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 

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Farewell to Justice Stevens

Retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens has died. His latest memoir, The Making of  a Justice,  just came out this year:

book cover - photo of Justice Stevens

Before you dig into the 549-page book, you can read about him in the National Law Journal (thanks to our license for campus-wide access):

Marcia Coyle, Justice John Paul Stevens, Who 'Left Us a Better Nation,' Dies at 99, Nat'l L.J. (July 16, 2019, 9:16 PM)

Marcia Coyle, Former Stevens Clerks Tell Us Their Strongest Memories of 'One of a Kind' Mentor, Nat'l L.J. (July 17, 2019, 10:16 AM)

To see and hear Justice Stevens in interviews and lectures, visit this C-SPAN page.

In addition to the Court and the Constitution, Justice Stevens also loved baseball. As a boy, he saw Babe Ruth play and decades later he saw his favorite team, the Chicago Cubs, win the World Series.

Books by Justice Stevens:

The Making of  a Justice: Reflections on my First 94 Years (2019)

with William N. Eskridge Jr., Interpreting Law: A Primer on How to Read Statutes and the Constitution (2016)

Six Amendments: How and Why We Should Change the Constitution (2014)

Five Chiefs: A Supreme Court Memoir (2011)

The Bill of Rights: A Century of Progress (1992)

A 2012 symposium on the legacy of Justice Stevens in the Northwestern University Law Review includes a personal tribute by Professor Kathryn Watts, who was one of his clerks.

To see Justice Stevens's many law review articles (and forewords, tributes, lectures, and so on), go the Law Journal Library in HeinOnline and search for john paul stevens as author.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Summer #BookBingoNW2019 is here!

Many of us are enjoying Adult Book Bingo, from the Seattle Public Library and Seattle Arts & Lectures. You can pick up a bingo card from the display outside our library entrance or download one here.

You have easy access to all the books in Summit (Washington, Oregon, and Idaho college libraries) as well as Seattle Public Library, and your own personal collections. Reading in many subjects and genres is great, for lots of reasons. But if you wanted to, you could make a lot of Bingos with just books from the law library, and I have three examples for you.

Monday, July 1, 2019

International #JokeDay

Knock knock!
Who's there?
Cal who?
Calendar says it's International Joke Day!
To celebrate, check out our links to humor about law reviews or our Judicial Humor guide.

Of course, humor isn't always fun for everyone—or appropriate in a judicial setting. See, e.g., Lucas K. Hori, BonsMots, Buffonery, and the Bench: The Role of Humor in Judicial Opinions, 60 UCLA L. Rev. Discourse 16; Steven Lubet, Bullying from the Bench, 5 Green Bag 2d 11 (2001).

Lowering the Bar cover art
Surely you've heard a number of lawyer jokes. (Maybe your cranky uncle tells you a new one every time you mention law school.) To read about the history and sociology of lawyer jokes, check out Lowering the Bar: Lawyer Jokes and Legal Culture, by Marc Galanter; it's also available as an ebook from UW Libraries.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Too Many Results? There Are Hacks for That!

Have you ever run a search and been overwhelmed by the results you got back?

Me too. Here are a couple of my favorite hacks for focusing research to limit the results to more items that are more likely to be useful. Let's suppose we want to find law review articles and news stories about congressional oversight hearings (how do they work? what's the history? when do committees subpoena witnesses?).

Hack 1: Require Term in the Title

In Westlaw's Law Reviews & Journals database, the search "congressional oversight" turns up 4,904 documents. That's far too many to deal with. Searching for "oversight" to be in the title should help focus. And it does! "congressional oversight" & ti(oversight) gets us just 125 articles. And those articles seem highly relevant. E.g.,

  • Former Sen. Carl Levin & Elise J. Bean, Defining Congressional Oversight and Measuring Its Effectiveness, 64 Wayne L. Rev. 1 (2018)
  • Michael A. Livermore, Political Parties and Presidential Oversight, 67 Ala. L. Rev. 45 (2015)

You can do the same thing in Lexis's Law Reviews and Journals database,  "congressional oversight" yields 4,474 articles. But congressional oversight & title(oversight) yields just 116.

Note that in news databases you use "headline" instead of "title: In Major Newspapers in Lexis, "congressional oversight" turns up 7,957 stories. "congressional oversight" and headline(oversight) turns up 277.

Hack 2: Require Term to Appear a Lot

In Lexis, Westlaw, and Bloomberg Law, you can require that a term appears a certain number of times with the "atleast" operator. For example, in Lexis (staying with law reviews), we can search for "congressional oversight" & atleast7(subpoena) turns up 224 articles.

In Westlaw's journals, "congressional oversight" & atleast20(hearing) brings us 569 articles. Changing it to atleast40(hearing) reduces the harvest to 204 articles. And atleast75(hearing) cuts the list to 64—articles that presumable discuss hearings a lot.

In Bloomberg Law News, "congressional oversight" turns up 408 stories. But when I add and atleast5(trump), the list is down to just 26.

Try out some searches of your own.

  • Find law review articles about "wrongful convictions" or "exonerations." How does it affect your search results if you require "exonerat!" to be in the title? How about if you require it to appear 10 times?
  • Find news stories about Columbia River dams and salmon. How many have "salmon" in the headline?