Faculty in the News

Columbia Law School Clip Report, November 1–15, 2018

The Lens—October 31, 2018
Central City lead poisoning case shows possible weaknesses in state prevention program
The proposed inspections would not include a complete lead hazard risk assessment, which identifies hazards that typical visual inspections cannot, according to Emily Benfer, visiting associate clinical professor of law at Columbia Law School and director of the Health Justice Advocacy Clinic, which works on lead-related advocacy and policy.

New York Daily News—November 1, 2018
The tax windfall that wasn't: A troubling new IRS report suggests many Americans may be giving money right back to the government
By Alex Raskolnikov
But millions of Americans looking forward to their tax refunds are about to be disappointed, even upset. They will not see their expected refunds when they file their returns in 2019. Even worse, many will be required to pay extra taxes. Why the change? The Republicans’ push to sell their tax law to the American public is the culprit.

SCOTUSblog—November 1, 2018
Argument analysis: Justices skeptical of “cy pres” class-action settlements
By Ronald Mann
One thing that is clear is that this case will not produce a ringing endorsement of cy pres settlements, as the attitudes of the justices suggested perspectives ranging from deep skepticism to well-settled hostility.

Reuters—November 1, 2018
Special Report: U.S. Marine families battle mice, mold and landlords
“We have an entire segment of society that is putting its life on the line for the rest of us, and effectively they are walled off from accessing these laws and the remedies under them,” said Emily Benfer, a professor at Columbia University Law School who works with tenants and nonprofits to get landlords to improve housing conditions.
[Note: This article appeared in numerous major publications nationwide.]

Reuters—November 1, 2018
Sudan should prosecute Darfur crimes, pursue ICC arrest warrants: UN
“We expressed concerns regarding the fact that large-scale attacks against civilians, including in operations in Darfur between 2014 and 2016, remained unpunished,” Sarah Cleveland, panel vice chair, told a news briefing. Sudan should “ensure that all persons involved in serious human rights violations are excluded from positions of power”, she said.
[Note: This article appeared in numerous major publications internationally.]

TIME—November 1, 2018
President Trump Says He Wants to Limit Asylum Seekers. Experts Say He's on Shaky Legal Ground
With the new plan, the president says he wants people to apply legally, but will detain them while they wait for asylum hearings. However, there is precedent for similar actions at the border being struck down, according to Elora Mukherjee, director of Columbia Law School’s Immigrant Rights Clinic.

The Global Legal Post—November 1, 2018
Reasons to be cheerful in arbitration
Professor George Bermann of the Columbia University School of Law in a keynote speech asked: why, when faced with recent scrutiny and an assortment of challenges, should the international arbitration community look to the future of arbitration with considerable equanimity?

The Economic Times—November 1, 2018
IL&FS mess: How gatekeeper rating agencies, auditors, analysts let you down
When the infamous US Energy firm Enron collapsed in 2001, Prof John C. Coffee of Columbia Law School attributed it to the failure of the gatekeepers.

The Conversation—November 2, 2018
Campaign spending isn’t the problem – where the money comes from is
By Richard Briffault
This surge in campaign spending is striking, but I believe the volume of campaign spending is not the main problem with our campaign finance system. The real challenge for our democracy is where so much of this money comes from.

The Washington Post—November 2, 2018
‘Let’s rock’: The last words of a double-murderer who chose the electric chair over lethal injection
The irony of the case, said Bernard Harcourt, an expert in penal law and procedure at Columbia University, is that lethal injection, because it was billed as a method befitting more modern times, “muted our societal consideration of the unconscionability of the electric chair.”
[Note: This article appeared in numerous major publications nationwide.]

The Washington Post—November 2, 2018
‘If you don’t get at that rot, you just get more officers like Josh Hastings’
If a prosecutor loses the respect and cooperation of the police department, it can make his or her job a lot more difficult. As former federal prosecutor and Columbia Law School professor Daniel Richman told NPR in 2014, “I do think that working with police officers, relying on them regularly for them to be your connection to the outside world and your source of cases and evidence, is going to affect how you judge interactions.”

BuzzFeed News—November 2, 2018
Supreme Court Won't Stop Kids’ Climate Change Lawsuit Against The US For Now
“Presumably the government will now file an emergency motion with the 9th Circuit, requesting a stay of the trial pending an appeal of the motion for summary judgment,” Michael Burger, the executive director of Columbia’s Sabin Center for Climate Change Law, told BuzzFeed News.
[Note: Michael Burger was quoted in other stories concerning the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to refuse the Trump administration’s appeal for a stay in the case of Juliana v. United States, including by Law360, National Geographic, and Vox.]

Axios—November 2, 2018
Supreme Court refuses to block landmark youth climate lawsuit
The stakes in this case are high, as the Columbia University Center for Climate Change Law makes clear in its summary of the case. “The plaintiffs alleged that the ‘nation’s climate system’ was critical to their rights to life, liberty, and property, and that the defendants had violated their substantive due process rights by allowing fossil fuel production, consumption, and combustion at ‘dangerous levels.’”

Avenue Magazine—November 2, 2018
A Landmark Night of Living Landmarks
This year’s other honorees Stephen S. Lash, Lynden B. Miller, Liz and Jeff Peek, Chita Rivera, Thomas Sculco MD, Ruth Lande Shuman, and Michael I. Sovern, were introduced by Peg Breen, the Conservancy’s long-serving president.

Hindustan Times—November 2, 2018
US-India trade relations: India should keep cool, keep calm, and carry on
As Columbia University economist, Jagdish Bhagwati, has observed, historical experience proves that “the case for protectionism is flawed” and the “link between trade openness and economic prosperity is strong and suggestive”.

Lawfare—November 4, 2018
Remembering St. Clair’s Defeat
By Matthew Waxman
Today is the anniversary of, by some measures, the U.S. military’s worst battlefield defeat ever. … “St. Clair’s Defeat,” and the campaign in which it occurred, highlight some important ways in which the first president and Congresses exercised their respective powers to provide for the common defense.

Associated Press—November 5, 2018
How ‘net neutrality’ became a hot-button issue
Law professor Tim Wu, now at Columbia University, coined the term “net neutrality” in 2003 to argue for government rules that would prevent big internet providers from discriminating against technology and services that clashed with other aspects of their business. Allowing such discrimination, he reasoned, would choke off innovation.
[Note: This article appeared in numerous major publications nationwide.]

The New York Times—November 5, 2018
Industries Turn Freedom of Information Requests on Their Critics
A 2017 analysis of requests filed under the Freedom of Information Act found that “public-oriented inquiries by concerned citizens and their advocates” account for “only a small fraction of the 700,000-plus FOIA requests submitted each year,” wrote David Pozen, a law professor at Columbia University, whose paper reviewed studies on the issue. “The bulk of requests come from businesses seeking to further their own commercial interests by learning about competitors, litigation opponents or the regulatory environment.”

POLITICO—November 5, 2018
Even if Democrats win, Trump has them beat on the courts
“That was the last happy day pro-choice people have had dealing with the courts,” said Carol Sanger, a Columbia Law School professor and abortion law expert, of the Whole Woman’s Health decision. “There are all kinds of techniques being used to find little crannies where you could say, oh, here’s a good place for regulation that will make it harder for women to get an abortion.”

CNBC—November 5, 2018
The US is not polarized as a country, expert says (Video)
Philip Bobbitt, professor at Columbia Law School, discusses the upcoming U.S. midterm elections.

Axios—November 5, 2018
Amazon, HQ2, and a breakup threat
"At a minimum, [a DC headquarters provides] a window and a mindset for potential regulatory or law enforcement action relevant to its future," Tim Wu, a law professor at Columbia University and author of the forthcoming "The Curse of Bigness," tells Axios.

Law360—November 5, 2018
Jackson Lewis, Greenberg Top Law Firm Donors In NY Races
Richard Briffault, a Columbia University law professor who served on a state ethics panel known as the Moreland Commission, said the contributions show that law firms want to be on good terms with elected officials, just like any industry — including those they represent — that works for or is regulated by the state. The big contributions to Cuomo's campaign are to be expected given the governor's power, he said.

POLITICO Morning Energy—November 5, 2018
Oil that remains
The Climate Leadership Council, a group dedicated to promoting a carbon fee as a solution to climate change, will announce today that it's adding Carlton Carroll as vice president of communications. Carroll is a former American Petroleum Institute spokesperson and assistant press secretary for the George W. Bush White House. The CLC is also adding Julio Friedmann, Michael Gerrard and David Victor as senior research fellows.

SCOTUSblog—November 6, 2018
Justices call for additional briefs in dispute about “cy pres” class-action settlements
By Ronald Mann
It looks like we’ll have to wait a little longer than expected to find out what the justices think about “cy pres” class-action settlements: On Tuesday afternoon the justices called for additional briefing in Frank v. Gaos, a case argued last week in which the Supreme Court could address the propriety of those settlements.

The National Law Journal—November 6, 2018
Birthright Citizenship and the Law: A Primer
“Trying to ram through that change by Executive Order makes it even harder to defend legally and is also bad governance,” said Matthew Waxman, a law professor at Columbia Law School who served in the George W. Bush Administration.

France24—November 6, 2018
États-Unis : Donald Trump à l'épreuve des urnes (French) (Video)
(21:26) HOST: With us is Bernard Harcourt. It’s the votes anticipés—which is a distinctive feature in certain American states, it’s not the case everywhere—that can change the case for the election?
HARCOURT: Yes, the numbers are incredible with the votes anticipés—what we call “early voting” in the United States. What we have already seen is close to 14 million early votes. What that represents, really, is the energy and the different base that is mobilizing.

Elle India—November 6, 2018
It took too long and too many women, but India’s #MeToo reckoning is finally here
Celebrating with her is lawyer Menaka Guruswamy, who is fresh off her success in banishing Section 377. “#MeToo will go a long way in highlighting and addressing a prime cause of Indian women dropping out of the workforce. This phenomenon is unique to India, among various BRICS countries. Imagine what harassment must be like in a construction site, when its so bad in organised media or Bollywood.”
[Note: Menaka Guruswamy, BR Ambedkar Research Scholar and Lecturer at Columbia Law, was one of 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.”]

The New York Times—November 7, 2018
How AT&T Fooled the Federal Judiciary
By Tim Wu
Unfortunately, there is every reason to think AT&T will keep using HBO and other media properties as weapons in the industry. The more it raises prices or withholds content, the more it either harms its rivals or gains new customers for itself. It’s a win-win situation made possible by the merger’s integration of content and content delivery.

Dissent Magazine—November 7, 2018
The Democrats’ Existential Battle: Achieving Real Democracy
By Jedediah Purdy
Disenfranchisement, voter suppression, and the subtler barriers of Tuesday voting for working people with insufficient polling places and voting machines are almost certainly enough to account for Abrams’s and Gillum’s losses. These barriers to voting have become existential issues for Republicans in Trump’s party. The good news is the flip side: Democrats are beginning to recognize that strong democracy is existential for them as well. A renewed national voting rights agenda is the immediate response.
[Note: Purdy will join the Columbia Law faculty in Jan. 2019]

NPR—November 7, 2018
What Will Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker Mean For The Mueller Inquiry?
"[Mueller's team is] looking for ties, they're looking for relationships, and a lot of that will come down to money trails," Jennifer Rodgers, the former executive director of the Center for the Advancement of Public Integrity at Columbia Law School, told NPR last year.
[Note: This article appeared in numerous major publications nationwide.]

WBBM-TV—November 7, 2018
Predominantly Black Neighborhoods Feel The Pain Of Expensive City Parking Tickets
Columbia University Professor Edward Morrison said the city’s stringent laws enforcing ticket recipients to pay up have left some financially-strapped people unable to dig themselves out of debt. Morrison studies the connections between bankruptcy filings and ticket citation debt in Chicago. “You see a spike in bankruptcy fillings (sic), primarily by African Americans,” Morrison said.
[This article appeared in other CBS Local affiliates nationwide.]

Daily Maverick—November 7, 2018
Climate Change Litigation in South Africa (Audio and story)
The Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia Law School (with US law firm Arnold & Porter) maintain the Climate Change Litigation database. The database has over 950 US-based cases logged, and 271 cases logged for the rest of the world.

NPR All Things Considered—November 8, 2018
Who Is Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker?
BERIT BERGER: He has taken some incredibly extreme views on legal issues.
PARKS: That's Berit Berger, the executive director of the Center for the Advancement of Public Integrity at Columbia Law School.
BERGER: For example, he discusses that he approaches things - legal issues - you know, he wants to see them first from the Christian perspective and then from the constitutional perspective. That is not necessarily something we are used to hearing the attorney general say.

Vox—November 8, 2018
A simple plan to dissolve Facebook, Google, and Amazon
It’s been almost two decades since the last major trustbusting case in the United States. When will regulators come for the new Silicon Valley giants? Tim Wu, in his book The Curse of Bigness, which is a cool 160 pages and politely holds the reader’s hand through about 200 years of American economic policy and practice, argues that the time is now, “to control economic structure before it controls us.”
[Note: Articles, reviews, and interviews with Prof. Wu about his new book The Curse of Bigness appeared in numerous publications, including in Axios, CNBC, Boing Boing, the Daily Mail, Marketplace, Medium, The Nation, New York Magazine, and Wired.]

Forbes—November 8, 2018
Florida Voters Join Chevron Revolt And Strike A Blow Against Judicial Bias
Under Chevron-like rules, the otherwise impartial judge is legally obligated to favor the government. That is why legal scholar Philip Hamburger says that “Chevron deference is Chevron bias.” It is not just a question of fairness in the abstract sense; this problem rises to the level of violating Fifth Amendment and Fourteenth Amendment guarantees of due process under the law.

TIME—November 8, 2018
How That Viral Video of a White House Reporter Messes With Your Mind
Attorney and professor David Paul Horowitz, who teaches the Electronic Evidence and Discovery Workshop at Columbia University School of Law and who viewed both the original Acosta video and the one shared by Huckabee Sanders, does not think Watson’s creation would last long in a courtroom. “The objection to the White House clip would likely be that the repetitive loop of a very short clip would be prejudicial, and serve only to inflame the fact-finder,” Horowitz wrote in an email to TIME.
[Note: Horowitz is a lecturer at the Law School.]

Medium—November 8, 2018
Columbia Law Professor files Amicus Brief in Federal Prosecution of Catholic Anti-Nuclear Activists in Georgia
On November 6th, Katherine Franke, Sulzbacher Professor of Law at Columbia University in the City of New York, submitted an amicus brief on behalf of scholars of religious liberty law in a case in which the federal government is prosecuting a group of Catholic peace activists, United States of America vs. Stephen Kelley et al.

Atlas Obscura—November 8, 2018
In New York, People Can Be Landmarks, Too
Along with Miller and Shuman, this year’s recipients are Broadway and screen legend Chita Rivera, surgical pioneer Dr. Thomas Sculco of Weill Cornell, Chancellor Kent Professor of Law at Columbia Law School Michael I. Sovern, former Metropolitan Transportation Authority Chairman Peter Stangl, Conservancy Trustee Stephen S. Lash, and philanthropists Liz and Jeff Peek.

Law360—November 9, 2018
What To Know After Court Dumped Keystone XL Approval
"U-turns in federal policy require more than the stroke of a pen — they require a reasoned analysis of why a prior policy that was based on a meticulous rulemaking process should be abandoned," said Michael B. Gerrard, director of Columbia Law School's Sabin Center for Climate Change Law. "In the climate context, that's harder and harder to provide when the scientific case for strong greenhouse gas controls is becoming ever stronger."

The New York Times—November 10, 2018
Be Afraid of Economic ‘Bigness.’ Be Very Afraid.
By Tim Wu
From a political perspective, we have recklessly chosen to tolerate global monopolies and oligopolies in finance, media, airlines, telecommunications and elsewhere, to say nothing of the growing size and power of the major technology platforms. In doing so, we have cast aside the safeguards that were supposed to protect democracy against a dangerous marriage of private and public power.

Lawfare—November 11, 2018
When Did World War I End?
By Matthew Waxman
So when did World War I finally end legally? As a matter of domestic law, President Harding signed in March 1921 Congress’s “Joint Resolution Declaring that certain Acts of Congress, joint resolutions, and proclamations shall be construed as if the war had ended and the present or existing emergency expired.” He later signed a joint declaration ending the war with Germany in July 1921. As a matter of international law, a bilateral peace treaty was also signed in 1921, and ratifications were exchanged in Berlin on November 11, 1921—exactly three years after the Armistice.

The New Atlanticist—November 11, 2018
The World Has Come Full Circle—And Taken a Turn For The Worse
But even more revelatory and prescient was the thesis posited by Philip Bobbitt in his chef d'œuvre The Shield of Achilles: War, Peace and the Course of History (2002). Bobbitt advances the idea that the peace processes following major wars alter the governance structures in the name of which those wars were fought.

Bloomberg—November 12, 2018
Recounts Continue in FL Senate and Governor’s Races (Radio)
Richard Briffault, a professor at Columbia Law School, discusses the automatic recount in Florida’s Senate and governor’s races, which are drawing complaints from Republicans.

Firstpost—November 12, 2018
Remembering TN Srinivasan: A towering figure in Indian economics who embraced 1991 liberalisation with passion
He has collaborated a lot with Jagdish Bhagwati, who has also been at the forefront of current day policy formulation under the NDA regime, in areas of international trade. … The fight for freer trade, especially for developing countries is compelling and something which has been pursued by them in the last two decades.
[Note: Prof. Bhagwati is referenced in numerous articles concerning the death of Indian economist T.N. Srinivasan, including by Business Standard, The Economic Times, The Indian Express, and Mint.]

The Washington Post—November 13, 2018
Where are black men in the fight for black women?
“If Trump had treated three or four African American male reporters the way he did the women, would they denounce him then?” Kimberlé Crenshaw, a professor at the UCLA School of Law and Columbia Law School, asked during an interview.

CNBC—November 13, 2018
Columbia Law School’s Tim Wu says big tech companies stifle innovation in US (Video)
Columbia Law School’s Tim Wu breaks down his take on how big tech companies might be due for antitrust regulation. Michael Nathanson, senior research analyst at MoffettNathanson, also weighs in.

Law360—November 13, 2018
What We Heard At The FTC Hearings: Day 8
Timothy Wu (Columbia University Law School) characterized Chicago School analysis as a failed experiment. Even when the analysis seems to work, its results are so case-specific they provide no judicial or practical guidance for future cases. Instead, the agencies and courts should focus on "harm to the competitive process," which seeks to answer the core question posed by the U.S. Supreme Court in Chicago Board of Trade: Does the challenged practice on balance help or harm competition?

The Washington Post—November 14, 2018
Justice Department and SEC subpoena Snap
“When the SEC looks into something often it follows up with litigation, which can affect the stock price,” said John Coffee Jr., a professor at Columbia Law School who focuses on securities law. Generally, subpoenas can imply that regulators did not receive all the information they wanted from initial cooperation with a company, he said.

The Intercept | Intercepted Podcast—November 14, 2018
DONALD TRUMP IS waging a political counterinsurgency. This week on Intercepted: Columbia University professor Bernard Harcourt lays out the multidecade history of paramilitarized politics in the U.S., how the tactics of the war on terror have come back to American soil, and why no one talks about drone strikes anymore.

WAMU | 1A—November 14, 2018
What's On Amazon's Wish List? All Of Us. (Audio)
Although Amazon is touted as a model of business success, how does their market power affect our day-to-day experience? Does Amazon have a responsibility to the American public due to its size? Guests include: Lina Khan Fellow, Columbia UniversityTim Wu Law professor, Columbia University
[Note: Lina Khan is an academic fellow at the Law School.]

El País—November 14, 2018
Comité de DD. HH. de la ONU falla a favor de Andrés Felipe Arias (Spanish)
The decision was made by eighteen independent experts of the aforementioned committee, with a presentation by Sarah Cleveland, on the basis of the lawsuit filed by its defendants in which they alleged “serious violations of the fundamental rights of Andrés Felipe Arias, in particular his right to appeal and the serious and disproportionate impact of their political rights for condemning him to perpetual disability”.
[Note: Prof. Cleveland was mentioned in numerous articles concerning the U.N. Human Rights Committee’s decision in favor of Colombia’s former minister of agriculture Andrés Felipe Arias, including by El Colombiano, El Espectador, El Tiempo, El Universal, and W Radio Colombia.]

ThinkProgress—November 14, 2018
Here’s why you aren’t hearing about the civilians the U.S. is killing in Yemen
“The Obama administration imposed some limited policy constraints on drone strikes aimed at protecting civilians,” said Alex Moorehead, Director, Program on Counter-terrorism, Armed Conflict, and Human Rights at Columbia Law School’s Human Rights Institute. “However, these were not enshrined in law and the Trump administration moved quickly to loosen these protections, limit their application in places like Yemen and Somalia, and significantly expand strikes in the past two years, putting civilians at much greater risk,” added Moorehead, answering questions via email.

InsideClimate News—November 14, 2018
Crab Fishers Sue Fossil Fuel Industry Over Climate Change Damage
"This case will face similar obstacles as the other cases," said Michael Burger, executive director of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia University. Beyond the lawsuit being filed by a private party and the particular harms cited to the crab fishing industry by warming oceans, the complaint appears to similar to other climate litigation, he said.

Lawfare—November 15, 2018
Presidents and War Powers
By Matthew Waxman
These provisions have given rise to two major questions about presidential war powers: first, what should be the president’s role in taking the country to war, and, second, what are the president’s powers to direct its conduct. Historian Michael Beschloss’s new book, “Presidents of War,” examines how presidents have responded to each of these questions across two hundred years of U.S. history.

DRUGSTORE CULTURE—November 15, 2018
Meanwhile, in America…
By Philip Bobbitt
Until we face forward, recognising the common threats that the future embodies, there will be no consensus politics, no bi-partisanship, only name-calling and expressions of mutual contempt. The manufactured authenticity of the reality tv show will, for a time, supplant the search for realistic policies based on facts, scrupulous honesty and humility before the challenges we are at present refusing to confront.

New York Law Journal—November 15, 2018
Columbia Law Boosts Public Interest Support
Columbia Law School is bolstering its support for students interested in public interest careers with an additional $4.5 million in financial support for public interest programs over the next three years.

Above the Law—November 15, 2018
Elite Law School Announces Exciting Expansion Of Support For Public Interest Work
Today Columbia Law School announced that they are investing an additional $4.5 million over the next three years to better enable students to embark on career in public interest after graduation. … Columbia Law School Dean Gillian Lester had this to say about the new program: “Columbia Law School has a strong tradition of educating and mentoring graduates who will go on to serve the community, and these enhancements now position us as the premier destination for law students eager to pursue public interest and government careers…

Financial Times—November 15, 2018
The Curse of Bigness by Timothy Wu (Audio and story)
That is the thesis put forward by Columbia University law professor Tim Wu, whose short and sharp new book, The Curse of Bigness, is an excellent primer for anyone who wants to understand why corporate wealth and power have grown so concentrated in the past four decades, and why that might be a problem for democracy.

Philadelphia Business Journal—November 15, 2018
FROM THE EDITOR: Amazon got tons of valuable info from its HQ2 circus. Philadelphia got zilch.
Interestingly, this week, Columbia law professor Tim Wu wrote a compelling op-ed with the headline “Be afraid of economic bigness. Be very afraid.” He was lamenting in the column the decline of antitrust enforcement and sentiment in the U.S. over the last few decades. But I read a bigger message in it: When companies become so big and so powerful, they have potential to become puppetmasters over our elected leaders.


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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.