Wednesday, February 27, 2013
The American Arbitration Association has created an app with helpful information about arbitration and mediation. The app provides users with access to AAA arbitration and mediation rules for a number of practice areas including Commercial, Construction, Real Estate and Environmental, Government and Consumer, International, and Labor and Employment. It also has information about the due process protocols for a variety of topics.
This app is free and available for iOS devices such as iPhone and iPad as well as for Android devices. To download the app, visit the iTunes Store or GooglePlay.
Saturday, February 23, 2013
Here's a treat for those who love Sherlock Holmes (and who doesn't?): Back on Valentine's Day, an expert on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's famous character filed suit in Illinois federal court seeking a declaratory judgment that all copyrights in the character, his sidekick Mr. Watson, and any other characters or character traits that appeared in any of the works published in the United States before January 1, 1923 have expired and enjoining the Doyle estate from intefering with the upcoming publication of a book of new and original stories based on those characters.
According to an article from the Hollywood Reporter about the lawsuit, Doyle's heirs, under the aegis of a company called Conan Doyle Estate Ltd, are objecting to the new book and insisting that a license agreement be procured under threat of an infringement claim. Apparently, although the copyright to all of Doyle's works expired in the UK in 1980 (see ¶ 18 of the complaint), the estate contends that copyright in the character Sherlock Holmes remains in effect in the US until 2023! That would be some feat for a character first introduced in 1887!
Also working against the estate is a 2004 New York federal court opinion that, in dicta at least, determined that only nine works of Doyle's retained copyright protection under US law.
But wait! The recently-filed complaint concedes that TEN Doyle works (or at least any original aspects of those works) are still protected by US copyright laws! Is it nine? Is it ten? Is it all 60? Considering how unnecessarily convoluted, confusing, and restrictive the current US copyright laws are (thanks a lot, Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act!), I wonder if even Sherlock Holmes could definitively solve this mystery. The game is afoot!
Monday, February 18, 2013
In the last couple of days, a common fluff piece making the news rounds, just in time for Presidents Day, deals with the fact that the state of Mississippi finally ratified the 13th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America. Or, to be accurate, they ratified it back in 1995, but since the appropriate documentation was never submitted to the proper federal authorities, that ratification was not "official".
While some may find it interesting that the movie "Lincoln" inspired a person, a recent immigrant from India no less, to research the 13th Amendment's ratification history only to discover that Mississippi had not yet officially ratified it, that state's ratification itself is, outside of its public relations value, absolutely meaningless.
Per Article V of the US Constitution, a proposed amendment to the Constitution becomes a part of that esteemed document when it has been ratified by three-fourths of the states. In other words, once the final state needed to put the amendment at (or over) three-fourths of the states ratifies the amendment (currently 38 out of 50), it becomes "the supreme Law of the Land". And once it has been adopted, and becomes the supreme law of the land, ALL of the states are subject to its terms, even those states that have not ratified it!
Accordingly, once Georgia became the 27th state to ratify the 13th Amendment (there being, at the time, 36 states), the Amendment was adopted and became a part of the Constitution. Even if the remaining nine states never took the step of officially ratifying the 13th Amendment, they would still be subject to its provisions.
I mean, if this is such big news, where is the outcry regarding the ratification status of the 24th Amendment? The 24th Amendment, the one prohibiting poll taxes in federal elections, has been ratified by no more than 42 states!*
[* According to The U.S. Constitution Online (http://www.usconstitution.net/), only 40 states have ratified it, whereas the Wikipedia entry on the 24th Amendment lists 42 states. The two states in dispute are Alabama and Texas. In the 2009 Regular Session of the Texas Legislature, House Joint Resolution 39 post-ratifying the 24th Amendment was passed by the House on May 4, passed by the Senate on May 22, reported enrolled on May 23, and filed with the Texas Secretary of State on May 26. Similarly, it appears that the Alabama Legislature passed HJR 14 ratifying the 24th Amendment during that legislature's 2002 Regular Session. However, the Proposal and Ratification notes following the text of the Amendment in the 2006 edition of the United States Code does not mention Alabama's ratification, nor are the ratifications of either Alabama or Texas mentioned in any of the Supplements. Therefore, it could be that these resolutions were never officially submitted to the US Archivist, much like Mississippi's forgotten post-ratification of the 13th Amendment.]
That means that at least eight states, including Mississippi, have not ratified the 24th Amendment! Why aren't we freaking out about that? Because their ratifications would be meaningless, except as PR stunts. Just because they haven't ratified the 24th Amendment, that doesn't mean they are somehow allowed to prevent citizens from voting in federal elections for failure to pay a poll tax. Because the requisite 38 states ratified it back in the 1960s, the remaining states are subject to its terms as well, making any "post-ratifications" superfluous at best.
Friday, February 15, 2013
Klarman begins with the 1950s and 1960s, when every state criminalized private, consensual sex between same-sex partners, and moves to the birth of the gay rights movement, the Stonewall Rebellion in 1969. From there, he continues to the 1990s, when the Hawaii Supreme Court in Baehr v. Lewin declared that a law restricting marriage to a man and a woman constitutes an impermissible sex classification, and the state and federal "defense of marriage acts" that followed. As Klarman continues in this style, presenting court victories for same-sex partners, only to be followed by political backlash, he provides tremendous detail and color, giving the reader a historical perceptive and framework for considering how the nation's opinion on this once taboo issue has changed. His consideration of triumphs and setbacks also give the reader an insiders knowledge of the litigation and political efforts, and the strategies behind them. For anyone interested in a well-researched, thoughtful look at the recent history of what is sure to become one of the most remembered constitutional law issues of this century, and the most anticipated Supreme Court rulings, From the Closet to the Altar is highly recommended.
Thursday, February 7, 2013
Monday, February 4, 2013
Friday, February 1, 2013
There are a number of other sources that the law library has that focus on partnership taxation:
- Burke, Karen C. Federal Income Taxation of Partners and Partnerships in a Nutshell, 4th ed. St. Paul, MN: West, 2013 (KF6452.B87 2013, Reserve/Reference).
- Larson, Joni. Partnership Taxation: an Application Approach, Carolina Academic Press, 2010 (KF6452.L376 2010).
- Lipton, Richard M. Partnership Taxation, 3d ed. New Providence, NJ: LexisNexis, 2012. (ordered, should be arriving this semester).
- Schwarz, Stephen & Lathrope, Daniel J. Corporate and Partnership Taxation, 7th ed. St. Paul, MN: West, 2012 (KF6465.S38).
- Willis, Arthur B., Postlewaite, Philip F. Partership Taxation. Thomson Reuters/RIA, 2011- (KF6452.W55, two volume treatise, available on the Thomson Reuters Checkpoint database from the law library's website and Westlaw Next).