October 1, 2005
Not Just Any Old Listserv Message
This isn't the type of listserv message one routinely receives:
IF HURRICANES WEREN'T ENOUGH TO WORRY ABOUT: There is a growing concern among astronomers that an asteroid due to buzz Earth on April 13, 2029 could pass through what is called a "keyhole", causing it to alter its course and strike the planet seven years later. A keyhole is a gravitational "sweet spot" which is about 2,000 feet wide. If predictions are correct and the asteroid, known as "99942 Apophis", passes through the most probable keyhole at the time, then its orbit will shift in such a way to bring it back on a collision course with Earth in the year 2036. Diverting the asteroid’s course by as little as a half mile before the year 2029 would likely be enough to alleviate the threat. NASA officials are studying the proposed diversion, which is well within the range of current technology to do.
Source: Compu-Weather listserv
September 30, 2005
Beyond DeLay: The 13 Most Corrupt Members of Congress
The Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) has released a 93-page report entitled Beyond DeLay: The 13 Most Corrupt Members of Congress, documenting the egregious, unethical and possibly illegal activities of the most tainted Members of Congress. For the first time, CREW has compiled and analyzed all these members’ transgressions in tandem with the federal laws and congressional rules they may have violated."
Ron Jones, Unv Cin Law Lib
Editor's Note: This report was released before a Texas grand jury charged Rep. Tom DeLay and two political associates with conspiracy in a campaign finance scheme.
The Clerkship Notification Blog
The Clerkship Notification Blog's goal is to distribute information about the clerkship notification processs. This, however, will only be a useful resource if lots of law students participate. Help get the word out.
Judicial Conference Supports Citing Unpublished Opinions
The Legal Time's Tony Mauro reports on the Judicial Conference of the United States approval of new Rule 32.1 which permits the citation in briefs of opinions, orders, or other judicial dispositions that have been designated "not for publication," "non-precedential," or the like. The rule, which must be approved by SCOTUS and transmitted to Congress, would only apply to decisions issued on or after January 1, 2007.
NBER Report on the Law and Economics of Antidiscrimination Law
The Law and Economics of Antidiscrimination Law by John J. Donohue III - #11631
Abstract: This essay provides an overview of the central theoretical law and economics insights concerning antidiscrimination law across a variety of contexts including discrimination in labor markets, housing markets, consumer purchases, and policing. The different models of discrimination based on animus, statistical discrimination, and cartel exploitation are analyzed for both race and sex discrimination. I explore the theoretical arguments for prohibiting private discriminatory conduct and illustrates the tensions that exist between concerns for liberty and equality. I also discuss the critical point that one cannot automatically attribute observed disparities in various economic or social outcomes to discrimination, and illustrate the complexities in establishing the existence of discrimination. The major empirical findings showing the effectiveness of federal law in the first decade after passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act are contrasted with the generally less optimistic findings from subsequent antidiscrimination interventions.
National Research Council Work on Electronic Voting
Asking the Right Questions About Electronic Voting, Richard Celeste, Dick Thornburgh, and Herbert Lin, Editors, Committee on a Framework for Understanding Electronic Voting, National Research Council. Prepublication version available online.
September 29, 2005
Roberts Sworn In as Chief Justice After 78-22 Confirmation Vote
Here's the Washington Post story.
Here are the nay-sayers:
William Catron Jones, 1926-2005
On September 16, 2005, the Chinese law community lost one of its most prominent members, William Catron Jones. His name may not be recognized by most law librarians but foreign, comparative, and international law librarians specializing in Chinese law will recognize it.
Don Clark has compiled a number of remembrances from colleagues of Professor Jones on Chinese Law Prof Blog.
Oops! Yesterday was International Right to Know Day
Roll Over Foundation and Tell Aspen the News
Jimmy Wales of the Wikimedia foundation has started a wiki version of textbooks. The idea is to create an open source curriculum in various fields of study. The concepts are explored in a CNET news article.
The page where there are existing books is at http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Main_Page. There are a number of law books in the set, specifically Contracts Law, Contracts Examples, Database Law, Remedies Law, Canadian law, and Property Law in Australia. While not exactly topics that will make West, Foundation, Lexis, Aspen, or even Nolo quake in their boots about market share, it is a development would monitoring.
Mark Giangrande, DePaul Law Library
Roberts Done Deal, Dworkin Makes Predications
It's Ronald Dworkin's turn to put "Judge Roberts on Trial". Dworkin predicts that Roberts will uphold Roe because to do otherwise would be detrimental to the Republican Party.
Overruling Roe would suddenly make abortion again an urgent national political issue for many millions of women who have come to take for granted the right that women have enjoyed for two generations and who now vote to express their views on other issues, often for Republicans. Overruling Roe would not be helpful to the national Republican Party.
Of far greater concern for Dworkin is where the future Chief Justice will stand on war powers:
The danger is greater, in my view, that Roberts will join with the other conservative justices in extending the President's power to conduct his war against terrorism without regard for either international law or the traditional rights of prisoners. During the hearings he insisted that the Bill of Rights remains in full force during a war, and he seemed to reject Chief Justice Rehnquist's famous comment that though the laws are not silent in times of war they speak in a quieter voice. Yet he emphasized the president's powers as commander in chief and suggested, when Senator Patrick Leahy asked him whether the president had the power to order the torture of prisoners, that that depended on whether Congress was "supportive" of the president's action.
Guide to Free & Fee Based Appellate Court Briefs Online
LLRX.com has published an excellent guide to sources of Free and Fee Based Appellate Court Briefs Online.
This guide is an attempt to provide researchers with the ability to quickly find appellate court briefs. Part one lists sites where free copies can be obtained of federal and state appellate court briefs. Part two lists sites where briefs can be obtained for a price.
Ron Jones, Univ of Cincinnati Law Library
On Law Readers
CNN has a piece on this alternative to law school. See Who says a lawyer needs law school? The article mentions that Washington is the only state where law readers pass the bar at a higher rate than traditional students. What does that mean? No stats are supplied. [1 out of 1 = 100%]
A Quick Look at DiscoveryResources.org
DiscoveryResources.org, offers much needed resources for legal professionals who seek to understand the many new technological and legal challenges associated with electronic discovery. This is the premiere web destination for electronic evidence in litigation.
Shared Computer Toolkit for Windows XP
Version 1.0 of the Microsoft Shared Computer Toolkit for Windows XP is available as a free download. It is designed to safeguard and manage public computers running Windows XP like those in schools, libraries and Internet cafes.
September 28, 2005
Office 2003 Service Pack 2 Now Available
Microsoft Office 2003 Service Pack 2 (SP2) contains significant security enhancements, stability improvements, and performance improvements. Some of the fixes that are included with Office 2003 SP2 were previously released in separate updates. Office 2003 SP2 combines the previously released fixes into one update.
Mark Giangrande, DePaul Law Library
Tax Court Recharacterizes Matthew Bender Reorganization as Taxable Sale to Reed Elsevier
The Tax Court held yesterday, in Tribune Co. v. Commissioner, 125 T.C. No. 8 (9/27/05), that the divestiture of the Matthew Bender Publishing Co., and its 50% interest in Shepard's-McGraw Hill, was not a tax-free reorganization and instead was a taxable sale to Reed Elsevier for $1.375 billion. TaxProf Blog has the details.
Live Webcast Today - Final Acts: A Guide to Preserving the Records of Truth Commissions
Final Acts, featuring Trudy Huskamp, is a guide to questions of law, politics, physical preservation, and access regarding materials generated by the 20 truth commissions that have completed the work of examining and reporting on the abuses of deposed regimes. Presented by the Wilson Center.
Wednesday, September 28
4:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. eastern
Can the Paralysis of Legal Education be Overcome?
Clinical Legal Education Association (CLEA) is on a mission, namely to change the way law schools educate their students because they are not adequately preparing most students for practice. (As a former law firm librarian, I have to agree.) This mission is reflected in the Association's Draft of Best Practices for Legal Education (revised draft dated Aug 31, 2005); Executive Summary and Key Recommendations
What needs to be changed? Overvaluing scholarship, and changing the teaching methods of law profs.
The core of the problem is that “[l]aw professors not only have no incentive to change their teaching methods, they have no incentive to change at all.” Most law schools are faculty-centered, not student-centered, and the law faculties control what they teach and how they teach it. Law teachers in the United States are reasonably well paid, have relatively light teaching loads (9 to 12 credit hours per semester), have little contact with students outside of class, grade on the basis of one final exam at the end of the semester (an exam that individual teachers prepare and grade with no oversight), and have their summers off, often with stipends to write law review articles. There is very little accountability, especially after a law teacher receives tenure (typically in the sixth year of teaching). There are very few incentives to engage in curricular innovations or to develop excellent teaching skills. (citation omitted)
Bull's eye! Shrug. So what...
UPDATE: See also A Practical Manifesto for Legal Education: Law schools are professional schools, so let's teach these students something by Stephen J. Friedman, Dean and Professor of Law at Pace University Law School. (Published in Legal Times)
A year ago, I became dean of Pace Law School after a career in law practice, government and corporate life. What I found throughout legal education surprised me. From the point of view of a practicing lawyer, legal education has not evolved to meet the demands of a rapidly changing profession.
Hat tip to Paul Caron at TaxProf Blog for the tip.
George Carlin on the Constitution
"They keep talking about drafting a constitution for Iraq. Why don't we just give them ours? It was written by a lot of real smart guys, it's worked for over 200 years, and we're not using it anymore."
- George Carlin, quoted in the Houston Chronicle.
Thanks to ImmigrationProf Blog for the quote.