Harvard Business Review—March 2015
One way to do this would be with what I call an “advance notice” poison pill—a pill with a 5% threshold but also an exemption: Any shareholders that disclosed their positions within two days of crossing the threshold would avoid triggering the pill and could continue buying shares without being diluted. John Coffee, of Columbia Law School, and Darius Palia, of Rutgers Business School, have proposed a similar version of self-help, which they call a “window-closing” poison pill.
News Tribune—March 1
The Legislature passed auto-decline into law in 1994 at a time when state houses across the nation were reforming their juvenile justice laws. The revamping occurred during a "series of moral panics" in the wake of high-profile crimes committed by children, Elizabeth Scott, a Columbia Law School professor and expert on children's law, said in a 2013 paper titled "Miller v. Alabama and (Past and) Future of Juvenile Crime Regulation."
Wall Street Journal—March 1
By Robert C. Pozen and Ronald J. Gilson
While underfunded public-employee pensions capture the headlines, health-insurance benefits for retired state and local workers are also a huge problem. But a recent ruling by the Supreme Court may help state and local governments scale back these benefits.
The Chronicle of Higher Education—March 2
Harvey Goldschmid, a professor of law at Columbia University, died on February 12 from complications of pneumonia. He was 74. Mr. Goldschmid, who joined Columbia’s faculty in 1970, helped to put into effect the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, a corporate-reform law passed in response to the financial misconduct of major corporations like Enron.
Bloomberg Business—March 2
Eric Talley, a professor at the University of California at Berkeley School of Law, offered to help by quantifying whether female students were actually shying away from corporate classes… Talley, whose wife Gillian Lester is the new dean of Columbia Law School, said it was “an awakening” when he realized that even his own advanced classes were only 40 percent female… Talley, who will begin teaching at Columbia this summer, has an additional theory. He said that the financial analysis inherent in deal work can be off-putting to those who never took an accounting course in college.
Daily Times—March 2
Delay has become the favourite weapon to kill projects to which environmental groups object, as Michael Graetz of Columbia Law School has explained ("The End of Energy" 2011). "Litigation to enforce new legislative requirements, especially for environmental impact statements, (has) made placing new sources of energy in service much more difficult and expensive," Graetz wrote.
NY1 News—March 2
Errol Louis discussed the recent net neutrality ruling with a major voice in the movement: Columbia Law School Professor and former candidate for lieutenant governor Tim Wu.
News Works—March 2
Following Delaware's announcement, New Jersey and Rhode Island remain the only Northeast seaboard states left without a climate adaptation plan. Michael Gerrard, director of the Sabine Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia Law School, said the difference between Delaware and its coastal neighbor to the north is largely political.
Tax Policy Center—March 3
Tax shelter investments generate pre-tax losses that turn into after-tax profits because of the tax benefits. As Columbia law professor Michael Graetz has said, “A tax shelter is a deal done by very smart people that, absent tax considerations, would be very stupid.”
Mason Tvert, a spokesman for the Marijuana Policy Project, made an analogy: "While marijuana use is not linked to violent crime, marijuana prohibition is.Jeffrey Fagan, a law professor at Columbia who teaches drug law and policy, agreed. "It's hard to reconcile Commissioner Bratton's claim with experience in the places that have either legalized marijuana or increased access via medical marijuana," Fagan says. "By linking marijuana with violence here, which is just not the case elsewhere where it's legal, he's actually making a good claim for legalization."
Columbia Daily Spectator—March 4
The University Senate executive committee is looking to vote on March 27 to approve a proposed committee on the status of underrepresented minorities at the University. Wadood and Ross said the committee would not work directly with Executive Vice President Suzanne Goldberg’s committee on race, ethnicity, and equal justice, which was announced in January, though the two committees will communicate with each other.
Connecticut soon will get $36 million of a $1.37 billion legal settlement with Standard & Poor's, resolving allegations that the credit ratings agency misled investors in rating mortgage-backed securities in the lead-up to the 2008 financial crisis. "Compliance (with the law) is the first responsibility," said James Tierney, director of the National State Attorneys General Program at Columbia University Law School.
Tierney is a lecturer.
China Daily—March 4
Jagdish Bhagwati, a professor of law and economics at Columbia University and a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, said the absence of China on the agenda was the US political response to China's new aggressiveness and it was therefore built in a spirit of confrontation and containment, not cooperation. "The TPP is being sold in the US to a compliant media and unsuspecting public as evidence of American leadership on trade. But the opposite is true," said Bhagwati, a leading free trade advocate.
Integrated Solutions for Retailers—March 4
"Net neutrality only bans the idea of slow lanes and fast lanes, which is an incremental amount of revenue," Columbia Law School Professor Tim Wu, who coined the term "net neutrality," told CNBC. "And yes, so on the margin, there's a tiny bit of revenue that might be lost but the main income just comes from the regular business model."
Washington Post—March 4
When Google launched its “Art Project” four years ago, it touted it as a huge boon for freedom of information and cultural connectivity. “Museums have choices in the shaping of institutional policies,” the Columbia law professor Kenneth Crews stressed in a paper on “copyright overreaching” in 2012. “… Breaking away from familiar policy terms can sometimes better serve institutional and public interests.”
Kenneth D. Crews is an adjunct professor.
Columbia Daily Spectator—March 4
By Suzanne Goldberg
Four weeks into my new role as executive vice president for University life at Columbia, I want to use this Spectrum post to share a bit about my background as well as some initial thoughts about the new Office of University Life, its philosophy, goals, and possibilities for student involvement.
A 2011 U.S. Supreme Court ruling made it difficult for investors to sue mutual fund companies. The decision left some observers stunned. “The case astonishingly holds that an investment advisor is not liable for fraud in the prospectus of a sponsored mutual fund because the investment advisor is not the “maker” of those statements – even though the fund’s officers are all employees of the advisor (and paid for that service by the advisor) and the advisor prepares, files, and distributes the prospectus,” wrote Columbia Law School professor Jeffrey N. Gordon.
Business World Online—March 5
Furthermore, UA&P’s School of Law and Governance has “governance” in its name for a reason. Borrowing from Columbia Law School’s Dean David Schizer (in a Financial Times interview in 2013): “Lawyers play a critical role in policy, particularly when it comes to shaping the rules that govern business practices.” And more significantly, Dean Schizer points out: “You want the people who run the organization to think like lawyers; and you want the lawyers to think like people who run the organization.”
Based on a quick glance at his website, it appears Everson — a 60-year old Yale graduate — is a conservative who will run as a Republican. His view on taxes is an interesting and curious one, given his history: “It is time to be bold. I favor the Competitive Tax Plan authored by Columbia professor Michael Graetz.”
The campaign to free Mohamed Nasheed--the climate change activist, former president of the Maldives, and central figure in Jon Shenk's acclaimed documentary "The Island President"--is heating up. Concerned that Nasheed will soon be convicted and sentenced for trumped up charges of terrorism by his political rivals, several prominent documentary filmmakers and activists… are fighting to get the word out about his fate….including… Michael Gerrard, Director, Sabin Center for Climate Change Law, Columbia Law School.
Christie administration officials called it the "single largest environmental settlement with a corporate defendant in New Jersey history." Edward Lloyd, a professor of environmental law at Columbia University Law School, said the state either was wrong in initially claiming nearly $9 billion in damages or for settling for so much less. "I don't think you can have both judgments be accurate," he said. "It doesn't sound plausible."
Washington Post—March 6
“It’s an interesting feature of the death penalty in the United States,” Columbia University law professor James Liebman told The Post. “In fact, the death penalty is a minority institution. If you add up the populations of the counties that use the death penalty, it actually now is less than a quarter of the United States that really uses the death penalty.”
Philadelphia Public School Notebook—March 6
Black girls are disciplined at higher rates and with harsher consequences than their White counterparts, according to a new report from Columbia Law School's Center for Intersectionality and Social Policy Studies.
Washington Post—March 6
Reports that Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) is likely to face federal corruption charges based on his interactions with a key donor invariably raise a key question: Where is the line drawn? To answer that question, we spoke with Richard Briffault, a professor at Columbia Law School who works in the area of public corruption. Briffault summarized the question at stake: "Is there a connection between the donation and some relatively specific thing that the officeholder is expected to do, or says he will do?"
Similar stories appeared in other outlets, including Marketplace and USA Today.
Columbia News—March 6
Gillian Metzger (LAW’96) is the Stanley H. Fuld Professor of Law, and faculty director of the Law School’s Center for Constitutional Governance. An expert in administrative and constitutional law, with a specialization in federalism, she and several other professors wrote an amicus brief that says the principles of federalism support the tax subsidies at issue in the widely watched King v. Burwell case.
NBC News—March 7
Professor Richard Briffault appeared on The Today Show to discuss allegations that New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez may have improperly taken gifts in exchange for helping a major campaign donor.
Brazil’s supreme court will investigate 54 elected officials in connection with a corruption scandal unfolding at Brazil’s state-owned oil giant, Petrobras. “It raises questions about Brazilian corporate governance that the first scandal didn’t,” says Merritt B. Fox, Law Professor at Columbia University, New York. “I would be concerned that the fact that this has happened at Petrobras would make people worry about other corporations where there is still significant government ownership and involvement.”
CBS News—March 7
Human rights lawyer Amal Clooney will join the faculty of Columbia University as a visiting lecturer. Columbia announced Friday that Clooney will lecture on human rights this spring. She will also serve as a senior fellow with Columbia Law School's Human Rights Institute. "It is an honor to be invited as a visiting professor at Columbia Law School alongside such a distinguished faculty and talented student pool," Clooney said in a statement.
Similar stories appeared in many outlets, including the Guardian and the New York Daily News.
Providence Journal—March 8
Brown University held its first National Diversity Summit this past weekend as part of a drive to make the university a more welcoming place for minority students, gay students and other under-represented individuals. The keynote speaker, Susan Sturm, a law professor at Columbia University, talked about how to measure the broad participation of people from under-represented backgrounds.
Wall Street Journal—March 8
General Motors Co. as soon as Monday will disclose plans to return billions of dollars to shareholders, a move that is expected to avoid a potential proxy fight with investor Harry J. Wilson, said people familiar with the matter. The pay agreements are sometimes fraught but have improved over the years, said Robert Jackson, a Columbia University Law School professor. The debate over Mr. Wilson’s arrangement “is a bit of a red herring,” he said, adding that three-year compensation horizons for directors are “absolutely standard.”
Newseum Institute—March 9
First Amendment jurisprudence emphatically supports the notion that core political speech is the most highly protected category of speech. The analysis of planting and its relationship to unauthorized leaks of classified information draws heavily on David Pozen’s recent scholarship on the subject. As Pozen notes, “Planting depends upon leaking to give it political and epistemological breathing room; leaking, in turn, depends upon planting to give it legal breathing room. The two are fundamentally symbiotic. Plants need to be watered with leaks.”
International Business Times—March 10
Another litigious strategy, appraisal arbitrage was recently given the nod of approval by a Delaware court. All you need for an appraisal arbitrage is a corporate merger, a hedge fund and an appetite for convoluted and drawn-out legal wrangling. Writing for Harvard’s law blog, Columbia Law School lecturer Trevor Norwitz called appraisal arbitragers “a new category of holdup artists.”
Norwitz is a lecturer.
Brookings Institute—March 10
“It’s a question we never really ask: How many police do we really need? We only ask how many police we can afford,” added Jeffrey Fagan, a Professor of Law at Columbia Law School. His solution to problems with policing in America? Hire fewer cops.
John Coffee, a professor at Columbia Law School, called the Senate bill an overreaction that would override not just the 2nd Circuit ruling but years of precedent and create "considerable uncertainty and chaos for the security analysts as a group."
“We are in the process of creating what we hope will become a complete collection of the climate change laws adopted by the countries of the world,” said Michael B. Gerrard, faculty director of the Sabin Center and the Andrew Sabin Professor of Professional Practice at Columbia Law School.
By Michael B. Gerrard
The large and growing volume of litigation in the U.S. courts about climate change has received an avalanche of analysis in the professional and academic literatures. In contrast, climate litigation outside the United States is little known on these shores and has gotten far less attention. For the first time, this non-U.S. climate litigation has now been compiled and analyzed.
A new study found that African-American girls are six times more likely to be suspended than white girls and are subject to harsher and more frequent discipline than their white peers. Kimberle Williams Crenshaw, law professor at Columbia University and UCLA, authored the study, “Black Girls Matter: Pushed Out, Overpoliced and Underprotected.” She said the results might come as a surprise to many.
Market manipulation can be a fraught area of the law, legal experts say. Attempting to discredit a company, even through false statements, isn’t illegal, nor is paying others to make such statements on your behalf. Market manipulation cases rise and fall on the “intentionality and deliberateness” of making false statements to affect a stock price, said Columbia Law School Prof. Daniel Richman.
Anu Bradford knows a little something about persuasion… it is the very kind of thinking that has quietly vaulted this Columbia University law professor onto the global immigration scene… the international lawyer — herself a recent immigrant to the U.S. from Finland — is being sought by labor union leaders and U.N. immigration envoys who have become keen about turning her ideas into action. Their motivation, of course, is trying to finally align the diverse interests countries have always had in dealing with — or not dealing with — the world’s 230 million migrants.
By Tim Wu
There was far more Schadenfreude than sorrow when, on Tuesday, Robin Thicke and his colleagues were defeated in a legal contest over copyright by the Marvin Gaye estate.
Columbia law professor Risa Kaufman has called this a “human rights crisis.” And it’s fueled by the sky-high price of legal help.
Kaufman is a lecturer.
Jane C. Ginsburg, Columbia Law School, has published The Author's Place in the Future of Copyright in Copyright in an Age of Exceptions and Limitations (Ruth Okediji, ed., Cambridge University Press, 2015). Here is the abstract.
The renewable energy sector has grown tremendously as costs of the technology have come down and new vehicles have become more fuel-efficient, said Michael B. Gerrard, director of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia University Law School
. The possibility that these shifts could already be affecting overall carbon emissions, he said, “is a welcome splash of light amid all the gloom surrounding climate projections.”
Human Events—March 13
Operation Choke Point Is Government Run Amuck
Columbia Professor Ronald Mann wrote, while these products are not inexpensive, the decision to use them is rational because the costs of borrowing are “dwarfed by the opportunity costs of what they would lose if they did not borrow.”
In a phone interview, Columbia law professor John Coffee told me, "Civil offenses, you can overcome. You may have gotten fired. You may have gotten thrown out of the industry, but you can sneak back in elsewhere." But as for those who do end up on the registry, "I think it's more symbolic than practical," Coffee said, emphasizing that he does not disapprove of the registry as a public resource.
But Daniel C. Richman, a former federal prosecutor who is a professor at Columbia University Law School, said the statements could be admitted in court “so long as it can be shown that the tape wasn’t tampered with.”
Withholding evidence from law enforcement is almost never a crime. “Citizens don’t have a legal obligation to provide information to the police about criminal activity when they have no involvement in the crime itself,” said Daniel Richman, a criminal law professor at Columbia Law School, who has not watched The Jinx.
This approach means companies will get a faster resolution to their cases, says John Coffee, a professor at Columbia Law School.“This is a big victory for the corporate community,” he explains. “Mergers need to be resolved in the near term. If they stretch on for a year without being resolved, many of the benefits are lost.”
NJ Spotlight—March 16
What they and the four governors were saying is that the project would compromise the integrity of the Pinelands and serve to encourage future development in the reserve, a view echoed by Pinelands Commissioner Edward Lloyd, an environmental law professor at Columbia University.
Al Jazeera America—March 16
Sarah Knuckey, a co-director at Columbia Law School’s Human Rights Institute, said the government has yet to reveal under what circumstances the PPG applies to airstrikes. “We know for sure that it doesn’t apply in Afghanistan, because that is clearly within the context of an armed conflict,” she said. But the question of its applicability in countries like Yemen and Somalia is hazier, she said.
Attorney General Eric T. Schneider—March 16
"The Attorney General has proposed a comprehensive set of reforms which, if adopted, would go far to reduce conflicts of interest and transform the ethical climate in Albany,” said Richard Briffault, a Columbia Law professor and panelist at tonight’s public forum.
Similar stories appeared in other outlets, including Long Island Exchange.
Last week, a court ruled that Pharrell and Robin Thicke owe the estate of Marvin Gaye, due to the similarites between "Blurred Lines" and the late singer's "Got to Give It Up." Check out this clip from Melissa Harris Perry where EBONY.com Senior Editor discusses the ruling, along with Michael Eric Dyson, writer/filmmaker Jaeki Cho and attorney/Columbia University professor Tim Wu.
This issue of Durst’s “consent” to the recording was also raised by Daniel C. Richman, a law professor at Columbia University. “While California’s interception laws are more demanding than those in many other states, the consent of the … sole participant to the ‘conversation’ is enough,” Richman told BuzzFeed News.
New York Times—March 16
Eben Moglen, a privacy law professor at Columbia University, said that programs like ShotSpotter have Fourth Amendment implications. If potentially incriminating evidence is picked up by the microphones, he said, it should not be allowed as evidence, because it constitutes a warrantless search and seizure by collecting public sounds.
Sarah Knuckey, who teaches at Columbia Law School and who was one of the authors of the influential study, Living under Drones, comments of the new policy that “the US has advanced interpretations of international law that many have described as dangerous, novel, and expansive.”
The appeal by environmental groups was filed by Susan Kraham, an attorney at Columbia Law School's Environmental Law Clinic, who has often represented advocacy groups in New Jersey.
Kraham is a lecturer.
International Business Times—March 18
"The SEC in previous years had been very restrictive," said Robert J. Jackson, a professor of law at Columbia University. "Under White the staff has been directed to be more permissive," Jackson said.
New York Law Journal—March 19
By John C. Coffee Jr.
“Since the Corporation Law Council of the Delaware State Bar Association announced earlier this month that it was recommending statutory amendments to prohibit "loser pays" fee shifting bylaws and charter provisions (and thus overrule the Delaware Supreme Court's 2014 decision in ATP Tour v. Deutscher Tennis Bund1), a predictable reaction has followed.”
The Independent Florida Alligator—March 19
Carol Sanger, the Barbara Aronstein Black Professor of Law at Columbia Law School, spoke Wednesday about the differences between abortion privacy and abortion secrecy and how they both affect women. “One would think that 40 years might have settled things, and it hasn’t,” she said.
The Hill—March 19
By Michael B. Gerrard
As members of Congress wisely examine the legal basis for the Clean Power Plan, they should feel confident that the Environmental Protection Agency is acting with a solid constitutional foundation.
Business Insider—March 19
Coffee, a professor at Columbia Law School, notes that while pump-and-dump schemes are more easily identified, prosecutors would have to prove Ackman (and not just a third party or employee) willfully aimed to artificially drive the price of Herbalife shares down. "There has to be some evidence he tried to push the stock beneath what he thought it was worth," Coffee said.
A SCOTUS Ruling for Marriage Equality Could Leave Out These 4 Million Americans
The Supreme Court may well issue a ruling this June holding that the Constitution requires same-sex marriage in all 50 states. Such a ruling, court-watchers predict, will settle the question of marriage equality in America once and for all…Thanks to Christina Ponsa of Columbia Law School
and Marybeth Herald of the Thomas Jefferson School of Law for their insights and aid.
IEEE Spectrum—March 19
When Columbia Law School professor Tim Wu first defined Net neutrality, he was arguing that network providers should not be allowed to discriminate against any of the bits flowing through their network.
Legal analysts say this is a small settlement for a retailer as large as Target. But Columbia Law Professor John Coffee says this is likely the first of many. “So, we’re dealing with an area of uncharted legal standards. But, once you get one settlement you get a lot more litigation that it encourages. So I think that this is going to become a regular, constant area of litigation because these kind of hacker attacks are not going away,” said Coffee.
Columbia Law School professor John Coffee looked closely at the actual language of the council’s proposal and realized that it distinguishes between “Delaware-style” shareholder litigation – derivative suits and M&A class actions – and securities fraud class actions under federal law. “In short, Delaware may have found a compromise that protects the local bar without threatening Delaware’s competitive position,” Coffee wrote.
Marketplace’s Lizzie O’Leary speaks with Columbia University professor Jagdish Bhagwati about economies around the world. During our collaboration with the BBC, Six Routes to Riches, we've visited six countries. “I don’t think so, because I don’t think any country has that kind of gravitas in the system,” says Bhagwati.
Live Mint—March 20
Some think otherwise. Jagdish Bhagwati, professor of economics, law and international affairs at Columbia University, US, believes that “the Gujarat template is ideal: Its people believe in accumulating wealth but they believe also in using it, not for self-indulgence but for social good. This comes from the Vaishnav and Jain traditions that Gandhiji drew upon as well.”
New York Times—March 23
“The academic in me says this is a really interesting speech-or-debate question,” said Richard Briffault, a Columbia University law professor.
New York Times—March 23
Tim Wu, a law professor at Columbia, described the shift in First Amendment doctrine in 2013 in The New Republic. “Once the patron saint of protesters and the disenfranchised, the First Amendment has become the darling of economic libertarians and corporate lawyers who have recognized its power to immunize private enterprise from legal restraint,” Professor Wu wrote.
Business Standard—March 23
Tim Wu, a Columbia University law professor, argues that no authority should be able to decide what kind of information is and isn't allowed on the internet. "What we're ultimately asking," says Professor Wu, "is a question that Adam Smith struggled with. Is there something special about 'carriers' and infrastructure - roads, canals, electric grids, trains, the Internet - that mandates special treatment?”
Columbia Daily Spectator—March 23
Executive Vice President for University Life Suzanne Goldberg said that the aim of the initiative is focused on prevention rather than directly addressing Columbia’s sexual assault policies. “As you know from CourseWorks, the Initiative’s central aim is to encourage students to learn, reflect and act on the link between sexual respect and community citizenship, and it seems from your letter that you have done that,” Goldberg said in her email.
The D&O Diary—March 23
Finally, readers interested in the ongoing debate regarding the legislation proposed in Delaware to address fee-shifting bylaws will want to review Alison Frankel’s March 20, 2015 post on her On the Case blog entitled “Why Proposed Legislation in Delaware Won’t End Loser-Pays Fight” (here), in which she discusses Columbia Law Professor’s John Coffee’s recent CLS Blue Sky blog post about the proposed legislation.
Red State—March 23
The term “Net Neutrality” was coined by Columbia Professor Tim Wu in 2003. Net Neutrality originally referred to management of the “last mile” of the network over which data flows into a person’s home, but the debate has grown beyond that in recent years.
New Republic—March 23
Everson, 60, currently the vice chairman of specialty tax service company Alliantgroup, was the Internal Revenue Service commissioner under President George W. Bush. He wants to reform the tax code based off Columbia law professor Michael Graetz’s Competitive Tax Plan, which imposes a value-added tax and removes the income tax for families making under $100,000.
New York Times—March 24
“If the evaluation is to have any meaning, it must have stakes,” said James Liebman of Columbia Law School, who served as the chief accountability officer of the New York Education Department under Mr. Klein.
Gulf Today—March 25
By Eben Moglen and Mishi Choudhary
An innovation policy for the human race is not the same as a national Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) policy which ultimately benefits only a handful of companies. As the current Indian government pushes for initiatives such as ‘Make in India’ and ‘Digital India,’ it cannot help but rely on raw materials provided by innovators who have fuelled the ‘sharing economy’ since the turn of the century.
By Ronald Mann
The Court apparently designed its decision Tuesday in B&B Hardware v. Hargis Industries to answer as narrow a question as possible and I think most readers of this blog will come away convinced that the opinion was a success, at least by that measure.
By Tim Wu
Congressional Republicans, displeased with the recent re-enactment of net neutrality rules have increasingly turned to a new line of argument. Republicans promised a “major confrontation,” but now the fact is that most Americans, including 85 percent of Republicans, oppose allowing broadband providers to charge websites for higher speeds.
Public Slate —March 26
Philip Hamburger of Columbia Law School compares these powers to the rules that kings of England, in much earlier centuries, had. He states that though there was a proper system in England, kings suddenly created their own powers and passed their own regulations, with all judicial systems being nearly forced to just go with it. He called this absolute power, though the modern term now is administrative law.
Stamford Advocate—March 26
"The real bad stuff is information obtained through stealth, bribery or fiduciary misconduct," said John Coffee Jr., a law professor at Columbia University and expert in corporate governance and securities law who helped Himes draft the bill.
Similar stories appeared in other outlets including Greenwich Times.
By Ronald Mann
It’s patent day at the Court on the last day of March, with a pair of arguments in patent cases.
New York Times—March 27
Eduardo Porter quotes James Liebman of Columbia Law School as saying, “If the evaluation is to have any meaning, it must have stakes.” Mr. Liebman was referring to the already high stakes for teachers, not students. If the economic logic of test-based incentives is believed to potentially compel better teaching, then why aren’t these tests also used to incentivize better student learning?
Ethical Boardroom—March 29
By John Coffee
It is an understatement to say that hedge fund activism is on the rise. In truth, hedge fund activism is today on steroids. In principle, this could be a positive development, as greater managerial accountability is usually desirable. But there is also a darker side to activism, as two examples will illustrate.
Arkansas Business—March 30
Your Whispers staff, seeking the big picture on the contentious issue of climate change, consulted with Michael Gerrard, director of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia Law School in New York. And, since he’s a lawyer, Gerrard noted something that might give Gov. Asa Hutchinson, also a lawyer, pause: “If a state refuses to anticipate and plan for extreme events and then one happens and there’s injury, there’s the possibility that the state could be liable for refusing to plan.”
Increasing agency discretion in the guidance "would defeat the whole purpose," said Michael Gerrard, director of the Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia Law School and one of the lawyers who first petitioned the George W. Bush administration in 2008 to promulgate the guidance.
The American Lawyer—March 30
To its critics, Bebchuk's paper is far from the end of the story. Scholars ranging from Columbia Law School's John Coffee Jr. to Yvan Allaire of the Institute for Governance of Private and Public Organizations find the data ambiguous and methodologically flawed.
“I’m afraid Starbucks found the experience of dealing candidly with race, even though a commendable effort, to have been something that went rather embarrassingly awkwardly for the company,” says John Coffee, professor of law at Columbia University’s school of law.
The New York Times—March 30
In a January decision, the Supreme Court ruled that under the 1993 law, a Muslim man in federal prison could keep a short beard. That is a prototypical example of what most saw as the original purpose of the act, said Katherine M. Franke, the faculty director of the Public Rights/Private Conscience Project at Columbia Law School.
Former Federal Prosecutor and Columbia Law professor Daniel Richman described the strategy in closing with the autopsy photos. “Even as some suggest that the jury will somehow get inflamed, the government can fairly point out that, in our visual society, this is a useful way to recenter the jury on the awfulness of the bombing,” Richman told BuzzFeed News.
By Ronald Mann
The last day of the March argument calendar presents the Justices with two consumer bankruptcy cases.
By Ronald Mann
The Court closes out the last day of its March argument session with the second of a pair of bankruptcy cases, Harris v. Viegelahn.
New York Law Journal—March 31
At a time of uncertainty for law schools across New York and the country, Columbia Law School seems to be weathering the storm, keeping its place among the country's premier law schools. But Gillian Lester, who is entering her third month as dean of Columbia Law, said there's still room for improvement.
The Daily Beast—March 31
“As long as it’s a sincere belief that can be plausibly organized as a religion,” explains Professor Katherine Franke, director of Columbia Law School’s Center for Gender and Sexuality Law. “In fact it’s regardless of whether that religion’s official doctrine adheres to your beliefs. We don’t ask the courts to interpret the reasonableness. You don’t even have to belong to a congregation or attend services. It just has to be plausible.”
Financial Times—March 31
White House Hopefuls Test Limits on Political Donations
“Our elections can seem very expensive, but the numbers are actually pretty small compared to the vast amount of private wealth in the US,” said Richard Briffault, a professor at Columbia law school
who specialises in campaign finance. “Some people spend $100m on a penthouse on Manhattan. Some people choose to spend $100m on a candidate.”
The Washington Post—March 31
How Arkansas’ religious freedom bill differs — and doesn’t — from the controversial one in Indiana
Wondering how it differed concretely from the Indiana bill, we reached out to professor Katherine Franke of Columbia Law School
, who also serves as faculty director of the school's Public Rights / Private Conscience Project
. As the debate over the bill in Indiana moved forward, Franke was one of several dozen signatories to a letter to the state's legislature, asking for changes that might prevent the effects that critics most fear.
CBC News—March 31
Indiana’s ‘Religious Freedom’ Law: How It Came to Be
"The Indiana law is much broader," said Katherine Franke, director of the Centre for Gender and Sexuality Law at Columbia Law School
. In the nearly two decades since Clinton signed the federal RFRA, it has been "captured" by fundamental Christians for their own interpretation, she said.
San Francisco Chronicle—March 31
Meaning of ‘Religious Freedom’ Very Different Than in ‘93
“A law that enables business owners to seek a faith-based exemption from civil rights laws in 2015 means something very different from a 1993 law that was focused primarily on protecting religious practices from government interference,” said Suzanne Goldberg, a Columbia law professor and director of the school’s Center for Gender and Sexuality Law
Indianapolis Star—March 31
How Indiana’s RFRA Differs from Federal Version
The federal law grants such rights only to people, nonprofit organizations and, in the case of the often-cited Hobby Lobby ruling, to closely-held corporations where owners share the same religious beliefs. That difference is a concern, said Katherine Franke, a Columbia University law professor
, because the law would grant religious rights to broad entities.
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