January 6, 2009
HLS Dean Kagan To Be Obama's Solicitor General
After making significant improvements at Harvard Law School, Dean Kagan is heading to DC to serve as Obama's Solicitor General. Hat tip to Brian Leiter's Law School Reports. [JH]
Extending the Scope of Copyright Exemptions for AV Files for Educational Purposes
The Copyright Office of the Library of Congress is conducting its triennial rulemaking proceeding in accordance with a provision of the Copyright Act which provides that the Librarian of Congress may exempt certain classes of works from the prohibition against circumvention of technological measures that control access to copyrighted works. [December 29, 2008 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking]. Professors, librarians and others are proposing a significant expansion of the circumstances and the classes of people who should be allowed to take remix content from DVDs and other AV materials for educational purposes. See Submitted Comments. For additional information, see Inside Higher Ed's Pushing the Envelope on Copyright Exemptions. [JH]
Mills on Privacy
Privacy: The Lost Right (Oxford UP, October, 2008) evaluates the status of citizens' right to privacy in today's intrusive world. The author, Jon L. Mills, reviews the history of privacy protections, the general loss of privacy, and the inadequacy of current legal remedies, especially with respect to more recent privacy concerns, such as identity theft, government surveillance, tabloid journalism, and video surveillance in public places. Mills concludes that existing regulations do not adequately protect individual privacy, and he presents options for improving privacy protections. About the book, Jeffrey Rosen (The George Washington University Law School) writes, "As a scholar and a litigator, Jon Mills has helped to shape the right to privacy in American life, and in this lucid book, he helps to illuminate it. This is a balanced, comprehensive, and engaging primer on the right to privacy that should appeal to privacy aficionados as well as general readers."
History of Government Bailouts, 1970-2008
Remember the Penn Railroad bailout in 1970? Or Lockhead, Franklin National Bank, Chrysler and New York City? ProPublic has published a chronology of federal government bailouts since 1970. [JH]
Bush Administration's Midnight Regulations Agenda
The Hill's Congress Blog is reporting that the Bush administration is rushing to finalize dozens of new regulations, many without normal hearings or comment periods, that will degrade the environment, fail to protect endangered species and expose people to dangerous working conditions and standards.
In Groups sue Bush over last-minute rule changes, CrimProf Blog reports that opposition to some of these new regulations is producing litigation. The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence sued the Bush administration to stop a new policy that would allow people to carry concealed, loaded guns in most national parks and wildlife refugees. California Attorney General Jerry Brown has announced that his state is suing the Bush administration to block changes in regulations that are intended to allow federal agencies to issue permits for mining, logging and similar activities without a review from federal biologists. [JH]
January 5, 2009
WSJ's Readers' Choice for Law Blog Newsmaker of 2008
Eliot Spitzer is leading in the WSJ Law Blog reader poll but Patrick Fitzgerald isn't far behind. Check it out. [JH]
John Doyle's Law Journal Rankings
John Doyle (Washington and Lee Law School Library) has updated his law journal rankings database through 2008. Here three of the rankings for US law journals. Methodology and complete listing here. [JH]
1 Harvard Law Review 100
2 The Yale Law Journal 89.6
3 Columbia Law Review 82.4
4 Stanford Law Review 74.7
5 New York University Law Review 68.2
6 California Law Review 66.6
6 University of Pennsylvania Law Review 66.6
8 The Georgetown Law Journal 64.4
9 Virginia Law Review 63.5
10 Cornell Law Review 61.6
1 The Yale Law Journal 2.9
2 Columbia Law Review 2.75
3 New York University Law Review 2.7
4 Supreme Court Review 2.68
5 Harvard Journal of Law & Technology 2.59
6 Stanford Law Review 2.55
7 Cornell Law Review 2.54
8 Virginia Law Review 2.52
9 University of Pennsylvania Law Review 2.5
10 California Law Review 2.49
10 The Georgetown Law Journal 2.49
1 The Georgetown Law Journal 5
2 The Yale Law Journal 4.32
3 Harvard Law Review 4.29
4 Cornell Law Review 4.09
5 New York University Law Review 3.89
6 Columbia Law Review 3.81
7 California Law Review 3.8
8 Virginia Law Review 3.63
9 University of Pennsylvania Law Review 3.58
10 Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review 3.46
What Does a "Comprehensive" Legal Database Really Mean?
Slaw's Gary Rodrigues calls for an end of vagueness in case law databases described by suppliers as being "comprehensive." "Auditing databases is not a difficult time, he writes, "it is merely time consuming." I agree. I think we assume that a "comprehensive" database means 100% coverage, but is it? What's the chance that we could persuade our online legal vendors to audit their databases? [JH]
ABA Publishes Biography of Richard Sprague as Part of Settlement Agreement
Fearless: The Richard A. Sprague Story is a new ABA title. It was published by the ABA as part of a settlement agreement with Sprague after an ABA publication described him as a "lawyer-cum-fixer." No such slams in the product description which is listed below:
Roughly half of Richard Sprague's career was spent in the public service, most of that as a prosecutor who sought first-degree murder convictions 75 times and won 73 of them. He is the man who went to Washington at the request of Congress to conduct controversial investigations into the murders of a president and a beloved civil rights leader. Richard Sprague is also the man who brought down and sent to prison for murder the top leaders of the United Mine Workers union. Even after he went into private practice, Dick continued to take on public assignments, such as challenging a federal judge who wanted to release a convicted murderer, prosecuting an errant state Supreme Court justice, and representing basketball great Allen Iverson.
In Fearless: The Richard A. Sprague Story, Joseph R. Daughen chronicles the significant events of a renowned Philadelphia lawyer who changed the landscape of the profession. Richard A. Sprague's philosophy holds that the law is sacred in this land, and as a lawyer he has always had the solemn obligation to fight as hard as he could to make the law serve his client, whether the client be the people of the United States, the people of Pennsylvania, or an individual caught up in the system. Read this compelling story of a man who wasn't afraid to risk everything to fight for his fellow man and made a difference in the legal profession.
January 4, 2009
Will China's Charter 08 Emerge as a Blueprint for Political Change?
Signed by over three hundred prominent Chinese citizens, China's Charter 08 calls for an end to some of its essential features of China current political system, including one-party rule, and their replacement with a system based on human rights, equality, democracy and the rule of law. From the document:
Authoritarianism is in general decline throughout the world; in China, too, the era of emperors and overlords is on the way out. The time is arriving everywhere for citizens to be masters of states. For China the path that leads out of our current predicament is to divest ourselves of the authoritarian notion of reliance on an "enlightened overlord" or an "honest official" and to turn instead toward a system of liberties, democracy, and the rule of law, and toward fostering the consciousness of modern citizens who see rights as fundamental and participation as a duty.