Faculty in the News
The Nation—April 1
By Jedediah Britton-Purdy
Since the literal frontier closed more than a century ago, the conceit of limitlessness has served to justify expanding America’s borders into first a worldwide military empire and then commercial globalization.
The Washington Post—April 1
The Daily 202: Antitrust is all the rage. Monopolies and mergers emerge as major issues in the Democratic primaries.
Columbia University law professor Tim Wu, the author of “The Curse of Bigness: Antitrust in the New Gilded Age,” says Harris is “the largest question mark” among the major candidates. “She has been silent on the questions raised by tech monopolies,” Wu warned in a recent op-ed for the New York Times.
The Intercept—April 1
HOW TO THINK ABOUT BREAKING UP BIG TECH
But as Lina Khan, scholar and staffer for Cicilline’s antitrust subcommittee, has pointed out, the key question is whether the platform, be it brick and mortar or digital, is creating a bottleneck by privileging its own products over rivals.
[Note: Khan is an academic fellow at Columbia Law School. Amid news concerning antitrust policies as they relate to companies like Amazon and Facebook and Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s presidential campaign, she was also quoted and cited in media outlets including Axios, Challenges, Citizen Truth, the Napa Valley Register, The New York Observer, Quartz, and Yahoo News.]
These Lawyers Are Creating an ALEC for Climate Change
Michael Gerrard, director of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia University, and John Dernbach, director of the Environmental Law and Sustainability Center at Widener University, have published a 1,100-page compendium of policy ideas, and they are organizing lawyers across the United States to write laws based on the ideas laid out in the book — laws that can then be distributed, ALEC style, to local, state, and federal lawmakers.
[Note: This article also appeared in ThinkProgress.]
Washington Examiner—April 1
Court reinstatement of Arctic drilling ban could allow a Democratic president to limit offshore development
“We are seeing a successful legal assault on fossil fuel extraction,” said Michael Gerrard, an environmental law professor at Columbia University, noting other recent court setbacks to the Trump administration’s energy agenda. “It’s certainly helpful to the 'keep it in the ground' movement.”
Daily Dicta: From Mattresses to Burritos, ‘Event-Based’ Securities Class Actions Fall Flat
Columbia Law School Professor John Coffee observed that the suits often follow the first wave of cases by “injured consumers, workers, or others with tort claims, but the caboose on this train is the securities class action, which will claim that investors were injured by the defendant company’s failure to disclose its misconduct or negligence.”
What the EU’s New Copyright Law Means for Artists
“Article 13 says that if you have a website that allows users to post content, then you are responsible for making sure that content is not infringing on copyright,” explained Columbia Law School’s Philippa Loengard to Hyperallergic over the phone. “And if it is, then you need to make sure it’s taken down.”
[Note: Loengard is deputy director of the Kernochan Center for Law, Media, and the Arts and a lecturer at Columbia Law.]
The Hill—April 3
Pompeo needs to address Turkey's descent towards authoritarianism with foreign minister
By Sarah H. Cleveland
But it is vitally important that Pompeo also raise a fundamental threat to the relationship between Washington, its allies and Ankara — Turkey’s sharp descent towards authoritarianism since the failed coup against President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in July 2016.
Associated Press—April 3
LGBT progress seen in Lightfoot’s win, rise of ‘Mayor Pete’
“For many members of the LGBTQ community, a candidate’s mere identity as gay or lesbian is not enough,” said professor Katherine Franke, who teaches gender and sexuality studies at Columbia University.
[Note: This article appeared in numerous media outlets nationwide and globally.]
Christian Science Monitor—April 3
Venezuela: In US-Russia collision, echoes of Syria
“The standard international-law view of the matter is that you cannot intervene in a country without its permission,” says Michael Doyle, an expert in international law and humanitarian intervention at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs in New York. “What is legal is to intervene at the invitation of the government.”
Climate Liability News—April 3
Exxon Can Block Shareholder Climate Proposal, SEC Rules
“Companies frequently refuse to put shareholder resolutions to a vote, and in reviewing such refusals, the SEC applies technical rules that don’t have much bearing on the other sorts of climate cases pending against Exxon,” said Michael Gerrard, a professor of environmental and climate change law at Columbia University and chair of the faculty at Columbia’s Earth Institute.
NPR | The Takeaway—April 3
Making Reparations Work in America (Audio and story)
Crump is a descendant of slaves sold by Georgetown University in 1838, and President and CEO of Dialogue on Race Louisiana. Tanzina sat down with Maxine to talk about reparations in America: what they could look like, and what it would take to make them a reality. Also joining the conversation was Katherine Franke of Columbia University . . .
'Randomness' at the Border: a Columbia Law Professor Visits Migrants in Tijuana (Audio and story)
In March, Columbia Law Professor Katherine Franke took six of her students to Tijuana so they could assist migrants preparing to approach the border. They spent 10 days with the legal services group Al Otro Lado and for a first-hand look at a problem that may seem far away for many New Yorkers.
CBS News—April 4
Alaska judge reinstates drilling ban, striking down Trump's 2017 executive order (Video)
A judge in Alaska struck down President Trump's executive order on oil drilling in the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge. U.S. District Court Judge Sharon Gleason ruled President Obama's drilling ban could only be revoked by Congress. Columbia law professor and director of the Sabin Center for Climate Change, Michael Gerrard, joined CBSN to talk about the implications.
VICE News—April 4
The College Scam Defendants' Privilege Is Following Them into Court
While US Attorney Andrew E. Lelling claimed last month there was no separate criminal justice system for the wealthy, experts suggested this case was likely to test that mantra to the extreme. As Jeffrey A. Fagan, an expert on criminal justice at Columbia Law School put it, “You get what you pay for. It’s really as simple as that.”
Energy Central—April 4
New York Is Poised to Pass a Comprehensive Climate Bill
We think net zero emissions is the right approach, as opposed to simply zero emissions, because as Columbia Professor Michael Gerrard discusses here, some emissions, like those from out-of-state vehicle use, cannot be fully eliminated solely under state authority.
Parents Of Unvaccinated Children Sue Rockland County Over Measles State Of Emergency
“Do I think it's the right approach? No, I think it's the wrong approach”, said Janlori Goldman, who teaches public health law and social justice professor at Columbia and NYU Law Schools. “I think It's frightening. It's coercive and I think it's overstepping.”
[Note: Goldman is a lecturer at the Law School.]
Fighting climate change at the local level (Audio)
Despite federal inaction, there are Legal Pathways to Deep Decarbonization in the United States. . . . Co-author Michael Gerrard says emissions can be reduced quickly while creating jobs, development and improving the quality of life.
Agence France-Presse—April 5
US judge orders talks between Tesla's Musk, securities regulators
The agency's remedies are constrained because of Musk's centrality to Tesla and a reluctance to harm Tesla employees and investors, said Columbia Law School professor Joshua Mitts. "Normally we say if there are problems with corporate governance, just replace the CEO. That just doesn't work with Elon Musk," Mitts told AFP.
The Washington Post—April 5
Appeals court in D.C. rules judges may not create exceptions to grand-jury secrecy rules
“The attorney general could, were he so inclined, seek permission from the court under existing statutes to release unredacted portions of the grand-jury transcripts,” said Jeffrey Fagan, a Columbia Law School professor. “The issue isn’t carving out new exceptions or writing new rules but being crafty in how he makes the request to the court under the current rules. The existing rules should be enough for a judge to rule on release.”
The Mueller Investigation Is Over, But Trump’s Legal Problems Are Not
“We don’t know what they’ll amount to yet, but these investigations shouldn’t be dismissed as frivolous — if federal prosecutors have opened an investigation, that means there are serious red flags,” said Berit Berger, a former federal prosecutor and the executive director of Columbia Law School’s Center for the Advancement of Public Integrity.
Welcome to the Age of Helplessness
In March, Tim Wu noted in the New York Times that polarization — the political bugbear of our times — is perhaps not as prevalent as we might think. Instead, Wu argued, the defining element of the current American political landscape might actually be the opposite: by and large on important issues, people tend to agree, not disagree.
Yahoo Finance—April 5
Elon Musk says he's 'very happy' after judge orders settlement negotiations with SEC
“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, previously 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.”
Die Akte Bayer – Wie der Dax-Konzern in die Fänge der US-Justiz geriet (German)
John Coffee has been following events in American product processes for many years. The prestigious law professor at Columbia Law School in New York is fascinated by the play of forces that resembles a game of chess or a complicated dance. The initial moves or steps will determine much the later outcome in such mass-claim cases.
BBC News—April 7
Floating cities - fantasy or the future?
"The caution I have is that sometimes people advance futuristic ideas of this sort as a way of saying climate change isn't so bad because if it happens we'll find a way around it," Michael Gerrard, director of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia University, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in 2017.
The New York Times—April 7
Democrats Rethink the Death Penalty, and Its Politics
“The president, and what the president does, will bear very much on the Supreme Court’s thinking on this, because the president does reflect the national electorate,” said James S. Liebman, a professor at Columbia University who specializes in the death penalty.
[Note: This article also appeared in Folha de S.Paolo.]
The City—April 7
DEVELOPERS DONATE BIG TO QUEENS DA CANDIDATE WHO VOWS CONSTRUCTION CRACKDOWN
Vance halted fundraising mid-campaign and asked Columbia Law School’s Center for the Advancement of Public Integrity to review his practices. The Columbia experts recommended New York DA candidates take measures to avoid conflicts, including fundraising without knowing donors’ identities. They also urged sitting DAs to refuse or limit contributions from donors with actual or potential conflicts of interest.
Ga. Case Won't Be Justices' Last Chance On Bail Reform
Kellen Funk, a Columbia University law professor who's writing a book about the history of bail in America and filed an amicus brief in the case, told Law360 that the high court often prefers to wait until more circuit courts have weighed in on a matter before they take it up.
Argument preview: Justices to consider ability of securities investors to sue for faulty disclosures about tender offers
By Ronald Mann
Respondent Gary Varjabedian represents a class of investors who claim that petitioner Emulex failed to provide adequate information to allow investors to evaluate the price in a tender offer for the stock of Emulex. . . . The case raises two questions: whether the investors can sue Emulex for damages under Section 14(e) and, if they can, whether they are required to prove more than that the company acted negligently.
ABA Journal—April 8
DC Circuit bars release of grand jury materials to author; are there implications for Mueller report?
Jeffrey Fagan, a professor at Columbia Law School, told the Washington Post that the attorney general also could seek permission to release unredacted portions of grand jury transcripts under existing statutes.
The Denver Post—April 8
Bill eliminating cash bail for minor crimes in Colorado awaits governor’s signature after unanimous support in legislature
Growing awareness about the practice has been spurred in part by high-profile cases — like that of a man who sat in jail for three years for allegedly stealing a backpack because he couldn’t afford $3,000 bail — as well as lawsuits challenging the bail system, said Kellen Funk, a professor at Columbia Law School who studies bail.
Diverse: Issues in Higher Education—April 8
Defining Political Progress
In “Mapping the Margins: Intersectionality, Identity Politics, and Violence Against Women of Color,” Kimberle Crenshaw (1991) points out the challenge of contemporary notions of identity politics as “not that it fails to transcend difference, as some critics charge, but rather the opposite – that it frequently conflates or ignores intragroup differences.”
[Note: Crenshaw and her work on intersectionality were also quoted in media outlets including The Advocate Magazine, Affinity Magazine, BBC | Bright Sparks, The Cap Times, Forbes, Her Campus, Medium, and The Times of Israel.]
Financial Times—April 8
Uber’s long list of legal woes ahead of its stock market listing
At the top of that list of risk factors is the very structure of Uber’s business, which relies on a workforce of drivers which the company does not consider employees — and therefore does not have to meet regulations about pay and benefits. . . . “I can’t think of a bigger risk to them than the idea that these people will become employees,” said John Coffee, a securities law expert at Columbia University.
[Note: This article appeared in numerous publications nationwide and internationally.]
Woman & Home—April 8
7 simple ways to tackle ‘life admin’ and streamline your to-do list
The Art of Life Admin author Elizabeth Emens and An Edited Life author and blogger Anna Newton are here with seven smart moves to free up quality time and space to do something you love.
Federal prosecutors pick up Trump's slack on this key issue
By Jennifer Rodgers
In 2017, federal law enforcement officials, in an intelligence bulletin, acknowledged the persistent threat white supremacist terrorism presented, but the Trump administration seems to have ignored the findings. . . . This is why it is so important for federal prosecutors handling these cases to forge ahead and continue their vital work . . .
[Note: Rodgers is a lecturer at the law school and serves on the Advisory Board of the Center for the Advancement of Public Integrity.]
The New York Times Magazine—April 9
Climate Change Could Destroy His Home in Peru. So He Sued an Energy Company in Germany.
It might be good political theater to “name John and Jane Does One through Eight Billion,” says Michael Burger, the executive director of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia Law School, who has written amicus briefs in support of the new suits. But if “companies are arguing that they, individually, are too small to be held legally responsible, it would be absurd to think that an individual human being would be responsible enough to haul into court.”
The Washington Post—April 9
Opinion | For Trump, the cruelty is the point. But it’s actually worse than that.
This is in direct contrast to the Trump/Miller agenda — a nationalism that backtracks everywhere on what Jedediah Britton-Purdy calls the “ethical responsibilities of global interdependence.”
Above the Law—April 9
From Nuisance Laws to the Green New Deal: Four Fun Facts
Columbia Law School’s Sabin Center for Climate Change Law has created a database of climate-related litigation, including claims under such diverse legal theories as nuisance claims(!) and the Freedom of Information Act.
Newtonian and Anti-Newtonian Political and Judicial Polarization
David Pozen and Joseph Fishkin in their Columbia Law Review essay, “Asymmetic Constitutional Hardball,“ document how conservative Republicans are far more likely than Democrats to overthrow longstanding constitutional conventions, particularly when staffing the federal courts.
bne IntelliNews—April 9
COMMENT: WTO report on Russia-Ukraine transit and national security disputes to test future of trading system
“If this panel report is followed, then the US will have a hard time to show instability - war is out of the question. If they manage to do that then it will be an easy ride for the US”, reckons Petros Mavroidis, a law professor at Columbia University.
MSNBC | Deadline: White House—April 9
The president's attorney, not the people's attorney (Video)
NBC’s Julia Ainsley, The Washington Post’s Ashley Parker, former Director of the FBI Frank Figliuzzi, former Deputy Assistant Attorney General Harry Litman, and former federal prosecutor Berit Berger (10:18) on AG Barr’s testimony today, revealing when, where, and how much of the Mueller report will be released
[Note: Berger is the executive director of the Center for the Advancement of Public Integrity. Amid news concerning Attorney General William Barr and investigations into President Donald Trump, Berger also appeared on MSNBC’s The 11th Hour with Brian Williams (02:35 and 07:31 and MSNBC’s Velshi & Ruhle (02:20).]
The New York Times—April 10
How Capitalism Betrayed Privacy
By Tim Wu
Mass privacy is the freedom to act without being watched and thus in a sense, to be who we really are — not who we want others to think we are. At stake, then, is something akin to the soul.
The Wall Street Journal—April 10
Latest Ghosn Search Exposes Japan’s Feeble Attorney-Client Privilege
In the U.S., "the view is that a defendant can only adequately prove his or her innocence through the ability to communicate all information with his or her attorney without fear that would be disclosed," said Nobuhisa Ishizuka, a lecturer at Columbia Law School and head of its Japanese legal-studies program. He added that if a U.S. judge thinks evidence was collected in violation of the privilege, prosecutors wouldn't be able to use it in court.
[Note: This article also appeared in The Toronto Star.]
City Threatened With Lawsuit Over Measles Vaccination Order
Janlori Goldman, an expert in public health and social justice who teaches at Columbia and NYU law schools, said the current outbreak illustrates the conflict between public health and the state law dating back to the 1960s allowing parents to apply for religious exemptions for immunizations is sending a conflicting public health message.
Bloomberg Law—April 11
Judging Job Bias by Comparing Workers: Circuit Court Rules Vary
“There are very few jobs for which a ‘perfect’ comparator exists,” said Suzanne Goldberg, a law professor at Columbia University. “As the economy continues to diversify, a rigid approach to comparators will cut the heart out of anti-discrimination law.
The Atlantic—April 12
Trump’s Unpardonable Challenge to the Constitution
. . . [by] asking an official to violate the law, and promising a pardon to mitigate the risk of doing so . . . It is entirely reasonable to ask whether this, in itself, is an impeachable offense. Jamal Greene, a professor at Columbia Law School, sparked discussion on Twitter as to whether Trump’s actions might fall afoul of the Constitution’s requirement that the president “shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of … Bribery”—the pardon being the bribe offered.
Financial Times—April 12
Facebook’s reckoning? The global battle to regulate social media
In an influential 2006 book, co-author Tim Wu, a Columbia Law School professor, predicted the internet would inevitably fragment into nationally regulated networks as governments acted to protect their citizens online, imposing their own legal and cultural norms. It took longer than expected, he now says, because of the dominance Google and Facebook have had over so many national markets, enabling them to set international norms that many governments were hesitant to challenge.
'Reconstruction' review: Remarkable tour of a terrible part of our history
In this film, Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw, a law professor at UCLA and Columbia, calls Reconstruction “an unfinished revolution.” It’s all too easy to see what she means.
[Note: Following her appearance in the documentary Reconstruction: America After the Civil War, Crenshaw was also quoted in the Catholic News Service.]
NJ Spotlight—April 12
TRUMP EO WOULD STOP STATES FROM USING WATER QUALITY TO BLOCK PIPELINES
Jennifer Danis, staff attorney for Columbia Law School’s Environmental Clinic, called the president’s executive order “an unprecedented federal power grab’’ that squashes states’ right to protect natural resources.
Psychology Today—April 15
Tips on Getting Stuff Done, and How Not To
After proving to you just how much I avoid admin, I am going to confound you by saying that I actually did google the NPR interview with the admin-coining expert. . . . Her name is Elizabeth Emens, and her book is Life Admin: How I Learned to Do Less, Do Better, and Live More.
The Washington Post—April 13
How the dream of cheap streaming television became a pricey, complicated mess
But Tim Wu, author of “The Attention Merchants,” argues that Disney’s announcement and other recent developments signal that a halcyon era is ending, one in which disruption in the entertainment industry unleashed opportunities for better consumer deals.
City & State New York—April 13
Higher Education Power 50 continued
29. Gillian Lester
Columbia Law School
Gillian Lester has made preparing Columbia Law School graduates for a rapidly changing world one of her priorities – expanding the school’s programs and emphasizing networking opportunities. The school recently introduced the Executive Masters of Law in Global Business degree: an accelerated, six-month LL.M. program designed to give foreign lawyers a foundation in U.S. and international business law. Lester previously served as acting dean of the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law.
This Sci-Fi Plan To Beat Rising Seas Could Change The Way We Live – If It Works
“We need to work intensely on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, to reduce the damage that will happen, and on preparing our cities for damage that will occur regardless of our best efforts,” said Michael Gerrard, director of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia Law School.
The Wall Street Journal—April 14
Neiman Marcus Pushes Refinancing, Highlighting Lenders’ Vulnerability
“For some firms, it may just be delaying the inevitable, and delay is costly,” said Edward Morrison, a Columbia Law School professor who focuses on bankruptcy.
Los Angeles Times—April 15
Joe Biden’s handling of Anita Hill’s harassment allegations clouds his presidential prospects
“He could have done more,” said Kimberlé Crenshaw, a UCLA law professor who assisted Hill’s legal team in 1991. “That’s not an apology. An apology starts with a full acknowledgement of the wrong you have committed. If he wants the women’s vote, he’s got to do something more than symbolic stuff.”
Accounting Today—April 15
Classic Supreme Court case was an oldie but a goodie
Despite its age, the decision still has meaning for today, according to Columbia University tax law professor Michael Graetz. “Eisner v. Macomber is a classic case, one that I teach in my federal income tax class every year, even though its current status is questionable,” he said. “Proportional stock dividends, the subject of the dispute, are now exempt from tax by statute. . . . But Macomber may enjoy a new life this century,” he observed.
The Nation—April 15
Progressives Are Trying to Reclaim Religious Freedom in Court
The question also remains, as Columbia Law professor Katherine Franke put it to me on a recent call, “whether the left ought to just borrow a page from the right’s playbook and argue for aggressive exemptions when they disagree with government policy, or whether we ought to develop our own progressive version of religious liberty which isn’t about exemptions.”
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