June 27, 2007
Freedom of Information Act Regulations
"This proposed regulation will provide the public the guidelines under which the Office of the Director of National Intelligence will implement the Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. 552."
Spyware skirmishes: Spy versus antispy
"Internet lawyer Venkat Balasubramani says the outcome of a legal tiff could force big changes in the antispyware landscape." [RJ]
June 26, 2007
Professional Reading: Who is at Fault Here? The Bush Administration, Presidential Power, and the Signing Statement
Christopher S. Kelley has posted "Who is at Fault Here? The Bush Administration, Presidential Power, and the Signing Statement" on SSRN (MSL Law Review, Forthcoming). Here's the abstract:
"In 2006, the Bush administration received a great deal of attention and criticism for its refusal to execute or administer provisions of law that it deemed constitutionally problematic. The administration placed its refusal - over 1100 specific refusals - in a bill signing statement. While the administration was not the first to use the bill signing statement in this way, it is the first to use it as often as it did. Critics used this fact to highlight a presidency that had become abusive of the constitutional system of checks and balances. The purpose of this article is to explain what the signing statement is, how it has been used by the current Bush administration, and to assess who is responsible for the imbalance in the system of checks and balances - the President or the Congress?" [RJ]
AALL's Second Annual Bloggers Meeting Set for July 16
It's time to mark your calendars for the AALL's Second Annual Bloggers Get Together!
Time: 5-6 p.m.
Date: Monday, July 16th
Place: Gordon Biersch. 200 Poydras. 504-552-2739. Brewpub. Platters. - at the foot of Poydras - across from Harrah's casino and also across from the Hilton. http://www.gordonbiersch.com (Dutch Treat).
Come share your ideas and meet the other law librarian bloggers! Open to all bloggers and potential bloggers.
RSVP: Last year we had over 30 participants so we are anticipating a good crowd this year. For a headcount, please RSVP Barbara Fullerton by Friday, July 6th to email@example.com.
Hat tip to Barbara Fullerton for organizing this meeting. [JH]
Top 7 Alternatives to Wikipedia
Jimmy Atkinson has posted a feature article at OEDb titled Top 7 Alternatives to Wikipedia. In it, he profiles the following:
- Encyclopedia Britannica Online
- MSN Encarta
Check it out! [JH]
Net Neutrality and the Effects on Consumers
"Proposed Internet regulations would deprive consumers of $69 billion in potential benefits over the next 10 years by barring voluntary commercial agreements necessary to bring some new applications and services to the Internet, the American Consumer Institute estimates in a new study. The study also says net neutrality regulations would likely raise the cost of Internet connections for consumers and force millions of Americans to drop their broadband subscriptions, particularly lower income consumers." [RJ]
Lawsuits Drain Economy, Alter Business Decisions, Studies Show
"The tort system in the United States cost small businesses $98 billion in 2005, with the fear of lawsuits altering the way the small business owners make decisions, according to studies released at a Congressional hearing today by the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform (ILR).
Tort Liability Costs for Small Business, NERA Economic Consulting
Small Businesses: How the Threat of Lawsuits Impacts Their Operations, Harris Interactive
EPA Halts Library Closures
The First Amendment Center is reporting that the EPA has stop library closures, at least for now. From the report:
After releasing a plan in August 2006 that would restructure its library system and eliminate several locations, the Environmental Protection Agency has halted further closures of the libraries in response to heavy criticism from lawmakers and advocacy groups.
EPA’s controversial library plan was developed after the Bush administration’s budget for the 2007 fiscal year left the EPA library system, which is funded through the Office of Environmental Information, with just $500,000 for operations.
The plan would eventually close 10 regional libraries and the headquarters library in Washington, D.C. (The Chicago, Dallas, Kansas City and D.C. libraries were shut down before the closures were halted.) The EPA said these closures were part of a plan to modernize their collections by converting them to digital formats. EPA spokespeople said this digitization process would allow the agency to reach a broader audience.
Opening: Entry Level Cataloger, University of the District of Columbia
Position: Librarian (Cataloging)
Salary Range: AD-1410 08/01 $45,737 Per Annum
Location: Van Ness Campus
Areas of Consideration: Nation-wide
Closing Date: Open Until Filled
This is an excellent entry level position for a new cataloger.
Brief Description of Duties: Performs all cataloging functions using OCLC (cataloging data base), and the Innovative Interfaces, Inc. only card catalog. Compiles information on library materials, such as books and periodicals, and prepares online catalog records to identify materials and integrate information into library catalog.
Verifies author, title, and classification number; fills in additional information such as publisher, date of publication, and edition. Examines material and notes additional information, such as bibliographies, illustrations, and appendices. Participates in the Saturday and evening reference rotation and the faculty liaison program. Acts as an occasional backup reference librarian.
Qualifications Required: A master’s degree or two full academic years of graduate study in Library Science and one year of specialized experience is required. The one year of specialized must be equivalent to at least the next lower grade level. Specialized experience is experience in librarianship that included the performance, supervision, or administration of one or more functional areas of librarianship (i.e., selection, readers’ advisory services, reference and literature searching services, systems planning, or development and strengthening of library service). Experience in a law library is preferred.
Please submit a UDC Professional Application and résumé to:
Ms. Isabelle McMillian
University of the District of Columbia
Office of Human Resources
Building 38, Suite 301-9
4200 Connecticut Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20008
Please address all questions to:
Director of the Law Library
& Assistant Professor of Law
University of the District of Columbia
David A. Clarke School of Law
Charles M. & Hilda H. M. Mason Law Library
4200 Connecticut Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20008
June 25, 2007
Student Loses "Bong Hits 4 Jesus" Case
Apparently the Supremes have no sense of humor. Roberts, C. J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Scalia, Kennedy, Thomas, and Alito, JJ., joined. Thomas, J., filed a concurring opinion. Alito, J., filed a concurring opinion, in which Kennedy, J., joined. Breyer, J., filed an opinion concurring in the judgment in part and dissenting in part. Stevens, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which Souter and Ginsburg, JJ., joined.
Here's the opinion in MORSE et al. v. FREDERICK, No. 06-276, decided June 25, 2007. [JH]
What Have You Stopped Doing?
On the Law Library Directors listserv, Carl Yirka posed the question, "What have you stopped doing?" Academic law librarians didn't need an explanation as to "in what context."
Answers, major and minor, included canceling thousands of dollars worth of subscriptions to primary resources (such as regional reporters, state codes, foreign law reports) and secondary resources (including replacing print law reviews with HeinOnline access) not subscribing to new law reviews, eliminating ILL requests for print copies to cite-check when online copies are available, downsizing the reference staff, leaving weekend reference to the circulation staff, stopping all telephone reference, giving up library tours, offering mini-research courses and more ALR courses, scaling back computer labs, no longer creating exhibits, no longer binding serials etc.
"Been there, done that" (and still doing so ... academic law libraries in dire straits). For more, listen to the Jim Milles interview of Carl Yirka, episode 72 of "Check this out!" at http://cto.libsyn.com/index.php?post_id=224745 [JH]
Cheney v National Archives and Records Administration
Vice President Cheney's political agenda can be summarized in one sentence. For the past 30-plus years he has been trying to undo the legislative constraints placed on the executive branch following the Nixon Presidency. This began when he was a member of the Ford Administration and continues to this day. The arrogance of the Bush Administration can be traced back to Cheney's refusal to admit that Congress and the Judiciary have any oversight authority over the Executive.
In The Cheney Branch of Government, Time, following a story first reported by the Chicago Tribune, reviews how Cheney has resisted attempts by the National Archives and Records Administration to compile information on the classified documents being held by the Office of the Vice President. The National Archive's attempts to obtain this information is mandated by an executive order signed by President Bush. In this instance of resisting oversight, Cheney is arguing that the Office of the Vice President is exempt from the order because it has both executive and legislative branch duties.
Gene Koo, Appointed First CALI-Berkman Research Fellow
Gene Koo has been appointed the first CALI-Berkman Research Fellow effective July 1st. In this position, he will be managing a number of initiatives being developed by the Harvard Law's Berkman Center for Internet & Society and the Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction (CALI). The appointment was announced at the 17th annual CALI Conference on Law School Computing last week in the context of an announcement about an exciting new partnership between these two very influential organizations.
From the press release:
[A]t the 17th annual CALI Conference on Law School Computing, the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School and the non-profit Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction (CALI) proudly announced a new partnership to stimulate innovation in American law schools through a new educational resource sharing platform. This work will be perpetuated by the establishment of the CALI-Berkman Research Fellowship.
The partnership will establish the Legal Education Commons – known as eLangdell for Harvard Law School’s first Dean and the Law Library’s namesake, Dean Christopher Columbus Langdell – where law faculty can share and use openly-licensed course materials to offer students free or low-cost course packs, casebooks, podcasts, and video. Berkman and CALI will also research and develop innovative teaching tools to advance practice skills like client interaction, negotiations, and trial advocacy.
Gene is a 2002 graduate of Harvard Law School, Berkman Fellow, and co-editor of Law School Innovation, a member of the Law Professor Blogs Network. He also helped found Legal Aid University, which provides training and development to poverty lawyers. Gene's research on the use of technology in legal instruction makes him an excellent choice for this new endeavor.
Congratulations Gene! [JH]
June 26: Day of Action to Restore Law and Justice
Tomorrow Washington, D.C. will play host to a Day of Action to Restore Law and Justice, focusing on reinstatement of habeas corpus, amendment of the Military Commissions Act, and restoration of constitutional rights. The ACLU, Amnesty International, the Leadership Council on Civil Rights, and the National Religious Campaign Against Torture, have planned a full day of awareness-raising activities. Read more about it.
Restoration of Habeas Corpus: On June 22, House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton (D-MO) and House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers (D-MI) introduced a bill that would restore the fundamental right of habeas corpus by repealing the habeas-stripping provisions of the Military Commissions Act of 2006. The House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties will hold a hearing tomorrow on the need to restore habeas, and the Skelton/Conyers bill will be scheduled for markup shortly thereafter. A similar bill cosponsored by Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Arlen Specter (R-PA) was reported favorably out of the Judiciary Committee earlier this month and is now headed to the Senate floor. [JH]
Crime in the U.S. : Preliminary Statistics for 2006
"Violent crime in the U.S. last year increased 1.3 percent and property crime decreased 2.9 percent over 2005, according to preliminary crime statistics collected from more than 11,700 law enforcement agencies. The full report, including a breakdown by major cities, is available here." [RJ]
Openings: Tarlton Law Library, University of Texas
Tarlton Law Library at the University of Texas at Austin seeks candidates for two professional positions, as noted below (complete descriptions and application instructions are posted on the referenced webpages). We look forward to receiving applications and discussing the opportunities with interested candidates.
- Rare books librarian and archivist: http://tarlton.law.utexas.edu/archives/rare.html
- Interdisciplinary and empirical research specialist: http://tarlton.law.utexas.edu/archives/specialist.html
June 24, 2007
Could US repel a cyberattack?
"Evidence is mounting that cyberwarfare tactics are part of the 21st-century arsenals of powers like Russia and China, yet the United States has not made Internet defenses a major priority...
Repelling major attacks on critical national networks requires enormous coordination inside and outside government, as well as expensive research and preparation. However, primary responsibility for this falls on a small group within the Department of Homeland Security that experts say operates on a tiny budget and with little clout." [RJ]
Comparing State Proficiency Standards Using NAEP scales
"This report offers sobering news that serious work remains to ensure that our schools are teaching students to the highest possible standards. States have made significant strides under No Child Left Behind to close our nation's achievement gap, as evidenced by the Center on Education Policy study released earlier this week. But today's report finds that many states' assessment standards do not measure up to the rigorous standards of The Nation's Report Card."
See also, State School Standards Vary Widely in Study, N.Y. Times [RJ]