Faculty in the News
Columbia Law School Clip Report, October 16–31, 2019
Associated Press—October 16
New York governor signs law aimed at foiling Trump pardons
Columbia Law School professor Daniel Richman said it’s “far from clear” how exactly New York’s new law would impact Manafort’s case. “The hypothetical is that the president did pardon Manafort, and New York went forward on a charge or set of charges that until now were covered by New York’s expansive statute,” Richman said.
[Note: This article appeared in numerous media outlets worldwide.]
The Chronicle of Higher Education—October 16
Elora Mukherjee, a Columbia law professor who directs the Immigrants’ Rights Clinic there, testified before a U.S. House of Representatives committee that she had never “witnessed, heard of, or smelled such degradation.”
The Nation—October 16
Jedediah Purdy Has an Idea That Could Save Us From Capitalism and the Climate Crisis
Jedediah Purdy’s 2015 book After Nature is about what we talk about when we talk about nature. Breaking the concept apart—historically, legally, philosophically, even aesthetically—Purdy makes us see that there’s nothing “natural” about nature, that the world is what humanity has made it. . . . Purdy is currently a law professor at Columbia University.
ABC News—October 17
What to know about potential war crimes in Syria by Turkish-backed fighters
But "the question of accountability is a complicated one," Sarah Cleveland, faculty co-director of the Human Rights Institute at Columbia Law School, told ABC News. . . . Probably the most well-known avenue is that the U.N. Security Council can refer cases to the International Criminal Court in The Hague. However, Cleveland cautioned, given that Russia is a permanent member of the Security Council with veto power -- and since Russia is playing its own complex role in Syria and in relation to Turkey -- it's less likely that the ICC will see a case.
[Note: This article appeared in multiple media outlets nationwide.]
Bloomberg Opinion—October 17
Amazon Needs a Leash
As the antitrust activist Lina Khan wrote in her now-famous 2017 article in the Yale Law Journal: “History suggests that allowing a single actor to set the terms of the marketplace, largely unchecked, can pose serious hazards.”
[Note: Khan is an academic fellow at the Law School. This article appeared in multiple outlets worldwide. Amid news concerning the application of antitrust laws to companies like Amazon and Google, Khan was also referenced in Bloomberg and Bloomberg Businessweek.]
China Daily—October 17
Policy Address offers hope for resolving housing woes
In his book The Attention Merchants: The Epic Scramble to Get Inside Our Heads, Tim Wu shared with us his thoughts: “In nearly every moment of our waking lives, we face a barrage of messaging, advertising enticements, branding, sponsored social media, and other efforts to harvest our attention. Few moments or spaces of our day remain uncultivated by the ‘attention merchants’, contributing to the distracted, unfocused tenor of our times.
Loop Pacific—October 17
Vanuatu looks to World Court over polluters - climate experts
Columbia Law School professor Michael Gerrard said the government wanted an advisory opinion from the World Court. "There are courts in several different countries that are now adjudicating the obligation of emittors in their own countries to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. A decision from the International Court of Justice could be quite powerful in influencing those domestic courts," Professor Gerrard said.
The New Yorker—October 17
The Stark Inequality of Climate Change
As Hurricane Florence moved across the Atlantic in early September of 2018, state officials issued evacuation orders for communities along the Virginia and Carolina coasts. The writer and law professor Jedediah Purdy, who was teaching at Duke at the time, was situated well inland, where the Atlantic coastal plain meets the Piedmont, and in his new book, “This Land Is Our Land,” he writes about his own surge of disaster preparation.
Radio New Zealand | Dateline Pacific—October 17
Vanuatu looks to World Court over polluters - climate expert (Audio)
In September, Vanuatu invited legal experts from around the world to discuss possible avenues for the lawsuit. Columbia Law School professor Michael Gerrard said the government wanted an advisory opinion from the World Court. "There are courts in several different countries that are now adjudicating the obligation of emittors in their own countries to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. A decision from the International Court of Justice could be quite powerful in influencing those domestic courts," Professor Gerrard said.
The Times of India—October 17
Big tech, big government: Courts having a hard time balancing privacy with traceability, but don’t forget individual rights
By Mishi Choudhary and Eben Moglen
In India, and in other advanced societies, governments and courts are beginning their reckoning with the extraordinary difficulties posed by presently existing centralised “social media” and the “platform” companies that, by operating these media, are changing human civilisation.
Los Angeles Times—October 18
Firecrackers. Molotov cocktails. Fire attacks have shaken L.A.’s homeless community
“It’s that kind of approach to homelessness that I think makes it easy for the general public, who is often misinformed about why people are homeless or why they are on the street, to then respond with vitriol, and then even worse, with violence,” said Maria Foscarinis, executive director of the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty.
[Note: Foscarinis is a lecturer at Columbia Law and an alumna. This article appeared in multiple media outlets nationwide.]
New York Times—October 18
What Is a Quid Pro Quo?
Quid pro quos can be seen in bribery, extortion and sexual harassment cases, said Richard Briffault, a professor at Columbia Law School. They are not always illegal, he explained, but when talking about politics it often means a corrupt exchange. “It gets at the idea of a corrupt deal,” Professor Briffault said. And it doesn’t always have to be explicit. There is “the concept of winks and nods,” he added.
Financial Times—October 20
Trump drops plan to host G7 at own golf club after backlash
Richard Briffault, a professor at Columbia Law School, said: “The emoluments clause has not been tested much. Usually it means that officials get a legal opinion before deciding whether or not to proceed with a certain action.”
The New York Times—October 21
Why Hillary Clinton Shouldn’t Trade in Conspiracy Theories About Tulsi Gabbard
By Tim Wu
Even so, it is a terrible thing to label candidates as “Russian assets” based on their views alone. It actually helps create its own kind of propaganda victory for foreign rivals, by replacing serious policy debate with rumor-mongering and suggestions of disloyalty.
[Note: Wu’s article was also referenced in the Journal de Montréal.]
Associated Press—October 21
Exxon trial probes how oil giant accounts for climate change
“If companies like Exxon accurately account for the necessary degree of regulation to prevent even more dangerous global warming from happening, it will make less and less sense to continue to invest in developing fossil fuel projects,” said Michael Burger, executive director of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia University.
[Note: This article appeared in multiple media outlets worldwide. Amid news concerning the Exxon Mobil case before the Manhattan Supreme Court, Burger was also quoted in The Guardian, Newsweek, U.S. News and World Report, and The Washington Post.]
NPR | All Things Considered—October 21
What Breaking Up Big Tech Might Look Like (Audio and transcript)
NPR's Ailsa Chang speaks with Tim Wu, a professor of law, science and technology at Columbia Law School, about how to break up big tech and increase competition.
[Note: Amid news concerning the application of antitrust laws to companies like Amazon and Google, Wu was also quoted in the Baltimore Sun, Bloomberg Opinion, The Economist, The Hill, Wired UK, and WNYC’s Politics with Amy Walter.]
The Wall Street Journal—October 22
Impeachment Trumps Executive Privilege. Ask George Washington
By Jean Galbraith and Michel Paradis
Mr. Trump and his defenders say the inquiry is unlawful because the full House has not passed a resolution authorizing it. If the courts hold otherwise or the House does pass such a resolution, evidence from the Founding era strongly suggests that the president’s assertion of executive privilege will necessarily fail.
[Note: Paradis is a lecturer at the Law School.]
CBS News—October 22
ExxonMobil's climate-change accounting goes on trial
"This will only be the second climate-change case ever to go to trial in the United States," Michael Gerrard, director of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia Law School, told CBS News.
[Note: Amid news concerning the Exxon Mobil case before the Manhattan Supreme Court, Gerrard was also quoted in Buzzfeed News, E&E News, The Guardian, Helsingin Sanomat, Legal Reader, The New York Times, NPR, Oilprice.com, and The Wall Street Journal.]
The year that changed Boeing: Airplane maker struggles to regain footing since first 737 Max crash
The FAA is “going show a little bit more distance this time,” said John C. Coffee, Jr., director of the Center on Corporate Governance at Columbia Law School. “They’re scared that they’re being perceived by the world as the captured regulator.”
Why Trump’s Impeachment Might Be Different Than Clinton’s
“A significant number of Democrats thought there should be some consequence for Clinton’s behavior, like a formal censure vote,” said Philip Bobbitt, a professor of law at Columbia University and the coauthor of “Impeachment: A Handbook.” “But when it became clear that the Republicans were just going for impeachment, they became much more defensive.”
MSNBC | The Beat With Ari Melber—October 22
'Damning evidence': See SDNY Chief's stunning response to 'overwhelming' case against Trump (Video)
(0:43) ARI MELBER: And Berit Berger is a former federal prosecutor in that office as well as the Eastern District.
[Note: Berger is the executive director of the Center for the Advancement of Public Integrity.]
SoftBank clinches WeWork takeover deal, bailing out co-founder
“I view this as SoftBank’s moonshot to get WeWork back on all fours,” said Eric Talley, professor of law at Columbia Law School. “They realize that Neumann’s continued involvement in the company would be a continued impediment to that.”
[Note: This article appeared in multiple media outlets worldwide.]
Le Monde—October 22
Open Markets, le think tank devenu bête noire de Google et Facebook (French)
Generally, the proposals are close to those of Elizabeth Warren, who met, in 2016, Lina Khan, one of the employees of the think tank and author of a noted essay on "Amazon’s Antitrust Paradox". . . . He thus counts among his supporters the ex-Facebook investor Roger McNamee, who published in 2018 a book critical of the evolutions of Facebook, the lawyer and defender of digital freedoms Tim Wu, or even Tristan Harris, a former engineer from Google very critical about the use of recommendation algorithms made by his former employer.
The Deal Pipeline—October 23
Neumann's 'Parachute on Steroids'
Columbia Law School Professor John Coffee suggested that Neumann’s preference for self-dealing transactions is what made his supervoting stock so dangerous. "This is a lesson and a cautionary tale, not only about dual class stock, but also about the limited mechanisms of accountability and oversight in the private capital world," Coffee said. "The only safeguard that held up in this story and demonstrated its independence and objectivity were the buy side analysts of the major institutions, who just would not touch this stock once they read the disclosures."
[Note: The article is accessible by logging into Lexis Advance.]
Trump Administration Sues California for Daring to Address Climate Change [UPDATED]
“My initial reaction [to the case]: it’s appalling that instead of suing polluters, the Trump administration is suing those trying to stop pollution,” Michael Gerrard, the director of Columbia’s Sabin Center for Climate Change Law, told Earther in an email. “The least they could do is get out of the way.”
[Note: Gerrard’s comments also appeared in New York Magazine.]
Is the WeWork CEO’s $1.7 Billion Severance the Largest Ever?
The deal SoftBank offered Neumann values the company at around $8 billion, but as John Coffee, director of the Center on Corporate Governance at Columbia Law School, said in an email, “Softbank has always had an optimistic (to delusional) view of We Work’s value.” He added, “That Neumann walks away with $1 billion or more is bothersome, as he destroyed most of the value in a promising business. He reminds me more of Martin Shkreli than Elon Musk. The former is a felon, while Musk is just reckless.”
NBC News—October 23
Senators advance bill requiring carbon monoxide detectors in public housing
“The longer we wait to pass this bill, every day we risk someone’s life,” said Emily Benfer, a law professor at Columbia University and expert in housing-related health hazards.
[Note: This article also appeared in EuroNews.]
Let Immigration Judges Speak
By Laila L. Hlass, Elora Mukherjee, Carrie L. Rosenbaum, And Maureen Sweeney
The administration seeks to end virtually all asylum in the United States. As it rolls out a dizzying number of new rules and laws intended to deny asylum-seekers protection, the administration has also limited journalists’ access, making it much harder to keep up with what’s truly happening in our immigration system. And it is silencing those best equipped to speak out: asylum officers, immigration judges, and immigration enforcement attorneys.
ABA Journal—October 24
Small claims program for copyright violations? ABA-supported legislation passes US House
It’s no secret that people make copies of photographs and use them on their own websites or in other materials, says June Besek, the executive director of the Kernochan Center for Law, Media and the Arts at Columbia Law School. “They effectively know they are never going to get caught, and no one is going to come after them,” says Besek, who is also the chair-elect of the ABA’s Section of Intellectual Property Law. “So these copied works proliferate, even though it wouldn’t cost tons of money for people to get the license to do what they’re doing.”
Columbia Daily Spectator—October 24
What it takes to implement the climate protection act in New York
At a panel discussion held at Columbia Law School on Wednesday night, industry experts spoke about how to achieve the ambitious benchmarks set by the state’s newest legislation on carbon neutrality. . . . under the legislation, individual citizens can also take legal action when the act is not followed, according to Columbia environmental law professor Michael Gerrard.
KQED (Public Media for Northern California) | Forum—October 24
Impeachment Hearing Disrupted by Republican Representatives as InquiryIntensifies (Audio)
Scott Anderson, fellow in governance studies, The Brookings Institution; senior fellow in the National Security Law Program, Columbia Law School; senior editor and counsel, Lawfare
The New York Times—October 24
Can We Trust Facebook to Run a Bank?
Katharina Pistor, a professor of comparative law at Columbia Law School, writes that Libra could easily repeat the catastrophic mistakes of the “too big to fail” banks that the public had to be bail out during the Great Recession: It is easy to imagine a scenario in which rescuing Libra could require more liquidity than any one state could provide. Recall Ireland after the 2008 financial crisis. When the government announced that it would assume the private banking sector’s liabilities, the country plunged into a sovereign debt crisis. Next to a behemoth like Facebook, many nation-states could end up looking a lot like Ireland.
[Note: Amid news concerning Facebook’s Libra currency, Pistor was also quoted in Bloomberg News’s What’d You Miss? podcast, Business Insider, Handelsblatt, The Hill, Recode’s Reset podcast, and The Telegraph.]
Should New York build a storm surge barrier?
At a recent event hosted by Columbia University's Sabin Center for Climate Change Law and the Earth Institute, experts discussed a study that is evaluating the feasibility of building storm surge barriers around New York and New Jersey. . . . "Most people in the region are unaware of the study, but its results can have major economic and environmental impacts," explained moderator Michael Gerrard, director of the Sabin Center, during his opening comments. "The Sabin Center felt it's important to increase public understanding of what is now being examined."
The Conversation—October 25
What is ‘dark money’? 5 questions answered
By Richard Briffault
But what exactly is “dark money,” and why is it considered a problem? As a law professor who studies campaign finance, I’d like to answer those questions and explain how improved disclosure laws could shed some light on dark money.
[Note: This article appeared in multiple media outlets.]
The Appeal—October 25
AUSTIN BRACES AS TEXAS OFFICIALS PLAN CRACKDOWN ON HOMELESS ENCAMPMENTS
Austin is far from the only U.S. city struggling to address the growth of homeless encampments, said Maria Foscarinis, founder and director of the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty. According to the center’s research, there has been a 1,342 percent increase in the number of unique homeless encampments reported by media outlets, from 19 reported encampments in 2007 to 274 reported encampments in 2016.
Trump Impeachment Inquiry: Here’s What You Missed This Week — And What’s Up Next
HuffPost spoke with Philip Bobbitt, former legal counsel to the Democratic majority on the Senate Iran-Contra Committee and co-author of the new edition of Charles Black’s Impeachment: A Handbook, earlier this year and he answered some of these questions:
Jon “Maddog” Hall: “Como defensor del software libre estoy en contra de la piratería” (Spanish)
There is a project called FreedomBox. It was developed by Eben Moglen, a New York lawyer who teaches at Columbia University. Eben ten years ago began to worry about privacy so he started this project, and they already released the first version. It allows you to create your small server, which you plug into the wall and (use 1 Wat of electricity) and you can store your most private things there. The Freedom Box allows you to create your own mail server.
PBS NewsHour—October 25
Trump’s conservative picks will impact courts for decades
“In general terms, if you like more government, having fairly aggressive conservative judges is going to make it more difficult,” said Jamal Greene, a professor at Columbia Law School. He added, “You’re very likely to see Trump judges push back on regulation.”
Can the courts legislate action on climate change?
According to the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at the Columbia Law School, there are no fewer than 1,390 climate lawsuits against governments and fossil fuel corporations in more than 25 countries. The La Rose lawsuit is just one of several filed against various governments.
The New York Times—October 28
‘You Promised You Wouldn’t Kill Me’
By Kimberlé Crenshaw
The death of Ms. Jefferson has mobilized activists, community members and commentators to demand sweeping changes. But if history is any guide, the masses will not recognize her name, as they do Eric Garner, Michael Brown or Tamir Rice. It’s not that we lack stories of black women killed by the police; rather, it seems that we don’t know what to do with them.
Crain’s New York Business—October 28
Con Ed bills will climb in 2020, and years after
Public Service Commission staff and a group of energy watchdogs on Oct. 17 signed off on an agreement with Con Edison to let it increase gas and electric rates in the next three years to pay for upgrades and the company’s pivot to renewable energy. . . . A range of environmental groups and government entities, including the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability, the Natural Resources Defense Council and Columbia University’s Sabin Center for Climate Change, signed off on the change.
MSNBC | MSNBC Live with Katy Tur—October 28
The Inquiry: White House told as early as May of Ukraine President’s concerns about Giuliani and Sondland (Video)
As the impeachment inquiry pushes forward, NBC News is reporting that the White House knew as early as May that Rudy Giuliani and EU Ambassador Sondland were in contact with the newly elected Ukrainian President. Katy Tur discusses with . . . Former Federal Prosecutor for the Southern District of New York Berit Berger, and NBC News National Political Reporter Josh Lederman.
The Washington Post—October 28
The Energy 202: Trump's desire 'to take' Syrian oil presents a barrelful of problems
Further complicating matters is the fact that the United States claims it is not in an armed conflict with the Syrian government. “So Syrian property is not enemy property that might be taken, even for military purposes, as spoils of war,” said Sarah H. Cleveland, a professor of human and constitutional rights at Columbia Law School.
Law.com | Corporate Counsel—October 29
How Outside Counsel Can Build Better Bonds With In-House Clients
By Louise Firestone and Suzanne Rich Folsom
For outside counsel, the fine art of building a strong and enduring relationship with their general counsel and in-house counterparts, is equal parts experience, common sense, and endurance. Done correctly, the rewards for lawyer and client alike are considerable—and will significantly expand in proportion to the strength of the bond between the two.
[Note: Firestone is a lecturer at the Law School.]
Why Democrats Are Moving Quickly With Impeachment
“A win for the Democrats would probably mean months of back-and-forth in the courts, but then it wouldn’t be over — they’d have to deal with a flood of new testimony,” said Philip Bobbitt, a law professor at the Columbia University and the author of “Impeachment: A Handbook.”
What Do Scholars Say About the Impeachment Power?
In the most recent edition of Black’s essay, Philip Bobbitt provides additional commentary and argues for a return to a more legal conception of the impeachment process. Calling impeachment a political question is a fallacy, Bobbitt argues, observing its scant use throughout history. He figures that if impeachment were truly political, one would expect it to be used more often for partisan reasons.
Agencia EFE—October 29
Trump dice que se quedará con el petroleo de Siria (Spanish)
It would also be a “war crime” according to the statute of the International Criminal Court, because the taking of oil would not be derived from “the needs” of the conflict, professor of international law and human rights at Columbia University Sarah Cleveland told Efe.
[Note: This article appeared in multiple media outlets worldwide.]
Justices to consider liability of insiders for mismanagement of pension plans that invest in employer stock
By Ronald Mann
The argument next week in Retirement Plans Committee of IBM v. Jander asks the justices to apply their 2014 decision in Fifth Third Bancorp v. Dudenhoeffer. The current case may allow the justices to offer guidance on how to reconcile two dissonant themes from that decision.
The Economist—October 31
Justice in China is notoriously harsh, but reforms are afoot
Benjamin Liebman of Columbia Law School thinks that judges dangle suspended sentences as a reward for defendants who compensate victims. He speculates that judges also sometimes use the community-service approach when they think defendants are innocent. Courts do not want to offend state prosecutors by acquitting people.
Die Zeit—October 31
Für Ihre Erholung müssen Sie schon selbst sorgen! (German)
This has always been the goal of the advertising industry, as Tim Wu writes in his book The Attention Merchants. But what he also shows: There were always counter-movements; The reluctance of consumers to leave more and more areas of their lives to advertising has in the past led to various legislative regulations to curb advertising in order to redefine sovereignty over attention.
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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.