Faculty in the News: August 1 - August 15, 2017

The Clip Report


Columbia Law School Clip Report, August 1–15, 2017


The New York Times—August 1, 2017
She Was Convicted of Killing Her Mother. Prosecutors Withheld Evidence That Would Have Freed Her.
The lead authors of a 2002 study, James Liebman and Jeffrey Fagan of Columbia Law School, reviewed some 2,700 death sen­tences across the country. They found that 351 convictions were ultimately overturned in state appellate courts and that in about 20 percent of those cases, the state failed to disclose evidence. ‘‘Our analyses reveal that it is in close cases — those in which a small amount of evidence might tip the outcome in a different direction — that the risk of serious error is the greatest.”

The New York Times—August 1, 2017
The Tax Reform America Needs (and Probably Won’t Get)
So even as the United States raises almost the lowest tax revenues in the industrialized world as a share of the economy, in so doing it exacts the maximum possible economic pain. “We are hobbling ourselves because we finance government with taxes on wages and incomes,” said Michael J. Graetz, a professor of tax law at Columbia Law School.

Opposing Views—August 1, 2017
Russian Investigation Opens Trump Resignation Questions
Philip Bobbitt, a constitutional law expert at Columbia, predicts that Trump will step down from his position as U.S. President due to the "impending constitutional crisis" caused by his son-in-law and political advisor Jared Kushner, according to Inquisitr.

Vice—August 1, 2017
Court to EPA: Slow your rollback
Michael Burger, executive director of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia University, says the case, on its face, affects the EPA’s ability to delay rules that have already gone through the public comment process. But he says it also sets an important precedent: “It’s a new assertion of executive authority. Yes, this about the methane rule, but what we’re seeing here is an effort to undermine the legitimacy of the administrative state altogether.”

Extreme Tech—August 2, 2017
Bitcoin Splits, Rallies as Community Fails to Solve Cryptocurrency’s Woes
Tim Wu, a legal scholar who writes about BTC, has opined that refusing to give Bitcoin owners the full value of Bitcoin Cash to which they are entitled could expose the company to legal action. “In my opinion, @coinbase is courting serious, maybe ruinous legal trouble if it doesn't give its users the full value of the Bitcoin fork.”

The Washington Post—August 2, 2017
Trump administration reopens volatile debate over race and college admissions
Susan Sturm, director of the Center for Institutional and Social Change at Columbia Law School, said she worries that some universities may stop using race in admissions decisions, a problem “at a time when leadership around addressing a polarized racial environment in our country is just so critically important, and where the capacity to bridge these growing economic, racial, educational divides is critical to the prosperity of our democracy.”

Houston Chronicle—August 2, 2017
Justice Department may reopen case against race-based university admissions
Considering race in admissions to recruit a diverse student body, [Susan] Sturm said, is "justified constitutionally." Still, she said, "the risk is that colleges and universities will cave into a policy that threatens to shut down lawful efforts (toward) diversity."

CBC News—August 2, 2017
Why the failure to repeal Obamacare throws the rest of Donald Trump's agenda in doubt
There's a reason comprehensive tax reform hasn't come about since 1986, said former Treasury Department official Michael Graetz, a Columbia University specialist on U.S. tax law. Republicans are at least united on the broad idea that rates should be cut for businesses and individuals. For the most part, the party "has been singing from the same hymnal for years," Graetz said.

Politico—August 3, 2017
Trump joins long history of presidents fuming over leaks
“We’ve historically had a monotonous routine of these epicycles of handwringing, blame, and then return to normal,” said David Pozen, a Columbia law professor who conducted an in-depth review of the leak phenomenon.

London Review of Books—August 3, 2017
You Are the Product
As [Tim] Wu says [in The Attention Merchants], ‘when the commodity in question is access to people’s minds, the perpetual quest for growth ensures that forms of backlash, both major and minor, are all but inevitable.’ Wu calls a minor form of this phenomenon the ‘disenchantment effect’.

The Globe and Mail—August 3, 2017
Airline industry’s ‘calculated misery’ shows an embrace of inequality
Unless you pay extra…flying today is hell at 30,000 feet. Airlines like it that way. Columbia University law professor Tim Wu calls their strategy “calculated misery” and it involves degrading basic service to a level so low that non-masochistic passengers will pay up to avoid the pain.

The New York Times—August 4, 2017
Writing the Script for Your Next Act
Michael Gerrard, the faculty director of Columbia University Law School’s Sabin Center for Climate Change Law, isn’t quite sure he can be defined as retired. “This is the furthest thing from retirement,” Mr. Gerrard, 65, said with a laugh. “In the years since I’ve ‘retired,’ I’ve produced five books on climate change.”

The Atlantic—August 4, 2017
Will New York Stop Arresting People for Evading Subway Fares?
Bernard Harcourt, a Columbia University law professor and the author of Illusion of Order: The False Promise of Broken Windows Policing, said the proposed law to decriminalize fare beating could function as a workaround…“Obviously, the mayor doesn’t have the spine to prevent the NYPD from enforcing the misdemeanor laws in this way,” he said. “It requires a change to the criminal statutes of New York.”

The New York Times—August 4, 2017
The Robots Are Here. And They’re Not Friendly.
Letters to the Editor on Tim Wu’s “Please Prove You’re Not a Robot

The New Haven Register—August 4, 2017
New Haven to settle wrongful imprisonment case for $9.5 million
After fighting his conviction on his own for years, Scott Lewis, 52, won his release in 2014 with all charges dismissed a year later with the help of attorneys Brett Dignam, a one-time Yale Law School professor, Richard Emanuel and law students from Yale and Columbia.

The Guardian—August 5, 2017
White House as crime scene: how Robert Mueller is closing in on Trump
“This sets the scene of action for criminal trials, where charges will be laid, in the worst possible jurisdiction for Trump,” said Scott Horton, a lecturer at Columbia Law School. “Compared to Virginia, Republicans in DC are few and far between.”

New Jersey 101.5—August 8, 2017
A change is coming on climate change to NJ governor’s office
Ed Lloyd, director of Columbia Law School’s Environmental Law Clinic and a trustee for The Fund for New Jersey, said one good reason to be in RGGI is that it generates money for things such as energy efficiency, solar and wind power programs. “RGGI is not simply a set of standards. It’s more than that,” Lloyd said. “The money generated from the allowances gives states resources to do additional environmental programs. New York, other states, the other states that remain in RGGI, have done that for years. We’ve lost out on that.”

Bloomberg Law—August 8, 2017
Wells Fargo Legal Woes Continue in Face of New Scandals (Audio)
John Coffee, a professor at Columbia Law School, discusses a new wave of scandals currently facing Wells Fargo after the San Francisco-based lender warned investors that the latest controversies could result in a record 65 percent surge in legal costs. He speaks with Greg Stohr on Bloomberg Radio’s "Bloomberg Law."

PBS—August 9, 2017
Trans troops sue Trump oer proposed military ban
Katherine Franke, director of the Center for Gender and Sexuality Law at Columbia Law School, said that even in the absence of new military policy, Trump’s tweets signified a shift from the executive branch. “I think it is a fair argument even at this point to say that the policy of the U.S. government has changed, and the lawsuit seeks a declaration from the federal court that this change is unconstitutional,” she wrote in an email.

Vice—August 9, 2017
Can Businesses Refuse to Serve Cops?
In such a case, according to [Jeffrey] Fagan, there are "dozens of ways" vengeful police could theoretically make the owner or employees suffer for an anti-police policy. Those include "slow response time, mis-recording the crime report, or mis-filing," he told me.

City & State—August 9, 2017
When corrupt public officials go to prison, how much of their sentence do they serve?
“As you can imagine, the sorts of people who are convicted of these kinds of offenses will get their good time behavior – they’re unlikely to get into fights and to other things inside that will result in them not getting that time,” Jennifer Rodgers, executive director for Columbia Law School’s Center for the Advancement of Public Integrity, told City & State last year.

The Washington Spectator—August 10, 2017
A Carbon Tax With Legs
“No lawsuits anywhere in the world seeking to hold fossil fuel companies liable for climate change have succeeded,” [Michael] Gerrard told me recently via email. “Losing the ability to sue these companies for climate change would not be giving up a huge amount if it were in exchange for a large enough carbon tax.”

The New York Times—August 10, 2017
Students, Cities and States Take the Climate Fight to Court
Michael Burger, the executive director of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia University, said of the California and Oregon cases: “They are both bold and ambitious litigation strategies that at first blush will raise eyebrows, and will encounter a certain degree of skepticism. But they both have a chance.”

Huffington Post—August 11, 2017
Kimberlé Crenshaw Explains The Power Of Intersectional Feminism In 1 Minute
“There are many, many different kinds of intersectional exclusions ― not just black women, but other women of color,” [Kimberlé] Crenshaw said. “Not just people of color, but people with disabilities. Immigrants. LGBTQ people. Indigenous people.”

NBC—August 11, 2017
Fact Check: Experts Call Trump’s Tax Claim False
By the numbers, the U.S. corporate tax rate is on the high side, but deductions bring it back down to the average range worldwide, experts said. "We are nowhere close to the top," Alex Raskolnikov, a professor of tax law at Columbia Law School, told NBC News, speaking broadly of the nation's overall tax burden.

Above the Law—August 11, 2017
In Wake Of Trump, Liberals Start To Realize They’ve Had The Judiciary All Wrong
Professor Crenshaw pointed out the elephant in the room: the Federalist Society set out years ago to create a platoon of ideologues to populate the judiciary that would be capable of passing any neutral test of “qualifications.”

Inside Higher Ed—August 11, 2017
A New Boycott Battle
“I think it’s important to understand the bill is part of a larger campaign to collapse criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism," said Katherine Franke, the Sulzbacher Professor of Law at Columbia University, a member of the executive committee of the Academic Advisory Council for Jewish Voice for Peace and chair of the board of the Center for Constitutional Rights.

Bloomberg Law—August 11, 2017
Columbia Law Dean on How to Train ‘Lawyers of the Future’
We spoke with Columbia Law School dean Gillian Lester about her views on who is taking the LSAT these days and why and how she is seeing the demand for legal skills evolve. “Technology is huge, we should be teaching students to understand the basics of how the management of data and use of technology platforms intersect with legal practice,” she said.

The Washington Times—August 13, 2017
Clashes over Title VII protection of sexual orientation make way toward Supreme Court
Katherine Franke, a law professor at Columbia University, said there is little legislative history or guidance from Congress on how to interpret the word “sex” in the Civil Rights Act of 1964, so the law has been evolving. “What we are doing now is asking these hard questions once again about what ‘sex’ means and ‘sex discrimination’ means,” said Ms. Franke.

NBC—August 14, 2017
Halfway Through, Trump Coming Up Empty on Travel Ban
Bernard Harcourt, a law professor at Columbia University, represented a 24-year-old Syrian medical resident stranded in the United Arab Emirates after Trump signed the first travel ban in January. "It was a pretext," Harcourt said, "a dressing up of anti-Muslim discrimination."

Yahoo!—August 14, 2017
Why so many CEOs were initially silent about Trump’s handling of Charlottesville
“Given the current environment we are in, there’s more of an expectation that CEOs will be engaged in their political and social environments,” according to Columbia Law professor Eric Talley. “But, individual CEOs may have an aversion to introducing new volatility to the company’s stock price, particularly as companies seem not to be acting in as unified group.”

Bloomberg BNA—August 14, 2017
Ex-Broker’s $980K SEC Fine Gets Review After Criminal Case Falls
Columbia Law School professor John Coffee Jr., who also has studied insider trading, told Bloomberg BNA the case may not provide much guidance on [United States v.] Newman, however. “This case may largely duck the insider trading issues and go off on procedural issues about the plea agreement,” he said.

New York Law Journal—August 15, 2017
In Response to Charlottesville, Cuomo Proposes Adding to Hate Crime Statute
While Sulzbacher Professor of Law at Columbia Law School and chair of the board of directors of the Center for Constitutional Rights, Katherine Franke, agrees that "on its face" Cuomo's proposal appears constitutional, her "bigger concern" is how the proposal would be applied, and whether the language used to draft the proposals ends up being used against communities of color with greater frequency than against white communities.

Route Fifty —August 15, 2017
The White House Doesn’t Think Sea Level Rise Is Important to U.S. Infrastructure
“It’s deeply fiscally irresponsible to put taxpayer funded facilities at risk like that,” according to Michael Gerrard, director of Columbia University’s Sabin Center for Climate Change Law…“The Navy, by definition, has nothing but coastal facilities. Some of them already have water lapping up on their shores.”

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This report 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, are encouraged to email us at [email protected] or call us at 212-854-2650

Posted August 21, 2017