July 12, 2008
Evaluating the Potential for a Recession in 2008
Recent CRS Report (via Open CRS): "The U.S. economy has faced some bad news lately. The housing boom has come to an abrupt halt, and housing sales and house building have been falling at double digit rates. Problems in housing markets have spread to financial markets, causing a "liquidity crunch" in August 2007, and calm has not been restored since. Financial institutions have written off large losses because of falling asset values, particularly for mortgage-backed securities. Commodity prices have been rising, and the price of crude oil has recently topped $120 per barrel. While each of these factors might not be enough to cause a recession in isolation, their cumulative effect could be great enough to push the economy into recession." [RJ]
In light of this news, it is perhaps unsurprising that consumer confidence is at a five-year low. In response to these events, Congress has enacted an economic stimulus package (P.L. 110-185) and the Federal Reserve has aggressively cut interest rates and lent directly to the financial system to spur economic growth. Despite these actions, a recent survey of private sector forecasters put the chance of a recession in 2008 at 60%. A look at the available data suggests that economic growth has slowed considerably, but it is too soon to tell if the economy has entered a recession. Typically, the NBER does not announce that the economy has entered a recession until the recession is well under way, for good reason. Recessions are defined as prolonged and sustained declines in economic activity, so by definition, a persistent downturn cannot be identified until it has persisted. Any decline in economic activity at this point is only nascent. Growth was slow in the last two quarters for which data are available, but remained positive. During the onset of the liquidity crunch, economic growth was an unusually high 4.9% in the third quarter of 2007. Employment declined slightly in the first four months of 2008. The same forecasters who believe there is a one in two chance of recession also predict that growth will average 1.4% in 2008. Given the lags between policy changes and their effects on the economy, the economy has not yet felt the full impact of the stimulus package and the Federal Reserve's actions.
Natural-Born Citizenship: McCain’s Eligibility to be President is an Issue Again
According to Jack Chin (Arizona) a largely overlooked 1937 statute calls John McCain’s eligibility to be president into question (again) because he is not a natural-born citizen. The law conferred citizenship on children of American parents born in the Canal Zone after 1904 which would have made McCain a citizen just before his first birthday. But the law came too late, Professor Chin argues, to make McCain a natural-born citizen. Check out Chin's argument in Why Senator John McCain Cannot Be President: Eleven Months and a Hundred Yards Short of Citizenship (SSRN)(Text of abstract below the fold).
Why Senator John McCain Cannot Be President: Eleven Months and a Hundred Yards Short of Citizenship by Gabriel J. Chin (University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law; University of Arizona Eller College of Management, School of Public Administration and Policy). Here's the abstract:
Senator McCain was born in 1936 in the Canal Zone to U.S. citizen parents. The Canal Zone was territory controlled by the United States, but it was not incorporated into the Union. As requested by Senator McCain's campaign, distinguished constitutional lawyers Laurence Tribe and Theodore Olson examined the law and issued a detailed opinion offering two reasons that Senator McCain was a natural born citizen. Neither is sound under current law. The Tribe-Olson Opinion suggests that the Canal Zone, then under exclusive U.S. jurisdiction, may have been covered by the Fourteenth Amendment's grant of citizenship to "all persons born . . . in the United States." However, in the Insular Cases, the Supreme Court held that "unincorporated territories" were not part of the United States for constitutional purposes. Accordingly, many decisions hold that persons born in unincorporated territories are not Fourteenth Amendment citizens. The Tribe-Olson Opinion also suggests that Senator McCain obtained citizenship by statute. However, the only statute in effect in 1936 did not cover the Canal Zone. Recognizing the gap, in 1937, Congress passed a citizenship law applicable only to the Canal Zone, granting Senator McCain citizenship, but eleven months too late for him to be a citizen at birth. Because Senator John McCain was not a citizen at birth, he is not a "natural born Citizen" and thus is not "eligible to the Office of President" under the Constitution.
This essay concludes by exploring how changes in constitutional law implied by the Tribe-Olson Opinion, such as limiting the Insular Cases and expanding judicial review of immigration and nationality laws passed by Congress, could make Senator McCain a citizen at birth and thus a natural born citizen.
OHCHR Report of Activities 2007
From the UN Pluse: "The UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights has released the report for its activites for 2007 (full-text, pdf ). The report reviews the work of the Commission in 2007, documenting the many activities and initiatives underataken throughout the year, and presenting an assessment of the results achieved and challenges encountered." See also: Human Rights Handbook for NGOs, OHCHR. [RJ]
FBI Releases Preliminary Annual Crime Statistics for 2007
From the press release: "According to the FBI's Preliminary Annual Uniform Crime Report, the nation experienced a 1.4 percent decrease in the number of violent crimes and a 2.1 percent decline in the number of property crimes for 2007 compared with data from 2006. The report is based on information that the FBI gathered from 12,032 law enforcement agencies that submitted six to 12 comparable months of data to the FBI for both 2006 and 2007." [RJ]
July 11, 2008
Is Google Casting Aside the Library Community?
Check out what Steven Cohen (a senior librarian at Law Library Management Inc.) has to say in How Google Used Librarians…and Got Away With It and the Chronicle's Librarians Accuse Google of Using and Discarding Them. [JH]
Interview Opportunties in Portland
Be sure to check LLB's job announcements. Many recently published ones indicate that interviews will be conducted during AALL's Portland Meeting. [JH]
Friday Fun: Best Robot Love Stories
From Wall-E to Weird Science, here's a slide show of the best robot love stories according to Wired's Jenna Wortham. [JH]
Crowdsourcing SCOTUS for Quality Control
After recent highly publicized SCOTUS mistakes, the Right Coast's Tom Smith has offered up an interesting quality control suggestion, using social media to crowdsource draft SCOTUS opinions before finalizing them. About Smith's suggestion, Legal Blog Watch writes "I'd bet that lawyers would jump at the chance to comb through Supreme Court decisions and identify errors. After all, imagine the public recognition that they'd receive. In a way, Smith's proposal would give every lawyer a chance to act as a Supreme Court clerk, if only for a couple of hours."
Not going to happen. Nor is the informal method The Volokh Conspiracy's Paul Cassell used when he was on the bench, namely circulating ""tentative" written rulings to the parties before holding oral argument, and then at the argument asking the parties whether they saw anything wrong with the proposed decision. [JH]
EPA Issues Business Guide to Climate Partnership Programs
The EPA's A Business Guide to U.S. EPA Climate Partnership Programs, profiles "35 EPA climate-change related partnership programs, as well as a handy table so companies can look up programs most appropriate for their industry and business objectives. Each program profile defines the environmental value delivered by the program and the business case for participating, such as cost savings, operational efficiency, reduced business risk, new or expanded markets, enhanced reputation and brand protection."
See also: The EPA’s 2008 Report on the Environment (ROE). From the press release: "EPA’s ROE uses scientifically sound indicators to address questions that EPA believes to be fundamental to its mission to protect human health and the environment. EPA believes that paying close attention to trends in such indicators serves two key purposes: it provides valuable input to EPA in developing its strategic outlook and priorities, and allows EPA and the public to assess whether the Agency is succeeding in its overall mission. EPA prepared this Report on the Environment (ROE) to accomplish these purposes."
Ranking Moot Court Programs
LLB's original post (below the fold) did not list the final 2007 rankings for law school moot court programs. [Link to complete final rankings]. Here's the corrected list of the Top 10 programs:
- South Texas
- Washington University
- Michigan State
- Loyola Chicago & Texas Wesleyan
My bad. [JH]
Original Post (uncorrected)
Best Moot Court Programs ranks the Top 53 law school moot court programs. Here's the top 10.
2. Washington University
5. South Texas
8. Lewis & Clark
10. George Mason
Hat tip to TaxProf Blog. [JH]
10 Ways to Search Wikipedia
Great article from ReadWriteWeb: "Wikipedia, which turned 7 this year, is a source of information for 683 million visitors every year. A poster child for user-generated content, Wikipedia has grown from its first year in which just 12 articles were created to over 10 million today in 253 different languages. That's a whole lot of content, and naturally, being able to easily search it would be helpful for anyone wanting to get the most out of the web's favorite encyclopedia. You could use the site's official search engine, or you could search Google for "site:wikipedia.org" ... or you could use one of the 10 alternative methods" identified in this article. [RJ]
Cost Analysis of Using DNA in the Investigation of High-Volume Crimes
DNA Field Experiment: Cost-Effectiveness Analysis of the Use of DNA in the Investigation of High-Volume Crimes is a new report from the Urban Institute: "The study compared traditional crime solving to biological evidence techniques in hundreds of cases where biological evidence was available. When conventional investigative techniques were used, a suspect was identified 12 percent of the time, compared to 31 percent of the cases using DNA evidence. In eight percent of cases built on traditional evidence alone a suspect was arrested, compared to the 16 percent arrest rate in DNA cases. The average added cost for processing a single case with DNA evidence was about $1,397. Each additional arrest-an arrest that would not have occurred without DNA processing-cost $14,169." [RJ]
Opening: Reference and Student Services Librarian, Oklahoma City University Law Library
Oklahoma City University is ideally located in a growing metro area with a low cost of living. The Oklahoma City University Law School provides a dynamic atmosphere and proudly supports the Center on Alternative Dispute Resolution, the Center for the Study of State Constitutional Law and Government, and the Native American Legal Resource Center. The 15 member library staff works in a collegial, professional environment and provides an ideal job opportunity for a candidate interested in providing legal reference and instruction services.
Candidates should have a JD and a Library Science degree. For someone pursuing or completing a Library Science degree (who already possesses a JD degree) previous employment in legal or related fields could be considered. The salary is commensurate with qualifications and experience.
The Reference and Student Services Librarian provides legal reference services to law students, law faculty and other patrons of the Law Library. This includes answering legal research and general reference questions, assisting law students, law faculty, and other patrons with print and electronic resources. The position has specific responsibilities for serving students, acting as the library liaison for student organizations and publications, such as the law review, and overseeing interlibrary loan processing of student requests. The librarian also produces research guides, pathfinders and library aids, and serves as a guest lecturer in the First Year Legal Research and Writing program. Additionally, the librarian makes presentations on research materials and strategies and team teaches two Advanced Legal Research courses with other librarians.
More information is available in the complete job description at: https://jobs.okcu.edu/applicants/jsp/shared/frameset/Frameset.jsp?time=1215468209491
Information about the University and benefits are available at: http://www.okcu.edu/hr/jobs.asp
*Please note that Lee Peoples, Associate Director ( 405-651-9239 ), and Darla Jackson, Head of Reference and Access Services ( 405-208-5915 ), will be available at the AALL Annual Meeting in Portland to answer questions about the position. Applicants should also submit a resume to our folder in the Placement Office. However, to be considered an official applicant, you must submit your application, resume, cover letter, and references online at https://jobs.okcu.edu/.
Opening: Digital Information Management Librarian, Texas Tech Law Library
Texas Tech Law Library has an exciting opening for a Digital Information Management Librarian. (Please see the position description that follows.)
While you are running from committee meeting to educational session to the exhibit hall, please take the time to talk to someone from the Texas Tech Law Library about this opportunity. We will be holding interviews while in Portland, so please stop by the Placement Office. If you would like to speak with someone about this position you may contact Arturo Torres at the Embassy Suites Hotel or Uwe "Ed" Beltz at 910-988-2032 . They will be available beginning on Saturday until Wednesday.
Primary duties include developing, maintaining, organizing, improving, contributing, and promoting the library's growing information base and repositories in all formats. Technical services functions such as systems management, cataloging, collection development and other duties are also part of this position's responsibility.
Required: Master's degree in library/information science from an ALA accredited program; knowledge of traditional legal bibliography & electronic legal information resources; demonstrated knowledge
of file formats, media/data migration, metadata, database management, and digitization techniques; experience in a library's cataloging area with substantial knowledge of cataloging and classification policies, practice and tools such as OCLC and Innovative's Millennium.
Preferred: ABA accredited JD or international equivalent; work experience in a law library or academic library; knowledge of current and emerging national cataloging standards (e.g., AACR2, MARC21, Library of Congress Classification, LCSH; knowledge of and/or experience with Innovative's Millennium system.
Salary and Benefits: Competitive and commensurate with experience and qualifications.
Other: The position is a full-time, 12 month, tenure-track position. Initial appointment is for one year at the rank of Librarian; reappointment and tenure decisions are based on librarianship (e.g., professional performance), scholarship, and service. Additional information is available at http://www.law.ttu.edu/lawlibrary/library/ look for the Position Opening link.
To Apply: You will need to complete the online application at https://jobs.texastech.edu. For questions about the online application, contact the Human Resource Services at (806) 742-3851ext. 238.
Texas Tech University is an EEO/AA/ADA Employer. REQ #76516.
July 10, 2008
Westcast Podcast: The Google Generation and Legal Research Previews AALL Town Hall Meeting
Check out WestBlog's post, The Google Generation and Legal Research, for a link to a Westcast podcast about the approaches the so-called "Google Generation" take to perform legal research as well as ongoing efforts by West and librarians in academic, government and law firm settings to improve legal research skills training.
The podcast previews the topics that will be addressed at the town hall meeting West is hosting at AALL on Saturday. The podcast and town hall discussion feature Monice Kaczorowski, Director of Library Services at Neal, Gerber & Eisenberg LLP in Chicago; Karl Gruben, Director of Law Library and Associate Professor of Law at St. Thomas University School of Law in Miami; Lezlie Bartz, vice president, Print/CD, West; and Anne Ellis, senior director, Librarian Relations, West. A white paper on the topic will be posted on WestBlog soon.
WestBlog will be blogging from AALL starting Saturday so don't forget to check out the blog. [JH]
Check Out the New TWEN at AALL
Thanks to TWEN's dominance in the law school segment of the eCourse management market, Westlaw has a huge advantage over LexisNexis in exposing law students to its online search services. On July 25th, a tweaked version of TWEN will be launched officially. At least one law prof is unhappy with some of the changes but the new TWEN looks like a sensible product evolution to me. See the online tutorial and be sure to check out the TWEN demo in Portland. [JH]
Professional Reading: Debating a Right of Reply on Search Results
Frank Pasquale III (Seton Hall) has posted Asterisk Revisited: Debating a Right of Reply on Search Results in SSRN. The article will appear in the Journal of Business and Technology Law. Here's the abstract:
What happens when high-ranking results about a certain searched term are harmful from either a societal perspective, or from the perspective of an entity with a stake in the search term? For example, if all the results about a (hypothetical) person named Xavier Hollidayly are negative opinions or mistaken accusations, should he get any chance to reply to them on the search page on which they appear - or at least to indicate with an asterisk a link that leads to a page that will do so? Or if the owner of the (again fictitious) trademark Flanakapan Popsicles finds that all the results in response to that term lead to competitors' websites, should she be able to indicate on that page that she owns the mark Flanakapan?
This essay proposes some solutions to these problems, and responds to critiques.
LexisNexis v. Westlaw Survey Results
Check out two recent user surveys:
- Law librarian survey produced by Stanford Law's Paul Lomio and Erika Wayne: Law Librarians and
LexisNexis vs. Westlaw: Survey Results (pdf)
- IP law professor and student survey by Franklin Pierce Law Center's Jon Cavicchi: Lexis v. Westlaw for research–better, different, or same and the qwerty effect?,” 47 IDEA 363-406 (2007) (Westlaw)
How to Create a Branded YouTube Channel
The Hate Directory: Hate Groups on the Internet
From the site: "The Hate Directory is now available in non-printable Portable Document Format. Features now include directories of blogs, web rings and racist games available on the Internet, as well as racist friendly web hosting services. Recent additions include directories of racist Internet radio broadcasts and podcasts. As in previous editions, all links are clickable, allowing you to access the sites directly from the index." [RJ]