Faculty in the News

Columbia Law School Clip Report, August 16–September 15, 2017



Bloomberg Law—August 17, 2017
Federal Court Declares Texas Voter Maps Racially Biased (Audio)
Justin Levitt, a professor at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, and Richard Briffault, a professor at Columbia Law School, discuss why a panel of Federal Court judges ruled that Texas’s current voter maps are unusable in upcoming congressional midterm elections. They speak with June Grasso on Bloomberg Radio’s "Bloomberg Law."

Business Insider—August 18, 2017
What a president has to do to be impeached (Video)
What is the impeachment process, and what does a president have to do to get impeached? Columbia Law School's professor of legislation Richard Briffault stopped by the Business Insider newsroom to spell out exactly how the impeachment process works.

Canton Rep—August 21, 2017
Town hall on women, girls of color coming Oct. 14 to Walsh
Girls’ issues, [Professor Kimberlé Crenshaw] said, weren’t seen as serious or regarded as a critical matter of focus…“Over the last decade, the focus has been on black boys, which is rightful, but it led to an incorrect inference. We’re not talking about women’s and girls’ crises, so they must be OK.”

NorthJersey.com —August 21, 2017
Menendez jury selection: How scientists may help sniff out bias
Party affiliation can also be a complicating factor in any case involving a politician, said Jennifer Rodgers, executive director of the Center for the Advancement of Public Integrity at Columbia Law School and a former federal prosecutor. “Maybe you have these citizens of New Jersey who feel like [Menendez] is doing great work for them in the Senate, and it will be hard for them to overcome that to convict him,” she said.

Common Dreams—August 21, 2017
Giving Middle Finger to Appalachian Communities, Trump Kills Study of Mountaintop Removal Health Impacts
As Michael Gerrard, director of Columbia University's Sabin Center for Climate Change Lawsummarized dryly on Twitter: "Trump's great way of helping his West Virginia voters: Halt scientific study of how mountaintop removal coal mining makes them sick."

Huffington Post India—August 22, 2017
Goodbye Arvind Panagariya, Hello Amartya Sen?
Among other things, Panagariya and his illustrious colleague Professor Jagdish Bhagwati probably underestimated the systemic corruption that is deeply embedded in the complex labyrinth of the political-bureaucratic-business-media nexus.

Miami Herald—August 22, 2017
Pressure on Manafort grows as feds track more income, possible money laundering
“If Manafort is shown to have violated the tax laws and the disclosure laws in connection with his foreign income, then he may be facing substantial jail time and large fines,” said Jennifer Rodgers, a former federal prosecutor and the executive director of Columbia Law School’s Center for the Advancement of Public Integrity.

Law.com—August 22, 2017
Post-Charlottesville, Justice Roger Taney Statues Are Removed. But Not at the Supreme Court
Columbia Law School professor Jamal Greene said removing the bust or portrait from the court would “oversimplify the [Dred Scott] decision and worse, tends to call attention away from the ways in which the decision reflected ugly truths about our constitutional history.”

Southern California Public Radio—August 23, 2017
'A tricky area of philanthropy': LA Mayor solicits millions for his favored causes
Richard Briffault, Columbia University law professor and campaign finance expert, said New York’s limit on behested-style transactions “makes sense” given that the donations are ethically thorny. “A true gift may come out of the blue, unasked-for, and may not even be something the covered person wants,” he said.

MoneyControl.com—August 23 2017
Data Protection and the larger Right of Privacy
By Mishi Choudhary and Eben Moglen
As the Supreme Court's constitutional bench was hearing arguments on the fundamental right of privacy, Union of India announced the formation of a committee to consider a national data protection statute.  Already, the mere possibility of such legislation is being offered as a reason why a fundamental right of privacy should not be found. This is a pure confusion.

NBC—August 23, 2017
Post Bail
“One goal is clearly to eliminate the racial and class bias,” said Bernard Harcourt, a Columbia University law professor whose book, “Against Prediction,” charts the rise of actuarial methods in targeting criminals and meting out punishment. “What I’m saying is these methods actually make them worse.”

Crain’s New York—August 23, 2017
Icahn's in trouble, but will anyone care enough to drop the hammer?
"I do not think Icahn's statement that he was an adviser to Trump is material to his investors," John Coffee, a professor at Columbia Law School, said in an email.

The Washington Post—August 23, 2017
The Energy 202: Here's how Trump is changing pipeline politics
On Tuesday, Energy Transfer Partners, the company behind the Dakota Access Pipeline, accused Greenpeace and other environmental activists who helped organize the protests of eco-terrorism, racketeering and other crimes. "This is one of the most aggressive lawsuits against an environmental group that I've seen," said Michael Gerrard, a professor of environmental law at Columbia.

CBS—August 23, 2017
Haley takes U.S. "concerns" on Iran to the nuclear police
"Whatever the flaws of the existing nuclear deal, Trump will find that criticizing it is far, far easier than crafting an effective replacement to it," says Matthew C. Waxman, faculty chair of the program on Law and National Security at Columbia Law School.

E&E News—August 24, 2017
Major ruling against FERC shakes up climate office
"My assumption is that this decision will be appealed, either for an en banc rehearing or to the Supreme Court," said Michael Burger, executive director of Columbia Law School's Sabin Center for Climate Change Law. "FERC has long maintained that this is not its responsibility, including during the Obama administration."

The Intercept—August 25, 2017
Mark Lilla’s Book Criticizes Identity Politics, but Falls Short on Proposing an Alternative
In the Los Angeles Review of Books, Lilla’s Columbia University colleague Katherine Franke compared his ideology to that of former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke’s, arguing that “Duke is happy to own the white supremacy of his statements, while Lilla’s op-ed does the more nefarious background work of making white supremacy respectable.”

Bloomberg Law—August 25, 2017
Bloomberg Law Brief: Insider Trading Litigation (Audio)
John Coffee, a professor at Columbia Law School, and Robert Hockett, a professor at Cornell University Law School, discuss former S.A.C. Capital Advisors portfolio manager Mathew Martoma’s lost bid to overturn his insider-trading conviction and the boost it has given to federal prosecutors seeking to clean up illegal behavior on Wall Street.

The Washington Post—August 28, 2017
Want to be mad about government insurance? Be mad about the program that will be critical after Harvey.
“The floods of 20 years ago are not as bad as the floods are going to be 20 years from now,” Michael Gerrard, director of Columbia Law School’s Sabin Center for Climate Change Law told PBS’s “Frontline” in 2016. “But [the maps] only look at historic experience.”

A Journey Through NYC Religions—August 28, 2017
A Columbia Law School Seminar That Answers to a Higher Authority
These are among the highlights of a class that professors George Fletcher and Saul Berman teach together at Columbia Law School titled “Biblical Jurisprudence,” which involves teasing out the jurisprudential implications of ancient religious texts, a practice more than two thousand years old.

National Review—August 28, 2017
The New Manicheans
The reaction of many liberals to Lilla’s piece was disheartening. Writing in The Los Angeles Review of Books, Columbia law professor Katherine Franke compared Lilla to David Duke: Both were pledged “to the same ideological project, the [one] cloaked in a KKK hood, the [other] in an academic gown…”

Associated Press—August 31, 2017
Trump order cramps rebuilding stronger after floods
“Rebuilding while ignoring future flood events is like treating someone for lung cancer and then giving him a carton of cigarettes on the way out the door,” said Michael Gerrard, a professor of environmental and climate change law at Columbia University. “If you’re going to rebuild after a bad event, you don’t want to expose yourself to the same thing all over again.”

Note: This AP article ran in a number of media outlets including The Washington Post, CBS, and CNBC.

The Washington Post—August 31, 2017
Google Is Coming After Critics in Academia and Journalism. It’s Time To Stop Them
About 10 years ago, Tim Wu, the Columbia Law professor who coined the term network neutrality, made this prescient comment: “To love Google, you have to be a little bit of a monarchist, you have to have faith in the way people traditionally felt about the king.”

The Anniston Star—August 31, 2017
Ala. sets two execution dates for inmates
“There are medical complications in Doyle Hamm’s case,” said Bernard Harcourt, a Columbia University law professor who is representing Hamm. Harcourt said Hamm has late-stage cranial and lymphatic cancer, and the state’s motion for an execution date is pending while lawyers look into the inmate’s condition.

Bloomberg BNA—August 31, 2017
Harvey Cleanup Tests Trump Plan to Shrink EPA by 8 Percent
“If the federal government actually carries forward on the spirit of that order, it will rebuild just as before and subject new...infrastructure to exactly the same hazards that destroyed the old infrastructure,”Michael Gerrard, director of Columbia University’s Sabin Center for Climate Change Law, told Bloomberg BNA.

Reuters—September 1, 2017
Trump nominates Columbia professor Jackson for seat on U.S. SEC
President Donald Trump on Friday nominated Columbia University law professor Robert Jackson, an advocate for public disclosure of political spending by companies, for a vacant seat on the five-member U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Note: Robert Jackson’s nomination to the SEC was covered in many media outlets including The Wall Street JournalThe New York TimesMSNBloomberg Law, and Business Insider.

Reuters—September 4, 2017
Hurricane Harvey's aftermath could see pioneering climate lawsuits
At Columbia University, Michael Burger, executive director of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law, said that current lack of consensus over the accuracy of attribution science could, however, prove a hurdle in courts for now. “But in a year or two year or three years ... it’s quite possible that the science will get there.”

The Washington Examiner—September 4, 2017
Trump's pipeline agenda takes a hit with court ruling
"The D.C. Circuit decision — if FERC abides by it rather than appeals it — will not impact FERC's ability to approve pipelines," said Michael Burger, executive director of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law, in a statement to the Washington Examiner.

The Washington Post—September 5, 2017
Trump nominates Oklahoma politician and climate skeptic to run NASA
On Twitter, Columbia University environmental law professor Michael Gerrard called Bridenstine a “climate denier,” likening him to a fellow Oklahoman, EPA administrator Scott Pruitt.

Think Progress—September 5, 2017
These kids aren’t old enough to vote, but that isn’t stopping them from trying to save the world
“The age of the plaintiffs does not matter — or at least is has not yet mattered — for the purposes of establishing standing in climate litigation,” Michael Burger, executive director of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia University, told ThinkProgress via email. “

The Chronicle of Higher Education—September 5, 2017
What Major Universities Had to Say About Trump’s Move to Roll Back DACA
At Columbia University, Suzanne Goldberg, a professor and the executive vice president for university lifeissued a letter condemning the decision to terminate DACA. Ms. Goldberg explained what services Columbia could provide to protect its undocumented students, including "pro bono legal representation for DACA and undocumented students on immigration-related matters."

Lawfare—September 5, 2017
The Power to Wage War is the Power to Wage War Successfully: A Centennial Essay
By Matthew Waxman
One hundred years ago today—on September 5, 1917—Charles Evans Hughes famously argued that “the power to wage war is the power to wage war successfully.” In a recent Columbia Law Review article, I detail the story behind this statement and how Hughes wrestled with questions that flowed from it.

Bloomberg BNA—September 6, 2017
Harvey Stokes More Superfund Liability Risk
Michael Gerrard, director of the Sabine Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia Law Schoolin New York City, agreed that the defense is unlikely to succeed even in light of the especially extreme conditions created by Harvey. “There is not a single reported decision under CERCLA, the Oil Pollution Act, or any other federal environmental statutes where the Act of God defense was successful, not even after Katrina or Sandy,” Gerrard said in an email.

Bloomberg Law—September 6, 2017
Mozart of Legal Writing: Clerks Reflect on Posner’s Career
“Despite being a genius, he is fully aware that he has limited knowledge of the world and may be mistaken in his views,” former clerk Edward Morrison, now a professor at Columbia Law School, New York, told Bloomberg BNA by email.

The National Law Review—September 6, 2017
Professor Robert J. Jackson Jr. Nominated To Become A Member Of The Securities And Exchange Commission
As Broc Romanek noted yesterday, President Donald Trump has nominated Columbia Law School Professor Robert J. Jackson, Jr. to become a member of the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Vice—September 7, 2017
A Legal War in Arkansas Threatens Abortion Rights Everywhere
Gillian Metzger, the Stanley H. Fuld Professor of Law and vice dean at Columbia Law School, thinks the Eighth Circuit "has really pushed the envelope" on constitutional retraction of reproductive rights in America

Climate Liability News—September 7, 2017
Half of Modern Global Warming Caused by 90 Companies, New Study Concludes
Michael Burger, executive director of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia University, warned that the study itself does not determine any company’s legal liability. “The study offers another piece of scientific evidence that supports attributing some specific portions of climate change impacts to a set of some 90 fossil fuel production companies,” Burger said.

McClatchy DC Bureau—September 7, 2017
Subpoenas likely if Facebook resists Russia inquiries
The evidence of Russian ad buys on Facebook "is likely to be of great interest to all of the entities investigating Russian interference with last year’s election,” said Jennifer Rodgers, a former assistant U.S. attorney who now heads the Columbia University law school’s Center for the Advancement of Public Integrity.

Climate Liability News—September 8, 2017
Massive Western Wildfires Spark Question: Should Climate Polluters Pay?
Communities ravaged by wildfire don’t have to wait for precedent to be set in the California cases, but their path to success in court is unclear, said Michael Burger, executive director of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia University. “The science of attribution in relationship to wildfire is different than the science of attribution in relationship to sea level rise,” he said.

CBS—September 9, 2017
U.N. report says member states help North Korea evade sanctions
"A problem with all sanctions efforts is that they're never air-tight, and North Korea and its supporters are adept and well-practiced at circumventing them. Simply adding new sanctions without tougher enforcement won't do much," said Matthew Waxman, faculty chair of the program on Law and National Security at Columbia Law School.

USA Today—September 11, 2017
Equifax hit with at least 23 class-action lawsuits over massive cyberbreach
"Equifax probably injured 143 million people, which is kind of a record," said John Coffee, a Columbia Law School professor and director of the school's Center on Corporate Governance. Although the extent of the damage hasn't yet been determined, "with 143 million people it doesn't surprise me there are already 23 suits," said Coffee.

NorthJersey.com—September 11, 2017
Environmental groups try to block controversial Exxon pollution deal with N.J.
During oral arguments Monday in Trenton, Edward Lloyd, a Columbia Law School professor and environmental legal expert representing the advocacy groups, said the settlement amount “would not begin to compensate the public,” and that the extent of “contamination by Exxon was unprecedented.”

Fortune—September 11, 2017
We Need to Be Better Prepared for the Next Irma
By Michael Gerrard and Justin Gundlach
Hurricanes Irma and Harvey have inflicted enormous damage on the U.S. Past disasters, which have also left trails of havoc and tragedy, have left a clear message for recovery: Do not just rebuild, but build back better so that the region's infrastructure, assets, and people are less vulnerable to the next storm.

San Francisco Chronicle—September 12, 2017
Advocates blame oil giants for climate change, call Chevron No. 1 culprit
“We’re seeing a lot of litigation around climate change and environmental issues now because the government is walking away from its obligation to protect human health and welfare,” said Michael Burger, executive director of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia University in New York. “This (new report) is exactly the sort of study that plaintiffs will rely on in seeking to attribute blame for climate change.”

The National Law Journal—September 14, 2017
Exxon, Paul Weiss Weather Ups and Downs on Climate Change
“In view of Harvey and Irma, there will certainly be arguments that a lot more is possibly ‘imminent’ than might previously have seemed. I think that today’s decision may embolden other plaintiffs lawyers to raise similar theories in other parts of the country, especially now that we have seen that what were previously thought of as 500-year storms are occurring with alarming frequency,” said Michael Gerrard, a Columbia Law School professor and senior counsel at Arnold & Porter Kay Scholer.

The New York Law Journal—September 14, 2017
Uncertainty About Hydrologically Connected Groundwater Has Implications in New York
By Michael Gerrard and Edward McTiernan
Federal district courts are divided over whether the Clean Water Act prohibits discharges to groundwater when the subsurface receiving water is so closely connected to waters of the United States that it serves as a direct conduit to introduce pollutants to surface waters…This unresolved question has far-reaching consequences.

The New York Times—September 14, 2017
On Insider Trading, an Appeals Court Comes to Its Senses
Martoma “wasn’t a hard case,” said John C. Coffee Jr., a professor at Columbia Law School and an expert on white-collar crime. “In fact, it’s one of the easiest insider-trading cases I’ve ever seen.” While the appellate panel may have overreached in its eagerness to limit the damage from Newman, he said, the upshot is that “the odds have again swung to the prosecutors’ advantage.”

Bloomberg—September 14, 2017
Court Reinstates Controversial Texas Voting Districts (Audio)
Richard Briffault, a professor at Columbia Law School, and Nathaniel Persily, a professor at Stanford Law School, discuss a Supreme Court decision, which reinstated disputed congressional and state voting maps in Texas, and blocks two lower court rulings that said the re-drawn district lines were the result of racial discrimination.

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This report shares mentions of Law School faculty cited in print, broadcast, and online news outlets. It is not intended to be inclusive of every media mention.