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Showing posts from March, 2016

(Unauthorized) Supreme Court Style Manual Published for the First Time

The Supreme Court Style Manual, an internal legal writing manual used by justices and law clerks of the Supreme Court, has been copied and for the first time made available for purchase.  A member of the Supreme Court Bar claims to have photocopied the manual in the private Supreme Court Library to create a text for publication.

Reports note that the style manual is considered an internal document by the Supreme Court, not one for general use, and that this is an unauthorized publication:
The manual, prepared by the office of the court’s Reporter of Decisions, states explicitly that it is “the property of the Supreme Court of the United States and is not for publication. It is intended solely for the use of the staff of the Court, and copies should not be distributed except to members of that staff.” Copies of the manual are numbered and assigned to specific recipients at the court, presumably to prevent it from being circulated outside the court. The Supreme Court has not made any c…

The 5th annual O'Quinn Law Library Free CLE Workshop

I am mighty glad to announce that a brand new version of the annual O'Quinn Law Library free CLE workshop is forthcoming.  The inaugural presentation of Specialized Legal Research for the Generalist: Tax, Health, and International Law will be held on Saturday, April 23, 2016.  Each session carries one Texas CLE credit. 

First created in 2012 to help recently graduated alumni to meet the needs of a demanding legal environment, this year's workshop marks the 5th round with all new contents.  For detailed information and registration please click here.  Librarians and non-UH folks are equally welcome.

Congressional Directory Now Available on Govinfo Website

The Government Printing Office (GPO) recently made the official directory of the 114th U.S. Congress available on its govinfo website. The directory includes room and telephone numbers for members of the House and Senate, as well as committee memberships, district descriptions, and biographical information. It also contains personnel listings and contact information for executive agencies, federal courts, international organizations, foreign diplomatic offices, and press galleries. Previous editions of the directory going back to the 105th Congress (1997-1998) are available as well.

Govinfo is the GPO’s beta website, and will eventually replace the Federal Digital System (FDSys). You can learn more about govinfo and what’s available there on the Q&A page.

New Report on IRS Criminal Enforcement

The Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) recently released a report on criminal enforcement by the Internal Revenue Service. It turns out that the IRS has been referring fewer cases for criminal prosecution in recent years, largely due to Congressional budget cuts that have led to a 16 percent decline in the number of criminal investigators at the agency since 2010. Referrals sent to federal prosecutors declined from 13.3 per million population in Fiscal Year 2013 to 9.2 per million in Fiscal Year 2015, which is the lowest level seen during the Obama administration. You can use TRAC’s IRS criminal enforcement tool to examine the data in a number of different ways, including a breakdown by federal district.

As readers of Nota Bene may already know, TRAC is a research organization at Syracuse University that uses Freedom of Information Act requests to gather data and prepare reports on various government activities. You can learn more by visiting TRAC’s About Us page.

New Book Review: Choreographing Copyright

Recently, on the Law Library’s New Titles List, Choreographing Copyright: Race, Gender and Intellectual Property Rights in American Dance by Anthea Kraut (KF 3054.C56 K73 2016) caught my eye.
The book gives, as the author suggests, “what might be considered a counter history of choreographic copyright in the United States,” examining the raced, classed, and gendered aspects of attempts by dance-makers in the United States to control the circulation of their choreography. Not until 1976 did  U.S. federal copyright law officially recognize choreographic works as a protectable class, but efforts by U.S. dancers to exert rights over their choreography began in the 19th century.
The book uses case studies to demonstrate how race, class, and gender have intersected with attempts by choreographers to protect their work at different historical moments. It tells the stories of African American pantomimist Johnny Hudgins in the early decades of the twentieth century, early white modern dancer…

Understanding the U.S. Supreme Court Nomination Process

Yesterday, the White House announced that Merrick Garland, the chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and a former U.S. Justice Department lawyer will be nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court. Much has already been made of the coming Senate confirmation battle, with Senate republicans vowing to refuse to hold hearings or vote for any nominees in the election year. Since the late 1960s, the Judiciary Committee's consideration of a Supreme Court nominee almost always has consisted of three distinct stages-(1) a pre-hearing investigative stage, followed by (2) public hearings, and concluding with (3) a committee decision on what recommendation to make to the full Senate.
Here’s what we know from the history of Supreme Court nominations and appointments, from just a few of the many library resources devoted to the topic:
The entire nomination-and-confirmation process (from when the President first learned of a vacancy to final Senate action) has generally taken a…

RIA Guide to Sales and Use Taxes 2016

The library now has the 2016 edition of Thomson Reuter's RIA's Guide to Sales and Use Taxes (KF6767.R53 2016), which provides a detailed overview of sales and use taxes for all fifty states and the District of Columbia. Each state summary begins with an overview, then discusses imposition, collection, and liability for tax. Other topics include taxable transactions, exemptions, exemption certificates and permits, basis of tax, tax credits, tax rates, vendor licensing and registration, record keeping, returns and payments, tax collection, review and appeal, penalties and interest, and refunds. This handbook contains a table of contents and a list of state tax offices. The library now has the following tax handbooks for 2016:
RIA Federal Tax Handbook (Thomson Reuters) (KF6289.P7RIA Federal Depreciation Handbook (Thomson Reuters) (KF6386.A15F43 2016)State Tax Handbook (Wolters Kluwer) (KF6750.Z95C6)U.S. Master Tax Guide (Wolters Kluwer) (KF6379.C65)U.S.Master Multistate Corpora…

IRS Reports that 390,000 Additional Taxpayer Accounts Potentially Compromised

The IRS issued a statement last Friday, announcing that 390,000 additional accounts of taxpayers, who used the the IRS's "Get Transcript" application from January 2014 through May 2015, were compromised. According to the statement, problems were originally discovered with the application last May, resulting in a nine month long investigation by the service's Treasury Inspector for Tax Administration. The application has been suspended pending the outcome of the investigation. The IRS states in the announcement that the agency will start contacting the impacted taxpayers by letter beginning this past Monday. Click here for more information regarding help for taxpayers as well as the status of the "Get Transcript" application.