Faculty in the News
CNN | Amanpour—May 1
Biden's Anita Hill apology: Is sorry enough? (Video)
Former Senator Barbara Boxer and Law Professor Kimberle Crenshaw speak to Christiane Amanpour about Joe Biden's apology to Anita Hill, as he launches his presidential bid.
MSNBC | 11th Hour With Brian Williams—May 1
Atty. General Barr gives a full-throated defense of Trump in Senate testimony (Video)
In a frequently contentious . . . appearance on Capitol Hill, Attorney General Bill Barr defended the president wrongly suggesting the Mueller report clears Trump of any wrongdoing. Berit Berger, Jeremy Bash, Matthew Miller, and Ken Vogel join to discuss.
[Note: Berger is the executive director of the Center for the Advancement of Public Integrity. Amid news concerning special counsel Robert Mueller’s report, she also appeared on MSNBC’S Deadline: White House.]
Trump Could Be Impeached, But Experts Argue Congress Shouldn’t Rush It
“The best next step is a series of investigations by the Senate Intelligence Committee, which has a pretty good bipartisan atmosphere, by [the Oversight Committee] in the House, Intelligence in the House, the Judiciary Committee in the House ― and we just ventilate and bring more transparency to the things that Mueller uncovered,” said Philip Bobbitt, former counsel to the Senate Iran-Contra Committee and the co-author to the latest edition of Charlie Black’s classic legal text “Impeachment: A Handbook.”
Opinion: Capitalism’s dirty secret: it was built by lawyers, not by the ‘invisible hand
A new book by Columbia Law School professor Katharina Pistor, “The Code of Capital: How the Law Creates Wealth and Inequality,” argues that the “free market” isn’t so free. . . . Pistor shows exactly how the system was rigged. “Rising inequality is the logical conclusion of a legal order that systematically privileges some holders’ assets, but not others,” Pistor says. “The logical result of such a system is rising inequality and the disenfranchisement of the democratic constituents.”
Times Union—May 1
Ethics experts explore causes, solutions to political corruption
Richard Briffault, chair of New York City Conflicts of Interest Board, said the law is specific about what constitutes a conflict of interest, but many political maneuvers fall into a legal gray area. "A lot of Conflict of Interest Law is to ensure that people don't use public resources for their own benefit (or the benefit of their family). But what if you use public resources to benefit your own party? You need to work with the party, not only to get yourself elected, but to get an agenda passed," Briffault said.
Radio New Zealand—May 1
Porgera villagers lack access to good water, study finds
"People in Porgera live in fear about whether they will have enough water to last the week and whether their water is poisoning them," said Professor Sarah Knuckey, Director of the Columbia Law School Human Rights Clinic and a lead author of the report which can be read here.
Metro Weekly—May 2
LGBTQ advocates alarmed at Trump's religious exemption for health care workers
But the Law, Rights, and Religion Project at Columbia Law School said that the new rule actually “violates the religious liberty of all Americans by establishing a formal legal preference for particular religious beliefs, including opposition to abortion and sterilization.” . . . “Research shows that many doctors working at faith-based hospitals object to religious restrictions that limit the care they can provide to their patients,” Elizabeth Reiner Platt, director of the LRRP, said in a statement.
Climate experts to New York: Go green or go home
“Now that the [New York] Senate has flipped to Democratic control and is led by advocates of climate action as well, this seems a perfect time to enact a new law,” said Michael Gerrard, a signee and professor at Columbia Law School’s Sabin Center for Climate Change Law.
CBS News—May 3
John Kelly joins board of company operating largest shelter for unaccompanied migrant children
While Comprehensive and DC Capital appear to have reaped financial benefits through government contracts during and after Kelly's tenure as White House chief of staff, Richard Briffault, a Columbia Law School professor, said Kelly may not have broken any rules. "It sounds like he's running between the raindrops. It doesn't sound great, but most likely he's not directly violating any policies," Briffault told CBS News.
[Note: Briffault’s remarks were reprinted in numerous outlets nationwide.]
The Guardian—May 3
How the news took over reality
The entire subsequent history of mass media, as Tim Wu explains in his book The Attention Merchants, might be seen as a process of improving the efficiency with which the available supply of attention could be mined.
E&E News—May 6
Fringe demand goes mainstream: Stop drilling and mining
The law doesn't specify how much the government must lease, so the next administration could decide — after an environmental review — to adopt a near-total moratorium, said Michael Gerrard, a Columbia Law School professor who specializes in climate law. "It's never been tested in court, how little is too little. And so we may get a test of that," he said, adding that the current rate of fossil fuel production would take the world past 2 degrees Celsius of warming.
Politique Matin—May 6
MANIPULATIONS, DÉSINFORMATION, DÉLIT D'INITIÉS : LES VENTES À DÉCOUVERT SUR LE GRIL (French)
According to research by Joshua Mitts, a researcher at Columbia University, information about more than 1,700 companies leaked on Seeking Alpha (the best known of these sites). . . . “Seeking Alpha is one of the best-known and most-watched sites, and contains many articles that recommend selling stocks," note John C. Coffee Jr. and Joshua Mitts of Columbia in an article entitled Short Selling and the New Market Manipulation.
The New York Times—May 7
Ethics Cloud Hangs Over de Blasio as He Weighs Presidential Run
The board’s chairman, Richard Briffault, acknowledged that the board should be concerned about the appearance of potential conflicts of interest, especially as it relates to the mayor. “It’s a legitimate question,” he said. “Maybe we should look into changing the rules about what we’re required to disclose, and maybe more disclosure should be required of us with respect to elected officials.”
The Atlantic—May 7
Health and Human Services and the Religious-Liberty War
“People of faith have a wide variety of views when it comes to issues like abortion and LGBTQ rights,” says Elizabeth Platt, the director of the Law, Rights, and Religion Project at Columbia University. In her view, this new rule unfairly favors a conservative interpretation of religion—and of existing federal statutes. “I don’t think that people’s access to health care and health-care information should necessarily be dependent on their providers’ religious beliefs,” she says.
Project Syndicate—May 8
An Industrial Policy for Good Jobs
By Charles Sabel and Dani Rodrik
The strategy we have in mind would comprise three mutually reinforcing components: an increase in the skill level and productivity of existing jobs, by providing extension services to improve management or cooperative programs to advance technology; an increase in the number of good jobs by supporting the expansion of existing, local firms or attracting investment by outsiders; and active labor-market policies or workforce-development programs to help workers, especially from at-risk groups, master the skills required to obtain good jobs.
[Note: This article was referenced in Diario Gestión.]
Business Insider—May 8
New York is poised to pass 2 bills that would make it easier for Congress to get Trump's taxes and weaken his pardon power
"The Mueller investigation is the shiny object everyone is watching," Berit Berger, a former federal prosecutor and the executive director of Columbia Law School's Center for the Advancement of Public Integrity, told the outlet. "But under everyone's nose are what look like much more straightforward violations of state law, including some pretty flagrant tax fraud. Depending on what happens with Mueller, that could be what actually sinks the big ship."
On the Eve of Its IPO, Uber Can't Shake a Lingering Legal Question
“We will see more lawsuits regarding employees, and it will be fought on a state-by-state basis [in the U.S.],” says John Coffee, a securities law professor at Columbia University. “The odds are against Uber continuing to characterize their drivers as independent contractors.” And if Uber has to start paying the benefits it has avoided for so long, that will certainly reduce profitability, he says.
[Note: This article also appeared on Yahoo Finance.]
Wake-Up Call With Katie Couric—May 8
May 8, 2019
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed a bill that makes it illegal (and punishable by life in prison) to have an abortion once a fetus has a detectable heartbeat. Columbia Law professor and About Abortion author Carol Sanger told us the Supreme Court isn’t likely to step in on heartbeat bills, since other courts agree they're unconstitutional. But that doesn’t mean another case won’t end up before SCOTUS. “I think people can’t imagine that Roe can be taken away,” Sanger warns, “but it can because we were there 45 years ago.”
Trump's one-on-one approach to China threatens global trade, world peace
The number of preferential trade agreements jumped from just over 50 in 1990 to nearly 300 in 2010. More deals like these mean that one set of rules is overlaid by more rules that only apply when trading with specific countries in certain goods and services. For this reason, the economist Jagdish Bhagwati has called bilateral deals "termites in the trading system."
[Note: This article appeared in numerous outlets worldwide.]
The New York Times—May 9
It’s Time to Break Up Facebook
As the Columbia law professor Tim Wu writes, “It is a disservice to the laws and their intent to retain such a laserlike focus on price effects as the measure of all that antitrust was meant to do.” . . . Economists like Jason Furman, a former chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, are speaking out about monopolies, and a host of legal scholars like Lina Khan, Barry Lynn and Ganesh Sitaraman are plotting a way forward.
[Note: Khan is an academic fellow at Columbia Law School. This article appeared and was referenced in numerous outlets worldwide.]
USA Today—May 9
James Comey called Trump a 'chronic liar.' What his anti-Trump politics mean for the FBI
“When one joins politicized conversations, given his background, there is a risk that leaders of the bureau in the future would be seen as political actors,” said Daniel Richman, a Columbia Law School professor and Comey friend. “But there’s an even greater risk when the work of the bureau had no defenders.”
[Note: This article appeared in numerous outlets nationwide.]
WNYC | The Brian Lehrer Show—May 9
Is it a Constitutional Crisis Yet? (Audio)
In the wake of the Mueller report and the president’s refusal to comply with congressional subpoenas, legal experts Jennifer Rodgers, former federal prosecutor and lecturer at Columbia Law School, and Aziz Huq, law professor at the University of Chicago, ponder, "are we in a constitutional crisis yet?"
KQED (Northern California Public Broadcasting) | Forum—May 10
Is It Time to Break Up Facebook? (Audio)
Mark Zuckerberg's power is unchecked, unprecedented, and un-American. That's according to Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes, who in a New York Times op-ed Thursday called on the federal government to break up the company. We'll talk about whether Facebook should be split into separate entities and whether a breakup would address ongoing concerns about the company's failure to protect its users' privacy and security.
Tim Wu, professor, Columbia Law School; author, "The Curse of Bigness: Antitrust in the New Gilded Age"
[Note: Amid news concerning the application of antitrust law to companies like Amazon and Facebook, Wu was also quoted in 20 Minutes, the Financial Post, Medium, The Motley Fool, The New York Times, The Street, WBUR, and Vox.]
Antitrust Reading List
If you want a great primer, start with The Curse of Bigness. This book is short — it fits snugly in a coat pocket — and accessible to anyone with basic political knowledge. Written by lawyer and technologist Tim Wu, it provides context on the role antitrust law has played in our political and economic history. . . . After reading Wu’s book, go deep on the link between inequality and antitrust in a paper called “Market Power and Inequality.” This is a sweeping and comprehensive paper in the Harvard Law Review documenting the problem of the concentration of power. Its authors, Lina Khan and Sandeep Vahesan, have gone out of their way to make the writing accessible and lucid.
The Wall Street Journal—May 11
Amazon’s Size Is Becoming a Problem—for Amazon
In 2017, Lina Khan, a legal scholar and now an adviser to the House Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial and Administrative Law, published a paper in the Yale Law Journal, “Amazon’s Antitrust Paradox,” that has since become hugely influential.
[Note: Amid news concerning antitrust policies as they relate to companies like Amazon and Facebook and Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s presidential campaign, Khan was also quoted and cited in media outlets including Boing Boing, Seeking Alpha, The Verge, and The Washington Post.]
The Washington Post—May 12
Could miscarriages land women in jail? Let’s clarify these Georgia and Alabama abortion bills.
Carol Sanger, professor at Columbia Law School, said such penalties on doctors were “just another way to make women frightened” and create “more disincentives for physicians and residents to take up this practice.”
Indian Express—May 12
The lawyer who wants you to get her favourite book: the Constitution
Menaka Guruswamy would like you to get a copy of her favourite book if you haven’t already. “It’s not racy but it’s fascinating. It’s not light reading, it’s rigorous,” she says, extracting a copy of the Constitution of India from a bookshelf. “This wonderful book told Indians to aspire for something that was unthinkable even a decade before it was written — the idea of equality,” she says. . . . As a BR Ambedkar Research Scholar and Lecturer at Columbia Law School, 2017-19, Guruswamy is ploughing ahead with “finding out what is happening in constitutions all over the world”. “How or why a constitution works (or doesn’t) tells you a lot about the people of the country,” she says.
Fast Company—May 13
Why is sanitation still a privilege, not a right?
A new report, coauthored by Catherine Flowers, founder of the Alabama Center for Rural Enterprise and the Columbia Law School Human Rights Clinic and the Institute for the Study of Human Rights at Columbia University, says that residents—both in Lowndes County and in the many other rural communities across the U.S. that lack good access to plumbing—should not have to bear the cost of treating their waste themselves.
New York Daily News—May 13
Federal judge did not disclose connection to player in lawsuit, records show
“They would normally at least raise the issue,” Ronald Minkoff, a legal ethics professor at Columbia Law School, said of judges in such situations. “Is it something in a perfect world you would disclose? Yes. Is it something that matters? I don’t know."
[Note: Minkoff is a lecturer at the Law School.]
On Democracy and Dysfunction
In so arguing, I was trying to find a way to put issues of political and constitutional reform on the table. As David Pozen helpfully describes in his post, these issues now are on the table, although it is doubtful that they are equally attractive across the partisan/tribal divide.
NJ Spotlight—May 14
NEW JERSEY DEP SAYS IT’S WORKING WITH CHEMICAL COMPANIES TO CURB PFAS
Ed Lloyd, an environmental law professor at Columbia University, said the DEP has broad statutory authority to regulate air and water quality, and is within its rights to exercise that in trying to curb PFAS chemicals, even if it doesn’t yet have all the information it needs to impose specific cleanup requirements at specific sites.
[Note: This article also appeared on WHYY.]
Interior’s Rollback Includes Surprise Gift to Oil Industry
The fact that the bulletin was not listed in last year’s notice of proposed rulemaking as one of the industry standards the Interior Department was proposing to adopt could make its inclusion in the final rule vulnerable to a legal challenge, said Peter L. Strauss, an emeritus professor at Columbia Law School who specializes in administrative law.
New York Law Journal—May 15
Securities Class Actions and Supplemental Jurisdiction
By John C. Coffee Jr.
Everyone knows that Morrison v. National Australia Bank, 561 U.S. 247 (2010), ended the ability of those who purchased or sold securities outside the United States to participate in U.S. class actions. Everyone knows this—and therefore, unsurprisingly, it turns out to be not quite true. As usual, people miss the exceptions to generalizations that they think are universal rules.
Surplus and Deficit: Resources of Legitimation in the “Crisis of Democracy”
By Jedediah Britton-Purdy
The first thought is that U.S. politics exhibits a surplus of claims to political authority—the right to rule. I suggest that this surplus is both a worse thing than many constitutional commentators have supposed and a specific detriment to majoritarian democracy, which may itself be a better thing than is often supposed. The second thought is that U.S. politics may also be developing a deficit of the resources of legitimacy that any program of democratic reform needs—particularly progressive and egalitarian reform. . . . There is a profound affinity between “constitutional faith” . . . and its shadow, what David Pozen calls constitutional bad faith: denying the validity of disagreement and the prospect of political loss by loading up the Constitution with dogma that a lucid and candid mind might recognize as such but zealotry can conveniently obscure.
USA Today—May 15
What can be done to stop the criminalization of black girls? Rebuild the system
Nationally, they are nearly six times more likely to get out-of-school suspension than white counterparts and more likely to be suspended multiple times than any other gender or race of student, according to research by the African American Policy Forum and Columbia Law School’s Center for Intersectionality and Social Policy Studies.
#StopTheBans: Support Black Reproductive Justice Activists
“Intersectionality”, developed by Professor Kimberle Crenshaw gave credibility to our grandmothers and mothers who knew their experiences, different from their Black male counterparts but continued to say their names, despite their misogynistic attitudes through reproductive rights and abortion access.
[Note: Crenshaw and her work on intersectionality were also quoted in media outlets including The Crisis Magazine, Dazed Magazine, and Latino Rebels.]
Just Security—May 15
Why Robert Mueller Is Right that the Obstruction Statutes Apply to the President
In fact, as David Pozen and I discussed here two years ago, the presidential oath and his constitutional duty to take care the laws are faithfully executed prohibit the President from using his Article II powers for self-interested ends—especially when the President tries to undermine enforcement of the law for such purposes, as he did repeatedly with the Russia investigation.
Rolling Stone—May 15
How States Like Alabama Protect Rapists Over Women and Girls
“You don’t want a woman to be forced to prove how she lost her baby,” Carol Sanger, a professor at Columbia University Law School, told the Washington Post.
TIME Magazine—May 15
Alabama's Abortion Ban Is Designed to Challenge Roe v. Wade at the Supreme Court. Here's What Happens Next
“2016 was all about judicial appointments. In my mind, that was the most important issue — not just for abortion issues, but for all kinds of issues,” says Carol Sanger, Columbia Law professor and author of About Abortion: Terminating Pregnancy in the 21st Century.
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