Faculty in the News
Abortion Opponents Aim for First Supreme Court Win in Kavanaugh Era
Should the court refuse to block the appeals court ruling, the 2016 Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt decision could lose much of its practical force, said Gillian Metzger, a constitutional law professor at Columbia Law School. “If the Supreme Court doesn’t grant a stay, it may suggest that Whole Woman’s Health may be chipped back in practice,” Metzger said.
[Note: This article appeared in numerous publications worldwide.]
Associated Press—February 2
Gates hopes to enlighten Americans about Reconstruction
A fellow historian, Kimberle Crenshaw of UCLA and Columbia University, said the U.S. Supreme Court was restrictive as well, changing the image of anti-discrimination laws into measures that gave blacks special treatment.
[Note: This article appeared in numerous publications worldwide.]
The New York Times—February 2
Opinion | When the Suffrage Movement Sold Out to White Supremacy
Harper’s speech anticipated by more than a century the “intersectional” legal analysis of the critical race theorist Kimberlé Crenshaw, who showed how policies that treat race and gender as mutually exclusive deprive black women of redress in discrimination cases while also obscuring the fact that they struggle under the dual burdens of racism and sexism.
Real estate faces a 'new world order' and it's less friendly than the old one
“If you look at the city of New York, one of the many things that makes it great is the fact that we can accommodate 7 to 8 million people living here, which means people needed to build housing," said Eliot Spitzer . . . That sort of argument raises “an important point,” said Columbia Law School professor and campaign finance expert Richard Briffault. But it’s also beside the point. “They’re not normally engaged in evil, in the way that people who sell opiates are,” Briffault said. “I think it’s more a reflection that they’re uniquely powerful, and it’s more of a way of saying ‘I’m not going to be beholden to the uniquely powerful.'”
The New York Times—February 4
China’s Online Censorship Stifles Trade, Too
By Tim Wu
Why allow a country to do business here if it won’t let us do business there? The basic principle of trade policy is reciprocity: Lower your barriers and we’ll lower ours. When it comes to the internet economy, the United States has unilaterally disarmed and is being played for a fool.
[Note: A Spanish version of article appeared in DNA India and El Comercio.]
NBC News—February 4
Why data, not privacy, is the real danger
Tim Wu, professor at Columbia Law School, and author of The Attention Merchants, believes this makes social platforms — and Facebook in particular — a tremendous liability. "There’s an incredible concentration of power there. So much data, so much influence, makes them a target for something like Russian hackers. To influence an election, you used to have to hack hundreds of newspapers. Now there’s a single point of failure for democracy."
[Note: Amid the release of Prof. Tim Wu's new book The Curse of Bigness—combined with related news concerning companies like Amazon and Google—he was cited and quoted extensively during this period in publications including Axios Future, Boing Boing, De Tijd, Foreign Affairs, National Journal, Newsmax, POLITICO, Recode, and Vox.]
Should Judges Pay Attention To Trump’s Tweets?
And questioning presidential motives on a more routine basis could lead judges into situations where they appear to be making political decisions. “The risk here is that the courts become too involved in political debates,” said Gillian Metzger, a law professor at Columbia University.
Foreign Policy—February 4
How U.S. Mission Creep in Syria and Iraq Could Trigger War With Iran
But Matthew Waxman, a professor at Columbia Law School who served in senior positions at the State Department, the Defense Department, and the National Security Council, said the U.S. presence in Syria has been constitutionally dubious for a long time. Obama’s reliance on the 2001 AUMF to justify the operation was “a big stretch,” Waxman said.
[Note: This article also appeared in Business Insider.]
Shadow Proof—February 4
LAWSUIT OVER HIGHWAY SHUTDOWN DURING #NODAPL PROTESTS ALLEGES ATTEMPT TO EXTORT STANDING ROCK SIOUX
The water protectors are represented by Noah Smith-Drelich, a Columbia Law School lecturer in law, and Bernard Harcourt, a Columbia Law School professor. It is pursued through the school’s Center for Contemporary Critical Thought.
Black Female Professors Face Bullying and Stereotyping At UK Universities, A New Report Has Found
Intersectionality is a term coined by civil rights advocate Kimberlé Crenshaw which she described as "the interconnected nature of social categorizations such as race, class, and gender as they apply to a given individual or group, regarded as creating overlapping and interdependent systems of discrimination or disadvantage.”
Taking a pause on Michael Cohen testimony is smart
By Jennifer Rodgers
With all due respect to the House Democrats, they should leave these matters to law enforcement and do what they can do well: finding and exposing conflicts of interest and other possible fraud and corruption of the sort suspected by ethics professionals since even before the inauguration, when the President refused to divest from his businesses or release his tax returns.
[Note: Rodgers is a lecturer at the law school and serves on the Advisory Board of the Center for the Advancement of Public Integrity.]
MSNBC | The 11th Hour With Brian Williams—February 7
What Paul Manafort tried (and failed) to hide from Mueller (Video)
Newly released court transcripts reveal new details of what Trump's former campaign boss didn't want the special counsel to know. What could it all mean for Mueller’s investigation? Jeremy Bash, Berit Berger (2:43), and Michael Schimdt discuss.
[Note: Berger is the executive director of the Center for the Advancement of Public Integrity.]
Grassroots ‘Black Lives’ Program Operates Out of NY
As part of the trend in “movement” lawyering, nearly 20 law schools across the country are part of Law for Black Lives, a grassroots program focused on racial and social justice. . . . Other legal clinics participating in its program include top-ranked institutions like Yale Law School, Harvard Law School, Columbia Law School, the University of Michigan and Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law.
GERMAN REGULATORS JUST OUTLAWED FACEBOOK'S WHOLE AD BUSINESS
On Thursday, Germany’s Federal Cartel Office, the country’s antitrust regulator, ruled that Facebook was exploiting consumers by requiring them to agree to this kind of data collection in order to have an account, and has prohibited the practice going forward. . . . “This is significant,” says Lina Khan, an antitrust expert affiliated with Columbia Law School and the think tank Open Markets. . . . “When there is a lack of competition, users accepting terms of service are often not truly consenting. The consent is a fiction.”
[Note: Khan is an academic fellow at Columbia Law. Amid news concerning the application of antitrust laws to companies like Amazon and Facebook, she was also quoted and cited in media outlets including Channel NewsAsia, Citizen Truth, The Economic Times, Gizmodo, The Hill, Indo Asian News Service, Inquistr, MarketWatch, Publishers Weekly, The Verge, and WBUR-FM.]
Seven Fixes for American Capitalism
Lina Khan helped galvanize the movement with a 2017 paper she wrote as a law student at Yale that made the case that Amazon.com Inc. is a threat to competition, even though it's lowered some prices for consumers. The ideas in Khan’s paper aligned with those of economists and lawyers, such as Tim Wu, a Columbia Law School professor, who’ve been arguing that the current antitrust framework is ill-equipped to deal with today’s technology titans.
[Note: Amid news concerning the application of antitrust laws to companies like Amazon and Facebook, Khan and Wu were also quoted and cited in Commonweal Magazine.]
The Washington Post—February 8
The new censors won’t delete your words — they’ll drown them out
This idea was brilliantly articulated a couple of years ago by Tim Wu, a Columbia law professor, in an essay that asked “Is the First Amendment obsolete?” Wu pointed out that a state — or, indeed, anyone — that seeks to control information no longer needs bureaucrats or policemen: Instead, the opponents of free speech can drown out ideas and language they don’t like by using robotic tools, fake accounts, or teams of real people operating multiple accounts.
[Note: This article also appeared in The Post and Courier and in The Salt Lake Tribune.]
The Washington Post—February 8
The court decision that ushered in decades of Jim Crow
A few years ago the legal scholar Jamal Greene published “The Anticanon,” an article that identified the worst Supreme Court decisions in American history. High on the list was Plessy v. Ferguson, the 1896 case in which the court upheld a Louisiana law requiring railroad companies to provide “equal but separate” coaches for white and black passengers.
THE GREEN NEW DEAL SHOWS HOW GRAND CLIMATE POLITICS CAN BE
Did the authors of the Green New Deal absorb all that on purpose? “Of course it’s intentional!” emails Michael Burger, executive director of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia Law School. Ocasio-Cortez, Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey, and the other legislators working on these ideas “comprehend the extraordinary risks that climate change presents. They also articulate a clear set of values—around justice, equity, inclusion—that can be served in taking action on climate change.”
Fast Company—February 8
This is why you can’t seem to tackle your admin tasks list
In her new book, Life Admin: How I Learned to Do Less, Do Better and Live More, author and law professor Elizabeth Emens breaks down four different types of people, divided up by how easily and willingly they tackle what she calls “admin”: Those annoying, menial tasks required by daily life.
[Note: Amid the release of Prof. Emens’ new book Life Admin: How I Learned to Do Less, Do Better, and Live More, she was interviewed and quoted extensively in media outlets including Legal Cheek.]
How To Boost Intersectionality In Tech
But it wasn't until I did deep research into intersectionality — reading seminal works by UCLA and Columbia law professor Kimberlé Crenshaw, who developed the theory in the 1980s — that our team began to explore the experiences of our associates on multiple dimensions.
HERE’S WHAT THE SUPREME COURT’S NEW ABORTION RULING SIGNALS ABOUT THE FUTURE OF ROE V. WADE
Suzanne Goldberg, head of Columbia Law School’s Center for Gender and Sexuality Law, said before the vote that if the court did not act to stay the law, “many will see this as a clear message that it is open season at the Supreme Court on abortion restrictions.”
The Federalist—February 8
The Biggest Threat To Press Freedom Is The Media Itself
In 2014, Sullivan was already starting to look like little more than an “interesting cultural artifact,” observed Columbia law professor David Pozen: ‘There is still a tendency among members of the media to view the courts in somewhat romantic terms as natural allies and guardians against overreaching by the political branches,’ he says. ‘I’m not confident that remains a descriptively accurate view of the courts.’
CNN Business—February 8
Europe is beginning to break up Facebook's business
"In many ways, they are internally breaking up Facebook by limiting how they do business, how the different services interact," said Anu Bradford, a professor at Columbia Law School. "It's not a breakup, but it is certainly ramping up the pressure," she added.
[Note: This article appeared in numerous media outlets nationwide.]
NBC News—February 9
Shutdown hangover: Still waiting on pay, funding delayed, business approvals stalled
Another agency dealing with a significant backlog is the Securities and Exchange Commission … It reportedly had a backlog of 40 IPOs at the time the shutdown went into effect, and major companies that had been planning on going public in the beginning of the year are now holding off because of the possibility of another shutdown, said John Coffee Jr., director of the Center on Corporate Governance at the Columbia Law School.
[Note: This article appeared in numerous media outlets nationwide.]
The Guardian—February 9
Do New York prosecutors pose the greatest threat to Donald Trump?
“Both in terms of courtroom skill and particularly with respect to investigative and legal acumen, the southern district has long prided itself on the firepower it brings to its cases,” said the Columbia University law professor Daniel Richman, a former assistant attorney in the district.
New York Magazine—February 10
Constitutional Concerns Are a Major Risk for a Federal Wealth Tax
“I think a constitutional challenge to an actual tax on wealth is inevitable,” says Michael Graetz, a professor of tax law at Columbia University. “That it would fail does not seem to me to be obvious.”
City & State New York—February 10
The New York Tech Power 50 (continued)
#31. Tim Wu
Columbia Law School
Tim Wu is leading two of this century’s main policy battles in tech. The Columbia Law School professor coined the term “network neutrality” back in 2002, and has since been driving the national conversation on the issue. Now, Wu is focused on what he sees as a monopoly among the top companies in tech and is leading a trust-busting campaign for the new economy.
Welcome to the era of constitutional beanball: How Republican dirty tricks got even dirtier
Only last year, law professors Joseph Fishkin and David Pozen brought that perspective into the legal world with a Columbia Law Review paper, “Asymmetric Constitutional Hardball,” which I wrote about here. While officeholders in both parties have engaged in the practice, “Constitutional hardball remains reciprocal but not symmetrical,” they argue. “One party, the Republican Party, has become especially identified with hardball tactics, with large consequences for our constitutional system.”
[Note: This article also appeared in AlterNet and RawStory.]
The Washington Post—February 11
New York’s public housing system is the size of a city. It’s failing children.
By Emily Benfer
By disinvesting in housing for low-income families, Congress and HUD are thwarting progress, perpetuating racial segregation and increasing the cycle of poverty for future generations. The federal government has an obligation to protect those who qualify for federal assistance. If generations of children are going to thrive, they first must live in homes and communities that government neglect and indifference haven’t made dangerous to their health.
BNN Bloomberg—February 11
Apple, Facebook are ripping up their Wall Street script
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission requires quarterly reporting of revenue and profit, but not specific disclosures on product or user numbers, says John Coffee, professor of law and director of the Center on Corporate Governance at Columbia Law School. “Companies tend to disclose such data when they think it is in their interest to do so, and recently some have decided that it just produces unwanted volatility,” Coffee told BNN Bloomberg in an email.
Gizmodo | Earther—February 11
In Groundbreaking Ruling, Australian Court Strikes Down Proposed Coal Mine Citing Climate Risks
“It is rare for a court to disapprove a particular mining or construction project because of its contribution to the global problem of climate change,” Michael Gerrard, the faculty director of Columbia’s Sabin Center for Climate Change Law, told Earther in an email. “Many decisions have required that greenhouse gas emissions be disclosed; few have used that as a basis for denial. Advocates around the world will point to this decision when fighting other fossil fuel or greenhouse gas emitting projects.”
[Note: This article also appeared in Gizmodo Australia.]
Epstein Case A Turning Point In Prosecutorial Accountability?
“If you work in the Justice Department, it is really scary to be reviewed by OPR,” said Jennifer Rodgers, a former federal prosecutor who now serves on the advisory board at the Center for the Advancement of Public Integrity at Columbia Law School.
Argument preview: Justices to consider ability of government to challenge patents in administrative process
By Ronald Mann
The question in this case is whether the United States (specifically, the U.S. Postal Service) is a “person” for purposes of a series of provisions in the AIA stating that “a person who is not the owner of a patent” may petition for post-grant review of an issued patent.
Google and Facebook should be regulated for news content, UK government report says
"Competition agencies are often more experienced and better resourced than data protection agencies and hence in a better position to successfully build the case against a big company like Facebook," said Anu Bradford, a professor and director of the European Legal Studies Center at Columbia Law School, in an email to CNBC last week.
The Daily Beast—February 12
Why Is the El Chapo Verdict Taking So Long?
Paul Shechtman, a veteran attorney who teaches criminal procedure at Columbia Law School, voiced similar sentiments. “Long trials often lead to long deliberations and particularly when there are many counts some of which charge many acts,” Shechtman said. “Reading what a jury is up to from its notes, or from the length of deliberations, can be foolish.”
[Note: Shechtman is a lecturer at the Law School.]
The Christian Science Monitor—February 12
At UN, there’s no US ambassador: Here’s who loses
“It’s more about what doesn’t happen when the US lowers its profile, how it matters is in the issues that aren’t presented for public airing and international pressure,” says Michael Doyle, director of Columbia University’s Global Policy Initiative and a past special adviser to former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan.
Hire more police officers: an effective, popular strategy to reduce crime
Of course, much of the progressive turn against law enforcement has been driven not by skepticism about police officers’ ability to deter crime but by concern about overly aggressive policing. It’s important in that context to note a recent study by John MacDonald, Jeffrey Fagan, and Amanda Geller that looked at localized policing surges in New York City (dubbed “Operation Impact” by the NYPD) over a period of years.
Argument preview: Justices to examine rejection of contracts in bankruptcy
By Ronald Mann
The second of the two cases set for oral argument next week is a bankruptcy matter, Mission Product Holdings Inc. v. Tempnology, LLC. . . . the central question is so simple that it is surprising it has not been settled for decades: When a debtor rejects a contract in bankruptcy, does that simply mean that the debtor can stop performing (and become liable for breaching the contract) or does it also mean that the contract is rescinded (retracting any rights it might have granted the other party)?
The Conversation—February 13
Is love losing its soul in the digital age?
The legal scholar Bernard Harcourt argues that social media sharing evokes the great American tradition of entrepreneurship. From this perspective, in issuing weekiversary posts, individuals are creating an identity and a story – they are generating a brand that they can market widely.
[Note: This article also appeared in Rappler and Slate.]
Gotham Gazette—February 13
Legislators Pursue Campaign Finance Reform for District Attorneys
Berit Berger, executive director of CAPI, said the legislation is a “good start” but could go further. “The legislation does not require district attorneys to adopt blinding procedures that shield them from learning their donors’ identities,” she pointed out, in an email to Gotham Gazette.
Impact Alpha—February 13
Overheard at the Economist’s 2019 New York Impact Investing forum
Stanford/Columbia University’s Ronald Gilson cautioned against faith in impact funds that only tie performance to financial returns. “If they don’t believe they can do [impact], there’s not reason you should think they can.”
Institutional Investor—February 13
Want a Better Board? Look To Private Equity
The current model for a board at a publicly traded company leaves directors “thinly informed, under-resourced, and boundedly motivated,” according to a working paper published by Ronald Gilson, a professor at Columbia Law School and professor emeritus at Stanford Law School, and Jeffrey Gordon, also a professor at Columbia Law School. The paper, published Tuesday and entitled “Board 3.0 — An Introduction,” argues that a new model of corporate governance could help publicly traded companies better handle shareholder activism and would better align a company’s board with its institutional shareholders.
Ms. Magazine—February 13
On Intersectionality: Essential Writings
by Kimberlé Crenshaw, out March 12
It’s here! It’s here! The collection of Kimberlé Crenshaw’s writings that we’ve all been waiting for! Crenshaw’s collection of essays and “a sweeping new introduction” will cover over two decades of intersectional feminist writing—and be required reading.
Six reasons to be hopeful about fighting climate change
Michael Gerrard, director of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia University, is also encouraged by the advancements in clean energy. "There's been remarkably rapid progress in developing wind and solar technologies and the storage and transmission they require, and the costs are plummeting. This means that a fairly rapid transition to a clean energy economy can be envisioned if it has the right policy backing."
The New York Times—February 14
The Green New Deal Is What Realistic Environmental Policy Looks Like
By Jedediah Britton-Purdy
But this everything-and-the-carbon-sink strategy is actually a feature of the approach, not a bug, and not only for reasons of ideological branding. In the 21st century, environmental policy is economic policy. Keeping the two separate isn’t a feat of intellectual discipline. It’s an anachronism.
The Economist—February 14
Property crime rates test San Franciscans’ values
“The Bay Area has a culture that’s very tolerant of disorder. Culture is holding up general safety,” says Justin McCrary, who recently moved from the law school at the University of California, Berkeley to Columbia Law School.
Consumer Group Says Data Back Clean Car Standards
In addition, on Thursday, a coalition of local governments filed an amicus brief saying the EPA's action "is not a valid exercise of EPA's authority and should be vacated" and that the Obama-era analysis should be put back in place. . . . The local governments are represented by Michael Burger of Columbia Environmental Law Clinic Morningside Heights Legal Services and Jessica Wentz of Sabin Center for Climate Change Law Columbia Law School.
New studies point to a big downside for schools bringing in more police
“Aggressive, broken-windows policing may have negative effects by undermining trust in authorities, including schools and teachers, and by leading to withdrawal and system avoidance,” write researchers Joscha Legewie and Jeffrey Fagan in the study, published in a peer-reviewed journal.
Diverse: Issues in Higher Education—February 14
The Fallacy of NOT Seeing Race
In her seminal work Mapping the Margins: Intersectionality, Identity, and Violence Against Women, Kimberle Crenshaw (1991) cautions that “the problem with identity politics is not that it fails to transcend difference, as some critics charge, but rather the opposite – that it frequently conflates or ignores intra group differences.”
Philanthropy Daily—February 14
There's no such thing as free speech
As we leave 2018 behind, it might be worth looking back at one of the few genuinely new lights of the past year—the Columbia University law professor Philip Hamburger's underappreciated Liberal Suppression: Section 501(c)(3) and the Taxation of Speech.
The Washington Post—February 15
Opinion | Happy Hour Roundup
* Jedediah Purdy offers a smart, nuanced look at the Green New Deal, with an emphasis on why (contrary to critics) it’s a positive that the blueprint intertwines ambitious goals on both climate and the economy.
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