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Full-Text Articles in Law

Obsolescence: The Intractable Production Problem In Contract Law, Alan Schwartz, Robert E. Scott Jan 2021

Obsolescence: The Intractable Production Problem In Contract Law, Alan Schwartz, Robert E. Scott

Faculty Scholarship

Contract law has long suffered from an institutional problem: Which legal institution can best create an efficient law for commercial contracts that can overcome "obsolescence” – the persistence of rules that only solve yesterday’s contracting problems? Until the early 20th century, contract law was largely created by common law courts. The law's default rules were efficient when created and courts updated them as commerce changed. But there were few rules and the common law process is slow. In response, the 20th century saw public and private lawmaking bodies enact commercial statutes in discrete legal areas such as secured credit ...


Professor Justice Ginsburg: Justice Ginsburg's Love Of Procedure And Jurisdiction, Zachary D. Tripp, Gillian E. Metzger Jan 2021

Professor Justice Ginsburg: Justice Ginsburg's Love Of Procedure And Jurisdiction, Zachary D. Tripp, Gillian E. Metzger

Faculty Scholarship

As two of Justice Ginsburg’s former clerks, we are keenly aware of the popular image of the Justice as the “Notorious RBG”: the champion of women’s rights and the forceful dissenter, strongly disputing the Roberts Court’s conservative turn and articulating the case for the liberal New Deal constitutional vision, with its commitment to protecting individual rights and broad view of national power.

This she did, powerfully and eloquently. But to understand Justice Ginsburg – the person, the Justice, and her jurisprudence – it is also critical to account for her role as the Supreme Court’s leading civil procedure ...


The Three Permissions: Presidential Removal And The Statutory Limits Of Agency Indepence, Jane Manners, Lev Menand Jan 2021

The Three Permissions: Presidential Removal And The Statutory Limits Of Agency Indepence, Jane Manners, Lev Menand

Faculty Scholarship

Seven words stand between the President and the heads of over a dozen “independent agencies”: inefficiency, neglect of duty, and malfea­sance in office (INM). The President can remove the heads of these agencies for INM and only INM. But neither Congress nor the courts have defined INM and hence the extent of agency independence. Stepping into this void, some proponents of presidential power argue that INM allows the President to dismiss officials who do not follow presidential directives. Others contend that INM is unconstitutional because it prevents Presidents from fulfilling their duty to take care that the laws are ...


Corporate Control, Dual Class, And The Limits Of Judicial Review, Zohar Goshen, Assaf Hamdani Jan 2020

Corporate Control, Dual Class, And The Limits Of Judicial Review, Zohar Goshen, Assaf Hamdani

Faculty Scholarship

Companies with a dual-class structure have increasingly been involved in high-profile battles over the reallocation of control rights. Google, for instance, sought to entrench its founders’ control by recapital­izing from a dual-class into a triple-class structure. The CBS board, in contrast, attempted to dilute its controlling shareholder by distributing a voting stock dividend that would empower minority shareholders to block a merger it perceived to be harmful. These cases raise a fundamental question at the heart of corporate law: What is the proper judicial response to self-dealing claims regarding reallocations of corporate control rights?

This Article shows that the ...


The Separation Of Platforms And Commerce, Lina M. Khan Jan 2019

The Separation Of Platforms And Commerce, Lina M. Khan

Faculty Scholarship

A handful of digital platforms mediate a growing share of online commerce and communications. By structuring access to markets, these firms function as gatekeepers for billions of dollars in economic activity. One feature dominant digital platforms share is that they have inte­grated across business lines such that they both operate a platform and market their own goods and services on it. This structure places domi­nant platforms in direct competition with some of the businesses that de­pend on them, creating a conflict of interest that platforms can exploit to further entrench their dominance, thwart competition, and stifle innovation ...


Will Artificial Intelligence Eat The Law? The Rise Of Hybrid Social-Ordering Systems, Tim Wu Jan 2019

Will Artificial Intelligence Eat The Law? The Rise Of Hybrid Social-Ordering Systems, Tim Wu

Faculty Scholarship

Software has partially or fully displaced many former human activities, such as catching speeders or flying airplanes, and proven itself able to surpass humans in certain contests, like Chess and Jeopardy. What are the prospects for the displacement of human courts as the centerpiece of legal decision-making? Based on the case study of hate speech control on major tech platforms, particularly on Twitter and Facebook, this Essay suggests displacement of human courts remains a distant prospect, but suggests that hybrid machine – human systems are the predictable future of legal adjudication, and that there lies some hope in that combination, if ...


Law's Halo And The Moral Machine, Bert I. Huang Jan 2019

Law's Halo And The Moral Machine, Bert I. Huang

Faculty Scholarship

How will we assess the morality of decisions made by artificial intelli­gence – and will our judgments be swayed by what the law says? Focusing on a moral dilemma in which a driverless car chooses to sacrifice its passenger to save more people, this study offers evidence that our moral intuitions can be influenced by the presence of the law.


Asymmetric Constitutional Hardball, Joseph Fishkin, David E. Pozen Jan 2018

Asymmetric Constitutional Hardball, Joseph Fishkin, David E. Pozen

Faculty Scholarship

Many have argued that the United States' two major political parties have experienced "asymmetric polarization" in recent decades: The Republican Party has moved significantly further to the right than the Democratic Party has moved to the left. The practice of constitutional hardball, this Essay argues, has followed a similar – and causally related – trajectory. Since at least the mid-1990s, Republican officeholders have been more likely than their Democratic counterparts to push the constitutional envelope, straining unwritten norms of governance or disrupting established constitutional understandings. Both sides have done these things. But contrary to the apparent assumption of some legal scholars, they ...


Beyond The Bosses' Constitution: The First Amendment And Class Entrenchment, Jedediah S. Purdy Jan 2018

Beyond The Bosses' Constitution: The First Amendment And Class Entrenchment, Jedediah S. Purdy

Faculty Scholarship

The Supreme Court’s “weaponized” First Amendment has been its strongest antiregulatory tool in recent decades, slashing campaign-finance regulation, public-sector union financing, and pharmaceutical regulation, and threatening a broader remit. Along with others, I have previously criticized these developments as a “new Lochnerism.” In this Essay, part of a Columbia Law Review Symposium, I press beyond these criticisms to diagnose the ideological outlook of these opinions and to propose an alternative. The leading decisions of the antiregulatory First Amendment often associate free speech with a vision of market efficiency; but, I argue, closer to their heart is antistatist fear of ...


The Lopsided Harms Of Reproductive Negligence, Carol Sanger Jan 2018

The Lopsided Harms Of Reproductive Negligence, Carol Sanger

Faculty Scholarship

The concept of reproductive negligence is probably not unfamiliar to men and women of child-bearing or child-begetting age. Many a restless hour has been spent worrying about the consequences of a skipped pill, an abandoned condom, or some other form of contraceptive carelessness. The general rule in such circumstances is that the injured party has no recourse in tort against a sexual partner whose negligence resulted, say, in a pregnancy. (Interestingly, liability may arise as the result of the negligent transmission of herpes.) To be sure, not all reproductive misconduct is negligent; some is intentional, as when a sexual partner ...


The Search For An Egalitarian First Amendment, Jeremy K. Kessler, David E. Pozen Jan 2018

The Search For An Egalitarian First Amendment, Jeremy K. Kessler, David E. Pozen

Faculty Scholarship

Over the past decade, the Roberts Court has handed down a series of rulings that demonstrate the degree to which the First Amendment can be used to thwart economic and social welfare regulation – generating widespread accusations that the Court has created a "new Lochner." This introduction to the Columbia Law Review's Symposium on Free Expression in an Age of Inequality takes up three questions raised by these developments: Why has First Amendment law become such a prominent site for struggles over socioeconomic inequality? Does the First Amendment tradition contain egalitarian elements that could be recovered? And what might a ...


Al Hill: A Grandmaster Has Passed, Henry Paul Monaghan Jan 2017

Al Hill: A Grandmaster Has Passed, Henry Paul Monaghan

Faculty Scholarship

Al Hill died on December 5, 2015 at the age of 98, outlasting most of his contemporaries. Al had taken senior status when I came to Columbia Law School, and I succeeded him in the course on federal courts. The little I saw of Al left me with the firm impression of a warm, gentle, affable, caring human being. I did, however, know Al’s work quite thoroughly. And while a memorial is no occasion for an extended review of Al’s long and distinguished academic career, I would like to draw attention to a particularly shining period: Al’s ...


Contracting Out Of The Fiduciary Duty Of Loyalty: An Empirical Analysis Of Corporate Opportunity Waivers, Gabriel Rauterberg, Eric L. Talley Jan 2017

Contracting Out Of The Fiduciary Duty Of Loyalty: An Empirical Analysis Of Corporate Opportunity Waivers, Gabriel Rauterberg, Eric L. Talley

Faculty Scholarship

For centuries, the duty of loyalty has been the hallowed centerpiece of fiduciary obligation, widely considered one of the few “mandatory” rules of corporate law. That view, however, is no longer true. Beginning in 2000, Delaware dramatically departed from tradition by granting incorporated entities a statutory right to waive a crucial part of the duty of loyalty: the corporate opportunities doctrine. Other states have since followed Delaware’s lead, similarly permitting firms to execute “corporate opportunity waivers.” Surprisingly, more than fifteen years into this reform experiment, no study has attempted to either systematically measure the corporate response to these reforms ...


Understanding Recent Spikes And Longer Trends In American Murders, Jeffery Fagan, Daniel Richman Jan 2017

Understanding Recent Spikes And Longer Trends In American Murders, Jeffery Fagan, Daniel Richman

Faculty Scholarship

On September 7, 2016, four of the nation’s newspapers of record weighed in on the connected crises in crime and policing. The New York Times revealed the tensions between the Mayor’s office in Chicago and several community and professional groups over a plan to overhaul Chicago’s police disciplinary board – a plan developed in the wake of the shooting of an unarmed teenager, Laquan McDonald, and the release of a video of that killing. The Wall Street Journal related a vigorous defense of New York City’s “broken windows” policing strategy – a strategy that has been a recurring ...


Jack Greenberg: Living Greatly In The Law, John C. Coffee Jr. Jan 2017

Jack Greenberg: Living Greatly In The Law, John C. Coffee Jr.

Faculty Scholarship

In 1886, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., then a Professor at Harvard Law School, gave a talk to the students of Harvard College, which included a much-quoted line: “I say – and I say no longer with any doubt – that a man may live greatly in the law…. [H]e may wreak himself upon life, may drink the bitter cup of heroism, may wear his heart out after the unattainable.”

Holmes set a high standard for greatness. It was not enough for him that a lawyer succeed in “the greedy watch for clients and practice of shopkeepers’ arts,” but rather he had ...


Tribute To Arthur Murphy, Peter L. Strauss Jan 2017

Tribute To Arthur Murphy, Peter L. Strauss

Faculty Scholarship

Columbia Law School’s postwar class of 1948, perhaps more than any other, has brought remarkable distinction to both the school and the law. Marvin Frankel, Jack Greenberg, Jack Kernochan, Arthur Murphy, and Jack Weinberg have all both taught here and acted with enormous distinction an d success in the outside world of law – a grouping not so often to be found in the legal academy these days. Arthur Murphy, whom we celebrate here, moved between these worlds with ease: first as an associate at Columbia in 1949; then years in private practice and with the Department of Justice; then ...


Perpetual Evolution: A School's-Focused Public Law Litigation Model For Our Day, James S. Liebman Jan 2017

Perpetual Evolution: A School's-Focused Public Law Litigation Model For Our Day, James S. Liebman

Faculty Scholarship

In celebrating the monumental accomplishments of the new form of public law litigation that Constance Baker Motley and her colleagues pioneered, this Essay reinterprets their paradigm-shifting body of work in a manner that obliges the current generation of civil rights advocates to change direction. In the hopes of reengaging the affirmative force of constitutional litigation after decades in which it has waned, this Essay argues that the central lesson to be derived from Motley’s generation lies not in the mode of public law litigation it pioneered but in the design of that litigation in the image of the dominant ...


Principal Costs: A New Theory For Corporate Law And Governance, Zohar Goshen, Richard Squire Jan 2017

Principal Costs: A New Theory For Corporate Law And Governance, Zohar Goshen, Richard Squire

Faculty Scholarship

The problem of managerial agency costs dominates debates in corporate law. Many leading scholars advocate reforms that would reduce agency costs by forcing firms to allocate more control to shareholders. Such proposals disregard the costs that shareholders avoid by delegating control to managers and voluntarily restricting their own control rights. This Essay introduces principal-cost theory, which posits that each firm’s optimal governance structure minimizes the sum of principal costs, produced when investors exercise control, and agent costs, produced when managers exercise control. Both principal costs and agent costs can arise from honest mistakes (which generate competence costs) and from ...


The Power To Wage War Successfully, Matthew C. Waxman Jan 2017

The Power To Wage War Successfully, Matthew C. Waxman

Faculty Scholarship

A century ago and in the midst of American involvement in World War I, future Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes delivered one of the most influential lectures on the Constitution in wartime. In it he uttered his famous axiom that “the power to wage war is the power to wage war successfully.” That statement continues to echo in modern jurisprudence, though the background and details of the lecture have not previously been explored in detail. Drawing on Hughes’s own research notes, this Article examines his 1917 formulation and shows how Hughes presciently applied it to the most pressing war ...


Causing Copyright, Shyamkrishna Balganesh Jan 2017

Causing Copyright, Shyamkrishna Balganesh

Faculty Scholarship

Copyright protection attaches to an original work of expression the moment it is created and fixed in a tangible medium. Yet modern copyright law contains no viable mechanism by which to examine whether someone is causally responsible for the creation and fixation of the work. Whenever the issue of causation arises, copyright law relies on its preexisting doctrinal devices to resolve the issue, in the process cloaking its intuitions about causation in altogether extraneous considerations. This Article argues that copyright law embodies an unstated yet distinct theory of authorial causation, which connects the element of human agency to a work ...


Tribute To Arthur Murphy, Michael I. Sovern Jan 2017

Tribute To Arthur Murphy, Michael I. Sovern

Faculty Scholarship

Students remember Arthur Murphy as a warm, caring teacher with a great sense of humor, a man who helped them learn and grow. Our colleagues admired and respected his scholarship and his commitment to our school. While I shared all of that, to me, most importantly, Arthur was an empathetic friend for more than half a century. And this despite the fact that he had two strikes against him – he was a Harvard graduate and a Boston Red Sox fan.

Arthur was a member of what Tom Brokaw called “The Greatest Generation.” After fighting in World War II, he enrolled ...


In Memoriam: Judge Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum, Gerard E. Lynch Jan 2017

In Memoriam: Judge Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum, Gerard E. Lynch

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


Equality Law Pluralism, Olatunde C.A. Johnson Jan 2017

Equality Law Pluralism, Olatunde C.A. Johnson

Faculty Scholarship

This contribution to the Constance Baker Motley Symposium examines the future of civil rights reform at a time in which longstanding limitations of the antidiscrimination law framework, as well as newer pressures such as the rise of economic populism, are placing stress on the traditional antidiscrimination project. This Essay explores the openings that nevertheless remain in public law for confronting persistent forms of exclusion and makes the case for greater pluralism in equality law frameworks. In particular, this Essay examines innovations that widen the range of regulatory levers for promoting inclusion, such as competitive grants, tax incentives, contests for labor ...


Tribute To Alfred Hill, Harold Edgar Jan 2017

Tribute To Alfred Hill, Harold Edgar

Faculty Scholarship

Alfred Hill, a great legal scholar and one of Columbia’s treasures for nearly 50 years, died in 2015 at the age of 98. The Columbia Law Review honored him on his retirement from active teaching in 1991, but Al continued to write important work even into the twenty-first century.


The Early Years Of First Amendment Lochnerism, Jeremy K. Kessler Jan 2016

The Early Years Of First Amendment Lochnerism, Jeremy K. Kessler

Faculty Scholarship

From Citizens United to Hobby Lobby, civil libertarian challenges to the regulation of economic activity are increasingly prevalent. Critics of this trend invoke the specter of Lochner v. New York. They suggest that the First Amendment, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, and other legislative "conscience clauses" are being used to resurrect the economically libertarian substantive due process jurisprudence of the early twentieth century. Yet the worry that aggressive judicial enforcement of the First Amendment might erode democratic regulation of the economy and enhance the economic power of private actors has a long history. As this Article demonstrates, anxieties about such ...


In Memoriam – Marvin A. Chirelstein, Barbara Aronstein Black, Stephen B. Cohen, Michael J. Graetz, Roberta Romano, Carol Sanger, Robert E. Scott Jan 2016

In Memoriam – Marvin A. Chirelstein, Barbara Aronstein Black, Stephen B. Cohen, Michael J. Graetz, Roberta Romano, Carol Sanger, Robert E. Scott

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


The Equipoise Effect, Bert Huang Jan 2016

The Equipoise Effect, Bert Huang

Faculty Scholarship

This Essay explores an overlooked way to use the remedy of disgorgement in torts, contracts, and regulation. It begins with a reminder that disgorging net gains does not force the liable actor to take a loss; by definition, it allows him to break even. As a matter of incentives, it places him in a sort of equipoise. This equipoise effect has a logical upshot that might seem counterintuitive: Substituting disgorgement for any other remedy, part of the time, can emulate the incentive effect of using that other remedy all of the time.

In theory, then, courts or regulators can sometimes ...


Rule Originalism, Jamal Greene Jan 2016

Rule Originalism, Jamal Greene

Faculty Scholarship

Constitutional rules are norms whose application depends on an interpreter's identification of a set of facts rather than on her exercise of practical judgment. This Article argues that constitutional interpreters in the United States tend to resolve ambiguity over constitutional rules by reference to originalist sources and tend to resolve uncertainty over the scope of constitutional standards by reference to nonoriginalist sources. This positive claim unsettles the frequent assumption that the Constitution's more specifw or structural provisions support straightforward interpretive inferences. Normatively, this Article offers a partial defense of what it calls "rule originalism," grounded in the fact ...


Remembering Harvey Goldschmid, David M. Schizer Jan 2016

Remembering Harvey Goldschmid, David M. Schizer

Faculty Scholarship

For me, Harvey Goldschmid and Columbia are inextricably connected. I can't think of one without the other. Harvey discovered his passion for learning as a student at the college and the law school. Only five years after graduating, Harvey returned to Columbia to join our faculty, serving for four and a half decades. When we add this time to his time as a student, it's fifty-two years. That's over 70% of his life.

But Harvey's connection to Columbia was not just long; it was deep. I can't count the number of graduates over the years ...


Between Scylla And Charybdis: Taxing Corporations Or Shareholders (Or Both), David M. Schizer Jan 2016

Between Scylla And Charybdis: Taxing Corporations Or Shareholders (Or Both), David M. Schizer

Faculty Scholarship

The United States taxes both corporations and shareholders on corporate profits. In principle, the United States could rely on only one of these taxes, as many commentators have suggested. Although choosing to tax the corporation or its owners may seem like taking money from one pocket or the other, this Essay emphasizes a key difference: These taxes prompt different planning. Relying on one or the other mitigates some distortions and leaks, while exacerbating others. As a result, choosing which to impose is like navigating between Scylla and Charybdis.

In response, this Essay recommends using both taxes for three reasons. First ...