April 29-May 6

FOX BUSINESS (Lou Dobbs Tonight)—May 3
Should You Pay More for Gas? (No link available)
Michael Graetz: We should be using less energy than we are, we should be producing more. But we can’t produce enough in the foreseeable future. Government has been in the oil business forever … we regulate electricity prices, how many miles your car will go. The government has been in this business thinking short-term and in a stupid way.
WNYC—May 3
Scott Horton, an adjunct professor at Columbia University School of Law, says that first of all the Geneva Convention would not apply because bin Laden and his "colleagues were not prisoners but combatants." And even if it did apply he says with no uncertainty that the Geneva Conventions do not preclude the disclosure of the photographs. To say otherwise, he said, is "nonsense:"
Columbia University law professor Michael Gerrard described the public trust suits as a "bold move" by activists looking to use all available options to impose greenhouse gas restrictions. Still, he joined Freeman in saying the pending decision in the public nuisance case would heavily influence the outcome of the state-level lawsuits.
A similar article appeared in The New York Times.
Nevada again led the nation in bankruptcies filed per capita, according to a monthly analysis by Columbia Law School Professor Ronald Mann. The state’s April filing rate was 4,123 per million adults, almost twice the national filing rate of 2,063 per million. The actual number of filings in the state for the month of April was 7,966. But Mann said Nevada’s filing rate has dropped 15 percent compared to 2010.
Similar stories also appeared in the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Nevada Appeal, Vegas Inc., and the Daily Sparks Tribune.
Advocates of a commission say decisions reached by building consensus among several appointees are more effective. And when there's just one director, it will change with each new president, creating more radical swings in regulations, says Columbia law professor Peter Strauss. “The multi-member commission, because its membership changes only gradually, is much more likely to hold a steadier, middle course.”
In the coming weeks, one of the world's most prestigious law schools will be tackling the issue of the effect of climate change on small islands. The Columbia Law School in America invited specialists from around the world to discuss an aspect of climate change adaptation that is often overlooked - how will the pressures of climate change affect our legal systems? Do the laws we have need to be changed?
GLOBAL NEWS (Canada)—May 5
Is targeted killing legal under international law? Matthew Waxman: It depends on the circumstances, and the term “targeted killing’ means different things to different people, but as a general matter, lethal force -- including lethal force directed at particular individuals -- is permitted against enemy fighters and commanders in the course of an ongoing armed conflict, and sometimes in cases of self-defense.
A similar article appeared on ABC
Trump’s History of Lawsuits Could Damage Bid for White House
Suing your own law firm is a “sign of something very dysfunctional,” observed Columbia University law professor John Coffee in an interview.
Daniel Richman, a Columbia University School of Law professor familiar with honest services cases, said jurors often view such verdict forms as a menu, stopping once they see something they like. In fact, critics of the honest services statute long claimed its power was its use as a vague back door for prosecutors to convict in complex cases. Richman was skeptical that a judge would view an empty blank as an implicit acquittal. “Certainly where you can’t show the jury necessarily decided in favor of the defendant, a defendant has a hard time claiming acquittal,” he said.

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May 6-13

The reasons for the reluctance to charge Deutsche Bank or its employees with criminal charges are diverse, but likely come down to the higher burden of proof and collateral damage that go hand-in-hand with criminal charges. “Firms can do significant damage to themselves, to taxpayers and their customers without committing crimes. Negligence, recklessness and stupidity can go a long way,” said Dan Richman, a law professor at Columbia.
The Zivotofskys’ request to change Menachem’s passport to say his birthplace is “Israel” rather than simply “Jerusalem” has met firm resistance from the State Department. Over the objection of the Obama administration, the Supreme Court last week agreed to review the long-running dispute over Menachem’s passport. The slim petition filed by veteran Supreme Court practitioner Nathan Lewin manages to pack in a trove of constitutional questions for argument next fall.
Curtis Milhaupt: I think nationalization of Tepco is extremely unlikely. It's not obvious what bringing Tepco under government control would accomplish. The reactors at Fukushima need to be shut down permanently and Tepco needs to find a way to pay tens of billions of dollars in damages. I think what's much more likely is capital injections by the Japanese government and possibly coupled with some sort of management restructuring or some additional or new form of government oversight.
Net neutrality theorist Tim Wu spoke Monday afternoon at a talk hosted by the Center for Internet and Society. He discussed the threat of the Internet being run by one giant corporation, as has been the case with other information industries in the course of American history. Wu is currently on leave from his professorship at Columbia Law School to serve as a senior advisor at the Federal Trade Commission in Washington, D.C. In his lecture, held at the Law School, he explored a topic presented in his book, “The Master Switch.”
C. Scott Hemphill of Columbia Law School has calculated that on average a one-year delay in the entry of a generic version of a drug can cost consumers more than $660 million. He reached that conclusion by analyzing deals involving 51 drugs from 1984 to 2008.
John Coffee, a securities law professor at Columbia University, talks about the conviction of Galleon Group LLC co-founder Raj Rajaratnam on all 14 counts against him in the largest illegal stock-tipping case in a generation. Coffee speaks with Mark Crumpton on Bloomberg Television's "Bottom Line."
Coffee was also interviewed by Fox Business Network, NPR, WNYC, the Washington Post, the BBC, and Reuters Insider.
Daniel Richman, a former federal prosecutor and law professor at Columbia Law School, said: "The same rulings the government was troubled by at trial are now ones they can pat themselves on the back over."
Richman was also interviewed by Reuters.
Matthew Waxman: "In normal times, it would be a violation of a state's sovereignty to launch this kind of raid without their consent. On the other hand, there are circumstances in which a state would be entitled to take action against the terrorist organization or terrorist agents in another state's territory when that state is unwilling or unable to take its own action against it. In this case, I think there is a good argument that the United States was justified as a matter of self-defense."

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May 13-20

NPR—May 14
"Every time you're up on a wiretap, you're getting all sorts of investigative leads, some of them directly relevant to the charges you end up bringing, others not," says Daniel Richman, who teaches criminal law at Columbia University. "Government investigators will have a field day working through what they've gained through this investigation."
“Here you have the biggest two exchanges trading equity securities and one of them is seeking to acquire the other,” said John Coffee, a professor of securities law at Columbia University in New York. He likened such a combination to General Motors trying to buy Ford, when the two companies controlled most of the U.S. auto market.
A class at Columbia Law School on redistricting has produced the first known redistricting plan for Georgia. The actual redistricting process in the state legislature is not expected to produce plans until late summer 2011. Georgia has received an additional, 14th Congressional District (CD), which due to population growth will have to be inserted in the northern Metro area. The student map, by Matthew Galeotti, reflects this very well.
“Part of what prosecutors have the advantage of doing right now, here as elsewhere, is watching the civil suits play out as different parties fight over who bears the loss,” said Daniel C. Richman, a professor of law at Columbia. “That’s a very productive source of information.”
"Many of your contemporary social justice issues can only be expressed or realized through legislation. Its not that easy to enforce your preferences for--whether its same sex marriage or affirmative action--through litigation, because courts have become increasingly conservative about the ability of a judiciary to impose social values," says John Coffee, professor at Columbia University law school.
Jeffrey Fagan, a Columbia University law professor who lectures occasionally in France, said that showing defendants in a bad light is a time-honored ploy. “Cuffing DSK and perp-walking him is more evidence against him,” he said. “It is typically American. Prosecutors visually convict people, shifting presumption of innocence to guilt. One loses one’s dignity upon arrest. In France, dignity remains at all costs.” The idea of equality before the law in America is an “aspiration,” he said, essentially a myth. Strauss-Kahn is French, rich and white, accused of raping a black woman in a city that is 50 percent minority. “This is a trophy for the prosecutors,” Fagan concluded. “It’s like shooting fish in a barrel.”
What becomes of the citizens of the deterrialized nation? Will they have access to a secondary citizenship in new destination? Michael Gerrard: That's another very important and novel question. The Marshall Islands have a compact with the United States that allow people from the Marshall Islands to freely enter the US and work there indefinitely and Federated States of Micronesia and Palau have similar agreements, but it's not the same as citizenship. They do not become US citizens. What would be the citizenship of people who move in that way but their countries are gone is another very difficult and open question.
The Securities and Exchange Commission on Wednesday voted to propose a package of regulations that proponents say would stop credit-rating agencies from providing inflated opinions to get more business. Columbia Law School Prof. John Coffee argues that this disclosure will only change the procedure, with banks approaching raters informally so no initial rating is formally submitted.
John Coffee, a professor at Columbia Law School, said Strauss-Kahn could be out of jail by the weekend, and he expected that his lawyer, Benjamin Brafman, could come up with an arrangement pending trial that would satisfy the judge. Coffee said Brafman was one of the most experienced lawyers in the US and would more than likely find a solution that would grant bail. "Even Bernie Madoff got bail," said Coffee. "And he was a flight risk."
“It is part of a fascination with the man,” said Suzanne Goldberg, director of the Center for Gender and Sexuality Law at Columbia. “What sort of woman could this powerful man have been attracted to? I think as a society, we care about the lives of powerful celebrity-like figures.” “That curiosity extends not only to their home decorating, but also to who is in their beds,” she added. “The women suffer the collateral damage of our interest.”
John Coffee: If the NYSE were to merge with a foreign exchange (e.g., the Deutsche Borse) and eventually consolidate its trading abroad, then a literal reading of Morrison would imply that even transactions between American purchasers and American sellers in American stocks would be beyond the reach of Rule 10b-5. That possibility (plus the possibility that Morrison-like limitations will be read onto Section 5 of the Securities Act and Section 14(e) of the Exchange Act) may justify SEC rules and even legislative action.
When congressional district lines get redrawn next January based on the 2010 Census data, U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Longboat Key, and Sen. President Pro-tempore Mike Bennett, R-Bradenton, could end up facing each other in the 2012 election. That would be the situation for the two power-brokers if the new boundary lines end up looking like what Columbia University law student Nicholas Ortiz has proposed. Ortiz recently finished the onerous congressional redistricting task that Florida lawmakers just began.

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May 20-June 3

SALON—May 20
According to Daniel Richman, professor at Columbia University and federal criminal law expert, a few different factors will determine what actions federal investigators take against Armstrong. One, whether or not doping actually occurred, seems less and less in doubt with each subpoenaed teammate who comes out against Armstrong.
NEW YORK TIMES (Room for Debate blog)—May 22
Patricia Williams: The finding that white Americans see blacks’ progress as an insult or a diminishment of their status is not entirely surprising. Zero-sum formulations of prejudice tend to emerge in lean economic times, fueling cultural or historical rivalries of all sorts. I have a hunch that if the study had included questions about whether whites feel threatened by “reverse racism” among Asians, Latinos and immigrants, the results would be much the same. Those perceptions notwithstanding, data show that white Americans remain the most privileged human beings on the planet.
Karl Sauvant: A growing number of Chinese and Indian firms have become sufficiently competitive to become important players in the global market for foreign direct investment (FDI). Their FDI outflows have risen substantially during the past decade. Even during the recent economic crisis, when world FDI outflows dropped by 50 percent, China's outflows did not decline. In fact, in 2010, Chinese mainland's $68 billion of FDI outflows (more than the average world FDI flows during the first half of the 1980s) made it the world's fourth largest outward investor.
THE NATION (The Notion Blog)—May 24
Patricia Williams: Unfortunately, what has unfolded is not that simple. The international media frenzy has all but obliterated any space for a presumption of innocence; and it has relentlessly impugned both Strauss-Kahn and his accuser in broad, vulgar stereotypes—not only about sex, but about wealth, Guinean colonials, socialism, fame, French masculinity, American Puritanism, Muslim women, Jewish identity and Africans as bearers of HIV. It will be very hard to see justice done against a backdrop of so much roiling passion, rumor-mongering and pure projection.
NEW YORK TIMES (Green Wire)—May 25
"There's been a certain amount of academic discourse on some of these issues, and certainly at the U.N. climate negotiations there is some talk of them, but the General Assembly hasn't taken any action on these questions," noted Michael Gerrard, head of the Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia Law School.
Coverage of the conference was also featured in The Economist, Voice of America, Islands Business here and here, the Philadelphia Inquirer, and on Radio Australia, State of the Planet,, the Bahamas Weekly.
Brains, prestige, writing achievements and practical skills-law professors are the total package. So how is CLS's Careers in Law Teaching Program helping its students prepare for these rigorous standards? "One of the purposes of the program is to prepare our graduates for the market while they're still students . . . so when they leave Columbia they can continue their scholarly work, and will also be familiar with the mechanics of the hiring system," says CLS professor Carol Sanger, who with Professors Vincent Blasi and Jamal Greene oversees the Careers in Law Teaching Program.
Recently, an interesting (and exhaustive) new effort in examining fair redistricting has been launched by Columbia Law School. Called, the project includes online maps of student efforts to create non-partisan redistricting plans (that comply with all state and federal laws, as well as the principles behind the Voting Rights Act) for every state in the U.S. (including Hawaii).
Columbia University environmental law professor Michael Gerrard echoes Parenteau's prediction about Texas's court challenge being a steep uphill climb where odds favor EPA's irrefutable proof. "Overturning the endangerment finding would mean finding that EPA did not have a solid basis" for its decision, said Gerrard, director of the university's Center for Climate Change Law, in an interview. "EPA has heaped up enormous volumes of evidence on one side. The evidence on the other side is exceedingly thin.”
Far too many workers have no choice but to take minimum wage jobs, no choice that is, but to live in poverty. New research out of Columbia University's law school lays out the sorry details of the minimum wage workers' very serious situation, one that should never be tolerated in a country with such riches as ours.
"If it was given as hush money to prevent the eruption of a scandal that would disturb his campaign, then you can treat it as a campaign contribution," says Richard Briffault, a Columbia Law School professor and campaign-finance expert. "But if it was just seen as a personal matter to help him out in dealing with a difficult personal matter, then it was a gift."
Consumers, having already shed some of their debts and pulled back in their use of credit, are no longer turning to bankruptcy in droves, experts said. So far this year filings are down 8.4% compared to the first five months of 2010, which likely signals an end of the flood of bankruptcies that took place in the recession and slow recovery. “The worst is behind us,” said Ronald Mann, a law professor at Columbia University.
A similar item appeared in the San Diego Union-Tribune.
John Coffee, a securities law professor at Columbia University … offers views on a report that Goldman Sachs Group Inc. received a subpoena from the Manhattan District Attorney's office seeking information on the firm's activities leading into the credit crisis.
Jeffrey Gordon: Even if your particular fund seems reasonably conservative and is part of a large mutual-fund group, the system of money funds is fragile and susceptible to systemic disruption. Just as in September 2008, if a single large fund suffers a credit loss and "breaks the buck," all funds will be at immediate risk of investor runs.
Matthew Waxman: One thing dictators do well -- or they don't remain dictators for long -- is guard against internal threats. For four decades, Qaddafi bought off tribal and military leaders, put his relatives in leadership positions, played rival factions against one another, and established overlapping military units to make sure no single division could carry out a coup by itself. Spies penetrated every military unit and elite government circles, reporting any rumor of dissent. Most importantly, Qaddafi killed, tortured, and jailed -- loyalty had its rewards, while dissent was savagely punished.
Katherine Franke: At a minimum, Columbia should have waited to enter into a new agreement with the Navy until after DADT had been fully repealed and the military had agreed to adopt non-discrimination policies that conform to those adopted by Columbia University, including protections against sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination.

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