Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Civil Liberties Day in Washington State

Today, February 19th, is Civil Liberties Day of Remembrance in Washington State.

The Washington State Legislature created Civil Liberties Day of Remembrance in recognition of the atrocities suffered by Japanese Americans during World War II. It stands as an acknowledgment that "in the name of 'military necessity,' Japanese Americans were deprived of their fundamental constitutional rights and civil liberties."

western defense command civilian notice relocating Japanese Americans
Civilian Exclusion Order for King County - Densho Archive

It is important that we not forget the Japanese Americans' incarceration and relocation nor the racial animus that initiated it. HistoryLink, a website dedicated to Washington State's history, has an article about Japanese American incarceration in Seattle and King County with pictures of those affected. The Library of Congress' website has a section on Executive Order 9066, the order that authorized Japanese American incarceration. Additionally, the recent documentary, And Then They Came for Us, by Abby Ginzberg, includes interviews with incarcerated individuals and the daughter of Fred Korematsu, who famously fought his incarceration and relocation during the War.

Gallagher Law Library also has set several books in its Good Reads section about Japanese American incarceration:

A Principled Stand: The Story of Hirabayashi v. United States [eBook] 
Fred Korematsu Speaks Up

Enduring Conviction: Fred Korematsu and His Quest for Justice

Make sure to stop by and check out the Law Library's resources as part of your Civil Liberties Day celebration.

Saturday, February 15, 2020


Today is the ninth World Pangolin Day, and some of you might not even be quite sure what a pangolin is. (I only learned a few months ago.) Is it a pasta dish or a musical instrument? Nope, it's a small mammal, similar to an anteater, covered with scales made of keratin (like our fingernails and hair). And it may be the most trafficked mammal in the world.

Pangolins are illegally captured transported internationally. Their scales are used in some traditional medicine (despite a lack of evidence of a benefit) and pangolins are also eaten.

The UW's Center for Conservation Biology is on the front line in the fight to save pangolins. It won a USAID Tech Challenge for its project to pinpoint the sources of trafficked pangolins using DNA analysis. The team augments its sophisticated science with specially trained conservation canines who can sniff out the pangolin poo that's needed to construct genetic maps of each group's range and enable law enforcement to pinpoint the source of a seized shipment. This video describes the project:

If you're interested in wildlife law, a great place to start is Wildlife Law: A Primer (2d ed. 2019), by Eric T. Freyfogle, Dale D. Goble, and Todd A. Wildermuth.

To follow new developments, see this library guide

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Impeachment Resources at Gallagher

Over the last few weeks, you may have heard a thing or two about impeachment, because the United States Senate recently acquitted President Donald J. Trump of the impeach charges brought by the House of Representatives. If you are interested in the matter, Gallagher Library has a variety of resources.

 The Law Library serves as a depository in the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP). FDLP’s mission is to “ provide free, ready, and permanent public access to Federal Government information, now and for future generations.” The Law Library has been a part of the FDLP since 1969. Its collection includes congressional materials, administrative regulations, administrative decisions, and presidential papers. More information on Gallagher’s history and offerings can be found in our United States Publications research guide.

Three recent reports are available online:

H. Permanent Select Comm. on Intelligence, The Trump-Ukraine Impeachment Inquiry Report, H. Rep. No. 116-335 (2019) [Gallagher Catalog Record]; and

H. Judiciary Comm., Impeachment of Donald J. Trump, President of the United States, H. Rep. No. 116-346 (2019) [Gallagher Catalog Record]; and

Impeachment Trial of President Donald John Trump, S. Doc. No. 116-12 (2020) [Gallagher Catalog Record].

For print copies of the House reports, go to the Reference Area, call number J66 U577 and look up the document you want by its report number. If you prefer electronic versions, you are in luck. There are several ways for you to access the reports online.

You can access the reports via the links above, which will take you to PDF versions from

HeinOnline has gathered impeachment materials from all four presidential impeachment proceedings. In order to access HeinOnline, you will need to login using your UW NetID credentials. You can access a link to Hein via the Library’s homepage. Once you login, find the heading “Browse Databases by Name,” and scroll down until you find “U.S. Presidential Impeachment Library.” By clicking the link, you will access a dropdown menu with several options. You may choose to read more about the library, browse all titles in the library, search related works, scholarly articles, and a bibliography of the library’s collection.

If you click the “Introduction” link, you will find information about the U.S. Presidential Impeachment Library. Additionally, you will be able to browse documents about the four past presidential impeachment proceedings.

This library includes the two reports featured above, the Mueller Report, as well as key documents and scholarly works.

Whether you want to gain more understanding about current events or research a project, Gallagher has you covered.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Treaty Day Marks Ongoing Impact of Native American Treaties

If you’ve attended a local event recently, you may have heard a statement similar to this opening the event:

I would like to acknowledge that we are on the traditional land of the first people of Seattle, the Duwamish People past and present and honor with gratitude the land itself and the Duwamish Tribe.”

Land acknowledgements, like the one above, are one way to show respect for the Indigenous people who have called this place home since before colonizers arrived.  These statements serve to return Indigenous people to the public consciousness.  However, land acknowledgements run the risk of becoming rote language, rattled off without a shared understanding of the meaning behind the words.  These statements are just an incremental step towards recognizing the impact of colonization on Indigenous communities.

On January 22, 1855, near what is now Mukilteo, Washington, the Treaty of Point Elliott was signed, establishing a government-to-government relationship between the United States and signatory tribes.  Other treaties were signed around the same time, establishing similar compacts in other parts of Washington StateRecent efforts to digitize 377 Native treaties, as well as related proclamations, resolutions and relevant documents, make these important documents more accessible to the general public.    

Many tribes throughout northwest Washington recognize Treaty Day.  Early events were an occasion to gather together to revitalize traditional practices.  Today, tribes commemorate the day by reflecting and sharing with their local communities about the ongoing impact of the treaties.  Similar to land acknowledgements, Treaty Day offers an opportunity to be reminded of the history of the land that we inhabit and to gain a deeper understanding of the people who have resided on that land since time immemorial.

More information about resources for American Indian / Alaska Native students in the UW community can be found here 

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Misinformation Information

For the last few years, there's been a lot of talk about misinformation, fake news, and deep fakes. But is this a subject that people just talk about superficially and don't look at rigorously? Not at all—and some of the researchers are right here at the UW!

The Center for an Informed Public launched last month, with the bold mission "to resist strategic misinformation, promote an informed society, and strengthen democratic discourse." CIP's director is Prof. Jevin West, from the Information School; Prof. Ryan Calo, from UW Law, is another of the principal investigators. Join CIP at Town Hall Seattle for Technology's Impact on Democracy, Thur., Jan. 23, 7:30 pm.

For some recent research, check out Fake news and fact-checking: 7 studies you should know about, Journalist's Resource (Jan. 13, 2020). For more, see the new peer-reviewed journal (or website), the Harvard Kennedy School Misinformation Review.

 For more links to research and books about misinformation, see our post, In Praise of  Using Facts (May 26, 2018).

And remember, if you need help looking up information—about misinformation or nearly anything else—you can ask us! Stop by (where else?) the Information Desk, telephone 206-543-6794, or contact us by email. (UW Law faculty, students, and staff, use our email address, lawref[at]; others use our web form).

Monday, January 13, 2020

When UW Campus Operations are Suspended

The UW Seattle campus operations may be temporarily suspended this week due to snowy and icy conditions. If campus operations are suspended, the Gallagher Law Library will be closed. Please check the Gallagher Law Library's hours page on  "Closures and Irregular hours" for updated closures. For more information on UW suspended operations, please go to the UW Alerts page. You can also call UW information lines at 206-UWS-INFO (206-897-4636).

Current UW Seattle Campus operations suspensions:

Monday, January 13th - Seattle campus operations will open at 9:30 am.

Wednesday, January 15th - Seattle campus operations will open at 9:30 am.

There is a current winter weather advisory which will remain in effect until 10 PM this evening.

We wish everyone a safe and dry week!

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Social Science Research for the New Year from Journalist's Resource

Journalist's Resource—a blog from Harvard's Kennedy School that presents research on timely news topics—presents Behavior research to help you keep your New Year's resolutions (Dec. 28, 2019).  Topics including cutting down on screen time, cutting back on drinking, quitting smoking, flossing your teeth, spending less, procrastinating less, exercising more, and eating less junk food. Even if you're not into New Year's resolutions, the summaries of the research are pretty interesting.

Is your desk as messy as mine? Then check out Cutting through the clutter: What research says about tidying up, Journalist's Resource (Feb. 11, 2019). It's not a surprise to me, but the research reinforces the idea that I should catch up on my filing and recycling.

If you want to think a little more about alcohol, see 8 tips on how to cover drinking responsibly, Journalist's Resource (June 3, 2019).
Each year, around 88,000 people in the United States die from alcohol-related causes, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This is higher than the number of deaths caused by overdoses from all other drugs, combined. 
Alcohol consumption has been causally linked to over 200 disease and injury conditions, per the World Health Organization. . . .
. . . A 2017 study published in JAMA Psychiatry found substantial increases in alcohol use, high-risk drinking and alcohol use disorder in the U.S. between 2001-2002 and 2012-2013.
But in spite of these statistics, media coverage of alcohol tends to be light and bubbly: cocktail recipes for summer, travel spreads about beer halls and wine tastings, a look at the newest spiked seltzer on the market. And these breezy lifestyle pieces often fail to mention the risks associated with drinking.

The post goes on to suggest ways to add context to alcohol-related stories.

For more resources, see our guide, Wellness & Mindfulness Resources for UW Law Students.

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Winter Break Hours

The library will be open a limited amount of hours during the winter break. For more information please check our Closures & Irregular Hours on our webpage.

A table of the Holiday Closures. Winter Break is December 16th-January 5th.The library will be closed December 16th and 17th. The library will be closed to the public on December 19th and open 8:00 am to 12:00 pm to the UW Community. The library will also be closed December 23rd to January 1st.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Exam Tips—and Old Exams for Practice

Students facing their first (or their fourth or seventh) set of law school exams might be wondering what to do.

Check out this great thread by Prof. Rachel Gurvich (UNC), posted Saturday morning.

And here's a thread started by Prof. Justin Murray (NYLS), also posted Saturday.

Again and again, people advise you to practice using past exams. And where can you find past exams? In a Google drive linked from the Law Library's home page (look under "Find It").

Note: If you click on the link and it defaults to your gmail address, click to change accounts and put in your address. Then you'll be asked for your UW NetID and password and you'll be in.

If your professors don't have any exams posted, it might be that they just haven't gotten around to sending them to the library. You can politely remind them (but of course respect their decision not to post, if that's why they haven't sent any in).

Lawprofblawg, an anonymous blogger and Twitter star (at least in my community) offers a comic (yet on-point) view of exam prep: Truths About Final Exam Time, Above the Law (Dec. 1, 2015). Lawprofblawg explains how students often go wrong: 9 Mistakes You Probably Made on Your Law School Final Exams, Above the Law (May 10, 2016).

And finally, as lawprofblawg tweeted last spring:
"Writing a final exam answer is like building Ikea furniture. It's vitally important you read the directions more than once."

Friday, November 22, 2019

Vocabulary and Usage Boosts

"I saw a house" tells you something. But what if I told you I saw a mansion, a shack, a villa, a hovel, or a two-story clapboard Cape Cod?

Even if you have one word that will get the job done, it's always useful to have a wider vocabulary so that you can get the job done a little better (or understand someone else's writing or speech a little better).
simple drawings labeled "House" - one-story house, 3-story townhouse, small outhouse, House of Representatives

Here are a few online resources to build and polish your vocabulary.

Merriam-Webster: free dictionary and thesaurus from a leading dictionary publisher. The site has lots more, including games and a featured Word of the Day (today's is "heterodox"). Subscribe to get the word of the day sent to your inbox. A blog post today discussed several words that were used during the impeachment hearings this week, such as "nefarious," "smear," and "kneecapping."

Wordnik: online dictionary with definitions from many sources. You can create lists and add comments to words (even words that aren't yet defined!). And you can subscribe to a word of the day
(today's is "ingesta," which appeals to me for some reason). an online dictionary with multiple-choice quizzes to help you learn words. I have the app on my phone and sometimes play the game for a few minutes here and there. If you sign up you can accrue points and win "badges" for different achievements. It's satisfying to have a perfect round! (See this post.)

Garner's Usage Tip of the Day & LawProse Lessons. You can use Garner's Modern English Usage as a reference (highly recommended), read it cover to cover, or leaf through it and read what grabs you. This email subscription gives you a quick lesson each day—considerably less daunting than reading the whole book. (Today's usage tip discussed "brake" and "break.")

Graphic: mw

Friday, November 1, 2019

Celebrate LGBT History Month All Year Long

While yesterday was Halloween, it was also the last day of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) History Month. However, that should not stop you from celebrating LGBT history all year long.

The University of Washington has several resources to help students learn about LGBT history. One is the LGBT Studies database, which contains hundreds of videos and thousands of books. One interesting item is American Experience: Stonewall Uprising, which interviews different members who took part in the Stonewall Riots in 1969.

If midterms and term papers have you avoiding all unnecessary database research, there are plenty of alternatives. Podcasts include Making Gay History Podcast and the PRIDE podcast, hosted by Levi Chambers. If current events are more your speed, try the humorous and irreverent Throwing Shade.

But why just read and listen to histories when you can make your own history! The Human Rights CampaignACLU, and Lambda Legal all advocate and litigate LGBT rights nationally. Gay City and Legal Voice also provide resources and advocacy in the Seattle community. On campus, the UW Q Center, which provides mentorship, educational programming, and resources. What makes the Q Center particularly interesting is the Marsha P. Johnson Memorial Library, with over a thousand books, magazines, and films. All members can access the library by registering in person at the HUB, Room 315, and may check out items with their Husky Card.

Do not let October’s close slow you down from celebrating the rich, vibrant history of the LGBT community year-round!   

person wearing a rainbow flag wearing a hat that says equality
Attendee at the Women's March in January 2018.
photo credit: Elyssa Fahndrich on Unsplash

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

90 Years Since #BlackTuesday

October 29, 1929, became known as Black Tuesday because of the shocking stock market crash that began that day; the market wouldn't reach its lowest point until July 8, 1932., an online encyclopedia of Washington history, gives us includesnotes about the experience in Seattle and King County.

photo of crowds outside Stock Exchange Oct. 29, 2019
Crowd outside the New York Stock Exchange following the crash of 1929.
Library of Congress Item 989471695

One of many consequences of the Crash was increased regulation of the securities markets, via the Securities Act of 1933 and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, which created the Securities and Exchange Commission. Find these two laws and others at, a website aimed at the public.

The Securities and Exchange Commission Historical Society is an online museum. I've enjoyed sampling items from the Film, Radio and Television page.

If you'd like to explore legislative histories, government reports, and commentary, visit the Economic Reform section of HeinOnline's collection, Taxation & Economic Reform in America Parts I & II.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

National Day on Writing — #WhyIWrite

On the National Day on Writing, October 20, the National Conference of Teachers of English invites all of us to think about why we write (or, on social media, #WhyIWrite). It's a reminder of how important writing is in everyday life, whether it's making a shopping list, penning a love note, or writing a novel. As you might guess, one reason I write is to share resources and tips with the readers of this blog.

Writing is especially important for lawyers. As Professor Charles Alan Wright wrote:
The only tool of the lawyer is words. We have no marvelous pills to prescribe for our patients. Whether we are trying a case, writing a brief, drafting a contract, or negotiating with an adversary, words are all we have to work with.
We have a slew of books on legal writing (cataloged with the subject heading legal composition).

We also have some books about writing generally. One of our latest is Dreyer's English: An Utterly Correct Guide to Clarity and Style (2019) that's reviewed warmly by an editor of the Michigan Law Review (the review will be published in 2020, but it's already on SSRN).

Especially if you're working on a note or comment, let me recommend one of my favorite writing books: Stylish Academic Writing, by Helen Sword (2012) (also available as an ebook). Through interviews, examples, and solid research, Sword explains that academic writing doesn't have to be dull and stodgy—and she offers great advice for improving your own writing.

Monday, October 14, 2019

Celebrate Indigenous Peoples' Day at the Burke

Happy Indigenous Peoples' Day! While the federal government still recognizes Columbus Day (see, e.g., presidential proclamations from 2019 and 2016), or as one Washoe Tribal Member once described it to me, Lost Italian Day, cities like Seattle and Los Angeles have replaced the holiday with a celebration of everything Native.

tall statue of figure holding out arms in welcome
Makah Welcome Figure, on display at Burke Museum.
photo credit: John Miller
This year’s celebration comes at the tail end of the Burke Museum’s grand opening on campus. The museum features a variety of exhibits on biodiversity, the oceans, and fossils. However, the highlight of the new museum for me is its vast coverage of Native and Indigenous cultures from throughout the world. The museum’s Northwest Native Art takes guests on a journey of artistic heritage while exploring totem poles, a canoe, and other works from Suquamish, Wasco, and Tlingit Tribal Members. In Culture is Living, museum patrons dive into vibrancy of Indigenous cultural from North America, Polynesia, as well as Southeast Asia and more. The exhibit explores history and shares the accomplishments and continuing contributions of Native culture to our communities today. After you finish in the Exhibit Hall, make your way to ground level and try Off the Rez, a Native owned and operated café featuring Indian tacos, chili, salads, and full coffee bar for all to enjoy (no museum ticket necessary).

Today (until 5) the Burke has performances and activities honoring Indigenous Peoples' Day. Just cross the parking lot and you're there!

If you are unable to visit the Burke at this time, you can get a taste via its Collection Databases online. Just navigate to the website and click on a collection that interests you. If you are interested in seeing what Native artifacts the Museum has, click on the Archaeology Database. You can conduct a plain language search using keywords or an exact phrase to help find the items in which you are interested. Search results will contain an item’s name, catalogue number, site of discovery, as well as a map showing you were the item came from, and if available, a photo of the item as well. If you are interested in items that fall under the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA), you will not find them featured in the Collection Databases. Out of respect to Tribes, these items are not featured online or on display in the Exhibit Hall. Rather, feel free to visit the Burke and speak to one of its NAGPRA specialists, who are more than willing to discuss the efforts of the Museum to restore these funerary objects to the Tribes and people with which they belong.

By the way, admission to the Burke is FREE for UW students, faculty, and staff! For more information, visit the Burke Museum’s website.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Wellness, Remember Wellness!

The ABA Law Student Division has named today National Mental Health Day at law schools around the country. It's important!

But it's bigger than the ABA! The World Health Organization (WHO) marks every October 10 as World Mental Health Day, this year emphasizing suicide prevention.

Since petting a dog can relieve stress, we're bringing in teams from Reading with Rover to visit with law students in the L1 lounge at 12:30. (Reading with Rover started out helping kids read, but the teams also visit colleges. You might know how to read, but you still experience stress at school!)

We in the law library like to support mental health and wellness throughout the year, not just on one day. Check out our guide, Wellness & Mindfulness Resources for UW Law Students. It has links for UW resources as well as information on lots of aspects of wellness, such as exercise and sleep. Lots of videos, mostly from TED and TED-Ed, explore topics from how caffeine works to the history of melancholy. There are even some easy yoga videos!

Monday, October 7, 2019

U.S. Supreme Court Term Begins Today

Today marks the start of another term for the Supreme Court of the United States of America. If you have never taken the time to peruse the U.S. Supreme Court website, you should take a moment to look it over today. The site is an information treasure-trove. Some of the highlights include: the 2019-2020 Supreme Court Calendar, the Argument Calendars for October 7, 2019 through December 2, 2019, access to oral argument transcripts and audio files from 2018 to 2010, electronic opinions back to the early 1990s, and interestingly, the Court Journal (or official minutes) dating back to 1889.  

The 2019-2020 term is brimming with potentially landmark cases. Out of "the approximately 7,000 to 8,000 new cases" filed each year, roughly 80 will be heard with plenary review and 100 without. I find to be a particularly helpful resource when I want to get a quick peek at the upcoming cases on the U.S. Supreme Court’s docket. Oyez is a project from Cornell’s Legal Information Institute, Justia, and the Chicago-Kent College of Law. From the Oyez homepage, you can search for a list of cases heard in any term of the U.S. Supreme Court back to 1789. From there, you can hover over the case name and follow the link to additional information (parties, docket number, name of the lower court, facts of the case, and question presented). For example, Oyez has a brief summary available for Allen v Cooper, a case that will be heard this term on November 5, 2019.

Another pertinent resource is Georgetown Law Library’s detailed Supreme Court Research Guide which contains an introduction to the Court, Court rules and practice materials, and a wealth of other helpful sources. Additionally, the Gallagher Law Library has several insightful secondary resources about the U.S. Supreme Court available including The Supreme Court A-Z  (contains alphabetical and cross-referenced entries which provide information concerning the Court’s history, organization, dynamics, and traditions), and Supreme Court Practice (a reference source for practitioners handling U.S. Supreme Court cases).

For an entertaining and informative review of how a case gets to the U.S. Supreme Court, see the video below.

Wednesday, October 2, 2019


It's International Wrongful Conviction  Day, "a day to raise awareness of the causes and remedies of wrongful conviction and to recognize the tremendous personal, social, and emotional costs of wrongful conviction for innocent people and their families."

Locally, check out the work of the Washington Innocence Project (formerly Innocence Project Northwest). At 5:30 this evening, the Innocense Project and the Northwest Film Forum present the first episode of the Starz series "The Wrong Man."

We have some fascinating books on the topic (some in both print and ebook formats):

Convicting the innocent : where criminal prosecutions go wrong (2011), Brandon Garrett (print)

Convicting the innocent : where criminal prosecutions go wrong (2011), Brandon Garrett (ebook)

Convicting the innocent : death row and America's broken system of justice (2016), Stanley Cohen (print)

Prosecution complex America's race to convict and its impact on the innocent (2012), Daniel S. Medwed (print)

Prosecution complex : America's race to convict and its impact on the innocent (2012), Daniel S. Medwed (ebook)

Rectify : the power of restorative justice after wrongful conviction (2018), Lara Bazelon (print)

Wrongful convictions and the DNA revolution : twenty-five years of freeing the innocent (2017), Daniel S. Medwed, editor (print)

Read for Fun! (It Will Help Your Writing Too!)

The ABA tweeted out a link to How to Regain the Joy of Reading, a 2014 article by Bryan Garner, the author of many books on legal writing as well as the editor in chief of Black's Law Dictionary (did you notice? the new edition is now on the dictionary stands in the Reference Area).
Selfie with The Road to Wigan Pier

Garner presents comments from lawyers, judges, and law professors who value dipping into non-law writing. Their message? Even if you feel numbed by reading way too many judicial opinions and briefs, you can still enjoy other writing. And they say that the practice will improve your writing.

Leisure reading has many other benefits. First, it can be pleasurable, and who can't use some pleasure in their day? It can also help connect you to why you came to law school—say, by reminding you of important social justice issues or an area of law you care about. (I feel so strongly, I even wrote an essay about this in Law Library Journal.)

UW Law students (and faculty and staff) have easy access not only to the law library's books but to books throughout the University Libraries and in almost 40 college and university libraries in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho (Summit libraries). Whether you're a fan of Iris Murdoch, Orson Scott Card, or Toni Morrison, you can find books in the catalog and, with a click or two plus your UW NetID, have them sent here for you. Sweet!

If you prefer browsing, take a stroll past the Good Reads shelves on L1, between the law library entrance and the law-student-only tables.

Monday, September 30, 2019

Oxford Constitutions of the World

International Translation Day is a fitting occasion to explore a source with high-quality translations of constitutions: Oxford Constitutions of the World.

The translations are prepared by scholars at the Max Planck Institutes (e.g., the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law).  

The database includes multiple editions of constitutions. For example, if you search for El Salvador, you'll find versions of the constitution as amended to 1983, 1996, 2003, and 2009.

If you're viewing a constitution, you can click on the orange "Oxford Law Citator" to go to related works—for example, the Max Planck Encyclopedia of Comparative Constitutional Law.

These are subscription databases, for UW users.

UW Reads the Constitution

First page of the U.S. Constitution

Every year, the UW Libraries sponsors a read-aloud of the U.S. Constitution and YOU can participate! This year's reading will take place on Friday, October 4, 2019 from 12:00 p.m. - 1:15 p.m. outside the Suzzallo Library's third floor Reading Room.

Each volunteer reads a short excerpt (around five sentences) and the entire event takes about 75 minutes. You can visit the registration page if you would like to participate as a reader, but note that walk-in readers are also welcome! More information for readers is available here.

Not interested in reading? No problem! All are welcome to come and listen.

If you want to learn more about the Constitution, check out the Gallagher Law Library's Guide to the U.S. Constitution and Related Resources or this page from the National Archives.

Photo of the Constitution from the National Archives

Skilled Translation Makes a Difference

To celebrate International Translation Day, I spent a few minutes with Google Translate, a free online service that uses machine learning to provide quick translations of texts.

I fed in two English sentences, translating them to Spanish. My knowledge of Spanish is weak, but this looks pretty good:
Many dedicated students prepare for class in the Gallagher Law Library every day. Some of them check out Course Reserve books, phone chargers, and book stands from the Information Desk. 
Muchos estudiantes dedicados se preparan para la clase en la Biblioteca de Derecho de Gallagher todos los días. Algunos de ellos revisan los libros de la Reserva de cursos, los cargadores de teléfono y los puestos de libros en el mostrador de información.
Then I had the system translate that Spanish passage into Japanese, which I don't know at all. (Japanese speakers: how faithful is the translation?) Then I had the system translate the Japanese to Greek. And the Greek to Russian. And finally, from Russian back to English:
多くの献身的な学生が毎日、ギャラガー法律図書館で授業を準備しています。 コース予約の本、電話の充電器、案内台にある本をチェックする人もいます。
Πολλοί αφιερωμένοι μαθητές προετοιμάζουν καθημερινά μαθήματα στη Βιβλιοθήκη του Gallagher Law. Μερικοί βιβλιοπωλούν βιβλία μαθημάτων, φορτιστές τηλεφώνου και βιβλία στο γραφείο πληροφοριών.
Многие преданные студенты готовят ежедневные уроки в юридической библиотеке Галлахер. Некоторые продают учебники, зарядные устройства для телефонов и книги на информационной стойке.
Many dedicated students prepare daily classes at the Gallagher Law Library. Some sell textbooks, phone chargers, and books at the information desk.
Obviously there was slippage in the meaning along the way. The lesson? Particularly when you are using Google Translate for languages that you don't know, be aware that it's an imperfect tool. Respect the work of professional translators who actually know the languages!

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Four Books Show the Power of Reading in Prison

book covers: The Sun Does Shine, Reading with Patrick, Law Man, A Lesson Before Dying

Our Banned Books Week post mentioned the severe restrictions on reading material in prisons. To show the other side, here are four inspirational books about the tremendous impact that access to books can have on prisoners' lives.

Anthony Ray Hinton, The Sun Does Shine: How I Found Life, Freedom, and Justice (2019). Publisher's page. The author started a reading group on death row, with the inmates passing around the few books they had. He was exonerated after 30 years on death row.

Michelle Kuo, Reading with Patrick: A Teacher, a Student, and a Life-Changing Friendship (2017). Publisher's page (includes audio excerpt). The author taught in the Mississippi Delta before going to Harvard Law School and returned when one of her students, Patrick, was incarcerated. Reading with him changed both of their lives. Follow her on Twitter @kuokuomich

Shon Hopwood, Law Man: My Story of Robbing Banks, Winning Supreme Court Cases, and Finding Redemption (2012). After serving his prison term, the author eventually went to law school (UW Law '14), clerked for a federal judge, and now teaches at Georgetown Law as well as advocating for criminal justice reform. Follow him on Twitter @shonhopwood.

Ernest J. Gaines, A Lesson Before Dying (1993). Publisher's page. Prize-winning novel about a young teacher's relationship with a black youth condemned to death.

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Book Banning Is Still an Issue—Especially in Prisons

Banned Book Week poster - "Censorship Leave Us in the Dark: Keep the Light on!"

Since ancient times, some people have tried to prevent others from reading books that were deemed immoral, revolutionary, or dangerous in some other way. And it still goes on. Take a look at the eleven most challenged books of 2018:

Past lists are interesting to browse. How many of those books have you read? Would you try to prevent others from reading them?

Banned Books Week (Sept. 22-29 this year) celebrates the freedom to read. It's sponsored by a coalition of organizations dedicated to free expression, including: American Booksellers Association, the American Library Association, and many more.

PEN America is calling attention to the severe restrictions on reading in prisons.

PEN America banner, "Literature Locked Up"

You might be surprised at what's banned in prisons, such as coloring books, Klingon dictionaries and other books discussed in a Washington Post story earlier this month.
Perhaps the most glaring example of prison censorship has been the rejection of books about criminal justice reform, mass incarceration and inmates’ rights. . . .
Chokehold: Policing Black Men” by Paul Butler was banned in Arizona prisons until June, weeks after the American Civil Liberties Union threatened a lawsuit, and Michelle Alexander’s “The New Jim Crow,” [ebook link] a searing indictment of mass incarceration, was off-limits to prisoners in North Carolina, Florida and New Jersey before bans were lifted amid similar challenges by the ACLU.
(I added links to the books from our catalog, in case you want to read them.)

Here in Washington State, check out the work of Books to Prisoners, a nonprofit whose name sums up its mission.  Follow them on Twitter @B2PSeattle.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Annotated Constitution Reborn for Constitution Day

If you want to dig into the United States Constitution and how it has been interpreted by the Supreme Court, take advantage of the annotated constitution prepared by the staff of the Library of Congress.

physical volume of Annotated Constiitution with bug-eyed readerThis has gone through many editions in print (as Constitution of the United States of America: Analysis and Interpretation). It's a huge book (the latest edition is 2,789 pages, plus a pocket part!). As you might guess from its heft, it's packed with information.

Greatly enhancing access (and sparing the backs of researchers), editions since 1992 have been available on HeinOnline has all the editions since 1952

But now it's even better!

The Law Library of Congress has created Constitution Annotated, an attractive web interface that lets you search or browse, as well as linking to other resources. Check out  Beyond the Constitution Annotated: Table of Additional Resources, which links to Congressional Reference Service (CRS) reports on topics as diverse as loan sharking and copyright in music. The table of Laws Held Unconstitutional in Whole or in Part by the Supreme Court allows you to sort in different ways—e.g., by subject matter, by state versus federal, and by opinion author.

Exploring a new resource (or a redesigned old resource) is a great way to celebrate Constitution Day. Take a look!

Monday, September 9, 2019

Library closes early Monday, September 16th

The Library will close at noon on Monday, September 16th for a UW Law Orientation event.

The UW Law community is still allowed to use the library but the following areas will be closed off for the event from 1:00 pm - 5:00 pm.

  • L1 Law student area
  • Library entrance
  • Computer terminals 
  • L1 Law Student Lounge 
  • L2 Student Commons
  • L2 area with the large tables