September 21 - 30, 2008

DAN RATHER REPORTS: All Mine (story begins at 3:46)
HOST: Dan Rather
“DAN RATHER: And now the story of how an American company does business where no one is watching. … We spoke to one American who is trying to help Congo push back against the foreign companies, Columbia University Law Professor Peter Rosenblum.”

TPMCAFE: Gridlocked Markets, Gridlocked PoliticsH
September 30, 2008
BYLINE: Nathan Newman
“Divided government and bipartisan gridlock has prevented serious revamping of the financial markets for decades-- and, as fingerpointing over the failed bailout bill now shows, has eliminated any sense of accountability, whether for which party leadership acted or failed to act to rein in financial excesses and who needed to act to solve the crisis. … I'm reading Michael Heller's Gridlock Economy, which is primarily about how a multiplicity of property rights from ownership of land to patents undermines economic growth and innovation, but he has a similar point on politics (written even before the recent meltdown).”

STATEN ISLAND ADVANCE: Experts recommend ways to weather financial stormH
September 30, 2008
BYLINE: Amisha Padnani
“The government's rejection of a $700 bailout plan yesterday caused stocks to plunge and Wall Street executives to shake their heads in despair. … But something has to be done or the economy will continue to worsen and that could affect just about everyone anyway, said John Coffee, a business law professor at Columbia University. ‘It's a question of a choice between two bad choices and I think the worst possible choice is to do nothing, which is what the majority of the House has voted to do,’ he said. Coffee said congress will likely consider a revised version of the plan later this week, which means it's time to let your local congressman know how you feel. Keep your money where it is: Just because banks are going under doesn't mean you should withdraw all your cash and hide it under the mattress, Coffee said.”

YALE DAILY NEWS: At Harvard Law, new competition for YaleH
September 30, 2008
BYLINE: Isaac Arnsdorf
“While Yale Law School recently lost several big-name professors, its rival in Cambridge has been expanding aggressively — often directly at Yale’s expense. … For years, internal politics froze Harvard’s ability to make lateral offers, said Columbia Law professor Jeffrey Gordon ’71, who attended Harvard Law School. No longer. Harvard’s loud reentry onto the market has created a competitive environment that had not existed before, Gordon said. … That could help explain the recent departures of six senior Yale professors — three to Harvard, two to Columbia and one to New York University.”
September 29, 2008
BYLINE: Nina Shen Rastogi
“Vice-presidential candidates Sarah Palin and Joe Biden will face off in their first and only debate this Thursday in St. Louis, Mo. Quite a few Explainer readers have asked what would happen if one of the presidential candidates were to die or become otherwise incapacitated before Election Day: Would Palin or Biden assume the nomination? … Explainer thanks…Nathaniel Persily of Columbia Law School….”


ALBANY TIMES-UNION: Capitol Confidential (blog): Leading by example
September 29, 2008
BYLINE: Irene Jay Liu
“In the wake of the investigation into Assemblyman Anthony Seminario’s consulting business, the Brennan Center is calling on all legislators to voluntarily disclose their non-redacted, full ethics disclosure form. … But while an opinion can be a strong defense, its strength depends on the integrity of the process that generated it, Columbia Law school professor and former assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel Richman said. ‘Certainly to the degree that there was collusion between the legislator and the commission in the creation of the opinion, I wouldn’t give it much faith in a good-faith defense,’ Richman said.”

CIUT 89.5 FM: Take 5H (Jeffrey Fagan at 52:58)
September 26, 2008
“This week, the Conservatives announced tough new reforms for Canada's youth justice act. But is a more punitive approach to youth crime the right one to take? Will Campbell speaks to U of T Criminology Professor Anthony Doob and Columbia University law professor Jeffrey Fagan to find out.”

NEW YORK SUN: Presidents Roosevelt Honored With Posthumous Columbia Degrees
September 26, 2008
Special to the Sun
“Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Theodore Roosevelt received posthumous degrees from Columbia Law School yesterday evening at a ceremony held at 30 Rockefeller Plaza. The two Roosevelts each attended the law school, though neither graduated. Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th American president, began Columbia Law School in 1880 after graduating from Harvard, but left in 1882 to fill a seat in the state Assembly. The 32nd president, Theodore's fifth cousin, entered Columbia in 1905 and left in 1907 to practice law after passing the New York State bar exam. As president, FDR appointed the dean of the Columbia Law School, Harlan Fiske Stone, to the Supreme Court.”

BOSTON HERALD: At first debate, talk won’t be cheap
September 26, 2008
BYLINE: Dave Wedge
“John McCain needs to hold his temper and Barack Obama has to live up to his reputation as a great orator when they finally clash face-to-face in a debate that could cause a pivotal shift in the tight race, experts say. … ‘You could have 80 million people watching this debate. It would be unprecedented,’ said Nathaniel Persily, a law and political science professor at Columbia Law School. ‘The election is still very close, and people on both sides are energized and the debates could make a big difference.’ ”

ATLANTIC: What Did Bush Tell Gonzales?
September 26, 2008
BYLINE: Murray Waas
“In March 2004, White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales made a now-famous late-night visit to the hospital room of Attorney General John Ashcroft, seeking to get Ashcroft to sign a certification stating that the Bush administration’s warrantless wiretapping program was legal. … Dan Richman, a former federal prosecutor in Manhattan and professor at Columbia Law School, told me that Gonzales appears to be attempting to walk the thin line of taking himself out of harm’s way while at the same time protecting the president, a strategy that very well could work: ‘I think he is serving his own purposes and the White House’s purposes,’ Richman says. According to Richman, by invoking Bush’s name and authority, Gonzales and his legal team are making it more difficult for investigators to seek a criminal investigation of his actions, or for other investigators to later bring criminal charges against him: ‘The clearer it is that Gonzales did what he did at the behest of the president of the United States, the safer that he [Gonzales] is legally,’ says Richman. At the same time, by saying that he is advising the president, Gonzales also makes it easier for those at the White House to claim executive privilege if they do indeed become embroiled in the probe.”

NEW YORK SUN: Derivatives Pose New Wrinkle in Lehman Case
September 25, 2008
BYLINE: Julie Satow
“Bankruptcy lawyers and law professors are preparing for a journey into uncharted territory as the credit default swaps market gets dragged into the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy proceeding. … ‘Some hedge funds have entered into so many different contracts with Lehman that no one knows what the net positions are,’ a professor of law at Columbia Law School, Edward Morrison, said. … There is also confusion about the effects of the potential $700 billion federal bailout. If the federal government buys much of the toxic mortgage debt that the banks hold, it is not clear what will happen to the credit default swaps written to insure these mortgage bonds, Mr. Morrison said.”

LOS ANGELES TIMES: New regulations sure to accompany bailout
September 25, 2008
BYLINE: Michael A. Hiltzik
“Once the smoke clears from the conflagration in the financial markets, Congress and the next administration will face a new challenge: how to keep the next fire from burning down the house. … ‘We've got to have the most dramatic rethinking of our regulatory structure since the New Deal,’ says former Securities and Exchange Commissioner Harvey J. Goldschmid, now a law professor at Columbia University. … ‘We need to set up a framework that will give government the ability to know in systemic terms when something is going wrong,’ Goldschmid says.”

NEW YORK TIMES: Drug Maker Pledges to Report Payments to Doctors
September 24, 2008
BYLINE: Benedict Carey
“In the midst of a national debate over the influence of industry money on medical research and practice, the drug maker Eli Lilly says it will begin publicly reporting all of its payments to outside doctors for speaking and consulting services. … ‘This is a good step, and one that should be emulated by other companies, even in the absence of legislation requiring it,’ said Dr. Paul Appelbaum, a professor of psychiatry, medicine, and law at Columbia University and the New York State Psychiatric Institute, in an email. Dr. Appelbaum said that having industry itself maintain public records was the simplest way to achieve comprehensive disclosure. ‘Any physician who believes that disclosure is likely to be embarrassing should not be accepting the money in the first place,’ he said.”

MIAMI HERALD: Bin Laden's driver still a test case of sorts
September 23, 2008
BYLINE: Carol Rosenberg
“Some days, America's lone convicted terrorist here amuses himself by calling out ‘All rise,’ like a court bailiff, as guards pass his cell. … ‘One reason why you don't see a lot of long-term planning for this issue is that the commissions process itself has really been lurching from one problem to the next,’ says Columbia University law professor Matthew Waxman, the first of three deputy assistant secretaries of defense for detainee affairs to serve the Bush administration. He was not surprised to learn about the dilemma of what to do about Hamdan. Earlier planning had focused on multiple convicts, he said, not just one. … Perhaps planning has ‘hit snags,’ suggested Waxman, noting the trials envisioned in the months after 9/11 to offer ‘swift justice’ were met by ‘a series of legal challenges and diplomatic objections that not only slowed it to a near standstill but made it difficult to plan ahead.’ Moreover, he said, the trials have at times been at odds with other administration goals since Sept. 11, 2001 -- gathering intelligence on al Qaeda and building coalitions with nations like Britain that from the start derided the Guantánamo trials.”

CHICAGO TRIBUNE: The $700 billion bailout battle begins
September 23, 2008
BYLINE: Greg Burns and Michael Oneal
“That $700 billion is likely to come with strings attached after all. … ‘We don't generally believe in absolute monarchs or czars,’ said Columbia University School of Law professor John Coffee. Efforts by the Democratic majority to create an independent oversight board, as well as provisions to check executive pay at firms accepting a bailout, should help defuse some of that criticism. But Coffee and others said that taxpayers also have to see some sort of return on their investment to make the plan both palatable politically and affordable fiscally.
The Democrats' proposed 44-page bill would force companies that take government aid to give up ‘warrants’ for stakes in their equity. If the government bought mortgage securities from a firm and was able to sell them at a profit later, the warrant would expire worthless. But if the securities created a loss for the government, the warrant would be converted into a block of equity equal in value to the amount of loss. ‘It would adjust the “pound of flesh” extracted to just how much of a loss was created,’ said Coffee.”

LOS ANGELES TIMES: Phone conversation may speak to Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens' state of mind
September 23, 2008
BYLINE: Richard B. Schmitt
“The telephone conversation between the two businessmen concerned an old friend, Sen. Ted Stevens of Alaska, and the subject was money -- or at least Stevens' feelings about it. … Daniel Richman, a professor at Columbia University's law school, said that although it may seem unfair to force a defendant to explain such actions, federal evidence rules are more liberal when the defense is based on lack of criminal intent, as is the case here. The rules permit courts to ‘expand the frame of evidence . . . to get a better sense of what was going through his head,’ Richman said.”

BLOOMBERG: `Too Big' Metric Safeguards Bank of America, JPMorgan
September 22, 2008
BYLINE: Bradley Keoun
“The financial calamity that sent Merrill Lynch & Co. and Bear Stearns Cos. into the arms of the two largest U.S. banks made the buyers suddenly safer: They are now more likely to be protected by the U.S. government. … It may be good for the stability of the financial system, and for taxpayers, that the Fed, which oversees banks, will now regulate the biggest securities firms, said John Coffee, a professor at Columbia Law School in New York. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, which governs investment banks, is ‘not as aggressive’ as the Fed, especially when it comes to risky investments bought with borrowed money, or leverage, he said. ‘I don't think we can tolerate management saying we'll roll the dice on higher leverage,’ Coffee said.”

VOICE OF SAN DIEGO: Aguirre's Calculated Risk
September 22, 2008
BYLINE: Will Carless
“On a bright morning last week, City Attorney Mike Aguirre bounced up and down in the courtroom of Superior Court Judge Michael Anello, crying ‘objection’ so often that the judge eventually chided him, assuring the city attorney that he had his courtroom under control. … Richard Briffault, a professor of law at Columbia Law School in New York and an expert in municipal law, said a familiarity with bringing cases to trial is a useful, but not crucial, skill for a city attorney to have. Having experience as a trial lawyer helps a city attorney effectively steward his staff through their own trials and gives a city attorney good perspective when it comes to deciding which lawsuits against the city should be settled and which should be brought to trial, Briffault said. ‘It helps the general to have, at one time, been a soldier,’ Briffault said. But Briffault said it's the experience of bringing cases to trial that is most important, not necessarily the individual attorney's skill as an advocate or success in the courtroom. And he agreed with Goldsmith that time spent on the bench is just as useful to a city attorney as experience bringing cases to trial.”
September 22, 2008
BYLINE: Mark Horowitz
“As the world's preeminent globalization buff, Jagdish Bhagwati doesn't toe standard party lines. The Columbia University economist, 74, who has advised everyone from the Indian government to the World Trade Organization, is a rare nonpartisan in a field dominated by ideologues. … Below, Bhagwati explains why everything you thought you knew about free trade is wrong.”

NATIONAL LAW JOURNAL: Apply rod, spoil child
Issue of September 22, 2008
BYLINE: Vivian Berger
“In 1977, the U.S. Supreme Court held, 5-4, in Ingraham v. Wright, 430 U.S. 651, that neither the Eighth nor the 14th Amendment constrains the use of corporal punishment in public schools. According to Justice Lewis F. Powell Jr.'s majority opinion, the cruel and unusual punishment clause was designed to shield prisoners, not kids: ‘The schoolchild has little need for [its] protection . . . .[T]he public school remains an open institution.’ … Dubious originally, Ingraham cries out for reexamination in light of a joint American Civil Liberties Union-Human Rights Watch report released in August, which contradicts most of the assumptions underlying the Powell opinion. … Vivian Berger is a professor emerita at Columbia Law School.”

FINANCIAL TIMES: Critics claim Cox was too slow and aimed too low
September 22, 2008
BYLINE: Critics claim Cox was too slow and aimed too low
“When Christopher Cox took charge of the US Securities and Exchange Commission, Wall Street had five large stand-alone investment banks. … ‘The SEC is a great agency for disclosure and anti-fraud purposes but I'm not sure it is the right institution to be a prudential regulator,’ says John Coffee, a law professor at Columbia University.”

ASSOCIATED PRESS: Senate attack ads explode for election
September 21, 2008
BYLINE: Kristen Wyatt
“One TV ad shows a hippie making fun of the Democratic candidate in Colorado's Senate race for supporting a Department of Peace. On the other side, Internet commercials lambast his Republican opponent as a cartoon cowboy riding an oil well. … ‘It's really a tissue-paper distinction, where they aren't expressly supporting or opposing a candidate but making sure voters think about certain issues,’ said Richard Briffault, a law professor at the Columbia School of Law who studies campaign finance laws.”

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September 14 - 20, 2008

NEW YORK LAW JOURNAL: Securities Policeman To the World? The Cost Of Global Class Actions
September 18, 2008
BYLINE: John C. Coffee, Jr.
“Should U.S. courts certify global class actions covering foreign plaintiffs who purchased securities of foreign issuers on foreign exchanges? Such plaintiffs are today known as ‘f-cubed plaintiffs’ because they lack contacts with the United States in three separate respects: (1) they are foreign citizens; (2) they purchased the stock of a foreign issuer; and (3) they purchased it on a foreign exchange. If the court has already determined to certify a class of U.S. persons and others who purchased the security on a U.S. exchange, it may seem a simple, only incremental step to also include foreign plaintiffs who purchased the same stock abroad. But it has a huge and hidden cost: foreign issuers considering entering or remaining in the U.S. capital markets must face the potential world-wide litigation exposure that a U.S. securities market presence uniquely threatens. … 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.”

COLUMBIA SPECTATOR: Law Profs Speak for Constitution Day
September 18, 2008
BYLINE: David Xia
“The lecture hall at Jerome Green Hall was filled to capacity Wednesday evening as Columbia School of Law students and a number of undergraduates critically examined the U.S. Constitution. … Included were law school professors Katherine Franke, Jamal Greene, Trevor Morrison, and Theodore Shaw.Assistant Dean of the law school Ellen Chapnick quoted Byrd at the event. ‘ “Each and every one of us has a responsibility to understand the Constitution and to view the decisions of our government through the prism of the Constitution,” ’ she read. ‘ “Citizens must keep the government in line, because the government won’t do it by itself.” ’ … ‘I sometimes ask my students, “What was the most important constitutional decision in 1803?” They don’t say Marbury vs. Madison. They all say the Louisiana Purchase,’ said the Herbert Wechsler Professor of federal jurisprudence Philip Bobbitt.”

ASSOCIATED PRESS: Will AIG plan cost taxpayers money, or just sleep?
September 17, 2008
BYLINE: Jeannine Aversa
“American taxpayers awoke Wednesday to learn they may end up owning one of the world's largest insurers. … ‘AIG is in this mess because they got leveraged up to their eye balls,’ said Professor John Coffee of Columbia University Law School.”

ASSOCIATED PRESS: Analysis: Some see Spitzer role in AIG's crisis
September 17, 2008
BYLINE: Michael Gormley
“Lost by many in the week's financial markets' nightmare were ghosts of Wall Street past. … Columbia Law Professor John Coffee blames AIG's troubles on AIG owns practices: ‘Ratings agencies don't downgrade anyone because Eliot Spitzer doesn't like them.’ ”

BLOOMBERG: Coffee Sees `Unimaginable' Repercussions Had AIG Failed
September 17, 2008
HOST: Deirdre Bolton
“John Coffee, professor of securities law at Columbia Law School,
talks with Bloomberg's Deirdre Bolton from New York about the U.S. government's $85 billion loan to American International Group Inc. and the ouster of Chief Executive Officer Robert Willumstad.”

NATIONAL LAW JOURNAL: Long-time Yale Law School professor jumps to Columbia
September 17, 2008
BYLINE: Peter Page
“Brett Dignam, a long-time clinical professor at Yale Law School known for her advocacy on behalf of prisoners, is joining the faculty at Columbia Law School. … ‘Professor Dignam brings remarkable talent to bear in her advocacy and teaching,’ said Dean David M. Schizer of Columbia. ‘She will add extraordinary strength to our thriving clinical programs.’ ”

REUTERS: SEC tightens rules on short sales
September 17, 2008
BYLINE: Rachelle Younglai and Svea Herbst-Bayliss
“U.S. securities regulators tightened rules on traders who profit from stock declines as shares plummeted Wednesday on fears of a global credit crunch. … Columbia Law School professor John Coffee said the rules were a far bolder step than the SEC was willing to take last week. ‘Lehman and AIG seem to have given (the SEC) religion on this topic,’ he said.”

REUTERS: Fate of Guantanamo to be left to next US president
September 16, 2008
BYLINE: Sue Pleming
“The Bush administration has intensified efforts to send more security detainees from Guantanamo Bay to their own countries but hopes are very dim of closing the prison by year-end, senior U.S. officials say. … Matthew Waxman, a former senior Defense and State Department official who dealt with detainee policy, said options included finding a way to prosecute them either via the military commissions or U.S. courts, or just to continue to detain them at Guantanamo. Another was to send them to a third country, to their own country or to transfer them to the United States. ‘But there is certainly a “not in my backyard” problem here. No community is likely to volunteer to be the detention center for these people,’ said Waxman.”

FINANCIAL TIMES: AIG forms keystone of financial system
September 16, 2008
BYLINE: Andrea Felsted and Kate Burgess
“American International Group was until recently the world's biggest insurer by market capitalisation, but it remains a key part of the US financial system. … John Coffee, law professor at Columbia University, says that if AIG were to fail, a number of other institutions that thought they were insured against default would find themselves ‘naked and exposed’.”

NEW YORK SUN: SEC Races Against Short Sellers
September 16, 2008
BYLINE: Julie Satow
“In an attempt to stanch the bloodletting on Wall Street, the Securities and Exchange Commission will rush to institute new rules as soon as this week to curb abusive short selling of stocks. … ‘Bank stocks are a uniquely exposed industry to naked shorting,’ a professor of law at Columbia University, John Coffee, said. ‘In most other markets, if a company's stock price declines it doesn't have any operational impact. If I am a bank, however, and my stock price declines, the credit ratings agencies put me under review and counterparties who engage in trading with me back away.’ ”

FORTUNE: Legal Pad: Lehman: stress test for bankruptcy laws
September 15, 2008
BYLINE: Roger Parloff
“With this morning’s Chapter 11 filing by Lehman Brothers’ parent company (LEH), we’re about to find out whether the bankruptcy laws cushion the impact of a behemoth investment bank’s insolvency on our financial system — as intended — or if those laws, instead, inadvertently exacerbate the problem. … ‘I think it’s a really scary time right now,’ says Ed Morrison, a professor and bankruptcy expert at Columbia Law School. In essence, Morrison explains, bankruptcy laws have evolved since 1978 in ways that actually leave investment banks like Lehman Brothers less protected than most debtors would be from hordes of creditors ‘descending on [it] and tearing it apart,’ as Morrison puts it. … ‘The lesson of all this,’ says Morrison, ‘is that once a major institution has hit major distress, there’s nothing bankruptcy law can do. It’s too late. What’s needed is either federal intervention, or federal oversight earlier in the process’ to prevent the faulty decisions that led to insolvency.”

SLATE: The Big Money: Chapter and Verse
September 15, 2008
BYLINE: Karim Bardeesy
“The sunset of Lehman Brothers Holding Inc.'s distinguished Wall Street tenure began with a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing at 1:45 a.m. EST today. … Lehman's Chapter 11 may be more about buying time, suggests Columbia law professor Edward Morrison. … According to a paper by Morrison and Kenneth Ayotte, two-thirds of a sample of corporate Chapter 11s from 2001 ended in a liquidation of the business.”

GANNETT NEWS: Q&A: Financial experts advise calm
September 15, 2008
BYLINE: Robert Benincasa and Raju Chebium
“As turmoil in the nation's financial sector intensified and stocks plunged today, economic observers blamed greed and poorly managed risk. Michael Heller, who teaches law at Columbia University, says investment banks that trade pools of risky mortgages have eliminated the traditional relationship between borrowers and lenders.
‘Today, there's no one for a borrower to talk to at the other end of the phone,’ Heller writes in his new book, ‘Gridlock Economy: How Too Much Ownership Wrecks Markets, Stops Innovation and Costs Lives.’ … Heller and Hanweck spoke to Gannett News Service today about the financial sector crisis.”

DAILY DEAL: Short sellers are driving again
September 15, 2008
BYLINE: Ron Orol
“The collapse of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. has opened up a round of questions about whether the Securities and Exchange Commission is doing enough to chill rampant naked short selling of investment bank shares. … ‘Naked short sellers don't invent crises, but they do exacerbate price declines and put investment banks over the brink,’ said Columbia Law School professor John Coffee. … Coffee argues the SEC should make permanent a temporary emergency order it put in effect in July that required short sellers to ‘preborrow’ or arrange to borrow shares at 19 large financial companies. ‘The emergency restriction has now expired, but the most obvious reform would be for the SEC to generalize this rule for all stocks,’ Coffee said. … Both Coffee and Grafton said the SEC may decide to reduce the period in which brokers and their customers must deliver shares being borrowed. Now, if a broker-dealer or its short selling customer fails to deliver a position in a security for 13 days, the broker must close out the position.
The agency could decide to require substantial short sellers to disclose their identities and short positions when they control 1% of the class. Coffee argues that the agency has the authority to require this kind of transparency. Activist funds that work as a group to short a stock should be required to disclose their aggregate position in the stock in the same way that activists working together that cumulatively own 5% or more of the equity of a company are required to disclose their investments in a Schedule 13D SEC filing.
‘At the least, such a rule would alert the market to who has an incentive to mislead,’ Coffee said.”

FINANCIAL TIMES: SEC poised to act on short-selling
September 15, 2008
BYLINE: Joanna Chung
“US securities regulators are expected to adopt new measures against abusive short-selling as early as this week in response to financial market turmoil, according to people briefed on the situation. … It was unclear what impact, if any, naked short-selling had on the acceleration of the fall in Lehman’s share price in the past week. But the latest market developments ‘should move the SEC to do more about naked short-sellers,’ said John Coffee, professor of law at Columbia University. … Mr Coffee said the ‘tremendous’ short-selling pressure on Lehman, ‘may have made the difference,’ adding: ‘There could be other companies that get into trouble.’ ”

September 15, 2008
BYLINE: Ron Orol
“A Federal Appeals Court on Monday, Sept. 15, ruled that a block of votes cast by a dissident activist shareholder at embattled railroad company CSX Corp. will not be disqualified, a small victory for insurgent hedge fund Children's Investment Fund Management (UK) LLP. … The agency may eventually decide that activist funds with swap contracts at investment banks would need to count the physical shares bank derivatives dealers own as a hedge on the derivatives contract toward their 13D disclosure. ‘Those shares owned by the bank derivatives dealer could be attributed to the activist who has a swap contract with the bank,’ said Columbia Law School professor John Coffee.”

September 15, 2008
BYLINE: John C. Coffee Jr.
“ ‘Naked’ short selling is discouraged, but not prohibited. Indeed, the level of current discouragement is probably accurately described as only a mild chill. Still, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is considering proposed rules to deepen the chill that ‘nudist’ short sellers must endure to engage in an activity that seems to be increasingly popular. This column will review the options. … John C. Coffee Jr. is the Adolf A. Berle Professor at Columbia Law School and director of its Center on Corporate Governance.”

SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE: Gender equality came via the keyboard
September 14, 2008
BYLINE: Susan Alexander
“Inch by inch, we move toward gender equality in a host of ways. … One bright young fellow who broke the mold was my classmate Lance Liebman. … Lance went on to excel in law school, becoming the head of the Harvard Law Review (a prestigious position later held by Sen. Barack Obama), and is now a distinguished professor (and former dean) at Columbia Law School. He believes that his typing ability may have given him an edge. A small minority of our classmates, including Lance, typed their exams, making their writing more legible and probably leading to better grades.”

TAGESSPIEGEL: Why the Critics of Globalization Are Mistaken
September 14, 2008
BYLINE: Jagdish Bhagwati
“Globalization is the target of many critics today. The young see it as a malign force in regard to social agendas. The workers see it as a pernicious force in regard to their economic well-being. But both sets of fears, and resulting opposition to (economic) globalization, especially via trade and multinationals, are mistaken. … Jagdish Bhagwati is Professor of Economics at Columbia University in New York.”

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September 7 - 13, 2008

NEW YORK TIMES: In Brooklyn, Low Grade for a School of Successes
September 11, 2008
BYLINE: Elissa Gootman
“A respected Brooklyn Heights elementary school so popular in its gentrifying neighborhood that it has doubled enrollment since 2002 is set to get an F in the second year of the Bloomberg administration’s heavily contested system of grading individual schools, renewing questions about the methodology behind the grades. … The city’s grading system, which helps determine staff bonuses as well as whether to close schools or remove principals, was devised by a team led by James S. Liebman, a Columbia University law professor who serves as the department’s chief accountability officer.”
James S. Liebman comments in a follow-up story available here:

REUTERS: SEC under gun to curb short abuses as Lehman tanks
September 11, 2008
BYLINE: Emily Chasan and Rachelle Younglai
“A steep sell-off in shares of struggling investment bank Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc has revived questions about whether the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is doing enough to fight short-selling abuses. … ‘There's strong political pressure to curb short selling and there is little support for naked short selling,’ said John Coffee, a professor at Columbia University Law School. ‘They should follow up fairly promptly. Before the end of the summer... is appropriate for them to come up with proposed rules.’”

NEW YORK TIMES: Questions of Security
September 11, 2008
BYLINE: Philip Bobbitt and John C. Danforth
“JOHN McCAIN and Barack Obama are two of the most remarkable Americans to enter public life. Both men are extraordinarily capable and their campaigns — which began against great odds — reflect that fact. And yet with respect to national security, neither campaign has articulated the fundamental points of view that will allow people to make an informed choice in November. … Here, then, on the anniversary of 9/11, a day when both candidates have chosen to put politics aside and appear together at ground zero, are a dozen questions we would like to see them address. … Philip Bobbitt, the author of ‘Terror and Consent: The Wars for the 21st Century,’ is a law professor at Columbia and a fellow at the University of Texas.”

AMERICAN LAWYER: Enron Fee Fight? Not Necessarily
September 11, 2008
BYLINE: Brian Baxter
“Coughlin Stoia Geller Rudman & Robbins has come too far for a fee fight. … ‘Courts have enough trouble deciding the actual fee, they don't usually want to get into how the fee gets allocated among all the contending firms,’ says Columbia Law School professor John Coffee, a frequent class action critic hired by Enron plaintiffs counsel to support their fee request. ‘So almost always the court leaves that to the discretion of the lead class counsel, and sometimes there are disputes and lawsuits.’ ”
Professor John Coffee was also quoted in a previous story by Brian Baxter on this topic:

September 10, 2008 BYLINE: Tom Namako
“We already know where to find the high drama of the federal government's case against state Sen. Vincent Fumo — spied-upon ex-girlfriends testifying! … ‘Disbursements that just seem questionable isn't all there is to it,’ says Daniel C. Richman, professor at Columbia Law School in New York City. ‘It's critical for the government to show that the defendant well knew that what he was doing was wrong.’ … Fumo's attorneys may try to tell the jury, as his former attorney once argued in a memo, that the senator is a victim of selective prosecution by an out-of-control Bush administration. That line of argument would be barely, if at all, admissible in court, says Richman. ‘It'll all pretty much depend,’ he says, ‘on how far the judge lets it go.’ ”

FINANCIAL TIMES: Brooklyn outpost takes on white-collar criminals
September 9, 2008
BYLINE: Joanna Chung
“A short walk from Wall Street, the US justice department’s southern district of New York office in Manhattan has long been a dominant force in the world of white-collar criminal prosecution. … ‘It is really important for recruitment and spirit to make sure you have white- collar crime cases. It is important to do white-collar cases and be seen doing white-collar cases,’ says Daniel Richman, former prosecutor in the southern district, now a professor of law at Columbia University. … Mr Richman says: ‘Every once in a while you get a rubbing of elbows. But there is plenty of crime to go around. The bigger story is how few cases there are compared to how many there could be.’ ”

CNN: The Situation Room
September 9, 2008
HOST: Wolf Blitzer and Mary Snow
“BLITZER: Their companies have lost billions of dollars in just the last year, forcing the federal government to step in and take over. … SNOW: One corporate government expert says the payouts will be a test of how the government handles its new role as guardian of these mortgage companies. JACK COFFEE, COLUMBIA UNIV. LAW SCHOOL: They're not going to give a golden parachute. The question is whether they're going to tolerate it. I think the government does at this point want to send a signal. SNOW: Columbia professor Jack Coffee says the government needs to send a signal to other businesses there's a limit to federal generosity.”

ON THE MEDIA: Obama vs. McCain on media policy 2008
September 9, 2008
“Someone—lots of people, actually—have been editing Sarah Palin's Wikipedia entry, but chances are, none of them is John McCain. Over the past weeks and months, some members of the mainstream media and many bloggers have grown obsessed with a single question: Does John McCain truly not know how to operate a computer? While entertaining (see ‘McCain makes historic first trip to Internet’), it's also a pretty silly discussion. The 1930 version of this game might have been, ‘Roosevelt can't drive a combine harvester—can we trust his agricultural policies?’ What, exactly, does knowing how to Twitter illuminate?
Behind this superficial buzzing lies something deeper, however—an interesting split between McCain and Barack Obama on what might broadly be called their media policies.
Tim Wu is a professor at Columbia Law School and co-author of Who Controls the Internet?”
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September 1 - 6, 2008

September 5, 2008
BYLINE: David Mildenberg and Karen Freifeld
“Bank of America Corp., the nation's second-largest bank, said it wants to settle state and federal regulatory probes into how it marketed auction-rate securities on terms similar to agreements with other major banks. … ‘I think the underwriters have all recognized they have to settle these cases,’ John Coffee, a securities law professor at Columbia Law School in New York, said in a telephone interview yesterday. ‘I don't see many people holding out.’ … Coffee said it was unclear whether high-level executives or brokers were targeted by Cuomo's subpoenas. ‘It is possible regulators think some individuals should be responsible,’ he said, noting the two Credit Suisse Group AG brokers who were criminally charged Sept. 3. ‘That may ratchet up the pressure.’ … Coffee said he didn't think major underwriters would ‘live or die’ on whether one of their brokers gets indicted. ‘If it's the chief financial officer,’ he said, ‘there's certainly pressure there.’ ”
September 5, 2008
BYLINE: Ellison Clary
“ ‘If you sit down and talk with people, you can accomplish much more than if you start off yelling and screaming,’ says Julius Chambers, a civil rights lawyer whose cases have changed the way Americans lead their lives. … Jack Greenberg, professor at law at Columbia University, has known Chambers since the 1960s at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. He remains impressed with Chambers’ courage.”

TIME: Outsourcing the Textbook
September 4, 2008
BYLINE: Claire Suddath
“Textbooks in the U.S. are so expensive that even used versions can give students a sharp pain in the wallet. … But just as the Internet has enabled illegal access to music and movies, so too has it opened the international book market… It's legal for students to buy them for personal use, but illegal for anyone to resell them outside of their intended country. ‘It's a copyright infringement not for the person buying but for the person selling,’ says Jane Ginsburg, a professor of literary and artistic law at Columbia Law School. Individual sellers that use eBay or AbeBooks are breaking the law, says Ginsburg, but whether the sites are also liable for the auctions is unclear.”
September 2, 2008
BYLINE: Daniel Fisher
“In his new book, Gridlock Economy, Columbia University Law School Professor Michael Heller paints a scary picture in which property rights--copyrights, patents or individual parcels of land--strangle the economy and stifle innovation. In Heller's world, new cures for Alzheimer's remain in the lab, films flounder unreleased and even hip-hop albums go unrecorded because it's simply too hard to buy off all the owners who are in a blocking position with their pesky property rights.”
September 1, 2008
PRESENTER: Michael Duffy
“Usually private ownership creates wealth, but too much ownership, whether it be intellectual property or small land holdings, can lead to a sort of economic gridlock. Michael Heller explains the problem and offers a way to unclog the system.”
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