August 29, 2009
Round-Up of Practitioner Blogs
Tampa Bay Criminal Defense Lawyer Blog
Reports on criminal law news, cases and opinions in Florida. Published by the Slavin Law Firm.
Oregon Bankruptcy Lawyer Blog
Reviews bankruptcy law news, legislation and reports in Oregon. Published by the Law Offices of Calvin Knickerbocker.
North Carolina Car Accident Lawyer Blog
Analyzes car accident news, cases and reports in North Carolina. Published by the Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo, LLP.
California Securities Fraud Lawyer Blog
Covers securities fraud news, cases and legislation in California. Published by the Alcala Law Firm.
St. Louis Injury Lawyer Blog
Provides opinion on injury law news, cases and reports in Missouri and Illinois. Published by WWF&G.
Kentucky Injury Lawyers Blog
Discusses injury law news, opinions and legislation in Kentucky. Published by the Crocker Law Offices.
Atlanta Injury Attorneys Blog
Discusses injury law news, cases and reports in Georgia. Published by the Law Offices of P. Charles Scholle, PC.
Florida Trucking Accident Lawyer Blog
Provides insight on trucking accident news, cases and opinions in Florida. Published by the Law Offices of Flaxman & Lopez.
Maine Injury Lawyer Blog
Examines injury law news, cases and reports in Maine. Published by Peter Thompson & Associates.
Los Angeles DUI Attorney Blog
Reports on DUI law news, cases and opinions in California. Published by the Kraut Law Group.
August 28, 2009
Is Your Weekend Yard Sale Violating the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008?
It is if you are selling recalled products! From the US Consumer Product Safety Commission website:
Selling recalled products is now unlawful. The law sets strict limits for lead in paint and for lead content. Additionally, three types of phthalates are permanently prohibited in certain toys and child care articles and three other phthalates are prohibited on an interim basis in certain child care articles and children's product that can be placed in a child's mouth.
Read more about it at Seller, beware: Feds cracking down on garage sales. Hat tip to The Volokh Conspirarcy. [JH]
Google Books to Support EPUB Format for Public Domain Titles
Google will offer more than one million public domain titles for download in the EPUB format, a free open format supported by a wide variety of readers and applications. The new Sony reader can take advantage of the format. Google predicts that new readers will support the format as well. More here from the Inside Google Books blog announcement. [MG]
Friday Fun: Divorce Court Will Never Be the Same
It started with the wildly popular wedding ceremony video on YouTube and quickly moved to divorce court. [JH]
iAWFUL's Top Ten Worst Legislative and Regulatory Proposals Targeted at e-Commerce
Through the Internet Advocates' Watchlist For Ugly Laws (iAWFUL) site, NetChoice, a coalition of trade associations and eCommerce businesses, tracks dangerous legislation and mobilizes citizens to defeat bills and proposals that threaten the future of ecommerce and online communication. The inaugural iAWFUL Top Ten was published in June and has now been updated. The August list includes five new items, with new laws in the top 2 slots.
The August 2009 iAWFULTop Ten
Maine Predatory Marketing Law (10 MRSA c.1055) - What's AWFUL? Creates an unprecedented prohibition on collecting information about and marketing to teenagers.
Hotel Taxes on Online Travel Companies - What's AWFUL? Travel sites are being threatened with wrong tax rate in the wrong jurisdiction.
New Jersey Social Networking Bill (A 3757) – What’s AWFUL? It turns social networking sites into social networking police.
Digital Download Taxes in Colorado and Washington Without Legislation – What’s AWFUL? Discriminates against goods and services sold online versus offline.
North Carolina Digital Downloads Tax Bill (HB 558/S 487) – What’s AWFUL? Discourages the Greenest Way to Purchase Music and Other Content.
North Carolina Tickets Bill (SB 99) – What’s AWFUL? Taxes the Internet (and only the Internet) resale of tickets.
Federal Bills on Organized Retail Crime – What’s AWFUL? They create extraordinary burdens on online marketplaces.
Massachusetts Online Advertising Bill – What’s AWFUL? It threatens the viability of new business models on the Web.
North Carolina Advertising Nexus Proposal – What’s AWFUL? Unconstitutionally expands sales tax burdens to out-of-state businesses.
New York Online Employment Services Taxation Issue – What’s AWFUL? Discriminates against Internet services.
Are Rank-and-File Librarians Sitting on the Fence Over the Google Book Settlement?
According to a Publishers Weekly survey as reported by Norman Oder in the Library Journal, the answer is yes. 29% of librarians support the Google Book Settlement. 21.5% oppose it. 37% are unsure. On the publishing industry and Authors Guild lawsuit opposing the Settlement, 25% support the lawsuit against Google. Another 25% oppose it. 50% have no opinion.
Trepid Support for the Settlement. The 225 librarians were part of a larger survey population drawn primarily from the publishing industry. Publishers Weekly's Andrew Richard Albanese summarized the complete survey in Unsettled: The PW Survey on the Google Book Settlement. According to Albanese there is trepid support for the Settlement:
If there is good news for the architects of the deal, it is that net support for court approval outweighs opposition—overall, 41% of respondents supported approval of the settlement, while 23% opposed the deal. Just weeks before the September 4 deadline for opting out or objecting to the settlement, however, it is notable that more than a third (36%) remain unsure of or indifferent to the settlement. Publishers (52%) support the settlement in the greatest numbers, followed by authors (42%) and librarians (29%).
"Your take on the results of our survey may differ," writes Albanese, "our take is this: there is simply too much confusion and too little support for anyone to feel comfortable." More from Albanese:
For us, the survey highlights a fundamental question: for all the good and bad scenarios raised by the deal, was it ever reasonable to think that such a revolutionary, unprecedented pact, negotiated in secret over three years by people with loose claims of representation, concerning a wide range of stakeholders, both foreign and domestic, involving murky issues of copyright and the rapidly unfolding digital future, could be pushed through as a class action settlement within a period of months, in the teeth of a historic media industry transition?
Whether it is approved after its scheduled October 7 fairness hearing, delayed, sent back for modification or rejected outright, behind the Google Book Search Settlement, there is a visionary plan for books. And, yes, this deal could very likely do every remarkable thing its supporters say it will do. The bottom line, however, is that, when the parties sued over a copyright question, no one asked, or expected these litigants to come back with a sweeping plan to transform publishing. And in the sprint to sell this deal, one simply has to look at how the settlement is being sold to know that the parties still don't seem to grasp how significant a challenge that represents.
Hat tip to Digital Koans. [JH]
New Website Offers Documentation on the Palestinian Occupation
The Israel Law Resource Center focus on civil rights, human rights and international law within Israel occupied territories. The site offers primary source materials, including laws, regulations, military orders, and court rulings. The Center also offers study guides on various topics as well as public education materials. [RJ]
August 27, 2009
U.S. lags behind several countries in Internet speed
Despite being the country that invented drag racing and speed dating, a new report by the Communication Workers of America shows that download speed in America is slower than several other countries. The 2009 speedmatters.org survey also reveals that the U.S.continues to lag far behind other countries. The United States ranks 28th in the world in average Internet connection speeds. In South Korea, the average download speed is 20.4 mbps, or four times faster than the U.S. The U.S. trails Japan at 15.8 mbps, Sweden at 12.8 mbps, the Netherlands at 11.0 mbps, and 24 other countries that have faster broadband than we do.
The report showed that Internet users who live in the Northeast or Mid-Atlantic regions enjoy faster speeds than those in the South or West. The five fastest states included Delaware (9.9 mbps), Rhode Island (9.8 mbps), New Jersey (8.9 mbps), Massachusetts (8.6 mbps), and New York (8.4 mbps).
Hat tip to BNA Internet News.
Genachowski Says FCC Will Enforce Net Neutrality Principles
The Hill caught up with newly installed FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski on Tuesday. The big news, though not very surprising, is Genachowski's statement that the agency will enforce net neutrality principles. Broadband providers are probably grumbling that they have to put up with this mindset for at least the next four years. Comcast in particular got spanked last year for throttling peer-to-peer traffic by then Chair Kevin Martin and two other commissioners. Comcast's reaction was to sue claiming the FCC had no authority to tell Comcast or others how to manage their network. That suit is still pending.
The language the FCC used to enforce network neutrality principles on Comcast came in a footnote to a policy statement. It is an open question as to whether the FCC has actual authority, and Comcast is banking on the courts agreeing with them. Genachowski hedged on this question when asked about pending legislation that explicitly grants the authority to the Commission. He basically said that the Commission will ask for that authority if it has to.
One of the basic problems with managing a network is meshing customer use with so-called sound network management practices so that everyone has uninterrupted service. The debate has the carriers claiming that without network management, they will reach capacity. Video, and especially high definition video, is a bandwidth hog. So far, for the thousands of videos uploaded to YouTube and other sites, and the millions of views they get, the networks seem to hold up. It's when the carriers become content providers that the capacity question gets dicey. AT&T added U-verse to its offerings. Comcast has always provided video through its network and now offers phone service. Critics charge that carriers want to protect or prioritize their own offerings through network management.
YouTube doesn't generate fees to carriers, but does all that traffic really detract from the network operation? I'm sure video traffic has an effect, but there's never been a story that Internet video traffic has killed a provider. One element to network management I've never seen is a clear statement of the actual capacity of the broadband network in the United States compared to the current utilization. I've read statements that raise the issue of reaching capacity, such as this one, but I've never seen hard numbers. If anyone has anything different, please let me know. In my opinion. this is the kind of question the FCC should be asking these companies to justify prioritization of traffic. [MG]
Healthcare Insurance Reform, the Back of the Napkin Explanation by Dan Roam
With debunked claims still popping up in town hall meetings about health care reform, as reported recently by CNN in Rumors influencing health care debate, perhaps we need a back of the napkin explanation. Dan Roam, author of The Back of the Napkin: Solving Problems and Selling Ideas with Pictures (2008), has created one. Hat tip to Common Craft Blog. [JH]
Shedding West at Stanford Law Library
Stanford's Paul Lomio has to cut his law library budget by 15%. How? Let's start with West. On Legal Research Plus, Lomio writes "We are shedding West publications left and right (mainly because of, in my opinion, outrageous annual price increases), and our patrons (all of whom know our first names) are doing just fine, producing outstanding scholarship and achieving significant clinical victories." See his post for a pricing illustration.
This brings me back to the point of my post yesterday, Another Boner from West: "Hi, my first name is Joe and I'm a law librarian." It's time for West to agree to provide some short-term relief by
moderating its historical price increases for print continuations for the next year or two by cutting them in half to an average 6-7%;
fully disclosing pricing information for the AALL Price Index; and
committing to freezing its annual price increases when multi-year Westlaw contracts come up for renegotiation during each law library's forthcoming round of Westlaw bargaining.
Or face the consequences. Once titles are canceled, the odds law libraries, including great academic libraries like Sanford, will pick them up later when library finances improve are slim. [JH]
Ted Kennedy, 1932 - 2009: The Passion of My Life Speech
Massachusetts Sen. Edward Kennedy died late Tuesday at his home in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts after a long battle with brain cancer. He was 77. Long-time champion of civil and voting rights whose endorsement of Barack Obama remains a political debt still unpaid, Kennedy was the elder statesman of traditional liberal causes. President Obama will deliver a eulogy at Kennedy's funeral on Saturday. I doubt the late senator would mind if Obama took the event as an opportunity to affirm his support for Kennedy's position that health care is a human right
deserving requiring legal recognition.
Ted Kennedy on the passion of his life, universal health care, April 2008.
Where Are the "Academic Lawyers"?
I guess Judge Posner and I have one thing in common (though it's certainly not IQ scores). We're both "old school" about law school and by that I mean the legal academy is or at least was the place where, to use Posner's characterization, "academic lawyers" contributed to society and governance by looking at the big picture through the lens of law and policy analysis.
While attending the Graduate Library School of the University of Chicago in the late 1970s, I worked in Chicago's Law School Library. Future judges Posner and Esterbrook were teaching there at the time as were former federal agency officials including Scalia (Office of Telecommunication Policy, Administrative Conference of the United States and DOJ), Dam (OMB and Council on Economic Policy, later Treasury and State) and Levi (Attorney General in the Ford Administration). Now U of C wasn't your typical law school but the experience led me to view law profs as "academic lawyers," individuals who were equally comfortable, as in qualified and prepared, to walk down the hallways of congressional and federal government office buildings as they were when heading to law school lecture halls. These old school "academic lawyers" bounced between federal and academic appointments and when they landed in the legal academy, they were prepared to address current law and policy issues with an eye toward practical solutions based on first hand experience.
Certainly law profs wouldn't need high-level public service experience to offer practical solutions for contemporary problems if the legal academy was a training ground for future policy wonks and a proving ground for law profs to demonstrate their street creds through their research productivity. Case in point, Posner's early work in law and economics, the one and only school of thought that has had any substantial impact outside the legal academy in living memory (sorry critical legal theory fans). But the legal academy is neither of these things. In The Role of the Law Schools in the Recovery from the Current Depression, Judge Posner writes
[The] career structure in academic law today ... is inimical to research oriented to practical solutions to current problems. This limitation has two aspects. First, recruitment of academics from practice has declined, as academic law has become progressively "academified" and specialized. Increasingly, in imitation of more conventional academic disciplines, legal academics are expected to focus the research component of their work (and this inevitably influences the teaching component) on specialized research the results of which are publishable in academic journals read mainly by other academics in the author's specialized subfield. The preparation and publication of such research are time-consuming endeavors and therefore are ill adapted to responding constructively to rapidly evolving current issues, especially ones that cross disciplinary and subdisciplinary boundaries.
To put it in my small brain way, the "academic lawyer" has been marginalized in the legal academy. Law schools like to have one walking down the hallway, perhaps for PR purposes, just like they carry on their faculty a token legal historian and a foreign and international law librarian, though they too appear to be dying out in favor of acquiring junior faculty willing to jump on the latest intellectual fad in legal scholarship.
Judge Posner's point in his commentary on the state of the legal academy is, in his own words:
As a result, with a few notable exceptions, ... academic lawyers ... have not made a contribution to the understanding and resolution of the current economic crisis, even though it bristles with legal questions. And I don't mean only or primarily legal questions that can be readily answered on the basis of orthodox legal materials; for those questions can be answered adequately by the large, sophisticated law firms engaged in a commercial or corporate practice. I mean rather legal issues that cannot be resolved intelligently without consideration of issues of policy--in the present instance issues of economic, including macroeconomic, policy. And not only legal issues, but issues of economic policy to which legal knowledge is relevant, even if the issue itself is, for example, legislative in character, rather than requiring the application of existing law.
See his post in The Atlantic for more. Do note that sometimes his critique of the legal academy's shortcomings sounds like he is asking where are the academic lawyers with Posner-esque qualifications. But Posner's article does underscore the consequences of the "academification" of law schools. The hallways are full of law profs ill-equipped to to serve society as "academic lawyers." Perhaps we don't need "academic lawyers," but Posner thinks we do and I'll take his word on that. [JH]
Computer and Internet Industries Earn Highest Marks, Legal Profession and Banking Rank Near the Bottom in Latest Gallup Poll
In its annual Work and Education poll, Gallup asks Americans to rate each of 25 major businesses and industries as positive, negative, or neutral. This year's update, conducted Aug. 6-9, found that the computer industry ranks the highest with a 62% postive response rate. The Internet industry came in fourth place with a 51% positive score while the legal field came in 22nd place with 25%, just below the banking industry which dropped 8% points from last year's poll to score 28% positive this year.
One notable improvement this year was the federal government. Last year's poll placed the federal government in 23rd place with an meager 18% postive score. This year the federal government scored 11 percentage points higher and its 29% positive response rate earned it 20th place.
In Explaining the Unpopularity of Lawyers, Orin Kerr offers some reasons why lawyers are viewed so negatively and whether those reasons are justified. "[M]y sense is that the low public regard for lawyers has some origins that are justified and others that are less so. On one hand, I think lawyers are properly criticized for how they often use their power to protect the guild. ... On the other hand, I suspect that the low public regard for lawyers is partly explained by isolation effects that result when lawyers take on advocacy roles in controversial disputes." [JH]
Ethical Considerations for the Law Review Submission Process
Maryland law prof David Gray has been mulling over the "normative issues germane to the process for placing articles in law reviews" and offers his opinion on Concurring Opinions with the following caveat:
My sense is that this is touchy territory, so let me begin with this caveat: the purpose here is to provoke discussion and solicit information and views from others. I have glommed together some practices of my own, but they are evolving and I have neither a meta- nor applied-theory of what might be called “placement ethics.” So, assume that anything that sounds preachy is a transmission error.
Check out his very interest post on "publishing ethics" and its comment trail. [JH]
August 26, 2009
New Sony eBook Reader Allows Library Check-Outs
Sony's new eBook reader was unveiled yesterday. The Reader Daily Edition retails for $399 and can store up to 1,000 titles. It comes with free 3G connectivity through AT&T. That last bit might be disappointing to some. Apple's iPhone also comes with AT&T as the 3G network carrier and the network performance seems to be highlighted as the iPhone weakness. Features highlighted by Sony suggest that the Reader Daily edition will compete with the Kindle by focusing on the customer and less on tying the customer to Sony. The reader can download free books from Google. One assumes that it will also be able to download paid-for content if and when the Book settlement goes into effect.
The most interesting feature is the ability for owners to borrow electronic books from the local library system, assuming the library uses Overdrive as their electronic manager/distributor. Overdrive does have relationships with major library systems. Los Angeles, Seattle, Denver, and Phoenix are highlighted on the company's web site. The books will normally expire after 21 days. Kindle could conceivably extend similar features, but it seems inconsistent with the Amazon business model. Why loan something that can be sold instead?
It seems clear at the outset that Amazon is trying hard to be similar to Apple as in music sales. There is only one problem with that. eBook readers are new enough that the market isn't as established for one company such as Amazon to be the only major player. Otherwise, why fear Google from selling out of print titles for a fee? Apple created a customer experience that was consistent, and from a consumer's perspective, was fair to them for the money they spent. Nothing wrong with that, especially in hindsight. The music publishers at the time were all over the place in resisting digital sales as cannibalizing CD sales. That played into the hands of Apple who created a legal market for music that could compete with piracy.
Major print publishers have learned from the Apple experience. They don't want one company dominating sales and dictating the terms of the transaction. Even now they complain about the price points Amazon sets for content. Sound familiar? Book publishers recognize that the market for eBooks exist. Rather than denying that fact as did the music publishers, they seem to be cautiously embracing it early on by supporting different brands of readers. This can only be good for consumers who can define the flexibility of their eBook reading experience before a corporation does it for them.
Sony is a company that is known for some pretty spectacular marketing failures. There was the rootkit debacle from a few years back; the decision to create a music player that used a highly proprietary format that was overly DRM'd (Atrac); UMD discs for the Playstation Portable; severe DRM controls for the minidisc recorder. I could go on and on. This is one of the products the company may get right by letting be open enough for consumers to actually use.
Another Boner from West: "Hi, my first name is Joe and I'm a law librarian"
After Monday's Westlaw bonehead move where the Company first terminated its free printer services at Puerto Rican law schools and then quickly reinstated the program after the uproar that caused (see LLB's Thomson West Starts the Academic Year Off with Bonehead Move) one wouldn't expect another boner so quickly from the jokers who run West but that's exactly what happened yesterday when the Company mounted an "unfortunate" e-mail campaign directed at attorneys that insulted law librarians. The ad message:
"Are you on a first name basis with the librarian?
If so, chances are, you're spending too much time at the library. What you need is fast, reliable research you can access right in your office. And all it takes is West®."
Posted on law-lib, the ad prompted over 40 responses, the most I've seen to one list-serv message in a very long time. West called upon its official firefighter again, Anne Ellis, Senior Director, Librarian Relations, to tell us West really, really cares about the library community. Here's the law-lib message she posted yesterday:
By now I trust you’ve all seen the unfortunate e-mail from West asking “are you on a first name basis with the librarian?” and implying that such a circumstance would occur only if you weren’t getting the right information on your desktop.
After reading about it in this forum, I tracked down the e-mail and was very concerned, as have been all the colleagues here at West when I’ve shown it to them. It’s important that you understand that this does not reflect in any way how West feels about and values librarians.
I’ve talked to the people behind the e-mail and can assure you that they meant no harm. They now understand that the marketing piece was in poor taste and I have been assured that this will not happen again.
I appreciate the conversation that happens within this professional forum, even when it’s taking my company to task. We care about the librarian community. We listen. And, as the conversation relates to this poorly conceived marketing piece, we’re very sorry.
Finally, my answer to this e-mail would be that I’m on a first-name basis with more librarians that I can count, and I’m proud to know every one of them.
"Meant No Harm." The damage has been done Anne. The e-mail went out and an apology to law librarians won't change that. Only a retraction by the Company sent to all recipients of West's librarian-denigrating ad will. Any plans for that? Any plans to mount a marketing campaign to practitioners that emphasizes the importance of being on a first name basis with their librarians?
There once was a time when Westlaw reps were welcome in law firms by librarians. Of course that was a quarter of a century ago when Westlaw would train lawyers to use their online service in concert with print resources. It was a welcome respite from Lexis reps whose training mission was to show lawyers how to rack up huge Lexis search charges by teaching them to perform all their research online. No longer. This asinine marketing stunt is yet another example of West working against, not with, the law library community. The Company has let loose the dogs of marketing war in this economy to do whatever it can to protect its revenue stream.
West's Librarian Relations Program. Whatever West's Librarian Relations Program may once have been, it's clear it is now the mouthpiece of official apologies for corporate actions and policies. The Librarian Relations Program's mission appears to be nothing more than to insult our collective intelligence. Remember Anne's recent listserv explanation for the Company's refusal to participate in AALL's price index? See Message from West on AALL Sponsorship Policy.
On law-lib, one commentator suggested that Anne and other Librarian Relations Program staffers resign in protest if the Program is nothing more than a marketing tool. At this moment in economic history, the only way to prove that the Program isn't is to see some results law librarians need right now, such as the Company agreeing to (1) moderating its historical price increases for print continuations for the next year or two by cutting them in half to an average 6-7%; (2) fully disclosing pricing information for the AALL Price Index; and (3) committing to freezing its annual price increases when multi-year Westlaw contracts come up for renegotiation during each law library's forthcoming round of Westlaw bargaining. Of course, this is going to have a negative impact on Thomson West's bottom line but with profit margins in the 30-plus percent range as reported here and here, the Company can afford it. Besides, we're only asking for short-term relief.
It looks to me like West's Librarian Relations Program staffers have been bought and paid for by the Company. But if not or if they have had enough (because I doubt we will see the above corporate actions), I suggest staffers send their resumes to legal publishers who are actually interested in maintaining good relations with the law librarians who pay their invoices. Try BNA and Hein & Company for starters. [JH]
Charles A. Pipins, Law Library Fellow at the University of Arizona, deserves the last word on West's latest bonehead move and here it is:
A Prelude to Assessing Our Annual Meetings: Results of LLB's Polls on the 2009 AALL Annual Meeting and Its Festivities
Here's the results of LLB's informal 5-star rating poll of the 2009 AALL Annual Meeting. Thanks to the 175 respondents who answered one or more of the questions. The findings show that the keynote speech was well-received. The average score for the Keynote was 3.9 out of 5 stars with 126 responses. Business meetings can in last place, scoring an average 2.9 out of 5 stars with 117 responses. Educational sessions and workshops, and vendor exhibits and new product sessions were ranked 3.4 stars (172 responses) and 3.3 stars (117 responses) respectively. The "annual meeting generally" rating was 4 out of 6 stars (171 responses). OK, I screwed up on setting the 5-star parameter for that question.
Perhaps the average rating for the "annual meeting generally" category includes a "happy to get out of the library" factor because the two highest ratings overall came in responses to LLB's 2009 AALL Annual Meeting festivities poll. Do note that the West Party fared as bad as the business meetings rating. Their 2.9 star ratings tied for second to last place overall. Perhaps the business meetings dragged on too long while the Scrooges at Thomson West bah-humbuged their party. Note also that the AALL Closing Banquet came in last place overall and had the lowest number of responses. Here's the festivities poll ranking:
Unsanctioned Gatherings of Friends and Colleagues in Chinatown Bars, During Hotel Happy Hours, etc.: average 4.5 out of 5 stars (92 responses)
Lexis-Nexis Party at the Library of Congress: 4.2 out of 5 stars (109 responses)
West Party at the Renaissance Hotel: 2.9 out of 5 stars (90 responses)
AALL Closing Banquet: 2.7 out of 5 stars (51 responses)
Thanks to the 123 respondents who answered one of more of the questions about the quality of the 2009 AALL Annual Meeting festivities.
A Prelude to Assessing Annual Meetings. Sure, these polls are utterly unscientific but if I was a member of AALL's Annual Meeting Review Special Committee, I would look at eliminating the closing banquet and finding ways and means to make AALL business meetings more interesting and productive, and, BTW, aren't those SIS group breakfasts just a wee bit early?
There's probably no way around the inevitable scheduling conflicts that occur for educational sessions and workshops without stretching the daily schedule into the evening because that would cause an uproar with attending members. It would interfer with the most popular activity at the Annual Meeting -- unsanctioned gatherings of friends and colleagues at local bars, during hotel happy hours, and the like.
The Annual Meeting Review Special Committee will be contacting AALL members in the next few months to solicit input and gather ideas regarding various aspects of the Annual Meeting. Got ideas? The Special Committee's charge is reprinted below the pie charts for LLB's 5-star rating of the D.C. meeting. Thanks again to everyone who contributed. [JH]
The Charge of the Annual Meeting Review Special Committee
Researching trends in conference attendance for associations generally Taking a comprehensive look at the structure of the Annual Meeting and AALL's need for a larger than usual number of meeting rooms to accommodate the numerous committees and small meetings. Address member's complaints about the number of conflicting meetings and solutions to ease these conflicts.
Taking a comprehensive look at the work of the Annual Meeting Local Arrangements Committee to determine the availability of volunteers, their level of satisfaction as committee members, and ways to improve the committee process.
Assessing educational programming by looking at program attendance and evaluations. Determine from evaluations if rejected programming topics might actually have been of interest. Evaluate the Annual Meeting Program Committee's single term appointment and if it is effective in the program selection process.
Assessing attendance at social events to determine AALL's effectiveness in marketing and generating interest for these events. Evaluate the future of some of these events in response to the decline in sponsorship dollars. Assess member's willingness to pay individually for events that were free in the past.
Analyzing the impact of the Meeting's location, including hotel and travel costs. Determine how members choose to attend and if it is influenced by interest in the variety of cities offered or if there would be more benefit to reducing the meeting locations to just a few select cities, using a rotation schedule.
Suggesting ways to improve the Annual Meeting by determining what features of the Meeting are most popular and appreciated, in an effort to provide value for members. The Special Committee will prepare a preliminary report for the Spring 2010 Executive Board meeting, and a final report, with any suggested changes to the structure of the Annual Meeting, for the Summer 2010 Executive Board meeting.
First Comprehensive Analysis of the Law and Policy of Privacy on Social Network Sites
New York Law School prof James Grimmelmann's Saving Facebook has been published at 94 Iowa Law Review 1137 (2009). Using Facebook as an example, the article provides the first comprehensive analysis of the law and policy of privacy on social network sites. Saving Facebook explains how Facebook users socialize on the site, why they misunderstand the risks involved, and how their privacy suffers as a result. A snip from the conclusion of this highly recommendated article:
Users want and need to socialize, and they act in privacy-risking ways because of it. We cannot and should not beat these social urges out of people; we cannot and should not stop people from acting on them. We can and should help them understand the consequences of their socializing, make available safer ways to do it, and protect them from sociality hijackers. There are better and worse ways to do these things, and this Article has attempted to start a conversation about what those ways are.
Colucci's Justice Kennedy’s Jurisprudence: The Full and Necessary Meaning of Liberty
About Frank Colucci's Justice Kennedy’s Jurisprudence: The Full and Necessary Meaning of Liberty (University Press of Kansas, September 3, 2009), Ken Kersch writes "Colucci makes a convincing case for the proposition that, far from being a seat-of-the-pants situationalist, Kennedy is steering towards a consistent and principled moralism, committed to the realization of a constitutional liberty according profound respect for human dignity."
To understand today’s Supreme Court, it is essential to understand the judicial philosophy of its swing vote. For twenty years, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy has voted with the majority more than any of his colleagues. He has provided the deciding vote in cases involving politically charged issues such as affirmative action, the 2000 presidential election, religious expression, gay rights, and executive power to detain suspected terrorists. With a record reliably neither liberal nor conservative, Kennedy has generally been viewed as a capricious, indecisive moderate.
Frank Colucci, however, argues that Kennedy indeed displays a coherent approach to constitutional interpretation. Colucci digs deep into the Justice’s record, offering a close analysis of not only of Kennedy’s opinions on the Court but also his prior opinions on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, his off-the-bench speeches delivered before becoming a Justice, and his testimony at confirmation hearings. Colucci identifies Kennedy’s core belief: that judges have a duty to ensure the word liberty in the Constitution be given its full and necessary meaning.
Colucci shows that Kennedy rejects theories of originalism and judicial restraint. Instead, Kennedy adopts a moral reading of the Constitution—similar to that championed by Ronald Dworkin and Randy Barnett as well as former Justice William J. Brennan—in which liberty and human dignity trump even democracy.
Depicting Kennedy as seeking an alternative to the perceived excesses of both the Warren Court and originalist overreaction, Colucci also compares Kennedy’s rhetoric to Catholic teaching and shows him as struggling to disassociate his personal beliefs from his official duties. Separate chapters offer close readings of Kennedy’s jurisprudence regarding abortion, free speech, equality, and government structure.
Colucci’s persuasive account offers readers a more nuanced understanding of Justice Kennedy’s arguments about the nature of personal liberty and the proper role of courts in defining and enforcing it.