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February 2014

February 1-15


Earth Magazine—February 1
“Every country has its own rules,” says Michael Gerrard, a professor at the Columbia University School of Law who directs the Center for Climate Change Law (he and a colleague laid out some of those rules in the U.S. in an article in Eos in time for the 2012 AGU meeting: http://bit.ly/1ho3ffK). Doing fieldwork in Iowa may be a bit different than doing fieldwork in Namibia, he says, particularly when it comes to liability — and it’s worth checking out the situation, politically and scientifically, before going abroad.
 
The New York Times—February 2
Tim Wu, who coined the term "net neutrality," said he worried that the telecommunications companies were too big and too powerful to lose this battle.
"The FCC is afraid of the companies they regulate. They are capable of being intimidated by them," said Wu, a professor at Columbia Law School.
 
Le Monde—February 2
In the offices of Columbia University's Global Center in Paris, Katharina Pistor, Professor of Law, recently launched the Global Law in Finance Network, which also includes Frankfurt University and Oxford University.
 
The New York Times—February 3
Suzanne B. Goldberg, a law professor at Columbia, said the Utah legal team has decades of experience in gay rights cases, even without Mr. Olson and Mr. Boies. “They will surely have the opportunity to make their bipartisan commitment to marriage equality known,” she said, “in whatever case the Supreme Court takes, even if it is not one in which they are counsel.”
 
Businessweek—February 3
“When the settlement gets big enough, you have a fight,” said James Tierney, a former Maine attorney general who runs a program about the position in Columbia University’s law program. “Both bring to the table the legitimate functions of their office.”
 
Democracy Now!—February 3
And Kimberlé Crenshaw is with us, co-founder of the African American Policy Forum, professor of law at UCLA and Columbia University, as well as a V-Day board member.
 
Crenshaw also appeared on the Melissa Harris-Perry Show on MSNBC.
 
Deutsche Welle—February 4
Jagdish Bhagwati, professor of Economics and Law at Columbia University, says the Chief Minister has presided over the state's impressive economic record. "Modi has attracted a great deal of investment to Gujarat, both domestic and foreign, because he has offered a corruption-free environment and is reputed to take quick decisions on granting licenses to invest and manufacture, whereas in almost every other Indian State the delays are pathetic," the economist told DW.
 
The New York Times—February 4
The secrecy surrounding the current discussions, which began in 2010, has angered traditional critics of free trade, including the AFL-CIO, Public Citizen and the Sierra Club, but also some of its most ardent backers, including Senator Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat, Darrell Issa, a Republican congressman from California, and Jagdish Bhagwati, a professor of law and economics at Columbia who is a leading expert on world trade.
 
Reuters—February 4
Even if it is proven that manipulation of a benchmark has occurred, antitrust law may not apply. "We still have to ask whether it is something 'antitrust-bad,'" C. Scott Hemphill, a professor at Columbia Law School, told a recent New York conference for antitrust lawyers.
 
The Huffington Post—February 5
By Kimberlé Crenshaw
ONE BILLION RISING FOR JUSTICE is a global campaign to end violence against women and girls. On February 14, 2014, women, men and children across the globe will dance to welcome the world that is to come, one in which violence against women is no longer a routine feature of human life.
 
The Jewish Press—February 5
The amicus curiae brief was written by Nathan Lewin, a leading constitutional law expert who has argued 28 cases in the Supreme Court and teaches a seminar on religious minorities in Supreme Court litigation at Columbia Law School.
 
Nathan Lewin is a lecturer.
 
The New York Times—February 6
“The basic pronouncement is Google’s not an illegal business,” said Tim Wu, a professor of antitrust law at Columbia who worked on the United States Federal Trade Commission’s antitrust case against Google, which concluded that Google had not violated antitrust law. “Their main business goes full speed ahead. Obviously what some of Google’s competitors would have liked was much more aggressive.”
 
Politicker—February 6
Mr. de Blasio tapped Fernando Bohorquez, a partner in the law firm Baker Hostetler LLP, and Richard Briffault, a law professor at Columbia Law School, to serve on the board. The nominations must be confirmed by the City Council.
 
The New Yorker—February 6
By Tim Wu
Imagine that two people are carving a six-foot slab of wood at the same time. One is using a hand-chisel, the other, a chainsaw. If you are interested in the future of that slab, whom would you watch?
 
Samoa News—February 6
Meanwhile, the appeals court granted yesterday a joint motion by Prof. Christina Duffy Ponsa and Prof. Gary S. Lawson to participate as amici curiae. The motion states the pair have expertise in constitutional law and American legal history. Ponsa is a Professor of Law at Columbia Law School, while Lawson is the Philip S. Beck Professor of Law at Boston University School of Law.
 
The Washington Post—February 8
States such as Yemen may allow the United States to carry out airstrikes but would generally prohibit boots on the ground, said Matthew Waxman, a professor of national-security law at Columbia University. “If we could rely on those governments to do the capturing, we would, but these are generally situations where they can’t or they won't,” Waxman said.
 
The New York Daily News—February 9
“If I were the defense counsel, I’d try to put on evidence of Madoff being extremely secretive,” said John Coffee at Columbia Law School. “I’d show he kept information highly restricted, on a need-to-know basis.”
 
The Financial Times—February 10
“Better Markets clearly has a strong interest in this issue and the question will be whether its injury is concrete enough to justify a lawsuit in federal court. It's a tough argument to win," said Suzanne B. Goldberg, a law professor at Columbia University who specialises in civil procedure. "The burden will be on Better Markets to show that DoJ infringed the organisation's interest by settling the lawsuit.”
 
McClatchy—February 10
“While Better Markets is a well-intentioned and aggressive advocate for investors, I do not believe there is any basis or support in law for their position,” said John Coffee, a securities law professor at Columbia University in New York and a frequent witness before Congress. “The executive branch can settle disputes with a third party without seeking court approval.”
 
El Vocero de Puerto Rico—February 10
The biggest obstacle facing Puerto Rico on its way to achieving statehood is the lack of knowledge and understanding of the United States on the subject. So Professor Christina Duffy said during her presentation titled 'Puerto Rico Status: Rethinking the Landscape'.
 
MarketWatch—February 11
“Most of the banks would like to settle as part of the herd and not stand out,” said John Coffee, a law professor at Columbia Law School. “It’s less individual culpability that way.”
 
The New York Times—February 13
Hopes, and Homes, Crumbling on Indian Tea Plantations
On Monday, the Human Rights Institute at Columbia Law School released a 110-page report on Amalgamated’s operations, which employ more than 30,000 people on 24 plantations in Assam and neighboring West Bengal.
 
The Human Rights Institute's report received extensive international media coverage.
 
The Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC—February 13
Michael Gerrard, professor of environmental law at Columbia University, talks with Rachel Maddow about a NC federal investigation into a coal ash leak disaster.
 
The New York Times—February 14
“The pace of change has perhaps outstripped the Supreme Court’s preferences, but the momentum is tremendous,” said Suzanne B. Goldberg, a law professor at Columbia.
 
The New York Times—February 14
“If you want Google search, they’re going to shove Google Plus at you pretty hard, so the consumer’s forced to take the product they don’t want to get the product they want,” said Tim Wu, a professor at Columbia Law School who studies antitrust law and the Internet.
 
The New Yorker—February 14
By Tim Wu
Among household expenses, few things have risen quite as quickly as the cable bill. As recently as the nineteen-nineties, cable prices ranged from seven dollars to eleven dollars and fifty cents per month. After years of price hikes, a decent cable package is now over sixty dollars a month; the average cost is eighty-six dollars.

 

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February 18-28


The Daily Beast—February 18
Michael Gerrard, an environmental law professor at Columbia University, said the process was typical of how projects work that are designed around environmentally sensitive areas.
 
The New York Post—February 18
“By paying out large dividends before the IPO, they are signaling that they do not have any high-return projects in which they would rather invest the money,” said John Coffee, a finance professor with Columbia University.
 
Foreign Affairs—March/April Issue
By Joseph Chamie; Jagdish Bhagwati and Francisco Rivera-Batiz
Joseph Chamie misreads us. First, he argues that we would turn over immigration policy to the states. We would not. As the Supreme Court has ruled, the federal government controls immigration policy.
 
The New Yorker—February 19
By Tim Wu
Imagine that you are the judge asked to sentence a convict named Shon Hopwood, a twenty-three-year-old Nebraskan who has begged you for leniency and sworn he will change his ways.
 
Reuters—February 20
With so many challenges to state gay marriage bans gaining traction in the lower courts, the U.S. Supreme Court may feel pressure to settle the question of whether gay couples have a constitutional right to wed, said Suzanne Goldberg, a Columbia Law School professor.
 
WNYC—February 20
"It's a very big deal," said Brett Dignam, a professor at Columbia Law School who has studied the issue of solitary confinement, in this interview. "We sincerely hope that it is the tipping point" in improving the way prisons are run, she said.
 
China Daily—February 20
Columbia University's Center on Global Energy Policy released a report on Tuesday summarizing the highlights of the day-long conference on China's shale gas development, which took place at Peking University's Law School last month.  The conference featured high-profile participants including David Schizer, Columbia Law School Dean; Jason Bordoff, director of the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia School; David Sandalow, former acting undersecretary of energy at the US Department of Energy; as well as industry experts, scholars and Chinese government officials
 
Moyers & Company Online—February 21
By Tim Wu
I think Mike Lofgren is right that much of what the United States does of importance is unseen by the public and has only the most tangential relationship with the partisan sideshows in Congress, which are misunderstood and misrepresented as the main story.

The Atlantic—February 21
For example, Hansen quoted James Liebman, the distinguished professor at Columbia Law School, for the proposition that what Missouri has been doing is also being done in other states. But Liebman did not say that and was so dismayed by the misuse of his words that he submitted a letter late Tuesday night to Missouri's lawmakers seeking to clarify the record.
 
SCOTUSblog—February 21
By Ronald Mann
The Court has considered surprisingly few cases arising directly out of the subprime mortgage crisis, but it will get one in February in Robers v. United States, in which it will consider the proper amount of restitution due from a defendant convicted of wire fraud related to a home mortgage loan.
 
The New York Times—February 23
Others, including Tim Wu, a Columbia Law School professor and advocate for net neutrality, said the interconnection agreement between Comcast and Netflix was one of the first such arrangements where a broadband provider like Comcast has extracted payment to send specific content through the “on ramp” to its network.
 
All In With Chris Hayes on MSNBC—February 24
Joining me now, Kenji Yoshino, Chief Justice Earl Warren professor of constitutional law at NYU School of Law. And Ted Shaw, Columbia Law School professor and former president of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.
 
All Things Considered on NPR—February 24
TIM WU: I think Netflix felt it was under serious threat of having its programs be nearly unwatchable. I think what Netflix wants to accomplish is, you know, videos that are playable, business as usual.
 
The Atlantic—February 24
Inferno, An Anatomy of American Punishment by Robert A. Ferguson, a professor of law and letters at Columbia University, will be published next week by Harvard University Press, and if I had won the $400 million Powerball lottery last week I swear I would have ordered a copy for every member of Congress, every judge in America, every prosecutor, and every state prison official and lawmaker who controls the life of even one of the millions of inmates who exist today, many in inhumane and deplorable conditions, in our nation's prisons.
 
The New Yorker—February 25
By Tim Wu
In the history of marketing, there’s a classic tale that centers on the humble cake mix. During the nineteen-fifties, there were differences of opinion over how “instant” powdered cake mixes should be, and, in particular, over whether adding an egg ought to be part of the process.
 
Greenwire—February 25
"I think NEPA provides one important way for the federal government to think systematically about the climate impacts of what it does and what it allows," said Michael Gerrard, director of the Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia Law School.
 
The Financial Times—February 25
By the time communist rule ended, the Roma were “unequipped to survive in the market systems that followed, and they fell upon exceedingly hard times”, says Jack Greenberg, a professor at Columbia Law School and civil rights lawyer who has worked with Roma activists since 2003.
 
The Los Angeles Times—February 25
In their 65-page briefing filed Monday to the Supreme Court, broadcasters -- including ABC, CBS, NBCUniversal, Fox and Los Angeles Times parent Tribune Co. -- cited work critical of a lower court ruling favoring Aereo by Jane Ginsburg, a professor at Columbia University's School of Law and daughter of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. 
 
The Dallas Morning News—February 26
Columbia University law professor Suzanne B. Goldberg, though, called Garcia’s ruling “important” and part of a gay rights winning streak. “The ruling is also consistent with the views of the general public,” she said. “Polling shows more than half of Americans support marriage equality … and the number keeps rising.”
 
Vox EU—February 26
By Katharina Pistor
Can the European Central Bank legally act as lender of last resort to ensure the survival of the euro? This question is of fundamental importance for the sustainability of the monetary union.
 
Professor Pistor’s commentary was noted in the Wall Street Journal.
 
WCBS Radio—February 26
WCBS Interview
 
Professor Katherine Franke discussed whether business owners’ religious convictions should be able to exempt them from serving gay customers.
 
The New Haven Independent—February 27
Lewis kept battling for his freedom from behind bars, representing himself in continual legal challenges. His quest attracted the support of criminal-justice reform advocates, as well as of a team of volunteer lawyers led by Columbia Law School Professor Brett Dignam, with support from students in her Mass Incarceration Clinic.
 
CNN—February 27
"Wheeler has stood up and walked through town like the sheriff and said, 'Okay, the rules are still on,'" said Tim Wu, a professor at Columbia Law School who coined the term "net neutrality." "Whether he's shooting blanks or bullets isn't clear yet, but he's on the beat."
 
The Los Angeles Times—February 27
“Is it OK to use this drug that has not been approved as safe and effective for this purpose?” Jim Liebman, a law professor at Columbia University who studies the death penalty, said of compounded lethal injections. “People are raising all sorts of claims about this.” 
 
SCOTUSblog—February 27
By Ronald Mann
The Justices seemed uncharacteristically out of sync at the argument Tuesday in Robers v. United States.  In a Term in which so many of the arguments have been characterized by rapid probing questions cutting straight to the weaknesses of the attorneys’ presentation, the argument in Robers seemed more confused than anything, although by the end of the argument, the Justices seemed to have settled into a general acceptance of the government’s position.
 
The Washington Post—February 28
Intelligence Squared presented a very lively debate last night at Harvard Law School — “Resolved: Affirmative Action On Campus Does More Harm Than Good.”  Arguing for the motion were Gail Heriot, professor of law, University of San Diego School of Law and member, U.S. Commission on Civil Rights; and Richard Sander, professor of law, UCLA School of Law.  Arguing against the motion were Randall Kennedy, professor of law, Harvard Law School; and Theodore Shaw, professor of law, Columbia Law School.
 
The event was webcast on Fora.tv.
 
Slate—February 28
When I spoke to Jody S. Kraus, a contracts expert at Columbia Law School, he compared it to a restriction on photography inside someone’s home. “I can say, look, I’ll let you inside my house if you don’t photograph,” said Kraus. “If you want to get into my house, you’re going to have to give up some of your rights, and the same thing is true to some extent with the Oscars.”
 
The New York Daily News—February 28
Columbia University law Prof. Jeffrey Fagan said the department’s sudden interest in Internet-age communication needs to be tracked. “It’s important to pay attention — that community meetings don’t become video interactions over time,” Fagan said.
 
Pharmacy Practice News—February
“Tamoxifen and Schering-Plough opened the door to additional reverse payment agreements, by seeming to give a green light to the deals,” said Scott Hemphill, JD, PhD, a professor of law at Columbia Law School in New York City, who specializes in antitrust law.
 
The Wall Street Journal—February 28
Lawyers and legal experts seem troubled by the ruling. “I’ll say it — it’s a terrible decision,” said Timothy Wu, a copyright expert and professor at Columbia University Law School, in a chat with LawBlog.

 

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Of Special Note: Coverage of The Center for Climate Change Law's Work on the Storm Hardening and Resiliency Collaborative with Con Edison

 
On Feb. 20, New York State’s Public Service Commission unanimously approved a settlement requiring Con Edison to implement state-of-the-art measures to plan for and protect its electric, gas, and steam systems from the effects of climate change. Professor Michael B. Gerrard and the Center for Climate Change Law played a key role in developing the resulting deal.
 
There was extensive media coverage of this historic decision, including:
 
SNL Financial—February 20
"The Con Ed settlement serves as a model for how public utility commissions across the country should require the companies they regulate to ensure that essential services are still provided in the face of future climate change," Columbia Center for Climate Change Law Director Michael Gerrard said in a statement.
 
ClimateWire—February 21
Also on board was Columbia Center for Climate Change Law Director Michael Gerrard, who said he hopes the settlement, first reached in December, will serve as a model for other state regulators looking to tackle resiliency and climate. "We are extremely pleased with ConEd's receptivity to considering recent scientific projections rather than basing its investments on historical events," Gerrard said. "We look forward to continued collaboration with ConEd."
 
Albany Times Union—February 21
"The Con Ed settlement serves as a model for how public utility commissions across the country should require the companies they regulate to ensure that essential services are still provided in the face of future climate change," said Columbia Center for Climate Change Law Director Professor Michael Gerrard.
 
Energy Digital—February 23
A coalition of NGOs and academic centers – the Columbia Law School Center for Climate Change Law, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), and the Pace Energy and Climate Center (Pace) – were full parties in the rate case and active participants in the Collaborative.
 
Climate Central—February 25
Michael Gerrard, director of the Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia Law School in New York City, said it's groundbreaking that the NYPSC expects other utilities to address climate change in this way.  
 
Environmental Defense Fund—February 25
In the rate case, EDF, the Columbia Law School Center for Climate Change Law (Columbia), Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), and the Pace Energy and Climate Center (Pace), among others, joined together in urging Con Edison to modernize its system and operations in ways that transcend traditional storm-hardening.
 
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