September 2012

  After the Arab Spring Revolutions, Absence of Rule of Law Key Challenge   
Following the successful Libyan revolution and the overthrow of Moammar Gadhafi, a major problem facing the country is “an absence of the rule of law,” the chief justice of Libya’s Supreme Court told a large group of Columbia Law School students and other guests Thursday at an event held at Jerome Greene Hall. After 42 years under the dictatorial rule of Gadhafi, Libya is transitioning to democracy. Chief Justice Kamal Bashir Dhan pointed out that his country’s 200-seat interim parliament was elected just this past July and that the country is still operating without a constitution.
  Workshop Probes Hate Crimes and Bullying Laws   
Outrage at the invasion of privacy by Rutgers University student Dharun Ravi, who spied by webcam on the sexual encounters of his gay roommate, Tyler Clementi, turned to shock for civil libertarians when they realized Ravi faced a possible 10 years in prison under hate crimes laws. Activists and academics working on hate crimes and bullying laws took a hard look at policy and reality in the first “Theory Meets Practice” Queer Theory Workshop, part of six public conversations sponsored by the Center for Gender and Sexuality Law. Co-facilitator Professor Katherine Franke, the Isidor and Seville Sulzbacher Professor of Law and director of the Law School’s Center for Gender & Sexuality Law, said the sessions look at how queer theory impacts problems that activists struggle with every day.
  The Environmental Stakes in the 2012 Election   
  SEC Punts on Financial Stability Reform   
In an all-too-familiar pattern, the SEC has backed down in the face of industry pressure and dropped a key proposal to prevent a repetition of the 2008 financial crisis. Despite the steadfast efforts of Chair Mary L. Schapiro, a divided Commission last week rejected further steps toward reform of money market funds, a $3 trillion financial intermediary that was at ground zero of the financial crisis and still presents a continuing threat to financial system stability.
  Justice Barak, Former President of Israeli Supreme Court, Addresses Human Rights and the Law   
The former Chief Justice of the Israeli Supreme Court promoted proportionality as a key tool for shielding human rights during a lecture at Columbia Law School on September 24. Described as “one of the leading lawyers and jurists of his generation,” by David M. Schizer, Dean and the Lucy G. Moses Professor of Law; Harvey R. Miller Professor of Law and Economics, Justice Barak, a Holocaust survivor from Lithuania, served as a professor at Hebrew University and Israel’s Attorney General before joining the nation’s highest court for 28 years. He was invited to speak at Columbia Law School by Zohar Goshen, the Alfred W. Bressler Professor of Law and director of the Center for Israeli Legal Studies.
  Law as Constraint on Government   
Columbia Law School will host a conference on Sept. 21 that will examine the issue of law as a constraint on government institutions. More than a dozen distinguished constitutional scholars from a number of leading law schools will participate in the daylong discussion, “Are Government Institutions Constrained by Law?”
  Modern Money and Public Purpose   
New York, Sept. 21, 2012—A consortium of Columbia Law School students has created an ambitious eight-part, interdisciplinary seminar series, Modern Money and Public Purpose, intended to present new perspectives and progressive policy proposals on a range of contemporary issues facing the U.S. and the global macroeconomy. The series will feature well-known speakers—both academics and practitioners—from a range of disciplines including economics, law, finance, criminology, systems theory, and history. Rohan Grey ’14, the driving force behind the program, identified speakers and topics based on his own reading and research into current economic debates.
  Sexuality & Gender Clinic Urges Federal Appeals Court to Strike Down Defense of Marriage Act   
The Columbia Law School Sexuality & Gender Law Clinic today urged the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) for violating the Constitution’s equality guarantee. The Clinic’s brief to the court makes clear that under any level of judicial scrutiny, the government must not impose unfair burdens on disfavored groups, including same-sex married couples.
  Student, Practitioners Honored for Work with Domestic Violence Victims   
Two tireless advocates for the rights of domestic violence victims and a Columbia Law School student were honored Monday night by the Law School, Davis Polk & Wardwell and Sanctuary for Families, a nonprofit organization devoted to assisting victims and their children.
  The Political Economy of Natural Resource Richness: Managing the Development Window Opportunity   
In the process of managing natural resource development, “it is perhaps not the natural resources themselves, but the human capital and human resources that are key,” International Monetary Fund (IMF) economist Rabah Arezki said to a group of business and law students at Columbia Law School during a Sept. 20 appearance. Arezki’s discussion, entitled “The Political Economy of Natural Resources,” was co-hosted by the Vale Columbia Center on Sustainable International Investment (VCC) and Columbia Business School’s Commodity Club.