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February

Feb. 5-12

FINANCIAL TIMES
Feb. 7
John Coffee, who teaches a course with Judge Rakoff at Columbia Law School, says the judge is likely to ask “searching questions” at Monday’s hearing.
 
FINANCIAL TIMES
Feb. 8
Employee ownership should align employees’ interests with those of the company, but as Jeffrey Gordon of Columbia Law School explained in a 2003 paper, United staff hired after 1997 held no shares, so that half the mechanics had no stake in the company. Even for those who did, their stakes were small and they could not cash them in until they retired or left.
 
THE ADVOCATE
Feb. 8
Pereira de Souza was referred to the Columbia Law School's Sexuality and Gender Law Clinic by the organization Immigration Equality. Three students — Rena Stern, Brian Ward, and Mark Musico — provided legal assistance under the guidance of Professor Suzanne Goldberg.
 
SAN DIEGO GAY & LESBIAN NEWS
Feb. 8
In 2007, the group successfully represented a lesbian from Uganda whose family, upon learning of her sexual orientation, hired someone to rape her in her family home. The case recognized that lesbians can win asylum when they have faced violence by private actors – even their own family members. It was only the second published decision to affirm and establish a lesbian’s right to seek asylum – the first was argued by Immigration Equality founder Suzanne Goldberg.
 
TECHNOLOGIZER.COM
Feb. 9
Cloud services like Facebook and Gmail might be “free,” but they carry an immense social cost, threatening the privacy and freedom of people who are too willing to trade it away for a perceived convenience, according to Eben Moglen, a Columbia University law professor and founder of the Software Freedom Law Center.
 
FINANCIAL TIMES
Feb. 10
“They are coming from very different places in terms of institutional accountability and other cases on their plate,” said Daniel Richman, Columbia University law professor. “The SEC is trying to regulate an industry and cope with a massive amount of clean-up and refurbishment work. Cuomo can pick his cases and go forward with any volume he chooses.”
ASSOCIATED PRESS
Feb. 11
Cuomo's use of the Martin Act could be problematic for Lewis and Price. Unlike federal securities law, the Martin Act doesn't require proving any intent to defraud shareholders, said John C. Coffee, a Columbia Law School professor specializing in corporate governance and securities law. "You merely have to show that these individuals were responsible for materially false disclosures made to investors," Coffee said. "It's somewhat more threatening" than federal law.
 
FORTUNE
Feb. 11
"I find Broadcom inexplicable," says Columbia University securities law professor John Coffee. "The district judge went well out of his way to immunize himself from appellate review -- and that suggests a degree of hubris."
 
WHYY (Philadelphia)
Feb. 11
Columbia University professor Nate Persily says there's no easy answer to the problem. "The idea of just counting them where they committed their crimes or where they lived before committing their crimes is unfeasible. You can't reallocate them to houses and addresses that are now occupied by other people. The question is whether you could remedy the distortion that is caused by assuming that they are just like their neighbors who are outside of prison." Persily says the count doesn't impact federal funds.
 

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Feb. 12-19

NEW YORK TIMES
Feb. 15
“The Dodd bill is broader and stronger,” said John C. Coffee, a professor of securities law at Columbia Law School. “In the full-scale House bill, you see how limited it is. The House makes a new limited fiduciary standard to broker dealers, but only when they are giving personalized investment advice” about securities to a retail customer.
 
ARS TECHNICA
Feb. 15
It's unclear if MeeGo will set a new standard for openness in mobile Linux, but there are a few prominent supporters who are very optimistic about the possibility. Eben Moglen, the founder of the Software Freedom Law Center and one of the authors of the GPLv3, issued a statement today praising the MeeGo initiative. "MeeGo brings together two projects committed to an open stack for mobile computing devices dependent on community-developed free software that respects users' rights," Moglen wrote.
 
WNYC
Feb. 17
Columbia Law Professor Dan Richman says that’s true. Having a great batting average will only take you so far in the 9/11 trials. He says the trial of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed will be unprecedented in scope and in complexity. Federal prosecutors will have to deal with new legal issues no one’s really tackled before, such as the issue of "torture taint."
 
QUEENS CHRONICLE
Feb. 18
No language explicitly bars lawmakers from ousting their colleagues, but according to Richard Briffault, a legislative expert at Columbia University, the case could go either way. “It’s really unclear,” Briffault said. “The heart of it really is this question of whether or not there is authority to expel in the absence of an express grant of authority in the state constitution.”
 
WALL STREET JOURNAL
Feb. 18
Build America Bonds pay more than corporate bonds with similar ratings, even though municipalities rarely default. The big losers: High-end taxpayers who have fewer tax-exempt bonds to buy. "It was right 40 years ago, and it's right today, and it's nice that something good comes out of the stimulus," says Michael Graetz, a Columbia Law School tax professor who did a stint at Treasury in the George H. W. Bush years.
 
OPINIO JURIS
Feb. 18
Sarah Cleveland, Counselor on International Law in the U.S. State Department’s Office of the Legal Adviser, who is also a Columbia Law School professor, offered one of the most forthright and clear explanations of the new administration’s approach to international law.  “I would say that the administration has articulated an Obama-Clinton doctrine, a vision that reflects commitments to four elements,” Cleveland said. “The first is multilateral engagement. This was a consistent theme of the president’s campaign and has been a consistent theme of his first year in office.”
 
PFF BLOG
Feb. 18
As Professor Tim Wu once put it, "The technical study of P2P design shows that designing a P2P file sharing network to avoid copyright requires important deviations from the optimal design for speed, control, and usability."
 
ALBANY TIMES-UNION
Feb. 18
Suzanne Goldberg: This time, New York must bring its law into line with the trend recognized by scholars and other states alike: that parents like Alison, who function as parents, must be legally recognized as parents. When a couple separates, those "functional parents" must be granted the right, like any other parent, to seek visitation or custody of their children.

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Feb. 19-26

FDI MAGAZINE
Feb. 19
“FDI was very much a victim of the crisis,” says Karl Sauvant, head of the Vale Columbia Centre on Sustainable International Investment. “And that has all sorts of implications because after all, investment is the basis for economic growth and development.”
 
NEW YORK TIMES (GREENWIRE)
Feb. 19
Michael Gerrard, director of the Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia Law School, said his initial look at the draft guidance was "very positive." But he added, "There are some self-avowed holes in it. It does not address how land management is to be analyzed, and that's an extremely important point."
 
FINANCIAL TIMES
Feb. 22
Jagdish Bhagwati: Each of the rich countries needs to accept a tort liability which can be pro rata to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change-estimated share of historic world carbon emissions. Since the payment would be on the tort principle, the idea that the funds would substitute for normal aid would be outrageous: you do not take away the pension of a person who has won a tort settlement.
 
REUTERS
Feb. 22
Toyota representatives told dealers on Jan. 27 of an expansion of its floor mat recall and then waited hours before telling the public. "It is odd because selective disclosure invites insider trading and is poor corporate governance," Columbia Law professor John Coffee said.
 
USA TODAY
Feb. 24
"States can't overturn it directly, but they can nip at the edges to make it more difficult for corporations to spend this kind of money," said Nathaniel Persily, a Columbia Law School professor and election-law expert.
 
BLOOMBERG
Feb. 24
The real culprit in Rakoff’s order is the SEC, for its habit of going after corporations instead of taking on the tougher task of naming individual managers, says John C. Coffee Jr., securities law professor at Columbia University. He hopes the SEC realizes that punishing shareholders only tarnishes its reputation as an enforcer.
 
CITIZEN VOX.ORG
Feb. 24
Sadly, Columbia Law School professor and election-law expert Nathaniel Persily is right when he says the states’ powers are limited to ”nip[ping] at the edges to make it more difficult for corporations to spend this kind of money.”  And that’s why we need a constitutional amendment to prevent corporations from dominating our elections.
 
PBS NEWSHOUR
Feb. 24
Tim Wu, a Columbia University law professor, who told us: "It's a big deal because if this kind of thing goes on ... some things like Google will have no choice but to filter for different countries and so you will have an emergence of a much more 'Balkanized' Internet."
 
NEW YORK TIMES
Inquiry Poses a Quandary for Cuomo
Feb. 25
“I suppose you could argue that it now looks like any criticism of the governor might seem to be politically motivated,” said Richard Briffault, a professor of law at Columbia University who specializes in state and local government. “It puts the attorney general in the spot of being both the chief law enforcement officer in the state and someone who also has a political interest,” Professor Briffault said. “So he has to be very careful. It’s going to require a lot of delicacy on his part.”
 

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Feb. 26-Mar. 5

 

SMOKE AND MIRRORS (Blog)
Feb. 26
The most comprehensive review of death penalty cases ever undertaken, led by Columbia Law School Professor James Liebman, found that California's trial courts produced an extremely high level of error in capital verdict cases. 87% of capital verdicts in California were tainted with an error serious enough to prejudice the outcome.
 
NEW YORK TIMES
Feb. 26
“For many purposes, the European Union is today the effective sovereign of global privacy law,” Jack Goldsmith and Tim Wu wrote in their book “Who Controls the Internet?” in 2006. This may sound odd in America, where the First Amendment has pride of place in the Bill of Rights. In Europe, privacy comes first.
 
TIMES OF LONDON
Feb. 28
John Coffee, Adolf A Berle professor of law at Columbia Law School, said he expects the court will limit the honest-services fraud statute for not being clear enough and could throw it out. “It is clear that the statute is in danger of being void for vagueness,” said Coffee.
 
FINANCIAL TIMES
March 1
John Coffee, a law professor at Columbia University, said Mr. Lifland’s ruling was the only sensible one because a decision in favor of the investors’ “last statement” method would create a “feeding frenzy.”
 
POLITICO
March 1
“Although the issue of intent is always critical in obstruction cases, the Times story lays out a scenario that a prosecutor might well take a hard look at,” Daniel Richman, a Columbia University law professor and former federal prosecutor, told POLITICO.
 
DAWN.COM (Pakistan)
March 1
The report asserts that drone strikes might be on shaky legal ground, according to Columbia Law School professor Matthew Waxman: “The principle of proportionality says that a military target may not be attacked if doing so is likely to cause incidental civilian casualties or damage that would be excessive in relation to the expected military advantage of the attack....But there is no consensus on how to calculate these values.… Nor is there consensus on what imbalance is ‘excessive.’”
 
THE GUARDIAN
March 2
John Coffee, a corporate governance expert at Columbia University, said Goldman's concern was justified. "They're in a business where reputation and possibly stigma can affect their attractiveness to clients," he said.
 
POLITICO
March 5
“The Obama administration has not made much of an effort to defend—publicly or internationally—the reformed military commissions, and now it may find itself relying on them more than it ever expected,” said Matthew Waxman, a Columbia Law School professor and former Pentagon detainee affairs chief. “During the Bush years, military commissions and Guantanamo were always seen as going hand in hand. Now it turns out that accepting one of them may be the price of eliminating the other.”
 

 

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