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August

August 22-28, 2009


NATIONAL JOURNAL

Remembering Edward Kennedy
August 28, 2009
Senator Kennedy was a deeply gracious person and I mean that in the context of the rough politics of the Senate. He did not take debates personally...Olati Johnson, Former Judiciary Committee counsel; current associate professor at Columbia Law.

GREEN RIGHT NOW
Cash for Clunkers edges Americans onto greener roads
August 27, 2009
The Cash for Clunkers program, which ended this week, may have been more environmentally friendly than originally thought...The broadcast quoted Michael Gerrard, director of Columbia Law School’s Center for Climate Change Law, as saying the program was wonderful for the economy, but had only a “middling success for greenhouse gas emissions.”

WASHINGTON POST
SEC's About-Face on Bank of America Raises Eyebrows
August 28, 2009
Wall Street's top cop has found itself in an uncomfortable spot: arguing that the bad deed at the heart of one of its biggest cases of the year wasn't that bad..."I suspect that the SEC was motivated by what is an urgent need in that agency to reestablish themselves as a tough cop on the Wall Street beat," said John Coffee, a professor at Columbia University.

THE NEW YORK TIMES
Plain Talk From Judge Weighing Merrill Case
August 26, 2009
Jed S. Rakoff, a United States District Court judge in Manhattan, is not one to rubber-stamp administrative decisions...“The S.E.C. has to have noticed by now that most of the country agrees with the sentiments expressed by Rakoff,” said John C. Coffee, a Columbia Law School professor who has taught a course along with Judge Rakoff for 21 years.
 
BALTIMORE SUN
August 25, 2009
So far, five American states have legalized gay marriage: four New England states - Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts and Vermont - plus (more surprisingly) Iowa, heart of heartland America. Political scientists Patrick Egan and Nathaniel Persily recently completed a study for which they collected survey responses from more than 50,000 Americans polled by CNN, Gallup and Pew about gay marriage between 1986 and 2009.

LOS ANGELES TIMES

BofA, SEC defend Merrill bonus settlement
August 25, 2009
Reporting from New York - Bank of America Corp. and the Securities and Exchange Commission have become unlikely allies in pressing a federal judge to approve their hoped-for legal settlement over controversial bonuses at Merrill Lynch & Co...The SEC seems to have a strong case, but it risks undermining its effort to be seen as a forceful regulator by pressing for a settlement, said John Coffee, a securities law professor at Columbia University.

ASSOCIATED PRESS
Report: Goldman providing tips to certain clients
August 24, 2009
Goldman Sachs Group Inc. provides some of its biggest clients stock tips that come out of regular meetings held by analysts and traders at the investment bank, according to a Wall Street Journal report..."It's more of a gray area than a black-and-white area," said John Coffee, a professor of securities law at Columbia University.

MARKET WATCH/WALL STREET JOURNAL
After the Swiss tax deal, could hedge fund investors be next?
August 24, 2009
Off-shore hedge fund investors could be the next target of the Internal Revenue Service and Capitol Hill lawmakers in the wake of last week's landmark agreement between the U.S. and Swiss government over secret Swiss bank accounts held by U.S. citizens...Alex Raskolnikov, a professor and tax expert at Columbia University Law School, argues that the IRS and Justice Department will identify tax-avoiders that invest with hedge funds as part of its larger effort to have big financial institutions like UBS provide them with information about American with secret bank accounts.

NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO
Clunker Program's Environmental Merits Questioned
August 23, 2009
The Cash for Clunkers program was touted as a way to stimulate the flat-lining auto industry and to improve the environment..."The program has been wonderful for the economy, but it's been only a middling success for greenhouse gas emissions," Michael Gerrard, director of Columbia Law School's new Center for Climate Change Law tells Weekend Edition host Liane Hansen.
 

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August 15-21, 2009


August 21, 2009
BYLINE: David K. Li
Bloggers beware: You're not as anonymous as you might think...Columbia law professor Eben Moglen blamed huge tech companies like Microsoft, Apple and Internet service providers for pushing their products without clueing in consumers that their identities won't be kept secret.
  
 
RAW STORY MEDIA: Rove op-ed reveals he had inside information about probe
August 20, 2009
BYLINE: Larisa Alexandrovna
Karl Rove’s latest attempt to proclaim his innocence and demand apologies from those who have accused him of being behind the prosecution of former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman may backfire if it turns out that Rove was improperly receiving inside information after leaving his position as Deputy White House Chief of Staff...Columbia law professor and legal contributor to Harper’s Magazine, Scott Horton, who has been investigating the matter, confirms part of Duncan’s account.
BYLINE: Emma Thomasson
The Swiss foreign minister is due to meet U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on July 31, just days before a deadline to reach a settlement in a damaging U.S. tax case against UBS...However, the paper also quoted John Coffee, law professor from Columbia University, as saying UBS will probably only have to hand over about 2,500 names, adding the U.S. government was only interested in the biggest tax cheats.
 
 
NPR: U.S. Settles With Swiss Bank UBS On Accounts
August 19, 2009
HOST: Robert Siegel and Melissa Block
Swiss banks are famous for strictly guarding information about their customers’ accounts...Alex Raskolnikov, professor of law at Columbia University says, in the long tradition of Swiss bank secrecy, an agreement like this is unprecedented. "To my knowledge, this is the first time anything like that, certainly on that scale, or, really, anything like that at all has ever happened. So this is very significant."
 
 
CONDE NAST PORTFOLIO: Making Them Sweat
August 19, 2009
BYLINE: Kent Bernhard
The U.S. government has settled a long-running dispute with UBS and the Swiss government that opens Swiss banking secrecy a crack...“The whole point of the 4,450 is to make 20,000 nervous,” said John Coffee, professor at Columbia Law School.
 
 
MILLER-MCCUNE: Breaking the Minority Attorney Drought
August 18, 2009
BYLINE: Gary Stern
Sonia Sotomayor may be the first Hispanic female nominated for the Supreme Court, but she's unusual in another way: She's a minority who made it past the law school gate...But a January 2008 report released by Columbia Law School and the Society of American Law Teachers showed that first-year minority enrollment in law school declined by 8.6 percent from 1992 to 2005.
 
August 18, 2009
BYLINE: Jim Taylor
You certainly deserve all the credit and attention you've received in recent years...As Tim Wu, a professor at Columbia, told the the NY Times recently, "There's something unseemly about what Apple is doing. It's very counter to the ideals of openness, which is a concept Apple pioneered in computing."
 
 
 
PRESS TRUST OF INDIA: Global crisis hits overseas investments
August 18, 2009
BYLINE: Lalit K Jha
On an overseas acquisition spree over the past few years, Indian companies, have suddenly become wary of making investments in foreign companies as a result of the current global economic crisis, a Columbia University report said on Monday...The report "Indian FDI falls in global economic crisis: Indian multinationals tread cautiously" by the Columbia Law School and The Earth Institute at the Columbia University said after growing faster than other emerging markets for some time, Indian investments abroad declined in 2008 and will decline further in 2009 in an uneven pattern.
 
 
 
THE NATIONAL: India pays little heed to Doha deadlock
August 16, 2009
BYLINE:Richard Orange
The US should be getting the message as Delhi gives more time to bilateral trade agreements than to resolving the breakdown of the WTO talks...“The US has been the central spoiler, refusing to cut its trade-distorting subsidies significantly even though they are universally recognised as intolerable,” wrote Jagdish Bhagwati, a professor of economics at Columbia University in New York after the collapse.
http://www.thenational.ae/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=%2f20090816%2fBUSINESS%2f708169940%2f-1%2fNONE
 
 
 
FINANCIAL POST: Enter The Super-Director
August 15, 2009
BYLINE: Barbara
The financial crisis that rocked the banking world and crippled global economies was punctuated by high-profile expulsions from the executive suites, including those of Lehman Brothers chief Richard Fuld last year as that firm collapsed, and of Merrill Lynch executive Stan O'Neal after bad bets on mortgage-backed securities...Ronald Gilson, a professor of law and business at Stanford and Columbia universities, is convinced that the creation of professional directors is what is needed.
 


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August 8-14, 2009


NPR ALL THINGS CONSIDERED: Is The Bagram Air Base The New Guantanamo?
August 13, 2009
HOST: Madeleine Brand
Professor Matthew Waxman (Columbia Law School): I could see the court saying if somebody was captured in Afghanistan, which has the feel of a traditional battlefield, those types of detainees are beyond the scope of judicial review. But if somebody is captured elsewhere and then brought into a facility in Afghanistan, that might present something closer to what we have at Guantanamo.



BRUNEI TIMES: Big powers corrupt big
August 13, 2009
BYLINE: Thalif Deen
When human rights groups accused the United States of violating the Geneva Conventions governing the treatment of prisoners-of-war (PoWs) in Iraq and Afghanistan, the administration of former President George W Bush either displayed arrogance or feigned ignorance of the implications of abusing humanitarian laws..."The US and other countries' efforts to get out from under their humane legal obligations is and was obscene," said [Michael] Ratner, who also teaches international human rights law at the Columbia University Law School.



DOW JONES NEWSWIRES: COMPLIANCE WATCH: Idea Of SEC Self-Funding Raises Questions
August 11, 2009
BYLINE: Suzanne Barlyn
Mary L. Schapiro's dream is reportedly of a Securities and Exchange Commission controlling its own purse strings, but critics say this could lead to insufficient oversight and potential conflicts...The concept isn't new, says John C. Coffee, a Columbia Law School professor. But Congress resists the idea because it wants to keep the agency responsive to its priorities, he says.

 
 
August 11, 2009
HOST: Daphne Wysham
‘Cash for Clunkers’ is touted as a green program - but experts say it actually takes funds away from dollars already dedicated to a loan program for renewable energy. Host Daphne Wysham investigates with Michael Gerrard, the professor of environmental law at Columbia Law School and the director of its Center for Climate Change Law.
 
 
MARKETWATCH: Judge's delay of B. of A. settlement raises questions
August 11, 2009
BYLINE: Ronald D. Orol and Sam Mamudi
Judge Jed Rakoff in New York questioned SEC and Bank of America lawyers about a proposed settlement between the agency and the mega-bank, which agreed to pay the sum to settle charges that it failed to disclose to shareholders that Merrill Lynch & Co. had agreed to pay up to $5.8 billion in bonuses just before its merger with Bank of America...Columbia Law School Professor John Coffee said Rakoff is concerned about the settlement because it deviates from the SEC's "normal" policy of seeking to place the primary penalty on individuals responsible for disclosure violations.

 

MARKETPLACE RADIO: Judge wants closer look at B of A deal
August 11, 2009
BYLINE: Tamara Keith
There was a great set of news alerts that crossed the wires earlier this week...John Coffee: "The SEC wanted to show that they were the tough cop on the block."

 

REUTERS [Column]: SEC should get tougher with BofA
August 11, 2009
BYLINE: Rolfe Winkler
In the Bank of America Merrill Lynch bonus imbroglio, the SEC has proposed a settlement in which, once again, the defendants neither admit nor deny wrongdoing...'It's very easy to plea-bargain with shareholders' money,' says Columbia law professor John Coffee.

 

CNN MONEY: Judge: BofA 'effectively lied' to shareholders
August 11, 2009
BYLINE: David Goldman
Bank of America and federal regulators will make their case for a $33 million settlement before a U.S. District Court judge Monday afternoon, just days after the judge refused to give his stamp of approval on the deal..."The SEC must have wanted a quick settlement," said John Coffee, professor of law at Columbia University. "Judge Rakoff has done exactly the right thing."

 

BLOOMBERG: Ex-Madoff Finance Chief Could Point U.S. to Other Accomplices
August 10, 2009
BYLINE: David Voreacos
Frank DiPascali, the finance chief at Bernard Madoff’s investment advisory business who agreed to plead guilty, could help prosecutors build criminal cases against other players in his boss’s $65 billion Ponzi scheme...DiPascali was “closest to the actual operations of the Ponzi scheme,” said Columbia University ProfessorJohn Coffee, a securities law expert.

 

THE KOREA TIMES: Beware of FDI Protectionism
August 10, 2009
BYLINE: Karl P. Sauvant
During their most recent meetings, the G8 took a strong stance against protectionist measures in the area of foreign direct investment (FDI), echoing calls for a moratorium in such measures issued earlier by the G20. Both were right to do so...Karl P. Sauvant is executive director of the Vale Columbia Center on Sustainable International Investment at Columbia University

 

THE ECONOMIST: Regulating executive pay in America Knotting the purse-strings
August 8, 2009
BYLINE: UNKNOWN
Congress embarks on its latest attempt to rein in corporate excess...There is a danger that they will simply outsource the hard thinking about pay to advisory firms such as RiskMetrics, says Jeffrey Gordon of Columbia Law School.

 

THE TIMES
[South Africa]: Goldman bounce has critics rattled
August 8, 2009
BYLINE: Joanna Anderson
Lloyd Blankfein has a story about the cataclysm that nearly brought down all of Wall Street...“They are very happy to go back to a business model that year in and year out has made them untold wealth,” said John Coffee, a securities law professor at Columbia University.

 

C-NET: Cash for Clunkers likely extended despite controversy
August 6, 2009
BYLINE: Martin LaMonica
The Senate is expected to vote on a bill on Thursday to extend the Cash for Clunkers car trade-in program, but experts contend there are more cost-effective ways to get environmental benefits..."It's not that it's a bad idea; just don't sell it as a cost-effective energy savings method,” Michael Gerrard, director of the Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia University said in an academic journal.



FORBES.COM: Merit By The Numbers
August 5, 2009
BYLINE: Lani Guinier and Susan Sturm
In its recent commencement issue, an Ivy League college newspaper displayed a snapshot of the Class of 2009 "by the numbers." Although the students had by then been at the college for four years, all of the relevant "numbers" were based on a profile of the class at the time of enrollment…Susan Sturm is Jaffin Professor of Law and Social Responsibility at Columbia Law School. 
 

 

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August 1-7, 2009

 

 

CNNMONEY: Meet “the world’s most annoying Web site”
August 7, 2009
BYLINE: Maha Atal
“There’s a thin line between clever and stupid,” went the faux maxim from Spinal Tap, yet it seems to apply pretty well to Web startups...“Obviously, it’s absurd behavior,” says Eben Moglen, a technology expert and professor at Columbia Law School.


FINANCIAL TIMES: Greenberg pays $15m in SEC settlement
August 6, 2009
BYLINE:Brooke Masters and Francesco Guerrera
Hank Greenberg, the former chairman of American International Group, on Thursday agreed to pay $15m to settle the US Securities and Exchange Commission’s investigation into his role in accounting fraud at the company from 2000 to 2005...“There is a lot of pressure from on high at the SEC for quick settlements to prove that the SEC is the cop on the beat. You want settlements, but you also want transparency,” said John Coffee, Columbia University law professor.


FINANCIAL TIMES: Judge rejects BofA settlement with SEC
August 6, 2009
BYLINE: Greg Farrell
Individual Bank of America employees could face increased scrutiny over the acquisition of Merrill Lynch following a judge’s refusal to accept a $33m settlement between the bank and the Securities and Exchange Commission...John Coffee, an expert in securities law at Columbia University, said the SEC’s settlement with BofA was unusual because it alleged that the bank made misrepresentations to shareholders but did not identify the individuals at BofA responsible for those alleged misrepresentations.


SLATE.COM: The Great iPhone LockdownShould the FCC force Apple to sell Google's apps?
August 5, 2009
BYLINE: Farhad Manjoo
Google CEO Eric Schmidt Apple has some explaining to do...Tim Wu encouraged iPhone owners to unlock their phones from AT&T.


PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER: 61/2-year sentence requested for ex-Council aide
August 5, 2009
BYLINE: Jeff Shields
The U.S. Attorney's Office wants a 61/2-year sentence for former City Council aide Christopher Wright, a punishment that would exceed former State Sen. Vincent Fumo's sentence by nearly two years..."It's hard to imagine that a judge in any corruption case in Philadelphia would not be mindful of the sentence in the Fumo case, but I also suspect he'd be mindful of the reaction to the Fumo case," said Daniel Richman, a professor at Columbia Law School.


NEW YORK TIMES: Despite Bailouts, Business as Usual at Goldman
August 5, 2009
BYLINE: Jenny Anderson
Lloyd C. Blankfein has a story about the cataclysm that nearly brought down all of Wall Street...“They are very happy to go back to a business model that year-in and year-out has made them untold wealth,” said John C. Coffee, a professor of securities law at Columbia University.


SECURITIES INDUSTRY NEWS: Administration Told to Modify its Oversight Plan for Credit Rating Agencies
August 5, 2009
BYLINE: Carol Curtis
Without significant modifications, the Obama Administration’s plan to beef up oversight of credit rating agencies could be ineffective or even harmful, says Columbia Law School Professor John C. Coffee.


REUTERS: Senate opens Sotomayor confirmation debate
August 4, 2009
BYLINE: Thomas Ferraro
The U.S. Senate opened a spirited debate on U.S. Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor -- with history indicating it is impossible to know how she may ultimately rule on the highest U.S. court..."I assume Nixon regretted the pick," said Jamal Greene, a professor at Columbia Law School who clerked in 2006 and 2007 for Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens.


LOS ANGELES TIMES: Bank of America settles SEC lawsuit over Merrill Lynch bonuses
August 4, 2009
BYLINE: E. Scott Reckard
The bank agrees to pay $33 million to settle allegations that it agreed to allow Merrill to pay up to $5.8 billion in bonuses while leading shareholders to believe that it had not..."This was partly a response to what is white-hot public anger," said John Coffee, a Columbia University law professor.


WASHINGTON POST: Google CEO Quits Apple Board
August 4, 2009
BYLINE: Cecilia Kang
Apple said Monday that Google chief executive Eric Schmidt was resigning from its board to avoid potential conflicts as the two companies become greater rivals..."Apple believes it has a better product with a more closed system," said Tim Wu, a Columbia Law School professor and chairman of public interest group Free Press.


NEW YORK TIMES: Rivalry Between Apple and Palm Intensifies
August 3, 2009
BYLINE: Jenna Wortham
The Palm Pre has a large touch screen, slide-out keyboard and fast Web browsing. Palm also likes to point out that another selling point is the smartphone’s ability to link to iTunes, Apple’s popular software for managing music and other media on a computer...Tim Wu, a professor at Columbia who specializes in telecommunications law, copyright and international trade, said, “There’s something very unseemly about what Apple is doing.”


WALL STREET JOURNAL: COMPLIANCE WATCH: Finra Ads Irk Some Brokers, Advocates
August 3, 2009
BYLINE: Suzanne Barlyn
A Finra marketing campaign is providing common ground for some advisers and investor advocates: They don't like it...John Coffee, a Columbia Law School professor, says Finra's campaign is likely an effort to improve its position as the government overhauls financial regulation, expanding and redistributing oversight and other powers.

 
TIMES UNION: Wall Street rides in style
August 3, 2009
BYLINE: Editorial
Have we got a deal for you -- first a $175 billion bailout, and now $33 billion in bonuses. The "we," of course, is the collection of beleaguered chumps known as the American taxpayers...One expert, John Coffee of Columbia Law School, sees a repeating cycle. Another bank, he says, will put itself on the brink of insolvency and then argue that it's too big to fail.


WASHINGTON INDEPENDENT: Banking PACs’ Erratic Campaign Giving Signals Uncertainty
August 3, 2009
BYLINE: Elana Schor
Even as Congress moves to put more curbs on Wall Street excesses, the nation’s top banks are writing fewer of the campaign checks that once won them lawmakers’ attention – a sign of uncertainty in the financial industry over how large a role it should play in politics in the near future...Stern also predicted resurgence in bank PAC activity by the end of this year, while Columbia Law School professor Richard Briffault suggested that donations could remain low for the rest of the 2010 election season thanks to Democrats’ broad advantage in national polling.


MARKET WATCH: BofA pays $33 million SEC penalty for Merrill deal's bonuses
August 3, 2009
BYLINE: Ronald Orol
Bank of America Corp. agreed to pay a $33 million penalty to the Securities and Exchange Commission, which said the mega-bank misled shareholders about billions in bonuses paid to Merrill Lynch executives before completing its controversial $50 billion acquisition of the huge brokerage firm...Columbia Law School Professor John Coffee said he was surprised that the settlement did not require Bank of America's board to hire an outside investigator to examine who made the false statements.


BUSINESSWEEK: Apple's Board: New Blood Needed
August 3, 2009
BYLINE: Arik Hesseldahl
Apple boasts one of the technology industry's most luminary-rich boards, and the company has been riding a wave of hit products and financial success...And Google could have benefited from having Apple in its corner as Microsoft (MSFT) and Yahoo! (YHOO) team up to challenge its dominance in Web search, says John Coffee, a Columbia University law professor who specializes in corporate governance and securities law.


PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER: Ex-judges' plea deal is rejected
August 1, 2009
BYLINE: Robert Moran
In a major reversal, a federal judge rejected plea agreements yesterday for two disgraced former Luzerne County Court judges accused of taking kickbacks for sending juveniles to for-profit detention centers...The order opened the door for the defendants to withdraw their guilty pleas and go to trial, renegotiate their plea deals, or throw themselves on the mercy of the court, said Daniel Richman, a law professor at Columbia University and a former federal prosecutor.


NEW YORK TIMES: Dealers Race To Get Their Clunkers Crushed
July 31, 2009
BYLINE: Katharine Seelye
The White House and Congress may be giving the “cash for clunkers” program a reprieve, but one can’t help wondering how many dealers and customers will have the confidence to go forward at this point...Michael Gerrard, director of Columbia Law School’s Center for Climate Change Law, said in a statement that the cash-for-clunker program is not a cost-effective way to reduce fuel use or greenhouse gas emissions.

 

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