Monday, January 31, 2011

Same-Sex Couples Marry

book jacket, picture of 2 suits, 2 wedding dressesIn recent years, some jurisdictions have opened up marriage to same-sex couples -- through litigation, legislation, executive action, or some combination. It hasn't always stuck, as in California where a ballot measure undid a state supreme court case (and itself is being challenged).

What is the experience of the couples who are newly faced with the decision to marry (or not)?

M. V. Lee Badgett pursues that question in When Gay People Get Married: What Happens When Societies Legalize Same-Sex Marriage (2009)

Badgett spent a sabbatical in the Netherlands, studying same-sex marriage by interviewing couples, gathering research, and comparing countries' policies. There is an interesting range. For example, in the Netherlands, both straight and gay couples can choose marriage or registered partnership. In the US, some people argue for marriage equity so that same-sex partners can have improved access to health insurance, pensions, Social Security, and so on. But in most European countries, the social welfare system means that marriage is less important for economic security. In addition to reporting her research, Badgett also reflects on her own situation: marriage became available in her home state, Massachusetts, while she was in the Netherlands.

Interested? The book is in the Classified Stacks at K699 .B33 2009 at Classified Stacks. WorldCat record. Publisher's page (cached).

book jacket, picture of 2 bride figurinesThe Brides of March: Memoir of a Same-Sex Marriage is much more personal. It is also closer to home: the brides of the title got married in Multnomah County, Oregon, when the county council decided it was a violation not to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, despite a state law to the contrary.

This memoir gives a peek at the lives of one family -- two moms and three kids -- affected by the national marriage debate. Often comic, it also conveys the pain and disappointment when the voters of Oregon voted against same-sex marriage and then the state supreme court voided their marriage.

Would you like to pick up this quick read? It's in the Good Reads collection (just east of the student lounge) at HQ1034.U5 D463 2007 at Good Reads. WorldCat record. An excerpt is on the author's website.

Of course, these aren't the only books about the controversy around same-sex marriage. See this WorldCat list for more.

One book worth highlighting is Nancy Polikoff's Beyond Straight and Gay Marriage: Valuing All Families Under the Law. Polikoff came to the UW as a Gates Public Service Law speaker in April 2008, when her book was first out.

In her presentation (check the Multimedia Gallery for recordings and transcript), she gave a little of the history of the legal benefits tied to marriage and asked the fundamental question: why tie this benefits to marriage and not to anything else? For instance, widows were given Social Security benefits to protect women who had been dependent on their husband's income in one-breadwinner families. Giving Social Security benefits to surviving spouses today is both over- and under-inclusive: it gives a benefit to some people who don't need it (e.g., because they have other income) and fails to protect some people who do (e.g., because they are single or were dependent on a sibling's income, not a spouse's). She said:
I see a legal system that harms unmarried couples of any sexual orientation, as well as single parents and their children, extended families, and anybody else who forms relationships of emotional and economic interdependence that aren't marriage.

My solution is valuing all factors through matching laws that now privilege marriage to their purpose, and after that being able to include within those laws all of the different kinds of relationships that are necessary in order to achieve the purpose of the law.
Beyond Straight and Gay Marriage is in the Classified Stacks at KF538 .P65 2008. WorldCat record. Publisher's page (includes interviews and reviews).

Florida Judge Finds Health Care Law Unconstitutional

A federal judge in Florida ruled the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional. In his 78-page opinion, Judge Roger Vinson found the individual mandate portion of the law to be outside Congress's Commerce Clause power and unsupportable under the Necessary and Proper Clause. Finding the individual mandate portion could not be severed from the rest of the act, he ruled that the law must be struck down in its entirety.

Vinson is not the first federal judge to find the individual mandate portion of the act unconstitutional. In December 2010, Judge Henry E. Hudson of the Eastern District of Virginia also struck down the mandate as unconstitutional, but unlike Vinson, he found the individual mandate severable and let the act stand.

Two other federal district courts in Virginia and Michigan have heard challenges on the law and have found the individual mandate portion to be within Congress's power under the Commerce Clause. Due to the conflicting rulings, as well as the controversial nature of the law, such challenges are expected to make their way to the Supreme Court. Until then, the Justice Department plans on appealing today's ruling to the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals.

The White House has also issued an response to today's ruling on its official blog.

To learn more about legal challenges to the Affordable Care Act click here.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Love It or Hate It: The Bluebook

Have trouble figuring out how to cite that source? Well, you are not alone. An article in yesterday's ABA Journal reports that Seventh Circuit Judge Richard Posner had his own problems with The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation when he was in law school. The article is based on comments made by Judge Posner in an article in the Yale Law Journal, titled The Bluebook Blues, 120 Yale L.J. 850 (2011).

In a footnote in the article, Posner confesses that he was criticised about the accuracy of his cite-checking while on the Harvard Law Review. Nevertheless, he went on to became president of the Harvard Law Review and graduated first in his class. For his biography and curriculum vitae, check out the Information about Judge Posner at the University of Chicago Law School, where he is a lecturer. There is also an article on Posner at Judgepedia: An Interactive Encyclopedia of Courts and Judges.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

In the News: The Financial Crisis Report

The Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission delivered the results of its investigation into the causes of the financial and economic crisis. From the media release:

The Commission’s report, which was delivered to the President and Congress this morning, contains the data and evidence collected in the Commission’s inquiry, the conclusions of the Commission based on that inquiry, and accompanying dissents. The Commission’s conclusions were drawn from the review of millions of pages of documents, interviews with more than 700 witnesses, and 19 days of public hearings in New York, Washington, D.C., and communities across the country that were hit hard by the crisis. The reports and accompanying dissents are available to the public on the Commission’s website at

The Law Library will acquire a copy of the official Government Printing Office edition for the collection. Unlike most government publications, an authorized version will also be sold through commercial retailers.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

US Code Popular Names

Recently we were asked by an academic librarian how we help researchers find federal statutes by popular name. There are several options - in print, free online, and through our licensed databases:

At the Library: The United States Code Annotated (USCA), the United States Code Service (USCS), and the official United States Code (USC) all have popular name tables, at the end of each set (KF 62 at Reference Area). There is a second copy of the USCA popular name table shelved in the Reference Office.

Free Online: The Office of Law Revision Counsel has a Popular Name Tool, and Cornell's Legal Information Institute offers Popular Names and Acts in the US Code.

UW Restricted: HeinOnline has a popular name search for the Statutes at Large. Click on the plus next to "United States Statutes at Large," and you'll see an option to browse by popular name. LexisNexis Academic does not have the USCS popular name tables, but try a search like this: “short title w/30 endangered species.

And if you are interested in how statutes get their names (popular and otherwise), check out Mary Whisner’s article, What's in a Statute Name?, 97 LAW LIBR. J. 169‐83 (2005).

Images of Justice

It is not unusual to see a statue or a painting of a figure representing "Justice" in public buildings, especially courthouses. The figure on the left is Themis, Goddess of Justice. If you would like to learn more about this figure and other images representing Justice, check out our research guide on Themis.

Last Friday, Slate had a short article about images of Justice that includes a linked slide show showing different representations of Justice from the past. How has the image of Justice changed over time, and why? Check it out!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Supporters and Opponents Mark Anniversary of Roe v. Wade

Today marks the 38th anniversary of the Supreme Court's controversial Roe v. Wade decision, which established a woman's constitutional right to terminate her pregnancy. Since the decision came down in 1973 there have been many attempts to amend and repeal the effects of the case. The pro choice/ pro life debate was reignited this week when two senators introduced bills that would permanently prohibit any taxpayer funded support for abortion procedures. On Saturday opponents of the seminal decision held rallies and marched through the National Mall while supporters conducted a vigil on the steps of the Supreme Court.

Friday, January 21, 2011

An iPad in Your Trial Briefcase?

screen shot
Two new iPad apps are designed to help lawyers keep track of jurors during selection and trial. A reviewer says they seem quite promising -- much better than moving sticky notes around a legal pad! Each app is just $9.99, so they're pretty cheap to try out (if you already have an iPad, of course). Ted Brooks, Selecting and Monitoring a Jury on an iPad, Legal Technology News, Jan. 21, 2011.

The reviewer was much more cautious about a couple of iPad apps for managing and displaying trial exhibits. Ted Brooks, Two iPad Apps Make Their Cases for Trial, Legal Technology News, Jan. 11, 2011. One of those apps is also $9.99; the other is $89.99.

Graphic: screen shot of Jury Tracker app from Legal Technology News review.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Scads of Washington News Sources Online

There are lots of reasons to use local news sources: researching attorneys or judges, getting information about trials, hearing what legislators said about bills they were pushing for, and so on. (You can also look up the scores of your high school basketball team, your grandfather's obituary, or your cousin's wedding announcement.)

We have a new guide listing Washington state newspapers -- and some TV and radio stations -- with links to their websites and information about where you can find them online.

Did you know that the UW Libraries subscribe to databases that include a lot more Washington newspapers than are available on LexisNexis and Westlaw? Through the UW Libraries, we also have access to a digital backfile of the Seattle Times, all the way back to 1900. And from the Washington State Archives, we have newspapers pre-1900!

The guide still has some gaps, but there's plenty to get you started in your quest for news!

image from Washington Gazette
Graphic: Image from front page of the Washington Gazette, Aug. 15, 1863, from Historic Newspapers in Washington

Library Advocate Becomes Superintendent of Documents

Public Printer Bill Boarman has named Mary
Alice Baish
Assistant Public Printer, Superintendent of Documents, for the U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO). This position is the agency's lead in guaranteeing permanent public access to Government information published by the three branches of the Federal Government. Baish will oversee GPO's Library Services & Content Management unit, Publication & Information Sales unit, and the management of GPO's Federal Digital System (FDsys). In her role, Baish will work with more than 1,200 Federal depository libraries nationwide, through the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP), to ensure Government information is available in all forms to the public.

"Mary Alice has been a strong advocate for GPO and the library community throughout her entire career, which makes her a natural choice to assume this important position for the agency," said Public Printer Bill Boarman. "Her vision and experience with open Government initiatives will be an asset to the FDLP and GPO's effort through FDsys in making Federal Government information open and transparent for the American people."

Read the entire press release here.
The Gallagher Law Library is a Federal Depository Library. Read more about our United States government publications services and collections here.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


For all of you evidence buffs, there are a couple of new studies about electronic discovery that might interest you. The broadest is a report prepared by attorneys with the Electronic Discovery and Information Law Practice Group of the law firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, LLP. Titled "2010 YEAR-END ELECTRONIC DISCOVERY AND INFORMATION LAW UPDATE," this report includes e-discovery news and a discussion of case law based on a review of 323 decisions from the past year. From the study, here is a very brief description of its highlights:

Calls for Reform Reach Crescendo. Sanctions Granted Less Frequently. Government's Duties Clarified. No Reasonable Expectation of Privacy In Social Media.

The second study, about e-discovery sanctions, is discussed in a Duke Law Review article by three attorneys from the Discovery Center of law firm King & Spalding. Here is its abstract:

This Article reviews our comprehensive survey of written opinions from cases in federal courts prior to January 1, 2010, involving motions for sanctions relating to the discovery of electronically stored information (ESI). We analyzed each case for various factors, including date, court, type of case, sanctioning authority, sanctioned party, sanctioned misconduct, sanction type, sanctions to counsel, if any, and the protections provided from sanctions by Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 37(e). The survey identified 401 sanction cases and 230 sanction awards and showed that sanction motions and awards have increased over time, particularly in the last five years. Sanctions against counsel are rare but are also increasing. Sanction motions have been filed in all types of cases and in courts across the country. Failure to produce ESI is the most common basis for sanctions. Courts have used a variety of different rules, statutes, and powers to sanction parties for e-discovery violations, including Rule 37 and the inherent power of the court, and courts impose many different sanction types on e-discovery violators, including the severe sanctions of dismissal, default judgment, adverse jury instructions, and sizeable monetary awards. Rule 37(e) has not provided broad protection from such sanctions.
Dan H. Willoughby, Jr., et al., Sanctions for E-Discovery Violations: By the Numbers, 60 Duke L. Rev. 789 (2010).

Backpack Bomb Found on Spokane's MLK Parade Route

A backpack bomb was found along the route of the Martin Luther King Jr. day parade in Spokane on Monday. City employees spotted the suspicious backpack about an hour before the parade was set to begin and it was defused without incident. The FBI have no suspects or motive and are asking for public's help identifying the would be bomber.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Supreme Court Quips; Uses Footnotes, Too

No one would mistake oral argument at the Supreme Court for a night at the comedy club, but there are enough laughs in oral argument transcripts for scholars to study them. Supreme Court justices are not laughing at you. They're laughing with you., Wash. Post, Jan. 16, 2011.

For the studies, see:

I didn't find a free online source for Wexler's Laugh Track, but in the same spirit, readers might be interested in his article, Justice Ginsburg's Footnotes, 43 New Eng. L. Rev. 857 (2009), available at: Here is his abstract:
In this short article written for the New England School of Law's March Symposium on Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, I report on what happened when I embarked on a project of trying to read every single footnote Justice Ginsburg has ever written as a justice on the Supreme Court. As the article relates, this project was impossible to complete because Justice Ginsburg, it turns out, has written a lot, lot, lot of footnotes. Instead, I ended up reading all of Justice Ginsburg's footnotes from three of her terms. In the article, I develop a nine-part taxonomy of Supreme Court footnotes and categorize Justice Ginsburg's notes according to this taxonomy. The study reveals that, among other things, Justice Ginsburg does not use her footnotes, as some humor writers do, to make jokes. Also, she does not follow in the footsteps of the late, great David Foster Wallace and use footnotes to mirror the fractured nature of reality in her work. Instead, Justice Ginsburg uses footnotes to, for example, provide background information regarding cases under review, point out important aspects of case history, and respond to the arguments of other justices.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Loughner's Lawyer Defended the Unabomber - TIME

Judy Clarke has been appointed to represent a number of unpopular defendants: Ted Kaczynski (the Unabomber), Susan Smith, Zacarias Moussaoui, Timothy McVeigh, Eric Robert Rudolph. And now she has been appointed to represent Jared Loughner. See Judy Clarke: Loughner's Lawyer Defended the Unabomber - TIMEJan. 12, 2011; Loughner’s Lawyer Is Called a Master Strategist, N.Y. Times, Jan. 10, 2011.

For a very interesting account of the representation of Kaczynski, see Michael Mello, United States v. Kaczynski: Representing the Unabomber, in Legal Ethics Stories (Deborah L. Rhode & David Luban eds., 2006), KF306.A4 L43 2006 at Reference Area.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Seattle Public Library's Law Books in PDF & EPUB

Are you looking for books on legal topics but cannot visit a library in person? If you are a Seattle Public Library borrower, you may find a book in PDF or EPUB format you can simply download to your computer.

Over 100 law-related books are currently available in downloadable formats. These titles are available in PDF or EPUB format:

Arrested: What to Do When Your Loved One's in Jail

Neighbor Law: Fences, Trees, Boundaries & Noise

The Public Domain
: How to Find Copyright-Free Writings, Music, Art & More
To learn more about Seattle Public's digital collection and to find instructions on how to download books in these formats and others (such as audio), see the SPL Digital Books & Media page. While there is no cost to download these books, you must have a current SPL library card. Here are instructions on how to get a library card. See the SPL home page for more information.

The King County Library System also offers many law-related books. Browse their downloadable media collection here.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

How Would YOU Balance the State Budget?

screenshot - Washington's Budget, map of Washington,list of budget areas
The League of Education Voters has designed an interactive puzzle that lets you try to balance the state's budget. You learn the amount we're in the red ($4.6 billion) and check off different programs you would like to reduce or cut altogether. The amount of red in the state map diminishes each time you cut something, until you finally reach $0. (I tried this: it's tough!)

KUOW invites comments on how you would fix the state budget for use in a talk program on Jan. 27.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

New Pac Rim Issue

Congratulations to the editors of Pacific Rim Law and Policy Journal, who brought out their January 2011 issue last week. Abstracts are available on the journal's website.

Articles by outside authors address constitutional review in Taiwan, China's compliance with international law, and land expropriation in rural China. Student comments discuss Australian environmental law (Jessica T. Dales), the overrepresentation of Maori in New Zealand's criminal justice system (Joanna Hess), federal immigration law in the Northern Mariana Islands (Robert J. Misulich), and domestic violence redress in China (Hai-Ching Yang)

Pac Rim performs a service few other law journals do: translating legal commentary from Asia. In this issue Jiameng Kathy Liu translates an article by a Japanese professor about ethical issues in medical patents.

Oil Spill Commission Final Report

The National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling released its final report:

Deepwater: The Gulf Oil Disaster and the Future of Offshore Drilling

You can read about the 390+ page report in the news:
Tougher Rules Urged for Offshore Drilling, New York Times, 1/11/11
Or listen to reporting:
In Oil Drilling Reform, A Call For Science And Safety, NPR, 1/12/11
Oil Spill Commission: Regulators Were 'Outmatched', NPR, 1/11/11
Or purchase it from the Government Printing Office. And as soon as the Law Library acquires and catalogs it, patrons can borrow it.

Orphaned U.S. Supreme Court Cases

It’s rare that a party declines an opportunity to present their case to the U.S. Supreme Court, but it does happen. When the Supreme Court grants cert in a case and the prevailing party no longer wishes to defend their position, what happens?

In a little known and infrequently used procedure, the Supreme Court can invite an attorney to defend the case as an amicus. It’s obviously an honor to be selected by the Supreme Court to defend a case. Appointees have included former SCOTUS law clerks and even Chief Justice John Roberts, back when he was a practicing lawyer.

Stanford Law grad Brian Goldman, however, argues that in some instances, the Supreme Court is practicing judicial activism and should instead wait for the issue to be presented in a more traditional case.

You can read more on this topic in the New York Times and Goldman's article on SSRN. For a recent case that had counsel appointed by the Supreme Court (and revolves around the infrequently used Tenth Amendment), see another New York Times article and a post on SCOTUSblog.

--Ellen Richardson, law librarianship intern

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Judge Killed, Congresswoman Critically Injured

As Representative Gabrielle Giffords met with constituents at a Tucson grocery store this morning, a shooter opened fire, taking the lives of 6 and injuring 18 others, according to the Arizona Daily Star. Representative Gabrielle Giffords was critically injured. Federal Judge John Roll was killed.

President Obama has denounced the attack, offering "the full resources of the federal government" to investigate the cause of this tragedy.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Kaplan Publishing Offering FREE Access to 130 Full Text eBooks (January 4-January 10)

Kaplan Publishing is offering FREE access to 130 ebooks from now through January 10, 2011. Once you download these e-books, it's yours to keep. Click here for more details.

List of legal related titles on offer for free until January 10:

Get Into Law School
Angel of Death Row
Before Roe v. Wade
Geneva Conventions
History in Blue
Memorable Thoughts of Socrates
Mother Accused
Path of the Law and The Common Law
Reaching the Bar
Rising Through the Ranks
Socratic Dialogues
Stumbling Along the Beat
Unbillable Hours
Crime: Its Cause and Treatment
Legally Speaking, Revised and Updated Edition
Lessons from the Courtroom

Hat tip to ResourceShelf. Click here to signed up for their weekly newsletter.

Monday, January 3, 2011

New Faculty Publication: Lisa Kelly on Adoption Law

Cynthia R. Mabry & Lisa Kelly, Adoption Law: Theory, Policy, and Practice (2d ed. Hein 2010).

The second edition of Mabry and Kelly's Adoption Law casebook discusses legal, psychological, and social aspects of adoption.

Chapters cover a wide range of related issues, including:

  • history and overview of adoption in the US
  • prerequisites to adoption
  • identifying adoptees and adoptive parents
  • the adoption process
  • adoption variations (stepparents, kinship, gay men and lesbians, etc.)
  • adoption of Indian children
  • transracial adoption
  • intercountry adoption
  • interstate adoption
  • legal and other effects of adoption
  • confidentiality and unsealing adoption records
  • postadoption contact
  • alternatives to adoption

The Library's copy of this book will be found in the Classified Stacks at KF545.M33 2010.

New Faculty Publication: Prof. Bob Anderson on Aboriginal Title in Canada

Robert T. Anderson, Aboriginal Title in the Canadian Legal System: The Story of Delgamuukw v. British Columbia, in INDIAN LAW STORIES 591-619 (Carole Goldberg, Kevin K. Washburn & Philip P. Frickey eds., Foundation Press 2011).
In this chapter, Professor Anderson explores the seminal Canadian case involving native peoples' property rights and their political sovereignty. He traces these property rights to King George III's Royal Proclamation of 1763 and follows them through subsequent legislative and judicial action.
The 1982 Constitution Act contained an aboriginal rights clause which recognized the native peoples property rights and sparked several significant court cases.
Indian Law Stories is the latest in a series that now includes more than 30 titles. A Law Library catalog search "foundation law stories" will retrieve all of these titles. Most are located in the Reference Area, with a few second copies available in the Classified Stacks or Good Reads.