Jul 30
9:50 AM

Cash for Clunkers

Visit the official government website to determine eligibility requirements for the CAR Allowance Rebate System (CARS).  Easily find the underlying statutes and regs by clicking the "Official Information" tab, and the EPA's fuel economy ratings with the "Fueleconomy.gov" tab. 

Jul 29
3:09 PM

Iceland moves towards EU membership

Iceland has moved a step closer to membership in the European Union after parliament approved a controversial measure to apply for membership by a narrow margin of 33 votes to 28 with two abstentions. The European Union (EU) accepted Iceland's application to join the bloc only one week after Iceland submitted the application.

The move to join the EU was not without some debate within Iceland’s government.  Prime Minister Johanna Sigurdardottir pushed for approval while detractors pointed to the possibility such membership could hurt the fishing industry.  Sigurdardottir gained supporters following the collapse of Icelandic banks last year and has stressed the importance of moving towards adopting the euro as the country’s currency to stabilize the economy.

Iceland is already a member of the European Economic Area and the border-free Schengen zone, meaning that its legislation is already in line with EU rules in many areas. Analysts say that that should make accession negotiations on most subjects relatively easy.

Jul 22
2:18 PM

110 Countries Are Now Parties to the International Criminal Court

The Czech Republic is the latest country to join the International Criminal Court.  The government of the Czech Republic deposited its instrument of ratification to the Rome Statute yesterday. When the statute enters into force on October 1, 2009, the Czech Republic will become the 110th nation to become a State Party to the ICC. All 27 European Union members are now States Parties.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) is a permanent international tribunal established to prosecute individuals for genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes.  The court came into being on July 1, 2002 and officially sits The Hague, Netherlands, but its proceedings may take place anywhere.

Jul 21
5:30 PM

Law Class Uses Wiki as Its Textbook

Law professors struggle with how they can use technology in their classes and teaching. Some professors have banned laptops, saying they can just be a distraction. But in California, one group began teaching law courses using Second Life.

When University of Iowa law professor Lea VanderVelde was preparing to teach a class on employment law last semester, she decided to divide the states up and give a few to each student to research extensively, and to post their work on a wiki site, using Wikipedia software.

By the end of the semester, her class had created a 1,300 page wiki, the largest of any wiki created for use by the university.

Ms. VanderVelde said that in recent years, many of her students brought laptops to class to take notes, and she knew that many of them were online and perhaps perusing Web sites or playing solitaire.

“There’s a huge debate in the university community on whether we should block Internet in classrooms,” she said. “In this classroom, the laptop had a purpose. I gave the laptop a job.” Read more here.

Jul 16
2:30 PM

Judge Sonia Sotomayor: Analysis of Selected Opinions

During the current confirmation hearings, are you more interested in being knowledgeable about Judge Sonia Sotomayor's written opinions than in the brouhaha over her off-the-cuff remarks?  But taking the time to wade through them is not an option?  If so, check out opencrs, a free site which is dedicated to providing Congressional Research Service Reports for the People.  Judge Sonia Sotomayor: Analysis of Selected Opinions is a 59-page Congressional Research Service (CRS) non-partisan analysis of selected opinions authored by Judge Sotomayor during her tenure as a judge on the Second Circuit.  Discussions of the selected opinions are grouped according to various topics of legal significance.


If you want more, another place to look is one of the LRC's Legal Research Databases, the Congressional Research Digital Collection (CRDC).  Among other things, it has CRS Reports from 1916 to the present.  Do a Basic Search for sotomayor, and discover not only the report described above, but several other Congressional documents, as well.

Jul 15
12:05 PM

Scholars Archive Guantanamo Bay Records

New York University’s Tamiment Library and Seton Hall University's Center for Policy and Research are working together on a project to document, preserve, and make accessible the legal records and the human stories of the Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp.


The project is co-directed by Mark Denbeaux, professor of law at Seton Hall University Law School and director of the Center for Policy and Research; Jonathan Hafetz, adjunct professor of law at Seton Hall; and Michael Nash, director of the Tamiment Library and co-director of the Frederic Ewen Academic Freedom Center at NYU.  Denbeaux and Hafetz are editors of The Guantanamo Lawyers: Inside a Prison Outside the Law (NYU Press, October 2009), a collection of more than one hundred personal narratives from attorneys who have represented detainees held at Guantanamo.  With the fate of many detainees still undecided, the project aims to collect as much primary material as possible now, before stories and documents disappear off the web.  


The Guantanamo Bay Detention Center archive will include lawyers’ files, oral histories of the attorneys and detainees, Department of Defense websites, photographs and videotapes, and electronic records, as well as records relating to the rules governing enemy combatants, prisoner interrogation, and the government’s representation of battlefield capture. The collection will debut under a digital-archiving project called Web-at-Risk: Preserving Our Nation's Cultural Heritage. The program is run by the California Digital Library, part of the University of California system, under the auspices of the Library of Congress. On its Web site, the California Digital Library describes Web-at-Risk as an effort to create digital tools to "enable librarians and archivists to capture, curate, preserve, and provide access to Web-based government and political information."

Jul 13
3:54 PM

National Archives releases materials relating to Sonia Sotomayor

Announcement from the National Archives website:

The National Archives Office of Records Services, the William J. Clinton Library, and the George H.W. Bush Library will release records relating to Judge Sonia Sotomayor.

The Clinton Library is releasing 5,032 pages of Presidential records relating to the nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

President Clinton nominated Judge Sotomayor to the position in 1997, and she was confirmed by the Senate in 1998. The records contain biographical information, court opinions as Judge for the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, and letters in support of her nomination. This series also includes court records, correspondence, news clippings, articles, and e-mails concerning her nomination. These Clinton Presidential records were processed in accordance with the Presidential Records Act.

The Bush Library is opening four newly released pages of Bush Presidential records in addition to the 58 pages that were previously released.

In November 1991, President George H.W. Bush nominated Sonia Sotomayor to be United States District Judge for the Southern District of New York. The documents consist of internal memoranda, biographical information and letters in support of Judge Sotomayor. These Bush Presidential records were processed in accordance with the Presidential Records Act.

The National Archives Office of Records Services is opening 122 e-mails that were retrieved from the Federal electronic files of the Clinton administration that contained Judge Sotomayor's name either in the e-mail or in the attachment. These Federal records were processed in accordance with the Federal Records Act. These materials will be available only electronically through the National Archives web site.


All of these records will be available on the National Archives web site at http://www.archives.gov/news/sotomayor

The Clinton records will also be available at the Clinton Library, 1200 President Clinton Avenue, Little Rock, Arkansas, 72201 and http://clintonlibrary.gov/textual-sotomayor.htm

The Bush records will also be available at the Bush Library, 1000 George Bush Drive West, College Station, Texas, 77845 and http://bushlibrary.tamu.edu


Jul 13
3:40 PM
Jul 9
4:22 PM

CFR Now Online Back to 1938

Anybody doing historical research in the Code of Federal Regulations knows what it's like to dig around in drawers of microfiche.  Sure, Westlaw has it back to 1984, and Lexis to 1981.  But you're clerking, you need to unearth the 1976 CFR, and your firm doesn't have a subscription to Wexis anyway.  Good news!  HeinOnline now has a complete run of CFR backfiles, from its inception way back in 1938, all the way to the present.  All are PDF, making citation simple and accurate.  And remember, anyone with a current USD ID can access HeinOnline anywhere–as long as you go through the LRC website.  And anyone physically present on campus has full access, as well.

Jul 8
12:13 PM

OAS Suspends Membership of Honduras

On July 5, 2009, the Organization of American States (OAS) invoked Article 21 of the Inter-American Democratic Charter, suspending Honduras from active participation in the hemispheric body. The Organization of American States is an international organization, headquartered in Washington, D.C., United States.   Its members are the thirty-four independent states of the Americas.  Since 1948 the OAS has worked to bring together the nations of the Western Hemisphere to strengthen cooperation on democratic values, defend common interests and debate the major issues facing the region and the world.  The unanimous decision to suspend Honduras was adopted as a result of the June 28 coup d’état that expelled President José Manuel Zelaya from office.


The coup began on June 26th, when the Supreme Court ordered the Honduran military to remove President Manuel Zelaya. Those who removed Zelaya, then quickly swore in Roberto Micheletti, the former president of the National Congress of Honduras.  The international community, including the United Nations and the United States, has backed Zelaya.  It is expected that Costa Rican President Oscar Arias, a Nobel Peace laureate, will serve as an international mediator between the two parties in the hopes of forging a diplomatic solution.