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January

January 25 - 31, 2009

NEW YORK TIMES: To Nudge, Shift or Shove the Supreme Court Left
January 31, 2009
BYLINE: Adam Liptak
“Justice John Paul Stevens, the leader of the Supreme Court’s liberal wing, likes to say that he has not moved to the left since he was appointed to the court by President Gerald R. Ford in 1975. It is the court, Justice Stevens says, that has moved to the right. … ‘It is fair to say that the Supreme Court both now and historically has been to the left of the American public,’ said Nathaniel Persily, a law professor at Columbia and an editor of ‘Public Opinion and Constitutional Controversy’ (Oxford, 2008). ‘On school prayer, for instance, the Supreme Court is far to the left of the American public,’ Professor Persily said, referring to decisions saying that officials may not organize, lead or endorse prayer or devotional Bible reading in the public schools.”

FOX NEWS: Obama, Chief Justice Roberts Prepare to Face Off on Judicial Cases
January 30, 2009
BYLINE: Stephen Clark
“President Obama and Chief Justice John Roberts are a couple of 40-something Harvard Law School grads. And that may be all they have in common. … ‘If the Voting Rights Act were struck down, it would be the most significant piece of federal legislation the court has struck down in the last 70 years,’ said Nathan [sic] Persily, a professor of law and political science at Columbia Law School. ‘The Voting Rights act has been the standard by which other federal rulings have been judged.’ … Judging by Roberts' decisions in the past, it's unlikely he'll agree with Obama's position on any of these cases. Nonetheless, most observers believe the Supreme Court's rulings won't affect their relationship. ‘I think they probably have a mutual respect for each other,’ Persily said.”

NEW YORK TIMES: Obama Seems to Be Open to a Broader Role for States
January 29, 2009
BYLINE: John Schwartz
“The Obama administration seems to be open to a movement known as ‘progressive federalism,’ in which governors and activist state attorneys general have been trying to lead the way on environmental initiatives, consumer protection and other issues, several constitutional experts say. … Still, James E. Tierney, the director of the National State Attorneys General Program at Columbia University Law School, cautioned against reading too much into a single presidential directive. ‘I don’t think we have a hallmark, sweeping view of states’ rights here,’ Mr. Tierney said. He said ‘the Obama administration is going to take these one at a time’ and ‘will be with the states as long as the states fit in with his view of the national interest.’ ”

NEW YORK TIMES: Room for Debate (blog): Bonuses for Bad Performance
January 29, 2009
“It’s official: your suspicions of Wall Street greed have been confirmed. … Is it time to make corporate compensation less reliant on bonuses? Here’s what some people in the know had to say. John C. Coffee Jr., law professor. ... The End of an Era. John C. Coffee Jr. is the Adolf A. Berle Professor of Law and director of the Center on Corporate Governance at Columbia University Law School.”
BYLINE: Benjamin Weiser
“When a longtime federal prosecutor, Cathy Seibel, was sworn in as a federal judge last month, the onlookers included many former colleagues from the office of the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York, in Manhattan, some of whom had gone on to become law professors, defense lawyers and judges themselves. … ‘Every single large-scale investigation will mark the beginning of a meeting of the club,’ said Daniel C. Richman, a former prosecutor who is now a law professor at Columbia University.”

CORPORATE CRIME REPORTER: Tide Runs Out on Wall Street – Who Was Swimming Naked?
January 29, 2009
“The tide has run out on Wall Street and the question becomes – who was swimming naked? … ‘A marked disparity exists between the seeming immunity of mutual funds and the relative vulnerability of other collective investment vehicles,’ Columbia University Law Professor John Coffee testified before the Senate Banking Committee earlier this week. ‘Mutual funds have not experienced Ponzi schemes, while hedge funds, other pooled investments like real estate investment trusts and investment advisers have.’ ”

NATIONAL NEWSPAPER PUBLISHERS ASSOCIATION: Rights lawyers await Obama’s appointment of new Civil Rights chief
January 29, 2009
BYLINE: Hazel Trice Edney
“After a blistering report released early this month confirmed that a senior official in the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Justice Department illegally hired and fired career attorneys based on their political alignment with President Bush, Civil Rights lawyers around the country say the new head of the Civil Rights Division—yet to be named by President Barack Obama—will likely be ‘pivotal’ in the presidential administration. … ‘What the Bush administration did was particularly abandon civil rights enforcement on behalf of African-Americans – especially African-Americans,’ says Ted Shaw, former director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, who is now a law professor at Columbia University. ‘They focused where they could on finding so-called reverse discrimination cases, refused to use the full panoply of civil rights enforcement tools that were available to it and in general had more of a relationship with defendants in civil rights cases.’ ”

TIMES COLONIST: Former Port Alberni track star nabs job with President Obama
January 29, 2009
BYLINE: Quintin Winks
“Trevor Morrison,
the Alberni kid who made a name for himself debating and running track, begins work on Monday as associate counsel to U.S. President Barack Obama. … ‘It's pretty exciting,’ said Morrison, from his office at Columbia University. ‘I worked in the Federal Government's Justice Department in the Clinton administration, between 1999 and 2001. But the White House is a very different animal from the Justice Department, and so this is entirely new to me.’ ”

WALL STREET JOURNAL: Perjury Charges Being Considered
January 28, 2009
BYLINE: Kara Scannell
“Lawmakers expressed frustration at regulators' explanations for failing to catch Bernard L. Madoff's alleged multibillion-dollar fraud but drew little blood because officials declined to discuss details of the case. … Columbia Law Professor John Coffee testified on Tuesday that he believed several false statements fell ‘within the scope of federal law.’ ”
Wall Street Journal’s blog
MarketBeat also covered John Coffee’s testimony:
January 28, 2009
BYLINE: Ronald D. Orol
“As Washington regulators contemplate different approaches to shock the financial system back into action, regulatory onlookers are considering the trillion-plus dollar cost of a program in which the government would operate a so-called ‘bad bank’ that would pick up toxic mortgage securities from financial institutions. … However, Columbia Law School Professor John Coffee said he is worried about whether a bad bank would free up private financial institutions so they can finally be comfortable making loans to individuals. But he said that even if it does not produce the intended effect, the cost to taxpayers may be too high. ‘Are we making people rich who are selling us garbage at inflated prices?’ asked Coffee.”

FINANCIAL WEEK: Madoff's brother could be subject to prosecution, law prof tells Senate
January 28, 2009
BYLINE: Neil Roland
“Peter Madoff, the chief compliance officer of Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities, should be considered for possible criminal prosecution for the firm’s failure to tell regulators that it had an investment-adviser business, a legal expert told a U.S. Senate panel. Columbia University law professor John Coffee, one of the nation’s foremost securities-law scholars, testified Tuesday that Peter Madoff has ‘to bear responsibility’ in part for the firm’s false statements. Peter, younger brother of the firm’s owner, Bernard Madoff, ‘has a lot to answer for in terms of whether he defrauded’ the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Mr. Coffee told the Senate Banking Committee. His actions ‘are within scope of federal criminal law,’ Mr. Coffee said.”

HUFFINGTON POST: Dr. King's True Legacy: A Lesson for Progressives in the Age of Obama
January 27, 2009
BYLINE: Kimberle Crenshaw
“This is a remarkable, breathtaking moment for us all. Who can doubt that we are celebrating something special here -- there's something in the air that we can feel, touch, grasp. There's hope in this moment, a sense of possibility that elevates our joy. Yet for those of us who are activists for peace, freedom, equality and fairness -- this heady moment challenges us to keep our eyes on the prize. … Kimberlé Crenshaw, a professor of law, specializes in civil rights, constitutional law and critical race studies.”

ASSOCIATED PRESS: Obama moves toward regulating greenhouse gases
January 27, 2009
BYLINE: Dina Cappiello
“For a decade, environmentalists and states have urged the federal government to limit greenhouse gases from automobile tailpipes. … ‘There is little question that this is heading in the direction of federal regulation of carbon dioxide,’ said Michael Gerrard, director of the Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia University.”

NEW YORK TIMES: Afghan Prison Poses Problem in Overhaul of Detainee Policy
January 27, 2009
BYLINE: Eric Schmitt
“For months, a national debate has raged over the fate of the 245 detainees at the United States military prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. … ‘The decisions about detention in and around Afghanistan are linked to strategic decisions Obama needs to make on the Afghanistan war,’ said Matthew Waxman, a professor at Columbia Law School who served in the Department of Defense overseeing detainee policies under the Bush administration. ‘Does a proposed “surge” in Afghanistan, for example, include an expanded detention mission? How does detention fit within a counterinsurgency strategy in Afghanistan?’ Mr. Waxman said one approach the Obama administration might consider is whether it can defend a narrower definition of enemy combatant than the broad one asserted by the Bush administration.”

BLT: Blog of Legal Times: Columbia Law Professor Moving to White House Counsel's Office
January 27, 2009
“Names continue to trickle out of lawyers who will work in the White House Counsel’s Office. The latest is Columbia Law School Professor Trevor Morrison, who will be an associate counsel to President Barack Obama. … ‘Professor Morrison’s powerful intellect and deep reservoirs of judgment will help guide the new administration,’ said David Schizer, dean of Columbia Law School, in a news release.”

MCCLATCHY: Geithner's dilemma: how to fix financial system
January 27, 2009
BYLINE: Kevin G. Hall
“The fate of the U.S. banking system and the economic well-being of roughly 300 million Americans, not to mention billions of people around the globe, is now is in the hands of Timothy Geithner, the newly confirmed treasury secretary. … ‘I don't know what the alternative is if we don't see the economy being stimulated,’ said John Coffee, an expert on banking law and a professor at the Columbia University School of Law in New York. ‘Better to have the strong banks — and they are increasingly small in number — . . . consolidating in mergers.’ ”

NEW YORK TIMES: DealBook (blog): Live-Blogging the Senate’s Madoff Hearing
January 27, 2009
“The Senate Banking Committee held a hearing on Tuesday to look into the disgraced financier Bernard L. Madoff’s reputed $50 billion Ponzi scheme, how it escaped detection for years and what regulatory changes are needed to prevent a repeat. … The committee, led by Senator Christopher J. Dodd of Connecticut, heard from six witnesses: Professor John C. Coffee Jr. of Columbia University Law School…”

TIME: Can Mary Schapiro Revitalize the SEC?
January 27, 2009
BYLINE: Robert Chew
“If she wasn't so successful, you could almost feel sorry for Mary Schapiro, the new chief of The Securities and Exchange Commission. … Sounds like a good cop, but SEC followers, like Columbia law professor John Coffee, says she'll need an even tougher bad cop, too, if she wants to succeed in restoring faith in the agency, and the economic system. … ‘She's probably not known as a hard as nails enforcer, so what will be key is who she brings in to head enforcement,’ says Coffee, a specialist in corporate and securities law. ‘It has to be someone strong, this will send a signal, this will be a symbol of unequivocal enforcement. A tough prosecutor will be a big, big help to her, and the agency needs that now.’ ”

CITY JOURNAL: The Power and the Duty
January 27, 2009
BYLINE: Jack Wade Nowlin
“Philip Hamburger’s
magisterial new book, Law and Judicial Duty, will further cement his reputation as one of America’s leading legal historians. The book addresses the familiar subject of ‘judicial review’—the power of courts to declare laws unconstitutional. But Hamburger, a distinguished professor of law at Columbia, views this practice through a new and broader historical lens: the traditional Anglo-American common-law understanding of the concepts of law and the proper role of the judiciary.”

REUTERS: Regulators mull reforms amid Madoff scandal
January 27, 2009
BYLINE: Karey Wutkowski and Rachelle Younglai
“Top U.S. regulators, blamed for failing to uncover accused swindler Bernard Madoff, said they are exploring ways to boost oversight of broker-dealers and investment advisors to avoid an embarrassing repeat. … John Coffee, a securities professor at Columbia Law School, told the panel he saw no reason that FINRA should have abstained from examining and monitoring the advisory side of Madoff's business prior to 2006.”

NEW YORK TIMES: Letters: Human Rights at Home
January 26, 2009
“To the Editor:
Re ‘Gay but Equal?,’ by Mary Frances Berry (Op-Ed, Jan. 16):
We agree that the United States Civil Rights Commission should be transformed into a United States Commission on Civil and Human Rights.
In addition to addressing lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights, a commission could address the pressing issues Americans are facing during this devastating economic downturn, like inequalities in access to housing, education, jobs and health care.
Ajamu Baraka
Risa Kaufman
Catherine Powell
The writers are the co-coordinators of the Campaign for a New Domestic Human Rights Agenda. Mr. Baraka and Ms. Kaufman are executive directors of, respectively, the United States Human Rights Network and the Human Rights Institute at Columbia Law School; Ms. Powell is an associate professor of law at Fordham Law School.”

SLATE: Almost Criminal
January 26, 2009
BYLINE: Jeff Horwitz
“Earlier this month, the Department of Justice and Manhattan's district attorney announced that Lloyd's TSB Bank will pay a $350 million fine for illicitly funneling Iranian and Sudanese money into the U.S. banking system. … Corporate white-collar attorneys like Spivack argue, on the other hand, that it's sometimes the other way around—the threat of prosecution can result in fines and conditions beyond what a court would ever impose on a company if it were convicted. ‘Companies will go to great lengths to avoid the symbolic process of prosecution,’ says John Coffee, a securities-and-white-collar criminal-law professor at Columbia University.”

NATIONAL JOURNAL: Obama Challenged to Move From War on Terror to Routine Vigilance
January 26, 2009
BYLINE: Sydney J. Freedberg Jr., Shane Harris, and Corine Hegland
“On Sept. 11, 2001, George W. Bush took America to war. On Jan. 20, 2009, Barack Obama took the helm of a war-weary nation. … ‘For many detainees, we need to be moving the bar for where, under what conditions, we would transfer somebody home,’ said Matthew Waxman, a Columbia University Law School associate professor who worked on detainee issues at the National Security Council and in the Defense and State departments. ‘We may need to be willing to accept some risk and to push more of the risk-mitigation responsibility onto coalition partners.’ ”

RADIO FREE EUROPE: Closing Guantanamo Was Easy Compared To What Comes Next
January 25, 2009
BYLINE: Heather Maher
“U.S. President Barack Obama's executive order to close the controversial detention center for terror suspects at Guantanamo Bay opens up questions that even White House officials acknowledge are ‘very complex [and] very detailed.’ … Both types of cases would be inadmissible under U.S. judicial standards, says Sarah Cleveland, a noted international human rights expert and professor of law at New York's Columbia University. She says neither circumstance is a legal basis to keep a detainee locked up. ‘With respect to someone for whom the basis of their detention is information extracted by torture, I don't think it is any more legitimate to detain someone on that basis than to criminally prosecute someone on that basis,’ Cleveland says. ‘And I just don't think you can hold someone if the only basis for holding them is evidence extracted by torture.’ ”

NEW YORK TIMES: Contradictions in Book Seem to Benefit Clemens
January 25, 2009
BYLINE: Michael S. Schmidt
“One week before Brian McNamee and Roger Clemens testified before a House committee at a contentious public hearing last February, McNamee sat down for a deposition with committee investigators. … Daniel Richman, a professor of law at Columbia University and, like Rosengart, a former federal prosecutor, echoed Rosengart’s concerns. ‘Every inaccuracy or inconsistency will provide material for the defense for cross-examination,’ Richman said. ‘And they will use it to create doubt in the jury’s mind about Radomski and — by extension — McNamee.’ ”

PBS: NEWSHOUR: Fallout Continues Over Banking Sector Woes, Forced Mergers  
January 23, 2009
HOST: Judy Woodruff
“When the financial crisis broke into the open in September and Lehman Brothers collapsed, the government and many investors on Wall Street were happy to see a shotgun marriage of two financial giants to avoid another bankruptcy. … For more on this story and the questions it's raising, we turn to Mike Santoli, an associate editor and columnist at Barron's magazine; and John Coffee, a professor of law at Columbia Law School. He's the director of the school's center on corporate governance.”

EUROPEAN LAWYER: Europe’s modern slave trade
January 2009
BYLINE: Suzanne Goldberg
“The UK officially abolished the trans-Atlantic slave trade more than 250 years ago, but it turns out that the practice is far from dead.
A case recently filed in the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), M. v the United Kingdom, shows just how vigorous and heinous the slave trade continues to be. But the trade’s character has changed, with £5 billion generated each year largely from traffickers’ control of women and children, making trafficking in persons the second largest criminal activity in the world.

As a third-party intervention submitted by the US-based Columbia Law School’s sexuality and gender law clinic argued, the severe human exploitation that defines both slavery and trafficking is more than enough to establish the link between article 4 and trafficking.

The sexuality and gender law clinic based at Columbia University in New York enables students to work directly on sexuality and gender law issues while they are in law school.

Suzanne Goldberg is a clinical professor and director of the sexuality and gender law clinic at Columbia Law School in New York.”
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January 18 - 24, 2009

PBS: Bill Moyers Journal: Melissa Harris-Lacewell and Patricia Williams
January 23, 2009
HOST: Bill Moyers
“Unprecedented throngs of celebrants descended upon Washington D.C. January 20, 2009, as the city known for partisan rancor seemed to bask, if only briefly, in what legal scholar Patricia J. Williams recently dubbed the ‘civic bliss’ of Barack Obama's historic election. … Patricia J. Williams, a professor of law at Columbia University, was born in Boston in 1951 and holds a BA from Wellesley College and a JD from Harvard Law School.”

POLITICO: Why the Gitmo policies may not change
January 23, 2009
BYLINE: Josh Gerstein
“There may be less than meets the eye to the executive orders President Obama issued yesterday to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay and prohibit the torture of prisoners in American custody. … A Columbia law professor who worked on detention issues at the State Department under President Bush, Matthew Waxman, said Obama is wise to leave open the possibility of different guidance for the CIA’s experienced interrogators. ‘I’ve worked on drafts of the Army Field Manual,’ Waxman said. ‘It’s designed to be in the hands of tens of thousands of people who may not have a lot of training or supervision.’ ”

NEW YORK LAW JOURNAL: State Bar Task Force: 22 New York Actions to Address Climate Change
January 23, 2009
BYLINE: Michael B. Gerrard
“The new Obama administration is reversing eight years of federal refusal to take mandatory action to address climate change. However, the lower levels of government will continue to play central roles. States and municipalities are the principal regulators of building construction, land use, and electric utilities; they are major users of goods and services that generate greenhouse gases (GHGs) - and they have other key roles.
To see how New York can better contribute to these efforts, in 2008 Bernice K. Leber, president of the New York State Bar Association, convened a Task Force on Global Warming. … I was honored to be named chair of the task force. Students in the Columbia Law School Environmental Law Clinic performed key research, and the NYSBA's Environmental Law Section and numerous state agencies provided invaluable assistance. …
Michael B. Gerrard is a professor of professional practice at Columbia Law School and director of its Center for Climate Change Law.”


LEGAL BUSINESS: Hong Kong launches Masters program for mainland judges
January 23, 2009
BYLINE: Liying Zhang
“The School of Law at City University in Hong Kong (CityU) has announced the inauguration of a Master of Laws program for 30 Chinese judges in Hong Kong. … The program is specially designed under a tripartite arrangement by CityU, the National Judges College of the Supreme People’s Court of the PRC and Columbia Law School.”

CBS NEWS: Pres. Obama orders the closing of the U.S. prison at Guantanamo (story at 3:58)
January 22, 2009
REPORTER: David Martin
“Even with America’s blood still boiling over the 9/11 attacks, the first photos of hooded and shackled prisoners being shipped to Guantánamo Bay came as a shock. …the so-called “worst of the worst” were sent to Guantánamo. … That was the justification for Guantánamo. And it’s an exaggeration according to Matthew Waxman, a former Pentagon official in charge of detainee affairs.”

CBS NEWS: CEO Ousted (story at 9:41)
January 22, 2009
REPORTER: Anthony Mason
“ANTHONY MASON: John Thain was ousted as head of Merrill Lynch today… JOHN COFFEE: It’s one thing to share the wealth, but this is taking wealth when there were huge losses, and Bank of America has to explain this to Congress.”

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE: Obama to shut Guantanamo
January 22, 2009
BYLINE: Karin Zeitvogel
“US President Barack Obama’s order to close Guantanamo Bay prison is a huge step in the right direction but leaves open the question of what to do with the 245 detainees still held there, rights groups and legal experts said Thursday. … Signing the orders in the opening days of his administration was a sign that Obama wanted to make a ‘clean break from Bush policy’ and was trying to ‘secure diplomatic goodwill abroad,’ said Matthew Waxman of Columbia Law School in New York. ‘He’ll need that goodwill to close Guantanamo because our allies will need to shoulder some responsibility,’ he said. … The decision to set a year-long timeline for shuttering Guantanamo could be due to the sheer weight of cases that need to be reviewed, said Sarah Cleveland of the Human Rights Institute at Columbia Law School. ‘A review of 240 files, determinations regarding whom to prosecute, and a diplomatic process for the remaining detainees would take some time. This may be the explanation for some of the delay in closing Guantanamo,’ she said. ‘Also, we don’t know at this point whether the administration will conclude that some detainees remain extremely dangerous but for some reason cannot be criminally prosecuted, and, if so, how that situation will be addressed,’ she said.”

WBUR - NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO BOSTON: On Point: Closing Guantanamo
January 22, 2009
HOST: Tom Ashbrook
“It was seven years ago this month that the first prisoners arrived at Guantanamo Bay. … Joining us from New York is Matthew Waxman, professor of law at Columbia University.”

NEW YORK LAW JOURNAL: N.Y. Attorney General Probes Placement of Investments With Madoff
January 22, 2009
BYLINE: Daniel Wise
“New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo has launched a two-pronged probe of a prominent New York financier who invested the money of universities and charities with Bernard H. Madoff, who allegedly operated a massive Ponzi scheme. … John C. Coffee Jr., a securities expert at Columbia Law School and a New York Law Journal columnist, said that while the ruling if upheld on appeal might give plaintiffs ‘some mileage’ it is ‘easily distinguishable’ and ‘not dispositive.’ In South Cherry, the investment was made ‘in part upon Hennessee's due diligence screening,’ Coffee said, while Merkin is alleged to have made the decision to invest his client's money in Madoff funds without telling them he was doing so.”

AM LAW DAILY: Escape from Gitmo
January 22, 2009
BYLINE: Michael D. Goldhaber
“Guantánamo Bay was where George W. Bush went to avoid law, both international and domestic. … Two loosely defined camps took shape in the fall. … ‘We're united by the belief that the legal architecture pre-9/11 is not appropriate for contemporary security challenges,’ says professor Matthew Waxman of Columbia Law School, ‘nor is the Bush administration's expansive and aggressive assertion of unilateral executive authority.’ …
As an intellectual counterweight to the Hoover group, 20 human rights academics have formed a working group to oppose detention without trial. The group's three cochairs--Yale's Koh, Columbia's Sarah Cleveland, and Fordham University School of Law's Catherine Powell--stress that a sharp break from Guantánamo is needed to regain credibility with both America's traditional allies and moderate Islam.
‘Obama needs to stake out a position distinctive from Bush on the treatment of terrorism suspects, or the promise that Obama holds out to the international community will be lost,’ says Cleveland.”

RADIO FRANCE: France Inter: Que faire des détenus de la prison de Guantanamo? (Peter Rosenblum at 4:37; audio available directly from http://www.radiofrance.fr/play_aod.php?BR=10814&BD=22012009).
January 22, 2009
REPORTER: Delphine Simon
“Fermer Guantanamo à Cuba, c'est l'une des promesses de campagne de Barack Obama. Le président américain doit signer aujourd'hui un décret ordonnant sa fermeture. Près de 800 détenus sont passés par ce camp militaire depuis son ouverture en janvier 2002. Les ONG s'inquiètent du sort de ceux qui y sont encore. … Peter Rosenblum, professeur de droit, dirige l'institut des droits de l'homme à l'université Columbia de New York.”

FORWARD: Obama’s Presidency Renews Activists’ Memories
January 21, 2009
BYLINE: Anthony Weiss
“As Barack Obama took the oath of office as the 44th president — and first black president — of the United States on January 20, there was, across the country, a scattered group of Jews whose perspective on the unprecedented event was deeply personal. … Jack Greenberg, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund’s former director-counselor, who helped argue the landmark 1954 school integration case of Brown v. Board of Education before the U.S. Supreme Court: ‘Brown v. Board of Education was extrapolated to mean you couldn’t make racial distinctions of any sort. We had no idea that Brown was going to signify this. We didn’t know it would carry beyond public schools. It quickly transformed America. It was extrapolated not only to all sorts of activities beyond public schools with blacks, but was one of the instigating forces of the women’s rights movement and all sorts of types of discrimination, like age and sexual preference. All those efforts took energy from Brown.’ ”

FOREIGN POLICY: Closing Guantanamo is way harder than you think
January 21, 2009
BYLINE: Matthew Waxman
“Today, U.S. President Barack Obama suspended military commissions at the detention facility at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, and it is widely expected that later this week he will order its closure. That's the right thing to do. So is leaving options open to get it done, as Obama has. He'll need that flexibility. Proclaiming an intention to close Guantánamo is the easy part; actually doing it is another thing. Even harder will be crafting a new detention policy and legal regime for a post-Guantánamo world. And Obama has offered few details of how he will do so. … Matthew Waxman is associate professor at Columbia Law School, adjunct senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, and member of the Hoover Institution Task Force on National Security and Law.”

NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO: All Things Considered: Obama Takes Steps Toward Shutting Guantanamo
January 21, 2009
HOST: Jackie Northam
“Hours after taking office, President Barack Obama requested that all pending military hearings at the U.S. prison camp at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba be suspended. … ‘I think, clearly, the new administration's legal review of military commissions began long before yesterday's inauguration,’ says Matthew Waxman, a professor at Columbia Law School and a former deputy assistant secretary of defense for detainee affairs.”
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January 11 - 17, 2009

USA TODAY: Judge allows Bernard Madoff to remain free
January 12, 2009
BYLINE: Kevin McCoy and Pallavi Gogoi
“A Manhattan judge rejected a bid to jail Bernard Madoff Monday, ruling that prosecutors hadn't showed enough proof the alleged operator of a $50 billion Ponzi scheme posed a risk of fleeing, obstructing justice or endangering the community. … Columbia University Law School Professor John Coffee called the ruling in favor of the defense a ‘correct and courageous’ decision that carefully followed the federal Bail Reform Act. ‘Although it will puzzle the public and anger some, it does affirm the constitutional right to bail and refuse to accept new inroads on that right based on a vague claim of economic harm,’ said Coffee. ‘Given the public outrage, it would have been easy for the judge to defer to the prosecutors and imprison Mr. Madoff, but that would have quietly chipped away at a constitutional right.’ ”

NEW YORK TIMES: Grand Jury Convened in Clemens Case
January 12, 2009
BYLINE: Michael S. Schmidt
“Federal prosecutors have taken the next step in their perjury investigation of Roger Clemens and have convened a grand jury in Washington, according to people briefed on the matter. … ‘Two possible things could be going on here,’ said Daniel C. Richman, a professor at Columbia Law School and former federal prosecutor. ‘They are either just trying to show Congress that indeed they are doing something or the other possibility is that this is the beginning of something interesting.’ ”

REUTERS: Judge allows Madoff to stay out of jail
January 12, 2009
BYLINE: Grant McCool
“Accused swindler Bernard Madoff will be allowed to stay in his Manhattan apartment under house arrest, a U.S. judge ruled on Monday, rejecting a government request to throw him in jail. … Daniel Richman, a Columbia University law professor and former prosecutor, said it was not unusual for accused white-collar criminals to be offered bail packages. ‘Initially, the government was presented with someone who appeared to be contrite,’ he said. ‘Then, the government was presented with someone who wasn't.’ ”

HOUSING WIRE: Columbia Profs Tackle Loan Mods
January 12, 2009
BYLINE: Kelly Curran
“Three Columbia University professors are the latest to weigh in on the much-discussed topic of loan modifications in a report released late last week. … The proposal’s authors — Columbia law professor, Edward Morrison, and business professors Tomasz Piskorski and Christopher Mayer — said federal authorities could endorse cooperation between servicers and homeowners, while preventing unnecessary foreclosures by first, using TARP funds to further compensate servicers who modify mortgages.”

NEW YORK TIMES: Democrats Look for Ways to Undo Late Bush Administration Rules
January 11, 2009
BYLINE: Charlie Savage
“Democrats are hoping to roll back a series of regulations issued late in the Bush administration that weaken environmental protections and other restrictions. … In addition, the act prohibits issuing a new regulation that is ‘substantially the same’ as the nullified one, a vague ban that could pose a legal problem if Democrats merely want to adjust the regulation, said Peter Strauss, a law professor at Columbia University.”

PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER: Case against Fumo hinges on $6.88 items, not millions
January 11, 2009
BYLINE: Emilie Lounsberry and Craig R. McCoy
“The testimony was jaw-dropping. A former president of Verizon Pennsylvania accused former State Sen. Vincent J. Fumo of making outrageous demands: Fumo wanted $2.5 million in legal work. He wanted $10 million deposited in his family bank. He wanted $15 million for his charity. … ‘There's no reason to challenge jurors with legal complexities when a simple “He took money out of the kitty” theory will get you very far,’ said Dan Richman, a former federal prosecutor who teaches at Columbia University Law School.”
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January 1 - 10, 2009

SHANGHAI DAILY: Gridlock: When IPR protection goes too far
January 10, 2009
BYLINE: Wu Jiayin
“TO most economists, lawyers and other experts in developed countries, it seems that there can never be too much emphasis on the protection of intellectual property rights (IPR). … There's a different take on IPR -- specifically on its overprotection -- in the book ‘Gridlock Economy'’ by Michael Heller, who looks at the downside in the United States.”

ASSOCIATED PRESS: High court to look at Voting Rights Act provision
January 9, 2009
BYLINE: Mark Sherman
“The Supreme Court agreed Friday to hear a constitutional challenge to a key component of the Voting Rights Act, the main federal law for ensuring access to the polls by minorities. … ‘The elephant in the room is what to make of the Obama election,’ said Nathaniel Persily, professor of law and political science at Columbia Law School. ‘Does the election of the first African-American president undermine the central justification for parts of the Voting Rights Act?’ ”

BLOOMBERG: SEC hunts for Madoff accomplices
January 9, 2009
BYLINE: Patricia Hurtado
“Almost a month after Bernard Madoff was arrested for securities fraud, investigators are still struggling to learn how the investment adviser directed an alleged $50 billion Ponzi scheme and how widespread it may have been, a person familiar with the probe said. … ‘This is like an explosion that’s ripped a hole which the investigators are pouring through, and it probably just doesn’t relate to Madoff alone,’ said Daniel Richman, a Columbia Law School professor and former federal prosecutor. It may take months for investigators to finish the work, Richman said. ‘These kinds of investigations are incredibly resource-intensive because of the paper trail involved and the level of sophistication needed to go through the paperwork,’ he said.”

CLIMATEWIRE: HIGHER EDUCATION: The climate for teaching climate change heats up in academia
January 8, 2009
BYLINE: Nathanial Gronewold
“A few years back, administrators at Montclair State University in northeast New Jersey noticed that environmental issues, particularly climate change, were increasingly matters for public policy. … As classes resume this month, Columbia University's law school is launching its Center for Climate Change Law. Headed by environmental lawyer Michael Gerrard, the new center hopes to develop an overarching framework for how climate law should be taught, closely watching how regulations are shaped in government and the private sector.
Columbia Law School administrators already anticipate that research and scholarship within their center will have to rely on a broad array of legal disciplines, as varied as energy law, taxes, real estate, intellectual property, contract law and even international trade law.
‘Very complicated legal regulations are going to be established, and the center will provide a framework in which these regulations can be examined and future leaders in climate change law can be trained,’ said Gerrard. ‘The Center for Climate Change Law intends to influence the decisions that are made, now and into the future.’ ”

ASSOCIATED PRESS: Debate rages over whether Madoff should be in jail
January 8, 2009
BYLINE: Tom Hays and Larry Neumeister
“A debate has been raging in New York over the fact that Bernard Madoff remains free on bail, spending his days in his luxury Manhattan penthouse despite being accused of the largest financial fraud in history. … The request to revoke Madoff's bail suggests authorities ‘must think something's being withheld,’ said John Coffee, a professor at Columbia Law School. ‘The attempt to put him in jail is a way to ratchet up the pressure to resume cooperating.’ ”

BLOOMBERG: Bank of America, Citigroup May Face Restrictions After Crisis
January 8, 2008
BYLINE: Scott Lanman
“The biggest U.S. banks may face the threat of lower profits or pressure to break up under greater regulation following the financial crisis. … ‘We are certainly more vulnerable’ because of the size and interconnectedness of today’s banking structure, said Harvey Goldschmid, a former commissioner at the Securities and Exchange Commission. With the failure of investors ‘to discipline and hold companies accountable, we’d better figure out what kind of government oversight or other techniques will work,’ said Goldschmid, who is now a Columbia Law School professor in New York.”

FINANCIAL TIMES: Obama and trade: an alarm sounds
January 8, 2009
BYLINE: Jagdish Bhagwati
“In the Financial Times, I argued that, unlike with Hillary Clinton, there were several reasons why one could be optimistic that Barack Obama would follow a pro-trade policy despite ‘prudential’ protectionist talk on the primaries circuit (‘Obama’s free-trade credentials top Clinton’s’, March 3 2008). But the US president-elect’s eloquent silence on trade issues – and his failure to balance his protectionist appointments with powerful trade proponents – require that we abandon these illusions and sound an alarm. … The writer is a university professor, economics and law, at Columbia and senior fellow in international economics at the Council on Foreign Relations.”

LOS ANGELES TIMES: L.A Land (blog): Columbia profs: Incentivize servicers to modify mortgages
January 7, 2009
BYLINE: E. Scott Reckard
“Three Columbia University professors today tackled one of the thorniest problems of the housing debacle: how to increase modifications to soured home loans that have been bundled into mortgage bonds. … The authors are a Columbia law professor, Edward Morrison, and two business professors, Christopher Mayer and Tomasz Piskorski. In a news release, the academics said privately securitized mortgages ‘are at the core of the housing crisis, accounting for more than 50% of foreclosure starts.’ ”
Coverage also appeared in the
Los Angeles Times on January 11: http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-realblog11-2009jan11,0,5199130.story.

FINANCIAL TIMES: A question of patience
January 7, 2009
BYLINE: Joanna Chung
“Few things are ordinary about Bernard Madoff's alleged $50bn fraud - including the way it is being - investigated. … ‘The secrecy may be explained in part by the need to find where the money is buried and lock it down before a shark-like feeding frenzy erupts among the major creditors,’ said John Coffee, Columbia University law professor.”

SLATE: THE BIG MONEY: Method to the Madoff
January 7, 2009
BYLINE: Jeff Horwitz
“Some victims fell for a classic confidence scam. For Bernard Madoff, a strong golf game, an impeccable résumé, and elite connections went a long way inside the gates of a Florida country club. … There are some legal uses of information gleaned from client orders, provided it's not used to the detriment of a client. For example, by reviewing trading orders that have piled up overnight, a market-maker in Madoff's position can draw general conclusions about investor sentiment at the next day's opening bell by reviewing them in aggregate. Such trading might be viewed as parasitic, but it isn't a crime. ‘It's not the same kind of front-running where you are depriving the customer you're working for,’ says John Coffee, a securities-law professor at Columbia University.”

REUTERS: Pay lenders to stem U.S. foreclosures-report
January 7, 2009
BYLINE: Patrick Rucker
“The U.S. government should pay mortgage finance companies to rewrite troubled loans and steer homeowners away from default, according to recommendations from legal and finance scholars released on Wednesday. ‘(Mortgage) servicers are not properly compensated for loan modification,’ according to a report prepared by professors from Columbia Business School and Columbia Law School. ‘Using TARP funds, the federal government should increase the fee that servicers receive from continuing a mortgage and avoiding foreclosure.’ … In another useful move, Congress could enact legislation that would create a ‘save harbor’ for mortgage companies that want to ease loan terms and give them some protection from investors, according to the report co-written by Professors Christopher Mayer and Tomasz Piskorski of Columbia Business School and Professor Edward Morrison of Columbia Law School.”
January 7, 2009
BYLINE: Andrew Davis
“…The Sexuality and Gender Law Clinic at New York's Columbia Law School has secured asylum for a gay, HIV-positive man from the Ivory Coast who thought he might be persecuted if he was forced to return to his homeland, according to a press release from the clinic. The African man, 32—who arrived in the United States in January 2004—said that he was constantly subjected to verbal, physical and sexual abuse in the Ivory Coast.”
January 7, 2009
BYLINE: Latha Jishnu
“Across classrooms, government departments and public undertakings in Kerala, a quiet but radical shift is taking place. … That’s why the global standard bearers of free software and open source, legendary giants such as Richard Stallman, Eben Moglen and Jimmy Wales make it a point to visit this tiny southern state as frequently as they can to cheer and support a movement that they believe will the harbinger of software freedom across the world. … And coming back from a recent conference in Thiruvananthapuram on ‘Freedom in Computing: Development and Culture’, Eben Moglen, professor of law and legal history at Columbia University, founder-director of the Software Freedom Law Centre, had told me that Kerala had reached a mature and impressive moment in its development of free software.”

FOX BUSINESS NEWS: SIPC May Use Bailout for Madoff Losses
January 6, 2009
HOST: Stuart Varney
“STUART VARNEY: Could your taxpayer money be used to bail out Bernie Madoff's victims? If the SIPC gets access to the $700 billion Wall Street bailout fund, that is exactly what could happen. Bring in the lawyers. John Coffee, he is the Adolf A. Berle Professor of Law at Columbia University. Welcome to the program.”
January 6, 2009
BYLINE: Matt Kirdahy
“What's more important? The personal health of the one visionary leader behind an organization with some 17,000 employees, or the company's plans for survival without him? … ‘You don't have to make a quarterly statement,’ says John Coffee, a Columbia University law professor. CEOs do have a right to keep tight lips on their personal health.”

INVESTMENT NEWS: Capsule: John C. Coffee, Columbia Law School
January 4, 2009
BYLINE: Bruce Kelly
“JOHN C. COFFEE
Adolf A. Berle professor of law

Columbia
Law School
New York
General outlook:
In 2009, look for an increase in individual lawsuits, rather than class actions, filed by institutional investors such as pension funds and insurance companies in litigation stemming from the subprime debacle, Mr. Coffee said.
‘Big institutions don't want to be submerged in a class action,’ he said. ‘The crisis was in the debt markets, so it's the big institutions that are the purchasers.’ ”

BLOOMBERG NEWS: Madoff, Tremont, Wachovia, MGA, Dreier in Court News
January 2, 2008
BYLINE: Elizabeth Amon
“The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, which sued Bernard Madoff last month for allegedly directing a $50 billion fraud, won’t make public a list of his assets filed Dec. 29, the regulator said. … ‘One of the fears here is that much of this money may be in offshore funds,’ Columbia Law School Professor John Coffee told Bloomberg Television, adding that the SEC wants to keep the assets secret to protect them. ‘There is the danger that foreign regulators and foreign creditors may seek to seize that money if the names and sources are made public.’ ”
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