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April 2013

April 1-8

The New Yorker – April 1
David Pozen, a Columbia University law professor, recently estimated that fewer than three in a thousand leak cases are prosecuted; he noted that the true rate, if all violations could be counted reliably is probably “far closer to zero.” One reason is that subpoenaing journalists attracts negative publicity. Since 1973, Justice Department guidelines have prohibited such subpoenas except as a last resort, and only with the Attorney General’s approval. Another reason, as Pozen argues, in a forthcoming Harvard Law Review article, I that leaks serve the purpose of one faction of government or another, including the Office of the President.
 
Bloomberg – April 1
“Steinberg is another domino that has fallen in a path that leads to a central person at SAC,” said John C. Coffee Jr., a professor at Columbia Law School in New York. “He’s one of the few that had direct communications with Cohen.”
 
Similar articles appeared in other publications.
 
The Wall Street Journal – April 2
If aged drinkers view this as a privacy invasion, legal experts say it isn't. (You can skip the beer.) Then again, some bars card geezers hoping it will aid their defense if they get caught serving anyone underage; it won't. Vincent Blasi, 70, a Columbia Law School torts specialist, calls it "a comical overreaction to remote threats of liability."
 
Fox Business – April 2
Columbia Law School Professor Robert Jackson on CEOs that often see a rise in compensation or large severance packages.
 
Climate Central – April 2
In a report examining the legal implications of increased U.S. coal exports, the Columbia Law School notes that GHG emissions are not just a national issue. “Because the impacts of CO2 emissions are global in nature, it makes no difference from a climate change perspective whether coal mined in Wyoming is consumed in Chicago or Shanghai,” it says.
 
JD Journal – April 3
In the fall of 2013, Stanford Law School, New York University School of Law and Columbia Law School are maxing their contributions to a government matching plan called the Yellow Ribbon program. The program gives veterans who qualify additional money to supplement benefits from the GI Bill®.
 
Corporate Counsel – April 3
India only began implementing patents in 1995, but compounds that predated India's patent system were not eligible for patent protection in India. That meant Novartis could only apply for a patent on the newer secondary cancer drug, said Bhaven Sampat, a professor at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health who is also affiliated with Columbia Law School.
 
WOMENSENEWS – April 3
On the sideline of an April 2 conference hosted by Columbia University Law School, Shirin Ebadi, who in 2003 became the first Muslim woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize, briefly discussed the consequences of the Arab uprisings on women with Women's eNews. The Iranian lawyer's answers were translated from Persian by her translator Shirin Ershadi.
 
The New York Times – April 3
Before the Skilling ruling, said Daniel C. Richman, a law professor at Columbia University, the law’s flexibility “allowed prosecutors to pursue corruption without nailing down who was bribed and when.” The more recent charges, including those announced this week, take care to make the bribery allegations explicit, which can only help the government’s case, Professor Richman added.
 
NY1 – April 3
Officers did more than 4 million stop and frisks across the city between 2004 and last year, according to what Columbia professor Jeffrey Fagan told a judge in the trial of the New York City Police Department's stop-and-frisk program. Fagan was called as an expert by lawyers representing people who said they've been illegally stopped, questioned and frisked. Fagan said that in more than half the stop, question and frisk forms he examined, police checked off furtive movements as the reason for a stop.
 
The New York Daily News – April 4
Appearing as an “expert” for the activists who have challenged the tactic, Columbia University Prof. Jeffrey Fagan said he analyzed reports on 4.4 million stops and concluded that cops:
l Stated valid reasons for 82% of the stops.
l Did not supply enough information to determine whether stops were within bounds in 12% of the reports.
l Failed to justify 6% of stops.
Repeat: Taking their best shot, the challengers’ top authority certified that, based on the reports, the cops were clearly right in more than eight out of 10 stops and had a documentable error rate of only 6%.
 
The New York Daily News – April 4
Columbia Law Prof. Jeffrey Fagan had argued cops recovered a minuscule number of guns and weapons after reviewing 4.4 million stops — roughly 1%. But during her cross-examination, city lawyer Brenda Cooke said the percentages were actually higher.
 
The New York Times Dealbook – April 4
Trevor W. Morrison, a Columbia Law School professor and constitutional law scholar, will be the next dean of New York University School of Law, the president of N.Y.U. announced on Thursday. Mr. Morrison will succeed Richard L. Revesz, whose 11-year tenure will end on May 31.
 
The Wall Street Journal – April 4
John Coffee, a law professor at Columbia Law School, says that the lack of evidence of criminal fraud is a helpful sign for Mr. Corzine's future, but that he doesn't expect the financier to work on Wall Street again.
 
The Los Angeles Times – April 4
John Coffee, a professor at Columbia University's law school, said a shorter sentence for Skilling won't influence the actions of other corporate wrongdoers. "Most other corporate CEOs don't say, 'Good, I can get six years instead of life,'" he said. "Anything beyond a year in prison is inconceivable to a high-status corporate executive."
 
The Wall Street Journal MarketWatch – April 5
John Coffee, a Columbia Law School professor, told me he thinks Taylor should receive a prison sentence of about two years. That’s what former Goldman director Rajat Gupta received after his conviction on insider-trading charges last year. “If Gupta, the director, gets two years, I wouldn’t expect this junior employee to get more than two years,” he said.
 
The Huffington Post – April 5
On Wednesday and Thursday the plaintiffs put an expert witness on the stand, Professor Jeffrey Fagan of Columbia University, who studied four million of the random NYPD stop and frisks of New York City residents. Fagan is the professor that concluded the stops were based on race and ultimately unconstitutional.
 
The Week – April 5
David Pozen, a law professor at Columbia, has analyzed every government leak prosecution since 1917, when the Espionage Act was signed into law. Out of thousands of leaks, only a dozen-odd prosecutions have made it to trial phase. (The current administration is responsible for half of those, almost all directed against low-level bureaucrats or whistleblowers.)
 
The New York Times – April 7
Mr. Brennan’s criterion for capture — when it is “feasible” — is a very subjective judgment, said Matthew C. Waxman, a former Defense Department official who is now at Columbia Law School. “Those simple statements about a preference to capture mask a much more complicated story,” Mr. Waxman said. “The U.S. military and intelligence community can do a great deal if they’re directed to do it. Sometimes where we say it’s infeasible, we mean it’s too risky.”
 
The Boston Globe – April 7
As dean of the Columbia University Law School, David Schizer spends a lot of his time trying to convince potential donors to help pay for new facilities, professorships, and financial aid. He has proven very adept at it so far, having overseen several of the law school’s best fund-raising years in history. In his success, Schizer sees a straightforward lesson for the government: Give people what they want, and tell them what they’re getting.
 
The New York Daily News – April 7
James Tierney, a former Maine attorney general who is now a lecturer at Columbia Law School, said he doesn’t believe allowing Castro to run while under sealed indictment violates any rules of prosecutorial ethics. Ultimately, the choice for prosecutors came down to barring someone who perjured himself from continuing in office or opting “to clean up what they considered to be far more serious – a series of criminal behaviors by multiple officials.” “This was a tough call for the Department of Justice to make and they made it,” he said. “I’m not going to second-guess them. I probably would have made the same decision.”
 
NPR – April 8
Matthew Waxman, a professor at Columbia Law School, used to be a Pentagon adviser on detainee issues during the Bush administration. He says he thinks Congress' efforts to force the Obama administration's hand on detainees have backfired. Congress passed legislation in 2011 that limited the president's ability to bring detainees to the U.S. for trial. Waxman says the move has almost guaranteed that the president would do anything to avoid sending new suspects to the military base. "I think any president will be very, very reluctant to send detainees to Guantanamo because their flexibility is then substantially diminished," Waxman says. That's why, he says, the population at Guantanamo is likely to stay exactly where it is. (There are 166 detainees behind bars there now.)
 
The National Law Journal – April 8
By Vivian Berger
Few other than Orthodox Jews would recognize the word "eruv." Fewer still would recognize its physical embodiment — let alone comprehend its function. But when proponents ask a town for consent to erect one, controversy at times erupts. In recent years, Westhampton Beach, N.Y., and its neighboring communities on Long Island, Quogue and Southampton, have been caught up in a battle over whether to allow an eruv to be built within their precincts. Now, while even children in the area are likely familiar with the term, eruvin remain a focus of fear, misunderstanding and hostility among residents, including some Jews.
[Vivian Berger is a professor emerita at the Law School.]
 
Al Jazeera – April 8
Matthew Waxman - a law professor at Columbia University and fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations - told Al Jazeera people shouldn't exclude the possibility of "positive technological outcomes" for self-directed robot fighters. "The development and deployment of increasingly autonomous weapon systems is inevitable, and any attempt at a global ban will likely be ineffective," Waxman said. "Autonomous weapon systems are not inherently unlawful or unethical. Those judgments depend on how well they work, including the possibility that they reduce risk not only to soldiers but to civilians, too.
 
The Rolling Stone – April 8
Some in the U.S. contest the legality of a strike like the one Mazzetti describes. "On the facts here, Mr. Muhammad's killing would have been unlawful – even under the U.S. government's own logic and controversial legal standards," says Naureen Shah, lecturer in law at the Human Rights Institute at Columbia Law School. "He apparently wasn't a fighter in the global armed conflict against the Taliban, al Qaeda or its associated forces, and he reportedly did not pose an imminent threat to the U.S."

GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official U.S. government Web site at www.benefits.va.gov/gibill.

 

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April 9-12

Lawfare – April 9
By Matthew Waxman
Ken Anderson and I have just published a new policy paper through the Hoover Institution: Law and Ethics for Autonomous Weapon Systems: Why a Ban Won’t Work and How the Laws of War Can. Our paper begins: Public debate is heating up over the future development of autonomous weapon systems. Some concerned critics portray that future, often invoking science- fiction imagery, as a plain choice between a world in which those systems are banned outright and a world of legal void and ethical collapse on the battlefield.
 
The New York Law Journal – April 10
A panel of federal appellate judges hears arguments during the Paul Weiss Harlan Fiske Stone Moot Court Competition at Columbia Law School on April 8: from left, Judge William Fletcher of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit; Second Circuit Judge Robert Sack, and Sixth Circuit Judge Jeffrey Sutton.
 
Reuters – April 10
"Insider trading requires not only that the information be material and non-public but that you acquire it either through a breach of fiduciary duty or somehow you misappropriate it from the source," said John Coffee, a professor at Columbia law school focused on securities regulation and white-collar crime.
 
The Daily Iowan – April 10
Miller, members of his staff, and former Maine Attorney General James Tierney spoke to UI law students on Tuesday about the role and power of state attorney generals. “Some of [the bipartisanship] is because this unique job of an attorney general as Tom [Miller] pointed out,” said Tierney, now the director of National State Attorney General Program at Columbia Law School. “You have this situation of attorneys general Republican and Democrat working together, and the reason is the issues are just too important to let all this other stuff to get in the way.”
 
The Crimson – April 10
The deliberate duplicity of American intelligence agencies, or paramilitary, to be more accurate, led Senator Diane Feinstein, chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, to make the absurd assertion that the civilian casualties from drone strikes “each year has typically been in the single digits”—in direct contradiction with multiple independent researchers like the Human Rights Institute at Columbia Law School, which puts the body count of innocents in the hundreds.
 
Forbes – April 11
“Why did market participants go out of their way to create a huge political backlash,” Columbia Law School Professor Kathryn Judge asks her students, referring to Wall Street’s response to the Commodity Future Trading Commission’s (CFTC) attempt to regulate derivatives in 1998….“These courses didn’t exist ten or twenty years ago,” explained Professor Jeffrey Gordon, referring to the series of classes related to the crisis added to Columbia’s curriculum since 2008.  “The subject didn’t get a lot of attention from the legal academia because people thought that we understood systemic risk.”
 
The New York Times – April 11
On its face, there does not appear to be anything illegal about baseball — a private organization — paying witnesses, but it could haunt the league down the road as it proceeds with its lawsuit and seeks to use information it has obtained through it to discipline players, said Daniel C. Richman, a professor at Columbia Law School and a former federal prosecutor. “In the context of a lawsuit, you will have a witness’s credibility attacked if they take money from the side that calls them to give evidence,” said Richman, who added that businesses and organizations often have ethical rules pertaining to the purchase of information, particularly when it relates to an investigation.
 
The Financial Express – April 11
India will not carry any clout at the international level if it falls behind in economic growth, cautioned top international economist Jagdish Bhagwati, even as he exuded optimism about India growing at around 9 per cent with additional reforms. "India, if it falls behind significantly, will not carry any clout at all. So that translates into your economics as well," Bhagwati told the Bloomberg TV in an interview on Wednesday.
 
Bloomberg News – April 11
A successful effort in the House could push the administration to show leadership that has been lacking, said Michael Graetz, a law professor at Columbia University in New York. “If you get a major tax bill that is voted on a bipartisan basis out of the House, then I don’t see how the White House can stand idly by and watch it move over into the Senate without entering the fray,” he said.
 
Bloomberg TV – April 11
Columbia University Economics Professor Jagdish Bhagwati discusses ways to get people out of poverty on Bloomberg Television's "Taking Stock."
 
The New York Times – April 12
While not directly calling the strikes illegal under international law, the letter lists what it calls troubling reports of the criteria used by the Central Intelligence Agency and the Pentagon’s Joint Special Operations Command to select targets and assess results. The reported policies raise “serious questions about whether the U.S. is operating in accordance with international law,” the letter says. It is also signed by the Center for Civilians in Conflict and units of the New York University and Columbia Law Schools.
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April 13-19

The Futurist – April 14
In works like Who Controls the Internet? Illusions of a Borderless World, Tim Wu has written clear and incisive critiques of a whole generation's conjoining of facile to flabbergasting market libertarian/ crypto-anarchist/ neoliberal assumptions and aspirations and conceits to an irrationally exuberant, digi-utopian, techno-triumphalist hype endlessly promising an end to borders, nation-states, identities, limits-to-growth.
 
The Hindu – April 15
By Sudhir Krishnaswamy and Achal Prabhala  
On April 1, 2013, the Supreme Court upheld the Intellectual Property Appellate Board’s decision to deny patent protection to Novartis’s application covering a beta crystalline form of imatinib —the medicine Novartis brands as Glivec, and which is very effective against the form of cancer known as chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML).
[Sudhir Krishnaswamy is the Dr. B.R. Ambedkar Visiting Professor of Indian Constitutional Law at the Law School.]
 
The New York Times – April 15
The scene outside the court troubled Suzanne B. Goldberg, a law professor at Columbia and member of the Supreme Court bar. “I had never heard of paid line standers before, and I had been to all of the major gay rights arguments in the past two decades,” she said, adding that she had reluctantly used a line-standing service to see the second of the two same-sex marriage arguments last month.
 
Forbes – April 15
Columbia law professor Michael Graetz proposed to replace the income tax with a VAT (a kind of national sales tax common in the rest of the world) for most households. Only upper-income households would have to file income tax returns. Refundable tax credits would offset the regressivity of the VAT for those with low incomes.
 
The New York – April 15
By Tim Wu
In a recent T-Mobile commercial, one black-hatted outlaw breaks with the rest of his gang. “Aw,” he says, “I can’t do this anymore.” The message is not subtle. Yes, we’ve all been robbing you for years, declares T-Mobile, but at least we’ve decided we’re done with it. There’s more than rhetoric here: T-Mobile recently broke with longstanding industry norms and abandoned termination fees, sneaky overage charges, and other unfriendly practices.
 
The Wall Street Journal – April 15
Columbia University economists Jagdish Bhagwati and Arvind Panagariya believe that bad ideas and economic mismanagement are mostly responsible for India's current slowdown. In "Why Growth Matters," they trace India's economic trajectory since independence in 1947 and offer a comprehensive to-do list for reformers. At the heart of this book lies a simple message. The country's post-1991 transformation "from a basket case into a powerful engine of growth," the authors say, unambiguously proves something that many on the Indian left remain in denial about: that a rapidly expanding economy is the best antidote to poverty.
 
US News – April 15
On Tax Day 2013, Whispers has rounded up five of the stranger bills proposed in Congress that would change the tax code, and likely complicate it, too. Michael J. Graetz, a professor of tax law at Columbia University, walks us through what's inside the bills and who's behind them. What it would do: Give race car facility owners a permanent tax break. "It would make permanent the tax break that NASCAR received several years back. There's a provision in the code that gives NASCAR a special fast rate of depreciation on its race tracks, and race facilities," says Graetz. "NASCAR owners obviously asked for this."
 
The Globe and Mail – April 15
“It certainly refocuses some public attention on Guantanamo,” said Matthew Waxman, a law professor at Columbia University who is a former Pentagon adviser on detainee issues. “That said, hunger strikes, even very significant hunger strikes, have occurred there before and I doubt that this will have any significant impact on U.S. policy.”
 
Lawfare – April 16
By Matthew Waxman
Last week a group of major human rights NGOs sent this letter to the President on U.S. targeted killing practices.  It calls on the Obama administration to “publicly disclose key targeted killing standards and criteria; ensure that U.S. lethal force operations abroad comply with international law; enable meaningful Congressional oversight and judicial review; and ensure effective investigations, tracking and response to civilian harm.”
 
The Bureau of Investigative Journalism – April 18
Amnesty International, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Human Rights Watch were among the signatories to the eight-page letter, alongside the Human Rights Institute of Columbia Law School, and NYU School of Law, each of which published or co-published major reports on Obama’s use of covert drones last autumn.

Practical Ecommerce – April 18
In 2011, during an interview with NPR’s Planet Money podcast, Columbia Law School Professor Ronald Mann said that he was not certain that bitcoin would even exist in five years. If Mann’s prediction is accurate, bitcoin will only last a few more years.
 
Time – April 18
By Sarah Cleveland
The face on the most popular Carnival mask in Brazil this year isn’t of a soccer player or pop star. It’s Joaquim Benedito Barbosa Gomes, a jurist who last year presided over the country’s largest political-corruption trial and then became the first black president of Brazil’s Supreme Court. Brazilians choose masks as a sign of honor.
 
The Blog of Legal Times – April 19
And that speculation is exactly why Wheeler suggests more disclosure in the pre-nomination process for the federal bench. He says the country should consider the proposal by Columbia Law School’s Michael Shenkman, a former Senate Judiciary staffer who later worked in the Obama administration.
 
Thomas Reuters – April 19
The FDA's decision provides a roadmap for other brand drugmakers seeking to withdraw their earlier products, said Scott Hemphill, a professor at Columbia Law School who specializes in antitrust and intellectual property law. But the argument is particularly compelling in the context of opioid painkillers, given their potential for abuse, he said. Less clear is whether the argument could be extended to other situations involving safety concerns.
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April 20-30

The Economist – April 20
By Jagdish Bhagwati and Arvind Panagariya
India needs more market liberalisation to promote economic growth. A few years ago, with its economy expanding at an annual rate of nearly 10%, there was talk of India one day rivalling China, or even overtaking it.
 
The Concord Monitor – April 22
By Tim Wu
Silicon Valley desperately needs good critics, for the tech industry represents an enormous concentration of private power and rivals government in its influence over our lives. Hence the promise of Evgeny Morozov, a onetime foreign policy expert turned tech writer, who is a talented prose stylist and a penetrating critic.
 
Bloomberg – April 22
Unforeseeable developments that would be considered a “material adverse effect,” such as representations turning out not to be true, could also let Silver Lake and CEO Dell pull out of the agreement with fewer or no penalties. Any dispute taken to court would probably result in a deal, according to Barbara Black, a law professor at Columbia University in New York. “A court could order Silver Lake to complete the deal rather than just forcing the private-equity fund to pay Dell damages,” Black said in an interview.
 
[Barbara Black is a professor emerita at the Law School.]
 
Similar articles appeared in other publications.
 
The New Republic – April 23
By Tim Wu
The future is better than you think” is the message of Peter Diamandis’s and Steven Kotler’s book. Despite a flat economy and intractable environmental problems, Diamandis and his journalist co-author are deeply optimistic about humanity’s prospects. “Technology,” they say, “has the potential to significantly raise the basic standards of living for every man, woman, and child on the planet.... Abundance for all is actually within our grasp.”
 
Salon – April 23
… Just last week a formidable group of human rights advocates and legal experts including the ACLU, Amnesty International, clinics from NYU School of Law and Columbia Law School among others, wrote to the president to challenge the “accountability and transparency” of the drone program, as well as the government’s contention that drone strikes are carefully targeted.
 
Slate – April 23
New York officials proposed Monday to raise the legal age to buy cigarettes from 18 to 21. In 47 states, the age of majority—the age at which a person has the legal rights and responsibilities of an adult—is 18. Why is 18 considered the age of adulthood?
Explainer thanks to Timothy Cole of Temple University; Elizabeth S. Scott of Columbia Law; Daniel T. Cook of Rutgers University; and Holly Brewer, author of By Birth or Consent: Children, Law, and the Anglo-American Revolution in Authority.
 
Forbes – April 24
The book by Columbia University economists Jagdish Bhagwati and Arvind Panagariya is a point-by-point rebuke of India’s doubters. Brad DeLong, for instance, is a proponent of the myth that growth was not a result of the post-1991 reforms but instead can be traced back to the  1980s. 
 
Truthout – April 24
Recent studies - one produced by Stanford Law School and New York University School of Law and the other by Columbia Law School - indicate that the US may be doing irrevocable long term damage by using these drone strikes. Each report, focused on the US drones policy in Pakistan, suggests the cultural and psychological impacts of the US drone strike policy, in the long term, could do immeasurable harm to US security interests.
 
The Sacramento Bee – April 24
"Shareholders have been demanding this information for some time," said Robert J. Jackson Jr., a law professor at Columbia University who helped write the original petition to the SEC. "It's a basic precept of American securities law that shareholders should be given the information they need to evaluate their companies."
 
Similar articles appeared in other publications.
 
Think Progress – April 24
The New Republic has just published an interesting essay by Tim Wu on the book, Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think, by tech entrepreneur Peter Diamandis and journalist Steven Kotler. The book pretty much delivers on its title, describing a future of abundance that is within our grasp, provided we seriously pursue the promise of new and emerging technologies.
 
The New York Times – April 25
John C. Coffee Jr., a Columbia Law School professor and specialist in complex litigation, said that not requiring documentary evidence “was quite unusual, but there were also special circumstances.” Still, he said, “I don’t think they realized how much of an incentive they were creating for claims to multiply. It is a little bit like putting out milk for a kitten. “The next night, you get 15 kittens.”
 
Bloomberg Business Week – April 25
Political-activity resolutions generated more shareholder votes last year than any other topic, including efforts to separate the roles of chief executive and chairman, according to a paper published this month in The Georgetown Law Journal by Lucian A. Bebchuk of Harvard Law School in Cambridge, Massachusetts and Robert J. Jackson Jr. of Columbia Law School in New York.
 
Lawfare – April 25
By Matthew Waxman
President Obama now finds his administration occupied with three WMD -related crises:  Iran, North Korea, and Syria.  The resolution of all of them will depend in part on the credibility of U.S. threats and commitments, in this case the President’s repeated statements that the use of chemical weapons would be a “red line” in his calculus about the possibility of a U.S. intervention.
 
InsideCounsel – April 25
By Paul Sarkozi, Vincent Syracuse
A recent New York Times article reported on allegations that an international law firm had overbilled a client by overstaffing a bankruptcy litigation matter. As disturbing as such allegations are, the main challenge in-house counsel face is not a pernicious “overbilling” culture at law firms that represent them.
[Paul Sarkozi is a lecturer-in-law at the Law School.]
 
The New York Law Journal – April 26
This spring, Columbia Law School announced it will increase its maximum contribution for veterans to $20,000 per student from $5,000 under Yellow Ribbon. Six veterans currently benefit from the Columbia program.
 
Reuters – April 26
By John C. Coffee Jr.
This is the heyday of institutional investor activism in proxy contests. Insurgents are running more slates and targeting larger companies. They are also enjoying a higher rate of success: 66 percent of proxy contests this year have been at least partially successful.
 
The Boston Globe – April 26
By depending too much on the prosecution to deliver relief or moral satisfaction, they say, we may be setting ourselves up to be disappointed. “People will expect the criminal process to provide that sense of catharsis, and...it won’t,” said Columbia Law School professor Daniel Richman, an expert on criminal law. “It will only provide a pale shadow of what people are looking for.”
 
The Sophian – April 27
At her third and final talk at Smith, Patricia Williams, the James L. Dohr Professor of Law at Columbia University, described this difference of perception as a manifestation of the way language in law has slowly evolved, becoming privatized and centered around the individual and the contracts (s)he makes with other members of society. 
 
The Sacramento Bee – April 28
Petitioners include deep thinkers such as law professors Lucian A. Bebchuk of Harvard and Robert Jackson of Columbia, who have led the effort, and advocates such as Public Citizen, which helped organize the petition drive.
 
The Washington Post – April 29
Columbia Law School professor Nathaniel Persily said it was hard to envision how Obama could persuade congressional Republicans to adopt any changes to the system because it “affects congressmen’s jobs, and it’s something they think they’re experts at. Reforms are seen as a zero-sum game between the parties,” Persily said.
 
NBC News – April 30
But a treaty prohibition at this time is unnecessary and "might even be counterproductive," cautions Matthew Waxman, a national security and law expert at Columbia Law School. Waxman told NBC News that he anticipates a day when robots may be better than human beings at making important decisions, especially in delicate procedures like surgeries.
 
The Washington Post – April 30
But Columbia Law School professor Nate Persily, a specialist in election law, said the prospects for any such legislation is slim. “It’s challenging to get anything through this Congress,” Persily said. “It’s even harder to get something through Congress which might affect the jobs of congressmen themselves.”
 
Climate Central – April 30
“There has been much more talk than action in rethinking coastal development. Many landowners have chosen to rebuild in place, meaning they’re willing to take the risk of another Sandy,” said Michael Gerrard, a law professor who directs Columbia University’s Center for Climate Change Law. “Few, if any, firm rules have been issued by any agency,” Gerrard said. “No announcements have been made of major changes in the siting of infrastructure. We seem to be witnessing, for the most part, a continuation of business as usual, with a twinge of anxiety and a lot of meetings.”
 
Politico – April 30
Columbia Law School professor Matthew Waxman, who served as a top Defense Department detainee official during the George W. Bush administration, said Obama’s return to moral arguments against indefinite detention was muddled by his administration’s continued support for that concept. “If you told the hunger strikers that you were going to close Guantánamo and move them to a different facility, and you’re holding them on the same legal grounds, presumably you wouldn’t actually be solving anything,” Waxman said.
 
In the Tank – April 30
What’s it like to watch the things you wrote about come true? Tim Wu asked science fiction writer Neal Stephenson on the inaugural episode of Stranger Than Fiction, Future Tense’s new six-part podcast.
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