The year 2011 proved to be an active one for legislation affecting corrections and parole. In addition to the closure of seven prisons and the merger of the Department of Correctional Services and Division of Parole, the legislative season included amendments that require the Parole Board to adopt risk assessment "procedures" that focus on the extent of an individual's rehabilitation and her or his likelihood of success after release.
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LEDGER-ENQUIRER – September 1
Georgia Redistricting Battle Will Move to the Courts
Nathaniel Persily, a Columbia University law professor who specializes in voting rights and helped redraw Georgia's maps after the courts rejected state Democrats' 2001 plan, said Republicans generally focus on 50 percent as a magic number. He said Democrats and the Justice Department support a more flexible standard, aimed at minorities' ability to elect their preferred candidates.
FOX4KC – September 2
Fifty Economists Ask Obama to “Step Up” On Trade
The letter was drafted by Jagdish Bhagwati, a professor at Columbia University, and signed by economists based in the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia, Singapore and Japan, as well as three former trade ministers and a former president of Mexico, Ernesto Zedillo.
In the 10 years since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, there has been no shortage of books exploring the effect the events had on our lives. There are books about the effect on our laws, politics and culture, but which ones best explore the post-9/11 world?
For an answer, we asked five experts: Richard K. Betts, Columbia University political science professor and director of the Arnold A. Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies; Michael Doyle, Columbia Law School foreign and security policy professor; Patrick Doherty, deputy director of the New America Foundation’s national security studies program; David Siddhartha Patel, Cornell University assistant professor of government; and Theodore Lowi,Cornell University professor of American institutions.
"There is some protection for speech that might lead the listener to infer that you were going to downgrade," said John Coffee, a Columbia University securities-law professor, who has studied ratings firms and taken part in congressional hearings on credit ratings regulation.
These are not idle questions, as Michael Gerrard, director of the Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia University, learned first-hand during a recent visit to the Marshall Islands, a former U.S. territory that gained its independence in 1986. The threatened nation's 30-mile-long, dog-leg shaped capital island of Majuro sits on the rim of an extinct volcano and is flanked by the Pacific Ocean on one side and a lagoon on the other.
“A provincial body cannot afford the costs of national enforcement,” said John Coffee, a law professor at Columbia University in New York. “It would be like asking the New York State Attorney General to handle all securities fraud cases in the United States.”
In his Environmental Law column, Michael B. Gerrard, a professor at Columbia Law School, and senior counsel to Arnold & Porter, analyzes recent legislation recreating a one-stop, state program for permitting electric generating facilities while preempting local requirements. But the new statute differs from its predecessor in several important ways.
“The trick is to create deterrents and accountability in the system,” says Harvey Goldschmid, a former S.E.C. commissioner who is a professor at Columbia Law School. “You don’t do it if you’re soft on individuals.”
Many of us remember when the U.S. Department of Justice broke up the old telephone monopoly. As Tim Wu describes it in his compelling history The Master Switch, the breakup of the Bell system unleashed a powerful round of innovation. We enjoy the fruits of that innovation today.
John Coffee, a Columbia Law School professor, said Holwell was a conservative judge unlikely to be swayed by pressure from prosecution or defence. But he said the hedge fund manager could still face 20 years in jail. “Many insider dealing cases are people who stumble over a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. This fellow was out seeking insiders across Wall Street. He was a professional, doing this professionally.”
When asked about Libya, Matthew Waxman, an expert on national-security law at Columbia University Law School, said, “The constitutional lines defining the president’s authority to use military force without congressional authority have never been clearly defined and remain subject to substantial debate.”
“Are they suggesting that galleries go into the studios of artists and say, ‘you can’t do that because that might not be fair use and we might lose a lot of money?” wondered Columbia University law Professor Philippa Loengard. “Do they have to have insurance? Are they supposed to demand changes to work before exhibiting, a sort of pre-exhibit review?”
THE CHRONICLE OF HIGHER EDUCATION – September 18
Fear of Repression Spurs Scholars and Activists to Build Alternate Internets One of the participants is Eben Moglen, a professor at Columbia Law School who has built an encryption device and worries about a recent attempt by Wisconsin politicians to search a professor's e-mail. The summit's goal is not just to talk about the projects, but also to connect with potential financial backers, recruit programmers, and brainstorm approaches to building parallel Internets and social networks.
“I think it is inevitable that courts will have to do something more than simply ask jurors not to look at what is available to them every time they turn on the computer,” said Suzanne B. Goldberg, a professor at Columbia Law School.
The sentences for Goffer and Jiau are more severe than in typical insider-trading cases where a defendant gets and trades on information only once, said John C. Coffee Jr., a professor at Columbia Law School in New York.
“These were professionals engaging in this as their regular course of business,” Coffee said. “They went about it systematically.”
A Ponzi scheme generally refers to a fraud in which existing investors are paid with funds supplied by newer ones, until the money stops flowing in and the scam collapses.
"Ponzi scheme is certainly the term du jour these days," said Daniel Richman, a professor at Columbia Law School. "If you want to drive home the point of taking people's money and not giving it back and sustaining it through later deposits, using the word Ponzi captures it."
Nathaniel Persily, a Columbia University law professor whose work was quoted in the opinion, has said the Voting Rights Act is living on "borrowed time."
"This decision is a shooting of the starting gun in the race to have Section 5 declared unconstitutional," Persily said. He expects the case to reach the Supreme Court, which upheld the Voting Rights Act in 2009 in a case that largely avoided the constitutional issues raised in the Shelby County case.
The SEC’s Regulation FD, which stands for fair disclosure and bars corporate officers from revealing market-moving information to favored investors before general dissemination, doesn’t apply to conversations between rating firms and investors because the analysts aren’t providing information about their own companies, said John Coffee, a law professor at Columbia University in New York.
“Every politician has to make a decision: Is the embarrassment factor so great that it would outweigh the actual value of the donation?” mused Richard Briffault, a law professor and campaign finance scholar at Columbia University.
Since the FCC is relying on its ancillary powers instead of reclassifying broadband as a Tier II service (similar to telephone landlines), those challenges could actually meet with success. If you need a refresher, just check out or guide to net neutrality as well as our interview with advocate and law professor Tim Wu. Now, we just have to wait and see what tomorrow will bring.
John Coffee, a law professor at Columbia University, also cautioned that a class action on behalf of phone-hacking victims in the UK would face hurdles in the US. "The injuries are just too diverse and variable for this to be susceptible to class treatment."
No matter how far in advance an offer comes, schools pressure students to never, ever turn it down or even ask for time to consider it. Hesitating — let alone declining — is considered disrespectful, if not insulting, and can damage an entire law school’s reputation in the clerkship market.
“The consequences are definitely felt by the school more so than the student,” said Daniel Richman, a law professor and faculty clerkship adviser at Columbia Law School.
In his book, Does God Belong in Public Schools? (2005), constitutional expert and Columbia Law School professor Kent Greenawalt argues that students ought to be taught more about religion—both its contributions and shortcomings—especially in courses in history. “To do otherwise,” he writes, “is to present a seriously distorted picture of society and indirectly to be other than neutral in presenting secularism and religion.”
Columbia University law professor John Coffee, director of the law school's Center of Corporate Governance, said the company is moving swiftly and powerfully to contain the threat.
"The most striking feature of the current standoff is that News Corp. has pretty much assembled a dream team of all-star foreign corrupt practice litigators," Coffee said. "You don't put all that investment into this without having some serious concerns about what might happen."
“There is no indication that the CFPB will act irresponsibly in what they share with attorneys general,” James Tierney, a former Maine attorney general who is director of the National State Attorneys General Program at Columbia University. “Statements to the contrary are no more than saber-rattling in order to frighten clients and markets.”
A prominent environmental attorney and Columbia University law professor questioned what effect, if any, the report would have on global warming policy or the more than a dozen lawsuits filed by manufacturers, refiners, the state of Texas and others challenging the EPA's finding.
Michael Gerrard said that while lawyers and politicians would try to use the report to fight EPA regulations, the scientific case for global warming has only gotten stronger.
"I think it would have considerable significance," said Michael Gerrard, director of the Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia Law School. "A decision such as requested would greatly help the bargaining position of the small island states."
Material information about an investigation and search warrant can be obtained ahead of a public disclosure without breaching insider-trading rules, according to John Coffee, a securities-law professor at Columbia University in New York.
“People around courthouses aren’t always quiet, there’s a lot of gossip in the hallways,” Coffee said yesterday in a phone interview. “If it’s mere gossip, and someone hears it, they’re basically free to trade.”