December 29, 2012
Congratulations to the I Love My Librarian 2012 Award Winners
Sponsored by the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the New York Times and administered by ALA each year, 10 librarians were honored for their commitment to patrons, communities, and libraries at a ceremony in New York City on December 18th. Details on American Libraries Direct. [JH]
December 28, 2012
The Lone Star Blogger Returns!
"After some hassling from family and friends, I’ve decided to continue this blog." -- Jason Wilson, Okay, so I’m not going to kill this thing after all.
End note: Above image Jason Wilson stole from his friend, eschipul. [JH]
Friday Fun: How Many Legal Vendor CEOs Will It Take to Change a Light Bulb in 2013?
Five CEOs at Lexis L&P?!
Most of our major legal vendors have more VPs than one finds in the banking industry. Their portfolios of responsibility change so frequently (OK, at least their titles do change -- VP of X becomes VP of Y) that I've begun to wonder how much of invoice-paying law librarians payments goes toward printing new business cards. But five CEOs, really?
This reminds me of an old joke:
How many Episcopalians does it take to change a light bulb?
Six. One to change the bulb, and five to form a society to preserve the memory of the old light bulb.
Starting the New Year Off. Oh wait. It took six, not five Episcopalians. Lexis L&P may need to hire some superhero as the CEO of the Incredible in 2013 to change the Company's light bulb. I probably should reference The Hulk based on the below video clip. But that stimulates images of the WWE. [JH]
December 27, 2012
Justice Sotomayor Denies Injunction in Health Care Religious Conflict Case
Justice Sonia Sotomayor issued an in-Chambers opinion yesterday in the case of Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. v. Sebelius (12A644). Hobby Lobby sought an injunction pending appeal to keep regulations under the Affordable Care Act from going into effect. These require insurance plans to cover contraception and other drugs and devices that could cause abortions. Hobby Lobby filed the original action in the Western District of Oklahoma on the grounds that providing such insurance coverage to its employees violated the religious beliefs of the owners of the closely held for-profit company. The injunction was denied at that level and the Tenth Circuit denied an application for an injunction pending appeal.
Justice Sotomayor reviewed the Court’s precedents and rules for granting such an application. She noted that the Court’s authority to issue such an injunction is derived from the All Writs Act, 28 U.S.C. §1651(a), and that the Court’s own Rules require that the power to issue the writ be used sparingly. Issuing the writ, she says, is not a matter of preserving the status quo but grants the relief the lower courts have denied up to now. The standard she cites in granting such relief is that which is necessary or appropriate to aid in the Court’s jurisdiction. Hobby Lobby does not satisfy the standard under previous litigation under the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (RFRA), 42 U.S.C. §2000bb et seq.:
Moreover, the applicants correctly recognize that lower courts have diverged on whether to grant temporary injunctive relief to similarly situated plaintiffs raising similar claims, Application for Injunction Pending Appellate Review 25–26, and no court has issued a final decision granting permanent relief with respect to such claims. Second, while the applicants allege they will face irreparable harm if they are forced to choose between complying with the contraception-coverage requirement and paying significant fines, they cannot show that an injunction is necessary or appropriate to aid our jurisdiction. Even without an injunction pending appeal, the applicants may continue their challenge to the regulations in the lower courts. Following a final judgment, they may, if necessary, file a petition for a writ of certiorari in this Court.
Some of This Year's Legal Highlights and Low-LightsBy way of David Brown's The Year in Review on the National Law Journal. [JH]
The Supremes: Who might hang up their robe and who may be waiting in the wings
SCOTUS predictions reported by Bloomberg Law. Hat tip to DC Dicta. [JH]
December 26, 2012
Law School Has Gone to the DogsThat was the winner of ATL's recent photo caption contest featuring Gunner the Wonder Dog in the UVA Law library. Details and photos at Staci Zaretsky's post. [JH]
Robert H. Bork, 1927-2012
Robert Bork died on Dec. 19, 2012 after a distinguish career serving on the bench as well as by way of his many published contributions to legal philosophy. While many commentators writing about his legacy today characterize his jurisprudence as "Originalism," back in the day it was best to view his work from the perspective of Legal Positivism.
Of course, Bork is most well-known for his nomination to the SCOTUS and the fallout from failing to receive the Senate's confirmation. In A Conservative Whose Supreme Court Bid Set the Senate Afire, NYT's Ethan Bronner writes
The success of the anti-Bork campaign is widely seen to have shifted the tone and emphasis of Supreme Court nominations since then, giving them an often strong political cast and making it hard, many argue, for a nominee with firmly held views ever to be confirmed.
Some present-day pundits have opined that they were surprised by how ill-prepared Bork appeared to be during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings. But they are applying the post-Bork standard for the current status quo to Senate confirmations.
In Recalling Cardozo Law Review’s “Bork Book” (Concurring Opinions), Lawrence Cunningham recounts the story of working on a Cardozo Law Review's issue that was published just ahead of the confirmation proceedings. Titled "The Bork Nomination", the editors collected and published a dozen essays and four reports assessing Judge Bork’s jurisprudence in a 530-page special issue.
The special issue, released in early October ahead of the hearings, sold briskly at many book shops around Washington and New York that fall. It was clear during the hearings that many Senators had read our product. In the years after, it was even clearer that Judge Bork had, as he cited to our “Bork book” often.
This is one of those very, very rare instances where a law review issue actually contributed to something beyond the closed world known as the legal academy. [JH]
December 25, 2012
Where is the Legislation That Banned Christmas?
First published in LLB on Dec. 25, 2007.
There is no sign that Cromwell personally played a particularly large or prominent role in formulating or advancing the various pieces of legislation and other documents which restricted the celebration of Christmas, though from what we know of his faith and beliefs it is likely that he was sympathetic towards and supported such measures, and as Lord Protector from December 1653 until his death in September 1658 he supported the enforcement of the existing measures.
I see. He was just a fellow-traveler. The Cromwell Association explains that it was "the broader Godly or parliamentary party, working through and within the elected parliament, which in the 1640s clamped down on the celebration of Christmas and other saints’ and holy days."
OK but where is this legislation? Nigel Jamieson, Senior Lecturer in Law, University of Otago, New Zealand, has found it and his delightful tale of the research that went into locating the Ordinance 360 years after the fact is published in Oliver Cromwell—The Grinch That Stole Christmas, 26 Statute L. Rev. 189 (2005).
Although without royal assent, The Ordinance, bearing the date of 4 January 1645 and resolved upon before both Lords and Commons assembled in Parliament, provides in its 'Appendix touching Dayes and Places for Publique Worship':
There is no Day commanded in Scripture to be kept holy under the Gospel, but the Lord's Day, which is the Christian Sabbath.
Festival dayes, vulgarly called Holy dayes, having no Warrant in the Word of God, are not to be continued.
Jamieson explains that the application of this general prohibition against feast-days to the specific celebration of Christmas is clear from an earlier Ordinance, dated 19 December 1644,"'for the better observation of the monethly Fast; and more especially the next Wednesday, commonly called The Feast of the Nativity of Christ, Thorowout the Kingdome (sic) of England and Wales." This Ordinance provided:
Whereas some doubts have been raised whether the next Fast shall be celebrated, because it falleth on the day which heretofore was usually called the feast of the Nativity of our Saviour. The Lords and Commons in Parliament assembled doe order and ordaine that publique notice be given that the Fast appointed to be kept on the last Wednesday in every moneth, ought to be observed until it be otherwise ordered by both Houses of Parliament: And that this day in particular is to be kept with the more solemne humiliation, because it may call to remembrance our sinnes, and the sinnes of our forefathers, who have turned this Feast, pretending the memory of Christ into an extreme forgetfulnessse of him, by giving liberty to carnall and sensuall delights, being contrary to the life which Christ himselfe led here upon earth, and to the spirituall life of Christ in our soules for the sanctifying and saving whereof Christ was pleased both to take a humane life, and to lay it down againe.
Probably only English legal historians and law librarians will appreciate Jamieson's research narrative. To them, I say, enjoy the pleasure of reading Jamieson's article about the process of legislative research and legal authentication. Merry Christmas. [JH]
December 24, 2012
AALL's Audacious Goals: What tactics will AALL execute to achieve its strategic objectives? (Proofreading official statements might be a good start)
Wisely avoiding a comparison to Stalin's five year plans, the E-Board approved our association's Strategic Plan for 2013-2016 on December 13 while noting in the December 2012 issue of the AALL E-newsletter that "we are still working to complete some of the goals from the 2010-2013 plan." Hum, does AALL issue a report card on prior strategic plans?
The 2013-2016 Strategic Plan includes AALL's "Long-term Envisioned Future (10+ Years)":
The envisioned future conveys a concrete yet unrealized vision for the organization. It consists of a big (hairy) audacious goal (BHAG)-- a clear and compelling catalyst that serves as a focal point for effort and a vivid description which is a vibrant and engaging description of what it will be like to achieve the BHAG.
BHAG (Vision): AALL and its members will be the recognized authority in all aspects of legal information
Vivid Description of a Desired Future:
Legal information is understood as synonymous with law librarians. AALL is the recognized leader in advocating for no-fee permanent public access to government legal information and the essential role law librarians play in accessing legal information. The association's leadership is sought for their expertise in policy and legislation development affecting access to legal information. Law librarians and allied professionals turn to the AALL as their primary source for up-to-date information and professional development on the law librarianship profession. The association sets the standards for legal research competencies for the legal profession. It provides an esteemed network of colleagues willing to share insights and best practices [ed. note: add full stop (".") or screamer ("!") here] Membership and engagement in AALL is recognized and supported by employers as essential to professional growth and success. Law librarians continue to enhance their value by anticipating changing needs and expectations of their work environments and are considered part of the decision-making team. As a result of the efforts of AALL and its members, legal information continues to be accessible and the role of law librarians continues to be valued and essential.
(Emphasis in the original.)
As a very forward-looking statement, this is all fine and well because AALL membership is not "recognized and supported" by many law library employers as "essential." While I imagine freshly minted full AALL member vendor reps give lip service to, some of their employers most definitely do not view the role of law librarians as being "valued and essential" to their business plans these days.
Under the heading "AALL's Five-Year Goals and Objectives" ... wait a minute ... 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 ... shouldn't that read "four-year"? An E-Board group think Stalinist slip? An indication of just how important this document is within AALL officialdom? Perhaps it will be edited when AALL staffers come back from their December 24 to January 1 holiday break.
Until then, here's our association's Strategic Plan for 2013-2016 (or 2017). [JH]
December 23, 2012
Shapiro's Most Notable Quotations of 2012
1. "There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what ... who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims. ... These are people who pay no income tax. ... and so my job is not to worry about those people. I'll never convince them that they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives."
Mitt Romney, remarks at private fundraiser, Boca Raton, Fla., May 17
Here's the complete list [link fixed; includes some video clips] of Fred Shapiro's ten most notable quotations of 2012. [JH]