September 16, 2006
Energizing and Employing America for a Brighter Economic Future
National Academies Press, 2006
ISBN: 0309100453 Prepublication Uncorrected Copy at $63.00
Book Description: In a world where advanced knowledge is widespread and low-cost labor is readily available, U.S. advantages in the marketplace and in science and technology have begun to erode. A comprehensive and coordinated federal effort is urgently needed to bolster U.S. competitiveness and pre-eminence in these areas. This congressionally requested report by a pre-eminent committee makes four recommendations along with 20 implementation actions that federal policy-makers should take to create high-quality jobs and focus new science and technology efforts on meeting the nation's needs, especially in the area of clean, affordable energy:
1) Increase America's talent pool by vastly improving K-12 mathematics and science education;
2) Sustain and strengthen the nation's commitment to long-term basic research;
3) Develop, recruit, and retain top students, scientists, and engineers from both the U.S. and abroad; and
4) Ensure that the United States is the premier place in the world for innovation.
Some actions will involve changing existing laws, while others will require financial support that would come from reallocating existing budgets or increasing them.
September 15, 2006
Law Blog Covering Spinach-linked E. Coli Developments
Food Poisoning Law Blog (yes, there is one), is covering the current outbreak of E. Coli linked to fresh, bagged spinach. Stay current by visiting this blog. [JH]
Quote It! Stare Decisis
[T]houghout the history of the Court, stare decisis has had only a limited application in the field of constitutional law. And it is a wise policy which largely restricts it to those areas of the law where correction can be had by legislation. Otherwise the Constitution loses the flexibility necessary if it is to serve the needs of successive generations." -- William O. Douglas, in New York v. United States, 572, 590-591 (1946).
This Week in Brewing With Stina
What to drink while training for a fall beer festival: Scotch Ale. Why? Because gone are those long summer days and those wheaty, light beers. It is getting cold out there, folks. And with cold weather comes caramel flavored, creamy beers.
What to drink while re-reading the Da Vinci Code and wondering how the movie got is so wrong: Pale Ale. Why? Because the hoppy notes are bitter, but not as strong as an IPA, while the fruity notes are pronounced, but not cloying.
And what to drink while watching the Seahawks beat the Cardinals: A nice ESB. Why? Because this smooth drinking, bitter beer couples nicely with nachos, corndogs and pretzels (with cheese cups).
Stina McClintock, Library Technician, King County Law Library (Seattle) and Beer Judge (BJCP)
Editor's Note: Brewing With Stina is a new feature that will appear on Fridays whenever Stina feels like posting one. TGIF, Cheers! Of course the best way to drink beer, almost any beer, is in a "I (heart) my law library" stein. And I just happen to know where you can buy one! [JH]
SCOTUS To Release Oral Argument Transcripts on Day of Argument
From the press release:
Beginning with the October 2006 Term, the Court will make the transcripts of oral arguments available free to the public on its Web site on the same day an argument is heard by the Court.
In the past, the transcripts had been posted on the Web site approximately two weeks after the close of an argument session. Previously, transcripts could be obtained sooner than they were posted on the Court's Web site by making arrangements in advance and purchasing them from the Court's contract reporting service.
In the past, oral arguments had been transcribed off-site from audio recordings. The Court's current contract reporting service, Alderson Reporting Company, will now utilize the services of a court reporter in the Courtroom and high-speed technology to transcribe the oral arguments more quickly.
Transcripts can be located by clicking on the "Oral Arguments" prompt on the home page of the Court's Web site and selecting "Argument Transcripts."
Transcripts will be listed by case name and the date of oral argument. Transcripts are permanently archived beginning with the 2000 Term on the Court's Web site. Transcripts prior to the 2000 Term are maintained in the Court's Library.
War Crimes and Politics
Global Justice: The Politics of War Crimes Trials
by Kingsley Chiedu Moghalu
Price: $49.95 | ISBN: 0275992977 | Publisher: Praeger Publishers, forthcoming November 30, 2006
Book Description: After a controversial war in which he was ousted and captured by United States forces, Saddam Hussein was arraigned before a war crimes tribunal. Slobodan Milosevic died midway through his contentious trial by an international war crimes tribunal at The Hague. Calls for intervention and war crimes trials for the massacres and rapes in Sudan's Darfur region have been loud and clear, and the United States remains fiercely opposed to the permanent International Criminal Court. Are war crimes trials impartial, apolitical forums? Has international justice for war crimes become an entrenched aspect of globalization?
In Global Justice, Moghalu examines the phenomenon of war crimes trials from an unusual, political perspective--that of an "anarchical" international society. He argues that, contrary to conventional wisdom, war crimes trials are neither motivated nor influenced solely by abstract notions of justice. Instead, war crimes trials are the product of the interplay of political forces that have led to an inevitable clash between globalization and sovereignty on the sensitive question of who should judge war criminals. From Germany's Kaiser Wilhelm to the Japanese Emperor Hirohito, from the trials of Milosevic, Saddam Hussein, and Charles Taylor to Belgium's attempts to enforce the contested doctrine of "universal jurisdiction," Moghalu renders a compelling tour de force of one of the most controversial subjects in world politics. He argues that, necessary though it was, international justice has run into a crisis of legitimacy. While international trials will remain a policy option, local or regional responses to mass atrocities will prove more durable.
How America Gets Away With Murder
Illegal Wars, Collateral Damage and Crimes Against Humanity
by Michael Mandel
Publisher: Pluto Press
PRICE: £14.99 | ISBN: 0-7453-2151-8 | Publisher: Pluto Press, 2004
Book Description: The trial of Slobodan Milosevic has raised the prospect of many former political leaders being tried for crimes against humanity. War crimes tribunals and the international criminal courts are supposedly independent mechanisms through which we can administer international justice, and through which tyrants and errant regimes can be brought to account. But is it really that simple? For example, although Milosevic wound up on trial at The Hague, other attempts at war crimes prosecutions -- notably Pinochet and Sharon -- face insurmountable obstacles. Despite the hopes raised about "an end to impunity", the United States is currently exempting itself entirely from the jurisdiction of the new International Criminal Court. This new book by renowned scholar Michael Mandel offers the first truly critical account of the war crimes movement. Mandel argues that this movement is not actually about ending war crimes, or impunity for war crimes, but about selectively punishing "the usual suspects". as part of the imperial strategy of the great powers -- primarily the United States.
Examining issues chapter-by-chapter, Mandel explores the moral and legal debates over the recent wars in Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq, supposed exercises in "humanitarian intervention" and "self-defence." He analyses the role the war crimes movement has played in these wars, variously promoting them or not stopping them, despite their immorality and illegality. Mandel takes a hard look at the development of the International Criminal Court and its likely destiny. He gives special attention to recent tribunals -- like the one trying Milosevic -- and the way they have been used to prosecute America's enemies. He shows how these tribunals shield America and its allies from responsibility for what is termed "collateral damage," but what is in reality murder on a vast scale.
- Gary Bass, Stay the Hand of Vengeance: The Politics of War Crimes Tribunals, (Princeton University Press, 2000)
- Yves, Beigbeder, Judging War Criminals: The Politics of International Justice, (St Martin's Press, 1999).
Bibliography on Gender Law
Don't miss the Annotated Legal Bibliography on Gender published in the Summer 2006 issue of the Cardozo Journal of Law & Gender [Westlaw]. The biblograph covers law review articles published in 2005 and is organized into the following topics:
- Domestic Violence
- History & Cluture
- International Law & Human Rights
- Reproductive Rights & Technology
- Same-Sex Marriage
- Sex Crimes
- Sex Discrimination
- Sexual Identity
- Workplace Discrimination & Harassment
Renewing U.S. Telecommunications Research
Renewing U.S. Telecommunications Research
National Academies Press | 92 pages| 2006 | ISBN: 0309102650 | $16.20
Findings of the NRC study include:
Telecommunications has expanded greatly over the past few decades from primarily landline telephone service to the use of fiber optic, cable, and wireless connections offering a wide range of voice, image, video, and data services. Yet it is not a mature industry, and major innovation and change—driven by research—can be expected for many years to come.
Without an expanded investment in research, however, the nation’s position as a leader is at risk. Strong competition is emerging from Asian and European countries that are making substantial investments in telecommunications R&D.
For many telecommunications products and services that are now commodities, the United States is at a competitive disadvantage compared with countries where the cost of doing business is lower. Continued U.S. strength in telecommunications, therefore, will require a focus on high-value innovation that is made possible only by a greater emphasis on research. Expansion of telecommunications research is also necessary to attract, train, and retain research talent.
Source: Executive Summary (pdf). [JH]
The Patriot Pastors’ Electoral War Against the ‘Hordes of Hell’
“The new report by People For the American Way Foundation, the NAACP, and the African American Ministers Leadership Council documents how a new generation of Religious Right leaders is turning conservative churches into political machines for far-right Republican candidates with rhetoric that might make Pat Robertson blush.”
September 14, 2006
Superintendent of Documents, Judy Russell, to Retire Early in 2007
GPO Press Release:
September 13, 2006 No. 06-25
TOP GPO EXECUTIVE CREDITED WITH IMPROVING PUBLIC ACCESS TO GOVERNMENT DOCUMENTS TO RETIRE
WASHINGTON-The official most responsible for working with the library community on establishing an authentic digital collection of published Government information, has announced she will be retiring from the Government Printing Office early next year. Judy Russell has been with the GPO for nearly a decade, most recently as Superintendent of Documents. Russell has been key in designing the Federal Depository Library Program of the future, creating GPO Access, and developing innovative plans for the publications sales program.
"These past four years have been filled with a range of positive changes for the GPO, the FDLP and public access," said Russell. "We have expanded our content and service partnerships with Federal agencies and the depository libraries to improve service to the public and assure permanent access to digital collections."
Prior to her appointment by Public Printer Bruce James in 2003, Russell spent five years at GPO in the 1990s directing the agency's electronic dissemination operation and the FDLP.
"Judy has done a tremendous job in helping GPO, Federal agencies and the library community to give the public electronic access to some of the Government's most important documents," said James.
Russell has more than 20 years of experience in the private sector and in public service. Her career highlights include key positions in libraries and information centers, as well as the publishing and information industries. Russell is a graduate of Dunbarton College of the Holy Cross in Washington D.C. She received an M.S. in Library Science from Catholic University.
Editor's Note: Please feel free to leave your reflections on Judy's contributions as a comment to this post. [JH]
Are Blogs Liberating Law Profs from Dull Writing?
Yes! The National Law Journal has published OSU Law Prof Douglas Berman's Blogs are liberating the profession from dull writing, They're emerging as a powerful tool for lawyers and law professors. In it he explains why the answer is "yes:"
The growing respect for blogging among legal professionals stems in part from the medium's tendency to resist the worst excesses of the traditional forms of legal writing and publication. Many legal documents and most traditional law review articles can be ponderous, with assertions over-wrought, arguments over-made, principles over-cited and everything over-written. The blog medium fosters and rewards succinct expression. For legal writers and legal readers, it is liberating and refreshing to have thought-provoking ideas about the law expressed in only a few paragraphs or even a few sentences.
Professional Reading: The Impact of Web Communications on Legal Scholarship
The current issue of Yale Law Journal Pocket Part, is a collection of essays on "The Future of Legal Scholarship." Each essay, written by a law prof blogger (including Paul Caron, co-founder of the Law Professor Blogs Network) explores the impact of web communications on legal scholarship.
- Let the Law Journal Be the Law Journal and the Blog Be the Blog, by Ann Althouse, Althouse
- Online Legal Scholarship: The Medium and the Message, by Jack Balkin, Balkinization
- A Blog Supreme?, by Christopher A. Bracey, Blackprof.com
- The Long Tail of Legal Scholarship, by Paul Caron, TaxProf Blog
- That's So Six Months Ago: Challenges to Student Scholarship in the Age of Blogging, by Stephen I. Vladeck, PrawfsBlawg
- Law Reviews, the Internet, and Preventing and Correcting Errors, by Eugene Volokh, Volokh Conspiracy
Stealing Democracy: The New Politics of Voter Suppression
Stealing Democracy: The New Politics of Voter Suppression
by Spencer Overton
List Price: $24.95
Hardcover: 224 pages
Publisher: W. W. Norton (2006)
Book Description: While politicians spew shallow sound bites that describe a "free" American people who govern themselves by selecting their representatives, in reality politicians from both parties maintain control by selecting specific voters. Incumbent politicians control thousands of election practices and bureaucratic hurdles that determine who votes and how their votes are counted, including the location of election-district boundaries, the number of booths at urban polling places, and English-only ballots. Spencer Overton uses real-life stories to show how these seemingly insignificant practices channel political power and determine policies on war, schools, clean air, and other issues that shape our lives. He exposes the pressure points in this Orwellian system and provides strategies toward restoring self-government, including removing redistricting power from self-interested partisans and renewing parts of the Voting Rights Act that expire in 2007. Overton's compelling case is vital to the future of our democracy.
About the Author: Spencer Overton, a professor at George Washington University Law School, serves on the Jimmy Carter/James Baker Election Reform Commission and the boards of Common Cause and the National Voting Rights Institute.
A Quick Look at CQ Legislative Impact
With CQ Legislative Impact you can research how existing laws in a particular area would be affected by the passage of pending legislation accurately and quickly. You can search CQ Legislative Impact by (1) U.S. Code Cite; (2) Statutes At Large cite; (3) Public Law number; (4) Bill Number; and (5) text. You can also browse all public laws by Act Name or by PL number.
CQ Legislative Impact service does this by integrating CQ's Bill Text service with its newly developed Public Law Text and U.S. Code. The U.S. Code service claims to be the updated faster than any other online service and the Public Law Text includes text from the first Congress in 1789 through the current session.
CQ Legislative Impact also provides customized alerts giving subscribers an early warning signal when bills are introduced that might affect the laws you focus on. For more information, visit www.cq.com/legislativeimpact . [JH]
Librarians Without Borders
Check out Librarians Without Borders on the Grow. [JH]
Recent CRS Reports on Environmental Issues
Several new and updated reports on the environment have been produced by the Congressional Research Service, including the following:
- GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE: MAJOR SCIENTIFIC AND POLICY ISSUES
- CLIMATE CHANGE: THE EUROPEAN UNION'S EMISSIONS TRADING SYSTEM (EU-ETS)
- AIR QUALITY ISSUES AND ANIMAL AGRICULTURE: EPA'S AIR COMPLIANCE AGREEMENT
- AIR QUALITY ISSUES AND ANIMAL AGRICULTURE: A PRIMER
- CLEAN AIR ACT ISSUES IN THE 109TH CONGRESS
- CLEANUP AT ABANDONED HARDROCK MINES: ISSUES RAISED BY "GOOD SAMARITAN" LEGISLATION IN THE 109TH CONGRESS
GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE: MAJOR SCIENTIFIC AND POLICY ISSUES
CRS Publication Date: 08/11/2006
Document No.: RL33602
Author(s): John R. Justus and Susan R. Fletcher, Resources, Science, and Industry Division
Abstract: This report reviews the status of climate science, international negotiations, and congressional activity focused specifically on climate change.
CLIMATE CHANGE: THE EUROPEAN UNION'S EMISSIONS TRADING SYSTEM (EU-ETS)
CRS Publication Date: 07/31/2006
Document No.: RL33581
Author(s): Larry Parker, Resources, Science, and Industry Division
Abstract: The European Union's (EU's) Emissions Trading System (ETS) is a cornerstone of the EU's efforts to meet its obligation under the Kyoto Protocol. It covers more than 11,500 energy intensive facilities across the 25 EU member countries, including oil refineries, powerplants over 20 megawatts (MW) in capacity, coke ovens, and iron and steel plants, along with cement, glass, lime, brick, ceramics, and pulp and paper installations. Covered entities emit about 45% of the EU's carbon dioxide emissions. The trading program does not cover emissions of non-CO2 greenhouse gases, which account for about 20% of the EU's total greenhouse gas emissions. The first trading period began January 1, 2005. A second trading period is scheduled to begin in 2008, with a third one planned for 2013. In deciding on its trading program, the European Commission (EC) adopted a "learning-by-doing" approach to prepare the EU for the Kyoto Protocol's emission limitations. The EU does not have major experience with emissions trading, and the EC felt that an initial program beginning in 2005 would give the EU practical familiarity in operating such a system.
AIR QUALITY ISSUES AND ANIMAL AGRICULTURE: EPA'S AIR COMPLIANCE AGREEMENT
CRS Publication Date: 07/20/2006
Document No.: RL32947
Author(s): Claudia Copeland, Resources, Science, and Industry Division
Abstract: This report reviews key issues associated with the Air Compliance Agreement. Background information on air emissions from poultry and livestock operations, relevant federal environmental statutes and regulations, state activities, and research needs are discussed separately in CRS Report RL32948, Air Quality Issues and Animal Agriculture: A Primer.
AIR QUALITY ISSUES AND ANIMAL AGRICULTURE: A PRIMER
CRS Publication Date: 07/20/2006
Document No.: RL32948
Author(s): Claudia Copeland, Resources, Science, and Industry Division
Abstract: From an environmental quality standpoint, much of the public and policy interest in animal agriculture has focused on impacts on water resources, because animal waste, if not properly managed, can adversely impact water quality through surface runoff and erosion, direct discharges to surface waters, spills and other dryweather discharges, and leaching into soil and groundwater. However, animal feeding operations can also result in emissions to the air of particles and gases such as ammonia, hydrogen sulfide, and volatile organic chemicals (VOC). At issue today are questions about AFOs' contribution to total air pollution and corresponding ecological and possible public health effects. Resolving those questions is hindered by a lack of adequate, accurate, scientifically credible data on air emissions from AFOs, data that are needed to gauge possible adverse impacts and subsequent implementation of control measures. This report provides background on these issues. It first reviews the types of air emissions from livestock and poultry operations and their human health and environmental impacts. It then discusses provisions of several federal laws concerned with environmental impacts, beginning with the Clean Water Act, because protecting water resources has been the primary regulatory focus regarding livestock and animal operations. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has authority to address AFO air emissions under several laws - the Clean Air Act; Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act; and the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act - which are next discussed. Questions about the applicability of these laws to livestock and poultry operations have been controversial in several arenas and have drawn congressional attention. Studies by the National Research Council concerning air emissions are reviewed, as are relevant activities of the states and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Finally, the report identifies a number of key research questions needed to characterize and evaluate animal agriculture emissions.
CLEAN AIR ACT ISSUES IN THE 109TH CONGRESS
CRS Publication Date: 08/08/2006
Document No.: RL33552
Author(s): James E. McCarthy, Resources, Science, and Industry Division
Abstract: This report provides an overview of seven prominent air issues of interest in the 109th Congress: revision of the particulate standards; multi-pollutant (or Clear Skies) legislation for electric power plants; mercury from power plants; New Source Review; the gasoline additives MTBE and ethanol; ozone nonattainment area deadlines; and the "conformity" of transportation and clean air planning.
CLEANUP AT ABANDONED HARDROCK MINES: ISSUES RAISED BY "GOOD SAMARITAN" LEGISLATION IN THE 109TH CONGRESS
CRS Publication Date: 07/24/2006
Document No.: RL33575
Author(s): Claudia Copeland, Resources, Science, and Industry Division; Robert Meltz, American Law Division
Abstract: In the 109th Congress, several bills have been introduced to address the legacy of pollution from inactive and abandoned hardrock mines (IAMs) that degrades the environment throughout the United States, particularly in the West. The Environmental Protection Agency has estimated that 40% of headwaters in the West have been adversely impacted by acidic and other types of drainage from abandoned sites where gold, silver, copper, lead, and iron ore were mined. The core concept underlying the bills is that, in order to address the problem of pollution from IAM sites, it is appropriate to encourage cleanup by so-called "Good Samaritan" entities. To do so, the bills propose to establish a process for issuing permits to Good Samaritans and provide incentives in the form of reduced liability from environmental laws and less stringent environmental cleanup standards. This report discusses four bills: H.R. 1266 (M. Udall), S. 1848 (Salazar), S. 2780 (Inhofe), and H.R. 5404 (Duncan). S. 2780 and H.R. 5404 are identical bills, introduced at the request of the Administration. Since March 2006, three House and Senate committees have held oversight hearings on issues raised by the legislation. This report discusses several key issues in the legislation.
September 13, 2006
Can Bloggers Move Mountains?
In Attack of the Blog, When disenchanted faculty members take to the Web, presidents should worry, the Chronicle of Higher Education reports on the troubles "truth-in-administration" blogs can create for university administrators.
The Legislative Line Item Veto Act, H.R. 4890, Too Much Discretionary Authority?
|Original Bush Proposal to Rescind "Wasteful Spending"|
|"My proposed legislation, the "Legislative Line Item Veto Act of 2006," would provide a fast-track procedure to require the Congress to vote up-or-down on rescissions proposed by the President. There has been broad bipartisan support for similar proposals in the past. Under this proposal, the President could propose legislation to rescind wasteful spending, and the Congress would be obligated to vote quickly on that package of rescissions, without amendment. The same procedure would apply to new mandatory spending and to special interest tax breaks given to small numbers of individuals." Source: Text of Bush Proposal (pdf)|
The Legislative Line Item Veto Act, H.R. 4890 passed the House 247-172 on June 22, 2006 and was read for the second time and placed on the Senate Legislative Calendar on September 5, 2006. The bill would amend the Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974 to authorize the President to propose the cancellation (line item veto) of any dollar amount of discretionary budget authority, item of direct spending, or targeted tax benefit within 45 days after its enactment. H.R. 4890 sets forth requirements for the President's transmittal to Congress of a special message regarding a proposed cancellation. It also prohibits duplicate proposals of such cancellations, limits such messages to five for most bills or joint resolutions, but up to 10 for any omnibus budget reconciliation or appropriation measure and dedicates any cancellation only to deficit reduction or increase of a surplus.
H.R. 4890 also grants temporary Presidential authority to withhold discretionary budget authority, suspend direct spending, and suspend targeted tax benefits. One hopes the Supreme Court would look unfavorably on granting the Executive such discretionary authority.
H.R. 4890 does not include a statement of policy or limit the purpose of the act to rescinding wasteful spending. Obviously any such statement would be a Congressional admission to committing tax dollars to wasteful spending! However, without a statement of policy or purpose, the Executive would not be bound to proposing rescissions just for pork barrel projects. Imagine what could happen when one party holds the reigns of power in Congress and the White House. Legislative history, what's that?
The crafting of the bill -- to provide the President with line item veto authority while adhering to the presentment clause of article I, section 7 of the Constitution and protecting the basic separation of powers, as prescribed in the Constitution, by requiring that such cancellations will not take effect until approved by Congress -- is in response to the Supreme Court's ruling in Clinton v. City of New York, 524 U.S. 417 (1998)(Westlaw), that the Line Item Veto Act of 1996, Public Law 104-130, was unconstitutional because "the procedures authorized by the line-item veto act are not authorized by the Constitution." (Justice Stevens writing for the 6-3 majority) The Court also instructing Congress that "[i]f there is to be a new procedure in which the president will play a different role in determining the text of what may become a law, such change must come not by legislation but through the amendment procedures set forth in Article V of the Constitution."
German Civil Code Now Available in English
The German Federal Ministry of Justice has commissioned a translation of the Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch (or BGB), the civil code of Germany. The translation can be downloaded in HTML or PDF format free of charge at www.gesetze-im-internet.de/englisch_bgb .
Hat tip to Marci Hoffman, Associate Director and International & Foreign Law Librarian, University of California, Berkeley, School of Law Library. [JH]
Presidential Signing Statements and Executive Power
Curtis A Bradley (Duke) and Eric A. Posner (Chicago) have posted Presidential Signing Statements and Executive Power on SSRN. Here's the abstract:
“A recent debate about the Bush administration’s use of presidential signing statements has raised questions about their function, legality, and value. We argue that presidential signing statements are legal and that they provide a useful way for the president to disclose his views about the meaning and constitutionality of legislation. Although President Bush has challenged more statutory provisions in signing statements than prior administrations have, his signing statements are similar in many respects to the signing statements issued by prior presidents, such as President Clinton. In addition, basic tenets of positive political theory suggest that signing statements do not undermine the separation of powers or the legislative process and that, under certain circumstances, they can provide relevant evidence of statutory meaning.”