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Shout-Out to SCOTUSblog

Today’s conclusion of the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) 2012-2013 session calendar— after a burst of some high-profile opinions—is an opportune occasion for a reminder of the fantastic resource that is SCOTUSblog. The site’s been around since the relatively early days of blogs—2002—and it has been discussed or referenced on this blog a few times. Indeed, a Google search for “SCOTUS” returns SCOTUSblog before it does the home for SCOTUS itself:

SCOTUSblog can be seen as a superb example of an excellent public resource supported by commercial partners, including a legal publisher. It started small and rather . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Legal Information: Publishing, Reading: Recommended, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Never Say Never

In 2014 I wrote a column about researching Native American Law. In it I discussed the controversy over sports teams whose names and mascots were perceived as being derogatory and racist. The most egregious of these names was that of the Washington Redskins football team. In 2013 their owner, Dan Snyder told USA Today that “We’ll never change the name.” “NEVER – you can use caps.” To read more about the history of opposition to the name see this Wikipedia entry.

In 2020 never is now. The US is roiling with protests against systemic racism and its symbols. In . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Good News From Washington, DC

We citizens in DC have been subjected to too much sad news and desolation due to the coronavirus and the violent federal response to a peaceful demonstration against police brutality. These peaceful demonstrations are continuing throughout the United States.  

I was very happy that on June 15th the Supreme Court of the US decided that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employers from firing employees for being lesbian, homosexual, bisexual or transgender. Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia was a 6-3 opinion written by Justice Neil Gorsuch.

On page nine of the opinion he states that: Title . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Live From DC, It’s Information Overload!

Ever since Washington, DC, shut down two months ago, I have been inundated with offers of free Zoom webinars and all sorts of interesting virtual meetings. I will attempt to point out some of the more relevant and interesting information that has come to me, with a focus on legal information sources and a bit of personal enrichment.

My friends at the Law Library of Congress have continued to update Congress.gov and provide legal research support through their Ask a Librarian service. The main Library of Congress webpage leads you to a treasure trove of digital resources including the World . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Empirical Analysis of What to Expect From Kavanaugh’s First Term on U.S. Supreme Court

Now that the very messy and nasty nomination process for US Supreme Court Justice for Brett Kavanaugh has ended, many observers are wondering what kind of judge he will be.

SCOTUSblog, the American blog devoted to all things relating to the United States Supreme Court, has published a statistics-based article on What to expect from Kavanaugh’s first term:

The tense waiting is now over as Justice Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed to the Supreme Court on October 6, 2018. One of the big stories about Kavanaugh has been his low rate of public approval. This low rate of approval was

. . . [more]
Posted in: Justice Issues, Substantive Law: Foreign Law

Proprietary Algorithms for Public Purposes

It is now generally recognized that “code is law”: how computers process the millions of on/off, yes/no signals in their binary universe can have legal effects beyond their obvious output. Deciding how computers handle data they receive is a matter of choice, and those choices have consequences. These consequences arise whether or not the software writers, the coders, are aware of their choices or assumptions.

Two developments have brought the coding issue back to the fore in public discussion. The first is the computerization of what used to be purely mechanical devices. The analysis of physical phenomena is done, pursued . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Comments Pro, Con and Neutral on Trump’s US Supreme Court Nominee

SCOTUSblog, the well-known American blog devoted to analysis of the United States Supreme Court, has been providing great coverage of US President Donald Trump’s nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch (U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit) to fill the vacancy left on the top court of our Southern neighbour by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia in 2016.

Here are some links. Each of the SCOTUSblog posts below contains extensive links to news, commentary and analysis:

. . . [more]
Posted in: Justice Issues, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Unmet Legal Needs – the Challenge to Legal Practice and to Self-Regulation

Regulation of legal services differs in important ways across the common law world. In Canada, self-regulation is generally[1] the approach. Canadian law societies are authorized by provincial legislatures to decide who can practice law and provide legal services[2]. The substantial majority of the governors of the law societies are lawyers elected by lawyers. In Ontario, paralegal benchers are elected by regulated paralegals.

In England and Wales, the Solicitors Regulation Authority and the Bar Standards Board are the regulators. The majority of the governors of these regulators are not solicitors or barristers.

In the United States, the state . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Ethics

When Even Trump Calls Foul on Scalia

The controversial situation around affirmative action in American universities has reared its legal head at the Supreme Court of the United States more than once.

Affirmative action was brought into the forefront in 1961, when John F. Kennedy issued an executive and provided financing for it. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 went further, prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race, colour, religion, sex, or national origin, while never explicitly mentioning affirmative action. The Act does not have a comparable component to s. 15(2) of the Charter, but Title VII and subsequent amendments empowered the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: Law Schools, Substantive Law: Foreign Law

Thursday Thinkpiece: Romig on Legal Blogging and the Rhetorical Genre of Public Legal Writing

Each Thursday we present a significant excerpt, usually from a recently published book or journal article. In every case the proper permissions have been obtained. If you are a publisher who would like to participate in this feature, please let us know via the site’s contact form.

Legal Blogging and the Rhetorical Genre of Public Legal Writing

Jennifer Murphy Romig, Instructor of Legal Writing, Research and Advocacy, Emory University School of Law
Legal Communication & Rhetoric: JALWD, Vol. 12, 2015

Excerpt: Introduction, Section II, and Appendices

Introduction

Now is the time to bring scholarly attention to a new genre . . . [more]

Posted in: Thursday Thinkpiece

Journalistic Independence on ISIS and the Effects on Foreign Policy

The Prime Minister decided this week to send Canadian aircraft to Iraq and possibly to Syria to strike ISIS targets in these countries. The attacks will be exclusively by air and will not involve land troops. The motion is expected to be debated in Parliament tomorrow.

The threats posed by ISIS is certainly unique, and is not easily solved. Nobody suggests that these airstrikes alone will eliminate the problem. Opposition groups have already rejected the plan, indicating that the case for such involvement has not been properly presented. The self-defence basis and humanitarian grounds for doing so have already been . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Foreign Law

Legal Intelligence

There are a lot of great resources for primary law online, both free and fee. However, to get legal analysis and cutting edge thinking on current legal topics there are also some great resources for free online. Bar associations are a great source (of course!) but here are some others that have great content. You just have to know where to look.

Lexology
Lexology (aka ACC Newstand) brings together articles submitted by major commercial law firms. Register and then search the site or set up custom RSS feeds to be delivered Outlook or your feed reader. International in scope, the . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology