July 25 - 31, 2009


McCLATCHY: America's prison for terrorists often held the wrong men
July 31, 2009
BYLINE: Tom Lasseter
The militants crept up behind Mohammed Akhtiar as he squatted at the spigot to wash his hands before evening prayers at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp..."Maybe three-quarters of the detainees by 2005 were no longer regularly interrogated," said Waxman, who's now a law professor at Columbia University.

NEW YORK TIMES: William Jones Obituary
July 31, 2009
Columbia Law School notes with profound sadness the passing of our esteemed colleague, Kenny Jones. He graduated from the Law School at the top of his class in 1954, and joined our faculty in 1959.

NATIONAL LAW JOURNAL: Stop Prosecuting 'Sexting' Teens
July 29, 2009
BYLINE: Vivian Berger
A cute moniker for a widespread, toxic phenomenon, "sexting" refers to teenagers sending nude or semi-nude pictures of themselves or other youths to friends' cell phones or posting these photos on social Web sites like MySpace and Facebook...Vivian Berger is professor emerita at Columbia Law School.

NEW YORK TIMES: Politicians Accused of Meddling in Bank Rules
July 28, 2009
BYLINE: Floyd Norris
Accounting rules did not cause the financial crisis, and they still allow banks to overstate the value of their assets, an international group composed of current and former regulators and corporate officials said in a report to be released Tuesday, The New York Times’s Floyd Norris writes… “The message to political bodies of ‘Don’t threaten, Don’t coerce’ flies in the face of some of what has been coming from the European Commission and from members of Congress,” said Harvey Goldschmid, a co-chairman of the group and a former member of the Securities and Exchange Commission.

CBS NEWS: $100M to Castle Owner for Risky Bets
July 28, 2009
BYLINE: Kelly Wallace
The government has said it wants to crack down on those big pay packages given to many corporate executives. Today, a House committee voted to ban the kind of compensation that encourages an executive to take risks that could threaten the company or the U.S. economy...'This is probably the poster boy illustration of high risk and high compensation,' said John Coffee, a professor at Columbia University Law School.

ASSOCIATED PRESS: When budgets get rough, states get gimmicky
July 28, 2009
BYLINE: Curt Woodward
Here's one creative way that state lawmakers helped balance Washington's troubled budget: They assumed public employees will stay on the job longer — and die sooner than expected once they finally retire…"It's often a pretty impressive set of magic tricks," said Richard Briffault, a Columbia University law professor who specializes in state and local governments.

RAWSTORY.COM: Legal experts raise questions about Rove testimony deal
July 27, 2009
BYLINE: Larisa Alexandrovna and Muriel Kane
A deal brokered by the Obama White House to obtain Karl Rove’s testimony before the House Judiciary Committee contains a number of unusual provisions, prominent legal scholars say… However, Scott Horton, a Columbia Law School professor and contributor to Harper’s Magazine, believes the “4 pages” may relate to briefings of the former president on either the US Attorney firings or the Siegelman prosecution.

THE AM LAW DAILY: For 25 Years, Legal Outreach Has Worked to Introduce At-Risk Students to Careers in Law
July 27, 2009
BYLINE: Vivian Yee
Twenty-five years ago, Harvard Law graduate James O'Neal decided to help young, underprivileged students grow up to be lawyers...For five weeks, 100 students learn about the legal profession from participants (mostly volunteer lawyers) working with partner institutions, including Columbia Law School and New York University School of Law.


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July 17 - 24, 2009

ONWALLSTREET.COM: Next Consumer Backlash Mandatory Arbitration
July 24, 2009
BYLINE: Maria Aspan
Minnesota's blow to the largest consumer credit arbitration company has chipped away at another widely used tool of credit card companies, and may shatter it altogether…The settlement 'could not come at a worse time for the issuers,' according to Ronald Mann, a professor of law and co-chair of the Charles E. Gerber Transactional Studies Program at Columbia Law School.

BLOOMBERG NEWS: SEC Demands Ex-CSK Chief Forfeit Pay in Landmark Case
July 22, 2009
BYLINE: David Scheer, Jesse Westbrook and Joshua Gallu
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, in the first case of its kind, demanded that CSK Auto Corp.’s former chief executive officer forfeit $4.1 million he received during an accounting fraud he didn’t orchestrate… The case “will get attention,” and shows the SEC is becoming more aggressive under Schapiro’s leadership, said John Coffee, a Columbia Law School professor.

TEHRAN TIMES: Gitmo still closing in January
July 22, 2009
BYLINE: Unknown
The White House says President Barack Obamas pledge to close the Guantanamo Bay prison in January is still in place, even though two task forces he set up to review detention and interrogation policies will miss deadlines Tuesday to make recommendations…“At this point, I think its virtually impossible that they make thata delay is almost inevitable, said Matthew Waxman, a Columbia Law School professor who handled detainee issues at the Pentagon and the State Department under President George W. Bush.

CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR: Will Guantánamo close on time?
July 21, 2009
BYLINE: Warren Richey
President Obama’s pledge to close the US terrorism prison camp at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, by January is looking increasingly tenuous…“It is very easy to say you’d like to close Guantánamo; it is hard to actually get it done,” says Matthew Waxman, a Columbia Law School professor and former deputy assistant defense secretary for detainee affairs in the Bush administration.

NEWSDAY: Would-be governors duke it out on the op-ed page
July 20,2009
BYLINE: Anne Michaud
It's no secret that New York's popular attorney general, Andrew Cuomo, is waiting in the wings in case Gov. David Paterson fails to make the case that he should be the Democrats' nominee to run for governor in 2010… Three days or so later, the Paterson team showed up on opinion pages, claiming that the governor's legal basis for appointing Ravitch is sound. Here's ... Richard Briffault, a Columbia Law School professor, in the Times Union.

NY DAILY NEWS: Daily Politics: News of the Day
July 20, 2009
BYLINE: Elizabeth Benjamin
As the war of words over mayoral control escalated, Sen. Bill Perkins accused Mayor Bloomberg of "treating us like we're some people on his plantation."… Columbia Law School Prof. Richard Briffault believes the appointment of Richard Ravitch to be LG was legal.
TIMES UNION (ALBANY): Nothing illegal about Ravitch
July 20, 2009
Richard Briffault
Gov. David Paterson's appointment of Richard Ravitch as lieutenant governor appears to have done the trick of ending the political stalemate that tied the state Senate in knots for a month. But the question remains, is it legal?...Richard Briffault is the Joseph P. Chamberlain Professor of Legislation at Columbia Law School.

REUTERS: Swiss minister to meet Clinton ahead of UBS deadline
July 19, 2009
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.
NEW YORK TIMES (Opinion): A Matter of Opinion?
July 18, 2009
BYLINE: David Segal
There will be admirers of Floyd Abrams, the most famous First Amendment lawyer in the country, who are surprised to learn that he represents a corporation widely regarded as Part of the Problem in the economic meltdown…“I don’t think it’s a good legal argument, though there might be some courts that buy it,” says John C. Coffee, a law professor at Columbia.

[Quote also appears in Forbes Online and approx 20 other outlets under title “Intellivest Securities Research, Inc. Confirms Its Policy of Not Accepting Payments From…”]
THE KLD BLOG: Can Sustainability Come Cheap? Walmart and “The High Cost of Discount Culture”
July 17, 2009
BYLINE: Alan Petrillo
Environmental Leader, along with most major news outlets, reports that Walmart is preparing to develop a sustainability index for its suppliers and products… “[Author Ellen Ruppert Shell] quotes Mark Barenberg, a professor of law at Columbia University and an expert on international labor law: ‘The severe exploitation of China’s factory workers and the contraction of the American middle class are two sides of the same coin.’

MCCLATCHY: Sotomayor hearings offer lessons for future nominees
July 17, 2009
BYLINE: David Lightman
Republicans spent four days this week repeating a stern message to President Barack Obama: Your future Supreme Court nominees will be grilled about their personal views and examined thoroughly for any hint of liberal bias…"It's very hard to get specific information about what a nominee thinks; it's scripted," acknowledged Olatunde Johnson, an associate professor at Columbia Law School
CNN.COM: Sotomayor is tough judge with breadstick habit, colleagues say
July 17, 2009
BYLINE: Doug Gross
Sonia Sotomayor had been a federal appeals court judge for about four months when Ellen Chapnick got a phone call in 1998.The Columbia Law School lecturer had taught a course alongside Sotomayor but figured the partnership had come to an end with the judge's new job.
THE STIMULIST: The Real Lessons From The Sotomayor Hearings
July 17, 2009
BYLINE: Nathaniel Persily
Another Supreme Court confirmation hearing has led to another round of lamentations from the commentariat over the mismatch of this process to the gravity of the role the appointee will soon fill…Nathaniel Persily is the Charles Keller Beekman Professor of Law and Political Science at Columbia Law School
BLOOMBERG NEWS: Hevesi Donor’s Selection Spotlights Pay-to-Play at Pension Fund
July 17, 2009
BYLINE: Karen Freifeld
EnTrust Capital Inc., a hedge-fund firm whose founders contributed to the campaign of New York Comptroller Alan Hevesi, received millions of dollars of pension money to invest while he was running the state retirement fund, public records show… “Pay-to-play is absolutely at the core of all this,” said John Coffee, Columbia University securities law professor.
DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Judge tosses out SEC suit against Mavericks owner Mark Cuban
July 17, 2009
BYLINE: Eric Torbenson
A federal judge has tossed out the Securities and Exchange Commission's insider-trading suit against Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, dealing a stunning defeat to the nation's securities cop in one of its highest-profile civil actions…John Coffee, a securities law professor at Columbia University Law School in New York, said he thought the SEC probably would appeal the ruling.
[Also seen The New York Times]
NATIONAL JOURNAL: Fraud Busters Get To Work.
July 17, 2009
BYLINE: Peter Stone
When a new sheriff rides into Washington, the scenario often unfolds like this: Members of the posse settle into their offices, figure out what's going on at their agencies, and then check out the political lay of the land on Capitol Hill before starting high-profile crime-busting…"The SEC has a dominant settlement culture," said John Coffee, a Columbia Law School professor who teaches securities law.



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July 8 - 16, 2009


July 15, 2009
BYLINE: The Editors
Judge Sonia Sotomayor in confirmation hearings this week explained (many times) what she meant by her “wise Latina” remark, defended herself against charges of being a bully on the bench, and tried to navigate carefully through discussions about abortion and gun control … We asked some legal scholars and others who’ve been following the hearings what’s the most interesting thing they’ve learned … Olati Johnsonis an associate professor of law at Columbia Law School. She is a former counsel to Senator Edward Kennedy on the Senate Judiciary Committee and a former clerk for Justice John Paul Stevens.
July 11, 2009
BYLINE: none
Michael B. Gerrard, a veteran environmental lawyer, joined the Columbia Law School faculty as the head of its Center for Climate Change Law in January. His reason: What I was learning about climate change was quite alarming, he said. I felt an obligation to devote myself to the issue, to the extent I could.

NEW YORK TIMES: Trial by Firefighters
July 10, 2009
BYLINE: Lani Guinier and Susan Sturm
Standing on the steps of the federal courthouse in New Haven, the lawyer Karen Torre reveled in her clients’ victory in a recent case before the Supreme Court. She anointed her clients — the white firefighters who scored well on a promotion test — “a symbol” for millions of Americans who are “tired of seeing individual achievement and merit take a back seat to race and ethnicity.”… -- Susan Sturm, a Columbia law professor, are the authors of “Who’s Qualified?”
July 9, 2009
BYLINE: Sheryl Storberg
Judge Sonia Sotomayor carries a small black travel pouch, not much larger than a wallet… Today, friends say, Sotomayor no longer thinks that way. "She watches her diet and does all the things somebody with diabetes who is prudent would do," said Ellen Chapnick, a dean at Columbia Law School and a close friend, "but not in a way that makes her a victim of a disease or a person whose life is ruled by a disease."
NEW YORK TIMES BLOG: Family Values and the Law A Guest Post
July 9, 2009
BYLINE: Stephen J Dubner
We previously featured by the legal scholar Ethan Leib on the subject of friendship and the law. Now he is back, along with his two co-authors on a new book called . This is their first of three posts… Leib is a scholar-in-residence at Columbia Law School, an an associate professor of law at the , and in the spring of 2010 will be a visiting associate professor of law.

NEW YORK TIMES: To Get to Sotomayors Core, Start in New York
July 9, 2009
BYLINE: Michael Powell
A daughter of the Bronx, Sonia Sotomayor claims the Brooklyn Bridge as her power-walking trail, the specialty shops of Greenwich Village as her grocery store, and the United States Court House as the setting for her annual Christmas party, where judges and janitors spill into the hallway… Ellen P. Chapnick, a dean at Columbia Law School, founded a program with Judge Sotomayor in 1998 that gave students a chance to work in appellate chambers.

ALBANY TIMES UNION: Paterson Makes History With Ravitch Pick
July 9, 2009
BYLINE: Irene Liu
Citing a crisis in state government, Gov. David Paterson has tapped businessman and longtime public servant Richard Ravitch to serve a New York's lieutenant governor, a controversial step that effectively halted power-sharing negotiations in the gridlocked Senate…They have been joined by legal scholars -- including Columbia Law School's Richard Briffault.

REUTERS:  1,200 Law Professors Sign Up As Sotomayor Fans
July 9, 2009
BYLINE: Thomas Ferraro
Nearly 1,200 law professors from across the country signed up to support U.S. Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor, and one early Republican critic says he may even vote for her…“There is a remarkable consensus here of how this ‘liberal tag’ … ought not be applied to her,” Daniel Richman of Columbia Law School said. ”She is very much a straight-forward, moderate judge.” 

[Also mentioned in McClatchy Blog, New Jersey Law Journal, Scotus Blog, Legal Times and National Journal]

GLOBE AND MAIL: Downturn shrinks demand for independent research
July 8, 2009
BYLINE: David Parkinson
The independent equity research business arose as a shining beacon of hope from the rubble of the last bear market. Now, it's being buried under the rubble of the current one, a new study suggests…"There's no question this is a tough period," said John Coffee, a business professor at Columbia University who has researched the Wall Street settlement and the independent research business.
BUSINESSWEEK: World leaders vow to restart stalled trade talks
July 8, 2009
BYLINE: Colleen Barry
Leaders of the exclusive club of eight industrialized leaders plus five of the fastest developing nations are calling for open markets and a battle against protectionism as the answer to the world's economic meltdown… Governments are under such enormous pressure that they will be doing well if they simply resist more protectionism, let alone reach a deal to drop more barriers, said Jagdish Bhagwati, an economist at Columbia University in New York.
NY DAILY NEWS: 7th grader sues school over right to wear pro-life shirt
July 8, 2009
BYLINE: Kate Nocera
Adminstrators at McSwain Elementary School asked a 7th grader to remove this shirt because they found it inappropriate. The girl and her mother are suing… 'The bottom line standard is that passive political speech is ok,' said Jane Spinak, a professor at Columbia Law School. 'Wearing a t-shirt could be seen as passive political speech and it will depend on whether the photo on the shirt steps over the line.'
July 8, 2009
BYLINE: Mallie Dein  
In the most sweeping changes to the credit card industry in 40 years, President Obama is expected to sign a bill Friday to restrict practices that consumers say have pushed them deeper into debt… Overall, the legislation's shortcoming is that it won't help consumers escape from the "sweat box" of credit card debt, says Ronald Mann, a professor at Columbia Law School, which he says is the "pattern of relatively low monthly payments that mean the balance never gets completely paid off."

SCOTUSBLOG: Over 1,000 Law Professors Join Letter Endorsing Sotomayor
July 8, 2009
BYLINE: Kristina Moore
In a letter received today by the Senate Judiciary Committee, more than 1000 academics expressed their support for Judge Sonia Sotomayor’s confirmation to the Supreme Court…Likewise, she has split evenly in ruling for plaintiffs or defendants in business cases: Columbia Law School Professsor John C. Coffee called her a “standout” for businesses in the field of class action certification, while Arthur Miller, a New York University Law School professor, said she also has shown concern for consumers and public safety in litigation.


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July 1 - 7, 2009

ABC NEWS: Do Australian corporate crooks get what they deserve?
July 3, 2009
BYLINE: Andrew Robertson
The 150 year jail term given to United States fraudster Bernard Madoff has again highlighted how tough the American justice system can be on corporate criminals..."I don't think you can find another financial fraud that is on this level of magnitude or duration," said Professor John Coffee from Columbia University's law school.
McCLATCHY NEWS: Why didn't Fed force big banks to take less of AIG bailout?
July 2, 2009
BYLINE: Greg Gordon
The Federal Reserve Bank of New York in November chose not to pursue tough negotiations with large foreign and domestic banks and instead allowed them to receive 100 cents on the dollar in government funds …The decision to pay full contract value is the latest example of the Fed appearing to be "very much out of sync with the attitude of the public and the taxpayers," said John Coffee, a Columbia University law professor who testifies frequently before Congress on matters of corporate finance.

WALL STREET JOURNAL: Fresh Look at Election Spending Looms Next Term
July 2, 2009
BYLINE: Jess Bravin
The most important case of the Supreme Court's just-ended term may be a test of restrictions on corporate and union campaign spending that the justices decided not to decide -- at least not yet…"The court is reaching out to decide the foundational question about the rights of corporations in political campaigns," said Nathaniel Persily, a professor at Columbia Law School.

Law Experts Supreme Court Could Have Gone Further in Firefighters' Case
July 1, 2009
BYLINE: Columbia Law School Public Affairs
White firefighters from New Haven, Conn., may have scored a big victory when the Supreme Court ruled they were victims of racial discrimination after being denied promotions. However, Associate Professor Jamal Greene, a constitutional law expert at Columbia Law School, said the civil-rights community 'dodged another bullet.'

THE NATION: Mirror Man
July 1, 2009
BYLINE: Patricia J. Williams
To me, the most arresting image of Michael Jackson was President George H.W. Bush citing him as a role model for young black men. It was 1990 and Jackson was at the height of his fame…Patricia J. Williams, a professor of law at Columbia University and a member of the State Bar of California, writes The Nation column "Diary of a Mad Law Professor."

Madoff case is far from over as detectives look at associates
July 1, 2009
BYLINE: Unknown
US officials pursuing their investigation of Bernard Madoff's Ponzi scheme are focusing on close associates of the convicted con man who insist they didn't know of any wrongdoing… "Investigators' first focus will be on whether those around him, either from the start or over time, had actual knowledge of the fraud," said Daniel Richman, a professor at Columbia Law School in New York and an ex-federal prosecutor. "Investigators are at least sceptical of the claims of those around him that at no point did they know of the fraud or its dimensions."

[Also mentioned in Irish Independent]

ASSOCIATED PRESS: Voter 'animus' to be issue in Calif marriage case
July 1, 2009
BYLINE: Lisa Leff
When the U.S. Supreme Court overturned an amendment to the Colorado Constitution that outlawed discrimination protections for gay people, same-sex couples could not enter into civil unions or domestic partnerships anywhere in the nation, much less get married. . . . “The basic point of Romer is that government cannot ever act out of hostility toward a group of people, and whether that is in the context of marriage or anti-discrimination law, the point carries over,” said Suzanne Goldberg, who worked on the case and now directs Columbia Law School's Sexuality and Gender Law Program.


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