Jun 30
4:59 PM

Law schools suffer when they stand up to discrimination

From today’s NYT

Another fight over the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy is being watched closely on the campus of the Vermont Law School, a small 600-student institution.

The Vermont Law School is one of only two law schools in the nation that bar military recruiters, as a protest against the 15-year-old rule that prevents openly gay men and lesbians from serving in the military. As a result, the school is denied some federal research money — $300,000 to $500,000 a year by one outside analyst’s estimate.

“Every once in a while an issue comes to a community and, despite a cost, it comes to the conclusion that it has to stand up for its principles,” said Jeff Shields, president and dean of the law school. “It has to do with speaking truth to power, and it’s one of those roles that those of us lucky enough to be trained as lawyers hopefully take from time to time.”

Last week, an advocacy group urging the repeal of the policy released a report saying the Army and Air Force had discharged a disproportionate number of women in 2007 because of the rule. And in May, a California appeals court reinstated a lawsuit challenging the policy, while a federal appeals court in Boston upheld it a month later.

In 2006, the SCOTUS, in a unanimous ruling, upheld a law that withholds some federal money from law schools and universities that do not give military recruiters the same access to campus as other employers.

Jun 30
2:53 PM

‘U.S. News’ Prevents Law Schools From ‘Gaming’ its Rankings

According to today’s Chron, U.S. News & World Report is considering changing how it computes its law-school rankings to prevent schools from “gaming” the system by accepting students with lower LSATs and undergrad grades into their part-time programs.

The proposal has prompted discussions about the value of rankings and how some law schools appear to be trying to manipulate them. U.S. News, which currently considers data only from entering full-time students, is considering counting data from entering part-timers as well.  For more, go here.

Jun 27
4:45 PM

Resisting Google

There is a small but growing movement out there.  The one that can only be whispered about. Google has got too much power over us and our society!

As Google’s influence grows, some scholars and programmers argue it has to be stopped from “invading our privacy, shaping our preferences, and controlling how we learn about and understand the world around us. To counter its pervasive effects, they are developing strategies to push back against Google, dilute its growing dominance of the information sphere, and make it more publicly accountable. The solutions range from programs one can install on one’s computer to proposed laws forcing Google to reveal parts of its proprietary search algorithm.” [Via Boston Globe]

Fight back!  Or, since it is Friday afternoon, kick back and let somebody else fight it.  Complacency rules.

Jun 23
3:55 PM


After twenty years as the director of the Legal Research Center, Professor Nancy Carter has decided to step down and enter a period of semi-retirement.  Over the years, Nancy helped lead the way toward a better library facility and a much larger and important research collection.  She championed the idea of the San Diego Circuit Consortium, now a mainstay for getting materials on short notice from the major research libraries here in the county. Her dedication to always providing first class work products and services helped the LRC become a prized part of the law faculty's resources in producing their outstanding scholarship.  Under her guidance the LRC has become an integral part of the educational process for our students and other researchers as well.

Nancy will be leaving us for the study abroad program in Ireland this summer, after which she plans to return and work on special projects for the law school, as well as return in earnest to her writing on American Indians.

We wish her well!

Jun 20
6:24 PM

Why take 3 or 4 years to get a law degree when you can get it in 2?

Another law school has decided to offer a 2-year law degree.  Northwestern University School of Law announced today that it will offer students a chance to earn a law degree in two years rather than three. This comes one month after the University of Dayton School of Law graduated its first class from a two-year law program.  Something to think about!  (But who really wants to move to Dayton???) 

Jun 16
4:22 PM

Hate Free San Diego Summit, Part II

The Summit was a real success.  Many terrific speakers, including victims of hate violence who shared their disturbing stories.  The main speaker was a director at the Southern Poverty Law Center who spoke about the struggle to combat hate speech and violence around the country.  There has actually been a great increase in hate groups in the past decade! The SPLC's focus in our county is the Minutemen group on the border.  Much of the program was focused on the plight of undocumented immigrants and discrimination against them as well as legal immigrants from other ethnic backgrounds. 

An interesting historical review included a discussion of anti-religious sentiment as a genesis of mistreatment and prejudice against hispanic/latino peoples. Much of it appears to stem from hatred and fear of Catholicism; the religious wars on the European continent were transferred to the New World.

The summit ended with an invitation to do something to change our own hearts and minds so that our community might change as well.  Heavy stuff.  Really inspiring.  Made me proud to be a member of the USD community. 

Some scholarly information: a recommended book on this topic is The Tree of Hate; propaganda and prejudices affecting United States relations with the Hispanic world by Philip Wayne Powell, available through the Circuit catalog at (title search "tree of hate").  For San Diego's historical relationship with one particular hate group, check out the San Diego Historical Society's Journal of San Diego History: "San Diego's Ku Klux Klan: 1920-1980," by Carlos M. Larralde and Richard Griswold del Castillo [vol. 46:2-3 2000](online at http://www.sandiegohistory.org/journal/00summer/klan.htm). 

Also, an important web site mentioned for further info is www.wecanstopthehate.org, which focuses on immigration reform.

Jun 12
3:32 PM

Hate Free San Diego Summit at USD Today

Today, United For a Hate Free San Diego will host its first Hate Crimes Summit at the IPJ here at USD. The summit will feature keynote speaker Heidi Beirich, deputy director of the Southern Poverty Law Center's Intelligence Project. There will also be testimonials of victims of hate motivated incidents.

"We are attempting to increase the public's awareness of the trend in hate crimes; to educate the public about how these crimes affect our communities, and to empower the public to become part of the solution," states an op-ed piece in today's San Diego Union Tribune.

According to a recent Vista story, there have been 14 hate-related incidents reported on our campus in the "previous months" [not sure how many they were talking about].  Fourteen! I am going to attend and see what they say. It looks like we all need to be informed about what's going on around here.

Jun 11
3:00 PM


Enter any law class, or any classroom in a professional school today, and you will likely see rows and rows of open laptops and hear the hum of fingers striking keyboards.

But some law professors have decided that they aren't going to take it anymore.  They argue that too many students "surf the Web instead of engaging in class, and play games, shop online, or e-mail friends, distracting themselves and those who sit near them." See Andrea L. Foster, Law Professors Rule Laptops Out of Order in Class, link below.

Law professors have banned laptops at the University of Michigan, Florida International, Georgetown, Harvard Universities, and the University of Wisconsin.

What do you all think?  To surf or not to surf…that is the question. 

Read more at the Chronicle of Higher Ed's Information Technology page.

Jun 4
2:49 PM

WiFi in Libraries Blamed for Illnesses in Paris

In today's Wired Campus, Andrea L. Foster reports that four libraries in Paris have turned off their wireless connections "after staff members complained that electromagnetic radiation from the networks was the source of their health problems…".

One library did so after a staff member wanted to take early retirement "on health grounds," because he had “headaches, balance problems, general weakness, stress and sight problems.” He also blamed electromagnetic radiation from cell phones for his maladies.

Check out the article here.

Jun 3
3:55 PM

Crossing the pond…

Back from London to find the LRC in pretty good condition considering it is during a renovation project. The California/Tax Room is having the wall coverings renewed, and there is some noise and dust, but it is going at a good pace.

All the bar studiers are here and focused, focused, focused…which is a good thing! 

And we are here too, so let us know if you need any research help!