March 26, 2011
Cutting the Red Tape: Finding and Using E-Government Tools and Resources eCourse
Between April 4 - April 29, 2011, ALA will be conducting a four-week eCourse (accessible 24/7) lead by Diane Kovacs, who has been honored as 2000 Documents to the People Award from ALA’s Government Documents Roundtable (GODORT). Kovacs will cover the best sites to begin researching for government information in general and specifically for business, healthcare, genealogy, history, current government, legal, regulatory, taxes, retirement, insurance, and state and local government information. She also will be monitoring discussion board, leading group discussions and answer individual questions.
Topics covered in this eCourse include:
- History and Background of the Government Printing Office (GPO), Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP), The Superintendant of Documents (SUDOCS): What you need to know about accessing U. S. Government produced information on the Web.
- The Central Portals - GPOAccess, USA.Gov, and the UN Documents Centre
- Information for Business
- Information for Healthcare Consumers and Medical Professionals
- Genealogy and Historical Records
- Jobs, Careers, and Government Contracts
- The Three Branches of Government: Legislative, Executive, and the Judiciary
- Laws, Regulations, and Court Rulings
- Taxes, Retirement, and Insurance
- Science Information
- Statistical Resources
- Grants Information
- Misc. Interesting Sites.
- State and Local Government Information.
The cost for the eCourse is only $200. There is still time to register. Details here. [JH]
March 25, 2011
Going Viral on Criticizing Wake Forest Law Librarians
"Someone — claiming to be a Wake Forest law student, and calling himself or herself 'Wes Law' — apparently woke up this morning with a bug up the ass. The object of pain was apparently the law librarians at Wake Law. And so the supposed student asked a rhetorical question: 'Is there someone who can please explain why do we even have librarians at this law school anymore, and to what purpose they serve?'” writes ATL's Elie Mystal in Purported Wake Forest Law Student Slams Wake Forest Law Librarians ("You know an email has gone viral when we get unsolicited emails asking us to not post something we just received from a bunch of people all at the same time.").
Elie's post deconstructs the text of "Wes Law's" email and caps it all off with this comment:
If you want to bitch at somebody, complain about the decision makers, not the freaking library workers.
Thanks Elie. [JH]
Friday Fun: Congress Legislates Incomprehensible Shouting as Official US Language
The Onion News Network is reporting that Congress has deemed yelling and screaming as the nation's official mode of communication. [JH]
How The Biggest US Newspaper Paywalls Compare
See Joe Tartakoff's How The NYT’s Paywall Compares To Those Of Other Big Papers on paidContent. [JH]
Crumbling Relic or Vibrant Source of Legal Illumination: New Citation Study Offers Ray of Hope That Scholarly Legal Articles Are Used by Judges (or at least Their Law Clerks)
The convention wisdom is judges are frustrated with legal scholarship's conceptual nonsense and law profs are upset that all the toil and trouble they put into their scholarly works is viewed with disdain by the bench. Whit D. Pierce & Anne E. Reuben's Empirical Study: The Law Review Is Dead; Long Live The Law Review: A Closer Look at the Declining Judicial Citation of Legal Scholarship, 45 Wake Forest L. Rev. 1185 (2010) offers some evidence that citation to legal scholarly writings is not disappearing from judicial opinions and in some cases is actually increasing. "The outcome of this Study," writes the authors, "is not a reason for the institution of law reviews to rest on its laurels. Lest “the dialogue between practitioners, judges, and academics, which began in 1875 in the first student-edited journal . . . , come to an end,” law reviews should account for the fact that the law and the world in which it operates are dynamic."
Two snips from the study's conclusion:
The point is this: legal scholarship as a means for shaping the law is not a thing of the past but that reality is not a reason for law reviews to rigidly maintain the status quo. The simple fact that so much attention has been devoted by both judges and scholars to ensuring that the legal scholarship supply is meeting the judicial demand demonstrates a continuing need for academic commentary on particularly relevant topics. This need can be filled by a combination of traditional law reviews and their online companions.
In the world of law reviews, it appears that, while the traditional print “body” of the institution is weakened, the dignitas of law review—scholarly thought and analysis—remains vibrant and useful.
Hat tip to Legal Skills Prof Blog. [JH]
March 24, 2011
TR Legal's Big Free Love for Public Sector Researchers Discontinued "Effective Immediately"
Big Love has ended in the land of 10,000 invoices -- scratch that; Big Love is was one of the Blog Widow's favorite cable programs which ceased production recently. The writers and producers of Big Love explained they said everything they had to say so it was time to discontinue the series. Frankly, Big Love scared the hell out of me. Who would want to deal with 2-3-4 wives?
This, by the way, isn't some sort of anti-Mormon statement. If the airport in Salt Lake City is any indication, Mormons are pretty damn considerate. Imagine my surprise a couple of years ago when on a lay-over from Cincinnati to Las Vegas, I found a smoker's lounge right next to where I got off the plane. But I digress... .
Free love has ended at TR Legal. At least for "KeyPoints," legal research e-newsletters for federal, state and local government audiences. They have been discontinued "effectively immediately." Perhaps TR Legal has said everything they had to say, too
Ah, frankly I don't remember when I last received a KeyPoints issue. But I do remember receiving non-free TR Legal print materials because it has become a question of "what the hell are they shipping now and at what price." Is it just me or are you getting afraid to order any new print title from TR Legal because ya just never know what you can expect 3-6-12-? months out. Seriously, I'm just not a buyer of a new West title when I can find a comparable one from a more reliable and trustworthy vendor. That's not hard to do. But I digress again... .
"Effective immediately" tells me one thing. TR Legal knows how to act decisively. Too bad that doesn't apply to customer relations for discontinuing chronic business practices of outrageously dubious value to subscribers. Oh, wait, such matters would involve the prospect of reducing TR Legal's revenue stream. In the KeyPoints e-newsletter decision, it's about cost-savings for the Company.
No explaination was given for ceasing publication of KeyPoints by TR Legal. Personally, I'm wondering if the e-newsletters were killed because their writers were drafted for becoming "Publisher's Editorial Staff" to spit out more updates. Yes, yes, I know the former worked in "marketing" or "communications," the latter in the "content commoditization" department. Probably not a difficult transition.
You might think I have it out for TR Legal. But I don't. It's just that our other major vendors are less likely to take, ah, "goofy" actions or at least to make public announcements about them, like this one. Had "KeyPoints" stopped appearing in my email in-box, I probably would have never noticed. [JH]
Recent Developments on ABA's Draft Law School Accreditation Standards
NLJ's Karen Sloan reports that the latest draft of law school accreditation standards would change how law school report employment data, impose tougher bar passage rate requirements, ease limits on the number of distant education credit hours and retain much debated proposed changes, such as removing tenure as an accreditation requirement, eliminating LSAT as an admissions requirement and evaluating law schools based on student learning outcome measures. Check out the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar.
For more, see the following blog posts:
- ABA Proposes Changes to Accreditation Standards (TaxProf Blog)
- ABA to Change Employment Data Reporting; U.S. News to Adopt in 2013 Rankings (TaxProf Blog)
- ABA Standards Review sub-committee recommends law schools post employment data on their websites (Legal Skills Prof Blog)
- The ABA’s Ugly Table Fetish (Concurring Opinions)
- ABA Revisiting Minimum Bar Passage Standards for Law Schools (Law by the Numbers)
See also The Conglomerate's Masters Forum on Legal Education series of posts. Posts published so far include
- Should the ABA Mandate Tenure?
- In Praise of Regulation?
- Accreditation After the Bubble Has Burst
- Optional Standardized Testing: The LSAT and the SAT
- Is It Our Job to Discourage the Would-Be Law Student?
- Disclosure Cops, Maginot Lines, and the Acid Test
- "Learning Outcomes" for Law School
On Legal eBooks, pBooks and Reader Preferences
On this issue, see the following Legal Skills Prof Blog posts and ask yourself, is there a generational divide on format preferences. [JH]
- Are E-books a good fit for profs, scholars and other researchers?
- Law firm survey supports research showing "professional" readers prefer print over screens
Accessible to All: When "Born Digital" Results in Ready Availability in Print-Only
Some law libraries and certainly our professional association plus many but not all legal vendors can do a much better job by insisting/ensuring that all legal resouces are available to all potential users of them. I emphasize "potential users" because many law school students, practitioners, and members of the general public with disabilities simply do not have ready access the "law of the land" and its analysis and commentary as those of us who are not disabled. This is an unacceptable situation considering that even print materials are "born" digital" by way of production methods that start with author submission of digital files in MS Word or PDF for print production workflow.
Barbara Mates' Assistive Technologies in the Library (ALA, 2011) is a recommended guide. it is not 1990; it is the 21st century. From the blurb:
This sensitively written and practical guidebook will be an indispensable resource for ensuring that your library's offerings are accessible to everyone. Mates, former director of the Ohio Library for the Blind and Physically Disabled, strips away the technical jargon and introduces dozens of the latest options, including hardware, software, and peripherals.
March 23, 2011
Some Thoughts on the Google Book Settlement Rejection
I posted a link to the Google Amended Book Settlement opinion yesterday and I would like to offer a few thoughts on it. Much of the press reacts to the decision with bombast. Articles with headlines such as Google's Books Strategy in Tatters as Judge Rejects Deal (Siliconrepublic) and Judge Closes Book on Google's Online Library (Slate). The Siliconrepublic article is interesting as it suggests the Judge had concerns about reader privacy that affected his judgment. Judge Chin did raise privacy issues brought before the Court and said that they weren't enough to derail the deal. It was almost a minor point in the opinion. I suppose anyone can read anything into the 48 page opinion. James Grimmelmann, a known critic of the deal, provides his balanced analysis here. His immediate statement is how much and how little the opinion says. True enough, in that the Court raised any number of points that made approving the deal uncomfortable but not relying on any one of them in particular as being definitive.
Two points for me out of the many were the strongest. One was that Congress was the ultimate authority in deciding how orphan works would be treated for future distribution. Judge Chin noted recent attempts to pass provisions on orphan works had failed. I don't know if this means Google should spend more money on lobbyists compared to what it spends on lawyers. Given Patrick Leahy's embrace of tough anti-piracy legislation pleasing the RIAA and the MPAA, it would be directly in Google's benefit in joining the Congressional schmoozing club. But I digress.
The other point was the number of foreign objectors who complained their interests were not represented effectively and how the deal would affect international law obligations. While noting the problem, Judge Chin declined to rule on them. He basically said with everything going on in the case that the biggest problem was the rights granted to Google for prospective conduct in the case. Changing the balance to opt in to the business model from opt out would solve a lot of these problems. I think he recognizes that a lot of people with varying interests would be unhappy if Google went forward with a book project. By having copyright holders opting in rather than out, they could take their unhappiness somewhere else without affecting any of the parties' ability to conduct business legally.
So I don't think that Google's book strategy is in "tatters." It's a setback, definitely. Google's statement is that the company is disappointed in the decision and will decide its options. I think everyone has too much invested in this to stop it now. It's just a matter of what form this will all take. I think the judge is saying that if Google, the publishers, and authors get the mix right while minizing the basis of complaints from the others, there's a good chance the Court will approve the deal:
In the end, I conclude that the ASA is not fair, adequate, and reasonable. As the United States and other objectors have noted, many of the concerns raised in the objections would be ameliorated if the ASA were converted from an "opt-out" settlement to an "opt-in" settlement. (See, e.q., DOJ SO1 23, ECF No. 922; Internet Archive Mem. 10, ECF No. 811). I urge the parties to consider revising the ASA accordingly.
That suggestion may limit what materials may be available initially. But consider the upside: all that money used to sway Congress on copyright law revision can be considered a stimulus to the economy.
In one related note, I would like to give a shout out to one of my faculty members at DePaul, Matthew Sag. Judge Chin cited his article, The Google Book Settlement & the Fair Use Counterfactual, 55 N.Y.L. Sch. L. Rev. 19, 73 (2010) in footnote 2 of the opinion, with a quote from the article continuing on page 3. Way to go, guy. [MG]
Cornell University Library Rejects Nondisclosure Clauses in Publisher and Vendor Agreements: "An open market will result in better licensing terms."
Enough is enough. Cornell University has publicly declared it has had enough with publisher and vendor NDAs that require nondisclosure of pricing information or other information that does not constitute a trade secret and endorses ARL's position that member libraries should not sign them by taking action. Cornell University Library will no longer tolerate such clauses in publisher and vendor licenses for information services and resources.
In its press announcement, Cornell University Library stated
It had become apparent to the entire community that the anticompetitive conduct some publishing firms engage in results partially from these nondisclosure agreements in contracts.
The more libraries can communicate with one another about vendor offers, the better they are able to weigh the costs and benefits of any individual offer. These limiting clauses, therefore, hinder the Library's ability to work openly, collaboratively and transparently
The full text of Cornell University Library's policy statement is republished below:
Cornell University Library’s Position on Nondisclosure Clauses in Licenses
To promote openness and fairness among libraries licensing scholarly resources, Cornell University Library will not enter into vendor contracts that require nondisclosure of pricing information or other information that does not constitute a trade secret. All new and renewed licenses submitted with nondisclosure clauses will not be signed but henceforth will be referred to the Associate University Librarian for Scholarly Resources and Special Collections for further negotiation.
Background and Rationale
Occasionally in licenses governing electronic resources, publishers will request that the Cornell University Library (CUL) treat the subscription price as confidential information and not disclose it to third parties. In the past, some libraries have tolerated these clauses in the belief that they might result in a lower cost. This, however, is a position that CUL can no longer accept.
It has become apparent to the library community that the anticompetitive conduct engaged in by some publishing firms is in part a result of the inclusion of nondisclosure agreements in contracts. As Robert Darnton recently noted, by “keeping the terms secret, … one library cannot negotiate for cheaper rates by citing an advantage obtained by another library.” For this reason, the International Coalition of Library Consortia’s “Statement of Current Perspective and Preferred Practices for the Selection and Purchase of Electronic Information” states that “Non-disclosure language should not be required for any licensing agreement, particularly language that would preclude library consortia from sharing pricing and other significant terms and conditions with other consortia.” The more that libraries are able to communicate with one another about vendor offers, the better they are able to weigh the costs and benefits of any individual offer. An open market will result in better licensing terms.
Additionally, nondisclosure agreements conflict with the needs of CUL librarians and staff to work openly, collaboratively, and transparently. This conflict increases the likelihood that the terms of a nondisclosure agreement would be inadvertently violated, posing a threat to the university.
CUL endorses, therefore, the position of the Association of Research Libraries that its member libraries should not sign (or accept new or revised) agreements that include confidentiality or nondisclosure clauses. CUL will share upon request information contained in these agreements (save for trade secrets or proprietary technical details).
Most publishers find that non-disclosure agreements are not necessary. Among the numerous journal and ebook publishers and aggregators whose current contracts with us omit non-disclosure clauses are the American Institute of Physics (AIP), American Physical Society (APS), ASTM International, American Society for Microbiology (ASM), American Chemical Society (ACS), Bloomberg, Cambridge University Press, EBSCO, Elsevier, IEEE, Institute of Physics (IOP), Knovel, Oxford University Press, Proquest, Sage, SPIE, Taylor & Francis, and Wiley.
(Emphasis added. Citations omitted.)
See also Jennifer Howard's Cornell U. Library Takes a Stand With Journal Vendors: Prices Will Be Made Public, The Chronicle (subscription required). Hat tip to Media Law Prof Blog. [JH]
Is AALL Future Ready? On Public Responsibly Based on Professional Expertise (Or at what point do we stop talking and seize the moment for consumer advocacy?)
As a follow-up to this LLB post, A Pound of Flesh: Free Speech in the Context of the Desperate Bargains Made between AALL and the Legal Publishing Industry and Individual Institutional Buyers and Their Vendors, let's recall Vicki Szymczak's (Library Director and Assistant Professor of Law, Brooklyn Law School) recent LLB post, Is it time to stop talking yet? Vicki's post was published before A Pound of Flesh but I believe her post echoes, at least in part, on the theme of fear of reprisals written in A Pound of Flesh by stating:
Talking does air the dirty laundry – well, as long as you are allowed to write about the dirty laundry that is.
As noted in A Pound of Flesh, there is a tendency based on confidential communications I have received during the last several years that fear of reprisals is very real. Fear of vendor reprisals can't survive if a consumer advocacy initiative gains widespread support; but it can render any initiative stillborn by disabling means to build the needed support. The first critical step at remedy requires open acknowledgment of the fear and how it paralyzes any attempt at reform. Fear of reprisal would have no basis if legal publishers did not already unfairly leverage their market positions to advance unfair or anti-competitive business. So the fear itself attests to the urgent need for reform.
This problem extends beyond individual law librarians to our professional association that is supposed to represent us. Faulting AALL for falling short in consumer advocacy risks official criticism by ad hominem. Outspoken critics will be characterized as "naive," misled by "noble sentiment," or ungrateful for what AALL leaders do. Those seeking advancement in AALL will have all the more reason to avoid speaking out. AALL should provide a sanctuary from self-censorship rather than serve as its accessory.
When law librarians do go out on a limb and speak out, the road to action is long and winding. In asking is it time to stop talking yet, I believe Vicki is implying that "we've talked this to death, it is time to act." I think that says something about the current state of affairs in the AALL-membership and vendor-buyer relationships.
Here's what AALL Officialdom Will Say. "We are drafting a Shared Principles document" (read unenforceable) "and an Action Plan" (meaning someday we will try to do something but it will only be as effective as the "goodwill" of legal publishing community permits) as a by-product of the behind closed doors AALL's Vendor Colloquium which will be open to comments to members uninformed by what took place there. Oh well, "talk" or official AALL business conducted as usual.
In her post, Vicki writes
The U.N. accomplishes a lot just by talking. But they accomplish a lot more when they send in peace keeping forces. ...
Talk as much as you like, but, the colloquium cost us money. I just don’t think it is how I would like to spend money on this issue. So many of us feel that something is just “wrong” with the legal publishing industry. There are too few players, the prices are ridiculous, and the business practices are suspect. We’ve tried guidelines, we’ve tried talking, we’ve tried cancelling.
AALL is not a military "peace keeping" force that our major legal vendors have to worry about. Something else is needed. Then, again, perhaps "we" do simply don't matter unless a concerted effort involves all stakeholders, such as, for example, concerned members of the ABA, SLA and other groups --- none of which were invited to participate as official representatives in AALL's Vendor Colloquium. If that is the case, law librarians have to fill the leadership vacuum because of their expertise by speaking out for all legal information consumers first. Don't expect AALL to have the necessary institutional nervous energy to take up that charge.
Is AALL Future Ready? In Using Nervous Energy to Fuel the Future, John Digilio, National Manager of Research Services for Reed Smith, LLP, SLA Chicago Chapter, Legal Division Chair, and blogger at iBraryGuy, writes:
[T]here is so much nervous energy in our industry these days that I dare say it is palpable to each of us as library and information professionals. The good news is that we have an important choice to make. We can let this energy weigh heavily upon us and drag us down or we can choose to harness and channel it in ways that make us truly future ready.
Beyond all else, nervous energy is still energy and in energy there is amazing potential for great things. The trick is harnessing it and putting it to work for you. We can get caught up in all the bad news we see in the press or the fiery exchanges that seem to pop up online from time to time and we can fret and let that fear of the unknown drag us our down. Or, we can take that nervous energy and use it to fuel the optimism, activism, and creativity we need to shape the future of this industry. That is carpe diem, my friends. That is future ready!
The Spawn of US News Law School Rankings
See Michelle Weyenberg's silly National Jurist March 2011 issue article, 23 Law Profs to Take Before You Die. I'm thinking the selection was based on names other law profs would recognize.
More interesting reading in this issue of National Jurist can be found at How the Rankings Arms Race Has Undercut Morality by William Henderson and Andrew Morris and Jack Crittenden's A New Low in the Rankings Arms Race. [JH]
March 22, 2011
Stress Relief Yale Style
Next week Yale Law will embark upon a three-day pilot project aimed at student stress relief. Law Students can go to the cirulcation desk to check out Monty the therapy dog for a half hour. I wonder how much students will be fined if Monty is returned late? Read about it in the March 21, 2011 NYT. [BA]
Google Book Settlement Rejected
A federal court has rejected the terms of the Google Book Settlement, saying they go "too far" The opinion is here. More on this later. [MG]
Supreme Court Action Today
The Supreme Court issued two opinions today. The first is Matrixx Initiatives, Inc. v. James Siracusano (09-1156). The case comes to the Court at the pleading stage of a securities fraud claim under §10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Matrixx manufactures the cold remedy Zicam. There were reports that Zicam caused a loss of smell, the medical term for which is anosmia. These reports were never disclosed in its filings to the SEC or to investors. The respondents in the case filed a securities fraud class action on this basis in federal district court. Matrixx filed a motion to dismiss on the claim that the reports were not statistically relevant and was not a material omission or misstatement to plead scienter. The Ninth Circuit reversed.
The Supreme Court held that the pleading presented plausible claims for both omission and scienter. Federal regulatory agencies such as the FDA make decisions on evidence that is different from statistically significant reports. An investor would find the information about the link to anosmia relevant to making a decision. Scienter here is adequately plead because Matrixx did not disclose the reports because they were meaningless, but because the company knew the effect on the market if they did disclose. There were no dissents in the decision. The plaintiffs, of course, still have to prove their case. It's a nice plus for the Ninth Circuit given their string of losses in habeas cases.
The second opinion from today is Kasten v. Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics Corp (09-834). In this case, Kasten complained orally to Saint-Gobain that the placement of the time clocks prevented workers from getting time credit for putting on or taking off safety clothing. The company made changes but fired Kasten. He filed a retaliation claim. The trial court dismissed his Fair Labor Standards Act complaint, stating the act didn't cover oral complaints. The Seventh Circuit affirmed.
The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the statutory language "filed any complaint" to include those made orally. The Court noted that the statutory language taken as a whole does not necessarily answer the question. Dictionary definitions of "filed" did not suffice as some indicated writing and some included oral. A narrow interpretation of the Act requiring written filings would undermine the intent of Congress, the majority says, when less formal requirements than writing trigger enforcement of the Act. An interpretation that oral filings are valid are consistent with those of the Department of Labor and the EEOC. Other statutory construction arguments raised by Saint-Gobain do not apply.
Cue the predicatble dissent by Justice Scalia, joined by Justice Thomas. His view of the retaliation statute is that it only covers complaints to the government and not those made to an employer, written or otherwise. Get out of my Court you meddling kids! The decision was 6-2, with Justice Kagan abstaining. [MG]
Images of Law Libraries, Real and Imaginary
Mike Widener, Rare Book Librarian & Lecturer in Legal Research, Lillian Goldman Law Library, Yale Law School, has posted a gallery of images of law libraries both real and imaginary on Flickr. His favorite, featured here, is the frontispiece for the 1743 edition of a popular legal bibliography, Bibliotheca iuris selecta by Burkhard Gotthelf von Struve (1671-1738). Note the amazing connection Mike reveals to an early US law librarian. [JH]
Perhaps "We" Just Don't Matter in Some Major Legal Vendors' Strategic and Marketing Plans Anymore
When I read vendor statements which in effect say that "our customers" wants this or that or have rejected this or that like TR Legal's recent statement, my initial reaction is how convenient to use such a boilerplate justification. My first question is which customers? Law librarians representing their institutional interests. Perhaps some but I doubt they are the majority of customer statements referenced, assuming such statements even exist.
Customer statements coming from solo practictioners, very small firms and public agencies where the point person is an office or fiscal manager unfamiliar with the ways and means of how legal vendors conduct business? For online legal search both Lexis and Westlaw are now targeting such small firms and small public agencies with some fixed-rate pricing plans. In print, WEXIS has typically had the advantage over such smaller subscribers who do not benefit from having a professional law librarian on staff to deal with them.
In the New Normal of vendors going after these markets in the Shed West Era, perhaps "we" don't matter. Just take the private sector for example. The ABA reports tha almost three-quarters of attorneys are private practitioners. Nearly half of them -- 48% to be exact -- are solos and 22% work in firms employing two to 10 attorneys. 76% work in law firms that only have 2-5 attorneys and this number increases to 89% when firms with up to 10 attorneys are included.
This is a sizable market of consumers uniformed by law librarian expertise in the legal consumer-vendor relationship. You bet our major vendors are taking advantage of that. I'm not stating or implying that these vendors are doing anything unlawful but it most definitely is a situation where caveat emptor applies. For examples, both based on personal experience, why would a local municipal court need a WEXIS online license for 10 users when the court has one judge and one magistrate and no one else needed online legal search to perform their work. Why would another county entity not get execution for reducing its print subs for an annually published deskbook from 9 to 2 copies by way of calling 1-800-Nameless until it just finally gave up trying. I'm afraid both of those instances involved the folks in the land of 10,000 invoices.
Can these diverse consumer groups rely on their professional associations to address these matters? Don't think so. It's up to AALL to lead the way by consumer advocacy which by doing so may bring buy-in from the ABA and various other organizations.
Speaking of perhaps "we" don't matter. Guess which very expensive legal vendor is a "Gold Sponsor" for the ABA's Tech Show taking place April 21-23, 2011 in Chicago but, at least at this moment, isn't a listed sponsor for AALL's annual meeting. Yup, it is TR Legal. There just might be a message here about who is and who is not important in marketing objectives and tactics. [JH]
|ABA TechShow 2011 Sponsors||AALL Annual Meeting 2011 Sponsors|
Notes by the "Madison" of the AALL Vendor Colloquium's Proceedings Published
In yesterday's LLB post, A Pound of Flesh: Free Speech in the Context of the Desperate Bargains Made between AALL and the Legal Publishing Industry and Individual Institutional Buyers and Their Vendors I cited to Mary Jenkins' recent AALL Spectrum Blog post, An SCCLL Librarian’s Notes from the Vendor Colloquium with a quote that started with "I have 26 handwritten pages of notes; surely, some of that would be of interest to my colleagues." That quote now reads:
I have 26 handwritten pages of notes; surely, some of that would be of interest to my colleagues.
What's the difference? The link. It wasn't there; now it is. The original unlinked blog post text about the notes published on March 17, 2011 was the second time their existence was mentioned publicly. The first time was during the March 10, 2011 episode of Law Librarian Conversations on AALL's Vendor Colloquium. Hum ... how long did it take before someone in AALL's officialdom decided it was OK to publish them.
Eyewitness testimory being what it is I am sure my fellow Ohio county law library director would want to qualify her notes with the caveat that they are her record of the proceedings and are not official. However, I've attended meetings with Jenkins. One, she take copious notes, and two, I oftentimes wondered why I don't because only one of us is so damn old to be experiencing short-term memory loss. It ain't Mary. As for why I don't, well, listening and note-taking at my age is beyond my "multi-tasking" ability now. But I digress... .
Jenkins' notes are the best members who were not in attendance are probably going to get. No doubt some things are missing that Jenkins will recall as she contributes as a member of the working group who is responsible for drafting Shared Principles and Action Plan documents. Hopefully those collated pieces of paper will be made available to members with ample time to review and comment. Making informed commentary on them without a webcast or official transcript of the meeting is problematic at best. But at least Jenkins' unofficial notes may be helpful. It's advisable to download her notes and retain them; like I said, her notes are likely are the best source material available. Perhaps you will be satisfied with relying on some sort of official summary but personally, not I.
Thanks Mary. Looks like you are the "Madison" of AALL's Vendor Colloquium proceedings. [JH]
March 21, 2011
Supreme Court Action Today
The Supreme Court's slap down of the Ninth Circuit's rulings on habeas cases, particularly from California, continues today with the lone Per Curiam opinion released this morning. Felkner v. Jackson (10-797) reaches the court in the context of juror challenges.
Jackson was tried in California for various sexual offenses. Two of three prospective black jurors were struck in peremptory challenges. Jackson claimed the dismissal was on the basis of race. The first dismissal went without challenge. At the second striking, Jackson's counsel objected to both strikes. The prosecutor justified the first strike because the potential juror stated that from the ages of 16 to 30 he was frequently stopped by California police, and he attributed that to his race. The prosecutor did not want to contend with any lingering animosity on the part of the juror. The second juror was struck because she had a master's degree in social work, and had interned in the county jail. The prosecutor stated essentially that he didn't want social workers on his juries. Jackson's counsel focused mostly on the second juror strike in filing his motion, which the trial court denied. At least one other non-black juror who also had trouble with police was allowed. Other potential jurors were questioned about their educational backgrounds while the first juror was not.
The issue was raised on direct appeal with the California Appellate Court. There the court stated that the trial judge was able to distinguish bona fide reasons from sham excuses and denied that point of the appeal. The California Supreme Court affirmed. Jackson next took his case to Federal District Court where it was governed by the Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (AEDPA). The standard for relief is when the state court's judgment is based on an unreasonable determination of the facts in light of the evidence. The District Court held that the California Court of Appeals findings were not unreasonable. The Ninth Circuit reversed in a three paragraph opinion. The paragraph of interest was:
“The prosecutor’s proffered race-neutral bases for peremptorily striking the two African-American jurors were not sufficient to counter the evidence of purposeful discrimination in light of the fact that two out of three prospective African-American jurors were stricken, and the record reflected different treatment of comparably situated jurors.”
The Supreme Court called this statement inexplicable and unexplained, and reversed. The Court stated that under AEDPA the state court determinations were given great deference. The juror issue is one that turned on evaluation of credibility. The California courts examined the issue in detail, and that the conclusion was reasonable. Then there was this little dig in the opinion:
There was simply no basis for the Ninth Circuit to reach the opposite conclusion, particularly in such a dismissive manner.