Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from 2016

Digital Access to the Congressional Record Expanded

A few weeks ago, the U.S. Government Publishing Office (GPO) and the Library of Congress released for the first time public access to electronic versions of digitized historical content. The GPO has partnered with the Library of Congress to release the digital version of the bound Congressional Record from 1981-1990 on GPO'sGovInfo website (https://www.govinfo.gov/). This release covers debates and proceedings of the 98th thru the 101st Congresses, exactly as it appears in the permanent bound editions. Prior to this release, there were no official digital releases of the Congressional Record during the 1980s that the public could access freely online. The GPO and the Library of Congress  released the digital version of the historical Congressional Record for the 1990s in September and will continue to collaborate on this important project and release digital versions of the bound Congressional Record back to the first one published by GPO on March 5, 1873.
The GPO’s GovInfo websi…

New Edition of The Plum Book Released

Every four years after the presidential election, the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs or the House Committee on Government Reform releases the new edition of The Plum Book.According to the govinfo website, this publication includes information regarding “over 7,000 Federal civil service leadership and support positions in the legislative and executive branches of the Federal Government that may be subject to noncompetitive appointment, nationwide.”The Plum Book was first published in 1952 as a way to identify presidentially appointed positions.

The 2016 Plum Book is now available on the govinfo website as a PDF file, but it is also available as a mobile website, which will allow users to filter the positions in a number of ways such as by agency, location, and appointment type.

Federal Jurisdiction, 7th Edition

Wolters Kluwer has just published the 7th edition of Federal Jurisdiction by Erwin Chemerinsky, which is now available on the law library's new titles shelf (located next to the public computer terminals across from the reference desk, under the call number KF8858.C48). This source, a part of the Aspen Student Treatise Series, covers topics related to constitutional and statutory limits on federal court jurisdiction, federal court relief against governments and government officers, and federal court review of state judgments and proceedings. There is a table of cases, subject index, and the appendices contain the full text of the U.S. Constitution along with relevant statutes. This treatise is is an excellent source to supplement exam preparation.

U.S. International Tax Guide

Bloomberg BNA has just published the 2016 edition of the U.S. International Tax Guide (KF1276.A2H47), which is now available in the law library. This handbook is an excellent source for U.S. tax attorneys involved in international tax. It provides an overview of topics related to general principles of international taxation, taxation of foreign persons' U.S. activities and U.S. persons' foreign activities. Matters pertaining to U.S. income tax treaties, and withholding and compliance are also discussed. There are numerous examples available throughout this book that will illustrate international tax concepts. There are also annotations to relevant primary sources of tax law including the Internal Revenue Code, Treasury Regulations, tax cases, administrative pronouncements, and the Internal Revenue Manual. This source is also available electronically on BloombergLaw.com.

GAO Launches Government Transition App

Want to learn more about the upcoming presidential and congressional transitions? There’s an app for that. 

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently launched its Priorities for Policy Makers app (available free of charge for iPhone or Android), which is intended to “help President-elect Donald Trump and the next Congresstackle critical challenges facing the nation, fix agency-specific problems, and scrutinize government areas with the potential for large savings,” according to Gene Dodaro, Comptroller General of the United States and head of the GAO. The app allows users to search by agency or topic, and provides brief summaries of relevant issues as well as links to more detailed GAO reports. 

You can also find GAO priority recommendations on the agency’s Presidential and Congressional Transition web pages.

Now Available: Slavery in America and the World: History, Culture, & Law

The Law Library’s subscription to HeinOnline now includes a new resource in its collection of over fifty resource groups for primary and secondary legal sources: Slavery in America and the World: History, Culture, & Law. This collection brings together a vast array of legal content and materials related to slavery in the United States and the English-speaking world. This includes every statute passed by every colony and state on slavery, every federal statute dealing with slavery, and all reported state and federal cases on slavery. 

Beyond these primary legal materials the collection every English-language legal commentary on slavery published before 1920 and more than a thousand pamphlets and books on slavery from the 19th century. The collection also word searchable access to all Congressional debates from the Continental Congress to 1880 along with many modern histories of slavery. 

Edited by Paul Finkelman, an expert on slavery and American legal history, the collection identif…

A Brief History of the Texas Courts and Why Texans See So Many Judges on their Ballots

At election time, I am time and time again surprised at the number of judicial races Texas voters decide. While direct election of judges by popular vote in Texas is nothing new, what happened to create so many courts and so many judges in the state? Here is a brief history of how these many courts and judges came to be, and links to the original sources.
1836: In the 1836 Constitution of the Republic of Texas, allowed for the creation of three district courts, and allowed for up to eight. District judges also served as associate judges of the supreme court.
1845: As Texas joined the United States, the 1845 Constitution of Texas held that the governor would appoint judges to the district and supreme courts. An amendment made during the 1845 constitutional convention to allow for direct election of judges failed to pass.
1850: Following a joint resolution proposing a constitutional amendment to allow for popular vote, 75% of Texas voters approved the amendment and direct election of jud…

Federal Taxation in America: A History

Cambridge University Press has recently published the third edition of Federal Taxation in America: A Historyby W. Elliot Brownlee. The author thoroughly reviews the history of U.S. tax regimes covering the tax programs during the revolutionary crisis, the Civil War, World War I, and President Franklin D. Roosevelt's presidency. The Tax Reform Act of 1986, the 1990's Contract with America, the 2001 tax cuts, and tax policy during the Great Recession are also discussed. This book is now on the law library's new titles shelf (KF6289.B76 2016).

Understanding Federal Income Taxation, 5th ed.

Carolina Academic Press has just published, Understanding Federal Income Taxation, 5th ed. by J. Martin Burke and Michael Friel, which is now on the law library'snew titles shelf (KF6369.3.B87 2016). This is an excellent source for those wishing to obtain a background in federal income tax law and ideal for those taking a federal income tax class. This forty-four chapter book includes excerpts of relevant Internal Revenue Code (I.R.C.) sections as well as examples and analyses that illustrate tax concepts. Computation of tax liability, gross income concepts and limitations, capital gains and losses, bad debts, fringe benefits, like-kind exchanges, gifts, discharge of indebtedness, depreciation, travel and education expenses, deductions, limitations on tax shelters, and the alternative minimum tax are among the topics covered. There are tables of statutes, cases, and agencies as well as a subject index.

The Political TV Ad Archive

With the election just 26 days away, it’s time for another flurry of political campaign ads on television. This year, there is a new online resource for information about those ads. The Political TV Ad Archive, a project of the Internet Archive, is a searchable video library of this election season's political ads, along with metadata and fact-checking items from journalistic sources. The metadata categories include the subject of the ad, who sponsored it, and where and when it was aired.

A word of warning: the archive is not comprehensive. During the primaries, it collected ads from 20 markets in nine states. In the general election season, it is collecting ads from major broadcast stations in ten markets in ten battleground states: Arizona, Colorado, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. It also collects some ads that may air exclusively on social media. Even with its limited selection, however, the archive is a valuable resourc…