July 2015

July 1-15

NPR—July 1
Columbia Law School Professor Michael Gerrard examines conflicting court rulings that demonstrate conflicting approaches toward the environment and global warming.

The Washington Post Wonk Blog—July 1
'The politics are making the administration do things in a much more expensive way,' said Michael J. Graetz of Columbia Law School, 'than if the Congress had acted to do something about climate change.'
BuzzFeed—July 1
His tweets appear to have been prompted by a research paper published this week that argued Google has harmed consumers by prominently displaying its own content in search results. The paper, co-authored by prominent Columbia law professor Tim Wu, as well as data scientists at Yelp, challenges a key aspect of Google’s legal defense against antitrust claims.
New York Real Estate Law Reporter—July 1
Does the CFPB’s New Integrated Disclosure Rule Preempt New York State Law?
By Eric B. Epstein and Daniel W. Beebe
“Remember [the government was] making an $85 billion loan, an extraordinary loan to one financial institution that had seemingly been run in reckless fashion,” says John Coffee, a professor at Columbia Law School. “They were buying a pig and a poke. They didn’t know just the full major liabilities they were going to encounter when they took over the company. They wanted complete control.”

Epstein is a lecturer.

ZDNet—July 1
In an e-mail interview, Eben Moglen, professor of law and legal history at Columbia University, and Chairman of the Software Freedom Law Center (SFLC), said:Denials of certiorari aren't rulings on the merits of anything. The Supreme Court has not 'let' APIs be covered by copyright, nor has it not let them. All that happened was that the Court decided not to review a ruling which---as with any ruling below on which discretionary review is sought---the Court has not expressed any substantive view about.

Bloomberg BNA—July 2
Google is facing a new high-profile adversary in the roiling fight over whether its monolithic search engine violates antitrust law: Columbia Law School professor and noted Internet theorist Tim Wu.
Los Alamos Monitor—July 2
Eric L. Talley, a native of Los Alamos, and a leading authority on corporate law, corporate finance, contracts, and law and economics, will join the Columbia Law School faculty as Isidor and Seville Sulzbacher Professor of Law on July 1.
USA Today—July 2
In 2014, Columbia Law School sponsored a debate on the issue between Lindgren and Thomas Merrill, a Columbia law professor. During the debate, Merrill said term limits could erode the public's view of the court's legitimacy by associating justices to the outcome of contested elections for the president, according to a Columbia media release about the debate.
Bloomberg Business—July 2
Cleanup of the 171 sites, DuPont says, will cost from $295 million to $945 million. “In general, the experience is cleanups cost more than anyone ever thinks,” says Ronald Gilson, a professor of law and business at Stanford and Columbia law schools.
Cosmopolitan—July 2
"There's so much going on with black women that we don't get a chance to speak about in the media, but a white woman poses as a black woman and she gets more ink," Columbia Law professor Kimberle Crenshaw says. "You really can't come up with a better example about the irrelevance of black women when the fact that they only come onto the stage when it turns out they're not really black. If Rachel had never been exposed as not a black woman, she'd still be in obscurity just like the rest of us. How dramatic of a statement is that?"
The Washington Post—July 2
But as Columbia Law School professor Jeremy Kessler notes in a new paper, in 1985 the court also struck down a different state law requiring employers to honor whatever holy day their workers chose.
Power Line—July 2
Philip Hamburger is the Maurice and Hilda Friedman Professor of Law at Columbia Law School and the author, most recently, of Is Administrative Law Unlawful? (Editor’s note: Answer: Yes.) It is easily one of the most important books published in 2014 and certainly one of the most important I have ever read.
The Nation—July 2
 “Dignity,” as Columbia Law Professor Katherine Franke has written, is a land mine. It is emerging from a series of cases that can be read to suggest that justice for LGBT persons resides in a quid pro quo of equal treatment in return for conformity to the norms of respectability. Are married LGBT couples the new deserving poor? If so, this is thin gruel.
The Guardian—July 3
“Runit Dome represents a tragic confluence of nuclear testing and climate change,” said Michael Gerrard, director of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia University, who visited the dome in 2010.
This piece was picked up by other outlets, including Truthdig.
Houston Chronicle—July 4
But how this reverberates in the future depends on whether opponents find a way to erode gay rights as they have abortion rights in many states, or whether societal changes lead to more acceptance as they did for civil rights for blacks, said Katherine Franke, an expert on gender and sexuality law at Columbia Law School.
NPR—July 4
Minnesota already exports about $20 million a year in agricultural products to Cuba under a humanitarian exemption to the embargo. Cuban-American attorney Pedro Freyre teaches a course at Columbia University's law school about the embargo, which he says has more holes than Swiss cheese.
Freyre is a lecturer.
Lawfare—July 4
For those interested in Ben’s paper, he recommended checking out a new draft paper by Columbia Law School professor David E. Pozen, “Privacy Privacy Tradeoffs.” The paper covers some similar thematic ground: the idea that while we often think of privacy goods as clashing with other values, they often clash, in fact, with other privacy goods. And, Ben says, Pozen attempts to apply this idea to the controversies over NSA surveillance.
The Dallas Morning News—July 5
Breyer cited two Texas cases — Cameron Todd Willingham of Corsicana and Carlos DeLuna of Corpus Christi — in saying that convincing evidence exists that innocent men have been executed. He named former Texas death row inmate Anthony Graves in a list of exonerations.
Professor James Liebman and his students investigated the Carlos DeLuna case.
The Washington Times—July 5
“My sense is that the states that are going to restrict have already done so,” said Richard Briffault, a Columbia Law School professor. “What we are seeing is the beginning of a litigation counterattack by the Democratic Party — particularly in key swing states like Wisconsin, Ohio, and North Carolina.”…
Legal Theory Blog—July 6
David Pozen (Columbia Law School) has posted Privacy-Privacy Tradeoffs (University of Chicago Law Review, Forthcoming) on SSRN. Here is the abstract: Legal and policy debates about privacy revolve around conflicts between privacy and other goods. But privacy also conflicts with itself. Whenever securing privacy on one margin compromises privacy on another margin, a "privacy-privacy tradeoff" arises.
Intellectual Property Watch—July 7
At the last session of the SCCR, in December, a Study [pdf] on Copyright Limitations and Exceptions for Libraries and Archives by Prof. Kenneth Crews was discussed and most delegations said the discussions were fruitful (IPW, WIPO, 18 December 2015). Some countries said a comparable study might be useful on the remaining exceptions and limitations. The Crews study, updated for this session of the SCCR, analyses law related to copyright exceptions “from all 188 countries that are current members of WIPO.”
Crews is an adjunct professor.
New York Post—July 7
Rakoff is the “only district court judge in America to cut back on the 2nd Circuit,” said John Coffee Jr., a professor in securities law who co-teaches a class with the judge at Columbia Law School. “For many lawyers, it would be poetic revenge,” he added.
Pacific Islands Development Program—July 7
While it's unclear as to whether the U.S. Supreme Court decision on same sex marriage applies to American Samoa, Columbia University Professor Suzanne B. Goldberg with the Columbia School of Law in New York says American Samoa ought to allow same sex marriage equality for all residents.
This piece was also picked up by Samoa News.
Fusion—July 7
Katherine Franke, a professor at Columbia Law School, told Fusion that public officials’ responsibility to serve the public equally has been repeatedly affirmed by the courts, a precedent that Paxton and others will have to contend with as they attempt to broaden exemptions for clerks and others…A recent legal analysis, authored by Franke and Columbia Law professor Kara Loewentheil, points to a number of cases in which courts have found that public officials can’t take an al a carte approach to their legal obligations, in part because the results could be completely chaotic.
Loewentheil is director of the Public Rights/Private Conscience Project.
Washington Jewish Week—July 7
By Nathan Lewin
Following Shabbat services on the day after a Supreme Court majority recognized a constitutional right to same-sex marriage, I asked to the young rabbi of our Modern Orthodox Jewish congregation in Potomac, “How will you respond to the two Jewish young men who will now ask that their wedding ceremony be performed in our sanctuary?” Very learned in Talmudic thinking but unschooled in American constitutional law, he replied, “I’ll tell them that we follow Orthodox Jewish law, and that a wedding of two males is not permitted in our building.”
Lewin is a lecturer.
Bloomberg Business—July 8
The prohibition on developers telling consumers how to find products at lower prices is ripe for legal challenge, says Tim Wu, a professor at Columbia Law School and a prominent critic of anticompetitive business practices in the tech industry. “I think Apple is getting close to the line, if it hasn’t crossed it, in its dealings with Spotify,” he says. “It’s a different game when you have market power and you have a direct competitor you’re telling can’t advertise their prices. That’s pretty gnarly.” 
Legal History Blog—July 9
Jeremy K Kessler, Columbia University Law School, has posted A War for Liberty: On the Law of Conscientious Objection, forthcoming in The Cambridge History of World War II (Michael Geyer & Adam Tooze eds. 2015), 3:447-474.
The World Post—July 9
At the same time, if it decides to push ahead and eventually rule against China, then there is a huge risk that, as a good friend Columbia University Professor Matthew C. Waxman puts it, the arbitral tribunal would be "ignored, derided and marginalized by the biggest player [China] in the region." After all, there are no multilateral compliance-enforcement mechanisms to force China -- a permanent member of the UN Security Council -- to abide by any unfavorable verdict.
Fusion—July 9
We may be able to prolong their viability for people to continue living on them by several decades, but we probably can’t save them altogether, says Michael Gerrard, director of Columbia University’s Sabin Center for Climate Change Law.
New York Law Journal—July 9
By Michael B. Gerrard
The courts decided 47 cases in 2014 under the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA).1 The issue of whether plaintiffs have standing to sue continued to bedevil the courts. Additionally, in an unusual number of cases, courts overturned governmental rejections of projects, and considered whether changes to unbuilt projects since the environmental review was conducted warranted new review.

The Wall Street Journal—July 10
John Coffee, a professor at Columbia University and expert on hedge funds, said the teachers’ unions may be capitalizing on the bad reputations of some who operate within the hedge fund industry. “You want to choose the most attractive enemy you can find,” Mr. Coffee said. “Coming out against hedge funds is like being opposed to Donald Trump and singling him out as a symbol for all Republicans.”
Vice—July 10
This is not an entirely new idea, according to Jeffery Fagan, a policing and criminal justice expert at Columbia Law School. "At this point, the whole idea of a 'chilling effect' from videos has been internalized in police culture, and spread like a cultural meme across the country," he told VICE in an email.
Legal Theory Blog—July 11
The Download of the Week is Privacy-Privacy Tradeoffs by David Pozen. Here is the abstract: Legal and policy debates about privacy revolve around conflicts between privacy and other goods. But privacy also conflicts with itself. Whenever securing privacy on one margin compromises privacy on another margin, a "privacy-privacy tradeoff" arises. 
Dallas Observer—July 13
Katherine Franke, the director of the Public Rights/Private Conscience Project at Columbia University's law school, says that what DePiazza is doing — specifically in making marriage seekers sign the letter — is probably unconstitutional. "I think it's an interesting innovation in trying to hold your nose and do your job by making everybody else hold your nose as well. It's creative, but I don't imagine it will stand up in court," Franke says. "Even for a heterosexual couple that's getting married and [DePiazza's] not opposed to their marriage, the only way they can get married is to acknowledge that he doesn't want to marry gay people. I could see straight people being offended."
This piece was also picked up by other outlets, including The Huffington Post.
Law360—July 13
By Eric B. Epstein
Federal lawmakers and regulatory agencies are considering wide-ranging reforms to the standards and procedures that govern the cancellation of student loan debt on the basis of alleged fraud by a lender or educational institution. This issue has enormous economic significance.
Epstein is a lecturer.
The Sydney Morning Herald—July 13
By Michael Gerrard
Towards the end of this century, if current trends are not reversed, large parts of Bangladesh, the Philippines, Indonesia, Pakistan, Egypt and Vietnam, among other countries, will be under water. Some small island nations, such as Kiribati and the Marshall Islands, will be close to disappearing entirely. Swaths of Africa from Sierra Leone to Ethiopia will be turning into desert. Glaciers in the Himalayas and the Andes, on which entire regions depend for drinking water, will be melting away. Many habitable parts of the world will no longer be able to support agriculture or produce clean water.
This op-ed appeared originally in The Washington Post.
The National Law Journal—July 15
Depending on the reasons, the high profile executive departures could bolster the shareholder litigation against Lumber Liquidators, said John Coffee, a professor at Columbia Law School. “If they’re getting fired because they knew the company was importing noncompliant products – products that didn’t comply with California law—that would be a case in which you can say ‘Gee, that shows it was negligent,’” he said. “The case against those fired officers would be somewhat stronger.”
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