Monday, January 31, 2011

New U.S. Code Title

As Barco 2.0 points out, there is a new title of the U.S. Code: Title 51, National and Commercial Space Programs. The Office of the Law Revision Counsel explains that the title does not establish new federal programs nor does it modify or repeal existing programs. Rather, the title is a re-organization of existing law. Provisions now in Title 51 had previously been in Title 15 (Commerce and Trade), Title 42 (The Public Health and Welfare), and Title 49 (Transportation). Those who established the U.S. Code titles in 1926 did not contemplate legislation related to space programs.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Dodd-Frank Legislative History

HeinOnline's new Taxation & Economic Reform in America library contains an extensive legislative history of the Dodd-Frank financial reform legislation enacted last year. The history, spanning 15 volumes and 146 documents, includes Congressional reports, floor debate, Presidential remarks, related bills, related hearings, Congressional Budget Office reports, and all versions of the bill.

Georgetown Law Library Blog provides links to numerous free resources related to the legislation including resources from Practising Law Institute, the American Bankers Association, and the Law Librarians' Society of Washington, D.C.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Where's the Beef?

From Above the Law (and many others):

What's really in that Taco Bell taco? A new class-action lawsuit alleges that it's not beef, at least not by the USDA's standards. The complaint, available here, alleges that the tacos are filled with a "taco meat filling" that contains, among many other things, "isolated oat product." Taco Bell has released a statement regarding the lawsuit.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Judge Posner's Bluebook Blues

Seventh Circuit Judge Richard Posner's review of the 19th edition of the Bluebook appears in the latest issue of the Yale Law Journal. The review, titled "The Bluebook Blues," is not favorable. Judge Posner writes that the Bluebook is "remote from the functional need for legal citation forms" and "serves obscure needs of the legal culture and its student subculture." An appendix to the article sets forth Posner's alternative citation scheme. See also the commentary from the Volokh Conspiracy.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Would You Be a Good Mediator?

Recommended (and declared scientifically valid!) by ADR Prof Blog:

The online profiler, Could You Be a Mediator? The profiler is a promotion for the USA Network's new series, Fairly Legal.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Ohio Election Case

A Hamilton County election law case involving provisional ballots in a juvenile court judge race is making its way through Ohio state and federal courts. It does not appear that the case has received a lot of national media attention, but as some have noted, it is conceivable that the case will reach the U.S. Supreme Court. Election Law @ Moritz provides resources relating to both the federal and state cases including court filings and analysis.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Kagan Reports for Duty

Apparently even Supreme Court Justices must report for jury duty (with a set of briefs to read during the down time of course).

Spoiler: she was not called to serve.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Buy/Sell/Rent Textbooks

Still looking for a textbook? Need a better buying/renting strategy for next time? Have textbooks that you want to sell? Here's an article that looks at various websites where users can buy, rent, sell, and compare prices. Also discussed is an e-textbook seller that offers free 7-day trials. As mentioned previously on these pages, West offers casebook rentals from its own site.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Best and Worst 25 Legal TV Shows

Found at Legal Skills Prof Blog:

National Jurist comments on the best and worst of television shows about law school and practice. From Petrocelli and Paper Chase to JAG and Judge Judy, the article can be found here.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Martin Luther King, Jr.

On this holiday honoring Martin Luther King, Jr., here is the text and audio of his 1964 Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech courtesy of The Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute, directed by Stanford history professor Clayborne Carson. The institute provides numerous online MLK resources including the King Online Encyclopedia and related Civil Rights Movement documents such as the December 1, 1955 arrest report of Rosa Parks.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Your Digital Legacy

Ever wonder what will happen to your information on Facebook, MySpace, or Twitter after you die? A website called The Digital Beyond addresses this question and others, looking at policies of various social media sites. Read the story and listen to the interview of the editors by National Public Radio. A lengthy piece on this topic also recently appeared in The New York Times Magazine entitled Cyberspace When You're Dead.


In related news, Oklahoma passed legislation granting estate executors control over a deceased's social media accounts. ABA Journal notes that the legislation conflicts with most social media user agreements.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Justice Kagan's First Opinion

The Supreme Court decided the case of Ransom v. FIA Card Services this week. Involving the question of a debtor in bankruptcy and his deductions for ownership of a car, the opinion is the first authored by Justice Elena Kagan, with only one dissent--Justice Scalia.

Read Justice Kagan's opinion here.

SCOTUSblog's case page for Ransom v. FIA Card Services, including briefs and opinion analysis, is here.

Naturally, there has been much discussion of this first opinion. Here are just a few articles:

The Volokh Conspiracy

The Wall Street Journal Law Blog

The Blog of LegalTimes

As well, there has been discussion about unanimity (or not) for debut opinions:

The Faculty Lounge

The Volokh Conspiracy

Concurring Opinions

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

1789 Copy of Constitution Used at House Swearing-In

Read about the 1789 copy of the U.S. Constitution recently used at the swearing in of newly-elected U.S. House of Representatives members. The Law Library of Congress provided the copy printed by prominent New York City printers Childs and Swaine. And yes, it is correct that one of the original 12 constitutional amendments proposed in 1789 was not ratified by three-fourths of the states until 1992 - one regarding changes to Congressional pay which eventually became the 27th Amendment. Here's a brief explanation from the Government Printing Office publication, The Constitution of the United States of America: Analysis and Interpretation.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Congressional FAQ

In Custodia Legis (the blog of the Law Librarians of Congress), has posted Tip of the Congressional Iceberg, covering some of the most commonly-asked questions they get at the beginning of a new Congress.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Top Environmental Law and Policy Issues

Vermont Law School recently released a list of the top ten environmental law and policy issues of 2010. Making the list are Congress' failure to enact climate change legislation, the worst oil spill in U.S. history, a Supreme Court decision concerning genetically modified crops, and the U.S. military going green. For each issue there is a brief explanation, a statement of the issue's significance, and a discussion of future implications. Thanks to Law Librarian Blog for its initial coverage.

Friday, January 07, 2011

ADA and the Bar Exam

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals recently released an opinion regarding the Americans with Disabilities Act and a legally blind bar exam taker. The appeals court upheld a district court decision requiring the National Conference of Bar Examiners to allow the use of assistive technology software by a UCLA law grad. See brief summaries from the Chronicle of Higher Education and Barco 2.0. See also the opinion.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Kentucky v. King

Next week, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the case of Kentucky v. King. The issue at hand is whether lawful police action can impermissibly create the very exigent circumstances that would preclude a warrantless entry.

Read the SCOTUSblog coverage here. After the case has been argued, audio will be available here.

From SCOTUSblog

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

My BlackBerry Is Not Working

Here's some British humor for these gadgety times, courtesy of former OSU Prof. Nancy Rapoport's blog.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

"Friending" the Judge

Last month (December 10), we discussed various opinions on the ethicality of "friending" potential adverse witnesses on social networking sites.

The Supreme Court of Ohio's disciplinary board has issued an opinion on the ethics of judges friending attorneys.

Among other things, the opinion advises that, although they may friend attorneys, judges:
  • Must maintain dignity with every comment and picture shared on the sites.
  • Should not view the pages of parties or witnesses to cases before them, and should not use the sites to obtain information about cases before them.
  • Should not make comments on their own or others' pages about matters before them.
  • Must not give legal advice on the social networking sites.

The full advisory opinion can be read here.