April 4, 2006
US News Law School Rankings: Beyond the One Year Comparison
As I mentioned in last Friday's post, studying long term trends in US News law school rankings probably provides the most useful comparative information about the quality of law schools. Along this line of thought, Daniel J. Solove and Dan Filler have charted the trend in the US News rankings for the top 25 law schools over the past decade. Very interesting. More interesting if the study extended its scope to the top 50. Check it out at Concurring Opinions. See also Dan Filler's snapshot comparison of reputational rankings using data from 1995, 1998 and 2007.
Meanwhile, Brian Leiter has been examining employment data. See Bar Pass Rates and Employment Rates: Some Curious Discrepancies (observing that almost all schools report a somewhat higher 9-month employment rate than their bar passage rate).
Spotlight on Law Librarians: Cheryl Rae Nyberg
Cheryl Rae Nyberg
Reference Librarian & Website Content Manager
Gallagher Law Library
University of Washington
As a freshman at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, I needed a job. The nice lady at Student Services sifted through her 3x5 card descriptions of student job opportunities and gave me two choices: wash test tubes and other equipment in the Chemistry lab or play office assistant for a man at the Law Library. What was an English major to do?
At the Law Library, I met a goofy guy with wild hair and a wicked sense of humor: Bob Berring. I didn’t do much “library” work for Bob. Instead, I made racketball reservations, picked up hardback bestsellers, and cut out legal stories from newspapers (I loved those long newspaper scissors!). Oh, and I took his resume to the printer.
Bob made quite an impression on me (if you’ve met him or heard him speak at AALL meetings, you understand why!). But I was cajoled, trained, and motivated into law librarianship by three other U of I law librarians: Carol Boast, Nancy Johnson, and Lynn Foster.
Carol, Nancy, and Lynn were excellent role models. At the time, none of them had law degrees (later, Nancy and Lynn obtained JDs). Carol, in particular, became my mentor. I aspired to follow in their footsteps by becoming a “triple-threat” librarian. My goal was to provide great reference service, to share what I had learned by publishing and speaking, and to promote and contribute to my profession.
I’ve enjoyed my quarter-century of service as a law librarian. I learn something new everyday and everyday I have opportunities to share what I’ve learned. I have written many articles and have recently published the 20th volume in the Subject Compilations of State Laws bibliography series. I have traveled to Australia, California, Florida, Illinois, New Zealand, Puerto Rico, Texas, and other spots to address groups of librarians, judges, court administrators, and legislators. And I’ve met many bright, creative, dedicated law librarians who share this passion.
Was it Freud who said that there are no such things as accidents? What started as a serendipitous referral to a student job has evolved into a successful career. May all your accidents resolve so happily.
Editor's Note: The Spotlight on Law Librarians feature is edited by Lee Peoples, Law Librarian Blog Contributing Editor and Associate Director for Faculty, Research and Instructional Services, Oklahoma City University Law Library. Please feel free to recommend a colleague for this feature to Lee at firstname.lastname@example.org
National Survey of Voter Attitudes on Immigration Reform
The National Immigration Forum is reporting that an overwhelming majority (71%) of likely voters (including 60% or more of every major demographic group) support immigration reform that stipulates the following:
- Immigrants could come to work for three years and in the fourth year, while continuing to work, they would be eligible to apply for citizenship.
- Immigrants could bring their immediate families and their families could work.
- These immigrants and their families would be eligible for only emergency medical care and education, but once they become citizens they would be eligible for all services available to any American citizen.
- Immigrants could earn the right to citizenship by working, paying taxes, and learning English.
Source: National Survey of Voter Attitudes on Immigration Reform (pdf) | Summary (pdf) The survey was conducted on March 26-28, 2006.
Additional resources from the National Immigration Forum:
- Editorials and Op Eds on Comprehensive Immigration Reform
- Public Opinion Polls on Immigration Reform
Just Published: Zolberg's A Nation by Design: Immigration Policy in the Fashioning of America
A Nation by Design
Immigration Policy in the Fashioning of America
Aristide R. Zolberg, Walter Eberstadt Professor of Political Science at the New School for Social Research
Harvard University Press, April 2006
Book Description: In A Nation by Design, Aristide Zolberg explores American immigration policy from the colonial period to the present, discussing how it has been used as a tool of nation building.
A Nation by Design argues that the engineering of immigration policy has been prevalent since early American history. However, it has gone largely unnoticed since it took place primarily on the local and state levels, owing to constitutional limits on federal power during the slavery era. Zolberg profiles the vacillating currents of opinion on immigration throughout American history, examining separately the roles played by business interests, labor unions, ethnic lobbies, and nativist ideologues in shaping policy. He then examines how three different types of migration--legal migration, illegal migration to fill low-wage jobs, and asylum-seeking--are shaping contemporary arguments over immigration to the United States.
A Nation by Design is a thorough, authoritative account of American immigration history and the political and social factors that brought it about. With rich detail and impeccable scholarship, Zolberg's book shows how America has struggled to shape the immigration process to construct the kind of population it desires.
Strongly recommended for placing contemporary immigration reform debate in perspective
Westlaw's Graphical Statutes Feature
From the product announcement:
"Graphical Statutes revolutionizes statutory research by charting legislative changes and linking related documents in an easy-to-read display. In a glance, you can easily track changes in the law, locate relevant legislative history materials, read important case law, and check for possible amendments." (Free from March 11 through April 7, 2006)
Ron Jones, University of Cincinnati Law Library
DOJ Goes Fishing ... Subpoenas 34 Internet Companies in Hope of Resurrecting COPA
711Net (Mayberry USA), American Family Online, AOL, AT&T, Authentium, BellSouth, Cablevision, Charter Communications, Comcast Cable Company, Computer Associates, ContentWatch, Cox Communications, EarthLink, Google, Internet4Families, LookSmart, McAfee, MSN, Qwest, RuleSpace, S4F (Advance Internet Management), SafeBrowse, SBC Communications, Secure Computing Corp., Security Software Systems, SoftForYou, Solid Oak Software, SurfControl, Symantec, Time Warner, Tucows (Mayberry USA), United Online, Verizon, and Yahoo.
Information Week is reporting that the Department of Justice is leaving no stone unturned in its effort to "uphold the Child Online Protection Act." According to Information Week, which received its data through FOIA requests, DOJ has demanded information from at least 34 Internet service providers, search companies, and security software firms.
The bulk of the subpoenas were directed at Internet service providers and makers of content filtering software. The effectiveness of filtering technology is a critical issue in the COPA case. If the Department of Justice can prove that filters fail to shield minors from explicit material online, COPA may well be reinstated.
And if COPA is reinstated, ISPs will become content police for the DOJ.
File under fishing expedition.
Bankruptcy Filings Surge in Calendar Year 2005
Bankruptcy filings in the federal courts skyrocketed a record 30 percent in calendar year 2005, according to data released today by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts.
Ron Jones, University of Cincinnati Law Library
April 3, 2006
Get Rid of Lazy Old Farts! Law Deans' Association Fights Tenure Requirement as Counterproductive to Educational Needs of Law Students
Ann Bartow (South Carolina) has posted on Feminist Law Professors a copy of a March 30 memorandum from Marina Angel (Temple) challenging the actions of The American Law Deans Association (ALDA) in contesting the ABA's authority to use its accreditation power to require tenure or long-term contracts for deans, faculty, clinical faculty, legal writing instructors, and law library directors. From ALDA's submission to the Department of Education:
Our concern is very straightforward: the ABA continues to impose requirements on the law schools it accredits that are not only extraneous to the process of "assuring the quality of [legal] education," but also that improperly intrude on institutional autonomy in seeking to dictate terms and conditions of employment. Such extraneous requirements are in fact counterproductive in that they discourage precisely the innovation and flexibility that are called for in contemporary professional education. We therefore believe that certain ABA requirements do not "effectively address the quality of the institution or its program." as required by 34 C.F.R. § 602.16(a)(1), and that the ABA has failed to demonstrate that it "maintain[s] a systematic program of review that demonstrates that its standards Are relevant to the educational or training needs of students" as required by 34 C.F.R. § 602.21(a). As such, we respectfully request that Secretary require the ABA to revise or rescind these standards prior to granting continued recognition.
ALDA objects to the ABA using its power as an accrediting body recognized by the Secretary to seek to enforce upon its accredited institutions terms and conditions of employment that are extrinsic to educational quality. Specifically, we wish to call to the Committee’s attention to Standards 205(c), the entirety of Standard 405 and 603(d), which, respectively, essentially define the terms of employment of the law school dean, faculty (including those who supervise clinical programs), legal writing instructors and the director of the institution’s law library. The referenced ABA Standards either state, or have been interpreted in the course of accreditation actions to mean, that compliance requires either the granting of tenure or incorporating a tenure-like equivalent in Personnel policies. At a minimum, it is a short step from requiring long-term contracts to mandating tenure.
The submission was made on behalf of the Board of Directors of the American Law Deans Association by:
- Saul Levmore, Dean of the University of Chicago Law School, President, ALDA
- David Van Zandt, Dean of the Northwestern University Law School, Vice-President, ALDA
- Katharine Bartlett, Dean of the Duke Law School
- James Huffman, Dean of the Lewis & Clark Law School, Treasurer, ALDA
Hat tip to TaxProf Blog which has additional information.
File under Out with the Old, In with the Immature and Inexperienced.
Time for Debate: Resources for Immigration Reform With a Human Face
|Immigration Reform Legislation|
|Administration Position Papers|
|Compilied by Ron Jones, University of Cincinnati Law Library|
Last Friday, the Senate started debating immigration reform. Instead of debating the merits of the xenophobic bill passed by the House last year, H.R. 4437, the Senate is considering S. 2454, the Securing America's Borders Act, which Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist introduced on March 16, 2006, and the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act, which the Senate Committee on the Judiciary reported out on March 27, 2006. Title IV of S. 2454 and Title V in the Judiciary-reported bill would substantially increase legal permanent immigration and would restructure the allocation of the family-sponsored and employment-based visas.
Let's hope the Senate takes the high road this election year by debating and passing immigration reform with a human face ... one face, 12 million times.
Migration Policy Institute's Side-By Side Chart for Major Immigration Legislation Pending in 109th Congress
Marc R. Rosenblum, “Comprehensive” Legislation vs. Fundamental Reform: The Limits of Current Immigration Proposals (Jan. 2006)
CRS immigrarion research released last week:
- CRS Memorandum: Legal Immigration: Modeling the Principle Components of Permanent Admissions (March 28, 2006) (made available by UC-Davis Law Associate Dean Kevin Johnson, co-editor of ImmigrationProf Blog)
- CRS Report RS22413: Criminalizing Unlawful Presence: Selected Issues (March 29, 2006) (made available by UC-Davis Law Associate Dean Kevin Johnson, co-editor of ImmigrationProf Blog)
Previous immigration-related posts on Law Librarian Blog:
- Recent CRS Reports on Immigration Issues (Nov. 1, 2005)
- Out Thy Neighbor - Butler County (Ohio) Sheriff Asks Us to Spy on Hispanics (Nov. 7, 2005)
- Immigration Policy Resources (Dec. 15, 2005)
- CIS Immigration Enforcement Stats (Dec. 15, 2005)
- NBER Report Puts Mexican-Born US Workforce in Perspective (April 27, 2005)
Library of Congress Gender Discrimination Lawsuit To Proceed, Court Rules
The PlanetOut Network is reporting that a US District Court judge has rules that a transgender employee can sue the Library of Congress for sex discrimination under Title VII. The article reports:
[The plaintiff] Schroer was a 25-year veteran of the U.S. Army and a counter-terrorism expert when she was recruited for a job at the Congressional Research Service, an arm of the Library of Congress. Although Schroer was on the verge of beginning a transition, she had not yet done so and had interviewed in male attire. After accepting the post and negotiating her salary, she took her new boss to lunch to explain that she was starting the first phase of gender reassignment, and would be reporting to work as a woman. The next day, Schroer was informed that she was "not a good fit" for the organization. The job offer was rescinded.
File under Write the Check.
Judiciary Committee Approves S. 1768, Bill Permits Televising Supreme Court Proceedings
S. 1768, sponsored by Senator Specter, would require the Supreme Court to permit television coverage of open Supreme Court proceedings, unless a majority of the Justices determine that the due process rights of one or more litigant would be violated.
In view of the recent controversy over Justice Scalia's hand gesture, S. 1768 may require a floor amendment providing for pixelating members of the bench during court proceedings. See the Boston Herald's transcript of Justice Scalia's Letter to the Editor wherein the Justice claims he did not make an obscene gesture in church. But the Italian gesture he claims he made contradicts the photographic evidence of the Italian gesture the Justice actually made.
Being an Italian(-Polish) American myself, I can speak with some authority when I say, the gesture Justice Scalia actually made means “(expletive) you.” As Cookie Curci, who writes the 'Italian Memories" column for Italiansrus.com so delicately explains in Body Gestures: The Good , The Bad, and the Ugly
In Italy, a flick of the chin means "buzz off" or " to heck with you". It is equal to America's middle finger gesture. Anyone who has accidentally cut off another driver knows this overt gesture only too well.
And so I close this post by saying to my fellow Italian American, "Il fatto non si può disfare."
National Law Journal Site Gets a Makeover
Check out the redesigned National Law Journal site. New features include:
- Improved navigation and more accessible articles
- New Supreme Court and Law Firms sections and e-mail newsletters
- More daily headlines
- Stories from the upcoming issue before they're in print
- Searchable Supreme Court decisions
- RSS Feeds
Campaign for Reader Privacy Condemns Bush's Patriot Act Signing Statement
Library Journal Online is reporting that the Campaign for Reader Privacy — a joint initiative of the American Booksellers Association, American Library Association, Association of American Publishers, and PEN American Center — has condemned President Bush’s March 9 Patriot Act signing statement as undercutting congressional oversight.
For more information about the Patriot Act's signing statment, see What the ... Did Bush Void Patriot Act's Oversight Provisions with Stroke of His Pen? (What Happened to Checks and Balances?) (Law Librarian Blog, March 27, 2006).