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Showing posts from September, 2014

National Voter Registration Day

Tomorrow is National Voter Registration Day, which falls on the fourth Tuesday of September every year. Although it is not a national holiday, National Voter Registration Day is supported by a wide range of organizations that help to promote voter registration around the country. Here in Houston, a number of registration drives will be held all over the city, including one at the University of Houston’s Graduate College of Social Work. To find out more about registering to vote, or to register online, visit the National Voter Registration Day website.

This year, election day falls on November 4. In this midterm election, all 435 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives will be contested, as well as 33 of the Senate’s 100 seats. If you would like to see your Senator or Representative’s voting record, you can find it at www.govtrack.us. For more information about what’s on the ballot in Texas, see this website provided by the Texas Secretary of State. 

Empirical Legal Research & Bloomberg Law

One of the most exciting and most used features of Bloomberg Law is its access to court dockets. Bloomberg Law offers law school users the option of downloading federal court dockets and case filings directly from Bloomberg Law, saving users the costs associated with retrieving the items themselves on PACER. The same service is provided for state courts whose dockets and electronic filing systems allow for access by the public, and by extension Bloomberg Law. This vast array of data combined with the search features and alerts offered by Bloomberg Law is one of the product’s best features, and is a great “in” for users who may have otherwise ignored Bloomberg Law.

Whenever presented with a large amount of data from courts across the country that is easily searched, the notion of empirical legal research is bound to come up. And while Bloomberg Law may seem to have “everything,” upon further inspection this is not the case. Unlike PACER dockets, which update automatically, Bloomberg La…

Title 52 Voting and Elections: A New USC Title (and more on the way)

A new title has been added to the United States Code. The new title, Title 52 Voting and Elections, contains Code sections relating to campaign finance laws, voting rights, and elections, which were transferred from Title 2 and Title 42. The dispositions of sections from Titles 2 and 42 to Title 52 are presented on the website of the Office of the Law Revision Counsel (OLRC) in an Editorial Reclassification Table. The OLRC states that “[n]o statutory text is altered. The provisions are merely being relocated from one place to another in the Code” and that “[t]he transfers are necessary and desirable to create a well organized, coherent structure for this body of law and to improve the overall organization” of the Code.

The addition of Title 52 is part of a larger project to add several titles to the Code, transferring laws from various existing titles to several new titles, with the intent of enacting these new titles as “positive law.” The OLRC explains that “[a] positive law title of…

I.R.S. Cumulative Bulletins are on Hein Online

The law library now has access to the Cumulative Bulletins, which compile the Revenue Rulings, Revenue Procedures, IRS Announcements/Notices, as well as proposed, temporary, and final regulations (announced as Treasury Decisions) from the weekly I.R.S. Internal Revenue Bulletins. Our subscription includes all volumes from 1919 until 2008 when the agency stopped publishing them in the original format. Users can access the Cumulative Bulletins by taking the following steps:
First, log on to the law library's VPN and click "Hein Online" from the drop-down menu under "legal databases" on the law library's website.  Second, scroll down the menu and click the "+" sign next  to "Federal Agency Documents, Decisions, and Appeals"Third, click "U.S. Federal Agency Documents" from the menuFourth, scroll down the page until you arrive at "Internal Revenue Cumulative Bulletin. Click the "+" sign to browse through the volumes. T…

Law Library Brown Bag Series

Each semester the law library presents a series of presentations on legal research topics. These presentations are held at 12 noon on Tuesdays and Wednesdays in Room 4 BLB. We will be offering the following sessions during the Fall 2014 semester:

1. Federal Legislative History Research
Tuesday, 9/30, Wednesday, 10/1
Robert Clark, Reference and Research Librarian

2. Federal Administrative Law Research
Tuesday, 10/7, Wednesday, 10/8
Dan Donahue, International and Foreign Law Librarian

3. Researching Federal Income Tax Law
Tuesday, 10/14, Wednesday, 10/15
Chris Dykes, Reference and Research Librarian

4. Power Searching on Westlaw, Lexis, and Bloomberg Law
Tuesday, 10/21, Wednesday, 10/22
Katy Stein Badeaux and Emily Lawson, Reference and Research Librarians

5. Advanced Databases Search Strategies
Tuesday, 10/28, Wednesday, 10/29
Emily Lawson, Reference and Research Librarian

Alternate Sources for Court Opinions Removed from PACER

For legal researchers looking for alternate free online sources for case documents that have been removed from Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER), case opinions may be obtained from databases hosted by the Second Circuit, Seventh Circuit, Eleventh Circuit and Federal Circuit.The U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Central District of California does not maintain its own searchable online database, but does provide instructions on how to request print copies of case information.

Additionally, researchers may be interested in the United States Courts Opinions collection hosted by the U.S. Government Printing Office; in addition to documents still available through PACER, this collection also currently includes Seventh Circuit opinions dating from 2005-08.

Update: as of 9/19/14, the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts has announced plans to restore these documents to PACER.  Details are available here.