Tagged: BU LAW

SCOTUS to review 2007 Arizona law

June 30th, 2010 in Law 0 comments

illegal_immigrants_road_signThe U.S. Supreme Court will review a 2007 Arizona immigration law that punishes employers who knowingly hire undocumented workers.  The Justice Department says the law violates a federal law barring states from imposing penalties on those who employ people not in the country legally.  Law Professor Susan Akram, an authority on immigration law, says the case is significant in that it tests whether such local measures can supersede federal immigration policy in regulating the employment of aliens.

“The case reflects the far-reaching consequences of states like Arizona ‘taking matters into their own hands,’ as the petition is jointly filed by private business, public, civil rights and immigration groups that rarely agree on immigration issues.”

Contact Susan Akram, 617-358-3060, smakram@bu.edu

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Brown gets reform bill changed

June 30th, 2010 in Banks 0 comments

Scott_BrownBy threatening to withhold his vote for the final compromise, Massachusetts GOP U.S. Senator Scott Brown (l.) got the Democratic negotiators on the financial regulatory reform bill to delete a $19 billion fee on large financial institutions to cover costs of implementing the new law.  Law Professor Cornelius Hurley, director of the Morin Center for Banking and Financial Law and a former counsel to the Fed Board of Governors, says the Dems missed the boat by labeling the charge a “tax,” making it vulnerable to read-meat ideological attacks.

“Pure and simple, their charge should be labeled for what it is — a return of the subsidy that taxpayers bestow on the too-big-to-fail banks every day by pledging to their creditors and depositors that if the big banks go bust we collectively will pick up the tab.  Senator Brown would have a difficult time refuting this framing of the discussion.”

Contact Cornelius Hurley, 617-353-5427, ckhurley@bu.edu

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Wall Street reform bill threatened

June 29th, 2010 in Banks 0 comments

Sen. Robert ByrdThe death of U.S. Senator Robert Byrd (r.) is threatening to delay passage of the sweeping Wall Street regulatory reform legislation until mid-July after it had been on track for House and Senate votes this week.  Law Professor Cornelius Hurley, a former counsel to the Federal Reserve Board of Governors and now director of the Morin Center for Banking and Financial Law, says the proposed legislation has been so weakened in compromise efforts to garner enough votes to pass it in the Senate that it might be worth starting over.

“Its demise would have at least two significant benefits: first, it would allow the next Congress to develop a more robust bill, particularly with respect to systemic risk; and, second, it would enable global regulators to press the ‘reset button’ on international harmonization efforts, a vision apparently abandoned by this Congress and this Administration.”

Contact Cornelius Hurley, 617-353-5427, ckhurley@bu.edu

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Financial regulatory bill agreed on

June 25th, 2010 in Law 0 comments

buy & sell keysHouse and Senate conferees finally worked out a compromise bill aimed at reshaping financial regulations to avoid another Crash of ’08, with a final vote set for next week and President Obama expected to sign it by July 4th.  As expected: many winners and losers.  One controversial provision gives the SEC authority to require stockbrokers to protect their clients’ interest when recommending investments, potentially subjecting brokers to the same fiduciary duty as financial advisers.  Law Professor Tamar Frankel, author of “Trust and Honesty: America’s Business Culture at a Crossroad” and authority on securities law, says it’s about time.

“It offers a chance and a challenge for the SEC to become the leader that it used to be from the 1940s until about 1980.  It is a chance to bring about a far more reliable financial system and to refocus on productivity rather than betting.”

Contact Tamar Frankel, 617-353-3773, tfrankel@bu.edu

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Deadline for financial regulatory reform

June 24th, 2010 in Banks 0 comments

bank genericCongress is down to its self-imposed deadline to come up with a financial regulatory reform bill, leaving some of the most controversial provisions — like how to deal with the trading of derivatives — to the final hours.  Law Professor Cornelius Hurley, director of the Morin Center for Banking and Financial Law and a former counsel to the Fed Board of Governors, says that a Congress that couldn’t bring itself to enact meaningful reform legislation during the height of the financial crisis now seems to be panicking to pass what he sees as deeply flawed bill.

“Having lost the moment to make bold changes, the legislative process has become all about the November elections and very little about sound public policy.  Congress may well meet today’s deadline, but we won’t be the better for it.”

Contact Cornelius Hurley, 617-353-5427, ckhurley@bu.edu

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SCOTUS on the "honest services" law

June 24th, 2010 in Law 0 comments

Supreme Court buildingThe Supreme Court restricted a favorite tool for pursuing corrupt politicians and self-dealing corporate chiefs, ruling that the law that makes it a crime to deprive the public or one’s employer of the “intangible right of honest services” can only be used where they could prove defendants accepted bribes or kickbacks.  It means, for instance, that Enron ex-CEO Jeff Skilling’s conviction on the “honest services” law is thrown out — but not the other charges he was convicted of.  Law Professor Elizabeth Nowicki, both a former SEC attorney and Wall Street lawyer, says the opinion finally gives some insight into newly appointed Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s view on business fraud.

“Surprisingly, she sided with the justices who struck down the ‘honest services’ doctrine for vindicating cases of overt fraud.  This is a troubling blow for those who care about protecting investors and business integrity.”

Contact Elizabeth Nowicki, 518-867-5355, enowicki@bu.edu

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Nebraska town targets illegals

June 23rd, 2010 in Law 0 comments

illegal immigrationWith about 57 percent of residents voting for it, the town of Fremont, Neb., has passed an ordinance aimed at cracking down on illegal immigration by banning hiring or renting property to illegals.  The town now faces a long legal fight similar to that embroiling the state of Arizona after it recently enacted a law targeting undocumented immigrants.  Law Professor Susan Akram, an authority on immigration law, says that in both cases voters and officials are pushing such measures to force the federal government to clamp down harder on illegal immigration in various ways.

“Unfortunately, it does not appear that public opinion has been influenced by the actual facts involved in passing such measures: that they are unlikely to be enforceable because they conflict with an area in which federal law pre-empts most state action; that they are going to be subject to serious and lengthy litigation; and that they are going to cost the states and localities significant resources without achieving the benefits they seek.”

Contact Susan Akaram, 617-358-3060, smakram@bu.edu

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Financial regulatory reform showdown

June 21st, 2010 in Banks 0 comments

stock market boardHouse and Senate conferees hope to wrap up this week the final version of financial regulatory reform legislation to send to President Obama, with chairmen Barney Frank and Chris Dodd delicately trying to compromises without losing votes for the overall package.  What do about the trading of derivatives – the complex financial packages which helped sink the economy – remains up in the air.  Law Professor Cornelius Hurley, director of the Morin Center for Banking and Financial Law and a former counsel to the Fed Board of Governors, says the proposal currently in the Senate version but objected to by both the House negotiators and the White House, wouldn’t be the best for taxpayers fearing another bailout but would be better than nothing.

“If derivatives trading is such a socially useful and profitable activity ($23 billion in revenue among the five banks that dominate the market) why can’t it exist outside of bank holding companies? The answer to the question is that it could exist in a different, nonbank setting, but, without the backing of the taxpayers, the activity would have to shed its casino-like features.”

Contact  Cornelius Hurley, 617-353-5427, ckhurley@bu.edu

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