September 1, 2007
Children Worshipping George Bush Cardboard Cutout at a Jesus Camp
Idolatry, Christrian Right style.
UPDATE: Some commenters have been critical of my use of the word "worship" in the title of this post, arguing that the children are praying for GWB. I don't think they need a cardboard cutout to do that. How about hero worshipping? Part of this clip comes from a documentary called Jesus Camp; view the entire film and decide for yourself. Thanks to a reader for calling the documentary to my attention. [JH]
Check out The Economist's graphic which tracks the spread of avian flu in humans. [JH]
August 31, 2007
Friday Fun: Microsoft Surface
Microsoft's next big failure, surface computing "where everything happens face-to-face family style," on a 30-inch table-like display operated by hand gestures or by placing physical objects on the computer's surface is the subject of the following two parodies. [JH]
Lawyers Find Real Revenue in Virtual World
Imteresting article from Law.com: "Second Life provides a second source of income to the tech-savvy." [RJ]
Recent Legal Scholarship on Climate Change
Two new SSRN deposits:
- Negligence in the Air: The Duty of Care in Climate Change Litigation by James Salzman and David B. Hunter
- Think Globally, Act Globally: The Limits of Local Climate Policies by Jonathan B. Wiener
Negligence in the Air: The Duty of Care in Climate Change Litigation
James Salzman and David B. Hunter
The prospect of tort litigation against private parties has been gaining increasing attention by lawyers. While only three such cases have been filed thus far, observers (including the organizers of this symposium) clearly expect the number to increase significantly. Indeed, if successful, these and future cases will have a huge impact on the industries sued and, as hopeful lawyers have mused, could make the tobacco litigation look small by comparison. But will these cases succeed?
As law students all dutifully learn in their first year Torts class, a prima facie negligence claim must satisfy four elements - duty, breach, causation, and injury. Most discussion and analysis of climate change cases to date have focused on the third and fourth elements of causation and injury. How can plaintiffs persuasively link the particular emissions of cars driven one place with reduced snow pack somewhere else? And, even if a causal link can be established between the offending action and the harm, what is the proper measure of the emitter's liability in the face of multiple sources of greenhouse gases over an extended time period?
These are challenging issues, and surely deserve careful attention. What remains surprising, though, is that little beyond passing mention has been written about the first two elements - the duty of care and its breach. Suppose one could establish that emissions from a utility company or an automobile manufacturer's cars proximately caused greater storm surges that, in turn, harmed a particular coastal community, or proximately reduced snow pack and led to water shortages for a specific farming community. Key questions still remain. Did the utility or car manufacturer owe a duty of care to these specific communities? If so, what was the nature of that duty and was it breached?
To improve our understanding of the short and long-term potential for climate change tort litigation, this article focuses on the duty of care and its breach. The first section addresses general doctrine. What role does the duty of care play in tort actions? The second section then explores the likely scenarios for tort climate actions, including a summary of the tort-based actions brought thus far. Who are the likely plaintiffs and defendants? How have litigants attempted to satisfy the duty of care elements in climate litigation? The final sections assess the duty of care for a range of tort actions - negligence, product liability, private nuisance and public nuisance - that may in the future form the basis of climate-based claims.
Think Globally, Act Globally: The Limits of Local Climate Policies
Jonathan B. Wiener
State-level actions to address global climate change, such as laws and litigation recently undertaken by California and by several Northeastern states to limit greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, reflect creative legal strategies understandably intended to achieve a major environmental objective while the US federal government has not joined the Kyoto Protocol and has not yet adopted national legislation. But even assuming that forestalling global climate change is urgently needed, state-level action is not the best way to do so. Acting locally is not well suited to regulating moveable global conduct yielding a global externality. Legally, state-level action confronts several obstacles, including the dormant commerce clause, dormant treaty clause, interstate compacts clause, and standing to sue. Politically, local action to limit GHG emissions confronts the obstacle that it would incur in-state costs for minimal in-state benefits (raising the positive question why states are acting at all). Normatively, state-level action would make only a minor difference in global emissions, and may even yield perverse results by spurring emissions leakage to other jurisdictions. Given that such state-level action is actually occurring, its best uses include stimulating technological change, learning from experimentation with policy designs, and fostering momentum for broader national and international action. Yet varied policy experiments may conflict with a larger harmonized regime. The best approach to a global externality is a well-designed global regime that engages all major GHG emitters.
FLARE Project: Foreign Law Research
"FLARE is a collaboration between the major libraries collecting law in the United Kingdom: Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, Bodleian Law Library, Squire Law Library, British Library, and School of Oriental and African Studies. It is working to improve the coverage and accessibility of foreign legal materials at the national level and to raise expertise in their use.
The work is currently focused on improving national coverage of the law of the transition states of central and Eastern Europe and building a distributed national collection of official gazettes. Current projects include:
- Produce a series of Research Guides to the law of foreign jurisdictions
- Hold training courses on the law of the transition states
- Publish a Union List of holdings of European Legal Gazettes in major research libraries
- Sconul Focus article: Formation of a distributed national collection of foreign official gazettes
- Agree collection development policies that will improve coverage of European and central European law as a national resource
Check it out! [RJ]
Wrong-Way Reforms for Allocating Electoral College Votes
"This paper analyzes two of the three major options available to state leaders interested in taking action to reform how their state allocates its Electoral College votes: the whole number proportional and congressional district systems. It evaluates them on the basis of whether they promote majority rule, make elections more nationally competitive, reduce incentives for partisan machinations, and make all votes count equally. We use vote returns from a number of previous elections to analyze what the outcomes would have been if Electoral College votes had been allocated according to the whole number proportional and the congressional district systems.
Our analysis reveals that both of these methods fail to meet our criteria. Neither reform option promotes majority rule, greater competitiveness, or voter equality. Pursued at a state level, both reforms dramatically increase incentives for partisan machinations. If done nationally, the congressional district system has a sharp partisan tilt toward the Republican Party. The whole number proportional system sharply increases the odds of contingent elections (the selection of president by Congress)." [RJ]
Teachers, College Students Lead a Second Life
Interesting article from USA Today: "More than 300 universities, including Harvard and Duke, use Second Life as an educational tool, says Claudia L'Amoreaux of Linden Labs. Some educators conduct entire distance-learning courses there; others supplement classes. Universities and other academic institutions pay a reduced rate to buy land to build structures and develop the environment. The first-time cost for a 16-acre private university island is $980, and monthly land fees are $150." [RJ]
Opening: Director, University of San Diego School of Law Library
The University of San Diego School of Law is accepting applications for the position of Director of the Pardee Legal Research Center and Law School Information Services.
Responsibilities: The Director is the chief administrative officer of the legal research center. The Director also is responsible for supervising the law school's information technology staff and for overseeing the school technology plan, in cnsultation with the University's Chief Information Officer.
Required: A JD degree from an ABA-accredited law school, an MLS from an ALA-accredited institution, and significant experience in law library administration.
Preferred: Demonstrated experience in an academic law library supporting significant scholarly research.
Salary and Benefits: Commensurate with experience.
To Apply: Send materials to Chair, LRC Director Search Committee, c/o Kay Manansala, University of San Diego School of Law, 5998 Alcala Park, San Diego, CA 92110; or submit materials by e-mail to email@example.com.
August 30, 2007
International Criminal Law Database & Commentary
The ICL Database & Commentary is edited by Mark Klamberg, Pd. D. Student, Stockholm University, Faculty of Law. At this website you may find case law from the International Criminal Court and a commentary to the Rome Statute. Please note that the work on the commentary is in progress. You may find a sample of the future commentary here. It is expected that all articles in the Rome Statute will be commented by 31 December 2007. Even after that date the commentary will be updated in order to include the latest case law. The commentary will also at a later stage include a full commentary to the rules of procedure and evidence.
At the moment the jurisprudence of the ICC is sorted on the Court's website according to source/trial stage and date. With this new tool you may find cases in three different ways.
- The case law is sorted according to source/trial stage and date
- The case law and commentary is sorted under the relevant provision
- The legal texts, the commentary and the case law are searchable
You will also find that the references between the legal texts are linked.
Commission of Civil Rights' Affirmative Action in American Law Schools Report
|Evidence about the Potential Role for Affirmative Action in Higher Education by Braz Camargo, Todd Stinebrickner, Ralph Stinebrickner (NBER Report)|
Abstract: In two recent cases involving the University of Michigan (Gratz v. Bollinger and Gruttinger v. Bollinger), the Supreme Court examined whether race should be allowed to play an explicit role in the admission decisions of schools. The arguments made in support of affirmative action admission policies in these cases and others raise two fundamental questions. First, do students actually have incorrect beliefs about individuals from different races at the time of college entrance? Second, if students do have incorrect beliefs at the time of college entrance, can diversity on a college campus change these beliefs? While a small literature has recently shed some light on the second question, no previous work has been able to provide direct evidence about the first one. In this paper we examine the first question by taking advantage of unique data collected specifically for this purpose.
The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights has released Affirmative Action in American Law Schools (pdf). Recommendations from the executive summary:
- The National Academy of Sciences or other grant-making entities fund independent research on the impact of racial preferences on racial disparities in law school academic performance, bar passage rates, graduation rates, student loan default rates, and future income and that state bar associations cooperate with this research.
- Law schools voluntarily provide disclosure to the public and, at the very least, to potential applicants on student academic performance, attrition, graduation, bar passage, student loan default, and future income disaggregated by academic credentials.
- Congress enact legislation requiring law schools receiving federal financial assistance to disclose to the public detailed data on the extent to which they take race into account in making admissions decisions, the weight accorded membership in different racial or ethnic groups, whether targets or quotas are used, an explanation of how certain group membership is related to the diversity rationale, how frequently the need to use race-conscious admissions is used, a description of the consideration given race-neutral alternatives, and any correlation between academic credentials and placement in a remediation program, graduation rates, and student loan default rates.
- As an interim measure, that the Council use its accreditation authority to require law schools to disclose the data sought by the recommended legislation.
- States require bar admissions authorities to provide disclosure on bar passage rates disaggregated by academic credentials.
- The Council revise the recently adopted diversity standard to delete the requirement that law schools seeking accreditation demonstrate a commitment to diversity, thereby preserving the law schools’ freedom to craft their own educational missions.
- Law schools are clear that their constitutional and statutory obligations to nondiscrimination remain paramount and that their compliance with the Council’s standard will not be judged by the results achieved.
GlobLex Research Guides and Articles for August 2007
New articles published on GlobaLex in August 2007:
- The Exploitation of Women and Children: A Comparative Study of Human Trafficking Laws between the United States-Mexico and China-Vietnam by Christina T. Le
- A Guide to online research resources for the Australian Federal Legal System with some reference to the State Level by Petttal Kinder
- Guide to Legal Research in Norway by Pål A. Bertnes
- A Guide to the Legal System and Legal Research in Paraguay by Ana E. Rolón C.
More international, comparative, and foreign law research articles at: http://www.nyulawglobal.org/globalex/index.html [RJ]
Resources For Adjunct Professors
Mitchell Rubenstein, editor of Adjunct Law Prob Blog, has compiled a list of websites and blogs that may be of interest to individuals seeking to become an adjunct professors. I believe some of the listed resources also may be useful to newbie adjunct law professors who are arriving for their first law school gig this academic year. Check out Rubenstein's post. He welcomes additions to his list which you can provide by commenting to his post. [JH]
Tips for 1Ls From Around the Blogosphere
Check out the list of resources compiled by Lewis & Clark Law School's Boley Law Library and published on BoleyBlogs. [JH]
Global Legal Monitor from Law Library of Congress
The July, 2007 issue of the Global Legal Monitor from Law Library of Congress is now available. Check it out. [RJ]
Opening: Research Librarian, University of St. Thomas (Twin Cities)
The University of St. Thomas is accepting applications for a Research Librarian.
Duties include: providing reference services to law school students, faculty, staff and other library users; teaching legal research; providing research support to faculty; assisting the community in using print and electronic resources; and preparing print and electronic guides to information resources.
Founded in 1885, the University of St. Thomas is a Catholic, diocesan university based in the Twin Cities of St. Paul and Minneapolis and is the largest private university in Minnesota. Inspired by Catholic intellectual tradition, the University of St. Thomas educates students to be morally responsible leaders who think critically, act wisely, and work skillfully to advance the common good. The successful candidate will possess a commitment to the ideals of this mission statement.
Qualifications: Master's degree in Library Science (MLS or accredited equivalent) required; J.D. and two (2) years of professional law library experience preferred. Knowledge of print and electronic legal resources; principles and practices of professional library services, including patron service, cataloging, reference, technical services, and collection development; library reference sources and subject background for collection development and patron services; automated library information systems and their use and operation; principles and practices of legal research.
Apply online at http://jobs.stthomas.edu.
August 29, 2007
Yahoo to U.S. Court on Human Rights Lawsuit: You can't touch this
CNN is reporting that Yahoo Inc. has filed a motion to dismiss a lawsuit over the company's alleged role in the imprisonment of two Chinese dissidents, arguing U.S. courts have no jurisdiction over Chinese government actions against its own citizens.
Chinese Law Prof editor Donald Clarke has been following these "yahoo,com.cn" developments in detail. See Yahoo really in the soup now? (includes links to earlier posts and relevant documents) and More on Yahoo: House Foreign Affairs Committee investigates Yahoo's 2006 testimony. No doubt GW law prof Donal Clarke will continue covering this matter on Chinese Law Prof Blog. [JH]
Professional Reading: Rationalizing Internet Exceptionalism as the New Lex Mercatoria
Check out Fabrizio Marrella and Christopher S. Yoo's Is Open Source Software the New Lex Mercatoria?
47 Va. J. Int'l L. (forthcoming Summer 2007). Here's the abstract:
Early Internet scholars proclaimed that the transnational nature of the Internet rendered it inherently unregulable by conventional governments. Instead, the Internet would be governed by customs and practices established by the end user community in a manner reminiscent of the lex mercatoria, which spontaneously emerged during medieval times to resolve international trade disputes independently and autonomously from national law. Subsequent events have revealed these claims to have been overly optimistic, as national governments have evinced both the inclination and the ability to exert influence, if not outright control, over the physical infrastructure, the domain name system, and the content flowing across the network. These failures have done little to lessen the allure of Internet self-governance. In particular, some scholars have suggested that more widespread use of open source software would increase the Internet’s ability to resist governmental control. This Essay explores whether more widespread use of open source software might provide the basis for the type of bottom-up ordering associated with the lex mercatoria. Perhaps unsurprisingly, a system of self-governance based on open source runs afoul of the same questions of spontaneity, universality, and autonomy that surround the lex mercatoria.
ACLU Report Exposes Ongoing Civil and Human Rights Violations on the Gulf Coast Since Katrina
"The American Civil Liberties Union released a report revealing continuing incidents of racial injustice and human rights abuses on the Gulf Coast since Hurricane Katrina devastated the area two years ago. In its report, Broken Promises: Two Years After Katrina, the ACLU exposes numerous civil rights violations that have occurred in Louisiana and Mississippi since the storm, including reports of heightened racially motivated police activity, housing discrimination, and prisoner abuse."
See also, The New Orleans Index: Tracking Recovery in the Region, Brookings Institution [RJ]
August 29: Hurricane Katrina - Two Years Later
As AALL annual meetings attendees witnessed, NOLA's residents are still dealing daily with the effects of Hurricane Katrina. Time's Hurricane Katrina - Two Years Later is an eight-part feature readers of this blog may find interesting. [JH]