January 23, 2008
A Quick Look at SCOTUSwiki
SCOTUSwiki is the companion site to the great SCOTUSblog. The site is still in its early stages of development. From the About Page: "we’ve created a page for each case set for argument in the October sitting, and at each case’s page, you’ll find detailed previews, recaps, and analyses, as well as links to briefs and other articles of interest. Each page will be regularly updated as the case progresses, but all the information will be available in one easy-to-find place." Registered users can use the SCOTUSwiki's Watchlist to monitor developments for a specific case. [JH]
Is Your Law School a Firm Favorite?
Check out the 2007 Law School Hiring Survey. Based on data collected in the 2007 NLJ 250 survey, this report shows where the largest U.S. law firms are hiring their first-year associates. Included is the list of law schools whose 2007 graduate classes were most heavily recruited into NLJ 250 firms. And it only costs $250.00. [JH]
FTC Issues Staff Report on Malicious Spam and Phishing
"In a new report, the Federal Trade Commission staff describes findings from its July 2007 workshop, “Spam Summit: The Next Generation of Threats and Solutions” and proposes follow-up action steps that stakeholders can adopt to mitigate the harmful effects of malicious spam and phishing. In addition to proposing action steps for stakeholders, the report provides an overview of the agency’s decade-long role in protecting consumers from the threats of fraudulent spam and phishing. The report also announces results from staff’s 2007 Harvesting and Filtering Study, which suggest that Internet service providers’ spam filters continue to serve an integral role in reducing the amount of spam that reaches consumers’ in-boxes." [RJ]
Congressional Documents Online
"The Law Library is in the process of digitizing our print collection of Congressional documents (U.S. Congressional Hearings and Committee Prints). As of now, there are over 1,000,000 pages available consisting of over 4,800 documents. Click here for access." [RJ]
OEDb's Online College Rankings 2008
OEDb has just published its second Annual Online College Rankings. Data was gathered for eight different metrics — acceptance rate, financial aid, graduation rate, peer Web citations, retention rate, scholarly citations, student-faculty ratio, and years accredited. The top five schools are:
- Upper Iowa University
- LeTourneau University
- Liberty University
- Nova Southeastern University
- California University of Pennsylvania
Ah, the only school I ever heard of before reading this ranking was Nova, a school I would expect to see highly ranked. It would be interesting if OEDb followed up this survey with detailed profiles of the top five (or ten) schools.
Some Questions. I'm not real sure about some of the metrics used for this ranking.
Years of Accreditation, why? OEDb explains on its Methodology page, "we looked at how long it had maintained its accreditation status, since a longer period of accreditation implies more name recognition and prestige, as well as the continual competence of the college's administration." Perhaps all those reasons are true but I do not believe they are relevant. If Harvard jumps into the online college game, it would automatically be ranked first. A better metric might be how long the institutions have been offering more than x-number of eCourses.
The Peer Web Citations is interesting. Using Yahoo! Search's linkdomain:example.edu site:.edu -site:example.edu backlink command, OEDb determined how many times a particular college's website is linked to by other college's websites but I'm not sure what this tells us. Is it really "a proxy for a college's relative status among other colleges?"
The Scholarly Citations metric is seriously flawed. OEDb used Google Scholar instead of readily available humanities, social science and physical science citation indexes. Google Scholar simply isn't a comprehensive enough source to produce a reliable indicator of the quantity, quality and importance of faculty published research. From what I can tell, no date restrictions were used so there is a clear bias towards older schools. (I doubt it is necessary to count 25-50-100 year old citations in the context of ranking colleges that offer online courses.)
OEDb writes (and I agree): "while this methodology may be imperfect, as is any methodology of this nature, we do want to stress that at the very least it is quantitative and objective, relying solely on hard data as opposed to subjective interpretation." Hopefully, future rankings will eliminate the Years of Accreditation metric and find an alternative for Google Scholar. [JH]
Fiscal Year 2007 Financial Report of the United States Government
"The Secretary of the Treasury, in coordination with the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), is required annually to submit financial statements for the U.S. government to the President and the Congress. GAO is required to audit these statements.
The FY 2007 Financial Report of the United States Government (Financial Report) published by the Department of the Treasury includes GAO's report on the accompanying U.S. government's consolidated financial statements for the fiscal years ended September 30, 2007 and 2006, and the associated reports on internal control and compliance with significant laws and regulations." [RJ]
Opening: Serials Librarian, Columbia University Diamond Law Library
The Arthur W. Diamond Law Library of Columbia University invites applications and nominations for the position of Serials Librarian.
Reporting to the Head of Technical Services, the Serials Librarian is responsible for overseeing the bibliographic and physical control of continuing resources. Essential duties of the position include: reviewing continuing formats cataloging and record enhancement; working closely with other units to solve problems in the maintenance of bibliographic and check-in records; administering and managing the Serials Unit which consists of 4 FTEs and student assistants in all duties related to serials control of over 6,000 active titles in various media, languages and scripts. In addition, the incumbent is expected to participate in library planning, committees and task forces and to participate in campus, regional, and national professional development and collaborative activities.
The ideal candidate should be self-motivated, possess superior communication and interpersonal skills, demonstrate a strong service orientation and an ability to work with varied user groups, be able to function effectively in a team environment, be able to train staff in computer applications for serials control, materials processing and bibliographic control, and have an awareness of current trends in law library technical services.
MLS; demonstrated supervisory abilities and experience; knowledge of bibliographic classification systems and cataloging rules; experience with the serials marketplace; experience with library computer systems, some knowledge of the nature of academia; working knowledge of two foreign languages.
Professional experience working with serials in a major research or law library; working knowledge of additional foreign languages; experience with the US GPO and UN depository systems, some knowledge of the law or of the law serials trade. Salary commensurate with experience and qualifications. Excellent benefits include assistance with University housing and tuition exemption for self and family.
One of the world's leading research universities, Columbia provides outstanding opportunities to work and grow in a unique intellectual community. Set in the Morningside Heights academic village, Columbia also presents the unmatched dynamism, diversity and cultural richness of New York City. The University Libraries, grounded in collections of remarkable depth and breadth, are also building extensive electronic resources and services. The Libraries at Columbia are committed to collegiality, professionalism, innovation and leadership.
For immediate consideration, please e-mail your resume to: email@example.com and list the names, addresses and phone numbers of three references. You may also mail your resume to Human Resources Office, Box 18 Butler Library MC 1104, Columbia University, 535 West 114th Street, New York, NY 10027. Your cover letter must specify Job Search #70107028 and include your e-mail address. Screening of applications will begin immediately; search will remain open at least 30 days from date of posting.
January 22, 2008
Padilla Sentenced to 17 Years
Jose Padilla, once accused of plotting with al Qaeda to blow up a radioactive "dirty bomb," was sentenced Tuesday to 17 years and four months on terrorism conspiracy charges that don't mention those initial allegations. CNN has the details. See also Sentencing Law & Policy's coverage. [JH]
SEC's Executive Compensation Reader
"Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Christopher Cox launched the first-ever online tool that enables investors to easily and instantly compare what 500 of the largest American companies are paying their top executives. The new database highlights the power of interactive data to transform financial disclosure.
The Executive Compensation Reader - available on the SEC's Web site at http://www.sec.gov/xbrl - builds on the Commission's new requirements that went into effect earlier this year to dramatically enhance clarity and completeness of executive compensation disclosure." [RJ]
Future Trends in the State Courts
From the National Center for State Courts: "The Future Trends in State Courts, produced annually, is intended to support courts in their strategic planning efforts and stimulate thought and discussion about important current issues in the courts. The report has been a product of Knowledge and Information Services (formerly information Services) since the early nineties. Each Trends report is comprised of a series of individual articles by experts in the field." [RJ]
Using Blogs Instead of Propriety eCourse Management Services
OSU law professor Douglas Berman, blogger at Sentencing Law & Policy and Law School Innovation, is using a blog to support his 1L Legislation course this Spring. He has used a blog for course support before. See his upper level Death Penalty course blog. About blogging for his 1L Legislation course, Berman writes
Though the course is a relatively innovative part of the Ohio State curriculum, it is a classic large 1L lecture course. I am much less confident that this blog (rather than a propriety law-school-support technology like TWEN) will be an ideal tool for me and the students. But I'll never know the blog potential (and drawbacks) for traditional courses unless I try this out.
I created both course blogs for Berman and each time I've asked him why he isn't using TWEN. Berman wants his students to be exposed to the world outside of Westlaw resouces, the "West First" mentality I referred to in an earlier post. The public can watch this demonstration project by visiting Berman's Legislation Course (at) Moritz College of Law. Check it out.
See also Gene Koo's Blogs as Teaching Tools : CALI/Berkman Lunch Wrapup. [JH]
2008 CALI Conference Theme, Call for Suggestions
The 2008 CALI Conference will be held Thursday-Saturday, June 19-21, 2008 at the University of Maryland School of Law in Baltimore. John Mayer, CALI's Executive Director has posted several ideas for this year's conference theme and is calling for feedback and suggestions.
CALI is my favorite annual meeting. (Sorry AALL). I like John's "Pedagogy2Practice: Innovation in Legal Education" theme. [JH]
From a Critic of Tribunals to Top Judge
"Back in 2002, a master’s degree candidate at the Naval War College wrote a paper on the Bush administration’s plan to use military commissions to try Guantánamo suspects, concluding that “even a good military tribunal is a bad idea.”
It drew little notice at the time, but the paper has gained a second life because of its author’s big promotion: Col. Ralph H. Kohlmann of the Marines is now the chief judge of the military commissions at the naval base in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.
The system, Judge Kohlmann wrote in 2002, would face criticism for the “apparent lack of independence” of military judges and would have “credibility problems,” the very argument made by Guantánamo’s critics.
He said it would be better to try terrorism suspects in federal courts in the United States. “Unnecessary use of military tribunals in the face of reasonable international criticism,” he wrote, “is an ill-advised move.”
The paper is becoming a reference work of sorts in the curious history of Guantánamo, which includes a number of former officials who have become outspoken critics, including several former intelligence officers and a former chief military prosecutor." [RJ]
Choice of Law in the American Courts
Symeon C. Symeonides, Dean & Professor of Law, College of Law, Willamette University, has deposited Choice of Law in the American Courts in 2007: Twenty-First Annual Survey in SSRN. Here's the abstract:
This is the Twenty-First Annual Survey of American Choice-of-Law Cases. It covers cases decided by American state or federal courts from January 1 to December 31, 2007, and reported during the same period. Of the 3,676 conflicts cases meeting both of these parameters, the Survey focuses on the cases that deal with the choice-of-law part of conflicts law, and then discusses those cases that may add something new to the development or understanding of that part. The Survey is intended as a service to fellow teachers and students of conflicts law, both within and outside the United States. Its purpose is to inform rather than to advocate.
January 21, 2008
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Law of the Land
"I submit that an individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for law. " -- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Letter from Birmingham Jail, April 16, 1963.
Still the "moral leader of our country."
"I Have a Dream" delivered August 28 1963, at the Lincoln Memorial, Washington D.C.
"I've Been to the Mountaintop" delivered April 3, 1968 (prophetic last speech delivered the day before King was murdered).
The Legal Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Lyonette Louis-Jacques, Foreign and International Law Librarian and Lecturer in Law at The University of Chicago Law School has created the following resources:
- The Legal Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: Selected Resources (pdf)
- Martin Luther King, Jr., Civil Rights Activists and the Law: Selected D'Angelo Law Library Resources (pdf)
Sitkoff's King: Pilgrimage to the Mountaintop, New MLK Biography
Drawing on his expertise in the history of the civil rights movement, Harvard Sitkoff has produced the finest brief biography of Martin Luther King, Jr. The man who emerges is not the homogenized King celebrated every January, but a radical critic of military adventurism and economic and racial injustice, who speaks to the present as powerfully as to his own time. —Eric Foner, Columbia University
King: Pilgrimage to the Mountaintop
by Harvard Sitkoff
List Price: $25.00
Hardcover: 288 pages
Publisher: Hill and Wang (December 26, 2007)
Book Description: A Stunning Reappraisal of King and His Increased Relevance
Might Martin Luther King, Jr.’s greatest accomplishments have been ahead of him? His murder in April 1968 did far more than cut tragically short the life of one of America’s most remarkable civil rights leaders. In this concise biography, Harvard Sitkoff presents a stunningly relevant King. The 1955 Montgomery bus boycott, King’s 1963 soul-stirring address from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, and the 1965 history-altering Selma march are all recounted. But these are not treated as predetermined high points in a life celebrated for its role in a civil rights struggle too many Americans have quickly relegated to the past. Carefully presented alongside King’s successes are his failures—as an organizer in Albany, Georgia, and St. Augustine, Florida; as a leader of ever more strident activists; as a husband. Together, high and low points are interwoven to capture King’s lifelong struggle, through disappointment and epiphany, with his own injunction: “Let us be Christian in all our actions.” By telling King’s life as one on the verge of reaching its fullest fulfillment, Sitkoff powerfully shows where King’s faith and activism were leading him—to a direct confrontation with a president over an immoral war and with an America blind to its complicity in economic injustice.
About the Author: Harvard Sitkoff is a professor of history at the University of New Hampshire and the author or editor of more than eight books, including A New Deal for Blacks; The Struggle for Black Equality, 1945–1992 (H&W, 1993); and A History of Our Time.
January 20, 2008
U.S.-Pakistan Relations Assassination, Instability, and the Future of U.S. Policy
The Rand Report, U.S.-Pakistan Relations Assassination, Instability, and the Future of U.S. Policy, (pdf) by C. Christine Fair, was prepared for testimony presented before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia on January 16, 2008. [JH]
Winning the Right War
More than six years after the start of the ‘war on terror’, America and its allies are less safe, their enemies stronger and more numerous, and the war’s key geographic battleground, the greater Middle East, dangerously unstable. In Iraq, thousands of American soldiers, and tens of thousands of Iraqi soldiers and civilians, have been killed or wounded while more than 150,000 US troops fight to contain an insurgency and a civil war at a cost of over $300 million per day. In Iran, an Islamic fundamentalist regime remains firmly in power and is defiantly pursuing a nuclear-weapons programme, undermining American efforts in Iraq and subsidising increasingly brazen terrorist groups in the Middle East. The Gaza Strip is now led by one terrorist group, Hamas, while another, Hizbullah, is increasingly influential in Lebanon and increasingly popular on the streets of the Middle East. Syria remains under an anti-American dictatorship allied to Iran, and no real peace process betwe! en Israel and any of its neighbours exists." [RJ]
More broadly, according to repeated public opinion polls, the popularity and credibility of the United States is at an all-time low. Hizbullah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah is far more popular in the Muslim world than President George W. Bush; most Muslims would prefer to see China, Russia or France replace America as the dominant outside power; and majorities even among America’s traditional allies now have a highly unfavourable view of the United States. While the US homeland has not been attacked since 2001, Osama bin Laden remains at large, and there have been far more Islamist terrorist attacks around the world since 2001 than in the six years before the ‘war on terror’ was launched. Far from being ‘on the march’, democracy in the Middle East is in trouble, and where it has advanced, in most cases – including Palestine, Iraq, Egypt and Lebanon – it has produced unintended and often unwanted consequences. For a war that has now been going on longer than the Second World War, the balance sheet is dismal.