Faculty in the News
Columbia Law School Clip Report, September 16–30, 2019
Columbia Daily Spectator—September 16
Two faces of the faceless movement for independence in Hong Kong call for international support at Law School event
Leung and Wong’s visit to the University was facilitated by the Weatherhead East Asian Institute with the Center for Chinese Legal Studies. Moderator and Columbia Law professor Benjamin Liebman emphasized the importance of having conversations regarding freedom of speech at Columbia, particularly given the University’s unique history of facilitating and providing a home for discourse.
[Note: The “Anti-Extradition Protests in Hong Kong: Voices From a Faceless Movement” event held at Jerome Greene Hall in collaboration with the Columbia Weatherhead Institute was also referenced in Agence France-Presse, The New York Times, the Nikkei Asian Review, Reuters, and Voice of America.]
Inside Philanthropy—September 16
Beyond the (c)(3): Donors Change Tactics, Driving a New Era of Politicized Giving
But Columbia Law School’s David Pozen hinted at a long-term shift last year in The Atlantic, discussing c4 fundraising in light of reduced incentives to itemize deductions under the Republican tax overhaul. He wrote, “the shift toward 501(c)(4)s, PACs, and hybrid legal structures represents more than just a temporary adaptation to Trumpism. It signals the possible emergence of a distinct brand of legal liberalism for the 21st century—one less oriented around lawsuits and tax-subsidized donations and more closely connected to partisan politics and grassroots organizing.”
Columbia Journalism Review—September 17
Is Facebook really concerned about privacy?
However, now that Facebook is struggling for relevance and questions over monetization capabilities of WhatsApp and Messenger continue to linger, Facebook Inc. is facing its first real challenge as prominent figures like Democratic senator and presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren and former state attorney for New York Tim Wu call to split of Facebook’s social networking business from its messaging empire.
Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley Tackles The ‘PUSHOUT’ Of Black Girls At School
The documentary weaves in the voices of educators and fellow experts such as law professor Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw who provide context about educational equity, gender equality and social justice. The consensus is that Black girls are often misunderstood by teachers, administrators, and the justice system—the very institutions charged with helping them flourish.
Houston Chronicle—September 17
Iraq veteran’s case against Texas is testing job protections for homecoming troops
“Put simply, it is inconsistent with our constitutional heritage and traditions to penalize a person who makes the difficult and life-altering decision to serve our country,” Philip Bobbitt, a senior lecturer at the University of Texas School of Law who specializes in constitutional law, wrote in a brief. “This is certainly true where a person joined the military based in part on the understanding that she could return to her existing employment upon completing her service.”
Feds' Spoofing Case Against JPMorgan Traders Turns Heads
Columbia University securities law professor John Coffee said cooperation is one of the major factors that shape corporate resolutions. "That is one of the usual justifications for a deferred prosecution agreement. [The bank] may push harder for a nonprosecution agreement, but that would get more press attention and criticism," Coffee said.
Broadway World—September 18
Waterwell & Broadway Advocacy Coalition Launch THE FLORES EXHIBITS
Elora Mukherjee, the Jerome L. Greene Clinical Professor of Law and director of Columbia Law School's Immigrants' Rights Clinic, has served as a monitor for the Flores team and has spent over 1,000 hours interviewing people held in immigration detention facilities in the past five years. "We have never sought to go public like this with children's testimonies, but now we must," said Mukherjee. "We can't trust the Executive Branch, the Judiciary has been under repeated attack by the President and Department of Homeland Security, and Congress has been blocked from access to detained children. Only ongoing scrutiny and outrage from the American people will help ensure that independent oversight is preserved and this terrible situation is not repeated."
Fox Business—September 18
SEC develops fund-like plan to give retail investors access to pre-IPO shares
"The SEC is seriously considering approving a new investment vehicle for private shares," John Coffee, a Columbia law school professor who specializes in financial issues, said. “The mechanics are unclear but the SEC can either ask Congress for legislation or adopt a rule that exempts its new vehicle from the Investment Company Act of 1940,” Coffee added.
Henry Schein Case Illuminates Maze Of Arbitrability Questions
Although most of the arguments presented in the case related to the wholly groundless exception, the amicus brief of professor George Bermann of Columbia Law School argued that jurisdictional provisions in arbitral rules (referred to as competence-competence rules) are too commonplace and generic to constitute clear and unmistakable intent by the parties to submit questions of arbitrability to the arbitrator.
The New Republic—September 18
The Climate Disaster Inside America’s Prisons
A 2015 report by the Sabin Center on Climate Change at Columbia University studied the ways in which the conditions inside U.S. jails and prisons compound the adverse effects of global warming. “Rising temperatures and increasingly harsh extreme-heat events will jeopardize the health of inmates and correctional officers alike, and will stress the physical plant of the correctional sector,” the study found.
El Diario—September 19
"La concentración de riqueza y el aumento de la desigualdad se sirven del Derecho" (Spanish)
Katharina Pistor, a professor of law at Columbia University and director of the Center on Global Legal Transformation of the same institution, intends to fill these gaps in the excellent book The Code of Capital (Princeton University Press, 2019) A few weeks after its publication , reputed members of the academic community already consider it an inescapable book to understand and discuss inequality.
The New York Times—September 20
California Sues the Trump Administration in Its Escalating War Over Auto Emissions
Should the case reach the Supreme Court while Mr. Trump remains in office — a Democratic administration would be unlikely to defend the policy in court — administration officials say they are confident they will win. Legal experts say that view may have merit. “It’s not an environmentally friendly court,” said Michael Gerrard, an expert in environmental law at Columbia University.
[Note: Amid news concerning California’s suit against the Trump administration for revoking the state’s authority to set emission standards, Gerrard was also quoted in Bloomberg News, CNBC, HuffPost, and Salon.]
The New York Times—September 21
The Virtuous Corporation Is Not an Oxymoron
By Tim Wu
Cynicism in the face of pious corporate proclamations can be healthy. But there is increasing reason to think that the virtuous corporation is not an oxymoron but a necessity.
[Note: Excerpts of Wu’s article were quoted in Fortune’s raceAhead newsletter.]
The New York Times—September 21
Climate Protesters and World Leaders: Same Planet, Different Worlds
Whether the youth protests can goad many world leaders into changing their policies is a big question mark at best, said Michael B. Gerrard, a law professor at Columbia University. Some of them are closely linked to fossil fuel and extractive industries, he noted. Others have a record of crushing protests. And so the outcry, Mr. Gerrard said, may well fall on “intentionally closed ears.”
[Note: This article appeared in multiple media outlets nationwide.]
South Florida Sun Sentinel—September 21
Big Oil is getting sued for climate change, but some cities won’t join the legal fight
“The question of whether there is a viable claim for damages under state nuisance laws has not yet been settled in any state,” explains Michael Burger, executive director of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia Law School. That means that, as opposed to federal court, state courts might provide municipalities with a home-field advantage, if the cases can avoid getting bounced up to federal court.
The Week—September 21
The PM must wake up…
When Jagdish N. Bhagwati speaks, people listen, be it about the future of a country’s economy or something as mundane as the price of eggs. His words carry weight. . . . A University Professor (economics, law and international affairs) at Columbia University, he is married to Padma Desai, herself a noted economist.
The New York Times—September 23
Can Someone Be Fired for Being Gay? The Supreme Court Will Decide
“Now that we don’t have Kennedy on the court, it would be a stretch to find a fifth vote in favor of any of these claims that are coming to the court,” said Katherine Franke, a law professor at Columbia and the author of “Wedlocked: The Perils of Marriage Equality.”
[Note: This article appeared in multiple media outlets nationwide.]
NPR | All Things Considered—September 23
Climate Liability Lawsuits Could Help With Costs Of Adapting To A Hotter Earth (Audio and transcript)
REBECCA HERSHER, BYLINE: There are about a dozen significant lawsuits against oil companies in the U.S. right now. Michael Burger runs the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia University.
MICHAEL BURGER: All of these lawsuits have been filed in the last couple of years. . . . It's a wide range of impacts. Many of the lawsuits do focus on sea level rise and coastal storms, but it also includes drought, wildfire, flooding in Colorado.
Arab News—September 24
What We Are Reading Today: This Land Is Our Land by Jedediah Purdy
In this brief, powerful, timely, and hopeful book, Jedediah Purdy, one of our finest writers and leading environmental thinkers, explores how we might begin to heal our fractured and contentious relationship with the land and with each other.
You can't open-source license morality
As for open-source licenses, open-source legal expert and Columbia law professor Eben Moglen, told me, in regards to the Free Software Foundation's (FSF) definition of free software, it would run afoul of: Freedom zero, the right to run the program for any purpose, comes first in the four freedoms because if users do not have that right with respect to computer programs they run, they ultimately do not have any rights in those programs at all.
Uptick in Turkish exports, tourism comes at a price
In economic studies pioneered by Indian-born American scholar Jagdish Bhagwati, the phenomenon resulting from cutting prices on goods and services for the foreign market to minimize losses from a shrinking domestic market, which often happens in times of crisis marked by rising hard currency prices, is described as “immiserizing” exports or “immiserizing” tourism.
Business Insider—September 25
Columbia Law School professor explains exactly how impeachment works, and what it takes for a president to be impeached (Video and transcript)
Columbia Law School's professor of legislation Richard Briffault explains how the impeachment process works.
[Note: This video was originally produced and published in 2017.]
The Irish Times—September 25
Overwhelmed by endless, boring life admin? You are not alone
Normally, I do the basic due diligence of finishing a book before I write about it, but it seems fitting that I’m writing this now, before I’ve finished Columbia Law professor Elizabeth Emens’s The Art of Life Admin. . . . Emens has a lot of practical tips but, even better, she suggests wider changes in how we consider this work.
Los Angeles Review of Books—September 25
Sweet Nothings: The ASMR Phenomenon and American Intimacy
Trust in the media has also declined. . . . MIT’s Sherry Turkle and Columbia University’s Tim Wu, among many others, suggest that this decline stems in part from the regular intervention of the digital world into our everyday lives: social life on screens instead of in the flesh; shopping online instead of in stores; tweeting opinions instead of having a conversation; watching movies at home instead of venturing into the theater; and so on.
NPR | Life Kit—September 25
Paperwork, Appointments And Repairs: Managing Adult Responsibilities (Article and audio)
Columbia Law School professor Elizabeth Emens calls this work "life admin," and wrote a book about it by the same name. "Life admin is all the invisible office work that steals our time," Emens explains. "It's the kind of work that managers and secretaries get paid in an office to do but that we all do invisibly, and for free, in our own lives."
The art and science of stewarding the S&P 500
“As economies change, some companies become old. You no longer want the buggy whip factory in the S&P 500 and GE is now seen as a declining conglomerate,” explains John Coffee, director of the Center on Corporate Governance at Columbia Law School. “So it goes and you want to bring in the new people like the Amazons of this world, and that’s been going along at a gradual pace.”
The Christian Science Monitor—September 25
At UN, Trump tests his own brand of multilateralism
Adds Michael Doyle, a professor of international relations at Columbia University in New York and a former assistant secretary-general of the U.N.: “For Trump, cooperation is a one-way street. It’s others accepting a series of policies, a series of priorities that the president himself cites and a vision he himself holds, and insisting that others simply follow them. It’s all ‘my way or the highway,’ but that’s not an approach that others are likely to find enticing.”
DC Circ. Mulls Pipeline Fight's Future After 3rd Circ. Ruling
"To the extent our clients' interests remain at risk, we hope the court will take action," Jennifer Danis, a staff attorney at Columbia Law School's Environmental Law Clinic who represents two New Jersey conservation groups, told Law360 on Wednesday. . . . The Delaware Riverkeeper Network is represented by Jordan B. Yeager of Curtin & Heefner LLP. The conservation groups are represented by Jennifer Danis and Edward Lloyd of Columbia Law School.
Die Presse—September 25
Der „Anschlag“ des inneren FPÖ-Feindes (German)
The US lawyer Bernard Harcourt wants with his book "The Counterrevolution: How Our Government Went to War Against Its Own Citizens” to recapture the courts from government influence. The law itself is not neutral, he said in an interview, and all citizens should know that and be involved in their ideas of justice.
Bangkok Post—September 26
Learning to unplug
“I think we’re entering an era where different people of different ages have very different brains,” argues Tim Wu, a professor at Columbia Law School in New York and author of The Attention Merchants. “That’s the new generation gap. And some of the advantage goes to older people [who grew up without smartphones].”
Bloomberg Law | Big Law Business—September 26
Big Law Firms Draft Model Climate Laws in Pro Bono Project
“Many elected officials realize that there’s intense interest from constituents in acting on climate change, so legislators are looking for very specific things to do,” said Michael Gerrard, a Columbia Law professor who teaches environmental law and is spearheading the project. “We’re trying to provide examples of that.”
Bloomberg New Energy Finance—September 26
Liebreich: Climate Lawsuits – An Existential Risk to Fossil Fuel Firms?
The lawsuit, which was eventually dismissed, is the earliest entry in a database of climate change-related cases maintained by the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law, part of Columbia Law School. As of today, it contains no fewer than 1,380 entries – 1,075 domestic U.S. and 305 international cases.
CBS News—September 26
White-collar crime prosecutions hit lowest level in 33 years
John Coffee, a Columbia University Law School professor and expert on white-collar crime, said the drop-off in prosecutions may simply be a sign of how far we are from the financial crisis. Public outcry against corporate wrongdoing — higher in the early part of this decade — has died down.
White House Lawyers Embroiled In Alleged Ukraine Cover-Up
Berit Berger, a former prosecutor who heads the Center for the Advancement of Public Integrity at Columbia Law School, told Law360 that it won’t look good for the administration if further evidence supports the claim that the files were moved to keep a lid on the conversation. “The reason that it seems problematic is that it seems to imply consciousness of guilt,” Berger said. “It seems to demonstrate that people thought there was information that was significant enough that it shouldn’t come to light. That is really troubling.”
[Note: Berger is the executive director of the Center for the Advancement of Public Integrity.]
The New York Times—September 26
How $2,000 in Yankees Tickets Show Weinstein’s New Trial Strategy
“A judge would be reluctant to let defense counsel go too far afield,” said Berit Berger, a former federal prosecutor and executive director of Columbia Law School’s Center for the Advancement of Public Integrity. “They will have to show a link between the actions investigated and the particular charges.”
[Note: This article also appeared in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.]
Who’s winning the race to 5G? Uh, no one
Take, for example, Japan’s “race” to master the supercomputer, which contributed to its falling behind in the personal computing revolution, as Tim Wu, a Columbia Law School professor and expert on network technology, explains in our State of Play. At the same time, subsidizing national champions to develop new technologies can boost their R&D in a way that helps them dominate markets. But there’s a very real risk, too, of discouraging Schumpeterian creative destruction and the innovation that tends to result.
[Note: This article also appeared on MSN.]
Did Trump Commit a Crime by Seeking a Ukrainian Investigation of Joe Biden? And Does It Matter for Impeachment Purposes?
As a Columbia Law School guide to federal statutes used in corruption cases notes, "federal courts have held that the term 'anything of value' in the federal bribery statute applies broadly to intangible as well as tangible payments."
The Washington Post—September 27
Executive privilege is vitally important. But not at the expense of national security.
By Philip Bobbitt
Executive privilege remains crucial. But the failure to vindicate such careful and rigorous efforts to follow the whistleblower rules would only lead to workarounds and more-reckless leaks.
ABA Journal—September 27
Afternoon Briefs: Judge refuses to step down from opioid litigation; BigLaw joins law profs in climate change fight
More than 20 BigLaw firms are joining two law professors in a new pro bono project aimed at addressing climate change. Columbia Law School professor Michael Gerrard and Widener University law professor John Dernbach will lead the effort to develop model laws and regulations that increase energy efficiency, reduce carbon spending and decrease fossil fuel reliance.
Fox News | Your World with Neil Cavuto—September 27
John Coffee compares boardroom coups to political ones (Video)
Columbia Law School Center on Corporate Governance director John Coffee weighs in on 'Your World.'
Why We Don’t Need To Debate ‘High Crimes And Misdemeanors’ For A Trump Impeachment
“[Impeachment] really has to do with whether or not this is compromising the security of the state to advance your personal or political interests,” said Philip Bobbitt, an impeachment scholar and former counsel for Democrats on the Senate Select Committee investigating Iran-Contra. “And it seems to me if all of these charges are true, it’s right down the center line.”
NBC News—September 27
Rudy Giuliani's former DOJ colleagues believe he committed crimes in pushing Biden probe
Daniel Richman, who worked under Giuliani in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan in the late 1980s, said he needed to see more evidence before making a conclusive determination. But he agreed that an effort to assist in a plot to withhold funds from a foreign power in exchange for a personal or political favor could expose Giuliani to criminal charges. "An effort to use congressionally allocated funds as a club to extract a personal benefit could easily fit within some combination of fraud, extortion, and perhaps bribery statutes," said Richman, now a professor at Columbia Law School.
[Note: This article appeared in multiple media outlets worldwide in English and Spanish.]
Abuse of power, not criminality, key to Trump impeachment
Berit Berger, the executive director of the Center for the Advancement of Public Integrity at Columbia Law School, said investigating a possible cover-up expanded the pool of potential witnesses, and the likelihood that some would be cooperative with Congress. “Anytime you have a situation where you have a number of people involved in an alleged criminal act, it’s that many more people who can come in and provide information to Congress,” Berger said.
[Note: This article appeared in multiple media outlets worldwide.]
Associated Press—September 28
Defending champion Caster Semenya sidelined at worlds
“The rule discriminates by imposing special burdens based on characteristics — both sex and biology — that are protected from discrimination,” said Suzanne Goldberg, law professor at Columbia University and director of the Center for Gender & Sexuality Law. “Courts often look with skepticism on claims that discrimination is ‘necessary’ because those claims often amount to an effort to enshrine tradition stereotypes into law.”
[Note: This article appeared in multiple media outlets worldwide.]
Business Insider—September 28
How WeWork spiraled from a $47 billion valuation to talk of bankruptcy in just 6 weeks
John Coffee, a Columbia University professor who directs the university's corporate-governance center, told the Financial Times that to navigate past investor concerns about the company's structure, market volatility, and a tougher climate for IPOs, Neumann would have to "go through an ordeal of fire."
Reader’s Digest—September 28
15 Ways Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Has Made History
What makes RBG, as she is known, such a force of nature? “She understood exactly what kind of change she wanted to make—and be—in the world because she had experienced it so personally,” says Katherine Franke, Columbia Law School professor and Director of the Center for Gender and Sexuality Law, who was a part of a symposium in 2013 in honor of Justice Ginsburg.
[Note: This article relies heavily on and links to the special publication (“Sincerely, Ruth Bader Ginsburg”) the Law School produced in honor of the 25th anniversary of Justice Ginsburg’s investiture to the Supreme Court.]
Seeking Alpha—September 28
Book Review: The New Stock Market
Welcome to the equity market as seen by law professors Merritt B. Fox (Columbia University) and Gabriel V. Rauterberg (University of Michigan), in collaboration with finance professor Lawrence R. Glosten, who co-directs Columbia Law School's Program in the Law and Economics of Capital Markets. Viewed through these academics' lens, informed trading, the function supported by CFA charterholders engaged in fundamental analysis, disadvantages ordinary investors by reducing secondary market liquidity.
Agence France-Presse—September 28
Wall Street fragilisée par de nouveaux remous dans les négociations commerciales (French)
Some of these measures "would require a regulatory authority that (the US President) does not have," said John Coffee, an expert in stock market law at Columbia University. According to him, Donald Trump could not, for example, order the closing of indices or index funds including Chinese companies. "But he can show muscle and some investment companies might not want to take the risk of getting the wrath of the president," he added.
[Note: This article appeared in multiple media outlets in France.]
USA Today—September 29
Is Donald Trump's Justice Department part of the Ukraine scandal cover-up?
By Mimi Rocah, Jennifer Rodgers and Berit Berger
Despite compelling evidence implicating President Donald Trump and others in potential crimes, the Department of Justice declined to open a criminal investigation into them for their role in the Ukraine situation. This raises serious questions about the motivations and independence of decision-makers at DOJ and whether this decision was made in good faith.
[Note: Rodgers is a lecturer at the Law School and serves on the advisory board of the Center for the Advancement of Public Integrity.]
CNN Business—September 29
Facebook says Libra is out of its control. But Libra's overseers are a web of Silicon Valley insiders
"When the white paper said Facebook will be just one of 100 members, you can see with your own eyes that's not quite true," said Katharina Pistor, a professor at Columbia Law School and an expert on corporate governance and finance.
Argument preview: Justices to consider fee awards in litigation challenging denial of patent applications
By Ronald Mann
The Supreme Court has been quite skeptical in recent decades of awards of attorney’s fees, but it also on occasion is remarkably solicitous about the fiscal interests of federal agencies. The argument should give us a good idea how the justices are leaning on that topic in this relatively simple matter.
Law and Crime—September 30
Legal Experts Debunk Whistleblower Conspiracy Theory Trump Has Embraced
Matthew Waxman, a former State Department attorney and member of the National Security Council under President George W. Bush who currently teaches at Columbia Law School also weighed in on the President propagating false information. “The President is assaulting the IC in several dangerous ways. Besides spreading debunked conspiracy theories, a well-functioning whistleblower system is one of the bargains/checks that allows IC to wield enormous and important powers,” he tweeted Monday morning.
Philanthropy Daily—September 30
Aspiring for truth in the attention economy
As part of this change, policy information flows through institutions very differently than it did just five years prior. . . . Pressured to increase profits, corporations and advertisers are certainly cognizant of this new environment, as Tim Wu entertainingly demonstrated in his 2016 book, The Attention Merchants: The Scramble to Get Inside Our Heads.
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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]