Faculty in the News
Associated Press—October 1, 2018
New Tesla chair must rein in CEO Musk at key moment
“I do not doubt the value of Musk to Tesla,” John Coffee, a Columbia University law professor and corporate governance expert, said. “Without him, they are just a struggling start up that is burning cash at a hopeless rate and is facing a debt refunding crisis in the near future. “Musk is an iconic entrepreneur but he needs adult supervision,” Coffee added.
[Note: Professor Coffee was quoted extensively in stories concerning the lawsuit and settlement between Tesla CEO Elon Musk and the SEC including by the Daily Express, MarketWatch, The New York Times, The Street, and The Washington Post.]
WBAI Building Bridges—October 1, 2018
Justice Will Be Served: A Two-Hour Special
Join us for a special airing of Building Bridges, Justice Will Be Served, a Two-Hour special featuring - Anita Hill, an authentic American heroine, Kimberlé Crenshaw, a Prof. of Law at Columbia and UCLA, Patricia Williams, a Prof. of Law at Columbia University School of Law and a speech delivered at Riverside Church last Thursday by Miguel Diaz Canal, President of Cuba.
Buzzfeed News—October 1, 2018
“Living In Your Head Rent-Free” Is The Perfect Insult Of Our Times
Tim Wu, the Columbia Law professor and author of The Attention Merchants — a history of the commodification of attention in America — got at just this tactic in a January interview with NPR. “Donald Trump through The Apprentice understood deeply the power of capturing and using human attention,” Wu said. “The battle for attention is primary to a lot of other battles...The whole country is reacting to his agenda, his presence, his tweets, everything he does. That’s also known as power. Even if people are resisting you they are still paying attention to you.”
American Prospect—October 1, 2018
A Very, Very, Very Fine House
Instead, they argue, Democrats should “work to restore norms of mutual toleration and forbearance.” That strikes me as stunningly naïve. But given the recent history of what legal scholars Joseph Fishkin and David Pozen call “asymmetric constitutional hardball,” just how should Democrats proceed?
NPR Morning Edition—October 2, 2018
Justice Department Sues California Over Net Neutrality Law (Audio)
Rachel Martin talks to Tim Wu, professor at Columbia Law School, on the U.S. Department of Justice suing California over the state's new net neutrality law.
Los Angeles Times—October 2, 2018
With a string of historic judgments, India's top court nudges the country forward — sort of
“These judgments are not necessarily hugely popular, but they show that the court takes its job of providing constitutional justice seriously,” said Menaka Guruswamy, a lawyer who helped lead the challenge to the gay sex ban. “The judges do see themselves as a modernizing force, and I give credit to them for that, because we don’t have a political class today that will pass legislation on social practices.”
[Note: Menaka Guruswamy, BR Ambedkar Research Scholar and Lecturer at Columbia Law, and Arundhati Katju ’17 LL.M., a current J.S.D. student, were the prime architects of a successful multi-year advocacy campaign to overturn a law in India that criminalized “carnal intercourse against the order of nature.” Guruswamy was also quoted in a story for Channel NewsAsia.]
MarketWatch—October 2, 2018
SEC looking at reducing auditor reviews at smaller companies
John C. Coffee, Jr., a professor of law at Columbia University Law School testified before the House Subcommittee on Capital Markets, Securities, and Investment this past May that the decline in IPO volume is not unique to the United States. It has been even more extreme, he testified, in Canada where the absence of a national securities regulator undercuts the complaint that overregulation is preventing companies from going public.
Hoover Institution—October 2, 2018
Administrative Overreach, Enabled by Courts
In Chevron, getting the right result in the particular case before the Court was far less important, as Professor Thomas Merrill of Columbia Law School has demonstrated, than adopting the highly deferential approach that allows but does not compel the broader reading of the statutory term “source”.
The New York Times—October 3, 2018
Opinion | The Republican Attack on California
By Tim Wu
States’ rights still get lip service, at least when it comes to matters like limiting transgender rights. But the new reality is that we face a rising nationalist party, uninterested in local variation, aggressively devoted to molding the nation in the image of the party and its leader, Donald Trump, into one white-hot mass. California (surely the state now most tempted to leave the union) is the flash point.
Argument analysis: Justices dubious about enforcing arbitration agreements for transportation workers
By Ronald Mann
The argument this morning in New Prime Inc. v. Oliveira displayed something that probably hasn’t been seen this century: a Supreme Court bench predominantly dubious about the enforceability of an arbitration agreement.
Freakonomics Radio—October 3, 2018
Can This Man Stop a Trade War? (Ep. 352) (Audio and transcript)
The economist and law professor Jagdish Bhagwati at Columbia has said this about the world trading system. He said, “It’s characterized by a chaotic criss-crossing of preferences with a plethora of different trade barriers applying to products depending on which countries they originate from. This is a fool’s way of doing trade.”
The New York Times—October 4, 2018
Elon Musk Calls S.E.C. ‘the Shortseller Enrichment Commission’ on Twitter
“He’s incorrigible,” said John C. Coffee Jr., a professor at Columbia Law School who specializes in corporate law and securities fraud. “Everyone else knows that you let sleeping dogs lie, particularly in the case of the S.E.C.”
[Professor Coffee was also quoted in a story from The Street about Tesla CEO Elon Musk referring to the SEC as the “Shortseller Enrichment Commission” in a tweet from his account.]
Los Angeles Times—October 4, 2018
L.A. County deputies stopped thousands of innocent Latinos on the 5 Freeway in hopes of their next drug bust
“No matter how justified the stops are, this is what we call selective enforcement,” said Jeffrey Fagan, a Columbia Law School professor who was the federal government’s expert witness in its civil rights lawsuit against the New York Police Department over its now-defunct stop-and-frisk policy.
Boing Boing—October 4, 2018
America's super-concentrated telcoms industry unites to sue California over Net Neutrality law
Competition scholar Tim Wu has described how industries over time become more concentrated and less competitive, as executives move sideways from one giant company to another, creating a web of backchannels that lets the companies unite to pursue their industry-wide goals rather than competing with each other to deliver better service at better prices to their customers.
World Finance Magazine—October 5, 2018
New York authorities put Trump’s clandestine tax dealings under the microscope
It remains to be seen whether there will be any penalties for Trump as a result of this investigation. Professor Alex Raskolnikov, a specialist professor in international tax law at Columbia University, explains: “The internal revenue code does have a statute of limitations for civil offenses and for criminal ones as well. Both statutes have run for returns discussed in the New York Times article.”
The Intercept—October 5, 2018
RUDY GIULIANI’S $1.6 MILLION AMAZON ADVENTURE HAS BECOME AN ISSUE IN THE BRAZILIAN ELECTION
“There is absolutely no good empirical evidence that ‘broken windows’ works,” says Bernard Harcourt, a professor of political science and law at Columbia University and one of the leading experts on the subject. He adds that there is a general consensus in the academic community that “it has been enforced in a racially discriminatory manner in New York City.”
Elle—October 5, 2018
Don't Let What Dr. Christine Blasey Ford Did Be In Vain
Twenty years later, I was part of a group that planned a conference to honor Hill (and edited a book on the subject). There’s a comment from that day stands out in my memory. Legal scholar Patricia J. Williams said, “We do Hill an injustice if we freeze her in time as an icon of the hearings, or the symbol of a single event.”
The Economist—October 6, 2018
Justices consider whether a man with dementia may be put to death
In a recent discussion at Columbia Law School, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said death-penalty cases give her the “most anxiety” of any issues that come before her. Madison v Alabama is a good example of how grisly and conceptually slippery the analysis can be.
Vox—October 6, 2018
The Supreme Court’s legitimacy crisis is here
The more the Court becomes the center of partisan conflict, in short, the more people are likely to see it through a partisan lens. And that process is already happening, albeit in a somewhat unequal fashion: Democrats seem to be more likely to be skeptical of the Court than Republicans. This stems from what legal scholars Joseph Fishkin and David Pozen call “asymmetric constitutional hardball”: the fact that Republicans have broken the informal rules of politics and constitutional practice far more than Democrats have in the past several decades.
Legal Theory Blog—October 6, 2018
Legal Theory Bookworm: "Troubling Transparency," edited by Pozen & Schudson
The Legal Theory Bookworm recommends Troubling Transparency: The History and Future of Freedom of Information, edited by David E. Pozen & Michael Schudson.
The Herald-Tribune—October 6, 2018
American freedoms must be preserved
Vincent Blasi, who teaches at Columbia Law School, wrote in 1977, "The checking value of free speech was uppermost in the minds of the persons who drafted and ratified the First Amendment." He said one of the most important aspects of free speech was its value in "checking the inherent tendency of government officials to abuse the power entrusted to them."
Financial Times—October 7, 2018
Banksy leaves credibility of art market in shreds
But John Coffee, a professor at Columbia Law School, said the episode may have put Sotheby’s in a tight spot regardless. “Either you’ve rigged this auction or you’re so incompetent you couldn’t discover this elaborate mechanism for destroying [the work]. And that suggests a lack of controls. There’s no way [for Sotheby’s] to win.”
Minnesota Public Radio News—October 8, 2018
Climate change on trial: MN jury to weigh if it's OK to break laws (Audio and story)
"Many other people would notice that and it might conceivably spark additional actions, although of course it would be very risky for anyone to rely on the necessity defense going forward," said Michael Gerrard, who directs the Saban [sic] Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia University.
The Washington Post—October 9, 2018
We’re not prepared for the next economic crisis
By Kathryn Judge
The threats to financial stability are too great and too varied not to have a robust crisis-management system in place. When the financial system breaks down, the economy suffers, the deficit balloons, and people throughout the country lose jobs, wealth and sometimes homes. The time to plan for a future crisis is now, not when it next hits.
McClatchy—October 9, 2018
What is ‘stop-and-frisk’ — and why does President Trump want it to happen in Chicago?
In a report, Jeffrey Fagan, from Columbia Law School, examined police data on stop-and-frisk and found that race has a “marginal influence” on who gets stopped — even when accounting for “the social and economic characteristics” of the area.
[Note: This story appeared in multiple major news outlets nationwide.]
Gizmodo—October 9, 2018
Activists Who Shut Down Pipelines Win an Unlikely Victory: A Judge Who Will Hear Them Out [Update: And Acquit Them]
No past climate defense cases have succeeded in a “non-guilty” verdict thanks to this argument, said Michael Burger, executive director of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia University.
The New York Times—October 10, 2018
Law Firm’s Fee Settlement Could Shake Up Securities Class Actions
John Coffee Jr., a professor at Columbia Law School who specializes in securities law, said the case had shed an important light on the "rather sordid market of buying and selling plaintiffs" in securities class actions. "I think the whole arrangement was under the table and dubious," Coffee said.
[Note: Professor Coffee was also quoted in other stories concerning the $4.8 million settlement paid by class action securities law firm Labaton Sucharow, including by the ABA Journal, Bloomberg Big Law Business, and Forbes.]
The New York Times—October 10, 2018
Why Is Israel Scared of This Young American?
In April, Katherine Franke, a professor at Columbia, was interrogated and then deported from Israel on charges (which Professor Franke denies) of being a leader of Jewish Voice for Peace, another organization that endorses B.D.S.
Publishers Weekly—October 10, 2018
How 'Bigness' Is Failing America: PW Talks to Tim Wu
Tim Wu, author of acclaimed books including The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires, and The Attention Merchants: The Epic Scramble to Get Inside Our Heads has pulled off an incredible feat—he’s written a short, compelling book on antitrust. PW recently caught up with the author to talk about The Curse of Bigness: Antitrust in the Gilded Age (Columbia Global Reports), and why a return to trust busting is essential for American democracy.
Yahoo Finance—October 10, 2018
Why Microsoft may be relinquishing billions in Android patent royalties
“By coming to the table at OIN,” says Eben Moglen, a professor at Columbia Law School and the executive director of the Software Freedom Law Center, “Microsoft has acknowledged that the royalties it can acquire by squeezing Android manufacturers are no longer worth the maintenance of patent tension which interferes with the growth of the services business.”
Mint—October 10, 2018
In praise of Indian female economists
In 1970, Padma Desai shook the Indian policy consensus after the publication of India: Planning for Industrialisation, the book she co-authored with Jagdish Bhagwati. It provided an early intellectual case for the subsequent shift from centralized planning to a market economy.
ThinkProgress—October 10, 2018
Judge shoots down climate necessity defense at last minute, yet acquits pipeline protesters
When the Minnesota court ruled in October 2017 that the valve-turners could present a necessity defense, Michael Gerrard, director of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia University, described it as “extremely unusual.”
City & State New York—October 10, 2018
New York City Council should pass the Small Business Jobs Survival Act
Landlords, in many cases, would rather let a property sit vacant in the hopes that one day a major chain will swoop in. Columbia Law School professor Tim Wu coined the term “high-rent blight” to describe the large number of storefronts in parts of Manhattan, such as the West Village, that remain vacant because landlords don’t want to rent to any tenant that’s not a chain.
The Art Newspaper—October 10, 2018
Richard Prince defends reuse of others’ photographs
If the Instagram interface with comments and emojis creates new expression, copyright protection for any work posted to social media “would be significantly compromised”, according to June Besek, executive director of the Kernochan Center for Law, Media and the Arts at Columbia Law School.
[Note: June Besek is a lecturer]
ZDNet—October 11, 2018
Microsoft's patent move: Giant leap forward or business as usual?
Prominent open-source attorney and Columbia University law professor, Eben Moglen, also sees this as a move towards patent peace. Moglen remarked: "Microsoft's decision signals the transition from the period of patent war to the making of industry-wide patent peace for free and open-source (FOSS) software. Microsoft's participation in the OIN licensing structure will be the tent pole for the extension of OIN's big tent across the world of IT.
Essence—October 11, 2018
International Day Of The Girl: Our Black Girls Are Full Of Promise
The African American Policy Forum, founded by Kimberlé Crenshaw, Professor of Law at UCLA and Columbia Law School, co-author of Black Girls Matter: Pushed Out, Overpoliced and Underprotected, and Say Her Name: Resisting Police Brutality Against Black Women, amplified the letter and spearheaded the ‘Why We Can’t Wait’ campaign, which flowed from the reality that “any program purporting to uplift the lives of youth of color cannot narrow its focus exclusively on just half of the community.”
Columbia Daily Spectator—October 11, 2018
Eric Holder warns of threat to civil rights following Kavanaugh confirmation during talk at Columbia
Former U.S. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., CC ’73, Law ’76, alongside notable legal experts, reflected on the recent confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court and what this means for the future of SCOTUS rulings following the court’s shift to a conservative majority, at the semester’s first Holder Initiative event Wednesday evening. The panel was moderated by Bernard E. Harcourt, Columbia law professor and notable legal representative for death row inmates, and featured Adam Liptak, New York Times Supreme Court correspondent; Olatunde Johnson, Jerome B. Sherman professor of law at Columbia; and Jamal Greene, Dwight Professor of Law at Columbia, in addition to Holder.
Harvard Law Review Blog—October 12, 2018
Federalism Is in a Bad State
Some, like Jessica Bulman-Pozen in this terrific piece in the Harvard Law Review, put a positive spin on second-order state elections by arguing that when state politics follows national politics, it can produce benefits in serving as a minor league for national politics.
E&E News—October 12, 2018
Govt. strategy in kids' climate case: Don't attack science
Michael Burger, director of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia University's law school, said it is unlikely that the government will squabble with the plaintiffs and their experts over climate science itself. "I would be shocked if the federal government in court sought to challenge the fundamentals of climate science," Burger said. "There has not been a point at which the DOJ has contested the reality of climate change."
ABC News—October 15, 2018
Civil rights groups may seek emergency relief in Georgia voter registration brawl
Richard Briffault, a law professor at Columbia Law School who is not involved in the case, said that it is hard to predict which side will prevail in court. "There are no clear-cut rules on this," he said. "State agencies have wide discretion over how to deal with minor inconsistencies in the way people identify themselves, like using or not using a middle initial or nickname."
RTO Insider—October 15, 2018
Overheard at ACE NY 2018 Fall Conference
Michael Gerrard of Columbia Law School reviewed some of the legal history around siting requirement waivers and the tug of war between state and municipal officials. “The main difference between the old version of Article 10 and the new is that the former had the phrase ‘unreasonably restrictive,’ which has been supplanted by the phrase ‘unreasonably burdensome,’” Gerrard said. “There’s no clear explanation anywhere of why that change was made or what it amounts to. My own view is that it probably means that economic considerations can certainly be a factor in addition to everything else that used to be considered.”
* Special report on news about Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings
A number of Columbia Law faculty offered commentary and opinion on the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation hearings. Here is a selection of related media coverage:
BBC Radio 4—October 1, 2018
The Guardian—October 2, 2018
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This report, which gets posted online as well, 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. Faculty members who are featured in the media are encouraged to send their clips to [email protected] for possible inclusion in our Clip Report. Faculty members seeking assistance in placing an op-ed, promoting scholarship, facilitating interviews, event coverage, or media training, may email us at [email protected] or call us at 212-854-2650.