“This is a situation where you have to use your own common sense,” said June M. Besek, executive director of the Kernochan Center for Law, Media and the Arts at the Columbia University School of Law. “Where do they work? Do you pay Social Security for them? Do you withdraw taxes from a paycheck? Under those kinds of definitions it seems pretty clear that your standard kind of recording artist from the ’70s or ’80s is not an employee but an independent contractor.”
“The Justice Department lawyers are acutely aware that the court is looking over their shoulder. They have been walking gingerly so far," said Columbia law professor Nathaniel Persily, an expert on redistricting. "But they will have to weigh in in the next couple of months."
Lenahan is represented by the Human Rights Clinic at the University of Miami School of Law, the Columbia Law School Human Rights Clinic and the American Civil Liberties Union Women’s Rights Project and Human Rights Program.
One very important project that will help is a thing called the "Freedom Box". The Freedom Box is the brainchild of Eben Moglen, a law professor from New York's Columbia University and founder of the Software Freedom Law Centre.
“Much of the American public thinks S&P is a traitor to the country and the Benedict Arnold of rating agencies,” said Columbia University law professor John Coffee. “I think there's an element of blaming the messenger in all of this.”
“I do not see the Republicans as increasing their lead in the House of Representatives because of the redistricting cycle, but they should be able to shore up their vulnerable incumbents,” said Nathaniel Persily, director of the Center for Law and Politics at Columbia Law School.
August 18, 2011 – “Silence has been Democrats’ main political strategy since the mid-’90s on this issue,” said Michael J. Graetz, a professor at Columbia Law School who has studied the tax issue. “What’s happened is people’s consciousness has been raised that cutting spending may mean serious cuts in Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. And that has had at least the potential to change the politics of the tax issue.”
“It shows really poor judgment--probably at some mid-level bureaucratic level,” says Columbia University law school professor John Coffee. “I suspect that its root cause is the SEC's almost neurotic sensitivity to criticism, which the Madoff affair has aggravated. But the real danger here is that it could disguise serious conflicts of interest associated with the SEC's rapidly revolving door.”
“This is a fundamental question about American corporate governance, and the SEC should think of it in that way,” said Robert Jackson, a law professor at Columbia University. “Some of these shareholders play a critical role in monitoring, but they need to have a benefit to justify the monitoring. If you take away the benefit by shortening the reporting period, you will lose the monitoring.”
“The District Attorney’s office moved quickly, and too quickly, and so quickly that it then lost confidence in its own ability to prosecute the case,” said Suzanne Goldberg, clinical professor of law at Columbia University.
Goldberg said the DA’s office “…didn’t solidify the foundation of its case early enough.”
Attorneys who specialize in criminal law say it isn't unusual for a corporate executive to hire outside counsel in this manner. “It's a regular practice both in internal investigations and in any large-scale interest by the government,” said Daniel Richman, a law professor at Columbia University.
Outsourcing of services has been a persistent cause of panic and protectionism in recent years, especially in the United States since the 2004 presidential election. Back then, the Democratic candidate, Senator John Kerry, upon hearing that digital x-rays had been outsourced from Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston for examination by radiologists in India, denounced firms that outsourced as Benedict Arnolds, the most infamous traitor in US history.
“What strikes people in the intellectual property field is that they are so monetary focused,” said Philippa Loengard, assistant director of the Kernochan Center for Law, Media and the Arts at Columbia University in New York City. “What strikes people outside the field, particularly in the case of the monument, is that Dr. King was not about financial gain but equity and respect.”
To understand why, you have to look at the major communications industries of the 20th century – telephone, radio and movies. As Tim Wu chronicles it in his remarkable book, The Master Switch, each of these industries started out as an open, irrationally exuberant, chaotic muddle of incompatible standards, crummy technology and “chancers”.
John Coffee, a professor at the law school at Columbia University, said the SEC has become more cautious about using non-traditional metrics after the dot-com bubble and subsequent bust. "The more we get into a bubble, the more we have analysts wanting to use numbers giving a sense of momentum," said Mr. Coffee. "In social media, there are signs of a bubble and that creates some nervousness at the commission."
“He's been operating very carefully and very thoughtfully,” said James Tierney, a former attorney general from Maine who runs the National State Attorneys General Program at Columbia University. “He's following the pattern of an AG who expects to be there a long time.”
A version of this article appeared in the August 1, 2011 print issue of Crain's New York Business.
“The revolving door is such a dominant fact about the S.E.C.’s culture,” said John C. Coffee Jr., a Columbia Law School professor. “You get people who go to Washington for one to three years and then go back to Wall Street.”
Karl P Sauvant, the executive director of Columbia University's Vale Columbia Center on Sustainable International Investment and author of the recent book Investing in the United States: Is the US Ready for FDI from China?, echoes Hanemann's comments, adding that "…while outflows [from China to the US] continue to grow, China appears to be giving preference to investments in the EU because China feels the EU is more welcoming than the US is.”
Addressing the gathering at the ‘The New Indian Express-Columbia University Conference- Green India, Clean India, Dr. Abdullah said that the UPA government at the centre was fully backing the challenge of creating green energy. “We are ready to facilitate. Our doors are open. We are ready to go. If you walk two steps, we will walk 100 steps,” said Abdullah.
While some amount of information on corporate spending on politics is already disclosed under federal, state and local election law, the information is scattered among several agencies in many different formats, the professors said. Crucially, an investor could not easily piece the disclosures together to get a complete picture of a company's public spending, they added.
The petition is led by Lucian Bebchuk, of Harvard Law School, and Robert Jackson, of Columbia Law School.
A major initiative in finding an effective and equitable way to meet our surging energy needs while minimizing damage to the environment was launched by The New Indian Express Group and Columbia Law School by bringing leading policy-makers, academicians and industrialists together to discuss the problems and thrash out solutions.
Note: Coverage of the conference received extensive media coverage in India.
Does a recent Tax Court decision threaten the "carried interest" tax break beloved by managers of private-equity funds, venture-capital funds and, to a lesser extent, hedge funds?
Yes, says former top Treasury official Michael Graetz: "This decision in Dagres v. Commissioner gives the Treasury Department a clear opportunity to write regulations raising taxes on carried interest." Mr. Graetz is now a professor at Columbia University's Law School.
Peter Rosenblum, a professor of human rights law at Columbia Law School and co-author of a 2009 report on confidentiality clauses in contracts involving the extractive industries, which was written for the respected US-based Revenue Watch Institute, told New Age that he did not ‘see anything in the clauses in the model PSC 2008 relevant to the confidentiality of the contract’.
Philip Hamburger of Columbia Law School says waivers raise “questions about whether we live under a government of laws. Congress can pass statutes that apply to some businesses and not others, but once a law has passed — and therefore is binding — how can the executive branch relieve some Americans of their obligation to obey it?” The rule of waivers is not the rule of law.
The case is one of several around the nation in which plaintiffs have attempted to sue utilities for damages related to climate change, but legal experts say it is the only one that makes the specific claim about increased insurance premiums.
"It's certainly an interesting argument," said Julia Ciardullo, a fellow at the Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia Law School.
The suit accuses Goldman Sachs of violating Section 11 of the Securities Act of 1933, which, according to Columbia University securities law professor John C. Coffee Jr., "has probably the most pro-plaintiff balance of advantage of any legislation in federal law."
Perhaps of more significance, the new Ontario cases also show the potential for renewable energy policy to generate legal sparks. One way or another, as Columbia Law School professor Michael Gerrard concluded in a recent article in the World Climate Change Report: "Climate change is poised to become the next big thing in international trade law."
In justifying the rule, the SEC had said that it would improve the way corporations are run. “But how do you prove that empirically?” asked Harvey J. Goldschmid, a professor at Columbia Law School and a former Democratic SEC commissioner.
COMEDY CENTRAL: THE DAILY SHOW WITH JON STEWART – August 12
The SEC could hunt for evidence of anyone shorting Treasury securities, one law professor told MarketWatch. "Once you find out who is trading in usual large volumes, then you can look into whether they have associations with anyone at S&P," the professor, John Coffee, added.