Geneva for talks next week with the aim of erasing seven years of failure in the Doha round of free trade talks. … ‘You can't overload the round,’ said Jagdish Bhagwati, economist at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York. … Bhagwati said he was ‘reasonably optimistic’ an accord could be completed once Republican John McCain or Democrat Barack Obama succeeds Bush, even if Congress's vote to override his veto of a new, five-year farm bill showed ‘things have been getting worse rather than better’ for proponents of free trade. ‘A change of leadership will mean a lot,’ Bhagwati said. ‘McCain would definitely put his stamp on it. Obama could stand up to the unions,’ which tend to be skeptical of free trade agreements.”
Media outlets to run this article include International Herald Tribune, Forbes, and BusinessWeek.

FORBES: Fannie And Freddie Lose Their Shorts
July 15, 2008
BYLINE: Maurna Desmond
“Uncle Sam just loves his Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and he'll go to great lengths to protect them, though their shareholders may not realize much in the way of benefits. … ‘The best course, given the unpleasant alternatives, is to force the two to sell equity in a way that will dilute their existing shareholders in order to avoid future moral-hazard problems,’ said John Coffee, a professor of Law at Columbia University who specializes in securities.‘The shareholders should not be bailed out, but the debtholders probably have to be.’ ”

ADVERTISING AGE: Bostock: How Being More Like InBev Could Have Helped Microsoft
July 15, 2008
BYLINE: Abbey Klaassen
“Perhaps Microsoft can learn a thing or two from InBev about executing a clean, quick corporate takeover. … Plus, said Columbia University law professor John Coffee, who specializes in corporate and securities law, InBev's offer was high enough to divide the Busch family. … ‘My point is simple: A divide-and-conquer strategy based on a high initial bid can work if the company is controlled by a divided family or has other major shareholders interested in maximizing their economic returns,’ Mr. Coffee wrote in an e-mail. ‘Whether Yahoo has any internal divisions is not apparent to me, and it has been able to use the takeover bid to gain some modest advantage with Google.’ ”

WORLD SOCIALIST WEB SITE: China steps up investment in Congo as war in east continues
July 15, 2008
BYLINE: John Farmer and Ann Talbot
“The Democratic Republic of the Congo is in the process of receiving $9 billion of Chinese investment in what has been dubbed Congo’s ‘Marshall Aid Plan,’ a reference to American refinancing of Europe at the end of the World War II. … ‘In terms of value to the country, about 60 to 80 percent of the contracts had language that allowed the companies to avoid an obligation to actually ensure that it does what it says it will do,’ Peter Rosenblum, law professor at Columbia University and expert on DRC mining contracts said. ‘The contracts often undervalued the worth of the minerals being taken from the country in order to avoid paying taxes on the wealth that was extracted.’”

NEW YORK REVIEW OF BOOKS: The Battle for a Country's Soul
July 15, 2008 (Issue of August 14, 2008)
BYLINE: Jane Mayer
“Seven years after al-Qaeda's attacks on America, as the Bush administration slips into history, it is clear that what began on September 11, 2001, as a battle for America's security became, and continues to be, a battle for the country's soul. … Many had fought valiantly to right what they saw as a dangerously wrong turn. … Matthew Waxman who, as deputy assistant secretary of defense fought unsuccessfully to uphold the Geneva Conventions, moved to New York, where he, too, began to teach law, in his case at Columbia.”

DMNEWS: France's eBay ruling may affect the US
July 14, 2008
BYLINE: Bryan Yurcan
“On June 30, the Paris-based Tribunal de Commerce ordered eBay to pay $61 million to French luxury goods group LVMH for allegedly allowing the sale of counterfeit goods on its Web site. … In most US case law, Internet platforms generally have ‘some exemption of legal liability,’ says Ronald Mann, a law professor at Columbia University. ‘In this country, there is already precedent that Internet companies are exempt from some liabilities that other venues are not.’ … Mann said in other countries, such as France — where there isn't as much legal precedent pertaining to the Internet — such a ruling could influence future cases.”

PRAWFSBLAWG: Michael Heller's The Gridlock Economy
July 14, 2008
POSTED BY: Ben Barros
“This past weekend, I read Michael Heller's new book The Gridlock Economy: How Too Much Ownership Wrecks Markets, Stops Innovation, and Costs Lives.”

MANAGING INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY: ABA prepares for Congressional focus on copyright
July 14, 2008
BYLINE: Eileen McDermott
“The American Bar Association (ABA) has created a Copyright Law Reform Task Force, in anticipation of the US Congress concentrating more on copyright issues in the coming months. … ‘I think [the creation of the task force] is a reflection of the ABA section realizing that we should give equal attention to copyright issues,’ said June Besek, section council member and executive director of the Kernochan Center for Law, Media and the Arts at Columbia Law School. Besek said that the top two concerns that the task force will immediately address are orphan works and performance rights in sound recordings. … ‘The internet puts enormous pressure on copyright,’ said Besek. ‘Copyright used to be just for people like publishers, but now individual users are entering the landscape and copyright has come into the national psyche as it hasn't in the past.’ ”

ASSOCIATED PRESS: Plea to tax count ends lawsuit kickback charges
July 14, 2008
BYLINE: Thomas Watkins
“The last defendant in a major federal kickback case involving class-action lawsuits against some of the nation's biggest corporations pleaded guilty Monday to a tax-related felony. … John C. Coffee, a professor of securities law at Columbia University Law School, said the kickback scheme dealt a lingering black eye to legal firms representing plaintiffs in class-action securities cases, even though the practice of having a paid lead plaintiff has ended. ‘It was a bad practice because it predictability invited - and even necessitated - perjury,’ Coffee said. … Coffee said Selzer was a peripheral figure in the case who was used by prosecutors to get to the law firm partners. ‘He was there as a means to an end,’ Coffee said.”
Major media outlets to run this story include Forbes, San Francisco Chronicle and the Boston Globe.

GLOBE AND MAIL: Stocks, lies and the grapevine crackdown
July 14, 2008
BYLINE: Sinclair Stewart
“The real threat to the wretched U.S. financial system is apparently not narcoleptic rating agencies, or indiscriminate lenders, or even gluttonous investment bankers. At least that's the conclusion one might draw by parsing this weekend's statement from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, which hinted at a far more pervasive – and elusive – villain: gossip. … ‘It's a noble quest, but it's a little like tilting at windmills,’ said John Coffee, a Columbia University law professor who specializes in securities regulation. ‘Most of us pass on gossip every day.’ … Prof. Coffee argued that the SEC has actually deregulated short selling in recent years, and said the main reason it is acting now is because it under pressure ‘to be seen to be doing something.’ ”

DOW JONES NEWSWIRES: Europe Might Handle GSE Fixes Better
July 14, 2008
BYLINE: Spencer Jakab
“It turns out that a good deal of American smugness about our less forgiving variety of capitalism compared with what can be found across the Atlantic is no longer warranted, and may never have been. … ‘A company can issue warrants as a stock dividend to its shareholders, which could trade in a secondary market, to buy its stock at a dilutive price (but) the warrants would offer stock and thus that offering of the stock would have to be registered,’ said Columbia University securities law professor John Coffee. ‘But the short answer is that you could design a British-like subscription offering that would be dilutive and would coerce shareholders to buy or suffer dilution, and it would not need to be registered until the warrants were exercisable.’ ”


SLATE: Move Over, Marx
July 14, 2008
“The last decade has produced enough books challenging received wisdom to fill a small—and stupendously popular—library called the Compendium of Counterintuition. … The newest addition to the collection is Michael Heller's The Gridlock Economy, which does for property rights what the Long Tail does for product marketing. … Tim Wu is a professor at Columbia Law School and co-author of Who Controls the Internet?”

AMERICAN BANKER: Crisis Casts Bank Boards as Activists
July 14, 2008
BYLINE: Kevin Dobbs
“Few things make executives more nervous than a board of directors determined to show it is responsive to dissatisfied shareholders. … John C. Coffee, a professor at Columbia Law School and a former corporate attorney, said that when business plans fail, often the onus is on the board to remove the executives who failed to do their jobs. He said he expects to see more executives fall this year. In some cases it would be long overdue, he said. Some boards ‘simply sat there and took assurances from management’ while core business lines were deteriorating. In this down cycle, Prof. Coffee said, some boards, while hiring new executives, may also need to impose strict new rules on investing or lending practices. If Bear Stearns and Countrywide Financial Corp. had not been sold this year, he said, the boards of each would likely have considered new internal codes that would have prevented executives from gambling on certain high-risk loans or investments. ‘In some cases, a board may need to become the company's superego. They can't just replace the CEO and then go back to business as usual,’ Prof. Coffee said.”

TIMES: Emails aid sub-prime detectives
July 13, 2008
BYLINE: Dominic Rushe
“REGULATORS on both sides of the Atlantic are combing e-mail records to investigate the role of credit-rating agencies in the sub-prime loan crisis. … ‘The invention of the e-mail is the biggest advancement in law enforcement since the two-way police radio,’ said John Coffee, professor at Columbia Law School, New York. ‘It constantly gives data you would not get anywhere else. People put into writing with e-mails what they would say orally but would not dare write formally.’ He said e-mails made possible prosecutions that otherwise would be impossible. ‘People don’t think about litigation. They don’t think that three years from now a grand jury is going to be investigating.’”

NEW YORK TIMES: Letters: Where’s the Talk About Racial Justice?
July 13, 2008
BYLINE: Kimberle Crenshaw
“Stephen L. Carter’s critique of the bipartisan failure to address racial inequality unfortunately plays to the ranks of the so-called post-racial advocates who hope to eliminate public discourse on race altogether. … The writer, a professor of law at U.C.L.A. and Columbia Law School, is the executive director of the African American Policy Forum.”

WASHINGTON POST: Collateral Damage
July 13, 2008
BYLINE: Andrew J. Bacevich
“THE DARK SIDE - The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned into a War on American Ideals - By Jane Mayer … With the appearance of this very fine book, Hillary Clinton can claim a belated vindication of sorts: A right-wing conspiracy does indeed exist, although she misapprehended its scope and nature. … Matthew Waxman, who in 2001 was serving as special assistant to then-national security adviser Condoleezza Rice, told Mayer that the decision to frame the U.S. response to 9/11 as a war was taken with ‘little or no detailed deliberation about long-term consequences.’ Yet the decision was a momentous one, he continues, setting the United States on ‘a course not only for our international response, but also in our domestic constitutional relations.’ ”


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July 6 - 12, 2008

NEW YORK TIMES: F.C.C. Chief Would Bar Comcast From Imposing Web Restrictions
July 12, 2008
BYLINE: Saul Hansell
“Federal regulators are prepared to take action against sellers of Internet access that want to restrict what their customers can do online. … ‘The normative message is that it is wrong to block the Internet,’ said Tim Wu, a professor at Columbia Law School who is the chairman of Free Press, an advocacy group that filed the complaint about Comcast for which Mr. Martin is proposing a resolution. ‘The deeper message he’s sending here is that users are sovereign. If two people want to send a file between each other, the carriers are not to get in the way.’ Professor Wu said the issues at stake go back to the common-law concept of a common carrier, which defined certain businesses — from blacksmiths to ferries — as so essential to commerce that their owners could not discriminate against any paying customer.”

NEW YORK TIMES: Psychiatric Group Faces Scrutiny Over Drug Industry Ties
July 12, 2008
BYLINE: Benedict Carey and Gardiner Harris
“It seemed an ideal marriage, a scientific partnership that would attack mental illness from all sides. … ‘I think we may be coming to a point where hospitals and medical schools have to get serious about sanctioning,’ said Dr. Paul S. Appelbaum, director of the division of psychiatry, medicine and the law at Columbia. ‘You can suspend doctors’ privileges, or suspend their right to treat patients; both have a huge impact on income and career. But if you’re serious about these disclosure policies, you have to be willing to back them up.’ ”

SWISSINFO: UBS probe ‘targets tax evaders, not secrecy’
July 11, 2008
BYLINE: Matthew Allen
“The United States authorities will relentlessly pursue Swiss bank UBS in a tax evasion investigation but are not seeking an end to banking secrecy, experts agree. … Professor John Coffee, from Columbia Law School in New York, told swissinfo that UBS is an ‘obvious target’ as the world's largest wealth manager. ‘The IRS believes it is being looted of hundreds of millions of dollars by American billionaires. They have no reason to show any mercy to someone who they see as an egregious aider and abettor of criminal tax fraud,’ he said. Both Coffee and Henning are convinced that UBS will have to comply with the recent court order and is standing on weak ground to mount a defence. The IRS could impose civil or criminal sanctions, including fines of up to $1 million a day, if UBS fails to cooperate, said Coffee. In addition, it could destroy UBS's reputation with a successful criminal prosecution or withdraw its licence to operate in the US.”

TIME: How to Stop Innovation
July 10, 2008
BYLINE: Barbara Kiviat
“When no one owns a resource, we tend to overuse it--winding up with polluted skies, fished-out oceans and battles over access to freshwater. … In THE GRIDLOCK ECONOMY (Basic Books; 259 pages), Columbia Law School's Michael Heller documents such ‘wasteful underuse’ and the straitjacket it puts on innovation.”

CURIOUS CAPITALIST (Time blog): The Much-Ignored Problem Of Wasteful Underuse
July 11, 2008
POSTED BY: Barbara Kiviat
“… While I was up at Columbia, I grabbed some video of Heller talking about his book.”

REUTERS: New way of looking at old problems
July 10, 2008
BYLINE: Brian Moss
“The U.S. economy, beset by a host of problems, faces a new one with the potential for grave consequences, according to author Michael Heller: gridlock. … Heller, a professor of real estate law at Columbia Law School, takes this simple observation and applies it to economic problems that appear to be intractable.”

GOVERNING MAGAZINE: The Corruption Puzzle
July Issue
BYLINE: Alan Greenblatt
“These are nervous days in Montgomery. Federal prosecutors, investigating corruption in Alabama's two-year college system, have subpoenaed legislators by the dozen — in some cases delivering papers just outside the statehouse itself. Sue Schmitz, a state representative, was arrested in the bathroom of her home while she was taking an early morning shower. … But Daniel Richman, a Columbia University law professor and former federal prosecutor, believes the argument that states and counties lack the resources to police their own can become self-fulfilling. ‘There's a good case to be made that the federal government has made it too easy for state AGs or police to leave this field,’ he says. ‘Maybe we ought to do more to beef up statewide corruption efforts, which is an underdeveloped field in most states.’ ”

REUTERS: Israel's top multinationals expand overseas
July 9, 2008
BYLINE: Tova Cohen
“Israel's top 15 multinational enterprises as ranked by foreign assets have $7.5 billion in assets abroad and over $21 billion in foreign sales, according to a survey published on Wednesday. … Foreign sales and employment each have increased by 40 percent from 2004-2006, according to the survey conducted by the Manufacturers Association of Israel, Tel Aviv University, the Hebrew University and the Vale-Columbia Center on Sustainable International Investment in New York.”

FORTUNE: Legal Pad: eBay scrambles to reverse loss in LVMH case
July 9, 2008
BYLINE: Roger Parloff
“EBay, the world’s leading e-commerce marketplace, finds out Friday if it’s been granted a reprieve from a lower court injunction that will otherwise force it immediately to change the way it does business around the world. … On the other hand, Jane Ginsburg, a professor of intellectual property law at Columbia Law School, says that the case may pose an issue appealable to the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg over proper application of the European Community policy against holding passive ‘host’ internet services responsible for transgressions of users.”

WORLD RADIO SWITZERLAND: Is UBS the real target of US tax investigation?
July 9, 2008
HOST: Olly Barratt
“Ask the average American what they immediately think of when you mention Swiss banking and you’ll get some similar responses. … Alex Raskolnikov is a professor of law at the prestigious Columbia Law School.”

SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE: Google's political head-fake
July 9, 2008
BYLINE: Richard Bennett
“The devil's best trick is to persuade us that he doesn't exist, but Google only has to convince us that it's not evil. … The initiative, Internet for Everyone, is virtually identical to earlier network neutrality organizations, It's Our Net and Save the Internet. Each of these organizations was fronted by rock-star intellectuals such as Lawrence Lessig, co-founder of the Google-funded Stanford Center for Internet and Society, and his protégé, Tim Wu, the new chairman of the advocacy group Free Press.”

BLOOMBERG: SEC Ratings Probe Reveals Conflicts in Grading Debt
July 8, 2008
BYLINE: Jesse Westbrook
“A U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission investigation into credit-rating companies found the firms improperly managed conflicts of interest and violated internal procedures in granting top rankings to mortgage bonds. … The SEC recommendations are ‘polite bureaucratic prose for saying we're not cracking down on them,’ said John Coffee, a securities law professor at Columbia University in New York.”

KPFA Radio: The Morning Show (“Discussion of Viacom's suit against You Tube” at 10:53)
July 8, 2008
HOST: Aimee Allison
“What do you look at online? … Joining us to talk about this really key decision that was just made and the privacy issues it suggests is Tim Wu, who specializes in telecommunications law, copyright and international trade at Columbia University.”

NEW YORK SUN: Paterson Will Pick a New Chief Judge of New York
July 7, 2008
BYLINE: Joseph Goldstein
“With Chief Judge Judith Kaye set to retire, Governor Paterson will get his chance to start remaking the state's top court and put his mark on issues including the death penalty and gay marriage. … One challenge facing the state's commission, which has begun soliciting applications, will be to convince partners at law firms and law school professors to apply, a lawyer involved in the selection process said. In getting to the Court of Appeals, lower court judges have fared better than lawyers in private practice in recent years, a law professor at Columbia University, Richard Briffault, said."


REUTERS: Anheuser raises red flag over InBev's Cuba unit
July 7, 2008
BYLINE: Jessica Hall
“Anheuser-Busch Cos Inc on Monday raised the political and emotional stakes in its fight against an unwanted $46.3 billion takeover bid by highlighting its foreign suitor's ties to Cuba. … InBev could likely divest or close its Cuban operations to resolve any potential conflicts, Columbia University Law School Professor John Coffee said. ‘When people are on the defensive, they are clutching at straws,’ Coffee said.”

FINANCIAL TIMES: 'London loophole' leaves US at odds with FSA
July 7, 2008
BYLINE: Jeremy Grant
“Bristling with irritation, Stuart Fraser, policy chief at the City of London Corporation, recently rounded on US lawmakers who he felt had unfairly criticised Britain's financial markets watchdog. … John Coffee, professor of law at Columbia University Law School says ‘the occasional frown’ from the FSA may work in dealing with investment banks but it is less likely to be effective with the hedge funds that are some of the energy market's biggest players. ‘They are not interested in being the teacher's pet of the FSA, whereas the banks need to co-exist with their regulator,’ Mr Coffee says. … Mr Coffee says: ‘In fairness to the FSA, they have shown a good deal of regulatory activism recently.’ ”

COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Foreclosed-on voters using old addresses could snag election
July 6, 2008
BYLINE: Robert Vitale
“Punch cards in Florida left the 2000 presidential election in limbo. Ohio's voting-machine shortage became a source of continuing controversy in 2004. … Nathaniel Persily, a law professor at Columbia University, said Ohio is stricter than most states in using outdated registrations as grounds for disqualifying voters. But increasing numbers of outdated registrations increase the possibility of voter challenges in 2008, he said.”

INTERNATIONAL HERALD TRIBUNE: U.S. moves to make securities rules more consistent with practices abroad
July 6, 2008
BYLINE: Stephen Labaton
“Hoping to encourage greater investment from outside the United States and to provide American investors with more opportunities to buy stock in foreign companies, U.S. regulators are preparing a series of changes that would make securities rules and their enforcement more consistent with practices overseas, officials say. … A recent article by John Coffee Jr., director of the Center on Corporate Governance at Columbia Law School, noted that in recent years U.S. securities regulators imposed fines, penalties and restitution that totaled about 300 times what their counterparts in Britain imposed. ‘Compared to the United States,’ Coffee wrote in a recent National Law Journal, ‘Europe is an enforcement-free zone in which regulators depend instead on regulatory frowns and gentle guidance.’ ”

RICHMOND TIMES-DISPATCH: Many factors behind second-highest toll
July 6, 2008
BYLINE: Frank Green
“The victims were male and female, young and old, police officers, the defenseless, the innocent and the not-so-innocent. … A study by Columbia Law School found that the higher a state's death-sentencing rate -- the number of death sentences per 1,000 murders -- the more errors and appeals court reversals occurred. Virginia's death-sentencing rate was one of the lowest in the country. The study concluded that Virginia did a good job keeping political pressure off judges and had a strong record of catching and punishing serious criminals -- factors that tended to be lacking in states with high reversal rates."

July 6, 2008
BYLINE: Tyler Cowen
“How many popular economics books offer a message which is (mostly) true, non-trivial, and understandable? Michael Heller's The Gridlock Economy: How Too Much Ownership Wrecks Markets, Stops Innovation, and Costs Lives satisfies that troika.”

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July 1 - 5, 2008

WALL STREET JOURNAL: Court Order for Viewer Data on YouTube Stirs Privacy Concerns
July 5, 2008
BYLINE: Don Clark, Jessica E. Vascellaro and Jamie Heller
“A federal-court order that requires Google Inc. to provide information about videos watched on YouTube is renewing concerns about online privacy. … ‘We realize that there's this giant vault of private information held by Google and YouTube and other companies, and [the ruling] makes very clear that any federal judge in the country can order access to it,’ says Tim Wu, a professor at Columbia Law School and co-author of the book ‘Who Controls the Internet?’ ‘The stuff people look for when they're online is pretty embarrassing, about the most revealing stuff.’ ”

NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO: All Things Considered: Viacom May Soon Have Your YouTube Password
July 4, 2008
BYLINE: Yuki Noguchi
“ROBERT SIEGEL: And now to a battle over copyright and privacy between YouTube and Viacom. … Professor TIM WU: I think Google and YouTube know more about me than my mother because, frankly, what people search for, I think, is basically at the core of privacy. I mean, I can’t think of very few things more embarrassing than what people search for, or just revealing. I’m not a privacy nut, but this stuff does make me afraid. NOGUCHI: That’s Tim Wu, a professor at Columbia University Law School. … Prof. WU: The problem is, now, is that big lockbox is a very tempting target for any litigation, any sort of random law enforcement, anything that wants to prove that people like porn, they just go at that lockbox. And I think that that’s a problem here. … NOGUCHI: Columbia’s Tim Wu says the judge’s ruling shows that what consumers really need is stricter privacy laws that would safeguard that lockbox.”

RADIO NETHERLANDS: The State We’re In: What’s in a name?
July 4, 2008
HOST: Jonathan Groubert
“Earlier in the show we heard about the problems of registering your child in Nicaragua. Well, let’s go a few hundred miles east to the Caribbean island of Hispaniola, shared both by the Dominican Republic and Haiti in less than perfect harmony. … We asked human rights lawyer Caroline Bettinger-López from Columbia University Law School why the Dominican government is withholding papers from its Haitian-sounding citizens.”

BLOOMBERG: Washington Checkpoints Put Police on Legal ‘Collision Course’
July 3, 2008
BYLINE: Nadine Elsibai
“Washington Police Chief Cathy Lanier set up checkpoints last month to screen motorists entering a city neighborhood after a triple homicide. … The checkpoints were ‘an unusual reaction,’ said Jeffrey Fagan, co-director of Columbia Law School's Center on Crime, Community and Law. ‘We've had triple homicides in New York, and we have not erected checkpoints, and the New York City police use fairly aggressive tactics.’”

DIVERSE: Scholars Selected to Receive 2008 Fletcher Fellowships
July 3, 2008
BYLINE: Ronald Roach
“The annual fellowship program established by financial executive Alphonse Fletcher, Jr. to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark decision, Brown v. Board of Education, has named four scholars as 2008 Alphonse Fletcher, Sr. Fellows, Fletcher announced Tuesday. … The Fletcher Fellows are as follows… Kimberle Crenshaw, a professor of law at the University of California-Los Angeles and Columbia Law Schools… Crenshaw will complete a writing project entitled ‘Shattering the Colorblind Ruse: Recapturing the Legacy of Brown,’ which will analyze how today’s notion of ‘colorblindness’ undermines the ability to address ongoing patterns of racial inequality.”

REUTERS: Unsolicited bidders rarely win with opening bid
July 2, 2008
BYLINE: Jessica Hall
“InBev NV…may hold firm with its $46.3 billion offer for Anheuser-Busch Cos Inc…, but history indicates that few unsolicited suitors successfully clinch a deal without sweetening their bid. … ‘The thinking of most bidders -- with (News Corp Chairman Rupert) Murdoch being the stunning exception -- is that they need to set aside some money to do an increase,’ said Columbia University Law School Professor John Coffee. ‘Murdoch wanted something so badly that he put a price out so high that no one could match it. He may have overpaid even,’ Coffee said. … It would be premature for InBev to raise the offer now unless Anheuser-Busch's board showed some willingness to negotiate, Coffee said. Anheuser-Busch is too large for a white knight suitor to acquire it, which reduces pressure on InBev to hike its offer, he said. ‘There's no reason to bid against yourself,’ Coffee said. … ‘You haven't seen BUD launch any real strategy besides cutting costs. You have to get the stock price up to the offer price or you need to set out a strategy that will inspire confidence or you'll have a tough time defending against a bid,’ Coffee said.”

BLOOMBERG: Global Trading Rule Cuts Costs, Raises Risks
July 2, 2008
BYLINE: Jane Bryant Quinn
“The Securities and Exchange Commission proposed a new rule last week that might have passed you by. … The problem is that, overseas, the culture of investor protection isn't as strong as in the U.S. On paper, the rules may look the same, but enforcement isn't, says John Coffee, a professor at Columbia Law School in New York. … The Financial Services Authority (the U.K.'s equivalent of the SEC) spends only 8 percent of its budget on enforcement, compared with 40 percent in the U.S., Coffee says. He calls Europe ‘an enforcement-free zone,’ compared with the U.S. Unlike Cox, Coffee says it's unlikely that retail investors will be allowed to open foreign brokerage accounts. That's because there's no way they could sue for infractions, such as selling unsuitable investments or engaging in fraud. He especially fears ‘affinity fraud,’ with dishonest brokers from the home country soliciting their own nationals in the U.S.”
This column also ran in the Washington Post.

LE TEMPS: Dialogue de sourds à la Cour
July 2, 2008
BYLINE: François Pilet
“Les avocats d'UBS devront repousser leurs vacances d'été, si ce n'est pas déjà fait. … «Le but des autorités américaines est de retrouver les citoyens US qui ont fraudé le fisc avec l'aide de UBS, explique John Coffee, professeur de droit économique à l'université de Columbia. Elles utilisent l'estimation des profits qu'a réalisés la banque comme moyen de pression pour obtenir sa coopération. Cette stratégie est très bien perçue par le public américain, qui considère le comportement de UBS comme indéfendable.» ”

NEW YORK SUN: Termites in the Trade System
July 2, 2008
BYLINE: Jagdish Bhagwati
“Two different questions must be distinguished in the current political debate on free trade for America: Should we have free trade? If we agree that we should, how should we trade freely? Often, the press announces that the consensus on the desirability of free trade among economists has disappeared. But in each instance, they have been disproven. Today, the most potent argument is that free trade may increase income and wealth, but that it suppresses workers' wages ands even harms the middle class. Nearly all research shows that this claim also is mistaken.”

NEW YORK TIMES: Here’s One Way Mr. Postpartisan Could Share the Wealth
July 1, 2008
BYLINE: Clyde Haberman
“Every other week seems to add a new wrinkle to a favorite parlor game of New York’s political and chattering classes. We’re referring to the endless musing over what Michael R. Bloomberg will do after he says sayonara to City Hall at the end of next year. … Some might reasonably wonder if such a joint candidacy is even lawful. The short answer from constitutional lawyers we talked with was: Why not? ‘There’s nothing about parties in the U.S. Constitution to begin with,’ said Nathan Persily, a law professor at Columbia University. … Professor Persily said that ultimate decisions would probably rest with the Electoral College, ‘no matter what the state law says.’ ”

FINANCIAL TIMES: US tax purge looks beyond Swiss bank
July 1, 2008
BYLINE: Joanna Chung and Haig Simonian
“A federal judge’s order on Tuesday clears the way for the US Internal Revenue Service to demand that UBS provide information about US clients who may be using the Swiss bank’s accounts to evade income taxes. … Daniel Richman, professor of law at Columbia University, says: ‘This is a collision that has been long in coming. It’s been clear that, given the interest in federal enforcement authorities in international money flows . . . the agencies would be challenging long-standing foreign secrecy regimes.’ ”


CONDÉ NAST PORTFOLIO: From C.E.O. to Defendant
July 1, 2008
BYLINE: Megan Barnett
“Under normal circumstances, a 69-year old chief executive retiring from the company he founded would look forward to leisurely days in the sun working on his tan. Not so with Angelo. … The securities class actions and the state suits would be indemnified by Bank of America, while any forthcoming suits from the S.E.C. or the Justice Department would result in Mozilo's own personal liability, according to Columbia University law professor John Coffee. … ‘I'm guessing the government wants to start at the bottom and move its way up the ladder,’ Coffee says. While we've certainly not likely heard the last from Mozilo, he may stay quiet in the coming weeks and months as the ongoing investigations continue. ‘I suspect his lawyers are telling him to keep a low profile and make no statements,’ Coffee says.”

POLITICO: Brewing tussle has Hill abuzz
July 1, 2008
BYLINE: Victoria McGrane
“Anheuser-Busch’s rejection of a $46 billion takeover bid last week means there’s a lobbying war brewing here in Washington. … There’s more danger of policy weapons being unleashed at the state level, said Columbia University law professor John C. Coffee. In the past, several states have taken steps to block foreigners from buying favored businesses, including passing narrowly tailored anti-takeover statutes, he said.”

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