Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Supreme Court Oral Arguments

The Supreme Court has transcripts and audio recordings of oral arguments available to the public on its website. See here for a full description and here for recordings of recent cases.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Golfer Assumes Risk of "Errant Balls"

In affirming a summary judgment ruling in favor of a golf course, the Supreme Court of New Hampshire recently stated that "obstacles and errant balls" are inherent risks assumed by participants in the game of golf. The plaintiff was injured when his ball ricocheted off a four-foot high, four-inch wide yardage marker in the fairway and struck him in the eye. According to the court, the golf course's placement of the clearly visible yardage marker did not unreasonably increase the inherent risks of the game.

From: Legal Profession Blog

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Magna Carta - 800th Anniversary

The UK has commenced a five-year long celebration leading up to the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta. The document was sealed by King John in 1215 at Runnymede, a meadow along the River Thames west of London. The BBC has more details about the celebration as well as a brief history of King John and the Magna Carta. The U.S. National Archives has a 1297 version of the Magna Carta in its collection. The National Archives website includes a brief article on the Magna Carta and its American legacy.

From: Santa Clara Heafey Headnotes Blog

Monday, November 22, 2010

Originalism Blog

The University of San Diego School of Law's Center for the Study of Constitutional Originalism has launched The Originalism Blog. The introductory post indicates that there are currently no other blogs devoted to cataloging and reviewing developments in originalism. Blog entries will initially focus on SSRN papers, originalism posts on other blogs, and journalism pieces discussing originalism.

From: The Volokh Conspiracy

Friday, November 19, 2010

Live T.V. Broadcast of Prop. 8 Oral Argument

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals recently issued an order approving live television broadcast by C-SPAN of the upcoming Proposition 8 oral argument. The argument is scheduled for Monday, December 6 at 10:00 a.m. Pacific time. In an earlier order, the court set the hearing for two hours, the first hour for argument on appellants' standing to appeal and the second hour for argument on the constitutionality of Proposition 8. In August, U.S. District Judge Vaughn R. Walker struck down Proposition 8, California's ban of same-sex marriage.

From: SCOTUSblog

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Prison Libraries and the Question of Violent Books

From American Libraries:

Following speculation about the contents of the prison reading list of now-convicted murderer Steven Hayes, Connecticut State Senator John Kissel (R-Enfield) hopes that prison libraries will no longer carry any books containing violent imagery...

“It is important that we do our homework and establish a policy that not only keeps books like In Cold Blood out of the hands of violent criminals like Steven Hayes, but also a policy that will stand up to any legal challenges that are thrown its way,” Sen. Kissel stated October 6. “Common sense is on our side and I believe we will be able to establish an effective policy without having to pass new legislation.”


“Somebody that is moved to commit a crime has much more going on in their lives than simply having read a few comic books or a novel or In Cold Blood,” Deborah Caldwell-Stone, deputy executive director of the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom, told the AP October 3. The Prisoners’ Right to Read interpretation of ALA’s Library Bill of Rights acknowledges that prison librarians may be required by law “to prohibit material that instructs, incites, or advocates criminal action or bodily harm” but goes on to caution that “only those items that present an actual compelling and imminent risk to safety and security should be restricted.”

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Kentucky Bar Association Proposes Regulations for Attorney Communication on Facebook, MySpace

The Kentucky Bar Association has proposed regulations that would bring attorney communication on Facebook and MySpace within the bar association's advertising rules. See Law.com and the Louisville Courier-Journal.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Case of the Honeymoon Killer

The Law Library of Congress has published a blog entry about the case of an American man who pled guilty to manslaughter in Australia for killing his wife on their honeymoon. Following his 18-month prison term, the state of Alabama is now seeking to extradite him and indict him for murder. Before extradition procedures commence, Australian officials want assurances that prosecutors will not seek the death penalty. Click on the above link to read more.

Monday, November 15, 2010

UK Legislation

The freely available site legislation.gov.uk, maintained by the UK National Archives, is the new official home for UK legislation. The site will eventually merge the content currently available in The UK Statute Law Database and the Office of Public Sector Information website. These sites will remain active until all content is migrated. Users of the new site can browse or search for original and revised versions of most types of UK legislation. There is also an advanced search option. The site's coverage is extensive and includes legislation as early as the Statute of Marlborough, a 1267 Act of the English Parliament.

From: ZRG Blog

Friday, November 12, 2010

Wikipedia Public Policy Entries

The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that Wikipedia is collaborating with nine universities to increase the number of its articles on public policy issues. Public policy professors will have students contribute new articles and edit existing ones as part of their coursework. Universities participating in what Wikipedia calls its Public Policy Initiative include Harvard, Georgetown, George Washington, and Syracuse, among others.

From: Santa Clara Heafey Headnotes Blog

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veterans History Project

Established ten years ago by Public Law 106-380, the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress maintains the Veterans History Project, aimed at documenting the history of U.S. war veterans. The project website includes audio and video interviews, written memoirs, letters, diaries, and photographs. Click on the Experiencing War link for currently featured interviews.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

WestlawNext and Bluebook

Note: WestlawNext's Copy with Reference (Standard) feature does not yield Bluebook citation form 100% of the time (at least for now). Consult the Bluebook to verify.

From: Barco 2.0

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Bureau of Justice Statistics

Looking for a good source of criminal justice statistics? See the Bureau of Justice Statistics for information organized by topics like crime type, corrections, victims, courts and sentencing, employment and expenditure, and law enforcement. The Bureau is a component of the Office of Justice Programs in the U.S. Department of Justice.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Public Records Requests and Public Law School Clinics

A New Jersey appellate court recently released an opinion regarding the extent to which state public records law compelled Rutgers-Newark's environmental law clinic to disclose its records. The Chronicle of Higher Education has a story about the case. Also see the ABA Journal for an article on this topic (written prior to the release of the New Jersey appellate case).

From: Law Librarian Blog

Friday, November 05, 2010

NALP Findings on Law Firm Demographics

The National Association for Law Placement (NALP) recently released findings on law firm demographics showing that overall women and minority representation at law firms declined between 2009 and 2010. There was a slight increase in the percentage of women and minority partners while the percentage of women and minority associates slightly declined for the first time since NALP began compiling this information in the 1990s. According to NALP's press release, the overall decline is likely due to massive attorney layoffs during the 2008-2009 recession.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Congressional Timeline

The non-profit, non-partisan Dirksen Center has created an interactive Congressional Timeline covering the 73rd (March 9, 1933) Congress through the 111th (March 10, 2009). The timeline includes descriptions of major legislation enacted as well as historical photographs. See also the Center's Civil Rights Timeline.

From: Barco 2.0

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

A New Search Engine

On Monday, the startup Blekko released a beta version of a new search engine designed to filter out spam and untrustworthy sites from searches. Users can search within "slashtags" created by Blekko for information on various topics such as baseball, botany, and Buddhism. Searching within these slashtags yields sites determined to be of a high quality. Users can also create their own slashtags for searching across a selected group of sites, and share these slashtags with others. See the New York Times article.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Video Games and the First Amendment

On the day many Americans are exercising their right to vote, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral argument on an interesting First Amendment case. The case involves a challenge to the constitutionality of a California law prohibiting the sale or rental of violent video games to minors. As part of its argument day podcast series, SCOTUSblog has provided podcasts with two attorneys who filed briefs in the case.

Monday, November 01, 2010

The Mindful Lawyer

Over the weekend a group of lawyers, judges, law professors, law students, and others gathered at the University of California-Berkeley School of Law for a conference entitled "The Mindful Lawyer: Practices & Prospects for Law School, Bench, and Bar." According to organizers, this was the first national conference exploring the integration of meditation and contemplative practices with legal education and practice. In case you missed it, here is more information via the University at Buffalo Law School including a link to meditation resources. Video from the conference will eventually appear on the site.