August 4, 2008
Research Resources from UK Parliament
- Commons Library Research Papers: Research papers on subjects of current interest, compiled for MPs by the staff of the House of Commons Library.
- Lords Library Notes: Research notes on subjects of current interest, compiled for Lords by the staff of the House of Lords Library.
- Parliament and Constitution Research: A selection of research papers and standard notes produced by the House of Commons Library on subjects such as: central government, constitution, Crown, devolution, elections, Parliament, and political parties.
- Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology: Short briefing notes and longer reports on science and technology issues published by POST.
New Developments in UK Public Sector Information: Asking Users What They Want. On Binary Law, Nick Holmes reports on two new UK governments services to distribute public sector information. Actually, one is a competition. The Cabinet Office’s Power of Information Taskforce will award suggests for new products that could improve the way public information is communicated. Show Us a Better Way has a £20,000 prize fund to develop the best ideas to the next level.
The second development, the Public Sector Information Unlocking Service (beta) has been launched by the Office of Public Sector Information of the National Archives. The Office is taking user requests for information they want unlocked for re-use.
More on these two UK developments on Binary Law, see Unlocking the power of information.
[RJ & JH]
Law Firm Electronic Resources Expenditures and Cost Recovery Survey Results for 2007
From Am Law's seventh annual law firm librarian survey (librarians from 94 of the Am Law 200 law firms responded):
|Electronic Resources excluding LexisNexis and Westlaw|
|Westlaw-LexisNexis Cost Recovery|
|LexisNexis recovery is better.||10%||11%|
|Westlaw recovery is better.||45%||35%|
|They are about the same.||42%||48%|
|We don’t recover online charges.||3%||7%|
Additional survey results covering librarians’ responsibilities and the library’s budget, resources, and staffing reported in Competitive Advantage: Business Intelligence - Finding, Analyzing and Leveraging It - Reshapes the Role of Law Librarians. [JH]
The Conservative Experience in Law: Think Tank Battles for the Hearts and Minds of the Legal Establishment
"Teles' major stories pivot around the formation and evolution of the Federalist Society, the emergence and institutionalization of law and economics as part of law school curriculums, the Center for Individual Rights, and the Institute for Justice. Nested within these narratives are vignettes of other players and organizations that illustrate how patrons and entrepreneurs learned from their mistakes and redirected their strategies. Teles quickly alerts his readers that he not concerned with organizations like the American Center for Law and Justice that have been involved in religious or social conservative litigation. Nor is he interested in the thicket of conservative think tanks that sprouted up during the past three decades or in the proliferation of litigating groups with traditional pro-business agendas or interests in tort reform. The price of Teles' tight focus,however, is easily off-set by the many benefits generated by his in-depth discussions." -- From Texas A&M political science professor Roy B. Flemming's review published in Law and Politics Book Review.
List Price: $35.00
Hardcover: 358 pages
Publisher: Princeton University Press (January 28, 2008)
Description: Starting in the 1970s, conservatives learned that electoral victory did not easily convert into a reversal of important liberal accomplishments, especially in the law. As a result, conservatives' mobilizing efforts increasingly turned to law schools, professional networks, public interest groups, and the judiciary--areas traditionally controlled by liberals. Drawing from internal documents, as well as interviews with key conservative figures, The Rise of the Conservative Legal Movement examines this sometimes fitful, and still only partially successful, conservative challenge to liberal domination of the law and American legal institutions.
Unlike accounts that depict the conservatives as fiendishly skilled, The Rise of the Conservative Legal Movement reveals the formidable challenges that conservatives faced in competing with legal liberalism. Steven Teles explores how conservative mobilization was shaped by the legal profession, the legacy of the liberal movement, and the difficulties in matching strategic opportunities with effective organizational responses. He explains how foundations and groups promoting conservative ideas built a network designed to dislodge legal liberalism from American elite institutions. And he portrays the reality, not of a grand strategy masterfully pursued, but of individuals and political entrepreneurs learning from trial and error.
Using previously unavailable materials from the Olin Foundation, Federalist Society, Center for Individual Rights, Institute for Justice, and Law and Economics Center, The Rise of the Conservative Legal Movement provides an unprecedented look at the inner life of the conservative movement. Lawyers, historians, sociologists, political scientists, and activists seeking to learn from the conservative experience in the law will find it compelling reading.
About the Author: Steven M. Teles is associate professor of public policy at the University of Maryland and visiting lecturer at Yale Law School.
Post-Heller Gun Rights Litigation
Following the Supreme Court's ruling in District of Columbia v. Heller (No. 07–290), a number of new gun rights lawsuits have been filed to test the Court's landmark decision. Here's a round-up of recent cases from the NRA (via SCOTUSblog):
- Guy Montag Doe, et al., v. San Francisco Housing Authority, et al., District Court Northern Division (docket 08-3112)
- NRA, et al., v. City of Chicago, et al. (docket 08-3697)
- Evanston, Ill., case, NRA, et al., v. City of Evanston, et al. (docket 08-3693)
- Oak Park, Ill., case, NRA, et al., v. Village of Oak Park, et al. (docket 08-3696)
- Morton Grove, Ill., case, NRA, et al., v. Village of Morton Grove, et al. (docket 08-3694)
See LLB's earlier post on the Heller ruling: Supreme Court Affirms Right to Own Guns for Self-Defense. [RJ]
Opening: Deputy Assistant Director, LC's CRS, American Law Division
The Congressional Research Service (CRS), American Law Division (ALD), is seeking a Deputy Assistant Director. The Deputy Assistant Director counsels the Assistant Director on all aspects of the administration and operations of the division; monitors research, administration and operations of the division in relation to its capacity for and actual experience in meeting needs of the Congress; ensures that the division is working toward identifying public policy problems facing the Congress and follows through with analysis that provides an objective, authoritative framework in which the Congress can assess the consequences of legislative/policy options; demonstrates intellectual leadership in monitoring congressional needs in policy areas within the research management responsibility of the Division; collaborates with other senior research division managers to assure full identification of significant issues and develops analytical approaches; serves with full delegated authority as the Assistant Director in his/her absence; and performs special research, consultative, or administrative assignments as requested by the Director.
The American Law Division’s work addresses the myriad legal questions that arise in a legislative context or are otherwise of interest to Congress. Some issues relate to the institutional prerogatives of Congress under the Constitution. Other questions involve constitutional and legal principles of statutory analysis that cross legislative policy areas, such as federalism, commerce powers and individual rights. The division also focuses on the intricacies of legal precedent and statutory construction as they relate to business, crime, the environment, civil rights, international law and other issues.
Basic Requirement: Applicant must be a graduate from a full course of study in a School of Law accredited by the American Bar Association and be a member in good standing of the bar of a state, District of Columbia, territory of the United States, or Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.
The Congressional Research Service, within the Library of Congress, is part of the Legislative Branch of the Federal government. As such, all positions are in the excepted service. The selected applicant may be required to file a financial disclosure statement with the House of Representatives, U.S. Congress, in accordance with the provisions of Public Law 95-521, Ethics in Government Act of 1978.
This position is being offered at the Senior Level ($114,468-$158,500).
To Apply: Please apply online at http://www.loc.gov/crsinfo. Please refer to vacancy # 080203 in all correspondence.
Applications must be received by August 19th, 2008.
August 3, 2008
Wayne Ewing's The Border Wall
The Border Wall is a new documentary from filmmaker Wayne Ewing about the attempt by the Department of Homeland Security under Secretary Michael Chertoff to erect 670 miles of walls along the 2000 mile southern border of the United States in the waning days of the Bush administration.
From the documentary's website:
The Border Wall examines the effect of the Wall where it began as a double fence in San Diego in the 1990’s. Local activists argue that militarization of the border and the walls have simply driven undocumented aliens to cross through more dangerous terrain, causing the deaths of over 5000 people. However, Rep. Duncan Hunter (R., CA) – the author of the Secure Fence Act of 2006, claims that there was a 50% drop in crime in San Diego County after the walls went up along the border, and that the wall saves lives.
In Arizona, The Border Wall looks at the seven miles of wall recently built near Sasabe, and discovers a horde of illegal immigrants simply going around the end of the wall into mountainous terrain where the filmmakers find two Mexican ladies lost and terrified. Undocumented immigrants dying of thirst in the desert often find help from No More Deaths, an organization of volunteers dedicated to saving lives in the desert of Southern Arizona, and the film follows them patrolling the desert, and cleaning up the immense amounts of trash left behind by migrants.
Also in Arizona, The Border Wall examines a legal challenge by the Defenders of Wildlife to wall construction in the fragile San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area which was at first successful in the fall of 2006 in persuading a federal judge to halt all construction. But Secretary Chertoff invoked the extraordinary power given him by Congress with the Real ID Act of 2005 to waive any law that he determines stands in his way of building the wall. Chertoff waived 19 laws.
The Defenders of Wildlife show the filmmakers the fragile beauty of the San Pedro River, the only free-flowing river left in the Southwest where wall construction has resumed, and explain their constitutional challenge to the Real Act, a challenge that the Supreme Court of the United States recently refused to hear.
Secretary Chertoff also recently invoked the Real ID Act in the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas to waive 36 federal laws in order to build over 70 miles of walls quickly before he is quite possibly out of a job with a new administration in January, 2009. The Department of Homeland Security has sued the City of Eagle Pass to put a wall through the city park and golf course, and sued the University of Texas at Brownsville to put a wall through the campus, and sued scores of landowners along the border who refused to immediately give up their land to the wall.
Environmentalists are outraged. Even the US Government’s Fish & Wildlife Service objects to the wall after spending 100 million dollars and forty years to create a wildlife corridor along the Rio Grande River for birds and endangered species like the ocelot and jaguarondi. A world class birding and eco-tourism area is about to disrupted by an 18 foot wall that will keep wildlife from their only source of water, the Rio Grande River.
Towns and cities along the Rio Grande from Brownsville to El Paso are doing everything legally within their power to stop the wall which opponents argue is ineffective, destructive to wildlife, and an offence to our neighbors in Mexico. Production of The Border Wall continues to examine just how far the Department of Homeland Security under Secretary Chertoff will go by the end of fiscal year 2008 in fulfilling some people’s dream and other’s nightmare of a wall across our southern border.
The Border Wall is premiering at the Starz Denver Film Festival in November, 2008. Bill Hing (UC-Davis) reports on ImmigrationProf Blog that the film was supposed to air in June with Bill Moyers but Moyers, for some unknown reason, dropped it.
Here's is a five minute preview of the film. [JH]
Brookings Institution Charts Obama and McCain Positions
The Candidate Issue Index, compiled by Brookings Institution experts, outline the candidates' positions on the most critical topics facing America's next President. The topics, listed below, were chosen by Brookings staff and the indices will be published throughout the 2008 Presidential election cycle.
The Cost of Iraq, Afghanistan, and Other Global War on Terror Operations Since 9/11
From the Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists):
"With enactment of the FY2008 Consolidated Appropriations Act (H.R. 2764/P.L. 110-161) on December 26, 2007, Congress has approved a total of about $700 billion for military operations, base security, reconstruction, foreign aid, embassy costs, and veterans’ health care for the three operations initiated since the 9/11 attacks: Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) Afghanistan and other counter terror operations; Operation Noble Eagle (ONE), providing enhanced security at military bases; and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF).
This $700 billion total covers all war-related appropriations from FY2001 through part of FY2008 in supplementals, regular appropriations, and continuing resolutions. Of that total, CRS estimates that Iraq will receive about $524 billion (75%), OEF about $141 billion (20%), and enhanced base security about $28 billion (4%), with about $5 billion that CRS cannot allocate (1%). About 94% of the funds are for DOD, 6% for foreign aid programs and embassy opera! tions, and less than 1% for medical care for veterans. As of April 2008, DOD’s monthly obligations for contracts and pay averaged about $12.1 billion, including $9.8 billion for Iraq, and $2.3 billion for Afghanistan." [RJ]