Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Enact Locally

Often in our mental checklists of research steps, we think about federal and state statutes, cases, and regs, but we overlook city and county ordinances. And yet this source of law can cover many important areas of life, from the building you live in to whether you pick up after your dog. Sometimes it can even have global reach, as when municipalities declare themselves nuclear-free zones.

For a discussion of local legislation and why legal researchers should keep it in mind, see Enact Locally, 102 Law Libr. J. 497 (2010), by reference librarian Mary Whisner.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Fictional Lawyers

Just think of the number of lawyers who are characters in films, literature, and on television! Which ones would you choose as the "top 25?" The ABA Journal' s panel of experts has picked its top 25 and urges you to vote for your favorite in their article "The 25 Greatest Fictional Lawyers (Who Are Not Atticus Finch)." There is even a picture gallery of the nominees in case you do not recognize the characher's name. You may also want to check out the Journal's "The 25 Greatest Legal TV Shows" and "The 25 Greatest Legal Movies."

By the way, speaking of Atticus Finch, this is the 50-year anniversary of the publication of To Kill a Mockingbird. The library has a copy in our Good Reads collection at PS 3562 .E353 T6 1995.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


Washington voters have their own judicial decisions to make on August 17. As UW Law Professor William Andersen states in today's Seattle Times:

Let’s face it: Judicial elections are not comfortable for most voters. The principal reason is that the information a voter needs to compare judicial candidates is not as readily available as it is in legislative and executive elections.

One source of information recommended by Professor Andersen is the nonpartisan website VotingforJudges.org. The site does not rate or endorse – but collects candidate ratings from a variety of legal and civic groups, along with newspaper endorsements, finance reports, and media stories.

VotingforJudges.org has some great features. For each race that will be decided in the primary (in 2 weeks), rather than in the November general election, there is a prominent label. If you aren’t sure what positions are contested in your area, click on the “Show My Elections” link – then click your county on the map of Washington. And for some organizations, the candidate questionnaires are available.

The site is well-organized, easy to navigate, and full of nonpartisan information. Check it out, read the FAQ (why do we elect judges in Washington State? why are judicial elections important?), and, of course, don’t forget to vote!