Faculty in the News

Columbia Law School Clip Report, September 16–30, 2017


The Guardian—September 16, 2017
In a society too short of common goals, identity politics are an imperfect answer
Last November, Columbia University historian Mark Lilla published a comment piece in the New York Times, entitled The End of Identity Liberalism…. Katherine Franke, professor of law at Columbia, and a colleague of Lilla’s, claimed that Lilla was doing the “background work of making white supremacy respectable”.

The Financial Times—September 17, 2017
Big Tech makes vast gains at our expense
These companies are not so much innovators as “attention merchants”, to borrow a phrase from Columbia University law professor Tim Wu. Economists have yet to put good figures on their net effect on productivity and gross domestic product growth.

Investigative Post—September 18, 2017
SolarCity’s Expanded Escape Clause
“There certainly is an argument that this change makes it easier for Tesla to pull the plug and walk away,” said Eric Talley, a professor of contract law at Columbia University in New York City. The change represented a “moderate risk” to taxpayers, he added.

Christian Science Monitor—September 18, 2017
Trump visits UN: As a global leader, can the US do more with less?
“If your idea of diplomacy is building and sustaining relationships to serve and further US interests over a wide range of issues from global security to nuclear proliferation and international development, then having a large number of diplomats to build those relationships is important,” says Michael Doyle, director of Columbia University’s Global Policy Initiative.

Bloomberg Law—September 18, 2017
President Trump Nominates First Set of SEC Nominees (Audio)
John Coffee, a professor at Columbia Law School, discusses a new round of nominations for the SEC, which has been understaffed for months. He speak with June Grasso and Michael Best on Bloomberg Radio’s "Bloomberg Law."

The Wall Street Journal—September 18, 2017
Many N.Y. Police Departments Lag in Disclosing Records
Delays are endemic to the Freedom-of-Information process nationwide and at the federal level, said David Pozen, a Columbia University law professor. “Often Freedom-of-Information laws in this country have quite strict response-time requirements and agencies often complain that they are unrealistically strict.”

Law Talk With Epstein, Yoo & Senik—September 19, 2017
Episode 101—Live at Columbia Law School (Audio)
This week, a very special Law Talk recorded at Columbia Law School with special guest Columbia Law Professor Eric Talley sitting in for Troy Senik. The primary topic: robots and the law, which coincidentally is a topic of John’s new book Striking Power: How Cyber, Robots, and Space Weapons Change the Rules for War. We also discuss the legalities of DACA, labor troubles at Uber, and more.

Bloomberg Law—September 19, 2017
Why Women Leave Big Law To Start Their Own Firms
“There is a deep tradition of men passing business to each other,” said Columbia University law professor Suzanne B. Goldberg, who studies gender and discrimination law. “As a result, many women don’t receive the support for business generation that their male colleagues might.”

Fox News—September 19, 2017
Columbia University's military association voices 'disappointment' over dean's missive
In the letter, which was viewed by Fox News, the Columbia Law School Military Association said Dean Gillian Lester’s “vociferous objection” to military recruiting conveys a “serious disregard for the military community, which includes not only those who have served, but also those with family or friends who have served.

Signature—September 20, 2017
Tim Wu on Why Our Attention Spans Continue to Worsen (Video)
Tim Wu, author of the award-winning The Master Switch and The Attention Merchant, argues that our attention is being stolen from us by industry-driven ads, and that if we’re not careful, our whole way of thinking can be altered in unimaginable ways.

Bloomberg BNA—September 20, 2017
Climate Change Ruling Could Affect Other Fossil Fuel Projects
While the ruling only applies within the Tenth Circuit, that does include the Powder River Basin, where nearly half the nation’s coal is produced. Further, the decision will have “persuasive value” in other circuits should the issue arise, Michael Gerrard, an environmental law professor at Columbia University, told Bloomberg BNA.

Climate Liability News—September 20, 2017
San Francisco, Oakland Sue 5 Oil Giants for Climate Change Impacts
Michael Burger, executive director of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia University, said the lawsuit’s public nuisance argument seeks only to shift the costs of climate adaptation from taxpayers to the companies responsible for global warming. “They arguably come closer to putting a number on what they’re seeking from fossil fuel companies” than the counties’ lawsuit does, he said.

NPR—September 21, 2017
How States Are Banding Together To Take On Trump (Audio)
"There's no question that legally they can, if they have the ability to charge; in other words, if Trump or any of his associates have committed a crime in a particular state," says Jennifer Rodgers, executive director of the Center for the Advancement of Public Integrity at Columbia University Law School.

BGR India—September 21, 2017
Consent is not the key to privacy protection
By Eben Moglen and Mishi Choudhary      
Unless we have our basic concepts right, we will be faced with new facts on the ground, indeed with whole new social realities, before we are ready to understand their consequences or make wise social policy about them. The most important conceptual mistake we are currently being urged to make is the belief that privacy is only about “consent”.              

USA Today—September 22, 2017
Do you want to sue Equifax over the cyberbreach? Winning a lawsuit may not be so easy.
"So far the alleged injury is vague, very indefinite for most people, said John Coffee, a Columbia Law School professor and director of the New York City school's Center on Corporate Governance. But, given the massive size of this breach, "sooner or later people are going to suffer actual harm."

The Los Angeles Review of Books—September 24, 2017
Hiding in Plain View: The Past and Present of Manipulative Advertising
In his book The Attention Merchants, law professor Tim Wu contends that this is all part of a historical pattern: advertisers inevitably go too far in their efforts to capture human attention, ultimately disenchanting audiences enough to produce a backlash, and then the whole cycle repeats itself a few years later.

Scientific American—September 25, 2017
Trump Administration May Soon Ax Obama's Big Climate Rule
“The courts have consistently struck down agency reviews that don't account for climate impacts,” said Michael Burger, executive director of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia Law School…The issue of co-benefits is a hot topic of debate among environmental lawyers, who will be closely watching the Trump team's calculations. “It's basically an unresolved legal question,” said Burger.

The Daily Dot—September 25, 2017
In the battle over stolen work, social media may just be indie designers’ greatest weapon
“Everybody should systematically register their work before they’re ready to disclose it to the public,” Jane C. Ginsburg, a professor of literary and artistic property law at Columbia Law School, tells the Daily Dot.

Vice—September 25, 2017
Violent crime is on the rise. There’s still no “American carnage.”
Daniel Richman, a former federal prosecutor and current professor at Columbia Law School, worries that the Brennan Center’s objective is to push back against the Trump administration. “Neither side has this right,” Richman said. “Those with responsibility for public safety need to be clear-eyed in what’s happening, and there are risks in underestimating the problem … because people are dying.”

Discourse—September 26, 2017
Mining for energy: The DRC’s unlikely power solution
A report from the Columbia Center for Sustainable Investment puts it another way: “For a mining company, the goal is to maximize cost-savings. For a host country, the challenge is to maximize welfare gains by leveraging any investment in power infrastructure development for the electrification needs of the country.”

The New York Times—September 26, 2017
Courts That Save Opioid Victims’ Family Life
“Too often, the success of specialized courts turns tremendously on who the judge is, and whether they have the personality for it,” said Jane Spinak, who directs the Adolescent Representation Clinic at Columbia Law School. A system in which a change in leadership can have such an impact on outcomes “is not a sound system for building courts in the long run.”

The Street—September 26, 2017
The Astonishing Return Of Steven Cohen
"I say this with a certain pessimism, but I think he'll have no difficulty marketing his fund to a certain kind of investor," said Columbia Law School Professor John Coffee. "The investors don't take the risk of criminal liability, Cohen and his fund managers do."

The Street—September 26, 2017
Boards May Be Right to Resist Activists Trump’s Latest SEC Pick
President Donald Trump's choice of Columbia University law professor Robert Jackson Jr. to fill a Democratic seat on the Securities and Exchange Commission has won praise from shareholder activists because of his support for their efforts…"You see situations where the activist is really onto something," Jackson conceded, "and you see situations where the board is really right to resist."

The New York Times—September 26, 2017
Prison Term for Weiner Is Set, But Where Will He Go?
The Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn is considered an administrative prison, which can hold inmates of all security levels. But it is unlikely Mr. Weiner would be sent there, said Jennifer Rodgers, executive director of the Center for the Advancement of Public Integrity at Columbia Law School.

The New York Times—September 26, 2017
Is Climate-Themed Fiction All Too Real? We Asked the Experts
“What would be fair,” said Michael Gerrard, director of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia Law School, “would be for each of the major emitting countries to accept a portion of the world’s climate-displaced people proportional to its historic contribution” of greenhouse gases.

The New York Post—September 26, 2017
Equifax CEO exits with lavish pension
Management experts said financial repercussions should extend to other executives as well.
“It’s rarely just the CEO. The CEO is not going to be the first person to know,” said Professor John Coffee of Columbia Law School. “I think you should also focus on the board of directors — what did they know and when did they know it?” Coffee said.

City and State—September 26, 2017
Experts: Expect another Skelos conviction
Jennifer Rodgers, lecturer at Columbia Law School and executive director of the school’s Center for the Advancement of Public Integrity, said that the strength of the case was not in question. “The evidence is strong,” she said. “The reason that the two Skelos’s convictions were overturned was really a legal technicality, not having to do with the strength of the evidence.”

Balkinization—September 26, 2017
Introducing the Emerging Threats Essays—A Series of Papers About New (or Newish) Challenges to the Freedoms of Speech and the Press
By David Pozen
Against the background of these formidable challenges, we are excited to announce that the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University will commission and publish a series of essays that grapple with newly arising or intensifying structural threats to the system of free expression.

Climate Liability News—September 27, 2017
Another Youth Climate Lawsuit Turns to Crowdfunding in Portugal
“The European Court of Human Rights is an appropriate venue in which to seek a declaration on the applicability of European human rights law to climate change,” said Michael Burger, executive director of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia University. Burger declined to comment on GLAN’s proposed legal strategy.

New York Law Journal—September 27, 2017
Swatch Suit Offers Teachable Moment in Steering Clear of Ethics Pitfall
William Simon, the Arthur Levitt Professor of Law at Columbia Law School, said the initial mistake was "sloppy but it happens." "When you're deciding whether you should correct false evidence that you submit, there's a huge presumption you're going to correct it," Simon said.

Financial Times—September 27, 2017
SEC Forced to try new ways of pursuing bad financial advisors
John Coffee, a Columbia Law School professor, says the ruling was no surprise for most Supreme Court watchers. “The court was not willing to tolerate regulators having a potentially infinite period in which they could sue for damages that had grown to an immense level over decades of alleged violations — with interest running,” he says.

Associated Press—September 28, 2017
How tax-cut plan could benefit Trump and wealthy staffers
Alex Raskolnikov, a tax professor at Columbia University’s law school, notes that the expected cost of repealing the estate tax would be around $200 billion over 10 years.
“People do figure out how to mitigate the estate tax, but it’s difficult to mitigate the tax on a billion-dollar estate down to zero,” he said.

Bloomberg BNA—September 28, 2017
You Win Some, You Lose Some—The Lynn Tilton Edition
In testimony before the SEC Investor Advisory Committee this summer, Columbia University Law Professor John C. Coffee, Jr., suggested that the SEC already had the solution to the appointments clause problem in its back pocket.

Minnesota Public Radio—September 28, 2017
Climate-Cast: California Cities v. Big Oil (Audio)
I started by asking Columbia Law School’s Michael Berger, if what we’re seeing the is just the tip of a ‘climate change legal iceberg,’ lurking below the waterline?

The Washington Post—September 28, 2017
My marriage was over. Why couldn’t I get my old name back?
“So much of what happens in this area is informal,” said Columbia Law School professor Elizabeth Emens, who’s written extensively on name change law, “which is what led me to the concept of what I called ‘desk clerk law.’ That’s law as defined by the whims or views of the person at the desk.”

CBC—September 29, 2017
'It's not good for me. Believe me': Actually, Trump tax plan a boon for the rich, experts say
"Donald Trump will benefit a great deal from the lowering of the tax, we know that," said Michael Graetz, a former special counsel at the Treasury Department. "We know what the benefits are for the rich through the repeal of the estate tax and the lower rates of high-income business owners through their partnerships," he said. "But what we really don't know much about is the nature of benefits for the middle class."

Intellectual Property Watch—September 29, 2017
Moglen On Privacy And ‘The Machine’: This Is Not Over Yet
Free Software legend and privacy advocate Prof. Eben Moglen gave a speech this week at Yale Law School on privacy, the “machine,” and the jarring threat humanity is facing. There is at least one sign of hope, he said: the FreedomBox.

Law.com—September 30, 2017
Law Firms, Partners Await Answers on Trump Tax Plan
The proposed tax framework offers no definition of a small business, and even the current Internal Revenue Code uses mixed definitions, said Columbia Law School tax professor Alex Raskolnikov, noting that one section definition of a small business is less than $5 million in receipts while another section defines a small business as $50 million or less in assets.

The Economist—September 30, 2017
For some plaintiffs, courts in China are getting better
Other common cases relate to pension benefits, compensation for workplace injuries and traffic tickets. Benjamin Liebman of Columbia Law School says that suing the government over such matters is becoming routine in China.

The Street—September 30, 2017
Democratic Pick for SEC Wins Praise From Governance Advocates
Columbia Law School Professor Robert Jackson is the White House's choice for a Democratic slot on at the Securities and Exchange Commission's five-member oversight panel. Governance experts, insurgent managers and those who back shareholder 'say' on CEO pay are excited.

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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.

Posted October 12, 2017