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Health Priorities For Sustainable Development, Lisa E. Sachs, Jeffrey D. Sachs Oct 2020

Health Priorities For Sustainable Development, Lisa E. Sachs, Jeffrey D. Sachs

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

The right to health has been repeatedly recognized as one of the core human rights, essential for human functioning, human dignity, economic well-being and development. But the right to health continues to elude hundreds of millions and with Covid-19, perhaps billions of people. Poverty remains the most critical obstacle to the realization of the right to health in developing countries. Achieving universal health coverage, before the additional costs of Covid-19, would require roughly $50 billion per year, approximately 0.1 percent of the GDP of the high-income OECD countries. Yet despite this broad understanding of the vicious cycle of poverty ...


Equipping The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation For The Low-Carbon Transition: How Are Other National Oil Companies Adapting?, Perrine Toledano, Martin Dietrich Brauch, Tehtena Mebratu-Tsegaye, Francisco Javier Pardinas Favela Sep 2020

Equipping The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation For The Low-Carbon Transition: How Are Other National Oil Companies Adapting?, Perrine Toledano, Martin Dietrich Brauch, Tehtena Mebratu-Tsegaye, Francisco Javier Pardinas Favela

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation’s (NNPC) persistent governance challenges have both hampered Nigeria’s oil sector development and deprived the country of public resources. The oil, climate, and COVID-19 crises and the ramp-up of the low-carbon transition exacerbate this reality, with the national oil company (NOC) delivering sub-optimal returns to its stakeholders.

Other NOCs have taken meaningful steps to become players in the low-carbon energy transition domestically or in­ternationally – for example, Sau­di Arabia’s Saudi Aramco, Norway’s Equinor, Brazil’s Petrobras, Malaysia’s Petronas, and Algeria’s Sonatrach. These NOCs can serve as sources of inspiration ...


Don’T Throw Caution To The Wind: In The Green Energy Transition, Not All Critical Minerals Will Be Goldmines, Perrine Toledano, Martin Dietrich Brauch, Solina Kennedy, Howard Mann Jul 2020

Don’T Throw Caution To The Wind: In The Green Energy Transition, Not All Critical Minerals Will Be Goldmines, Perrine Toledano, Martin Dietrich Brauch, Solina Kennedy, Howard Mann

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

The green energy transition will be exceedingly mineral intensive. Manufacturing solar panels, wind turbine and batteries to power cleaner energies is set to significantly increase the demand for co-called “critical” minerals. Such a forecast prompts high expectations in mineral-rich countries and suggests promising opportunities for developing countries.

However, the projects to increase the primary extraction of critical minerals rest on bullish forecasts and uncertain terrain due to a number of factors explored in the paper that threaten to leave these investments obsolete and economically stranded.

Governments, international actors, and mining advocates seeking to optimize the value of green energy mineral ...


Bankruptcy’S Role In The Covid-19 Crisis, Edward R. Morrison, Andrea C. Saavedra Jan 2020

Bankruptcy’S Role In The Covid-19 Crisis, Edward R. Morrison, Andrea C. Saavedra

Faculty Scholarship

Policymakers have minimized the role of bankruptcy law in mitigating the financial fallout from COVID-19. Scholars too are unsure about the merits of bankruptcy, especially Chapter 11, in resolving business distress. We argue that Chapter 11 complements current stimulus policies for large corporations, such as the airlines, and that Treasury should consider making it a precondition for receiving government-backed financing. Chapter 11 offers a flexible, speedy, and crisis-tested tool for preserving businesses, financing them with government funds (if necessary), and ensuring that the costs of distress are borne primarily by investors, not taxpayers. Chapter 11 saves businesses and employment, not ...


Covid-19 As A Force Majeure In Corporate Transactions, Matthew Jennejohn, Julian Nyarko, Eric L. Talley Jan 2020

Covid-19 As A Force Majeure In Corporate Transactions, Matthew Jennejohn, Julian Nyarko, Eric L. Talley

Faculty Scholarship

This paper surveys the use of pandemic-related provisions in Material Adverse Effects ("MAE") provisions in a large data set of publicly disclosed M&A transactions spanning the years 2003-2020. We document a trend towards greater use of such provisions, taking off particularly after the H1N1 crisis in 2009, and spiking again in late 2019 and early 2020. These terms are invariably located in the exclusions/carve-outs to the MAE, and they are overwhelmingly accompanied by "disproportionate effects" language that tends to dampen the effect of the carve out. There is little discernible statistical relationship between the inclusion of a pandemic-related carve-out and the inclusion of a reverse termination fee ("RTF") granting optionality to the buyer; but when an RTF is present, its magnitude tends to be smaller in the absence of any pandemic-specific carve-out, suggesting some degree of observational complementarity between these terms.


Stress Testing During Times Of War, Kathryn Judge Jan 2020

Stress Testing During Times Of War, Kathryn Judge

Faculty Scholarship

The COVID crisis raises important questions about the role of stress testing during periods of systemic distress. Should stress testing of banks be abandoned? Modified? Proceed as scheduled? Different jurisdictions have taken different tacks, reflecting contestation over these fundamental issues. This essay argues that stress tests become more important, not less, in the midst of systemic distress, but only if the stress scenarios are modified to reflect the distinct challenges an economy is facing. Well-designed stress tests can provide critical information to policy makers and others, promoting more timely efforts to address underlying weaknesses. Given that regulators will rationally be ...


The New "Essential": Rethinking Social Goods In The Age Of Covid-19, Olatunde C.A. Johnson Jan 2020

The New "Essential": Rethinking Social Goods In The Age Of Covid-19, Olatunde C.A. Johnson

Faculty Scholarship

The Covid-19 crisis has laid bare the fragility of social insurance systems in the United States and the lack of income security and basic benefits for many workers and residents. The United States has long had weaker protections for workers compared to other liberal democracies racial and economic disparities among those most affected by these dislocations (analyses are hampered by a paucity of demographic data). Those who were socially and economically vulnerable before the pandemic (for example due to homelessness, immigration status, or incarceration) are likely to suffer the most harm. Changes in workplace conditions as a result of the ...


Linked Fate: Justice And The Criminal Legal System During The Covid-19 Pandemic, Susan P. Sturm, Faiz Pirani, Hyun Kim, Natalie Behr, Zachary D. Hardwick Jan 2020

Linked Fate: Justice And The Criminal Legal System During The Covid-19 Pandemic, Susan P. Sturm, Faiz Pirani, Hyun Kim, Natalie Behr, Zachary D. Hardwick

Faculty Scholarship

The concept of “linked fate” has taken on new meaning in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. People all over the world – from every walk of life, spanning class, race, gender, and nationality – face a potentially deadly threat requiring cooperation and sacrifice. The plight of the most vulnerable among us affects the capacity of the larger community to cope with, recover, and learn from COVID-19’s devastating impact. COVID-19 makes visible and urgent the need to embrace our linked fate, “develop a sense of commonality and shared circumstances,” and unstick dysfunctional and inequitable political and legal systems.

Nowhere is the ...


Covid-19 And The Law: Elections, Richard Briffault Jan 2020

Covid-19 And The Law: Elections, Richard Briffault

Faculty Scholarship

With one Supreme Court decision, lower federal and state court decisions, pending litigation, and proposals around the country for major changes in how elections are conducted, COVID-19 has already had and likely will continue to have a significant impact on election law.

The discussion that follows proceeds in two parts. The first addresses the initial consequences of COVID-19 as an electoral emergency. Voters were due to go to the polls in states around the country just as the pandemic was gathering force and governors and mayors were calling on people to stay at home and avoid large gatherings – which, of ...


Child Welfare And Covid-19: An Unexpected Opportunity For Systemic Change, Jane M. Spinak Jan 2020

Child Welfare And Covid-19: An Unexpected Opportunity For Systemic Change, Jane M. Spinak

Faculty Scholarship

The COVID-19 pandemic has already wrecked greater havoc in poor neighborhoods of color, where pre-existing conditions exacerbate the disease’s spread. Crowded housing and homelessness, less access to health care and insurance, and underlying health conditions are all factors that worsen the chances of remaining healthy.Workers desperate for income continue to work without sufficient protective measures, moving in and out of these neighborhoods, putting themselves and their families at risk. During periods of greater disruption, tensions are heightened and violence more prevalent. Already some experts are warning of an onslaught of child maltreatment cases, citing earlier examples of spikes ...


Emergency Exemptions From Environmental Laws, Michael B. Gerrard Jan 2020

Emergency Exemptions From Environmental Laws, Michael B. Gerrard

Faculty Scholarship

The national response to the coronavirus crisis may face several impediments but federal and state environmental laws should not be among them. Most of these laws have emergency exemptions that allow the usual (and sometimes lengthy) procedures to be bypassed, and some substantive requirements to be waived, in instances of true urgency. However, there is concern that some agencies and corporations will use this as an excuse to bypass environmental laws that aren’t actually getting in the way of responses to the crisis.


Covid-19 And Lgbt Rights, Suzanne B. Goldberg Jan 2020

Covid-19 And Lgbt Rights, Suzanne B. Goldberg

Faculty Scholarship

Even in the best of times, LGBT individuals have legal vulnerabilities in employment, housing, healthcare and other domains resulting from a combination of persistent bias and uneven protection against discrimination. In this time of COVID-19, these vulnerabilities combine to amplify both the legal and health risks that LGBT people face.

This essay focuses on several risks that are particularly linked to being lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender, with the recognition that these vulnerabilities are often intensified by discrimination based on race, ethnicity, age, disability, immigration status and other aspects of identity. Topics include: 1) federal withdrawal of antidiscrimination protections; 2 ...


Dispute Resolution In Pandemic Circumstances, George A. Bermann Jan 2020

Dispute Resolution In Pandemic Circumstances, George A. Bermann

Faculty Scholarship

The peaceful resolution of disputes is among the most important earmarks of a regime attached to the rule of law. Even in countries in which, for one reason or another, courts do not work especially well, civil peace is of paramount importance. The absence of effective institutions for the administration of justice between and among private parties would spell a high degree of social disorder.

Even in the absence of a crisis such as we are experiencing, justice systems face a number of challenges in this day and age. Does a jurisdiction have a sufficient number of persons qualified to ...


The New "Essential": Rethinking Social Goods In The Age Of Covid-19, Olatunde C.A. Johnson Jan 2020

The New "Essential": Rethinking Social Goods In The Age Of Covid-19, Olatunde C.A. Johnson

Faculty Scholarship

The Covid-19 crisis has laid bare the fragility of social insurance systems in the United States and the lack of income security and basic benefits for many workers and residents. The pandemic has had a particularly grave impact on people of color and low-income individuals, while also affecting a wide array of tenants, students, and health care, service and “gig” workers. One consequence for law and policy is that addressing the social dislocations caused by the pandemic might lead to profound changes in what Americans consider essential goods for a sustainable society. This chapter examines government efforts to buttress the ...


Public Health Law Tools: A Brief Guide, Kristen Underhill Jan 2020

Public Health Law Tools: A Brief Guide, Kristen Underhill

Faculty Scholarship

The COVID-19 pandemic offers a threat with few precedents in modern times and tests the tools of modern surveillance and public health law. The goal of this chapter is to provide a brief overview of the types of measures that state and federal governments can invoke to treat and prevent the spread of infectious disease. The following sections will provide an orientation to domestic public health law followed by the types of measures available to state and federal public health authorities.

Although this chapter does not consider international institutions, treaties, or norms that affect public health, these are also essential ...


Driver For Contactless Payments, Ronald J. Mann Jan 2020

Driver For Contactless Payments, Ronald J. Mann

Faculty Scholarship

As a consumer, my primary experience with cash before the virus was standing in checkout lines observing the sluggish pace of cash transactions in front of me. Like so many things in our lives, the advent of the virus has changed the situation markedly. From the earliest days of infection, it has been far more unsettling to observe cash transactions knowing that the virus persists on paper and metal surfaces for days.

The dynamic that has driven the choices merchants offer in face-to-face retail transactions will change as well. Driven by the private exigencies of the retail environment, the last ...


How To Help Small Businesses Survive Covid-19, Todd Baker, Kathryn Judge Jan 2020

How To Help Small Businesses Survive Covid-19, Todd Baker, Kathryn Judge

Faculty Scholarship

Small businesses are among the hardest hit by the COVID-19 crisis. Many are shuttered, and far more face cash flow constraints, raising questions about just how many will survive this recession. The government has responded with a critical forgivable loan program, but for many of these businesses, this program alone will not provide the cash they need to retain workers, pay rent, and help their business come back to life when Americans are no longer sheltering in place. This essay calls on regulators to find new and creative ways to work with existing intermediaries, including banks and online lenders, who ...


Executive Underreach, In Pandemics And Otherwise, David E. Pozen, Kim Lane Scheppele Jan 2020

Executive Underreach, In Pandemics And Otherwise, David E. Pozen, Kim Lane Scheppele

Faculty Scholarship

Legal scholars are familiar with the problem of executive overreach, especially in emergencies. But sometimes, instead of being too audacious or extreme, a national executive's attempts to address a true threat prove far too limited and insubstantial. In this Essay, we seek to define and clarify the phenomenon of executive underreach, with special reference to the COVID-19 crisis; to outline ways in which such underreach may compromise constitutional governance and the international legal order; and to suggest a partial remedy.