December 22, 2007
Web Project to Unite People With Their Lost Gloves
Jennifer Gooch's mission was to create a simple Web site where people could go to find their lost gloves. Her Pittsburgh-based site, One Cold Hand, went live about a month ago, and she's already reunited four gloves with their owners. Now there's a site for New York City with more in development. CNN has the story. Very cool. [JH]
Congress Sends OPEN Government Act, First FOIA Reform Bill in More Than a Decade, to the President
S. 2488, the Openness Promotes Effectiveness in our National (OPEN) Government Act, was sent to the President on December 19th. [Thomas Resources] One of the Act's aims is the reversal of former Attorney General John Ashcroft's post 9/11 order where he instructed federal agencies to lean against releasing information when there was uncertainty about how doing so would affect national security. Check out The National Security Archive press release and Editor & Publisher story. Additional resources at Open Congress. [JH]
National Leadership Index 2007
"Americans are alarmed about the quality of their leaders and concerned about the country’s future, yet optimistic that things can improve.
The third national study of confidence in leadership, a product of a partnership between the Center for Public Leadership and U.S.News & World Report, reveals that the leadership crisis we first identified in our 2005 report continues—and, in Americans’ eyes, is deepening:
- More than three quarters of those surveyed now believe there is a leadership crisis in this country, up 8% from 2006 and 12% from 2005
- Fully half of all Americans, when asked how much confidence they have in their leaders, answer “not much” or “none at all”
- Confidence in many sectors—not just government—is tepid or sinking
- The news media continues to inspire the least confidence, and 64% of Americans do not trust its coverage of the presidential campaign
- 79% of Americans believe the United States will decline as a nation unless we get better leaders
- Yet 79% are confident the next president will be good for the country, and 59% believe the country will have better leaders in 20 years"
Google's My Location for Mobile Maps
Here's a great tip if you are traveling during the holidays. The great folks at Common Craft Paperworks produced this video for the Google Maps for Mobile Team. [JH]
December 21, 2007
Friday Fun: Ig Nobel Award for Stunning Breakthrough in Indexing
A spoof of the Nobel prizes, the Ig Nobels celebrate the quirkier side of science, including library and information science this year. Glenda Browne of Blaxland, Blue Mountains, Australia, was awarded the Ig Nobel Prize for Literature for her groundbreaking study of the word "the" -- and of the many ways it causes problems for anyone who tries to put things into alphabetical order. The Ig Nobel Committee of the Annals of Improbable Research cited her work The Definite Article: Acknowledging 'The' in Index Entries, The Indexer, vol. 22, no. 3 April 2001, pp. 119-22 (pdf). About this she got the recognition she deserves.
Professional Reading: The Credentials of Legal Writing Faculty
Legal Writing Prof Blog editor Susan Liemer (SIU) and Hollee Temple (West Virginia) has deposited Did Your Legal Writing Professor Go to Harvard?: The Credentials of Legal Writing Faculty at Hiring Time in SSRN. Here's the abstract:
In this article, we share the results of the first comprehensive study of the credentials of today's legal writing professors. Legal writing professors have been working for many years to improve their status within the academy, and this study confirms that many legal writing professors hold impressive credentials comparable to typical tenure-track hires. The article situates our findings within the context of the previous research on the credentials of law professors, and calls upon the academy to explain why it has not conferred the privileges of membership (e.g., equal salary and status) upon a group of professors who have traditional professorship credentials. It also suggests that gender bias and purposeful mommy-tracking of women faculty candidates may explain some of the discrepancies.
Savell's New Law Tunes CD
Larry Savell, the Chadbourne litigator-by-day-rocker-by-night, new CD, “The Law Tunes Live At Blackacre," makes a great addition to your CD collection. Songs include:
(She's An) Electronic Discovery
Lawyers' Blood Is Typo
Livin' Life In Six Minutes (2d ed.)
Everywhere There Is A Client
Listen to excerpts at Lawtunes. [JH]
New Resources from Harvard's Open Collections Program
- Women Working, 1800-1930 explores women's roles in the US economy between 1800 and the Great Depression. Working conditions, conditions in the home, costs of living, recreation, health and hygiene, conduct of life, policies and regulations governing the workplace, and social issues are all well documented by original source material.
- Immigration to the United States, 1789-1930 includes books, manuscripts, maps, photographs, and other historical materials that document voluntary immigration to the United States from the ratification of the Constitution in 1789 to the Great Depression.
Suing Your Law School Alma Mater
Interesting article from the National Law Journal: "Unhappy with their exam grades, readmission policies and even administrators' conduct, a number of law students have sued their law schools in recent months. Because of increasing costs of law schools, some students may be more likely to challenge issues that get in the way of their degree, said David Van Zandt, dean of Northwestern University School of Law and president of the American Law Deans Association." (sub. req.) [RJ]
Parole, Desistance from Crime, and Community Integration
Parole, Desistance from Crime, and Community Integration
Committee on Community Supervision and Desistance from Crime
National Research Council
114 pages, 6 x 9
Print Price: $26.78
Read Online: free
National Academies Press 2007
From the executive summary: The committee offers a number of significant findings. First, cognitive behavioral treatment programs reduce recidivism significantly. Second, the peak rates of committing a new crime or violating the terms of parole occur in the first days, weeks, and months after release. Third, deaths among releasees are very high in the first weeks after release, more than 12 times the average for the general population. Clearly, the first days and weeks out of prison are the riskiest for both releasees and the general public. In addition, extensive longitudinal research on desistance highlights specific conditions that lead to less offending: good and stable marriages and strong ties to work appear to be particularly important. [JH]
Tax Legislation Update
President Bush signed H.R. 3648, the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007, [Thomas Resouces | White House Press Release ] yesterday. and H.R. 4118, the Prevent Taxation of Payments to Virginia Tech Victims and Families Act, [Thomas Resouces | White House Press Release ] on December 19, 2007. For coverage of recent tax legislation developments, check out TaxProf Blog's Congressional News. [JH]
December 20, 2007
Academic Blawg Traffic
Paul Caron over at TaxProf Blog has an interesting post on the past and present of academic blawgs. Are academic blawgs stagnating? The question of the day. Brian Leiter raises more questions about how to relevantly analyze blog stats, e.g. blog hits v. length of stay. Food for thought. [JJ]
How To Search the SEC's EDGAR Database
The Virtual Chase has published a video tutorial explaining how to use both basic and advanced search features in EDGAR (give the link a second to load). Check it out! [RJ]
Resources from the UN Climate Change Conference in Bali
The UN Climate Change Conference in Bali this month culminated in the adoption of the Bali roadmap, which charts the course for a new negotiating process to be concluded by 2009 that will ultimately lead to a post-2012 international agreement on climate change. Ground-breaking decisions were taken which form core elements of the roadmap. They include the launch of the Adaptation Fund as well as decisions on technology transfer and on reducing emissions from deforestation. These decisions represent various tracks that are essential to achieving a secure climate future.
The Bali Conference website includes decisions adopted by COP 13 and CMP 3 and an on-demand webcast of conference proceedings. See also UN Development Programme's Fighting Climate Change: Human solidarity in a Divided World
Climate Change Resources. In future posts, we will be publishing selective bibliographies covering recent publications on climate change, including contributions from readers who email me. Thanks to the International Environmental Law Blog, listed below is a recent publication from New Zealand's the Institute of Policy Studies, Victoria University of Wellington, that might not grab the attention of US readers had it not been publicized on International Environmental Law Blog. [JH]
Towards a New Global Climate Treaty:
Looking Beyond 2012
Edited by Jonathan Boston, Professor of Public Policy,
Deputy Director, Institute of Policy Studies, School of Government, Victoria University of Wellington
Institute of Policy Studies, November 2007
Description: Climate change poses huge ethical, political, economic and technical challenges. The global community had taken initial steps to address these challenges, but this falls far short of what will be needed in the years ahead. The Kyoto Protocol, negotiated in 1997 under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, requires industrialised countries to reduce their emissions by an average of 5% below 1990 levels during the first commitment period (2008-12). Most developing countries and all but two industrialised countries have ratified the Protocol – the exception being Australia and the United States.
With the first commitment period ending in barely five years, the international community must now decide what is the right mix of policies and commitments needed to build the momentum required to reverse the growth of greenhouse gas emissions and help nations adapt to the unavoidable impact of climate change. Much is at stake – not least the well-being of many future generations of humanity.
This book explores the critical policy issues that will need to be addressed during the forthcoming negotiations for a post-2012 climate treaty. Particular attention is given to the implications of such a treaty for New Zealand including the issues affecting the energy, agricultural and forestry sectors. The book is based on a series of roundtable discussions hosted by the Institute of Policy Studies in mid-2007. The roundtable series was sponsored by the chief executives of the New Zealand government departments and involved about 120 people drawn from a diverse range of stakeholder groups, sectors and communities of interest.
Human Rights Watch Report on Pakistan's Crackdown on Lawyers and Judges
Human Rights Watch has released a new report, Destroying Legality: Pakistan’s Crackdown on Lawyers and Judges, detailing the crackdown on attorneys and judges in Pakistan earlier this year and suggesting how the United States must alter its foreign policy to ensure the survival of an independent judiciary in Pakistan.
From the Report's executive summary:
In the name of fighting terrorism and Islamist extremism, Musharraf instead mounted what was effectively a coup against Pakistan’s civil society. Targets of the crackdown included lawyers, judges, human rights activists, opposition political party members, journalists, students, and academics. The declaration of the state of emergency itself was not, as Musharraf claimed, necessitated by new terrorism threats, but by perceived threats to his own continued rule by an energized, principled lawyers’ movement calling for genuine respect for independence of the judiciary and the rule of law. Scores of government opponents including lawyers remain in prison across the country today; the leaders of the lawyers’ movement and senior judges of the Supreme Court remain under house arrest.... This report provides an analysis of the crackdown on lawyers and judges and its significance, based on interviews with eyewitnesses and victims. It is the most detailed empirical account to date of what happened during the November crackdown and ensuing events.... [U.S. Secretary of State] Rice’s notion that elections will cure the Musharraf government’s broad attack on democratic institutions such as the judiciary is mistaken. Free and fair elections and a genuine transformation to a parliamentary government are unlikely so long as the judiciary cannot function as an independent branch and laws remain on the books that allow Musharraf to manipulate the political environment on whim.
The events in Pakistan highlight the importance of legal institutions in a democracy as well as the perils of speaking truth to power. [NA]
Professional Reading: The Stepford Justices: The Need for Experiential Diversity on the Roberts Court
John Marshall Law School professor Timothy P O'Neill's The Stepford Justices: The Need for Experiential Diversity on the Roberts Court is now available from SSRN. Here's the abstract:
"For the first time in history every Supreme Court justice has come directly from the same job: judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals. For the first time in history no justice has ever served in a legislature at any level of government. For the first time in history no justice has ever run for political office. For the first time in history eight of the nine justices have graduated from the same three Ivy League law schools.
This narrowness of experience on the Supreme Court is unprecedented. Our current Supreme Court can indeed be called The Stepford Justices.
This article traces this homogeneity to the failure of the Robert Bork nomination in 1987. Since Bork, Presidents have tried to sell their nominees as non-ideological legal technicians. At the same time, justices are actually being selected for the same reason they always have been - the hope that their decisions will reflect the political beliefs of the President and his party.
The result? An ideologically split Court that decided one-third of last Term's cases by 5 to 4 votes.
This article contends that Presidents - and the legal community - must be more honest about the role of ideology in the work of the Supreme Court. It draws from the work of the mathematician Kurt Godel to argue that the nature of the Supreme Court docket leads to decisions that are both true and at the same time unprovable. Technical legal skill is not as important as values and intuition.
The article recommends a return to the policies of presidents such as Roosevelt, Truman, and Eisenhower. While they certainly tried to choose nominees who shared their political beliefs, they nominated not just individuals with judicial experience, but also lawyers who had been Senators, Governors, cabinet members, heads of regulatory agencies, professors, and even private practitioners. This mix of justices with wide legal and governmental experience is vital for the effective functioning of the nation's highest collegial court." [RJ]
Am Law 200 Managing Partners Issue Fog Advisory for 2008
"Each fall, when this magazine surveys the leaders of The Am Law 200 about the state of their firms, the responses are awash in sunny optimism -- at least, they have been until now. This year, for the first time since we began polling them in 2003, a substantial number of firm leaders admit to being uneasy about the future. More than a quarter reported that they were uncertain about their firm's prospects next year, and a few said they felt downright pessimistic. What's going on?
Follow-up interviews with more than a dozen survey respondents from all segments of The Am Law 200 offered some clues. Worries about the current state of the U.S. economy topped the list of concerns. Leaders of transactional firms say they remain unsure of how deeply the credit meltdown will penetrate the M&A and financial markets. Even managing partners who expect their firms to stay busy are hedging their bets, building up bankruptcy and restructuring practices ahead of a potentially long-lasting economic downturn." [RJ]
Opening: Head of Reference, Florida Coastal School of Law
Florida Coastal School of Law invites nominations and applications for a motivated and service-oriented Head of Reference.
The duties of the Head of Reference include: supervise, mentor, guide and train the Reference staff (consisting of 5 librarians and growing); supervise, maintain, and schedule the Reference Desk ; participate in the rotation at the Reference Desk, including some evenings and weekends; develop, market, coordinate, and present formal and informal library instruction for full range of available resources; produce and coordinate the creation of instructional materials (such as pathfinders and webcasts) to aid library patrons in their research; and work with faculty in support of scholarly and teaching research needs; and manage the Library Liaison program. In conjunction with the other librarians, the Head of Reference will also assist in identifying and acquiring resources appropriate for the collection; assist patrons in the evaluation and use of print, electronic, microform, and other resources; and keep current with developments in information technology that could be used to improve library reference and instructional services.
MLS degree from an ALA-accredited library school; JD from an ABA-accredited law school. Equivalents will be considered. Three or more years of progressive responsibility and reference experience. Experience in the training and instruction of groups. Excellent oral and written communication skills. Ability to work well with others in a team atmosphere; ability to establish and maintain good working relationships with colleagues and school constituencies. Strong service orientation. Detailed knowledge of print and electronic legal research tools. Flexibility, enthusiasm, and a positive attitude.
Experience designing and teaching legal research presentations. Experience as a supervisor. Strong leadership skills and creative ideas for improving quality of library services.
Salary and Benefits:
Competitive salary dependent on qualifications. See http://www.fcsl.edu/hr/employment/. Full benefits package.
Florida Coastal School of Law is fully accredited by the ABA. We are a private stand-alone institution known for collegiality and strong teaching. Our Bar pass rate is consistently above the Florida state average. Florida Coastal is a growing institution providing many opportunities to create innovative approaches to service, develop a proactive Reference Department, and influence the institutional role of the Library. Jacksonville is a major metropolitan area in Northeast Florida. We have beautiful ocean beaches, sporting events, cultural activities, and a low cost of living. No state income tax. Florida Coastal is an Equal Opportunity/Equal Access Employer.
Send letter of application, resume, and the names, addresses and phone numbers of three references to Colleen Manning, Assistant Director for Public Services, Florida Coastal School of Law, 8787 Baypine Road, Jacksonville, FL 32256.
December 19, 2007
Time's Person of the Year 2007 is ...
With the feature article titled A Tsar Is Born and headings like "Elected Emperor" you know where Time is going with this piece.
- Al Gore
- J.K. Rowling
- Hu Jintao
- David Petraeus, Commander of the Multi-National Forces in Iraq who would have received my vote had Time asked for it.
Professional Reading: The Federalist Papers as Source Material for Original Intent
Gregory E. Maggs (Professor of Law, George Washington University Law School), A Concise Guide to the Federalist Papers as a Source of the Original Meaning of the United States Constitution, 87 B.U. L. Rev. 801 (2007) [Westlaw]. From the introduction:
The Guide provides the essential background that lawyers, judges, law clerks, and legal scholars ought to have before advancing, contesting, or evaluating claims about the original meaning of the Constitution based on the Federalist Papers. I have tried to keep the Guide concise so that the intended audience will have time to read it. At the same time, I hope that the Guide is sufficiently analytical to promote critical thinking, careful judgment, and judicious evaluation of arguments that rely on the Federalist Papers.
See, also Louis J. Sirico, Original Intent in the First Congress [SSRN]:
Most of the literature on this country's Founding Era concludes that at least in the very early years, the Founders did not look to original intent to construe the Constitution. However, this study looks not at what the Founders said they believed, but how they acted. In the First Federal Congress, the members did use arguments based on original intent. This study identifies their originalist arguments and categorizes them into five rhetorical categories. It concludes that these arguments did not dominate the debates, but were one type of argument among many.