January 2014

January 1-15

Columbia Magazine—Winter 2013/2014
David Pozen, a Columbia law professor who is an expert on government secrecy, says that this floating of trial balloons, this dropping of hints, is a valuable contribution to scholarship in itself. He says that the Declassification Engine, by revealing what types of information the US government is keeping secret, is likely to encourage scholars, journalists, and citizens to file more public-record requests.
ABA Journal—January 1
Peter L. Strauss, a professor at Columbia Law School, recalls serving as the general counsel at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission under President Jimmy Carter when lengthy vacancies on the panel left it hamstrung from carrying out its duties. Senate pro forma sessions “are just another mechanism, like the misuse of the filibuster, for breaking government,” says Strauss, who has also written on the topic.
The Week—January 2
Matthew Waxman, an international and national security law expert at Columbia University, said in an interview that the "Losing Humanity" report overstates the risk. "I think it's too sweeping in its conclusions about what future technology will or will not be able to do, and I think it neglects some of the significant costs and risks to preemptively banning all autonomous weapon systems," he said.
The New York Times—January 4
“I think we are at a potential turning point: Either access to abortion will be dramatically restricted in the coming year or perhaps the pushback will begin,” said Suzanne Goldberg, director of the Center for Gender and Sexuality Law at Columbia University.
The National Law Journal—January 6
By Vivian Berger
The American Civil Liberties Union recently released a report aptly titled "A Living Death." It deals with the phenomenon of life sentencing without possibility of parole. Known as "LWOP," it might as aptly be called "LWOH," for life without hope.
The Washington Blade—January 6
Suzanne Goldberg, co-director for Columbia University’s Center for Gender & Sexuality Law, insisted that these marriages should be considered valid even with the stay in place. “It is unlikely that the marriages already performed in Utah will be invalidated,” Goldberg said. “Those marriages were performed in accordance with Utah law and a later change in the law, if there is one, should not undo them.”
Jewish Currents—January 7
Civil rights attorney Jack Greenberg was one of twenty-eight Americans awarded the Presidential Citizens Medal by President Bill Clinton on this date in 2001. Greenberg succeeded Thurgood Marshall as director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, a position in which he served from 1961 to 1984, and also founded the Mexican-American Legal Defense and Education Fund in 1968.
BBC—January 7
Columbia University law professor John Coffee says this settlement is simply indicative of the bank's efforts to clear its name. "Again, this shows mainly that JP Morgan is determined to settle and the quicker the better," Prof Coffee told the BBC.
Frontline—January 7
Critics call the case an example of SEC overreach. “I would say that these people didn’t really have inside information, they merely had seen some investment banker types walking around the rail yards,” said John Coffee Jr., a professor of law at Columbia University. “This is not an example of the law working at its best.”
CQ—January 8
“We’re likely to see more envelope-pushing abortion restrictions,” said Suzanne Goldberg, director of Columbia University’s Sexuality and Gender Law Clinic. “There is a boomerang effect between the state legislatures and Congress, where abortion restrictions in one setting at times help to propel restrictions in another.”
The Star-Ledger—January 8
“The crux of the argument is that DEP acted illegally when it posted a statement on its website that the regulated community no longer has to comply with the rules,” Susan Kraham, a staff attorney at Columbia University’s Environmental Law Clinic and the lead counsel for the two environmental groups, said after arguing the case before a three-judge Appellate panel in Trenton.
A similar story appeared on WNYC.
The Nation—January 8
By Patricia J. Williams
One of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s first acts after being elected this past November was to reappoint William Bratton as commissioner of New York City’s police department. Bratton’s reputation rests on his work, in New York and Los Angeles, as a proponent of so-called “broken windows” policing.
The New York Review of Books—January 9
By Jed S. Rakoff
Five years have passed since the onset of what is sometimes called the Great Recession. While the economy has slowly improved, there are still millions of Americans leading lives of quiet desperation: without jobs, without resources, without hope… Indeed, as Professor John Coffee of Columbia Law School has repeatedly documented, Ponzi schemes and misallocation-of-asset cases have been the primary focus of the SEC since 2009, while cases involving fraud in the sale of mortgage-backed securities have been much less frequent.
Colorado Public Radio—January 9
Jane Carol Ginsburg, the Morton L. Janklow Professor of Literary and Artistic Property Law at Columbia Law School, says the two images are similar. However, a court could rule either way in this type of case, the lawyer believes. “The fair use defense may enable the appropriating artist to resist the infringement charge,” Ginsberg says. “The second artist must prove he or she has changed the work either by altering the image or altering the context of the image.”
The New York Times—January 10
On the commission itself, Edward Lloyd, an environmental law professor at Columbia University, loomed as a formidable roadblock. Mr. Lloyd, 65, had not taken a position but he had asked tough penetrating questions.
Similar stories appeared in other outlets, including the Asbury Park Press and ThinkProgress.
Politifact—January 10
Law professor David Pozen at Columbia University, has researched the culture of unauthorized disclosures in the nation’s capital and said generally, there has been an uptick in these prosecutions on Obama’s watch. "There’s not really any doubt," Pozen said. "The spirit of the assertion is correct."
SCOTUSblog—January 10
By Ronald Mann
It appears that the Court has developed an unexpected interest in the dark side of the bankruptcy courts.  Fresh from last year’s exploration in Bullock v. BankChampaign, N.A. of what it takes for a bankrupt to be guilty of “defalcation,” on Monday the Court in Law v. Siegel will consider whether egregious misconduct justifies depriving a bankrupt of his homestead exemption.
The Washington Post—January 10
But popular culture hasn’t normalized women like Obama. Columbia law professor Patricia Williams laments: “The jurisprudence of the entire 20th century was about black people trying to get into school.” Popular culture, she said, renders the results of that striving “invisible.”
The Delaware News Journal—January 11
“If you do prosecute public officials, special prosecutors are open to charges of overzealousness. If don’t you prosecute them, you’ll be accused of having botched the job,” said Daniel Richman, a professor at Columbia Law School who is involved in the new Center for the Advancement of Public Integrity.
The New Yorker—January 13
By Tim Wu
Are we getting smarter or stupider? In “The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains,” from 2010, Nicholas Carr blames the Web for growing cognitive problems, while Clive Thompson, in his recent book, “Smarter Than You Think: How Technology Is Changing Our Minds for the Better,” argues that our technologies are boosting our abilities.
Reuters—January 13
Nancy Northup, head of the Center for Reproductive Rights, said women's rights must not be "legislated away by politicians who are hell-bent on restricting access to the full range of reproductive health care."
Nancy Northup is a lecturer.
DNA India—January 14
Jeffrey Fagan (Law Professor at Columbia University) presented a report in the court that between January 2004 and June 2012, the NYPD conducted over 4.4 million stops. In terms of the demographic profile, in 52 per cent of the 4.4 million stops, the person stopped was Black and in 31 per cent of the stops, the person stopped was Hispanic.
The Washington Post—January 14
Back in 2003, when he was a law professor at the University of Virginia, Tim Wu wrote the definitive paper on net neutrality. The information scholar coined the term in an essay proposing how regulations could keep the Internet free and open for everybody.
Wu’s commentary about net neutrality was picked up by many outlets, including CNN, Mashable, and National Review.
Times of India—January 14
Thirty eminent economists, including Jagdish Bhagwati, MIT's Abhijit Banerjee and others from across the globe, have raised their voice against suspension of econometric professor Neeraj Hatekar. Meanwhile, Hatekar has decided to hold lectures for his students on the street outside the Mumbai University campus to contain their academic loss.
The Journal News—January 14
Michael Rebell, professor of law and educational practice at Columbia University’s Teachers College, said Tuesday that the well-financed campaign to enact New York’s education tax-credit legislation is “a blatant example of how money is polluting our politics.”
Michael Rebell is an adjunct.
The New Yorker—January 15
By Tim Wu
Since 1970 or so, carriers like A.T. & T. and Verizon have been barred from blocking or degrading whatever is transported over their lines. Although, at the time, the rule primarily concerned long-distance voice calls, that principle, applied to the Internet, has become known more recently as net neutrality.
The Wall Street Journal—January 15
Some question if Mr. Nader, a five-time presidential candidate, is the best person to form the successor to that alliance.  "I don't think that he has credibility to the institutional investor community," said John C. Coffee, a professor at Columbia University and shareholder-activism expert.

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January 16-31

The New York Times—January 16
“They’re all wresting with the challenges of a system that doesn’t always know the truth and where trials aren’t always fair and huge incentives are offered to plead guilty,” said Daniel C. Richman, a law professor at Columbia University.
Slate—January 16
By Nathaniel Frank
There’s a lot to love about this week’s federal court ruling striking down Oklahoma’s gay marriage ban. Among other things, it dismantles the crucial but thin argument that banning gays from getting wed does anything to protect marriage: “Excluding same-sex couples from marriage has done little to keep Oklahoma families together thus far, as Oklahoma consistently has one of the highest divorce rates in the country.”
Nathaniel Frank is a visiting scholar at the Center for Gender and Sexuality Law.
Stateline—January 17
As a result, this question of federal authority over states has exposed a predictable rift among the states in a way neither of the other two cases have.  “I think it’s more of a red-state, blue-state divide,” said Michael Gerrard, a law professor at Columbia Law School and director of the Center for Climate Change Law.
SCOTUSblog—January 17
By Ronald Mann
If the Justices have read any of the overwhelmingly negative commentary about their opinions in eBay v. MercExchange, they will tread cautiously before writing anything about general principles of equitable relief in this week’s copyright dispute – Petrella v. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc.
Voice of San Diego—January 17
She used data to make up her mind, relying heavily on an analysis from Columbia Law School criminologist Jeffrey Fagan. Among other findings, Fagan learned NYPD officers stopped blacks and Hispanics at higher rates than whites even after accounting for the greater likelihood those minority populations lived in high-crime areas.
The New York Times—January 18
A civilized society must always take care of its sick and poor, but without taking away job opportunities from those at the bottom rung and without punishing individual achievement. The fairest compromise is probably a value-added consumer tax, with credits and offsets for the poor and elimination of the income tax for families with annual income below $100,000, as proposed by Michael Graetz, a law professor at Columbia University.
USA Today—January 20
Progress over the past 50 years has been "breathtaking and unimaginable," says civil rights lawyer Ted Shaw, former president of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund and a professor at Columbia University School of Law. Nevertheless, he says, even the election of a black president "doesn't mean that all these systemic issues of racial inequality have disappeared."
Slate—January 20
By Nathaniel Frank
My Bubbie and Zada used to tell me my gentile friends wouldn’t hide me in another Holocaust. I like to think they were wrong (and that there won’t be another Holocaust). But that won’t stop me from invoking their wise spirit with a warning to conservative pundit Mary Matalin’s gay friends: She won’t hide you in a gay Holocaust.
Nathaniel Frank is a visiting scholar at the Center for Gender and Sexuality Law.
The Associated Press—January 21
"He would no doubt bring First Amendment defenses to what he did, emphasizing the public interest in his disclosures and the democratic values that he served," said David Pozen, a Columbia Law School professor and a former legal adviser at the State Department. "There's been no case quite like it."
The New York Times—January 21
By John Coffee
You probably did not know this: the Dodd-Frank Act already directed United States financial regulators to restrict excessive incentive compensation at major financial institutions. But the U.S. rules are different from the European Union’s in that they focus on the distorting impact of large bonuses on business decisions, while in Europe the focus is more on income equality -- a characteristic division between the U.S. and Europe.
The Real News—January 22
Tuesday marks the fourth anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court decision Citizens United. It was determined corporations and unions have the same free-speech rights as people, therefore removed restrictions on corporate and union spending on elections. Now joining us to discuss the fourth anniversary of Citizens United is Richard Briffault. He's the author of many works, including Dollars and Democracy: A Blueprint for Campaign Finance Reform.
The Delaware News Journal—January 22
Columbia Law Professor John C. Coffee Jr., a business law expert and close observer of Delaware’s Chancery Court, said if the U.S. Supreme Court accepts the petition filed late Tuesday, the justices are “very likely” to reinstate the arbitration process. “But,” he added, “it is very hard to predict if they will take it.”
The New York World—January 22
“This worked so well that I hope it becomes a model for the future, not only for New York, but also for other states,” says Michael Gerrard, the director of Columbia University’s Center for Climate Change Law, one of the signatories to the agreement. “Assuming the full commission approves the settlement, our plan is to take this around the country as a model for how utilities should plan for future climate change.”
SCOTUSblog—January 23
By Ronald Mann
You can be sure things won’t go well for the Federal Circuit when the Justices put a case in the “procedure” box instead of the “patents” box.  And that’s what happened in the unanimous reversal of the Federal Circuit yesterday in Medtronic v. Mirowski Family Ventures.  The specific issue in the case is who bears the burden of persuasion when a user of technology files suit against a patent-holder, seeking a declaratory judgment that its actions do not infringe a particular patent.
The Colbert Report—January 23
Columbia Law School Professor Tim Wu appeared on Comedy Central’s Colbert Report to discuss the recent ruling on net neutrality.
Lawfare—January 24
By Matthew Waxman
Robert Work and Shawn Brimley of the Center for a New American Security just published 20YY: Preparing for War in the Robotic Age.  It’s a provocative report about how many new technologies (in cyber, robotics, miniaturization, etc.) will reshape warfare.  I was particularly interested in some things it says about autonomous weapon systems – weapon systems that can identify and engage targets on their own – and other technologies that pose challenges for the law of armed conflict and other international norms.
Legal History Blog—January 24
Columbia Law School has announced that legal historian Jeremy K. Kessler will join the faculty in July, 2015.
The Financial Times—January 24
US Softens Tone On Any Snowden Deal [Subscription Required]
However, David Pozen, a Columbia law professor who specialises in national security issues, said the administration would be reluctant to set such a precedent. Mr Snowden could try and use a First Amendment argument to introduce his claim that he was exposing illegality, however there were few cases to back to such an approach. “The case law on all this is very tough for Snowden,” he says.
Connecticut Law Tribune—January 24
Brett Dignam was overseeing the students. These days, she's clinical professor of law at Columbia Law School. But she started working on the case of Scott L. Lewis when she was a professor at Yale Law School who led the institution's prison legal services, complex federal litigation and Supreme Court advocacy clinics.
Along with Dignam, Elora Mukherjee, who co-teaches Columbia's mass incarceration clinic with Dignam, and a rotating cast of law students have represented Lewis in his fight to win a new trial.
The New York Times—January 24
The long list of gifts the McDonnells accepted paints a more damning picture, said Daniel Richman, a law professor at Columbia. “When you return to the same well time and again, it certainly suggests that you have a clear expectation that you will get money and what’s in the giver’s mind,” he said.
International Business Times—January 24
Just a month before the award fee decision in December 2011, Strine was pummeled by some of his peers at a Columbia Law School roundtable discussion on the future of Delaware’s Chancery Court. Several panelists took direct aim at Strine, blaming him for the state’s loss of cases. John Coffee, a respected scholar, noted that “a cloud” hung over “the happy skies of Delaware” due to the steep drop in cases brought in the state, indicating that raising fees is one way to reverse that trend.
Bioethics Forum—January 24
By Paul Appelbaum
Ethicists and others have been concerned that the disclosure of genetic information to patients might have negative consequences. The suspicion has been that negative effects, say becoming depressed, are particularly likely when people are being informed about predispositions to diseases that are not currently preventable or easily treatable.
Reuters Legal—January 24
Harvey Goldschmid is the Dwight Professor of Law at Columbia University Law School, where he has taught since 1970. Goldschmid was a commissioner of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission from 2002 to 2005 and was its general counsel from 1998 to 1999. He is also the chair of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority's regulatory policy committee.
The Morningside Post—January 25
Jane Ginsberg, a copyright expert at Columbia Law School, said manufactures will likely avoid replicating the RIAA’s approach.  ”Big companies are unlikely to go after end users,” she said, because the scale of the litigation would be too small and would be likely to produce a backlash… “If history is any guide, there would be a much stronger effort to try to target all the sites that make available the 3D plans,” said Tim Wu, a professor at Columbia Law School and author of The Master Switch.
The Hill—January 27
June Besek, executive director of Columbia Law’s Kernochan Center for Law, Media and the Arts, will warn panel members of the “extraordinary” expansion of fair use, according to her written testimony. “Fair use is not a carte blanche to make unlimited use of others’ work, even for a socially beneficial cause,” she wrote.
Besek’s testimony was also picked up by other outlets, including Bloomberg BNA and Broadcasting & Cable.
The Washington Post—January 29
By Tim Wu
The State of the Union address is one of the few times each year when a large percentage of Americans reliably pay attention to politics. Once upon a time, as legend has it, things were different: most Americans tuned into Walter Cronkite in the evening or picked up the morning newspaper, which covered matters of national and international importance, like politics, foreign affairs, and business developments.
Associated Press—January 30
Columbia Law School professor Jim Liebman said it is unusual, but not unheard of, for an execution to proceed with an appeal still pending. He agreed that corrections officials could reach the point of believing that enough is enough. "You wouldn't be surprised if the state felt that way, maybe with justification, but the procedure is to have a court say that, not for the state to say that," Liebman said.
NBC News—January 30
“We have come to use the tax system as if it is a cure for every social and economic problem the country faces,” said Michael Graetz, a professor of tax law at Columbia Law School who is a proponent of major tax reform.
The Pendulum—January 30
As part of the Diversity speaker series, Columbia law professor and columnist at The Nation magazine Patricia Williams told the audience gathered Jan. 23 that headway on race relations are going backward rather than forward. “For a while in America, we appeared to be engaging in some real racial discussion,” Williams said. “Then within the last 100 years, we seem to have lost the plot.”
Capital New York—January 31
The panel, which also included David Shulz, a Columbia Law School lecturer and outside counsel to The Guardian, and Cass Sunstein, a member of President Obama’s Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies, was the kickoff to a new program from the Columbia Journalism School’s Tow Center and Columbia Journalism Review magazine.
The Wire—January 31
The Wire spoke by phone with Richard Briffault, professor of law at Columbia Law School and an expert on election law. "After Citizens United" — the Supreme Court decision that made election spending more clearly covered under free speech rules — "corporations can now engage in direct advocacy," Briffault pointed out, meaning that there's nothing preventing Maher from telling people to vote against whoever he wants.
This story was picked up by other outlets, including USA Today and Daily Kos.
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