Faculty in the News

Columbia Law School Clip Report, August 1–31, 2018

Scientific American—August 1, 2018
Car Rules Fight Pits Safety against Pollution
A “massive court battle” is on the horizon between the federal government and California, plus the states that use its emissions standards, as a result of the rollback, said Michael Gerrard, director of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia University.

Associated Press—August 1, 2018
Do Trump tweets cross legal line for obstruction of justice?
The difficulty in trying to use Trump's tweet to prove obstruction is that he may have posted it for several reasons, including to rally support among his political base, said Jennifer Rodgers, a former federal prosecutor in New York who now lectures at Columbia Law School.
[Note: This story appeared in multiple major news outlets nationwide.]

Phys.org—August 1, 2018
What are the biggest threats to the Endangered Species Act?
The Endangered Species Act (ESA) is "one of the strongest environmental laws ever enacted," says Michael Gerrard, an environmental law professor at Columbia's Sabin Center for Climate Change Law. "It has very substantial bite, and it's been responsible for the survival and recovery of numerous species."

Bloomberg—August 2, 2018
With Wildfires Blazing, California Shuns Trump's Clean-Air Plan
“California certainly does have a chance to win a fight in court,” said Michael Gerrard, an environmental law professor at Columbia Law School. “There has never been a decision on whether an administration can withdraw a waiver, since no previous administration has ever tried.”

The Los Angeles Times—August 2, 2018
CBS’ Moonves skirts explosive allegations, sticks to strong earnings on call with investors
“I have not seen two different law firms used to run a single investigation — and I follow this,” Columbia Law School professor John C. Coffee said Thursday. “It leaves some question as to who is in control of the investigation.”

Vice—August 6, 2018
What Would Happen in the Minutes and Hours After the Supreme Court Overturned Roe v. Wade?
For obvious reasons, many millions of Americans are more than a little concerned about the prospect. One of them is Carol Sanger, a professor at Columbia University Law School and the author of About Abortion: Terminating Pregnancy in 21st Century America.

NPR—August 7, 2018
Is Trump About To Be Able To Say ‘You’re Fired’ To A Lot More People?
Just how far down could the new rules granting broad executive control go? “That’s always been a question,” said Columbia Law School professor Gillian Metzger. “Does it go to the civil service?”

Associated Press—August 8, 2018
Tesla CEO’s buyout bid raises eyebrows, legal concerns
“It’s very obvious that Musk did not talk to any lawyers before he made his tweet,” said John Coffee Jr., a Columbia University law professor and corporate-governance expert.
[Note: Professor Coffee was quoted extensively throughout the period on developing stories concerning Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s comments about taking the company private, including by Bloomberg, The Guardian, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, TheStreet, Wired, and Yahoo! Finance.]

Hollywood Reporter—August 8, 2018
CBS Faces Credibility Questions Over Leslie Moonves Investigation
“The law firms conducting these studies are often 
looking to discern what outcome their clients really want,” says John Coffee Jr., the director of Columbia Law School's Center on Corporate Governance. “This may prove to be a tame investigation.”

Vogue—August 8, 2018
Imperial Pink? The Wing Gears Up to Go Global
“I think in 2018 for a company to have a business model that is discriminatory, even if seems in a benign sort of way, feels very untimely,” says Katherine Franke, Sulzbacher Professor of Law, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Columbia University and author of a petition advocating for the commission’s enforcement of the Sex Discrimination Law.

CNBC—August 9, 2018
GOP Rep. Chris Collins Used Campaign Funds to Pay Legal Bills for Insider-Trading Investigations
John Coffee, a Columbia law school professor, said he believes there's a possibility that the only defense Collins may have is to claim that he told his son that the information he gave was confidential and that he was not permitted to disclose it. “He could say he was gossiping with his kid and he told him to keep it confidential,” Coffee said.

Politico—August 10, 2018
Pressing Ahead on Disclosure
At the same time, veterans of the George H.W. Bush Treasury, like Michael Graetz of Columbia Law School, remain steadfast that Trump administration should leave the issue alone. “There is no statute of limitations on bad ideas,” Graetz said.
[Note: A longer article featuring this quote from Professor Graetz is available behind a paywall at Politico Pro Tax.]

Law.com—August 10, 2018
Law Firms Looking to Game the New Tax Law? Think Again
“They did a pretty good job,” said Alex Raskolnikov, a tax law professor at Columbia University. “They went so far as to specifically address in examples two work-around strategies, one for partners and one for associates.”

Wharton Business Radio (University of Pennsylvania)—August 13, 2018
Should the SEC Pursue Offenders Beyond Five Years?
“The case that Clayton is going to make to Congress, which is a compelling one, is that you can’t have it both ways,” said Joshua Mitts, associate professor at Columbia Law School.

Governing—August 13, 2018
Is Child Care a Campaign Expense? States Are Divided.
Many state and local candidates are prohibited from using campaign funds for child care, says Richard Briffault, a government ethics expert and professor at Columbia Law School.

The Wall Street Journal—August 15, 2018
Banks Say No Thanks to Volcker Rule Changes
“This is genuinely complicated and there are no easy fixes to make Volcker simple,” said Kathryn Judge, a professor at Columbia Law School. “Banks understand what they’re doing better than regulators.”

The Regulatory Review—August 15, 2018
The Changing Meaning of Transparency
According to the paper’s author—Columbia Law School professor David Pozen—sunlight laws can return to their progressive origins. But doing so will first require that advocates stop praising transparency as an end in itself and treat open government laws as a complement to, rather than a substitute for, substantive underlying regulation.

Market Watch—August 15, 2018
Elon Musk left plenty of questions about Tesla going private, experts say
Taking a company private entails ”pretty big changes” and in the case of Tesla, Musk might be wanting to have his cake and eat it too, said Joshua Mitts, a law professor at Columbia University who  specializes in securities regulation and corporate finance.

Inside Climate News—August 15, 2018
Science, Health Leaders Lay Out Evidence Against EPA’s 'Secret Science' Rule
Michael Gerrard, director of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia University Law School, said the broad condemnation reflects the deep impact the rule could have on how the EPA carries out its mission. “This proposal goes to fundamental scientific methodology, and is an effort to turn a blind eye to some of the most useful scientific evidence for environmental rulemaking,” Gerrard said.

The New York Times—August 15, 2018
Should Coffee Come With Cancer Warnings? California Says No
The law has created “a cottage industry of lawyers roaming around looking for violators,” said Nathan A. Schachtman, a product liability defense lawyer and a Columbia Law School lecturer.

Bloomberg—August 16, 2018
Musk Faces Regulatory Scrutiny in Tesla Private Story (Audio)
John Coffee, a professor at Columbia Law School, discusses the regulatory scrutiny that could meet Tesla CEO Elon Musk as he explores taking Tesla private.

The Washington Examiner—August 16, 2018
Internal disagreement over safety claims could trip up Trump's legal defense of clean car rollback
“It strengthens legal challengers’ arguments that this was a political, and not a technical, decision,” Michael Gerrard, an environmental law professor at Columbia University, told the Washington Examiner.

NBC—August 16, 2018
New ‘religious exemption’ directive could harm LGBTQ workers, critics say
Suzanne B. Goldberg, a professor at Columbia Law School, called the directive “quite concerning” in the context of the Trump administration’s “broader efforts” to cut back on LGBTQ rights. “The current administration has, both through directives like this and in litigation, taken positions that treat religion as a justification for anti LGBT discrimination,” Goldberg told NBC News.

Reuters—August 17, 2018
UN Human Rights Committee says Lula must have all political rights (Portuguese)
The UN committee’s decision, signed by two experts of the organization's human rights commission, Sarah Cleveland and Olivier de Frouville, notes that “no decision was taken by the committee on the substance of the subject under consideration.”

WGBH—August 17, 2018
Kimberlé Crenshaw On The Importance and Evolution Of Intersectionality (Audio)
Intersectionality may be a buzz word in the news, personal essays and protest marches now, but it wasn’t a well-known concept until scholar Kimberlé Crenshaw developed and presented the theory in the 1980s.

Le Monde—August 18, 2018
In Brazil, Lula haunts the presidential election debates (French)
According to Sarah Cleveland, rapporteur of the UN committee's decision, interviewed by the daily Folha de Sao Paulo, the principal demand of Lula’s lawyers, namely requiring his release, was not accepted. “The request we made to the Brazilian government is limited,” she says.

Prensa Latina—August 19, 2018
Without Lula, Elections in Brazil will Be a Big Farce, Expert Says
According to the vice president of the UN Human Rights Committee, Sarah Cleveland, the Brazilian State must abide by that body's ruling and assure the exercise of the presidential candidate Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva's political rights.

Bloomberg—August 20, 2018
Aspiring Lawyers Warned About Twitter, Social Media Perils
Firestorms over Twitter and posts haunting social media users underscore advice being given to law students: watch what you say. Now “is the time to adjust your privacy settings,” Marta Ricardo, assistant dean and dean of career services at Columbia Law School told Bloomberg Law.

Charleston Gazette-Mail—August 20, 2018
Trump’s plan to roll back coal pollution regulation to cost up to 1,400 more deaths a year
“All it does is to delay the closure or conversion of some existing coal plants,” said Michael Gerrard, who teaches environmental law and energy regulation at Columbia Law School. “If they had to comply with the Clean Power Plan as released by the Obama administration, many utilities would be required to go to more use of natural gas and renewables, so this will delay that impact.”

The New Yorker—August 21, 2018
Trump’s August Assault on Climate Policy
Economists, who call this type of phenomenon the “rebound effect,” are divided on how significant it really is, and, according to Michael Gerrard, the director of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia Law School, many analyses find that its effect is greatly overstated.

The New York Times Magazine—August 22, 2018
When the Supreme Court Lurches Right
On criminal justice, “the Warren Court was as far out ahead of public as the court of 1930s was behind it,” Jamal Greene, a Columbia law professor, argues.

USA Today—August 22, 2018
Cohen charges: Federal investigation implicates others close to Trump
“You have to be able to persuade a jury that this was ultimately about the election,” said Columbia Law School professor Richard Briffault.

The Sun—August 23, 2018
Fight the disease, not the symptoms
One argument against term limits is it restricts the options available to voters and shareholders. Richard Briffault, professor of legislation at Columbia Law School and vice-chairman of Citizens Union in the US, describes term limits as "the denial of the democratic right to vote for the candidate of voters' choice".

WNYC—August 23, 2018
Will Mueller's Team Indict a Sitting President? (Audio)
Jennifer Rodgers, former federal prosecutor and lecturer in law at Columbia Law School, and Kendall Coffey, former chair of the Southern District Conference of the Florida Federal Judicial Nominating Commission and a former U.S. Attorney of the Southern District of Florida (1993-1996), talk about the legal implications for President Trump after Paul Manafort's convictions and Michael Cohen's guilty plea.

WUNC—August 23, 2018
What counts as breaking campaign finance law? (Audio)
Columbia Law School professor Richard Briffault says the legal problem is that because these coordinated efforts helped the Trump campaign, they become a contribution to the campaign. We talk to him on the show.

CNBC—August 24, 2018
Trump didn't disclose full payments to Cohen in official paperwork, a potential violation
John Coffee, a professor at Columbia Law school focusing on securities regulation and white-collar crime, said the difference of $170,000 is quite likely material, “and thus, a potential criminal violation.”

Swissinfo.ch—August 24, 2018
UN committee: Lula should have political rights
“The measures issued by the Committee are not recommendations. They are legally binding and impose an international legal obligation on Brazil to comply,” Sarah Cleveland, author of the committee's final text, told swissinfo.ch on Wednesday.

Pacific Standard—August 24, 2018
Can Anything Prevent Roe v. Wade from Being Overturned?
“What happened when everyone was gearing up for Casey was that pro-life groups said: ‘This is our chance to overturn Roe. This is our moment,’” says Carol Sanger, a professor of law at Columbia Law School. Conservative groups wrote a number of amicus briefs pushing for the court to “correct the mistake” made in 1973.

New York Law Journal—August 27, 2018
Second Circuit Denies En Banc Rehearing in Martoma Insider Trading Case
Columbia Law School professor John Coffee Jr. said in an email that the panel’s second take upholding Martoma’s conviction “may have been a shrewd and successful attempt to avert an en banc review.”
[Note: Professor Coffee was quoted in several other outlets about this same case.]

Tampa Bay Times—August 28, 2018
Civil liberties group challenges anti-panhandling ordinances
“Punishing homeless people with fines, fees, and arrests simply for asking for help will only prolong their homelessness,” said Maria Foscarinis, executive director at the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty. “Housing and services are the only true solutions to homelessness in our communities.”
[Note: Maria Foscarinis is a lecturer-in-law and alumna.]

TheStreet—August 28, 2018
Musk Personally More Likely Than Tesla to Have to Pay Back the Shorts
But it's the mercurial Musk who is most at risk, Columbia Law School securities professor John Coffee told TheStreet. “Tesla has a strong argument that Musk's August 7th tweet in which he said “funding secured” was a personal statement by Musk and not a statement by Tesla,” Coffee said. “Musk was inviting Tesla to enter a transaction that he would later propose.”

Inside Climate News—August 29, 2018
New York AG: Exxon Climate Fraud Investigation Nearing End
Michael Gerrard, director of Columbia University's Sabin Center for Climate Change Law, said after nearly three years of sparring in court it's a practical matter for the judge to look for the finish line. “The pressure is on both sides,” he said.

Law 360—August 30, 2018
FCC Is New Target Of Group Fighting ‘Administrative State’
NCLA president and Columbia Law School professor Philip Hamburger's 2014 book, “Is Administrative Law Unlawful?” is cited liberally throughout the petition to rail against guidance documents.

Brasil 247—August 31, 2018
Brian Mier entrevista Sarah Cleveland, do Comitê de Direitos Humanos da ONU (Legendado) (Video)


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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.