October 28, 2006
Poll: Two-thirds of Americans Tell Politicians They Want Independent Federal Judiciary
Despite complaints about "activist judges" from both the right and the left following controversial rulings, two-thirds of Americans do not believe elected officials should have more control over federal judges, according to a new CNN poll released Saturday.
Sixty-seven percent of 1,013 people surveyed by Opinion Research Corp. on behalf of CNN said federal judges -- and the decisions they make -- should not be subject to more control.
Read more about it at Poll: Americans don't want politicians constraining judges. [JH]
Co-founder of Wikipedia, now a critic, starts spinoff with academic editors
Larry Sanger, a co-founder of Wikipedia who has since become a critic, is creating a new version of the open-source encyclopedia that will be open to public contributors but guided by academic editors. The new entry, called the Citizendium, will start a six-week pilot project soon. (for subscribers)
Web site fights to obtain professors' grading histories from universities
"Pick-A-Prof, a company that publishes online reviews of faculty members, has been tussling with universities as it seeks to obtain the grading histories of their professors. And the company seems to be winning, with the University of California agreeing recently to hand over such records." (for subscribers)
October 27, 2006
Bush Uses the Google on the Internets
Check out the CNN Video: File under "Friday Fun." [JH]
New LLRX Guides
Here's a sampling of new articles published by LLRX.com:
Competitive Intelligence - A Selective Resource Guide, Updated
As the competitive intelligence landscape continues to shift and evolve, Sabrina I. Pacifici and Donna Cavallini's guide to selected online and subscription resources has once again been updated to highlight a range of free and fee sites, services and publications.
Criminal Justice Resources: Juvenile Law and Family Court Resources
The latest installment of Ken Strutin's Criminal Justice Resources series is a bibliography of juvenile and family law sources from professional and commercial institutions, government agencies and public interest groups.
Deal or No Deal – Licensing and Acquiring Digital Resources
This new column by Kara Phillips launches with a review of resources and techniques to help get you up to speed on licensing and put you on a level playing field with the vendor reps on the other side of the licensing table.
Judge Voids Measure to Bar News Exit Polls
From the NY Times:
A federal judge is permitting "news organizations to conduct exit polls outside voting places, overturning part of a Florida law that put such polls in the same category as electioneering and other banned activities."
Professional Reading: The Selection of U.S. Supreme Court Justices
The Selection of U.S. Supreme Court Justices
by New York University Law Prof Norman Dorsen
4 Int'l. J. Const. L. 652 (2006)
From the Abstract: The selection process for U.S. Supreme Court justices has grown ever more complex. Presidents have the constitutional power to nominate justices, and, in doing so, they have employed several criteria at different times, including professional merit, ideological compatibility, and political support by the president and his advisers. Under the Constitution, the Senate has the authority to consent to or reject appointees. In recent decades it has used public hearings to ascertain a nominee's qualifications and, within certain limitations, the nominee's ideological attitudes. This process is intensely political and, as such, it reflects the Supreme Court's broad authority as the final interpreter of the Constitution, many of whose provisions raise highly contestable issues of great political significance. This article discusses these matters in light of Supreme Court appointments over the past century.
Did you know?
- The first Senate hearing on a Supreme Court nominee took place in 1916 regarding Louis Brandeis, who was opposed by many leaders of the bar, including several presidents of the American Bar Association.
- The first nominee to appear at his own confirmation hearing was probably Harlan Fiske Stone in 1925, although Stone did not testify.
All Quiet on the Antidumping Front? Take a Closer Look
"So far this year the U.S. government has initiated only two antidumping cases on behalf of domestic industries. In all of 2005, only 12 cases were initiated, which was substantially fewer than the 26 initiations in 2004, and well below the most recent 11-year average of 33 initiations per year.1 Antidumping use is clearly on the decline in the United States, and that trend is mirrored globally.
Before concluding that this trend will continue and that antidumping reform is no longer necessary, it is important to consider the causes of the decline. While some of the factors underlying the trend appear to be structural—and likely permanent—other factors are more transitory or cyclical. Looking forward, it is also important to consider the implications of recent developments in U.S. antidumping practice, including sustained efforts to make the law more user-friendly to potential U.S. petitioners. The confluence of these developments portends a resurgence of antidumping use in the years ahead."
Opening: Database Administrator, Thomas M. Cooley Law School
Thomas M. Cooley Law School in Lansing, Michigan seeks a full-time Database Administrator. Here is the official posting: http://www.cooley.edu/hr/database_administrator.html
October 26, 2006
Amazon.com Objects to Google's Discovery Request
Business Week is reporting that "Amazon.com Inc. has objected to providing details about its book search feature to rival Google Inc., which says it needs them to fight copyright infringement allegations from a group of authors and book publishers. ... Amazon.com described Google's request, which was made via a subpoena served on Oct. 6, as 'overly broad and unduly burdensome' and said it would expose Amazon's trade secrets." According to Amazon.com's attorneys, Google's discovery request asked for "essentially all documents concerning Amazon's sale of books on its Web sites, and all searching and indexing functions." [JH]
Conference Announcement and Call for Presentations: Back to the Future of Legal Research
Back to the Future of Legal Research
Chicago, May 18 & 19, 2007
Chicago-Kent College of Law is pleased to again welcome legal skills faculty and law librarians to a conference on May 18 & 19, 2007, to continue the discussion that we began at “The Future of Legal Research” conference in May, 2005. Among the topics that we will consider are:
- Results of the follow-up surveys on practitioners’ research habits;
- Research teaching techniques in our electronic age;
- Law students’ research abilities and how they differ from those of their employers in practice and their law school professors;
- Internet access to abundant free material and how it will change the legal research landscape;
- Teaching students to think critically about the material that they gather from free sites;
- Citing sensibly to electronic sources that will change over time;
- Exploring the burgeoning availability of international law sources and understanding why these sources will take on increasing importance to lawyers and students;
- Teaching students to evaluate the content of their research rather than the medium in which it is found.
Proposals are now being accepted for presenters and panelists for the above topics and other topics that address both how legal research will be accomplished in the future, and how we should prepare our students for these changes.
Proposals are due by January 15, 2007, and should be addressed to either:
Mary Rose Strubbe Keith Ann Stiverson Director of Legal Writing & Director of the Library Research Chicago-Kent College of Law Chicago-Kent College of Law 565 West Adams Street 565 West Adams Street Chicago, Illinois 60661 Chicago, Illinois 60661 312-906-5610 312-906-5288 email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org
Material may be submitted electronically or in hard copy. The material from the conference will be posted on a website after the conference ends.
There is no fee to attend the conference, but attendees are responsible for their own housing and transportation. Information about hotels and a detailed schedule should be available by late January.
Recent NBER Reports
Recent NBER reports include:
- The Control of Politicians in Divided Societies: The Politics of Fear
- Do Television and Radio Destroy Social Capital? Evidence from Indonesian Villages
- Valuing New Goods in a Model with Complementarities: Online Newspapers
- American Indian Mortality in the Late Nineteenth Century: The Impact of Federal Assimilation Policies on a Vulnerable Population
- Inequality and Schooling Responses to Globalization Forces: Lessons from History
- Labor Market Shocks and Retirement: Do Government Programs Matter?
- Entry, Exit and Patenting in the Software Industry
- Inheritance and Saving
The Control of Politicians in Divided Societies: The Politics of Fear
by Gerard Padro i Miquel
Abstract: Autocrats in many developing countries have extracted enormous personal rents from power. In addition, they have imposed inefficient policies including pervasive patronage spending. I present a model in which the presence of ethnic identities and the absence of institutionalized succession processes allow the ruler to elicit support from a sizeable share of the population despite large reductions in welfare. The fear of falling under an equally inefficient and venal ruler that favors another group is enough to discipline supporters. The model predicts extensive use of patronage, ethnic bias in taxation and spending patterns and unveils a new mechanism through which economic frictions translate into increased rent extraction by the leader. These predictions are consistent with the experiences of bad governance, ethnic bias, wasteful policies and kleptocracy in post-colonial Africa.
Do Television and Radio Destroy Social Capital? Evidence from Indonesian Villages
by Benjamin A. Olken
Abstract: In "Bowling Alone," Putnam (1995) famously argued that the rise of television may be responsible for social capital's decline. I investigate this hypothesis in the context of Indonesian villages. To identify the impact of exposure to television (and radio), I exploit plausibly exogenous differences in over-the-air signal strength associated with the topography of East and Central Java. Using this approach, I find that better signal reception, which is associated with more time spent watching television and listening to radio, is associated with substantially lower levels of participation in social activities and with lower self-reported measures of trust. I find particularly strong effects on participation in local government activities, as well as on participation in informal savings groups. However, despite the impact on social capital, improved reception does not appear to affect village governance, at least as measured by discussions in village-level meetings and by corruption in a village-level road project.
Valuing New Goods in a Model with Complementarities: Online Newspapers
by Matthew Gentzkow
Abstract: Many important economic questions hinge on the extent to which new goods either crowd out or complement consumption of existing products. Recent methods for studying new goods are based on demand models that rule out complementarity by assumption, so their applicability to these questions has been limited. I develop a new model that relaxes this restriction, and use it to study the specific case of competition between print and online newspapers. Using new micro data from the Washington DC market, I show that the major print and online papers appear to be strong complements in the raw data, but that this is an artifact of unobserved consumer heterogeneity. I estimate that the online paper reduced print readership by 27,000 per day, at a cost of $5.5 million per year in lost print profits. I find that online news has provided substantial welfare benefits to consumers and that charging positive online prices is unlikely to substantially increase firm profits.
American Indian Mortality in the Late Nineteenth Century: The Impact of Federal Assimilation Policies on a Vulnerable Population
by J. David Hacker, Michael R. Haines
Abstract: Under the urging of late nineteenth-century humanitarian reformers, U.S. policy toward American Indians shifted from removal and relocation efforts to state-sponsored attempts to "civilize" Indians through allotment of tribal lands, citizenship, and forced education. There is little consensus, however, whether and to what extent federal assimilation efforts played a role in the stabilization and recovery of the American Indian population in the twentieth century. In this paper, we rely on a new IPUMS sample of the 1900 census of American Indians and census-based estimation methods to investigate the impact of federal assimilation policies on childhood mortality. We use children ever born and children surviving data included in the censuses to estimate childhood mortality and [responses to] several questions unique to the Indian enumeration [including tribal affiliation, degree of "white blood", type of dwelling, ability to speak English, and whether a citizen by allotment] to construct multivariate models of child mortality. The results suggest that mortality among American Indians in the late nineteenth century was very high - approximately 62% [standardize as % or percent throughout] higher than that for the white population. The impact of assimilation policies was mixed. Increased ability to speak English was associated with lower child mortality, while allotment of land in severalty was associated with higher mortality. The combined effect was a very modest four percent [as above] decline in mortality. As of 1900, the government campaign to assimilate Indians had yet to result in a significant decline in Indian mortality while incurring substantial economic and cultural costs.
Inequality and Schooling Responses to Globalization Forces: Lessons from History
by Jeffrey G. Williamson
Abstract: In the first global century before 1914, trade and especially migration had profound effects on both low-wage, labor abundant Europe and the high-wage, labor scarce New World. Those global forces contributed to a reduction in unskilled labor scarcity in the New World and to a rise in unskilled labor scarcity in Europe. Thus, it contributed to rising inequality in overseas countries, like the United States, and falling inequality in most of Europe. Falling unskilled labor scarcity and rising skill scarcity contributed to the high school revolution in the US. Rising unskilled scarcity also contributed to the primary schooling and literacy revolution in Europe. Under what conditions would we expect the same responses to globalization in today's world? This paper argues that modern debates about inequality and schooling responses to globalization should pay more attention to history.
Labor Market Shocks and Retirement: Do Government Programs Matter?
by Courtney C. Coile, Phillip B. Levine
Abstract: This paper examines how unemployment affects retirement and whether the Unemployment Insurance (UI) system and Social Security (SS) system affect how older workers respond to labor market shocks. To do so, we use pooled cross-sectional data from the March Current Population Survey (CPS) as well as March CPS files matched between one year and the next and longitudinal data from the Health and Retirement Survey (HRS). We find that downturns in the labor market increase retirement transitions. The magnitude of this effect is comparable to that associated with moderate changes in financial incentives to retire and to the threat of a health shock to which older workers are exposed. Interestingly, retirements only increase in response to an economic downturn once workers become SS-eligible, suggesting that retirement benefits may help alleviate the income loss associated with a weak labor market. We also estimate the impact of UI generosity on retirement and find little consistent evidence of an effect. This suggests that in some ways SS may serve as a more effective form of unemployment insurance for older workers than UI.
Entry, Exit and Patenting in the Software Industry
by Iain M. Cockburn, Megan J. MacGarvie
Abstract: We examine the effects of software patents on entry and exit in 27 narrowly-defined classes of software products, using a dataset with comprehensive coverage of both mature public firms and small privately held firms between 1994 and 2004. Reflecting the complex economics underlying the relationship between patent protection, entry costs and industry structure, we find that patents have a mixture of effects on entry and exit. Controlling for firm and market characteristics, firms are less likely to enter product classes in which there are more software patents. However, all else equal, firms that hold software patents are more likely to enter these markets. The net effect on entry of increasing the number of software patents is difficult to measure precisely: estimates of the effect of an across-the-board 10% increase in patent holdings on the number of entrants into the average market in this sample range from -5% to +3.5%, with quite large standard errors. Evidence on exit and survival is consistent with these findings - holding patents appears to enhance the survival prospects of firms after entering a market.
Inheritance and Saving
by David Joulfaian
Abstract: This paper explores the effects of inheritances on the saving of recipients. Information on inheritances and heirs is obtained from estate tax records of decedents which are linked to the income tax records of beneficiaries. The observed pattern of wealth mobility within two years of the receipt of inheritances and multivariate analyses show that wealth increases by less than the full amount of the inheritance received. Similarly, and consistent with previous findings, large inheritances are found to depress labor force participation.
Tax Cuts: Myths and Realities
"Since 2001, the Administration and Congress have enacted a wide array of tax cuts, including reductions in individual income tax rates, repeal of the estate tax, and reductions in capital gains and dividend taxes. Nearly all of these tax cuts are scheduled to expire by the end of 2010. Making them permanent would cost more than $3 trillion over the next decade (when the cost of additional interest on the federal debt is included).
Because important decisions about these tax policies must be made in the next few years, it is essential to understand their effects on deficits, the economy, and the distribution of income. Supporters of the tax cuts have sometimes sought to bolster their case by understating the tax cuts’ costs, overstating their economic effects, or minimizing their regressivity. Here, we address some of the myths heard most frequently in recent tax-cut debates."
Who counts at-bats on 3-strike laws?
"All across the nation, in cities large and small, police departments deal with their own Kevin Holders every day: serial offenders who cycle through the criminal justice system hundreds of times, only to end up back on the street to be arrested all over again. It's a phenomenon that persists despite the near-universality of "three strikes" laws that are supposed to keep habitual criminals behind bars. Chicago doesn't keep a list. But it's not something police departments are eager to publicize, so most don't even try to compile the data. Police in Houston, Chicago and Los Angeles, for example, said they don't keep lists of most-arrested criminals. Neither does the FBI. In a world of three-strikes laws, in other words, few are counting the at-bats."
Supreme Question: What Would Warren Do?
"Commentator Jim Newton says that for the Supreme Court this session, the most urgent issue it will face this session is freedom during wartime. Jim Newton is the author of the book Justice for All: Earl Warren and the Nation He Made."
Opening: Law Reference Librarian/Foreign & International Specialist (USD)
Law Reference Librarian/Foreign & International Specialist
University of San Diego Legal Research Center
Provides general and specialized research and reference services; serves as foreign and international law specialist; provides training and instruction in the use of legal research tools; teaches seminars in foreign and international legal research, using web technology. Produces bibliographies and original research and informational guides; assists in development, evaluation, implementation, and revision of research tools (including blog), policies, and procedures; gives tours; assists in collection development; helps supervise circulation and student assistants.
Required: ABA-accredited J.D. and ALA-accredited M.L.S.; law library experience (academic preferred); knowledge of legal research methods, legal reference work, information technology, Internet resources, web page creation, Westlaw, and Lexis; interest in and aptitude for foreign and international law research; teaching ability; strong interpersonal skills and team-building orientation, problem-solving ability, initiative, organizational skills, verbal and writing skills, aptitude for planning and development.
Preferred: Knowledge of international and foreign law resources and research methods, at least one foreign language, LANs, Innovative Interfaces system, word processing, spreadsheet, and blogging software; supervisory and public services experience; understanding of educational methods, goals, and mission.
Salary: Commensurate with experience and qualifications.
To apply: Submit a resumé, cover letter, three references, and University application form (found at http://www.sandiego.edu/administration/financeadmin/humanresources/jobopportunities/) by e-mail to email@example.com or by mail to Human Resources, University of San Diego, 5998 Alcala Park, San Diego, CA 92110-2492.
October 25, 2006
Same-sex Marriage OKed by New Jersey Supreme Court
New Jersey's Supreme Court ruled (opinion from Findlaw) Wednesday that same-sex couples are entitled to the same rights as heterosexual couples. [RJ]
Video-sharing sites are next frontier in copyright suits
"Universal Music Group's recent copyright infringement suits against two video-sharing Web sites have fueled speculation that Hollywood could be facing a repeat of the costly and lengthy litigation war against the once-popular music Web sites Napster and Grokster." (for subscribers)
Quote It! On Indexes
"Sir Frederick Pollock used to say that a man who would publish a book without an index ought to be banished ten miles beyond Hell where the Devil himself could not go because of the stinging nettles." -- Roscoe Pound, review of Edward H. Levi's classic, An Introduction to Legal Reasoning (1949) in 60 Yale LJ 200 (1951).
In Levi's defense, his 74 page classic was a reprint of his article published at 15 U. Chi. L. Rev. 501 (1948). [JH]
Transparency and Silence: A Survey of Access to Information Laws and Practices in 14 Countries
From the Open Society Institute:
"This comparative study on access to information in 14 countries finds that transitional democracies outperformed established ones in providing information about government activities. Bulgaria, Romania, Armenia, Mexico, and Peru did better in answering citizens’ requests for information than France and Spain.
Published by the Open Society Justice Initiative, Transparency and Silence documents how various countries did—or did not—honor the right of access to information. In analyzing over 1,900 requests for information filed in 14 countries, the report finds that countries with access to information laws performed better than those with no law or with administrative provisions instead of a law."