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Showing posts from September, 2011

SCOTUS Justice Search Tips for LexisNexis/Westlaw

With the new term of the Supreme Court of the United States just around the corner, here are some search tips for finding decisions authored by a particular justice.

When using lexis.com:

To find all opinions (of any type) authored by a particular justice, use the WRITTENBY segment in the U.S. Supreme Court Cases, Lawyers' Edition (GENFED;USLED) database: e.g., writtenby(scalia). To find all opinions of a particular type authored by a particular justice, use one of the following narrower segments:

• Use OPINIONBY to find "opinion[s] of the Court" (i.e. majority and plurality opinions) authored by a particular justice;

• Use CONCURBY to find concurring opinions (including "in part" or "in the judgment") authored by a particular justice;

• Use DISSENTBY to find dissenting opinions (including "in part") authored by a particular justice.

NOTE: There can be some overlap between the CONCURBY and DISSENTBY segments. In instances where a justice is concur…

Happy Anniversary, Justice Scalia

Today, September 26, marks the 25th anniversary of Antonin Scalia being sworn in as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. Justice Scalia is the longest-serving Justice currently sitting on the Supreme Court, but he has a way to go to break the record: Justice William O. Douglas sat on the bench from April 17th, 1939 until November 12, 1975, for a total of 36 years, 7 months, and 8 days.

To celebrate (or lament, depending on your point of view) this momentary occasion, here are some resources by and about Justice Scalia:

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A brief biography of Justice Scalia (and all the current Justices) can be found on the Court's website, and the Federal Judicial Center also provides a summary of his professional career. Additional information about Justice Scalia, including snippets of notable media coverage and a commentary on his prescence on the Court directed at lawyers who may be arguing before him in the future, can be found …

Guide to Law Online

The Law Library of Congress's Public Services Division has compiled an annotated guide of Internet links to legal and government information worldwide. Many of the sources provide the full text of materials, and are intended for both specialist and lay users.

The Guide to Law Online is made up of 5 sections:

International and Multinational contains a list of multinational reference sources, webpages for law reviews and journals, treaty information, as well as links to the Global Legal Information Network's database of official legal and government texts, the website for the Organization of American States, and the United Nations web portal.

Nations of the World provides the constitution, information about its executive, judicial and legal branches, legal guides, and general reference sources for each country listed.

U.S. Federal includes materials from the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of the federal government, along with legal research guides and other sources o…

U.S. Department of Agriculture Statistics

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's website contains a large amount of information concerning numerous aspects of the country's agricultural and food system.

Its Data & Statistics page covers 4 of the USDA's services:

Economic Research Service (ERS) - supplies indicators, analysis, and data relating to a variety of topics, including: agricultural markets and trade, food safety, natural resources, environment, and conservation, and farm income reports.

Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) - monitors agricultural production and trade patterns worldwide, and has reports detailing U.S. trade, world production of agricultural products, U.S. export sales, and also provides an online database about production, supply, and distribution of major commodities.

National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) - gathers and publishes data about marketing and production, including: the Census of Agriculture (every 5 years), historical data, maps, and crop weather.

World Agricultural Outloo…

Thinking Like A Lawyer

“[Y]ou teach yourselves the law. I train your minds. You come in here with a skull full of mush, and if you survive, you’ll leave thinking like a lawyer.”
--Professor Kingsfield from the Paper Chase

Although law students certainly learn legal doctrine – the so-called “black-letter law” -- many law professors like to think that they are in the business of teaching legal analysis. As the mythical Professor Kingsfield states, black-letter law is something students teach themselves. Professor Josef Redlich similarly once wrote that “[t]he real purpose of a scientific instruction in law is not to impart the content of the law, not to teach the law, but rather to arouse, to strengthen, to carry to the highest possible pitch of perfection, a specifically legal manner of thinking,” In other words, the purpose of attending law school is not to learn the law, but to learn to “think like a lawyer.”

What exactly does it mean to “think like a lawyer” and why is that important? The answer …

The Butler Did It! Rice University and the Law

Houston’s Rice University is rightfully famous as a small school that provides a superior education for the money. Rice is well known as an engineering school and is now equally famous for its humanities and business programs. For all its fame as an institution of higher learning, Rice first became famous for its connection to the law.

The William Marsh Rice Institute was founded by a bequest from William Marsh Rice, a businessman who came to Houston in 1837 to find his fortune. Rice made his money in cotton, shipping, real estate, and railroads, and by 1860 was the second richest man in Texas. Rice fled Texas during the Civil War, first moving to Matamoros, Mexico and later to Dunellen, New Jersey. In 1891, while living in New Jersey, Rice came up with the idea for the William Marsh Rice Institute for the Advancement of Literature, Science, and Art. The Institute was to be endowed from his estate when he died. In 1896 he was worth approximately $3 million.

On September 23, 1900 …

September 11: Ten Years Later

Today as we pause to remember the events of September 11, 2001, many of you may be wondering where to turn besides the news to read more about that day and the impact it has had on our country. The Library of Congress has several collections about 9/11, including the September 11, 2011 Documentary Project, which “captures the heartfelt reactions, eyewitness accounts, and diverse opinions of Americans and others in the months that followed the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and United Airlines Flight 93.” The Library of Congress has also partnered with the American Social History Project at the City University of New York Graduate Center and the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University to preserve a digital record of 9/11 through the September 11 Digital Archive.

The Government Printing Office has also released the 9/11 Tenth Anniversary Collection including materials such as the 9/11 Commission Report and Pentagon 9/11, a book detailing …

Department of Labor Enforcement Database

If you are interested in labor law and looking for enforcement data, you should check out the Department of Labor’s Enforcement Database. This recently updated resource provides the public with access to enforcement data collected by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), the Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA), the Wage and Hour Division (WHD), and the Office of Federal Contract Compliance (OFCCP).

Depending on the agency you select, the database will allow you to search by state or zip code, company name, violation, penalty amount, industry code, or year. However, coverage for each agency varies by year. For instance, OSHA inspection data can be searched back to 1972, but Wage and Hour Division compliance data is included back to 2007. Once you have your results, the data can be exported in Excel or PDF formats. The website has also added a map feature that allows you to view inspection and violati…

CBO'S Long-Term Budget Outlook

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) reports its projections related to federal spending in the Long-Term Budget Outlook and is available in print in the law library and online through the agency's website. The report in particular discusses the long term outlook on spending and revenue in general and with regard to Health Care, Social Security, and Defense and Non-defense spending. A summary provides a quick overview of the report and numerous table, figures, and a topical index are included. The CBO website also has the full text of the Congressional testimony on long-term budget outlook before the House Budget Committee on June 23, 2011.