Faculty in the News
Ethical Boardroom—Winter 2018
Auditing Failures: Causes and Cures
By Professor John Coffee
As a starting point, we must recognise that although auditors serve investors, they are selected by managements (and the interests of shareholders and managers are not well aligned). This is the key anomaly that must be corrected. The goal of reform should be to make auditors more accountable to investors (and less to managements).
Prensa Libre—February 13
Congreso va por las controversiales reformas a la Ley de Reconciliación Nacional y de Oenegés (Spanish)
Sarah Cleveland, professor of Human Rights at the Human Rights Institute of the Columbia University Law School, for example, visited Guatemala and described the intention of the Congress as worrisome. "It is a great concern, a series of bills that are now pending in Congress and that could further violate the rule of law and human rights protections," said Cleveland.
BBC Radio 4—February 16
Driven to Distraction (Audio)
Can we go back to a place where technology is about changing our lives rather than stealing our attention? With Abigail Williams, Tim Wu, Nir Eyal, Susan Maushart and James Williams.
The Guardian—February 16
Amazon deserves more than rejection from New York. It should be punished
As legal scholar Lina Khan has observed, Amazon’s business model is predicated upon a suite of anti-competitive coercive tactics in which it exploits its power over the core infrastructure of commerce.
[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 Bloomberg Opinion, CIO Dive, The Daily Beast, Law.com, POLITICO, The Verge, and Why Is This Happening? With Chris Hayes.]
The Times—February 16
Goodbye admin, hello more free time
The reason for our tardiness, according to Elizabeth Emens, professor of law at Columbia University, is that we are bad at admin. She wrote The Art of Life Admin after her marriage started to fall apart. She writes that admin is "the kind of work that you can spend a whole day and then wonder, where did my day go?"
[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 WBUR.]
THE SOOTHING PROMISE OF OUR OWN ARTISANAL INTERNET
It’s too early to tell where this growing discontent is going, says Columbia Law School professor Tim Wu, but it seems to combine anger over social media with inaction on antitrust, a trend he covers in his latest book, The Curse of Bigness: Antitrust in the New Gilded Age. “It all orients around this bigger conversation: How did we let Facebook and Google go this far gathering data and letting targeted advertising become such a big part of people’s lives?” he says.
[Note: Amid the release of Prof. Tim Wu's 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 The American Conservative, The Bull, CFO.com, City & State NY, Civil Eats, CNET, the Financial Times, Gizmodo, the New Statesman, Phys.org, Verdict, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post.]
Mother Jones—February 17
A Scientist Who Resisted Trump Administration Censorship of Climate Report Just Lost Her Job
Columbia Law School’s Sabin Center for Climate Change Law has reported 194 examples of the federal government censoring, hindering, or sidelining climate change science since Trump was elected.
[Note: This article also appeared in Reveal from the Center for Investigative Reporting.]
The Daily Wire—February 18
HAMMER: Bladensburg Cross Memorial Case Is Supreme Court’s Best Chance To Redeem A Key First Amendment Provision
Indeed, as the constitutional scholar Philip Hamburger has persuasively argued, the Establishment Clause "say[s] nothing about separation of church and state, and therefore notwithstanding the claims made on behalf of separation, there is reason to believe it is not the religious freedom guaranteed by the Constitution."
Arms Control Wonk—February 18
THE NUCLEAR FIRST — AND SECOND — USE DILEMMA
Requiring the addition of two more individuals to the decision-making process for the first use of nuclear weapons ought to be an easy sell. It’s essential in my view and in the view of Richard Betts and Matthew Waxman, Bruce Blair and others.
The New Republic—February 19
The Spiritual Case for Socialism
By Jedediah Britton-Purdy
. . . the market economy dictates answers to the most important question—what is our time worth? To be free is to be able to give your own answer to this question; but in our lives, the answer comes to us in the form of wages and such potent monstrosities as the rate of return on investment in our human capital.
Argument analysis: Justices seem divided about government right to challenge patents in administrative process
By Ronald Mann
At first glance, Return Mail is a simple statutory case, involving another in a long line of drafting flaws in the AIA . . . But the argument presented a highly engaged bench, with all of the justices (except Justice Clarence Thomas) asking pointed questions, several of which seemed to raise the stakes higher than we might expect for a simple patent case.
The New York Times—February 19
America’s U.N. Ambassador Post Is Empty. Is That a Problem?
“If they send a hard-liner, a Bolton character, they would simply use the United Nations as a forum for confrontation,” said Michael Doyle, a Columbia Law School professor who specializes in international affairs and from 2001 to 2003 served as a special adviser to then-Secretary General Kofi Annan.
[Note: This article also appeared on MSN.]
The Washington Post—February 19
Richard Gardner, who helped mold U.S. foreign policy as professor and ambassador, dies at 91
Richard N. Gardner, who helped mold U.S. foreign policy and generations of policymakers as a Columbia Law School professor for nearly six decades and as a U.S. ambassador to Italy and Spain, died Feb. 16 at his home in New York City. He was 91.
[Note: This article also appeared in The Frederick News-Post and the San Antonio Express-News.]
Illinois Public Media | Will Radio—February 19
Exploring The Link Between Racism, Trauma and Mental Health
To loosely quote Kimberlé Crenshaw, if there's no name for a problem, you can't see a problem. And if you can't see a problem you can't solve it. And sometimes we don't name these traumas as racial traumas that black and African-Americans are experiencing.
[Note: This story also appeared in numerous public media outlets.]
New NYC Discrimination Guidance Focuses On Hairstyles
Kimberlé Crenshaw . . . who is affiliated with the University of California, Los Angeles and Columbia Law School, said that black people have often been compelled to give up their preferred hairstyles and use chemicals or other manipulations to change their natural hair texture to conform to “arbitrary and aesthetic expectations.” “These discriminatory demands not only undermine their physical well-being but also their access to employment, their enjoyment of educational opportunities, and their dignity,” Crenshaw said.
Metro New York—February 19
NYC Commission on Human Rights bans discrimination based on hair
"Black people have too often been forced to relinquish their preferred hairstyles in order to accommodate arbitrary and aesthetic expectations that require chemical alterations and manipulations to suppress or alter their natural hair texture," said Kimberle Crenshaw, a law professor at Columbia University. "These discriminatory demands not only undermine their physical well-being but also their access to employment, their enjoyment of educational opportunities and their dignity.”
America Magazine—February 19
Why Catholic moral theology is a sign of hope in today’s church
Intersectionality is a term introduced by Kimberlé Crenshaw in a 1989 essay . . . She argues that black women experience intersecting oppressions of both racism and sexism that come together to create a possibility for oppression that is not merely both racism and sexism but is something new formed by the way that the two are compounded. . . . I am not sure why some people find it so controversial, given that its primary purpose is to analyze and resist systems of oppression that violate human dignity.
Pacific Standard—February 19
DECLARING A NATIONAL EMERGENCY WON'T SOLVE THE CLIMATE CRISIS
"Clearly climate change is, in a big picture sense, an emergency . . . But it's not an emergency in the narrow legal sense that various statutes authorize the president or the executive branch to take emergency action under," says Michael Burger, the executive director of the Sabin Center for Climate Law at the Columbia Law School.
Argument analysis: Meandering argument suggests justices likely to narrow bankrupts’ power to rescind licenses in bankruptcy
By Ronald Mann
The case presents a problem that has confused lower courts for more than 30 years: What happens when a debtor exercises its statutory right to reject a contract in bankruptcy? It is plain from the language of the statute that the debtor’s rejection should be treated as a “breach” of the contract, and that the counterparty can sue the bankrupt for damages. The question, though, is whether the rejection’s “breach” operates to rescind the entire contract.
U.S. regulators lack sufficient data standards ahead of next financial crisis – ex-Treasury official
In their study, “The Data Standardization Challenge,” Berner, along with Kathryn Judge of Columbia Law School, cite numerous reasons for the lack of progress made in improving data quality and standardization, not least the fragmented regulatory structure in the United States when compared to the European Union. “In the United States, the balkanized regulatory structure is an obstacle to adoption of data standards. Regulators are free to use whatever mode of collection they choose,” write Berner and Judge.
Financial Times—February 20
Tesla’s top lawyer to depart after only two months in the job
“I think Mr Musk is a person that most professionals could only take for so long,” said John Coffee, a law professor at Columbia University. The top departures among executives with compliance responsibilities “are not just a lawyer — it’s chief financial officers and others. We seem to have a Caesar here. Donald Trump has the same issue hanging on to people,” Mr Coffee said.
[Note: This article also appeared in The Australian Financial Review.]
The Nation—February 21
American Democracy Has Been Eclipsed
By Bernard E. Harcourt
The United States, at this moment, is no longer a democracy, conventionally understood as a political regime of majoritarian popular rule with counter-majoritarian checks. All three branches of US government are now formally counter-majoritarian. There is today no institutional counterpower to a presidential tyrant.
National Review—February 21
Survival at the White House
Or as the legal scholar of the administrative state Philip Hamburger put it: “Although the United States remains a republic, administrative power creates within it a very different sort of government. The result is a state within the state — an administrative state within the Constitution’s United States.”
Foreign Policy—February 22
Inside the Battle to Decriminalize Homosexuality in India (Audio)
On the podcast this week, the human rights attorney Menaka Guruswamy describes the fight to overturn a colonial-era law in India that criminalized LGBT lives and relationships. Guruswamy was one of the lawyers who argued the landmark case in India’s Supreme Court last year.
[Note: Menaka Guruswamy is the BR Ambedkar Research Scholar and a lecturer at Columbia Law School.]
Pay attention to the growing wave of climate change lawsuits
“It’s clear that federal courts in the United States have not previously recognized a constitutional right to a clean environment or to a stable climate system,” said Michael Burger, executive director of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia University. “In my view there is a compelling legal argument for it.”
NBC News—February 23
Jeffrey Epstein's deal with federal prosecutors wasn't normal. The men who arranged it need to face the music.
By Mimi Rocah and Berit Berger
As former federal prosecutors of over 25 years combined who worked on dozens of sex trafficking cases, the treatment of some of the most vulnerable victims by then-U.S. Attorney Alex Acosta in the Jeffrey Epstein case is stunning and raises every sort of red flag.
[Note: Berger is the executive director of the Center for the Advancement of Public Integrity.]
NBC News—February 24
Trump admin files more briefs in religious liberty cases than Obama, Bush
"The government's commitment to religious liberty is a bit duplicitous," said Katherine Franke, a law professor at Columbia University who filed an amicus brief with four other law professors backing Warren's claim.
[Note: This article also appeared on MSN.]
New York Law Journal—February 25
Columbia Law School Presents Its 'Medal for Excellence' Award
Columbia Law School presented its Medal for Excellence award to two distinguished alumni at the school’s 70th annual winter luncheon held at Cipriani 42nd Street in New York on Friday. Nina Shaw, left, ’79, founding partner at Del Shaw Moonves Tanaka Finkelstein & Lezcano, and Jonathan Schiller, right, ’73, co-founder and managing partner at Boies Schiller Flexner, received the awards from Columbia Law School Dean Gillian Lester.
Trump abroad as Cohen set to testify before Congress (Video)
We’re joined by Berit Berger (07:47) — a former Federal prosecutor, Shannon Pettypiece – White House Correspondent for Bloomberg, and Nancy Cook – White House Reporter for POLITICO.
Yahoo News—February 25
Green New Deal: Game-changer or gimmick?
Environmentalist policy is strong economic policy.
“The Green New Deal isn’t the only approach, of course, but its broad ambitions mark out the ground where future climate fights will happen. Because reshaping our environmental impact means reworking our economy, there will inevitably be competing visions about who deserves to benefit and what kind of economy we should build . . .” — Jedediah Britton-Purdy, New York Times
The New York Times—February 26
If Trump Pardons Manafort, Can State Charges Stick?
“I don’t imagine when presented with someone whose career is alleged to have been as varied and crooked as Manafort’s, the D.A.’s office would have to stretch itself to find conduct that could be charged without violating New York’s double jeopardy provisions,” said Daniel C. Richman, a Columbia Law School professor.
Musk's Twitter Habit Risks Irking Judge, Earning Fines—and More
“They should take his phone away,” said John C. Coffee Jr., a law professor at Columbia University and director of the Center on Corporate Governance. If Musk attempts a “total frontal confrontation, he could lose very badly,” Coffee said. “The SEC has authority to suspend an officer from serving in any public corporation.”
[Note: This article appeared in numerous publications worldwide.]
The Conversation—February 26
Explainer: what does ‘intersectionality’ mean?
The coining of the term is attributed to Kimberlé Crenshaw, a legal theorist of race and feminism. . . . Crenshaw has charted the way feminist practices can neglect race issues and anti-racist struggles can reinforce sexism when dealing with issues such as domestic violence, rape and obscenity law.
Jotwell | Constitutional Law—February 26
. . . Professor David Pozen, here joined by Professor Joseph Fishkin, now takes on the daunting task of describing how such hardball tactics have been deployed in practice. Their primary findings: both parties play hardball, but Republicans do it more often than Democrats, and the reasons for this flow from the differing institutional incentives and ideological commitments of the parties.
NPR | All Things Considered—February 26
What Peace Means On The Korean Peninsula And How To Achieve It (Audio and transcript)
So what exactly does peace on the Korean Peninsula mean? And what steps need to be taken by all parties to finally achieve it? Jeong-Ho Roh has contemplated these questions for years. He's the director of the Center for Korean Legal Studies at Columbia University and formerly worked as an adviser to South Korea's ministry of national unification.
[Note: This segment aired on numerous public radio outlets nationwide.]
Tweets Unlikely To Spell Musk's Removal As Tesla CEO
“The court will almost certainly ask the SEC what remedy they think is appropriate,” Columbia Law School professor John Coffee Jr. said. “That is a big issue, because the company cannot afford to lose him, particularly in light of their lack of management depth.”
Yahoo Finance—February 26
Musk's Twitter Habit Risks Irking Judge, Earning Fines-and More
“The court is a little bit hamstrung, because while they want a strong deterrent they're supposed to be serving shareholders,” John Coffee, Jr., professor of law at Columbia University, told Yahoo Finance. “I don't think any judge wants to eliminate him from Tesla because a lot of people believe that Tesla can't survive without him.”
Associated Press—February 27
Cohen says Trump inflated his wealth in bid to buy Bills
The statute of limitations— five years for most federal offenses — could preclude a prosecution. Trump could theoretically face criminal bank fraud charges if prosecutors could prove Trump intended to deceive with financial statements and that the bank relied on those figures, said John Coffee, a law professor at Columbia University.
[Note: This article appeared in numerous publications nationwide.]
The New York Times—February 27
Richard Gardner, Cold War Envoy to an Italy in Strife, Dies at 91
Richard Gardner, who in the late 1970s served as the American ambassador to Italy in a period of political violence there and concern in Washington about the Italian Communist Party’s growing strength, died on Feb. 16 at his home in Manhattan. . . . While his profile was probably highest when he was posted to Rome, Dr. Gardner was also an adviser to Democratic presidential candidates and a distinguished law professor at Columbia University.
Associated Press—February 27
Under homeless deal, Denver will give notice before seizures
Maria Foscarinis, the executive director of the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty, said the settlement is an important step forward for a city that it has criticized in the past for its treatment of the homeless but it is not enough. “This is not solving the problem. It is making the problem a little less miserable for the people who have to live with it,” she said.
[Note: Maria Foscarinis is a lecturer at the Law School. This article appeared in numerous media outlets nationwide.]
2nd Circ.'s Madoff Foreign Clawback Ruling Boosts Trustees
Columbia Law School professor Edward Morrison, who filed a friend of the court brief during the case along with other bankruptcy law instructors, said he believes the panel got it right and reinforced the underlying purpose of the code’s avoidance and recovery provisions and the government’s interest in unwinding domestic frauds.
Kavanaugh Ignored Precedent in His Major Abortion Dissent. That’s Part of a Pattern.
Last month, Brett Kavanaugh issued his first opinion as a Supreme Court justice in the unanimously decided case of Henry Schein v. Archer and White Sales. . . . On SCOTUSblog, Ronald Mann described the opinion as “succinct and methodical”—an aptly blasé evaluation.
Associated Press—February 28
Cohen signals closer cooperation in bid to stem prison term
Under Southern District of New York guidelines, Cohen’s chances of having his sentence reduced depend on his willingness to submit to debriefings he eschewed before sentencing, said Jennifer Rodgers, a former prosecutor in the district who now lectures at Columbia Law School.
[Note: This article appeared in numerous media outlets nationwide.]
The Los Angeles Times—February 28
If the SEC’s punishment of Elon Musk harms Tesla shareholders, it’s their own fault
Here’s John Coffee, a distinguished expert in securities law at Columbia University, quoted by Yahoo Finance: “The court is a little bit hamstrung because while they want a strong deterrent they're supposed to be serving shareholders,” Coffee said. “I don't think any judge wants to eliminate him from Tesla because a lot of people believe that Tesla can't survive without him.”
[Note: This article appeared in numerous publications nationwide.]
BBC Mundo—February 28
Quiénes son los gánsteres digitales que te roban el tiempo y cómo puedes frenarlos (Spanish)
Tim Wu is a professor at Columbia University, in the United States, and author of the book "The Attention Merchants: The Epic Scramble to Get Inside Our Heads." In it, Wu explains how the need to constantly check our phones, the ritual of taking out our devices while waiting for the bus, while we are in an elevator, on the toilet, etc., is called a "variable rewards program".
[Note: This article appeared in numerous publications worldwide.]
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