Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Supreme Court Series on PBS

A series on the history of the U.S. Supreme Court begins tonight (1/31) on PBS. PBS describes the four-part series as "an unprecedented series exploring the history, impact and drama of America's highest court."

From beSpacific.

Update (2/1): It looks like the reviews for the series are generally positive; however, not everybody is a fan. I didn't watch the episode last night, but I plan to take a look at it over the weekend (I recorded it).

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Top 10 Court Websites

The IT firm Justice Served (JS) has released its Top 10 Court Websites list. The criteria used by JS in the rankings include court functionality, web functionality and extras. The list includes the following:
  1. Supreme Court of Singapore
  2. Superior Court of California, Los Angeles County
  3. Federal Court of Australia
  4. Nebraska Workers' Compensation Court
  5. Iowa Judicial Branch
  6. U.S. District Court, District of Nevada
  7. Connecticut Judicial Branch Law Libraries
  8. Superior Court of California, County of Napa
  9. District of Columbia Courts
  10. Brevard County Clerk of the Court, Florida
It is possible to quibble with the evaluation methodology of any ranking of this nature, but the list provides good examples of the kind of online access that courts need to be providing to parties, attorneys and the general public. A website that I use a great deal, the Ohio Supreme Court website, is very good and continues to improve. All courts should be moving in this direction.

From Robert J. Ambrogi at Law.com Blog Network.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

State of the Union Address

Last night's (1/23) State of the Union address is available on this page from GPO Access. The page also contains all State of the Union addresses going back to 1992.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Top 10 State Legislature Policy Issue Forecast

The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) has issued its annual Top 10 Policy Issue Forecast for 2007. According to NCSL, the top issues facing state legislatures in 2007 will be:
  1. Immigration
  2. Homeland security and standardized ID cards
  3. Budget pressures
  4. Health insurance
  5. Sexual offenders and predators
  6. Energy and environment
  7. Minimum wage
  8. Higher education reform
  9. Privacy
  10. Obesity

The NSCL identifies several others issues such as same-sex marriage and stem-cell research as "simmering and emerging issues."

From Library Boy.

Monday, January 22, 2007

USA.gov

"The official web portal of the U.S. government--previously known as FirstGov.gov--is now USA.gov... We changed our name because, although FirstGov.gov brought in more than 80 million visitors last year, surveys indicated that the name recognition for "FirstGov.gov" was very low. USA.gov provides a simpler, more intuitive expression of what the web portal represents. In fact, last year, more than 600,000 people typed "usa.gov" when searching for United States government information."

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Election Results Archive

beSpacific brought the Election Results Archive (ERA) to our attention a few months ago. For thsoe of you who may not have checked it out yet:
"The Election Results Archive (ERA) is a collection of electronic files containing data on election results from around the world. While the growth of democracy around the world has led to increased demand for information on electoral results, accurate election-related data are not easily or widely available. This online database provides researchers, policy-makers, scholars, and others interested in elections with information on over 900 elections from around the world...You can search: By country, year of election, and type of election - multiple search is possible; By free-text search - this will search the content of each election file, including names of political parties, politicians, etc."

Monday, January 08, 2007

Bush to Name Fred Fielding as White House Counsel

From the WSJ Law Blog:

Time magazine is reporting that President Bush plans to name Fred Fielding, a former White House counsel in the Reagan administration, as his top lawyer. Fielding, a partner at D.C.’s Wiley, Rein & Fielding, will succeed Harriet Miers, who resigned last week. A source briefed on the announcement told Time that Fielding is “the ultimate Washington lawyer-insider — he’s the man to see.” The source added: “He’s the guy who helps you defend your position, stick to your principles, but tries to work out a reasonable compromise. He’s highly partisan, but he’s highly regarded by everyone.”

Time writes: “Fielding was persuaded to leave his lucrative position as a senior partner in the Washington law firm of Wiley, Rein & Fielding with “an appeal to patriotism” and an assurance that he would not just be the President’s lawyer but would be deeply involved in Congressional strategy and negotiations,” the official said.

Fielding (Gettysburg, Virginia Law) served as Counsel to President Reagan from 1981 to 1986, deputy White House counsel from 1972 to 1974 and associate White House counsel from 1970 to 1972.

Stanford Class Actions Clearinghouse Year in Review 2006

beSpacific brought Stanford's Class Actions Clearinghouse to our attention. From beSpacific:
"The Securities Class Action Clearinghouse provides detailed information relating to the prosecution, defense, and settlement of federal class action securities fraud litigation. The Clearinghouse maintains an Index of Filings of 2461 issuers that have been named in federal class action securities fraud lawsuits since passage of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. The Clearinghouse also contains copies of more than 18,800 complaints, briefs, filings, and other litigation-related materials filed in these cases."
View the Press Release or download the Full Report.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

FEC to Launch Web Tool for Searching Advisory Opinions

A recent Federal Election Commission (FEC) press release indicated that the "...FEC was provided with a demonstration of a new Internet tool for searching Advisory Opinions which is scheduled for launch on the Commission’s website in February."

From beSpacific.

THOMAS Releases New Features in Beta

THOMAS, the legislative information system from the Library of Congress, has made several new features available in beta versions. The new features, described here, include:
  • Search all of THOMAS
  • Browse Current Legislation by Sponsor
  • Browse Current Legislation by Topic
  • Guided Search for Presidential Nominations
From beSpacific.

A President's Legacy

National Public Radio (NPR) has assembled a collection of material related the presidency and funeral of Gerald Ford, who died in December. A President's Legacy contains audio files, a timeline, analysis and other information.

From Librarians' Internet Index.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

2006 Year-End Report on the Federal Judiciary

The Chief Justice's 2006 Year-End Report on the Federal Judiciary is now available. Chief Justice Roberts discusses only one issue, the need to raise the pay of federal judges - an issue he call a "constitutional crisis."