Faculty in the News
Columbia Law School Clip Report, September 1–15, 2019
El Paso Inc.—September 1
What we’re reading
Journalist, KFOX-TV Channel 14
What I’m reading:
“The Attention Merchants,” by Tim Wu
WHAT'S IT ALL ABOUT: It's a comprehensive examination of media history, from the earliest forms of advertising to the modern age of Google and Facebook.
WHY I’M LOVING IT: It does a great job explaining the information age in which we live. It talks about how the 'clickbait' nature of the internet has fundamentally changed the business model for journalism and advertising.
“Unions for all”: the new plan to save the American labor movement
In another report released by the Center for American Progress in fall 2016, Madland called for “transforming unions from individual firm-level bargaining units into organizations or structures … that negotiate for higher wages and benefits across an entire industry or sector.” Columbia law professor Mark Barenberg wrote a report for the Roosevelt Institute in 2015 urging the same.
The Wall Street Journal—September 2
Some Companies Offer a New Benefit: Payroll Advances and Loans
Employers are concerned about the impact on productivity and turnover. Research by Todd Baker, a senior fellow at Columbia University’s Richman Center for Business, Law and Public Policy, looked at 16 companies in the U.K. that offered payroll loans and found that borrowers had, on average, an annualized attrition rate 28% lower than the rate for all employees.
[Note: Baker is a lecturer at the Law School. This article also appeared in L’Opinion and The Star.]
Cuomo's Push To Ban Fusion Voting Could Violate State Constitution
While New York's courts may have safeguarded fusion, federal courts specifically have not, said Richard Briffault, the Joseph P. Chamberlain professor of legislation at Columbia Law School. Briffault cited a 1997 Supreme Court case, Timmons v. Twin Cities Area New Party, that affirmed a Minnesota law barring candidates of one party from appearing on the ballot of another.
Next Tribe—September 3
A Powerful Sisterhood: Meet the Rocking Legal Analysts of MSNBC
If you are an avid watcher of MSNBC, you know these women by their first names. . . . I gathered four of them at MSNBC World Headquarters (otherwise known as a conference room): Maya Wiley, Joyce Vance, Jill Wine-Banks, and the new girl in town, Berit Berger, to discuss the impact of the 24-hour news cycle, the role of legal punditry, and other more superficial matters.
[Note: Berger is the executive director of the Center for the Advancement of Public Integrity. Wiley, Wine-Banks, and Berger are Columbia Law alumnae.]
Prospect Magazine—September 3
Prospect world’s top thinkers, 2019: the top ten
6. Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw
[Note: in July, Prospect Magazine described Crenshaw as “the lawyer and professor who coined the term ‘intersectionality’ three decades ago . . . Crenshaw’s term is now used widely in discussions of racial inequality and various forms of social justice, and has been cited as helping inform the Constitution of South Africa.”]
Valor Econômico—September 3
Arrependimentos corporativos (Portuguese)
Katharina Pistor reveals the reasons that today disturbs executives. “The situation is one when shareholders are dispersed. The conditions are very different today: shareholders are assembled in blocks, with effective veto power and the ability to set common goals.”
Stanford Social Innovation Review—September 4
Coding Capital for the Globe
By Katharina Pistor
Capital has become mobile and seems to know no borders . . . Yet, there is no single global legal system to support global capitalism; nor is there a global state to back it with its coercive powers. We thus confront a puzzle: If capital is coded in law, how can global capitalism exist in the absence of a global state and a global legal system?
CBS News—September 4
Where the 2020 candidates stand on climate change
Michael Gerrard, a professor at Columbia Law School and founder and director of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law, told CBS News it was unrealistic to expect the U.S. to reach net-zero electricity emissions by 2030. He also recommended looking at how candidates would use executive action to combat climate change, as a Democratic president may have to contend with a combative Republican majority in the Senate.
The City—September 4
MANHATTAN DA VANCE GETS ETHICS EXEMPTION FOR DONOR REVIEW
Ultimately, Vance promised to ban donations from attorneys working on cases before his office following a January 2018 report made at his request by the Center for the Advancement of Public Integrity (CAPI) at the Columbia Law School.
CNN Climate Crisis Town Hall with Andrew Yang (D) (Transcript)
WOLF BLITZER, CNN: Laura Cottingham is a lawyer who specializes in environmental litigation in private practice. She also works with Columbia University's Sabin Center for Climate Change Law.
LAURA COTTINGHAM, ATTORNEY: Tackling the climate crisis will require contributions from all sectors, including the private sector. In your view, what is the role of corporate leadership and responsibility in this area? How will you work with businesses to create the necessary incentives and initiatives to drive meaningful progress on climate change?
Democracy Now!—September 4
Nigerian Journalist & Activist Omoyele Sowore Remains Jailed for Calling for Peaceful Protests (Transcript and video)
Journalist and pro-democracy activist Omoyele Sowore is entering his second month in jail for calling for peaceful nationwide protests against the government. . . . For more, we’re joined by Omoyele Sowore’s wife, Opeyemi Sowore, and one of his attorneys, Nani Jansen Reventlow, the founding director of the Digital Freedom Fund. She’s at Columbia Law School.
[Note: Reventlow is a lecturer at the Law School.]
Sen. Hawley’s Bid to ‘Disrupt’ Big Tech
As Tim Wu has described in his media history “The Attention Merchants,” the “bargain” of attention-grabbing media ecosystems is ultimately “beset with a certain ‘disenchantment,’ which, if popular grievance is great enough, can sometimes turn into a full-fledged ‘revolt,’” during which “the attention merchants and their partners in the advertising industry have been obliged to present a new deal, revise the terms of their arrangement.”
The Chronicle of Social Change—September 5
Here’s What’s Happening to New York City’s 16 year-olds After Cuomo’s Justice Reform
But juvenile reports are generally used for teens who may have committed misdemeanor crimes – which means they would not account for the steep drop in felony arrests, pointed out Jeffrey Fagan, a professor of [law] and epidemiology at Columbia University who studies policing, and juvenile crime and punishment. . . . “My guess is, if you can’t get a felony conviction because the cases are going to stay in the family court, then there’s very little incentive for the cops to arrest,” he said.
What's New? Top 10 Law Schools Offer Fresh Courses, Clinics and Programs
Columbia Law School—Columbia law students have a number of new classes to choose from this year, as well as some new faces behind the lectern. Among the fresh offerings are the Community Advocacy Lab clinic, which gives students the opportunity to work on economic justice issues, initially focusing on fines and fees in the criminal justice system. Nike general counsel Hilary Krane will be on campus to teach a seminar called Becoming A Trusted Advisor: The Role of the General Counsel in The Modern Multi-National Corporation. In the new course Food Systems and U.S. Environmental Law, students will focus on how food production affects the environment and public health.
San Francisco labeled the NRA a terrorist Organization. Will that have any effect on gun control?
Some experts who study how we as a nation react to gun violence are skeptical about this “step.” “Nice sentiment, but seems a bit symbolic and frivolous,” Jeffrey Fagan, a professor at Columbia University who specializes in criminal law, tells Mic. He says the measure is “unlikely [to] reduce the number of guns in circulation, and the lethality of existing weapons,” and that San Francisco “might be better off claiming that the NRA is a criminal enterprise, rather than a terrorist organization.”
Ms. Magazine—September 5
Fighting the Degrading and Dangerous Treatment of Menstruating Migrant Girls
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.”
Big Four accounting firms bungle a third of US audits but are rarely fined
John Coffee, director of the Center on Corporate Governance at Columbia Law School, told POGO that the fines levied against the Big Four were “trivial.” “We have a watchdog who is not watching,” he said. “We have a watchdog who looks increasingly like a lapdog.”
[Note: Coffee’s comments originally appeared on the Project on Government Oversight.]
POLITICO Magazine—September 5
‘We May Have to Shoot Down This Aircraft’
Matthew Waxman, National Security Council, White House: I had started about six weeks earlier as Condi Rice’s executive assistant. At about 9:00 o’clock, we would have a daily Situation Room meeting for the national security adviser and all the senior directors. It was during that meeting that the second plane hit.
WNYC | The Takeaway—September 5
North Carolina Judges Rule Republican-Drawn Legislative District Map Is Unconstitutional (Audio)
A panel of three judges in North Carolina ruled Tuesday that the state’s Republican-drawn legislative districts were in violation of the state’s constitution because of “extreme partisan gerrymandering.” The court called for the districts to be redrawn by September 18th. Richard Briffault is the Joseph P. Chamberlain Professor of Legislation at Columbia Law School, he joined The Takeaway to explain how we got here and what comes next.
Warum sich die Finanzwelt gegen Facebooks „Libra“ stellt (German)
In addition, members of the Libra Association "become free-riders on a public safety net for which they pay nothing," warns Katharina Pistor, a law professor at New York's Columbia University who testified at one of the congressional hearings.
Columbia Journalism Review—September 6
Guide to Native Advertising
Every time we make a choice, a cost is incurred—the loss of the second best choice. Tim Wu, a professor of law at Columbia University, expanded on this concept in his book The Attention Merchants, in which he posits that time has become a commodity in large part because we have so many options when it comes to deciding how to spend it.
El Paso Times—September 6
'We should be prepared': After the crisis of migrant children at the Texas border, what's next?
Elora Mukherjee, director of the Immigrants' Rights Clinic at Columbia University and one of the monitors who interviewed children at Clint, said "that excuse doesn’t make sense." . . . “Even if ORR didn’t have the perfect bed available for a 2-year-old child," she said, "most ORR beds would suit that 2-year-old better than leaving him alone at Clint. What were they thinking?”
KUT, Austin’s NPR Station—September 6
If You're Selling A House In Texas, You Now Need To Disclose If It Has Ever Flooded
A report last year by the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law found that 21 states had basically no disclosure rules requiring sellers to tell buyers about the flood risk of a property.
The New York Times—September 6
New Google and Facebook Inquiries Show Big Tech Scrutiny Is Rare Bipartisan Act
It might, for instance, align with the trade commission’s inquiry, which is focused on whether the company used what Chris Hughes, a Facebook founder, and the prominent antitrust academics Scott Hemphill and Tim Wu have called a “program of serial defensive acquisitions” to maintain its dominance in the social-networking industry.
Project Syndicate—September 6
The Rule of Lawyers
But Katharina Pistor of Columbia Law School turns that change on its head. In The Code of Capital, she builds on her seminal 2013 paper, “A Legal Theory of Finance,” which argued that it is finance that should be importing principles from the law. Now, she is extending that contention to economics generally.
The Verge—September 6
How making politicians unblock trolls could hurt speech online
As writer and law professor Tim Wu, journalist Zeynep Tufekci, and many others have pointed out, new tactics like troll armies and spammed responses have made traditional First Amendment protections less effective at promoting free speech online. “It is no longer speech or information that is scarce, but the attention of listeners,” explained Wu in a 2017 Knight Institute blog post.
Wired UK—September 6
Amal Clooney's new app fights back against unfair trials
|To bridge this gap, the CFJ, founded by George and Amal Clooney in June 2016, set up TrialWatch, an international monitoring program. . . . To make it easier to become a monitor, the CFJ developed a new set of guidelines accessible to non-experts, which were approved by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, the American Bar Association and Columbia Law School.
[Note: Clooney is a lecturer at the Law School.]
WNYC | The Takeaway—September 6
Politics with Amy Walter: Constitutional Polarization (Audio)
Since the 1980's though, it seems as if Democrats and Republicans are speaking two different languages when it comes to the Constitution. That's what David Pozen, a professor of law at Columbia Law School and two of his colleagues found when they set out to study whether an algorithm could predict the party of the person invoking the constitution.
The Guardian—September 7
'I feel bombarded with to-dos': the hell of life admin – and how to get on top
When Elizabeth Emens, a professor of law at Columbia University in New York and undeniable grownup, gave a lecture on the subject, she wondered if she might be making a huge mistake. “It was different from anything I’d written, or even heard presented, before,” she tells me. But as she started speaking, “an amazing thing happened: the law professors in the audience responded intensely to the topic. At the end, people approached me to say that it was as if I were seeing into their minds and marriages.”
The Times—September 7
The untold story of 9/11: extract from The Only Plane in the Sky
Matthew Waxman, lawyer, White House: "That really grabs you by the collar, when you hear the vice-president giving the order to shoot down an aircraft flying toward the national capital. There were enormous dilemmas that faced decision-makers at that moment with very little time and imperfect information."
The Wall Street Journal—September 8
Is Facebook a Monopoly or Just Winning the Game?
The hearing included testimony from Tim Wu, a Columbia law professor, who said he worried the U.S. is becoming a country where “inventors and entrepreneurs dream of being bought, not of building something of their own.”
[Note: This article also appeared in The Star.]
The Nation—September 9
A Shared Place
By Jedediah Britton-Purdy
The global hypercapitalism that Berry denounces has involved life—human and otherwise—in a world-historical gamble concerning the effects of indefinite growth, innovation, and competition. Most of us are not the gamblers; we are the stakes. He reminds us that this gamble repeats an old pattern of mistakes and crimes: hubris and conquest, the idea that the world is here for human convenience, and the willingness of the powerful to take as much as they can.
Weshalb die Chefs die Aktionäre herabstufen wollen (German)
By Katharina Pistor
The Business Roundtable, an association of CEOs in the US, announced this month that the era of primacy is over for shareholders' interests. Remarkably, this is less because of the content but because it reveals the mindset of corporate leaders. Apparently, the American CEOs believe that they can freely decide who they serve. But they are agents - not clients. Ergo, this decision is not theirs.
These Cops Are Seizing Cash from People Who Smell Like Weed Before They Fly to California
Jeffrey Fagan, a law professor and criminal justice expert at Columbia University, suggested Broward's top law enforcement agency was conducting borderline illegal search and seizures. "This seems to be a bizarre Fourth Amendment violation," he said. "What's the probable cause? An airplane ticket to California? Professionally, it smells."
Climate Liability News—September 10
Exxon Climate History on Trial: Oil Giant’s Legal Challenges Reach Critical Mass This Fall
“If Exxon loses any of these suits, that could be very significant for them, and it could inspire similar suits elsewhere,” said Michael Gerrard, faculty director and founder of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia Law School.
Inside Philanthropy—September 10
As State Governments Stifle Local Democracy, Funders and Nonprofits Are Fighting Back
Industry lobbyists have been arguing for decades that state preemption prevents a confusing or hazardous patchwork of local regulations. In reality, the aggressive, reactive form of preemption we see today—what legal scholar Richard Briffault calls the “new preemption”—is often counterproductive to economic progress, and frequently harmful to already vulnerable communities.
Ms. Magazine—September 10
Feminist Books, Podcasts and Movies to Look Forward To This Fall
The brilliant and amazing Kimberle Crenshaw is working on a new book, On Intersectionality: Essential Writings, which won’t be published until September of next year, but in the meantime I encourage you all to subscribe to her amazing podcast, Intersectionality Matters! It’s the podcast that brings intersectionality to life.
[Note: Crenshaw and her work on intersectionality were also referenced in media outlets including BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour, Electric Literature, Ms. Magazine, Le Point, and Psychology Today.]
MSNBC | The Beat With Ari Melber—September 10
House Dems threaten Pentagon subpoenas for Trump resort spending (Video)
The House Oversight Committee threatened to subpoena documents from the Pentagon related to military personnel staying at Trump properties. This comes after new reports reveal how Trump is using the presidency to line his own pockets with taxpayer money. Former Federal Prosecutor Berit Berger argues there is ‘a pattern of various emoluments violations starting from the minute [Trump] took office.’
[Note: Berger is the executive director of the Center for the Advancement of Public Integrity.]
The New York Times—September 10
‘Trump Unplugged’: A President as His Own National Security Adviser
“It’s hard for me to imagine Trump not choosing someone whose only agenda is to carry out the president’s agenda,” said Matthew C. Waxman, who held multiple national security posts in the George W. Bush administration and is now a law professor at Columbia University. “And it’s hard for me to imagine someone taking the job without that idea in mind.”
WBUR (Boston’s NPR News Station)—September 10
Facebook, Google Face Multi-State Antitrust Investigations (Audio)
Tim Wu, professor of law, science and technology at Columbia Law School. Author of "The Curse of Bigness: Antitrust in the New Gilded Age." Former senior adviser to the Federal Trade Commission for consumer protection and competitions issues that affect the internet and mobile markets.
[Note: This segment appeared in numerous outlets nationwide.]
Mining Review Africa—September 10
The relationship between the mining industry and communities
The Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment (CCSI) has been promoting the use of digital technologies such as mobile phone surveys and census to enhance data collection and drive data driven policy making in mining impacted regions. Such methods are gender and age neutral and can enhance the process of community engagement.
New York Law Journal—September 11
Annual Review of Developments Under SEQRA
By Michael B. Gerrard and Edward McTiernan
The courts decided 46 cases under the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) in 2018. However, the most important action under SEQRA was in the Legislature, followed by the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).
The American Lawyer—September 11
Should Davis Polk Be Investigating the Epstein-Wexner Mess?
Davis Polk is not only the company’s outside corporate counsel, but the firm had a role in Wexner’s personal life. . . . Do these ties put the firm too close to its subject, raising the specter of a conflict? The legal answer is clearly no. . . . Fordham Law School professor Andrew Kent concurs that is the law, as does Berit Berger, the executive director of the Center for Advancement of Public Integrity at Columbia Law School. “Law firms are placed in this kind of situation all the time,” Berger explains. “Given the reputation of the firm, I don’t think it would do a sub-par job.”
Bloomberg News—September 11
States Sue SEC Over Watered Down Broker-Dealer Rule (Podcast)
Columbia School of Law Professor John Coffee discusses the lawsuit by New York and a half dozen other states who are suing the Securities and Exchange Commission over allegations they watered down a final regulation intended to protect broker-dealer customers from conflicts of interest. He speaks to Bloomberg’s June Grasso.
Gotham Gazette—September 11
Calls to Keep Fusion Voting, Create Robust Public Matching System at First Hearing of State Campaign Finance Commission
Richard Briffault, professor of legislation at Columbia Law School, said three aspects are necessary for a successful program: “That the program be attractive to viable candidates, that it promote electoral competition and that it operate at a reasonable cost.”
3rd Circ. Gives States Extra Weapon To Fight Gas Pipelines
Yet Jennifer Danis, a staff attorney at Columbia Law School's Environmental Law Clinic, downplayed the potential for a state to use conservation easements to immunize itself against pipeline projects. That would assume a pretty significant level of bad faith on the part of states, even if they oppose gas infrastructure, she said.
Climate Liability News—September 12
After Opioids, Will Climate Change Be the Next Successful Liability Battle?
“The climate cases, like the opioid case in Oklahoma and the other opioid litigation nationwide, seek abatement or compensation for damages suffered by state and local governments under state public nuisance law,” said Michael Burger, executive director of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia University. The recent Oklahoma decision won’t be binding on the judges in the climate cases, Burger said, but the ruling, along with the outcome of a federal trial expected to begin next month in Ohio, could provide useful precedent and analysis for the judges to borrow from.
Financial Times—September 12
Battle royal over EU’s bilateral investment treaties
Brussels has always felt that investment disputes within the EU should be settled only by courts of the member states, and legal questions referred to the ECJ, says George Bermann, director of the Center for International Commercial and Investment Arbitration at Columbia Law School in New York.
Washington Examiner—September 12
Proposed fracking bans may hurt Democrats in 2020
Michael Gerrard, an environmental law professor at Columbia University, said the federal government has limited oversight over natural gas production because Congress has exempted most fracking from the Safe Drinking Water Act.
Agencia EFE—September 12
Gobierno comienza a aplicar norma para denegar asilo a migrantes en frontera (Spanish)
"The decision (of the Supreme Court) means that asylum seekers who come to the US through a third country must first apply for asylum there before they are granted in the US," expert Elora Mukherjee, director of the Immigrant Rights Clinic at Columbia Law School explained to Efe.
[Note: This article appeared in numerous media outlets worldwide.]
The Washington Post—September 13
Felicity Huffman gets 14 days in jail in college admission scandal
Former federal prosecutor Daniel Richman, a professor at Columbia Law School, said the sentence is likely to ignite debate. “Both those who think the conduct here shouldn’t have been prosecuted and those concerned about special treatment for the privileged are bound to be dissatisfied,” he said.
[Note: This article appeared in numerous media outlets nationwide.]
Slate | Amicus With Dahlia Lithwick—September 14
The Clerk’s Eye View of Justice John Paul Stevens (Audio)
Remembering the late Supreme Court Justice with professors Sonja West and Jamal Greene.
The New York Times—September 15
Chicago School Professor Fights ‘Chicago School’ Beliefs That Abet Big Tech
“The fact that you have prominent people at Chicago calling for antitrust enforcement is changing the game,” said Tim Wu, a law professor at Columbia University who is the author of “The Curse of Bigness: Antitrust in the New Gilded Age” and contributing opinion writer for The New York Times.
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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] or call us at 212-854-2650.