February 2013

February 1-8

CNN Money – February 1
Thompson said he wants to “dramatically expand” the number of blog posts that the site carries with the upcoming launch of a Science and Tech section, which will feature contributions from magazine regulars like Columbia law professor Tim Wu and author Ken Auletta as well as new writers.
The National Journal – February 2
As Columbia Law School professor Matthew Waxman explains, “There is no clear legal requirement that the executive branch turn over to Congress its legal reasoning, and the executive branch always maintains a very protective stance of that kind of internal deliberation.”
Leader Post – February 2
Naureen Shah, association director of the counterterrorism and human rights project at Columbia Law School, said the criteria for a drone strike fall into two categories. So-called "personality" attacks means that the government knows the identity of the person targeted. "Signature" attacks target people whose identities are unknown but whose behaviour gives a terrorist signature. For example, they could be seen carrying a weapon or transporting, say, fertilizer that could be used in improvised explosive devices. Or they could be simply giving first aid to a victim of a drone strike.
The Boston Globe – February 3
But there’s a bigger issue, too: As Daniel Richman, a professor at Columbia Law School points out, the defining feature of laypeople is that they’re not experienced in what they’re being asked to do—and even worse, they are frequently biased in ways that would compromise their ability to make objective judgments. Richman argues that in order to be fair, the criminal justice system must treat like crimes alike—which is precisely why having a professional prosecutor keeping track of precedent and making decisions based on past practice is better than having random people come in off the street.
Huffington Post – February 4
Matthew C. Waxman, a professor at Columbia Law School who specializes in national security law and has spoken of the role of local police in anti-terrorism efforts, called counterterrorism "inherently and inevitably somewhat of a local police concern" because it's a threat to local security and because local police often have the relationships needed to uncover possible plots.
Similar articles appeared in other publications.
The McGill Daily – February 4
A new study by Columbia Law School’s Human Rights Institute estimates that for every suspected terrorist killed, there are fifty civilian deaths. The Bureau of Investigative Journalism reported that the CIA targets people surrounding the attack, in a “double-tap” method reminiscent of organizations like Hamas. These lives, and these crimes, are the true cost of “video games.”
Tax Notes – February 5
By Michael J. Graetz
You have asked all of the participants here for their ‘‘tax advice for a second Obama Administration’’— and I will surely get to that. But I want to begin by noting that this year we are celebrating — if that is the right word— the 100th anniversary of the modern U.S. income tax.
Corporate Counsel – February 5
“They need to understand that they will never be able to lock down everything or be completely free of intrusion,” addedDeMarco, who is also an adjunct professor who teaches an “Internet and Computer Crimes” seminar at Columbia Law School.
[Joseph DeMarco is a lecturer-in-law at the Law School.]
PBS NewsHour – February 5
A previously secret Justice Department memo justifies killing American citizens abroad who have high level links to al-Qaida. Gwen Ifill discusses the legal implications of the memo with Matthew Waxman of Columbia Law School and the Council on Foreign Relations, and Hina Shamsi from the ACLU's National Security Project.
NBC News – February 5
Naureen Shah, a lecturer at Columbia Law School and associate director of the Counterterrorism and Human Rights Project at the school’s Human Rights Institute, said that she was deeply troubled by the contents of the memo.
“We should be concerned when the White House is acting as judge, jury and executioner,” she said. “And there’s no one outside of the White House who has real oversight over that process. What’s put forward here is there’s no role for the courts, not even after the fact.”
Similar articles appeared in other publications.
Council on Foreign Relations – February 6, 2013
A leaked government document laying out the legal framework for "a lethal operation directed against a U.S. citizen who is a senior operational leader of al-Qa'ida or an associated force," has recharged the controversy over targeted killings of Americans. Matthew C. Waxman, adjunct senior fellow for law and foreign policy at CFR, highlights three legal considerations.
PBS Idea Lab – February 6
Drone strike data is difficult to obtain and is generally problematic in nature. This is due to several reasons, which are outlined in "Counting Deaths from Drone Strikes," published in October 2012 by The Human Rights Institute at Columbia Law School.
The American Interest – February 6
By Jagdish Bhagwati
The two Democratic leaders who have recently earned, for their achievements, the Nobel Prize for Peace, Jimmy Carter and Al Gore, are international icons. Carter introduced human rights into American foreign policy; Gore took up the cause of global warming. (President Obama, of course, also received a Nobel but can hardly be said to have earned it.)
Thomson Reuters – February 6
Enforcement agencies, after all, continue to investigate mortgage-backed securities and mortgage-referenced collateralized debt obligations. Yet critics such as securities law professor John Coffee of Columbia Law School have argued that the agencies might obtain better results if they followed the lead of the FHFA and hired private lawyers. While Coffee has focused this argument on reforming the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, he said it could also be applied to the Justice Department, which, compared to a law firm, doesn't "have the capacity to throw 30 attorneys at a case."
The Miami Herald – February 6
Miami-Dade County ranked second among the nation’s 12 largest counties in bankruptcy filings in the first month of the year, according to a report by Columbia Law School Professor Ronald Mann.
The River Reporter – February 6
Petitioners are represented by the Delaware Riverkeeper Network’s attorneys and the Environmental Law Center at Columbia Law School.
NBCNews – February 6
“It’s completely on faith,” said Naureen Shah, a lecturer at Columbia Law School and associate director of the Counterterrorism and Human Rights Project at the school’s Human Rights Institute.
“That might be something we’re willing to trust President Obama with,” she added, “but are we willing to trust the junior-level people who are actually running the show? Who are we trusting here?”
The World – February 7
And that, said Naureen Shah, tears apart the fabric of society. She’s director of the Human Rights Clinic at Columbia University Law School, and author of a report called “The Civilian Impact of Drones.”
“People are afraid of sending their children out to go to school, they’re afraid of going outside and maybe engaging with the community because of that fear. There’s a deep psychological impact on people because of the sound of drones flying overhead,” Shah said.
The Hill – February 7
By Michael L. Shenkman
“The cornerstone of the American judicial system is the trial courts,” the late Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist said, “in which witnesses testify, juries deliberate, and justice is done.” But four years of delays in nominating and confirming district judges threaten the ability of the federal trial courts to carry that weight. To keep witnesses testifying, juries deliberating, and justice being done in the federal courts, we need to rebuild an efficient machinery for putting trial judges on the bench.
[Michael L. Shenkman is a lecture-in-law at the Law School.]
Gavel Grab – February 7
Michael L. Shenkman, a fellow and lecturer-in-law at Columbia Law School’s Center for Law and Politics, writes in a Hill newspaper blog commentary that during President Obama’s first term, district judgeships sat empty for more than 100,000 days, “representing more than 275 lost years of active judicial work.”
The New York Times – February 7
Which is what they should be doing, said Daniel C. Richman, a professor at Columbia Law School and a former federal prosecutor. “Even the most sloppily kept notes can provide leads if you want to question somebody or pin somebody down,” Richman said. “Even if there isn’t absolute certainty about the records themselves, they can clarify situations or point you to people who might be able to help you.”
USA Today – February 7
By Naureen Shah
After the bloody and costly wars of Afghanistan and Iraq, drones offer the tantalizing possibility of cleanly and quickly taking out a few dozen of America's worst enemies. In reality, the lure of drone technology has drawn us into messy conflict zones in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia, where we have conducted about 400 strikes and killed more than 3,000 people.
CUNY TV February 7
On this episode of African American Legends, Dr. Brown is joined by Columbia University Law Professor, Ted Shaw.
The New York Law Journal – February 8
Columbia Law School has established a new blog on corporations and capital markets. The CLS Blue Sky Blog ( will track new developments in financial reform, securities regulation and corporate governance. The blog received 3,200 hits on its first day and has been averaging 400 to 600 since its launch.
Radio Times – February 8
This hour, we’ll examine the United States drone policy and the questions it raises about international law, government transparency, and American foreign policy goals.  Our guests are Naureen Shah, Associate Director of the Counterterrorism & Human Rights Project at the Human Rights Institute of Columbia Law School and Gregory McNeal, Professor at Pepperdine University where he specializes in law, policy and security.
The DePauw – February 8
A recent study from Columbia Law School’s Human Rights Institute finds that civilian death tolls in Pakistan are “significantly and consistently underestimated,” amounting to nearly 98% of the total killed by Predator and Reaper drones.
The Telegraph – February 8
“It’s unparalleled when someone comes in at the SEC with as much of a blank slate,” said John Coffee, a professor of securities law at Columbia University. Given the number of UK companies with secondary listings in New York and the large operations banks such as Barclays and HSBC have on Wall Street, the answers that White gives will echo well beyond the US.
Thomas Reuters – February 8
The anti-bundling rules date from 1992. John Coffee, a professor at Columbia Law School, said the idea was to "prevent managements from bribing shareholders with a sweetener into voting for a proposal they would otherwise reject."


Back to top

February 9-15

Business Insurance – February 10
“The SEC has a long, long history of regarding all settlements as an opportunity for a victory parade” as part of its effort to get funding, said John C. Coffee, a law professor at Columbia university Law School in New York. There is a question, though, whether the SEC settlements have been victories or defeats, he said.
The Feminist Wire – February 10
By Katherine Franke
In case you haven’t heard, last Thursday night Judith Butler and Omar Barghouti spoke at Brooklyn College about the notion of using boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) to protest the state of Israel’s policies toward Palestine and Palestinians. Ordinarily these kinds of talks (Barghouti speaks on college campuses all the time) generate, at most, a few vocal objections from campus Zionist organizations. 
NPR On Point – February 11
Interview with Matthew Waxman, other national security experts.
The Huffington Post – February 12
Last week the Economist conducted an online debate on the question: Do multinational corporations have a duty to maintain a strong presence in their home countries? After a very intense written debate between Harry Moser, former president of GF AgieCharmilles and founder of the Reshoring Initiative, and Jagdish Bhagwati, Professor of Economics and Law, Columbia University, the vote was 54 percent "yes" and 46 percent "no."
Wired – February 12
Claiming intellectual property rights over creative work in this way is pretty standard when it comes to an employer-employee relationship, and it's one that is already in place in Maryland county. The student is not, however, an employee of the Board and according to Jane Ginsburg, professor of Literary and Artistic Property Law at Columbia Law School, [sic] there is little legal basis (and no precedent) with which to target them.
"For teachers, the copyright law 'works for hire' doctrine vests in employers the copyright in works created by employees as part of their employment," she told
The Los Angeles Times – February 12
Unlike the other data aggregators, the bureau treats source information more transparently, relies on its own researchers as well as news reports and updates its information frequently. We are joined in this conclusion by a recent Columbia University study, which also finds that of the three competing aggregators, only the Bureau of Investigative Journalism does not “significantly and consistently underestimate” the number of civilians killed by U.S. drones. 
The Chronicle of Philanthropy – February 12
Speakers at the conference, which was organized by Columbia University Law School’s Charities Regulation and Oversight Project and attracted regulators from 40 states, called for new laws or a new federal regulatory body more fitting for today’s nonprofit environment.
The Christian Science Monitor- February 13
“There has been an enormous shift in public awareness about domestic violence – the message [to victims] being you are not alone and you can report what is happening to you to law enforcement,” says law professor Suzanne Goldberg, director of Columbia University's Center for Gender and Sexuality Law. The message to perpetrators, meanwhile, is that violence against an intimate partner “is not a badge of manhood,” she adds.
The National Journal – February 13
Either way, however, the idea of congressional oversight speaks more broadly to the tensions between Congress and the White House for these issues, said Matthew Waxman, a professor at Columbia Law School specializing in national security.
“Although the targeting issue has attracted recent congressional and public scrutiny, this is also part of a long-running struggle between the executive branch and Congress, as to how much of a check Congress should play generally on intelligence and military operations,” Waxman said.

RT TV – February 13
Drone strikes were responsible for the deaths of 531 to 779 people, with a civilian casualty rate between 4 percent and 8.5 percent as of June 2012, according to a report by the New America Foundation. Both statistics were laid out in a 2012 report by the Human Rights Clinic at Columbia Law School and the Center for Civilians in Conflict. – February 14
Nathaniel Persily, director of the Center for Law and Politics at Columbia Law School, as well as a law and public affairs fellow at Princeton University, spoke recently with Star-Ledger editorial writer Jim Namiotka about the trends.
US News – February 15
Michael L. Shenkman, a fellow at the Center for Law and Politics at Columbia Law School who worked on Obama's judicial nominations team in the first two years of his presidency, calculated that district judge vacancies across the country represented more than 275 lost years of judicial work and $160 million in wasted public resources during Obama's first term. "Having an empty bench means people don't get their cases heard," Shenkman said, adding that federal law requires that judges give priority to criminal cases, so civil cases can face repeated delay. "It makes litigation more frustrating and more expensive."
Similar articles appeared in other publications. – February 15
Columbia Law School has established a new blog on corporations and capital markets. The CLS Blue Sky Blog ( will track new developments in financial reform, securities regulation and corporate governance. The blog received 3,200 hits on its first day and has been averaging 400 to 600 since its launch.
Global Research – February 15
At the time of our visit to Pakistan, a joint report on drones was issued by New York University (NYU) and Stanford University and another by Columbia University. These reports have documented that up to 6,000 civilians [including 670 women and 176 children] have been killed in Pakistan by the drones in the Waziristan area alone. 
Back to top

February 16-22

Lawfare – February 17

By Matthew Waxman
The recent controversy about the Justice Department White Paper and the closely related Senate confirmation hearings for CIA director-nominee John Brennan have raised the profile of congressional intelligence oversight. 
The Financial Times – February 18
 “Shareholder proposals requesting this information from companies are now the most common shareholder proposals at US public companies,” said Robert Jackson, a Columbia law school professor who helped spearhead the proposal and served as an adviser to the Treasury during the financial crisis. He compares the issue to the push for disclosure of executive compensation in the early 1990s.
SCOTUSblog – February 18
By Ronald Mann
Bowman v. Monsanto Co., scheduled for oral argument Tuesday, presents a high-stakes question about biotech products: how tightly can Monsanto control what users do with the Roundup-resistant soybean seeds that Monsanto has patented? – February 19
By Nathaniel Frank
As LGBT advocates continue to press their agenda forward, they rightly look back at the past to learn what works. While some view “the past” as meaning the start of the Obama administration, understanding the true, long-game strategy that was necessary to secure our advances in recent years is critical to building on those gains, both for LGBT issues and other kinds of progress.
[Nathaniel Frank is a visiting scholar at Columbia Law Schools's Center for Gender and Sexuality Law]
Total Bankruptcy – February 19
According to a report compiled by Ronald Mann, a professor at Columbia Law School, Miami-Dade experienced 626 bankruptcy filings per million adults.
In his report, Mann noted that Miami-Dade was only topped by Chicago’s Cook County, which ranked first by a wide margin, with 691 bankruptcy filings per million adults.
The New Yorker – February 19
By Tim Wu
The old tech adage is that “open beats closed.” In other words, open technological systems, or those that allow interoperability, always beat their closed competitors. This is an article of faith for certain engineers. It’s also the lesson from Windows’ defeat of the Apple Macintosh in the nineteen-nineties, Google’s triumph in the early aughts, and, more broadly, the success of the Internet over its closed rivals (remember AOL?). But is it still true?
The Daily Beast – February 19
Tim Wu describes how Apple managed to overcome the "open-beats-closed" rule of technology companies. When we examine the major players of the past 20 years, companies like Microsoft rose to power because their software and operating systems were open to a wide variety of hardware and devices.
Salon – February 20
Lax enforcement rewards businesses that break the law to undercut competitors, according to Jacob Meyer, a staff attorney with the National State Attorneys General Program at Columbia Law School. Meyer co-authored a 2011 study on state wage-and-hour enforcement, which warned of a lack of meaningful enforcement leading to a “regulatory race to the bottom” among states seeking to attract business. “It directly undermines those employers who abide by the law,” Meyer says. – February 20
Jagdish Bhagwati maintained home countries will benefit no matter where the production or R&D is done since the profits will come back to the home country. Much of the late surge was attributed to Harry Moser’s arguments that it is in companies’ self-interest to reshore American manufacturing jobs that were lost due to corporate failure to recognize the total cost of offshoring. In a point of continual agreement between the two men, Mr. Bhagwati conceded the advantages of reshoring are “now visible”-the essence of Mr. Moser’s position.
Trib Total Media – February 21
John Coffee Jr., a professor at Columbia Law School in New York and an expert in securities regulation and white-collar crime, said the private wealth client could be a foreign brokerage house that executed Heinz trades for a client, whom Goldman Sachs would not know.
Thomas Reuters – February 21
Some lawyers said it is far from certain that a single hearing panel can determine far-reaching law. "This ruling threatens most securities class-actions, but the panel does not usually make the law," said John Coffee, a securities law professor at Columbia Law School.
Similar articles appeared in other publications.
Business Insider – February 21
"I suppose the worst-case scenario is that ... the court goes past the questions presented and tackles a more fundamental question – in this case, the Constitutionality of contribution limits,"  Law School professor Richard Briffault told BI in an email message.

SCOTUSblog – February 22

By Ronald Mann
Perhaps this is the year when the Justices start showing their hand more clearly in arguments. Wednesday’s decision in Gunn v. Minton certainly provides support for that view.  The case presents a question redolent of a law-school federal courts exam.  Claims for legal malpractice present a tort claim created by state law.
New York Times – February 22
By Risa Kaufman
Stephanie Coontz (“Why Gender Equality Stalled,” Sunday Review, Feb. 17) rightly asserts that we must start seeing work-family policy as a human rights issue. Indeed, the United States’ failure to enact meaningful protections enabling workers to accommodate the demands of work and family is not only out of step with countries around the world, but it is also counter to international human rights standards.
[Risa Kaufman is the executive director of the Columbia Law School Human Rights Institute.]
The Los Angeles Times – February 22
Given the lack of public information about the U.S. government's own drone program, it seems perilous to sell drones overseas, even if they are unarmed, said Naureen Shah, associate director of the Counterterrorism and Human Rights Project at Columbia Law School. "The U.S. has set a dangerous precedent with its use of drones as it now sees the world as a global battlefield," she said. "Are other countries also going to claim that vast authority with this technology? I guess we'll have to see."
Similar articles appeared in other publications.
The Guardian – February 22
"I think at the core of this executive order is a real understanding by the administration of the value of enhancing access to scientific information," said Kenneth Crews, director of Columbia University's copyright advisory office.
[Kenneth Crews is an adjunct professor law at the Law School.]
Back to top

February 23-28

Lawfare – February 24
I’m not a big fan of the law review article as a form. But every now and then, one comes along that is genuinely important, that sheds new and interesting light on an important issue, that cuts through the unilluminating manner in which the subject had been previously discussed, and that thus changes the way we think about a subject that had grown stale. So it is, at least in my opinion, with a fascinating new article (forthcoming in the Harvard Law Review) by David Pozen of Columbia Law School about leaks. Pozen has just put a draft up on SSRN of his article, “The Leaky Leviathan: Why the Government Condemns and Condones Unlawful Disclosures of Information.”
The Guardian – February 25
John Coffee, Adolf A. Berle professor of law at Columbia law school, said settlement was still a strong possibility although the case was politically complex. "The bigger cases have a long history of settling on the courthouse steps," he said. "BP have a strong incentive not to go through months of trials where the level of their culpability if the prime issue."
Bloomberg Businessweek – February 25
Columbia University Law School's John Coffee discusses whether there's an inside advantage to management-led takeovers. He speaks on Bloomberg Television's "Money Moves."
Defining Ideas – February 25
By Matthew Waxman, Jack Goldsmith, Benjamin Wittes
Since September 18, 2001, a joint resolution of Congress known as the Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF) has served as the primary legal foundation for the “war on terror.” In this essay we explain why the AUMF is increasingly obsolete, why the nation will probably need a new legal foundation for next-generation terrorist threats, what the options are for this new legal foundation, and which option we think is best.   
The New York Times – February 25
Second, Obama could nurture investment by starting a debate on the sort of consumption tax plan Michael Graetz describes in his book “100 Million Unnecessary Returns”: Enact a value-added tax, use money from that tax to finance an income tax exemption of $100,000, cut the corporate tax rate to 15 percent, replace the earned-income tax credit with payroll tax relief and debit cards.
The American Interest – February 25
By Jagdish Bhagwati
Immigration reform as proposed in the United States consists of enacting policies that provide inducements and punishments to dent significantly, even eliminate, fresh inflows of undocumented, or illegal, immigrants, who are overwhelmingly unskilled, and thus reduce their  existing stock of 11 million.
Bloomberg BNA – February 26
“The agencies take guidance from CEQ very seriously,” Columbia University Law Professor Michael B. Gerrard told BNA. “It's a major factor in their decisionmaking. Ultimately, it's the agency's decision. I don't think it ever has to get that heavy handed. All the relevant agencies are headed by appointees of the president. The president could ask CEQ to require the cumulative analysis of the effect of a whole variety of projects on greenhouse gases worldwide.”
ProPublica – February 26
“What about the people who aren’t U.S. citizens and who aren’t on a list?” asks Naureen Shah, a human rights and counterterrorism expert at Columbia Law School. Of the few thousand people killed, Shah notes, “it’s hard to believe all of these people are senior operational leaders of Al Qaeda.”
The Charleston Gazette – February 26
"It gives a sense of how many dogs did not bark as a result of the threat of a denial," Nathaniel Persily, a Columbia Law School professor, wrote in a 2007 paper on the Voting Rights Act.
Similar articles appeared in other publications.
The Blog of Legal Times – February 26
Sarah Cleveland, a professor at Columbia Law School. She clerked for Oberdorfer from 1992 to 1993:
He was one of the first judges that was really upset by the difference in…federal sentencing guidelines on individuals who used crack and individuals who used cocaine. There was a case our term in which two guys and their girlfriend were prosecuted for making crack, and the girlfriend had basically just lived in the house, and she was facing a 20-year sentence. [Oberdorfer] declared the guidelines unconstitutional, and he was of course reversed by the D.C. Circuit. And when it came back to him on remand, he recused himself – he wouldn't sentence her. I think he's been vindicated by history as to the unfairness of the crack cocaine sentencing disparity.
Rolling Stone – February 27
"The lawyers at this hearing made the case for this lethal authority during wartime, but the problem is that there's no end in sight to this war," says Naureen Shah, lecturer in law at the Human Rights Institute at Columbia University Law School, in an email. "The war against Al Qaeda is at best a war against groups with a shared ideology, but on that basis, the war and the authority to kill citizens on U.S. soil could last lifetimes."
The Huffington Post – February 27
Suzanne Goldberg, a professor at Columbia Law School who specializes in sexuality and gender law, said the university could have a more difficult time defending itself against Javier's lawsuit than against an anti-gay discrimination case. "While the position against same-sex sexual relations in some religions is widely known, I don't think the same is true for positions regarding gender identify," she said.
Salon – February 28
And while Christian universities have successfully defended against anti-gay discrimination suits on religious grounds, it’s less likely that they can make the same case for an anti-transgender policy, Suzanne Goldberg, a professor at Columbia Law School who specializes in sexuality and gender law, told the Huffington Post. ”While the position against same-sex sexual relations in some religions is widely known, I don’t think the same is true for positions regarding gender identity,” she said.
Forbes – February 28
CEQ usually defers to the regulatory agency conducting the NEPA review, but, to account for climate change impacts, that might have to change. “The president could ask CEQ to require the cumulative analysis of the effect of a whole variety of projects on greenhouse gases worldwide,” Columbia University Law Professor Michael B. Gerrard told Shukovsky.
Trib Total Media – February 28
Similarly, the volume of trades in Heinz stock more than doubled the day before the deal was announced, which could indicate some investors had advance knowledge of a pending deal, said John Coffee Jr., a professor at Columbia Law School in New York and an expert on securities regulation and white-collar crime.
Back to top