LOS ANGELES TIMES – June 1 You can't fix the death penalty By James S. Liebman “Californians will vote this fall on an initiative to abolish the death penalty. Proponents of the measure say it is necessary because capital punishment is too costly. Opponents argue that costs can be cut by streamlining the system. But whether one is for or against capital punishment, trying to make the process cheaper and quicker is a terrible — and dangerous — idea.”
MSN NEWS – June 4 Jagdish Bhagwati, Padma Lakshmi among Indians honoured Columbia University ProfessorJagdish Bhagwatiamong the 19 people of Indian-origin who were awarded for their significant contribution to their communities and native India The second annual ''Light of India'' awards is a platform created to recognise excellence and exemplary achievement of Indians living abroad.
THE NEW YORK TIMES – June 5 Same-Sex Marriage Issue Moves Closer to Justices “These two decisions amount to a major step in the national conversation about marriage rights for same-sex couples and in the development of the law,” saidSuzanne B. Goldberg, a professor atColumbia Law School. “It would be shocking if the Supreme Court sidestepped both of them.”
PROPUBLICA – June 5 Dissecting Obama’s Standard on Drone Strike Deaths “Any military official will tell you your precision is only as good as your intelligence sources and your intelligence analysis,” said Naureen Shah, associate director of the Counterterrorism and Human Rights Project at Columbia Law School. “How much do we really know about Somalia and Yemen and Pakistan? We have errors in targeting in Afghanistan and we've been there for a decade."
THE NATION – June 6 How Our Genetic Maps Are Being Sold to the Highest Bidder By Patricia J. Williams “Who owns our bodies? One of the weirder cases exploring this bioethical question involved South Carolinian John Wood, whose leg was amputated after an airplane crash in 2004. Wanting to be buried “whole” eventually, he had the leg embalmed and placed it in a storage unit with other belongings.”
VERDICT – June 6 Some Reflections on the Texas Pre-Abortion Ultrasound Law, a Year After Its Passage Indeed, Carol Sanger has argued that by forcing a woman to look at a picture of her fetus, the government is forcibly placing her into the moral role of mother to that fetus, when she has decided not to occupy that role at all.
WNYC NEWS BLOG – June 7 After Conviction of Mom and Grandmother in Tot’s Death, Focus to Shift to Girl’s Caseworkers Jane Spinak, professor of law at Columbia University, said that whatever happens with Adams and Bell could have an effect on child welfare agencies across the country — and not necessarily a positive one. “It could embolden other prosecutors to pursue caseworkers in similar kinds of situations,” Spinak said. “That may not be good for most children who are in the child welfare system and for most people who are trying to do the right thing as caseworkers in that system.”
ARTICLE 3 – June 8 Does the Story of Los Tocayos Prove that a State Has Executed an Innocent Man? Despite Justice Scalia’s confident assertion in a 2006 case that “capital cases are given especially close scrutiny at every level,” an investigation byColumbia Law school professor James Liebman and his students suggests to the contrary that there is in fact “a lot of error in capital cases.” [Note: The Columbia Human Rights Law Review story, Los Tocayos Carlos, continues to receive media coverage.]
THE HUFFINGTON POST – June 8 Same-Sex Marriage Support Growing In New Poll, Experts Say Personal Knowledge Of Gays May Play Role "The poll confirms what we have known for some time," said Suzanne Goldberg, a professor at Columbia Law Schoolwho specializes in sexuality and gender law. "American attitudes about gay and lesbian people and about marriage equality for same sex couples have been changing consistently and quickly and the arc bends towards equality."
BLOOMBERG – June 10 We Need a Watchdog for all the New Watchdogs Ira Millstein, chairman of Columbia Law School’s Center for Global Markets and Corporate Ownership, will be the risk council’s legal adviser.
THE NEW REPUBLIC – June 11 The Supreme Court Has a Legitimacy Crisis, But Not For the Reason You Think But a new study by Nathaniel Persily of Columbia Law School and Stephen Ansolabehere of Harvard suggests that the relationship between the Court’s declining approval ratings and increased perceptions of the Court’s partisanship may be more complicated than the New York Times and the Chief Justice suggest.
THE LOS ANGELES TIMES – June 11 Pentagon to soon deploy pint-sized but lethal Switchblade drones The Switchblade drone appears to be an improvement as an alternative to traditional drone strikes, in terms of minimizing civilian harm, but it also raises new concerns, saidNaureen Shah, associate director of the Counterterrorism and Human Rights Project atColumbia Law School. She pointed out that when a drone strike is being considered there are teams of lawyers, analysts and military personnel looking at the data to determine whether lethal force is necessary. But the Switchblade could shorten that "kill chain."
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL – June 11 High Court Won't Hear 7 Guantanamo Appeals "It could be read as a real poke in the Supreme Court's eye," said Columbia law professor Matthew Waxman, who was a top detainee-affairs official in the George W. Bush administration. "But that rhetoric aside," by refusing to hear detainee appeals, the justices may be saying they are "comfortable with how the D.C. Circuit has been filling in many of the details the Supreme Court left open in Boumediene."
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL – June 12 Hedge Fund Falls Short in Bid for New York Bill “It certainly is unusual for a state legislature to pass a statute solely for the purpose of resolving a preexisting commercial dispute. Usually, it makes a lot more sense for courts to decide disputes based on the law that existed at the time of the transaction,” said Professor Ronald Mann, a Columbia Law School professor specializing in commercial finance.
BUZZFEED – June 12 Leaks Could Sink Obama White House “Depending on how these investigations go, they can end up being very time consuming and debilitating for the White House and for other senior officials," said Matthew Waxman, a former Bush administration official who currently co-chairs Columbia University Law School's national security program. "These can be extremely time consuming for senior staff around them, and they can amount to a significant distraction."
THE LOS ANGELES TIMES – June 13 Justices may take up Montana campaign finance case addressing two-track system "The real impact of Citizens United," said Columbia University law professor Richard Briffault, has been to legalize "the unlimited use of private wealth in elections.... You haven't seen nearly as much business or corporate money as people expected. Most corporations are not eager to be involved in an obvious ways."
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL – June 14 Nasdaq Claims Strong Defense "What you're talking about is essentially a failure of a public utility," said John Coffee, a professor with Columbia Law School."It's the equivalent of suing the phone company because the lines went down and you couldn't call an ambulance."
HARVARD LAW SCHOOL (BLOG) – June 14 JPMC, Dimon, Hedging, and Volcker By Jeffrey Gordon “I think that folks are missing the implications of the JPMorgan Chase (JPMC) London losses, including FDIC board member Thomas Hoenig in this Monday’s Wall Street Journal. The JPMC situation illustrates the problems that derive from the shift in “banking” from a limited form of credit intermediation, namely, commercial banking, into the general form of credit intermediation, including methods that used to be the province of investment banks.”
LAW FARE – June 14 Switchblade: Unmanned Close Air Support or “Drone Strike”? But toward the end of the piece a contrary note is sounded by Naureen Shah (associate director of the Counterterrorism and Human Rights Project at Columbia Law School), who framed the question in terms of a comparison to the use of Predators and Reapers to carry out targeted strikes on specific individuals. She pointed out that when a drone strike is being considered there are teams of lawyers, analysts and military personnel looking at the data to determine whether lethal force is necessary.
THE GUARDIAN – June 15 Former Goldman Sachs director Rajat Gupta guilty of leaking insider secrets John Coffee, Adolf A Berle professor of law at Columbia Law School, said: "Even in the Rajaratnam case where there was more of a 'smoking gun' the jury took 12 days," he said. Coffee said Gupta's legal team had mounted an "impressive" defence against a case that he said many prosecutors would have been reluctant to bring.
NEW TIMES (BLOG) – June 15 How Rick Scott Can Get Away With Raking In Millions in Unlimited Contributions Columbia Law School Professor Richard Briffault explains that the groups get around the traditional contribution limits by at least claiming to advocate for particular issues.
THE DAILY BEAST – June 14 Rajat Gupta Was Found Guilty of Insider Trading in Less Than a Day Noting that the jury in the Rajaratnam trial took 12 days to find him guilty after a prosecution case full of “smoking hot evidence,” Columbia University Law Professor John Coffee said he was a little surprised by the swiftness of the split verdict against Gupta since much of the case was circumstantial evidence, rather than direct testimony from co-conspirators.
THE NEW YORK TIMES – June 18 Clemens Found Not Guilty of Lying About Drug Use Daniel Richman, a former federal prosecutor who teaches criminal law at Columbia University, said the jurors who reached a verdict Monday most likely did not buy the government’s argument that what it cast as Mr. Clemens’s lies to Congress were so grave as to deserve prison time.
WORLD POLICY BLOG – June 18 'Collateral Damage': Losing the War with al-Qaida Just as Columbia Law Professor James Liebman’s studies have shown how many innocent people have been executed and incarcerated after trials in the U.S. …
THE NEW YORK TIMES – June 19 Free Speech for Computers? By Tim Wu “Do machines speak? If so, do they have a constitutional right to free speech? This may sound like a fanciful question, a matter of philosophy or science fiction. But it’s become a real issue with important consequences.”
THE NEW YORK REVIEW OF BOOKS – June 21 China: Politics as Warfare Columbia Law School’s Benjamin L. Liebman, in his chapter on populist legality, states from the outset that “legal reforms have not imposed significant restraints on the party-state.”
MARKETWATCH – June 25 IPO rules after Facebook focus of hearing Tuesday Columbia Law School Prof. John Coffee, who is scheduled to testify before the committee, told MarketWatch that he plans to argue that the Facebook IPO indicates to him that there is a Reg FD “loophole the size of the Arc de Triomphe” relating to the so-called road shows — where executives for companies looking to go public meet prospective investors and analysts in various cities to pitch the stock and also take questions about the offering.
THE LOS ANGLES TIMES – June 26 After winning right to spend, political groups fight for secrecy “Disclosure is the one area where [conservatives] haven't won,” said Richard Briffault, an election law professor at Columbia Law School. “This is the next frontier for them.”
THE WASHINGTON POST – June 26 Court rules agency is ‘unambiguously correct’ in using law to curb global warming gases Michael Gerrard, directorof the Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia University, said no one expected the “complete slam dunk” issued by the court Tuesday, and said the decision was exceeded in importance only by the Supreme Court ruling five years ago.
THE NEW YORK TIMES (DEALBOOK) – June 26 Money Market Industry’s Resistance May Hurt Companies The industry also ignores possible compromises. Jeffrey N. Gordon of Columbia Law School said in a submission to the Senate that it would be possible to have two classes of shares, one fixed at a dollar and the other floating, which would allow investors to choose.
FORBES.COM – June 26 Eben Moglen: Time To Apply The First Law Of Robotics To Our Smartphones But now we’ve nearly reached that date. And according to free software pioneer, futurist and activist Eben Moglen, that fundamental law of robot ethics has yet to be coded into the most ubiquitous bots in our lives: our smartphones.
BLOOMERG BNA – June 27 D.C. Circuit Decision Upholds EPA Greenhouse Gas Regulations in Entirety The court’s decision, which upheld EPA’s regulations in their entirety, was “a resounding affirmation” of the agency’s greenhouse gas program, Michael Gerrard, director of the Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia Law School, told BNA June 26.
LAW.COM – June 28 Sandberg Joins Facebook Board, But Women Directors Are Still Rare Sandberg’s appointment highlights some tension among corporate governance scholars, according to Robert Jackson, associate professor at Columbia Law School. Jackson, who was an advisor to senior officials at the U.S. Treasury Department before joining Columbia Law School, acknowledged that, in general, corporate governance scholars don’t think it’s a good thing to have insiders on the board, and they encourage the chairman and CEO to be separate people.
The Supreme Court Decision on the Affordable Care Act
The Supreme Court Decision on the Affordable Care Act
The June 28, 2012 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold key provisions of the Affordable Care Act generated considerable demand for analysis and commentary from Columbia Law School faculty, with inquiries coming from local, national, and international media.
If the White House is hoping to clamp down on leaks, they might want to take a few tips from their colleagues at the Supreme Court. Not only do we have no idea how the court will rule on the Affordable Care Act, we're not even sure when the decision will be released. How do they keep their decisions so secret?Jamal Greene is an associate professor of law at Columbia Law School and former clerk to Justice John Paul Stevens.
In advance of the Supreme Court's ruling on the Obama health care law, Renee Montagne talks to Jamal Greene — associate professor at Columbia Law Schooland former clerk for Justice John Paul Stevens — about how the Supreme Court thinks through momentous cases.
But not everyone agrees. Gillian Metzger, the vice dean ofColumbia Law School, cautions that the implications for the law will be "hard to gauge, as many states may opt to go forward with the expansion."
Michael Graetz, a professor of tax law at Columbia Law School, said he wasn't particularly surprised by the outcome, which was actually predicated on a rejection of the administration's characterization of its own health care plan.
Chief Justice John Roberts is not very popular among law professors. That’s partly because most of us are liberal and simply disagree with him ideologically. But it goes deeper than that. The bigger knock on Roberts has been that he’s a hypocrite.
"Reading between the lines of the opinions today, it's clear Congress still has broad power to regulate interstate commerce,"saidAbbe Gluck, a professor at Columbia Law School, in an email. "But there are five votes to draw the line at that authority when Congress tries to make people buy things they are not already buying."
Dr. Perri Klassis a professor of pediatrics and journalism at New York University.Nate Persily is a professor of law and political science at Columbia University. Todd Zwillich is the Washington correspondent for The Takeaway. Pamela Brieris the president and CEO of Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn.
Gillian Metzger, vice dean and professor at Columbia Law School:
“Chief Justice Roberts’ opinion for the Court upholding the individual mandate as a tax, although rejecting it under the commerce power, will no doubt stand one of the most important acts of his tenure on the Court. By so ruling, he sustained major federal legislation decades in the making, while also underscoring that Congress’s regulatory power is not unlimited and the Court’s central role in enforcing the Constitution. This was a paradigmatic statesmanlike decision, one that will help preserve the Court’s institutional stature.”
Michael Graetz (Columbia): “Interestingly, the four dissenters did not claim that imposing such a tax on the failure to purchase health insurance would be unconstitutional. Instead they relied on the constitutional significance of Congress calling the fee a penalty, not a tax. Justice Roberts insisted that this Congressional label was not relevant in assessing the provision’s constitutionality. In a twist, however, Justice Roberts held that the congressional label was determinative in deciding whether the Anti-Injunction Act—a statute which bars lawsuits challenging taxes before the time for their collection—applied, a holding with which the four dissenters agreed.”
Jamal Greene, Columbia Law School associate professor of law who clerked for Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens. Also clerked for federal appeals court Judge Guido Calabrese. “This is a very significant day for the court and especially for the legacy of Chief Justice Roberts. For everyone who has ever said the court is solely political, he can say he bucked the entire Republican Party establishment in a very big case. He can say he vindicated his principle of deference to the political branches and not engaging in what some would call judicial activism. That said, there are a number of surprising developments here.”
“Chief Justice Roberts’ opinion in the health-care cases achieved what might have seemed an impossible result: claims of success from all sides, other than from Anti-Injunction Act aficionados. Most obviously, the mandate stands, and the President’s signature healthcare legislation is upheld. But by denying Congress the power to impose the mandate on commerce power grounds, Roberts sanctioned the inactivity-activity distinction advanced by the mandate’s challengers. And by holding that states who don’t want to expand Medicaid don’t have to, the opinion offers solace to states who resented having to substantially increase their Medicaid rolls.”
Now, one of them, Haussman, is back, this time joined byColumbia law professor Charles Sabeland a bevy of researchers working with the Inter-American Development Bank, to test the theory. Their book, Export Pioneers in Latin America (available free in PDF format), a collection of readable case studies ranging from the fresh-cut flower industry in Colombia to animal vaccines in Uruguay to generic TV programming in Argentina, identify a very different barrier to pioneers: The difficulty of creating from scratch the complex business ecology needed to support modern industry.
By Jack Balkin: The Justice Department, however, argued that the mandate was a tax from the outset. … But a few Justice Department officials asked me, Andrew Pincus at Mayer Brown, andGillian Metzger and Trevor Morrison of Columbia Law School to write an amicus brief on the tax issues to bolster the argument, just in case it was necessary.
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