Faculty in the News: September 1-15, 2016
Michael B. Gerrard, the director of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia University, praised Obama’s environmental efforts as president, saying he’s done a “phenomenal amount within the constraints of a Congress that is more hostile to environmental regulation than any we have ever seen.”
Just Security—September 3
Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are set to discuss national security and veterans issues next Wednesday during the Commander-in-Chief Forum being put on in the Big Apple by the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, otherwise known as IAVA. We thought this presented the perfect opportunity to tap the knowledge of some of Just Security editors and contributors to present a list of questions we’d like to see the candidates answer during the forum.
Note: Sarah Knuckey, Just Security editor and professor at Columbia Law School, is a contributor.
The Morning Call—September 4
Jennifer Rodgers, a former federal prosecutor and executive director for the Center for the Advancement of Public Integrity at Columbia University Law School, however, said Khan's departure wasn't unusual. Assistant U.S. attorneys often leave to go into private practice, which tends to pay better. In the Southern District of New York where Rodgers worked, assistant U.S. attorneys typically stayed for five to seven years, she said.
The Times-Tribune—September 5
However, the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, Pennsylvania Constitution, state Human Relations Act and the Pennsylvania Religious Freedom Protection Act already provide four layers of protection for the religious liberty rights of Pennsylvanians, said Katherine Franke, a professor at Columbia Law School in New York City.
New York Law Journal—September 7
By Michael B. Gerrard and Edward McTiernan
Since Sandy, federal, state and local resource managers have increasingly come to view wetlands not merely as important natural areas worthy of preservation but as central to sustainable and cost-effective storm water management systems…At the same time, wetland ecosystems are at risk from sea level rise and increased storm intensity associated with climate change.
Bloomberg BusinessWeek—September 7
“The New York attorney general has a plausible theory, but he’ll need more than the results of the journalistic investigations,” says Michael Gerrard, a law professor at Columbia who directs the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law. “It’s not enough to show that Exxon had internal knowledge of climate change when external knowledge was widespread. The government would have to show that there were things that only Exxon knew and that were material to investors and that Exxon kept from investors. Such evidence might be there, but we don’t know yet.”
The Wall Street Journal—September 8
Matthew Waxman, a professor at Columbia Law School who worked at the Pentagon on Iraq reconstruction issues following the war, also said international law would have prohibited the U.S. from taking Iraq’s oil and that the military might have refused a White House order to take it. “That was basically the way 19th century colonialism worked, but modern international law doesn’t allow it,” he said.
The Guardian—September 8
The Beauty.AI results offer “the perfect illustration of the problem”, said Bernard Harcourt, Columbia University professor of law and political science who has studied “predictive policing”, which has increasingly relied on machines. “The idea that you could come up with a culturally neutral, racially neutral conception of beauty is simply mind-boggling.”
According to a 2014 report by Human Rights Watch and Columbia Law School, nearly five hundred individuals were prosecuted for terrorism or related offenses in U.S. federal courts between 2002 and 2011. Peyton is not the first mentally disabled person to face terrorism-related charges in the U.S.—the report outlines eight such cases in the ten years that it covers. But terrorism experts I spoke with said that it's atypical to file state charges against someone accused of colluding with terrorists, especially given Peyton's mental acuity.
The Westside Gazette—September 8
“It’s an issue that disproportionately impacts Black men and women,” Kimberlé Crenshaw, the founder and executive director of the African American Policy Forum, which created the #SayHerName movement to address the issue, said in a telephone interview. “We have enough space in our community to talk about both, so that all of these vulnerabilities come out of the agenda of this particular moment.”
Jack Coffee, a law professor at Columbia University who specializes in corporate and securities law, said that the cost of the Ailes scandal at 21st Century Fox amounted to “a rounding error,” and that the likelihood of a successful legal action from shareholders is slim to none. “This [is] shareholder money being paid to settle what were basically personal claims against Mr. Ailes,” he said, but “the numbers are not huge…They won’t affect earnings per share by any significant amount.”
The Wall Street Journal—September 9
“What this really means is there will be no prior SEC review for microcap offerings,” said John Coffee, a securities law professor at Columbia University. “The company can file and sell, and it doesn’t have to get through an SEC review person who says, ‘I don’t think your financial statements are right.’”
The Washington Post—September 9
The hedge fund has also filed for arbitration by an international tribunal under the U.S.-Peru Trade Promotion Agreement. The firm has secured a supportive opinion from a Columbia Law School professor, John C. Coffee, and retained a veteran litigator at Debevoise & Plimpton.
Publishers Weekly—September 9
In 'The Attention Merchants,' Tim Wu examines the many ways advertising gets into consumers' minds and sticks there.
Investment News—September 9
Speaking without direct knowledge of the charges against Mr. Block, a CFO's indictment could mean bad news for a company's CEO, said John C. Coffee, law professor at Columbia Law School. Mr. Schorsch was the CEO and chairman of American Realty Capital Properties at the time of the alleged accounting fraud. “This may be a stepping stone towards” the CEO, Mr. Coffee said. “The government tends to go up the food chain. This is not a new strategy. Flipping the CFO to get to the top would be a classic prosecutorial tactic. If I were counsel to CEO, I'd be nervous.”
Edge Media Network—September 9
In addition to the legal clinic at Yale, she is represented by Gibbons P.C., a private firm in New Jersey, Elora Mukherjee, a clinical professor at Columbia Law School, and the Asylum Seeker Advocacy Project (ASAP) at the Urban Justice Center.
"We're really in a position where we're negotiating with a gun to our heads," Sierra Club staff attorney Peter Morgan said at a conference held at Columbia University Law School on Sept. 8 called U.S. Coal in the 21st Century: Markets, Bankruptcy, Finance and Law…Half of the roughly 40 coal sector bankruptcies that occurred by the middle of 2015 were Chapter 7 bankruptcies, which involve a complete liquidation of assets, according to Ed Morrison, a professor of Columbia Law School who spoke at the event.
By Jack Goldsmith and Matthew C. Waxman
Tomorrow is the fifteenth anniversary of the beginning of the longest armed conflict in American history. But another significant anniversary in the “Forever War” is today, September 10, for two years ago on this date President Obama announced his “comprehensive and sustained counterterrorism strategy” to defeat the Islamic State.
According to Daniel Richman—a Columbia University law professor, former federal prosecutor, and longtime friend of James Comey—even these norms are surprisingly ill-defined. “The idea that there is a set, stable institutional dynamic is one that everyone pretends is possible to determine,” he says. “But when you look at the past, let’s say, four decades, you realize that norms are very hard to figure out.”
A study published last year by the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia Law School points out that heat waves are becoming more severe, the U.S. inmate population is getting older and most of the nation's 1,700 state prisons are wholly unprepared. Expect more "cruel and unusual punishment" lawsuits focused on hot prisons.
The Associated Press—September 12
Venice Commission vice-president Kaarlo Tuori, left, Head of Constitutional Justice Division in Venice Commission Schnutz Rudolf Duerr, center, and US rapporteur Sarah Cleveland, right, leave after a meeting at the Polish Senate in Warsaw, Poland, Monday, Sept. 12, 2016.
The New Yorker—September 13
The fact that Hamm has managed to elude execution for nearly three decades can be explained, in large part, by the tenacity of a single person: his attorney,Bernard E. Harcourt. The two met in 1990, soon after Harcourt began working for the lawyer Bryan Stevenson, who at the time had just started an organization in Alabama to defend condemned prisoners. Hamm was one of Harcourt’s first clients.
The Wall Street Journal—September 13
Michael Rebell, professor of law and educational practice at Columbia University, said that lawsuits involving education rights have typically been at the state level, unlike the one filed in federal court Tuesday. Plaintiffs in the state cases had about a 60% chance of winning, he said.
Note: Rebell is an adjunct professor.
The New York Times—September 13
“Medical records are among the most valuable forms of personal information in the market, and are therefore frequently stolen and heavily trafficked,” Eben Moglen, a law professor at Columbia and a technologist, said.
New York Press—September 13
Michael Gerrard, an environmental lawyer who served as counsel to the Pier 55 project, praised the court for clearing an obstacle to “a terrific asset” to the city. Gerrard described the environmental review as extensive, saying it went beyond what the law required, and said the projected impact was minimal. He said the proposed design would be better for marine life than the existing pier.
MintPress News—September 13
“The international community embraced the legal term ‘genocide’ in 1948 when the U.N. General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, which then went into force in January of 1951,” Katherine Franke, Sulzbacher Professor of Law at Columbia Law School, told MintPress News. Franke, director of Columbia Law School’s Center for Gender and Sexuality Law, faculty director of its Public Rights/Private Conscience Project, and chair of CCR’s board of directors, was the primary author of the legal analysis.
The New Yorker—September 13
By Jedediah Purdy
North Carolina, home to two perennial N.C.A.A. championship contenders, Duke and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, supports college basketball with a ferocity that can be as baffling to outsiders as it is thrilling to locals. The state’s Republican Party, which passed H.B. 2 in a special legislative session in March, seemed uncertain about how to oppose the college-basketball establishment.
Note: Purdy is a visiting professor of law.
But Jane Spinak, a professor at Columbia Law School who has practiced and taught about child welfare for the past 35 years, said it would be better to offer enhanced services on a voluntary basis in the communities where parents live. “It means that the families do not have to go through the court system, which has not proven to be effective in helping most families,” she said.
The Guardian—September 14
“The sheer increased volume of corporate money that has been brought into elections in recent years may go more on one side than the other,” explainedRichard Briffault, a professor specialising in campaign finance law at Columbia law school. “Corporations tend to lean more Republican.”
The New York Law Journal—September 14
Also without Scalia's vote, the high court's decisions showed more-than-usual sympathy toward plaintiffs and consumers. After the court sided with employees in the Tyson Foods v. Bouaphakeoclass-action decision in March, Columbia University Law School professor John Coffee Jr. declared, "The Scalia Revolution, which arguably sought to do to the class action what the French Revolution did to the French aristocracy, is now over and has fallen well short of its original goals."
"Once [refugees have] been given the right to stay in the U.S., states cannot impose legal barriers to entry," Michael Doyle, a professor at Columbia Law School who has been studying the refugee crisis, told Mashable. Doyle said states could refuse refugees state-funded services in education, health and other social sectors but they cannot block their arrival completely.
New Republic—September 14
By Jedediah Purdy
In Blue America, from Berkeley and Brooklyn to Durham and Austin, talking about Trump supporters has become an addiction that, like checking your phone, asserts itself in moments of weakness or inattention. Meals begin with promises that this time we will talk about something else. Then, faithful as a bad habit, conversation turns back to troubling questions: Who are these people? What are they thinking?
The New York Law Journal—September 15
By John C. Coffee Jr.
In his Corporate Securities column, John C. Coffee Jr. of Columbia Law School discusses the spread of "entrepreneurial litigation" to Europe, where major securities class actions have recently settled, and he writes that the most striking fact about those actions is the key organizational role in structuring them played by traditional American plaintiff law firms.
AM New York—September 15
In tort cases alleging toxic damage, proving the cause and the source of a health condition can be difficult, said Edward Lloyd, director of the Environmental Law Clinic at Columbia Law School. “One of the challenges for the plaintiffs will be to show that, in fact, the company caused harm to them,” he said.
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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]
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