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

Columbia Law School Clip Report, May 1-15, 2017
E&E News—May 1, 2017
“[The decision] gives EPA an early chance to demonstrate whether they will have an adequate substitute, and they'll almost certainly come up short,” said Michael Gerrard, director of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia University. “The only thing assured by the decision is further litigation.”
The Independent—May 1, 2017
A review of 75 research studies on gay same-sex parents by the Columbia Law School Public Policy Research Portalfound that existing studies form “an overwhelming scholarly consensus, based on over three decades of peer-reviewed research, that having a gay or lesbian parent does not harm children.”
McClatchy DC Bureau—May 1, 2017
John Coffee, a law professor at Columbia University who monitors the behavior of Wall Street firms, said the Mercers might win Koskinen’s ouster, but he doubts they could undermine the case. “I don’t know they’re going to get their candidate in,” he said, “and I’m not sure many candidates are going to try to reverse the staff on something that’s already deeply advanced in either litigation or negotiation.”
Vice News (HBO)—May 1, 2017
“I think if this case makes it to the Supreme Court it is unlikely that the Supreme Court would ultimately find there’s a federal constitutional right to a clean environment,” said Michael Gerrard, director of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia Law School.
Bloomberg BNA—May 2, 2017
Michael J. Graetz, a tax law professor at Columbia Law School, said he expects estate tax repeal to be incorporated into tax reform legislation, because Republicans have been pushing the change for years—but that there’s always a risk that reform will fail.
Columbia Journalism Review—May 2, 2017
Addressing such questions—the economic downfall of journalism, the new attention market, a new type of censorship—will require a more imaginative view of the (quite brief) First Amendment, said Jamal Greene, professor of law at Columbia.
Financial Advisor—May 2, 2017
The CHOICE Act would also let more violators escape sanctions because it would allow offenders to avoid SEC administrative enforcement by taking cases to the courts, according to Columbia University Law professor John Coffee, a top academic expert for the Financial Services Committee Democrats.
Winnipeg Free Press—May 2, 2017
However, as David Pozen wrote in a brilliant article in the 2013 Harvard Law Review, there are good reasons to question governments’ commitment to cracking down on leaking. Put simply, governments like the communications flexibility offered by occasional selective leaks, and by feigning outrage they satisfy the norm of protecting state secrets.
Moyers & Company—May 3, 2017
“Judge Aiken of the federal district court issued her decision on the government’s motion to dismiss the day after Donald Trump was elected president, and that decision was a ray of sunshine in what was a very dark day for the environmental community,” says Michael Burger, the executive director of Columbia University’s Sabin Center for Climate Change Law.
The New York Times—May 3, 2017
Tim Wu, the Columbia Law professor and New York Times contributing opinion columnist who developed the concept of “network neutrality,” said that the emergence of a handful of internet giants has altered how he thinks about the issue. “In the earliest days we were trying to save companies like YouTube,” he said. “Now it’s as much about trying to save the net from YouTube as it is about saving YouTube.”
Vice—May 3, 2017
"Cops who murder innocent and unarmed citizens don't have a get-out-of-jail free card in the new administration," Jeffrey Fagan, an expert on policing at Columbia Law School, wrote me after the plea deal was announced, evincing a whiff of residual faith in a system he—like plenty of other experts—knows is badly broken.
The Christian Science Monitor—May 4, 2017
At the height of the Watergate scandal that eventually brought down President Nixon, Congress appeared to be on the verge of a sweeping domestic policy overhaul – and it wasn’t an effort to reform the social safety net or create millions of jobs. “That was a time when Congress hadn’t clearly blessed the classification system,” says David Pozen, a law professor at Columbia University in New York.
Mashable—May 4, 2017
Michael Burger, the executive director of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia Law School, said the Paris Agreement permits downward revisions of emissions targets. He also said Pruitt’s concern over court cases is unfounded, since U.S. courts don’t take their cues from international law, but rather from domestic statutes.
CBC News—May 5, 2017
Tax reform was another campaign pillar, but there's a reason it hasn't been achieved since 1986, said Michael Graetz, a former Treasury Department tax adviser. “Is it harder to climb Kilimanjaro or another mountain that's just as high?” he said. “That's health-care reform and tax reform. They both have plenty of difficulties.”
The New York Times—May 5, 2017
The apps must also be prepared for regulatory challenges, said Seth B. Weinberg, a lawyer who teaches food law and policy at Columbia Law School. “Once you start charging people, you cease to be a hobbyist, and you start becoming a commercial enterprise, even a small one,” he said.
Note: Seth Weinberg is a lecturer.]
Rewire—May 5, 2017
By Elizabeth Reiner Platt
Trump’s religious exemption EO, and the risk of Congress and Trump enacting FADA, pose serious threats to the rights of LGBTQ families. However, the EO is likely to harm people who have had sex outside of marriage, including the large and growing number of unmarried families, many of whom are families of color.
[Note: Liz Platt is director of the Public Rights/Private Conscience Project (PRPCP), an initiative led by Professor Katherine Franke]
Truthout—May 8, 2017
“The most common frame now that you hear is this election was about class, not about race. This election was about losses suffered by the working class. Well, of course, if class was the same set of experiences across all different groups you wouldn't have had such a split between white men and Black women. When we're talking about class, there is a class division right there. Obviously what is happening is people are framing class in a singular, biographic frame. Basically, white men.”
The Intercept—May 9, 2017
In “About Abortion: Terminating Pregnancy in Twenty-First-Century America,” Columbia Law School Professor Carol Sanger makes a compelling case for how a private matter — choosing to have an abortion — has been so politicized and stigmatized that it has been transformed into something that women feel they must keep secret, lest they set themselves up for public shaming.
Just Security—May 9, 2017
By Philip Bobbitt
Rosenstein’s ambiguous phrasing in the initial paragraphs (“I cannot defend the Director’s handling of the conclusion of the investigation of Secretary Clinton’s emails”) might suggest that the dismissal was recommended because Comey declined to prosecute, but the memo itself makes clear that this is not the basis for the recommendation.
Politico—May 9, 2017
We should reserve judgment, according to Jamal Greene, Dwight professor of law at Columbia Law School. Allusions to the Saturday Night Massacre are irresistible but premature. President Trump’s firing of James Comey is not a constitutional crisis—yet. We don’t have all the facts, and there is much Congress could do to learn them.
Reuters—May 9, 2017
Congressional hearing testimony from two critics of the Financial Choice Act – Columbia law professor John Coffee and Maryland Securities Commissioner Melanie Senter Lubin, testifying on behalf of the North American Securities Administrators Association – suggests the bill could severely restrain the SEC’s power. Coffee went so far as to predict the law would “hobble the SEC’s enforcement program,” to “devastating” effect.
Vox—May 9, 2017
And according to Michael Graetza tax law professor at Columbia University, the outlook for blocking the loopholes isbleak. Those kinds of rules are hard to enforce, he said: “I’m not sure they’re even possible to write.”
New York Law Journal—May 10, 2017
By Michael B. Gerrard and Edward McTiernan
New York's budget this year was adopted against the backdrop of continuing drinking water challenges in Flint, Mich. and across New York state. As a result, significant changes in the way drinking water will be protected, monitored and mitigated emerged from this year's budget process.
The New York Times—May 10, 2017
"With a president who seems to prize personal loyalty above all else and a director with absolute commitment to the Constitution and pursuing investigations wherever the evidence led, a collision was bound to happen,” Daniel C. Richman, a close Comey adviser and former federal prosecutor, said on Wednesday.
Village Voice—May 10, 2017
Part of the challenge in answering the question is that there are several ways of defining a constitutional crisis, saysDavid Pozena professor of constitutional law at Columbia University. One definition, Pozen told the Voice, is “officials refusing to comply with the Constitution. That isn’t really implicated here — legally speaking, the president has the right to fire the FBI official. The breach is one of norms than of formal law.”
The Associated Press—May 11, 2017
The account echoes wording in a comment made a day earlier to The Associated Press by longtime Comey friend Daniel Richman, who said the president had removed “somebody unwilling to pledge absolute loyalty to him.”
Carbon Brief—May 11, 2017
The database, produced by the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment and the Sabin Center on Climate Change Law, includes more than 1,200 relevant policies across 164 countries, which account for 95% of global greenhouse gas emissions.
Lawfare—May 11, 2017
By Daphna Renan, David Pozen                 
President Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey is startling and deeply unsettling. Of the many reasons why it is so troubling, we want to highlight one that has received less attention. The process by which Comey was fired appears to raise a version of the same professional concerns that the firing supposedly responds to: a breach of longstanding norms that have developed to protect the integrity, independence, and rule of law values of the Justice Department.
The New Yorker—May 11, 2017
Daniel Richman, a Columbia law professor and close friend of Comey who has served as his unofficial media surrogate, acknowledged Comey’s penchant for public righteousness. “He certainly does love the idea of being a protector of the Constitution,” Richman said. “The idea of doing messy stuff and taking your lumps in the press.” ButRichman, who worked with Comey as a federal prosecutor in Manhattan, insisted that Comey’s motivations were sincere.
Politico—May 11, 2017
“Rod Rosenstein is a useful patsy,” said Columbia Law School professor Daniel Richman, a former Comey adviser. “If you have principles and you think you’re being used, you resign.”
The Associated Press—May 12, 2017
Associates of the former FBI director, who remained out of sign Friday at his suburban Virginia home, said they believed any recording would validate Comey’s side of the story. “It would be great were they recorded,” said Daniel Richman, a former federal prosecutor and now a professor at Columbia Law School.
The Associated Press—May 12, 2017
An investigation would siphon executive resources at Uber just as CEO Travis Kalanick faces many other challenges, said John Coffee, a Columbia University law professor who specializes in white-collar crime and corporate governance. “The possibility that you could get criminally indicted would be exactly the wrong thing for Uber,” Coffee said.
The New York Times—May 13, 2017
Daniel C. Richman, a Columbia law professor and friend of Mr. Comey’s, who helped woo him to Columbia in 2013, said the former F.B.I. director “would be welcomed back, and he knows it.” Mr. Richman, who has spoken to Mr. Comey several times since he was fired, said it was too soon to say what Mr. Comey would choose to do next.
The Associated Press—May 15, 2017
"He clearly believes that Levandowski is guilty as sin and that Uber hired him, knowing this full well," said John Coffee, a Columbia University law professor who specializes in white-collar crime and corporate governance. "He is ruling that some of this information is stolen (or "misappropriated") and in the long run that will likely have a devastating impact on Uber."
Bloomberg—May 15, 2017
Richard Briffault, a professor at Columbia Law School, and Nate Persily, a professor at Stanford Law School, discuss President Trump’s decision to create a new panel on voter fraud, which will be led by Vice President Pence.
Council on Foreign Relations—May 15, 2017
"Removing the director will complicate and slow the FBI's investigative efforts,” says Columbia Law School Professor Matthew Waxman, an expert on presidential powers and national security, in this written interview. “There is a grave national security issue underlying this.”