Faculty in the News
Columbia Law School Clip Report, August 16–31, 2019
Financial Times—August 16
Harry Markopolos: the scourge of Madoff trains his sights on GE
“He’s famous for one thing only,” said John Coffee, a professor at Columbia Law School. “He was right about Madoff, and he was for some time a hero. About 20 per cent of Wall Street anticipated he was right. There was a feeling that no one dared articulate there was something phoney here.”
New York Law Journal—August 16
Deportation, Privacy and Effectiveness of Counsel Issues Tackled in Stand-Out Cases
By Paul Shechtman
In its 2018-2019 term, the New York Court of Appeals followed much the same course in criminal law as it has the past few years. Prosecutors had more victories than did defendants; memorandum opinions were commonplace; and Judges Jenny Rivera and Rowan Wilson frequently dissented, often in lengthy opinions. A few cases stand out.
[Note: Shechtman is a lecturer at the Law School.]
InsideClimate News—August 16
Top CDC Health and Climate Scientist Files Whistleblower Complaint
"Prohibiting people from speaking out about climate change, pressuring people not to study climate change, or terminating programs on climate--it's been a very holistic approach to silencing science," she said. Kurtz' group and the Columbia University Sabin Center for Climate Change Law are keeping a running tally of such incidents on line.
[Note: This article also appeared in the South Florida Sun Sentinel.]
Man exonerated in murder seeks independent probe
“It seems to me the safer course is to have an outside inspection, simply because of potential conflicts of interest and concerns about the integrity in general,” said Columbia Law School professor Bernard Harcourt. “Working with the police, they [the district attorney’s office] have a vested interest in a good relationship.”
Boston Review—August 18
Highway to Hell
The New Nature
a forum with Jedediah Purdy
The Anthropocene adds nature to the list of things we can no longer regard as natural, and makes it impossible to divorce nature from human influence. But can that influence be democratic?
The Globe and Mail—August 18
We’re in the midst of a convenience crisis
In a New York Times piece a year ago, Tim Wu, a law professor at Columbia University, described the tyranny of convenience as "the most underestimated and least understood force in the world today. “Though understood and promoted as an instrument of liberation, convenience has a dark side. With its promise of smooth, effortless efficiency, it threatens to erase the sort of struggles and challenges that help give meaning to life.”
Take Care Blog—August 19
The Trump Administration’s Assault on Fair Housing
By Olatunde Johnson and Michelle Aronowitz
Today, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) published a proposed rule that would substantially limit enforcement of the 1968 Fair Housing Act, whose purpose is to provide for fair housing throughout the United States. The re-reading of the Fair Housing Act urged by the President and his Cabinet Secretary Ben Carson appears to eliminate the possibility of challenging systemic discrimination—which is often subtle and embedded in government and industry practices—and risks deepening patterns of segregation and racial wealth disparities.
Diverse: Issues in Higher Education—August 19
Words That Wound
In 1993, elaborating on Delgado’s tort action of words that wound, legal scholars and critical race theorists Mari Matsuda, Charles R. Lawrence III and Kimberle Williams Crenshaw co-edited Words that Wound: Critical Race Theory, Assaultive Speech, and the First Amendment. They argue that this scholarship is a direct response to “the urgent needs of students of color and other victims of hate speech who are daily silenced, intimidated, and subjected to severe psychological and physical trauma by racist assailants who employ words and symbols as part of an integrated arsenal of weapons of oppression.”
InsideClimate News—August 19
Government Delays First Big U.S. Offshore Wind Farm. Is a Double Standard at Play?
"The Department of Interior has practically tripped over itself in speeding up the approval of fossil fuel projects and now they are slow-walking this renewable project," said Michael Gerrard, director of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia University. "That could fundamentally damage the economics of the project."
Violence against women and survivors’ access to justice: using intersectionality to advance equity, health, safety and human rights
We applied an intersectionality lens, a framework coined by Kimberlé Crenshaw. This lens enabled us to examine how women’s intersecting identities along lines of race, gender, and class impacted their experiences.
[Note: Crenshaw and her work on intersectionality were also referenced in media outlets including ArtsHub Australia, Mint, and The National.]
New Yorker—August 20
How Elizabeth Warren Came Up with a Plan to Break Up Big Tech
In early 2016, one of Warren’s advisers reached out to a Yale law student named Lina Khan. . . . She was among a handful of legal scholars and journalists who have been trying to sound the alarm about rising monopolies for several years. In Warren, Khan and the head of Open Markets, Barry Lynn, found a high-profile figure in Washington who was willing to listen and who had the ability to draw attention to the cause.
[Note: Khan is an academic fellow at Columbia Law School.]
The New York Times—August 20
How Should Big Tech Be Reined In? Here Are 4 Prominent Ideas
A current example is a plan that would require Facebook to shed Instagram and WhatsApp. A detailed proposal on this, laying out the alleged anticompetitive conduct, was developed by two leading antitrust scholars, Tim Wu of Columbia Law School and Scott Hemphill of New York University Law School, along with Chris Hughes, a co-founder of Facebook.
[Note: Amid news concerning the application of antitrust laws to companies like Amazon and Facebook, Wu was also quoted and cited in media outlets including MarketWatch.]
The New York Times—August 20
Weinstein Wants Trial Moved Because of His 11,000 Page Six Mentions
Daniel Richman, a former prosecutor who teaches at Columbia Law School, said that judges, who have wide leeway in deciding these motions, have been reluctant to change the venue of trials. “The defense generally faces a real uphill battle,” he said.
Inside Higher Ed—August 21
3 Law Schools Pass the $100,000-a-Year Mark
The price to attend the law schools at Columbia and Stanford Universities and the University of Chicago will pass $100,000 this academic year, making them the first of the nation’s law schools to blow past that mark. . . . “Columbia Law School is committed to making a first-rate legal education accessible to students regardless of their financial circumstances,” wrote Columbia Law in a statement. “We devote substantial resources to financial aid and have increased this support in recent years.”
Daniel Webster, War Powers and Bird$h*t
By Matthew Waxman
In the course of researching a book, I’ve come across many episodes that Benjamin Wittes and I like to call “Weird War Powers $h*t.” One of my favorites is a story about American constitutional war powers and actual $h*t. It’s a story about very expensive bird-$h*t, or guano, and how one of the 19th century’s most important thinkers on war powers nearly stumbled the nation, figuratively speaking, into a giant pile of it.
The Atlantic—August 21
No More Corporate Lawyers on the Federal Bench
Instead of someone like Katyal, Democrats ought to nominate judges whose day jobs involve working for ordinary Americans. That means, for example, choosing lawyers who represent workers, consumers, or civil-rights plaintiffs, or who have studied the law from that vantage point. . . . Sharon Block is a former National Labor Relations Board member who now runs an employment-law program at Harvard Law School, and Tim Wu is a Columbia Law School professor whose scholarship has questioned corporate power. Any of them could bring to the bench experiences and perspectives that are sorely lacking in our federal courts.
The Colorado Independent—August 21
Guest Post: Colorado’s death penalty does not put inmates to death
Columbia Law School professor James Liebman and colleagues have noted, “As a matter of honestly faced fact, therefore, the death penalty is not the punishment for murder in the United States; the penalty instead is life without the possibility of parole, but with a small chance of execution a decade later.”
Composer Ennio Morricone Wins Rights to Italian Film Scores
The ruling, a clear appellate win for Morricone and his attorney Jane Ginsburg, ended a seven-year dispute over rights to the musical scores and nearly three years of litigation that touched on U.S. and Italian property law. . . . Ginsburg, a professor of literary and artistic property law at Columbia School of Law, declined to comment on the decision.
The Global Legal Post—August 21
General counsel lack climate change leadership
Some 1,300 climate cases have been filed worldwide since 1986, mostly in the US, according to the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia University in New York and other groups that track such litigation.
The Federalist—August 22
Education Is Speech: Why New York’s Attempts To Control Private Schools Are Unconstitutional
By Philip Hamburger
New York State recently announced regulations that would add sharp teeth to its policy of requiring private schools to be “substantially equivalent” to public schools. Although this initially sounds reasonable, on closer examination the regulations impose a stifling conformity on private educational speech.
Gizmodo | Earther—August 22
Bernie Sanders' $16 Trillion Climate Plan Is Nothing Short of a Revolution
Michael Gerrard, the director of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law, told Earther that Sanders “is trying to replicate and go beyond what happened in 2006, when after a lengthy trial DOJ obtained the civil conviction of eleven major tobacco companies under the Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organization (RICO).”
Law360's Weekly Verdict: Legal Lions & Lambs
In a win secured by Columbia University School of Law and solo practitioner Timothy O'Donnell, the Second Circuit entered a decision Wednesday allowing famed Italian film composer Ennio Morricone to reclaim the copyrights to his music, ruling that he had not produced his scores as so-called works for hire. Morricone — formally Ennio Moricone Music Inc. — is represented by Jane Carol Ginsburg of Columbia University School of Law and Timothy O'Donnell.
NPR | Morning Edition—August 22
Trump Policy Would Allow Indefinite Detention Of Migrant Families, Children (Audio and transcript)
NPR's David Greene talks to Elora Mukherjee, director of the Immigrants' Rights Clinic at Columbia Law School, about the new U.S. policy to detain migrant families indefinitely.
[Note: Amid news concerning the conditions of federal migrant detention centers, Mukherjee was also quoted in Daily Kos, Newsweek, Públic
NRC Handelsblad—August 23
The internal market is the foundation of its existence, and the only means of power it has. That market is so large, strong and regulated that it spreads European norms and standards around the world. As Anu Bradford explained in the famous article The Brussels Effect, companies like Google and Honeywell copy those rules to reach 500 million consumers.
Gulf Business—August 24
How to increase your productivity in a world of distraction
If that’s your experience, then it’s no surprise, as we live in a global economy, where “attention merchants”, according to Columbia professor, Tim Wu are making money by hijacking our attention, repackaging it and selling it to advertisers.
After Garner death, legislators seek to bar police use of 'chokeholds'
Currently, the standard in state penal law on justification for police to use force is based on “reasonableness.” And reasonableness is “determined from the perspective of a reasonable police officer on the scene,” according to professors Jeffrey Fagan and Bernard E. Harcourt of Columbia Law School.
New Yorker—August 24
How the Trump Administration Is Stigmatizing Abortion
Abortion has been legal since 1973, and as many as one out of four American women have had one. Yet, as the legal scholar Carol Sanger writes, in her 2017 book “About Abortion,” “much of current abortion regulation operates to punish women for their decision to terminate a pregnancy.”
Hannoversche Allgemeine Zeitung—August 24
Warum eine Familie gegen den Klimawandel klagt (German)
Some sue governments, others seek damages from companies. A database of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law and the Columbia Law School has approximately 900 climate records in the US since 1986, more than 250 in the rest of the world.
[Note: This article also appeared in Dresdner Neueste Nachrichten and Kieler Nachrichten.]
The New York Times—August 26
The American Economy Is Creating a National Identity Crisis
By Tim Wu
Europeans often describe the United States as a great place to buy stuff but a terrible place to work. They understand the appeal of our plentiful and affordable consumer goods, but otherwise they just don’t get it: the lack of real vacation, the sending of emails after business hours, the general insensitivity to work-life balance. That may be just a casual observation, but it identifies something deep and problematic about the economy that the United States has built over the past 40 years.
Project Syndicate—August 26
Why America’s CEOs Have Turned Against Shareholders
By Katharina Pistor
The fact that American CEOs think they can choose their own masters attests not just to their own sense of entitlement, but also to the state of corporate America, where power over globe-spanning business empires is concentrated in the hands of just a few men (and far fewer women). . . . By capturing the process to which they owe their own positions, American CEOs have made a mockery of shareholder control.
E&E News—August 27
Could big opioid ruling bolster climate cases?
Michael Burger, executive director of Columbia University's Sabin Center for Climate Change Law, said the opioid decision will be useful for plaintiffs in the climate cases — to an extent. "It's authority that other courts might find persuasive, they might find it a useful analogy, but it's not something that will bind any other court at all," he said, noting that it's one trial court's ruling under Oklahoma law and could be overturned on appeal.
PBS NewsHour—August 27
Column: Companies don’t need permission from the Business Roundtable to be better corporate citizens
The idea of shareholder primacy first emerged in a 1932 Harvard Law Review article by Adolphe Berle, a Columbia University law professor who served on President Franklin Roosevelt’s “Brain Trust.” Berle said “all powers granted to a corporation or to the management of a corporation … [are] at all times exercisable only for the ratable benefit of the shareholders.”
Associated Press—August 28
OxyContin maker negotiating settlement worth a reported $12B
While the U.S. has many “public benefit corporations,” creating one to settle a civil action would be a novel approach, said John Coffee, a law professor and director of the Center on Corporate Governance at Columbia Law School. In general, public benefit corporations have charters that dictate that they operate not to maximize profits for shareholders but to benefit some other purpose, such as a charity or research, he said. Coffee said that he has never heard specifically of a “public benefit corporation trust” and that it sounded like a hybrid — a business run by trustees.
[Note: This article appeared in numerous media outlets nationwide.]
The Pressure on Epstein’s Prosecutors to Charge Others Just Got Higher
The U.S. attorney’s office in New York “doesn’t feel any need to own or acknowledge what happened in the Florida case,” said Dan Richman, a veteran of the New York office who now teaches at Columbia Law School. “But what happened there, along with everything that transpired in this case, helps power the government’s commitment to go forward.”
Brazil open to receiving foreign aid to fight Amazon fires if it decides how it's used
Michael Gerrard, an environmental and climate change law expert at Columbia Law School, said there was little the international community could do to either force Brazil to accept the cash or to be proactive in protecting the forest. "So much of international law is about shaming recalcitrant countries into compliance, but [in this case] you have leaders that are shameless. and whose political support enjoys the international scorn, and takes it as a badge of honour," he told Euronews.
Die Zeiten für die Pharmariesen werden ungemütlich (German)
"I think the public and the judiciary are currently very skeptical about big pharma," said renowned law professor John Coffee of Columbia University. The opioid crisis is an even bigger issue than Monsanto's Roundup. Coffee also notes that the verdict against Johnson & Johnson was made by a judge rather than a jury.
DOJ watchdog says James Comey broke FBI policy by keeping, leaking Trump meeting memos
Comey testified in a 2017 Senate hearing that he had sent documents to a friend, Columbia University law school professor Daniel Richman, and directed him to share the substance with a reporter.
[Note: Amid news concerning James Comey, Richman was referenced in numerous media outlets worldwide including Business Insider, Buzzfeed News, CBS News, The New York Times, and The Washington Post.]
Why does environmentalism have a dark side?
In After Nature: A Politics for the Anthropocene, Jedediah Purdy wrote that early conservationist thought leaders, like eugenicist Madison Grant, “assumed that certain types of Americans were specially tied to, and qualified to interpret and advocate for, the natural world.” Not surprisingly, those chosen few were assumed to be the white, rich, and highly educated.
The Independent—August 29
US opioid crisis: Drug firm Purdue Pharma 'offers up to $12bn' to settle more than 2,000 lawsuits
The move to create a “public benefit corporation” to settle a civil action suit is a “novel approach”, according to John Coffee, a law professor and director of the Centre on Corporate Governance at Columbia Law School, who described the idea as a business run by trustees.
FORCING IMMIGRANT GIRLS TO BLEED THROUGH THEIR UNDERWEAR IS CRUEL, DEGRADING AND DANGEROUS | OPINION
And the director of Columbia Law School's Center for Gender and Sexuality Law, Katherine Franke, told The New York Times that these legal claims, overall, "highlight a day-to-day way in which women experience discrimination in one of their most basic bodily functions."
Deseret News—August 30
Why a case about one Idaho man’s distinctive religious belief could be headed to the Supreme Court
“The way the law works is that it has to be religious to you ... even if no one else believes it,” said Katherine Franke, a professor of law, gender and sexuality studies at Columbia University, where she also serves as faculty director for the Law, Rights and Religion Project.
Project Syndicate—August 30
Corporations with a Conscience?
In this Big Picture, Nobel laureate economist Joseph E. Stiglitz welcomes Big Business’ s new party line, but wonders whether it is sincere, or even feasible in the absence of major legislative reforms. Likewise, Columbia Law School’s Katharina Pistor points out that America's CEOs are likely driven as much by self-preservation as by concerns for the greater good.
Dar Freitag—August 30
Das Zeitalter des Menschen (German)
In After Nature, law professor Jedediah Purdy writes that using the term "Anthropocene" to describe a wide range of man-made geological and environmental changes is an attempt to "to merge them into a single thing, grouped under a single name".
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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]