Thursday, March 31, 2011

Printing from WestlawNext Now Available

Students, faculty and staff are now able to send documents from WestlawNext to the dedicated Westlaw printers.

If you are a student, please be sure to choose either the Library Alcove or the Room 222 Computer Lab printers.

The printer icon is located in the upper right hand portion of the page when you view a document.

Upcoming CLE: Ethics, Animals & the Law

The Student Animal Legal Defense Fund, Washington Chapter, is presenting a day-long conference, "Ethics, Animals & the Law: interdisciplinary approaches to standards of care," on Friday, April 15, 2011 at the UW School of Law.

The conference is funded by a generous grant from the Animal Legal Defense Fund, but pre-registration is required. For those interested in the 6.25 CLE credits (includes 1.5 Ethics credits), the conference is $25. For all other attendees, the conference is free. See the conference brochure or the UW School of Law CLE page for more information.

Writing a Brief? Better Follow the Rules!

A recent online ABA Journal Weekly Newsletter article reveals some perils involved in writing a brief. The Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure (FRAP) contain some very specific rules about the form of briefs. For instance, Rule 32(a)(4) provides:
(4) Paper Size, Line Spacing, and Margins. The brief must be on 81⁄2 by 11 inch paper. The text must be double-spaced, but quotations more than two lines long may be indented and single-spaced. Headings and footnotes may be single-spaced. Margins must be at least one inch on all four sides. Page numbers may be placed in the margins, but no text may appear there.
Rule 32(a)(7) covers the permissible length of a principal brief, limiting its length to 30 pages or 14,000 words (or 1,300 lines of text if using a "monospaced face"). If the attorney decides to use the latter limits, he or she is required to certify that the brief meets the word or line limits. As discussed in the above article, it is this rule about the length of the brief that is at issue in Abner v. Scott Mem'l Hosp., No. 10-2713 (7th Cir. Mar. 9, 2011).

The appellants' lawyer filed the required certification, stating that his brief contained 13,877 words. The appellee's brief, however, pointed out in a footnote that the appellants' brief was really 18,000+ words.

When the appellants' lawyer did not contest that his brief was "oversized," the court issued a show cause order why the brief should not be stricken and/or sanctions applied for filing such a brief without permission. The lawyer responded, admitting the excess and including a (belated) Motion for Leave to Exceed Word Count.

The Seventh Circuit opinion, written by Judge Posner, fairly bristles with displeasure at the lawyer's actions. The decision points out that the court has rejected "many briefs" for failing to comply with the FRAP (for instance, for failing to include the standard of review as required by FRAP28(a)(9)(B)). But in this instance, the attorney also mislead the court with an incorrect certification. Moreover, the brief was "rambling and would have been more effective if compressed...."

The court finds that the explanation provided for the incorrect word count is not convincing and strikes the brief. Judge Posner points out that the court could have gone further, even dismissing the appeal. Several decisions are cited where appeals were dismissed as sanctions for violations of FRAP30, which prescribes the form and content of appendices to briefs. In this particular instance, however, the court does not need to invoke dismissal as a sanction:

The flagrancy of the violation in this case might well justify the dismissal of the appeal: let this be a warning. But in addition it is plain from the briefs that the appeal has no merit. To allow time for the appellants to file a compliant brief and the appellees to file a revised brief in response, and to reschedule oral argument, would merely delay the inevitable.

The motion to file an oversized brief is denied and the judgment of the district court summarily


Just remember, when writing briefs, content AND form matter. You have been warned!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Budget Analysis of Health Care Law

book coverA year after the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, there's still a need for studies of its potential impact.

The Congressional Budget Office—a non-partisan office of Congress—prepared a number of analyses during the consideration of the law and earlier proposals. Now we have a handy compilation of these reports: Selected CBO Publicaitions Related to Health Care Legislation 2009-2010:

Responding to many requests, this report compiles a set of those estimates and analyses for easy reference. The report begins with the cost estimate for the final legislation and several analyses related to that legislation. It also includes several cost estimates and analyses of earlier versions of that legislation and alternative proposals that were considered in the House and Senate before final passage. In addition, this report brings together analyses that CBO issued during this period concerning insurance premiums and premium subsidies, the budgetary accounting of proposals, changes to the medical malpractice system, and certain related topics that arose during the Congressional debate. A number of related cost estimates and publications are not included in this volume but are available on CBO’s Web site. In keeping with CBO’s mandate to provide objective, nonpartisan analysis, this report makes no recommendations.

It's available in PDF on the CBO's website, if you want to read it online or download it to your laptop or other device. Or you can check out the library's print copy (RA410.53 .S428 2010 at Classified Stacks), because sometimes it's handier to flip through pages of budget analysis than to navigate through a long document online.

If you want to stay on top of this issue, you can follow the CBO Director's blog. The posts on health are here. The latest entry is Revisions to CBO’s Estimates of the Cost of Last Year’s Major Health Care Legislation, March 23, 2011.

In its ongoing monitoring of developments, CBO has seen no evidence to date that the steps that will be taken to implement the legislation—or the ways in which participants in the health care and health financing systems will respond to the legislation—will yield overall budgetary effects that differ significantly from the ones projected earlier. Therefore, the evolution of the estimates does not reflect any substantial change in the estimation of the overall effects of PPACA and the Reconciliation Act from what was projected in March 2010.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Google Books Settlement—Not

I haven't been following the whole Google Books issue closely, but last week there was a new development.

The basics (up to last week) are: Several years ago Google, cooperating with a handful of big research libraries, started digitizing millions of books. A group of publishers and authors sued. In 2008 the two sides negotiated a settlement that included a way for copyright holders to opt out of the digitization project—i.e., not to have their stuff in Google's huge digital library. And Google would set up a fund to compensate rights holders whose interests were infringed. Google in turn would get to sell access to millions of books that were out of print.

The new developments (told in headlines):

Judge Denny Chin's opinion in The Authors Guild v. Google, Inc., No. 05 Civ 8136 (S.D.N.Y. March 22, 2011) is available on Justia.

UW Resources on the Life of Geraldine Ferraro

The UW Libraries own three books written by the late Geraldine Ferraro (1935-2011):

  • Ferraro, my story, available at Suzzallo/Allen at E840.8.F47 A 34 1985

  • Framing a Life: a family memoir, available at Suzzallo/Allen at E840.8.F47 F47 1998; and

  • Changing History: women, power, and politics, available at Odegaard and Suzzallo/Allen at E838.5.F472 1993
Articles by and about Ferraro are also available in a number of journals and newspapers. Search by author, subject or keyword(s).
See the Statement by the President on the Passing of Geraldine Ferraro.

Friday, March 25, 2011

How People Find Lawyers

According to an article in the online ABA Journal Law News Now, more people now turn to the Internet rather than the Yellow Pages when searching for an attorney. The article describes a report issued in February of this year by the ABA Standing Committee on the Delivery of Legal Services.

The report is based on the committee-sponsored Harris poll of 1000 individuals reached by land line telephones. Here are a few of the findings from the report:

* People with personal legal matters are far more likely to turn to trusted sources instead of impersonal sources to find a lawyer, yet impersonal sources have a substantial and stable place in providing access to legal services.

* Innovative online models, such as those that enable an exchange of questions and answers with lawyers and those that provide consumer feedback about lawyers are most likely to be used to assist in finding a lawyer for personal legal matters.

* People would not use social media avenues to a substantial degree to assist in finding a lawyer for a personal legal matter, but relatively few lawyers market their services through these avenues at this time.

* When people would proceed on a personal legal matter without a lawyer, they report they are likely to turn to free online services and self-help books, but are not likely to turn to online services that charge costs.

Be sure to take a look at the comments to this article. Several posts strongly agree with the committee's "caution" that the results would be quite different had the poll used cellphone numbers rather than land line telephones. A few posts discuss other methods used to find clients.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

New Book: Stones of Hope

Stones of Hope: how African activists reclaim human rights to challenge global poverty is a new book just added to our collection.

Edited by Lucie E. White and Jeremy Perelman, with a foreword by Jeffrey D. Sachs and Lisa E. Sachs, Stones of Hope "engages with the work of remarkable African advocates who have broken out of the conventional boundaries of human rights practice to challenge radical poverty." (Stanford University Press)

Chapters include both case studies and essays.

Stones of Hope, part of the Stanford Studies in Human Rights series, is available in the Classified Stacks at JC599. A36 S76 2011.

New Book on the Global Food Crisis

The Worldwatch Institute has dedicated its 2011 State of the World edition, Innovations that Nourish the Planet, to the global food crisis.

Some of the chapters include the following:

* Moving ecoagriculture into the mainstream

* The nutritional and economic potential of vegetables

* Africa's soil fertility crisis and the coming famine

* Feeding the cities

* Harnessing the knowledge and skills of women farmers

* A roap map for nourishing the planet

Danielle Nierenberg & Brian Halweil; Linda Starke, ed., 2011 State of the World: Innovations that Nourish the Planet is available in the Reference Area at HC59 .S734 2011.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Wide-Ranging Books on Women and the Law

book jackets
March is Women's History Month, but we acquire books about women's history and women and the law throughout the year, on a wide variety of legal topics. Here's a sampling of recent works in the library.


Comparative Law

Corporate Governance

Domestic Violence

Local History

International Law

Juvenile Justice

Law and Literature

Law Practice

Legal History: 19th Century Trials

Legal Theory


Research Ethics

Health Care Reform Law Turns One

birthday cake collage
March 23 is the one-year anniversary of the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Pub. L. 111-148, 124 Stat. 119. This 906-page act is also known as PPACA, the Affordable Care Act, or just ACA.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services maintains, a website about the law and its implementation. You can follow the site on Facebook, Twitter -- or even its YouTube channel.

That site is fine for the basics, but how can you find reliable reporting on new legal developments?

One great source is BNA's Health Law Reporter. Follow the BNA link from the library's homepage; if you are off campus, you'll need to click on the off-campus access link in the upper-right corner and enter you UW NetID before going into this subscription database. Once you're into the newsletter, you can read the latest issue or browse by date. Or you can click on Recent Topics at the top of the screen and choose a topic. I chose Health System Reform and found lots of articles about the latest developments.

screen shot from BNA Health Law Reporter
You can also do a word search. For example, searching for "mckenna" will pull up articles that mention Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna's opposition to the law.

If you click on "BNA Insights," you'll see a list of analyses of current topics by lawyers—e.g., Webb Millsaps & Adam J. Rogers, Top 10 Things to Know About Accountable Care Organizations, Feb. 24, 2011, or Mark S. Hedberg, Health Care Reform After Florida v. United States: Now What?, Feb. 10, 2011.

Health law is just one of the many areas covered by BNA newsletters. You can also use BNA newsletters to follow new developments in fields from antitrust to the WTO.

—Mary Whisner

Friday, March 18, 2011

OMB Watch Releases Assessment of Open Government

OMB Watch today published an in-depth analysis of the Obama administration's progress on a wide-ranging set of open government recommendations. The recommendations were crafted by a diverse group of organizations and individuals as part of the 21st Century Right to Know Project, which was coordinated by OMB Watch in 2007 and 2008.

The recommendations, presented to Obama's transition team and the incoming leadership of the 111th Congress after the 2008 elections, urged quick action on a number of key government openness issues while also encouraging a more systematic, longer-term approach to transparency problems that plague the federal government. The recommendations were endorsed by more than 300 organizations and individuals from across the political spectrum.more . . .
Assessing Progress: Toward a 21st Century Right to Know is available here, in both PDF and browser-based ebook format.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Try a Freedom of Information Game

Sunshine Week offers an online quiz, the Ray of Sunshine Game. It's a lot less stressful than law school exams, and it's a fun way to learn about access to government information. Some of the answers may surprise you!

Freedom of Information Blog

Art of Access book coverIn The Art of Access blog two journalism professors post tips and commentary about getting access to public documents. David Cuillier (U. Arizona) and Charles Davis (U. Missouri) include a page of FOI Help: links to sample request letters, laws, allies, and more. For aspiring journalists, they link to sources of story ideas that would use public records.

The blog links to interesting articles that use public documents to report a story -- for instance, The Making of Manhattan's Elite Welfare Farmers, New York Press, June 15, 2010 (some farm subsidies might go to ma and pa on the farm, but millions of dollars go to corporations and rich individuals).

This week, Davis comments on one of his "pet peeves in FOI…the way university presidents get to interview for megabucks, taxpayer-funded jobs in secret, . . . all aided by these private search firms that states also pay huge amounts of money to, so they can tap their stable of secret candidates." Mass. AG to Review Selection of University President, March 14, 2011. Come to think of it, the University of Washington is looking for a new president right now, too. (The Board of Regents met today, by the way.)

Gloria HowellIn the blog I learned about a public records victory by a woman in our own state. As part of Sunshine Week, the American Society of News Editors honors a "local hero" -- an individual who fought to make state or local government more accessible. This year's first-place award goes to Gloria Howell of Stevenson, WA, "who used the courts to force the disclosure of public records that revealed corruption in her county auditor's office." Washington State Woman Wins Sunshine Week Contest, news release, March 14, 2011.
Howell, a former Stevenson school board member, got involved after her daughter, Angela Moser, was allegedly fired from the Skamania County auditor's office for theft and because of her concerns about irregularities in ballot processing and alleged misuse of public funds. Howell filed suit to obtain the records. The suit resulted in a criminal investigation by the Skamania County Sheriff's Office, a criminal referral to the Washington State Attorney General, an investigation and report by the Washington State Auditor, and the resignation of Skamania County Auditor Michael J. Garvison.
Gloria Howell's comments on her work are here. You can read clippings about the auditor controversy from the Skamania County Pioneer here (requires Adobe Flash).

The blog is a companion to Cuillier and Davis's book, The Art of Access: Strategies for Acquiring Public Records (2011).

Photo of Gloria Howell from the Sunshine Week press release.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

James Madison's Birthday - Freedom of Information Day

Madison portrait

Freedom of Information Day is observed on March 16 in honor of James Madison, who was born March 16, 1751 (March 5, Old Style -- there was a calendar change in the 1700s).

Why Madison? In addition to shaping the Constitution and pushing for the Bill of Rights, he left us some inspirational prose on the topic:
A popular Government, without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a Prologue to a Farce or a Tragedy; or perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance.

image of Madison's handwriting including a Farce or a Tragedy
Letter to W. T. Barry, Aug. 4, 1822, quoted in Fred R. Shapiro, The Yale Book of Quotations 484 (2006). Image is from James Madison Papers collection at the Library of Congress.

To the press alone, chequered as it is with abuses, the world is indebted for all the triumphs which have been gained by reason and humanity over error and oppression.
Report on the Resolutions, in 6 Writings of James Madison 389 (Gaillard Hunt ed., 1906), quoted in Respectfully Quoted 285 (Suzy Platt ed., 1989)

It will be of little avail to the people, that the laws are made by men of their own choice, if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood; if they be repealed or revised before they are promulgated, or undergo such incessant changes that no man, who knows what the law is to-day, can guess what it will be to-morrow.
The Federalist 411-12 (Benjamin F. Wright ed., 1961) (Federalist no. 62), quoted in Respectfully Quoted 192-93. (Respectfully Quoted attributes this Federalist to Madison with a question mark. Shapiro says it might have been by Hamilton. The Yale Book of Quotations 483.)

Learned Institutions ought to be favorite objects with every free people. They throw that light over the public mind which is the best security against crafty & dangerous encroachments on the public liberty.
Letter to W. T. Barry, Aug. 4, 1822, 9 Writings of James Madison 105, quoted in Respectfully Quoted 98.

Since the general civilization of mankind, I believe there are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people, by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power, than by violent and sudden usurpations.
Speech at Virginia Convention, 5 June 1788, in 5 Writings of James Madison 123, 126 (Gaillard Hunt ed., 1904), quoted in Fred R. Shapiro, The Oxford Dictionary of American Legal Quotations 153 (1993).

In addition to browsing quotation books -- as I did -- you can read Madison's papers on this site by the Library of Congress. For instance, his letter to W. T. Barry quoted above is here (image of original handwriting) and here (transcription).

The White House's website has a brief biographical sketch of Madison. (That's the source of the portrait at the top of this post.)

Freedom of Information Day

The 12th annual National Freedom of Information Day Conference was held on Monday. This year’s conference title was “What Has Become of Freedom of Information?” The event was sponsored by the First Amendment Center, Sunshine Week, the American Library Association,, and the Sunshine in Government Initiative.

Reading List

The New York Public Library offers a list of 11 books to read in honor of Freedom of Information Day, ranging from 1984 to two 2011 books on Wikileaks. (The list links to WorldCat -- which means that you can find the books in local libraries, even though the list was written by a librarian in New York.)

Freedom of Information Website

On March 14, the Department of Justice Office of Information Policy (OIP) announced the launch of a new website:
As the flagship initiative of the Department’s Open Government Plan, OIP is proud to announce the launch of FOIA.Gov, a comprehensive public resource for government-wide FOIA information and data. FOIA.Gov displays graphically a wealth of data on agency FOIA compliance, contains educational material about how the FOIA works, and contact information for all government agencies.
FOIA, or the Freedom of Information Act, became effective in July, 1967. As explained at FOIA.GOV,
... the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) provides that any person has a right, enforceable in court, to obtain access to federal agency records, except to the extent that such records (or portions of them) are protected from public disclosure by one of nine exemptions or by one of three special law enforcement record exclusions. A FOIA request can be made for any agency record. ... The FOIA also requires that agencies automatically disclose certain information, including frequently requested records.
Federal departments and agencies submit to the Department of Justice annual reports about their compliance with FOIA. Those reports cover details such as the number of requests received, their dispositions, and the amount of time for processing them. A visitor to the website can request that a report be generated from the information collected by Justice. In addition, recent and "most popular" reports that have been generated for visitors are available by clicking their links.

For those interested in filing a FOIA request, the website includes a list of links for federal agencies and departments. After selecting an agency, the visitor selects a specific office, then is shown the name of the FOIA officer, the address for submitting the request, and the link for the agency's FOIA website. FAQs describe how to make a request and what the response process entails.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

What's "IN" the Price of a Gallon of Regular Gasoline

When the price of crude oil rises, as it has been lately, we all see the effects at the gas station. But other costs also affect what we pay. The U.S. Energy Information Agency sponsors a website called Today in Energy. Last week it posted a webpage that shows the part played by the major components of the price of gasoline - crude oil prices, refining costs, distribution and marketing expenses, and taxes. As the site explains:
The portion of the gasoline price each of these components accounts for can vary significantly over time. Crude oil is typically the largest cost component of gasoline, and its share of the price of a gallon of gasoline was significantly higher in 2010 than it was, on average, over the 2000-2009 period.
When you look at the historical data (2000-2010) for crude oil costs, its percentage of the total we pay at the pump has varied from a low of 35% in May, 2001, to a high of 75.8 in July, 2008.

But why is there such variety in prices across the country at any given time? One of the reasons covered by the website is taxes. The federal tax on regular gas is 18.4 cents per gallon. Each state also taxes gasoline, from a low of 7.5 cents per gallon (Georgia) to a high of 37.5 cents here in Washington. That high and low is a bit misleading, however, because those figures include only the rates of "general application." Some states add other taxes, such as Iowa's 1 cent per gallon Environmental Protecton Charge or Virginia's 2% sales tax in areas covered by mass transit. Other states permit "local option taxes," such as Honolulu's 16.5 cents per gallon.

Energy is a major topic in our government and in our lives. Check out Today in Energy to keep abreast of the current issues. Here is a description of the website.

The Today in Energy website:

* Covers key energy issues and topics in a short-article, one-page format
* Includes a visual explanation — a chart (sometimes interactive), map, animation, or photo — to illustrate the point.
* Makes data series behind charts often available for download
* Is written in plain language for a broad audience
* Gives you a way to send feedback to EIA experts and analysts
* Contains archives so you can retrieve a favorite story.
* Enables you to subscribe to our RSS feed or email version so Today in Energy comes to your browser or inbox every weekday

Friday, March 11, 2011

Library Hours During Interim, March

When Law School finals end on Friday, March 18, the Law Library will be operate on its interim schedule.

March 19 - 21, Saturday - Monday: Closed
March 22 - 25, Tuesday - Friday: Open 8am - 5pm
March 26 & 27, Saturday & Sunday: Closed

The Library will resume regular hours on March 28, Monday.

New Faculty Publication: Dwight Drake on Closely Held Enterprises

photo of Professor Dwight Drake
Dwight Drake, Business Planning: Closely Held Enterprises (3d ed. West 2011) (American Casebook Series)

The third edition of Professor Drake's casebook on closely held enterprises has just been published.

This work covers topics such as:

  • Client objectives
  • Choice of entity
  • Organizing and funding
  • Entity conversions
  • Structuring the buy-sell agreement
  • Executing the purchase or sale
  • Family business transition planning
  • Employment agreements for key executives
  • Deferred compensation planning
  • Strategies for using stock and stock rights
  • Business life insurance planning
  • Diversification
  • Competition
  • Estate and multi-entity planning
  • Valuing closely held enterprises
  • The lawyer's role
  • Forms

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Sunshine Week Webcast

Sunshine Week Webcast: The Road Forward on Open Government
March 18, 2011
9:00am - 10:45am
Odegaard Undergraduate Library (OUGL) room 220

The American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) and is hosting this annual national webcast during Sunshine Week. This year’s event, “The Road Forward on Open Government,” will feature two panels that will assess the Administration’s progress on President Obama’s commitment “to creating an unprecedented level of openness in Government.”
The first panel will focus on the challenges and opportunities that the Administration’s Open Government Initiative have created at the Federal level. The second set of panelists will discuss the ways in which technology is being used to increase access to government data and information, and the potential limitations. More information, including the list of speakers, is here.

Please join us next Friday on the UW campus to watch the webcast. A short discussion, moderated by Mary Whisner, will follow.

Global Warming: Heat and Drought

The chief harm of global warming is often depicted as the melting of polar ice and rising sea levels, which will displace millions of people in island nations and coastal communities. But Jennifer Marlow and Jennifer Barcelos, co-directors of the Three Degrees Project, point out that there is another serious hazard—one that might have even greater effects on human health and well-being. Increasing temperatures will reduce food production in much of the world. And that becomes a security issue as people compete for limited resources.

See Jennifer Marlow & Jennifer Krencicki Barcelos, Global Warring and the Permanent Dry: How Heat Threatens Human Security in a Warmer World, 1 Seattle J. Envtl. L. 19 (2011), HTML, PDF.

map showing changes in agriculture capacity
(Fig. 2 from the article)

Marlow and Barcelos urge a new focus on "human security," rather than state-based "national security." Climate change is more than an environmental issue: it's a human rights issue.

(The green areas in the map above indicate that we in northern North America will probably see improved agricultural conditions because of higher temperatures. But the ups and downs of climate change don't strike an even balance. It might be a plus for Seattleites to be able to see tomatoes ripen, but that doesn't compensate for the minus of famine in South America, Africa, and South Asia, not to mention bush fires in Australia.)

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

New Faculty Publication: Peter Nicolas on Common-Law Same-Sex Marriage

Peter Nicolas, Common Law Same-Sex Marriage, 43 Conn. L. Rev. 931 (2011), available at

Prof. Nicolas considers the prospects for common law same-sex marriage in the District of Columbia, Iowa, and New Hampsire. These states allow same-sex couples to marry and also recognize common-law marriages.

He addresses
the question whether it makes sense--as a policy matter--to expand the concept of common law marriage to include same-sex couples, including an analysis of whether being a closeted same-sex couple is consistent with being in a common law marriage.

Upcoming CLE: Northwest Dispute Resolution Conference

The UW School of Law is hosting the 18th Annual Northwest Dispute Resolution Conference on Friday, April 29, 2011 and Saturday, April 30, 2011.

For more information on this conference, approved for 9.25 Washington CLE credits (including 3.5 Ethics credits), see the UW CLE page. The program brochure is available here.

Sessions of particular interest to lawyers include the following:
  • Planning for Mediation
  • Negotiating Tips & Strategies
  • Techniques for Avoiding Impasse
  • Closing the Deal
  • Mediation Ethics

Indian Law Journal Might Start at Seattle U

Students at Seattle University School of Law are proposing a journal on Indian law and seek paper submissions for their first issue. The proposed journal would be national in scope, but the editors have a particular issue in the Pacific Northwest.

Have your written a paper on Indian law? Would you like to? This could be a good opportunity!

Here is their announcement (posted at the editors' request):
The Seattle Journal of American Indian Law is a proposed academic collaboration at Seattle University among students, faculty, and practitioners. In an effort to fill a critical gap in the amount of current information available to those interested in the rapidly-developing field of Indian law, the Journal will employ an innovative online format. Containing a hybrid of shorter, timelier articles, to be published in parallel with legal developments in the field, as well as traditional, lengthier journal articles analyzing larger topics, the Journal will appeal to a broad range of readers.

At this stage in development of the Journal, the Editorial Board is seeking content to be submitted for a trial issue that will be circulated exclusively within the School of Law. Alongside a formal proposal, the trial issue will show the faculty and administration the caliber of substance and the high level of scholarship that the Journal will command, and will make our case that the Journal ought to be an officially accredited publication at the School of Law. We aim to publish the trial issue in early Fall 2011.

As this is only a trial issue and will not be formally published, the Editorial Board will not seek the rights to any submitted content. That said, articles will still be subject to rigorous technical and substantive editing, and we will be in contact with the authors each step of the way. As the journal is looking primarily for shorter, timelier pieces at this time, we would love to hear any ideas you may have for a shorter article. If you are at all interested in providing content to the trial issue, the deadline for submitting confirmation of interest and an abstract of the manuscript is March 15th. The draft of the manuscript is due May 15th. Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions or concerns you may have. I look forward to hearing from you.

Rebeka Osborne
Editorial Board, Seattle Journal of American Indian Law
seattlejournalail [at]

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Prof. Robert Anderson on Aboriginal Land in BC

Over sixty aboriginal nations to our north are engaged in a treaty process with Canada and British Columbia to work out property interests throughout the province. Here in Washington State, tribes and the federal government entered into treaties in 1854 and 1855, but there are no treaties covering the nations within BC.

Professor Robert T. Anderson tells the story of the historic case that led to this treaty process, Delgamuukw v. British Columbia, in a chapter of Indian Law Stories (pp. 591-629) (KF8205.A2 I535 2011 at Reference Area).

The case was brought by the primary chiefs of the Gitskan and Wet’suwet’en. (If you look at the map below, the homes of these nations are pretty much in the middle, north of Vancouver Island and a bit inland from the coast. On the map, the Gitskan region is orange, north of the Wet’suwet’en area, which is green.) In the early stages of the case, BC rejected all claims of aboriginal property rights or the right to self-government.

map of BC First Nations

The trial began with statements from the two nations' senior chiefs, stating their Houses' relationship to the land on their own terms. Over three years (beginning in 1987), the court heard 318 days of testimony and 56 days of argument.

The trial judge discounted the oral histories offered by the plaintiffs. He found that all rights had been extinguished before BC became a province in 1871. By the time of the appeal, even the BC government didn't take this extreme position (an election had changed the leadership and hence the position).

The Canadian Supreme Court (1997) found that the oral histories should have been accorded great weight, showing the existence of a land tenure system and of the centrality of the land to the culture. Although the Court determined that aboriginal title is less than fee simple title, the opinion—with its respect for the oral histories and a requirement that governments consult with aboriginal groups—is seen as a victory for the First Nations.

The litigation led to the establishment of the British Columbia Treaty Commission, an independent body facilitating the treaty negotiations. According to the Commission's 2010 annual report, two nations have ratified final agreements, three have completed final agreements, and others are in various stages of negotiation.

Other chapters in Indian Law Stories provide context for cases you may be familiar with from class, whether it be Property (Johnson v. M'Intosh), Constitutional Law: Freedom of Expression (Lyng v. Northwest Indian Cemetery Protective Association, or—of course— Indian Law (Lone Wolf v. Hitchcock, Oliphant v. Suquamish Indian Tribe, and others).

The editors point out several benefits of presenting these famous cases as "law stories." Even scholars very familiar with the opinions in a case can learn more by exploring the factual setting. For instance, the professor who wrote about Montana v. United States, in which the Supreme Court held that the Crow Tribe could not bar non-Indians from fishing on the Big Horn River, learned that Justice Byron White enjoyed fly fishing in Montana, including on the Big Horn River. Knowing that doesn't change the precedent or the stated reasoning, but it is interesting.

More importantly, the stories "foreground a broader array of actors and voices, especially the Native peoples themselves." (p. 7) Readers can understand more of the historical and social contexts of the cases, including "larger, Indian-driven social movements, often tied to rectifying past injustices and achieving tribal cultural revitalization." (p. 8)

All of this is not just for richer understanding for its own sake:
Understanding the relationship between Indian law litigation and social movements will facilitate more effective lawyering, as law students come to understand better what is at stake for their future clients and the proper place for litigation in achieving their clients' ends.
(pp. 8-9) The editors also talk about the importance of seeing the later effects of cases (often surprising) and considering the litigation choices made by lawyers and parties.

I haven't read any of the chapters besides Professor Anderson's yet. That's one of the beauties of the Law Stories Series: you can read a volume straight through or you can flip through the introduction and pick out the chapters that interest you most.

Graphic credit: map of First Nations in British Columbia from British Columbia Ministry of Education.

Supreme Court Rules on FOIA Exemption

The Supreme Court on Monday rejected the government's broad use of an exemption in the federal Freedom of Information Act to withhold documents from the public, ruling for a Washington state resident who wants Navy maps relating to its main West Coast ammunition dump (from AP).
You can read local reporting in the Seattle Times, the Peninsula Daily News, and the Kitsap Sun. You can read the case, or peruse all the information about the case in the SCOTUSblog.

Friday, March 4, 2011

The Warriors of Qiugang - Grassroots Activism in China Today

Nominated this year for an Academy Award, The Warriors of Qiugang is a short documentary on a longstanding environmental dispute that took place in Anhui Province between a state owned chemical plant and the local community. It provides insights into environmental law, dispute resolution and the role of NGOs in China today.

The film is available for viewing for free online from Yale e360.

For a discussion of the legal issues that arose in the film, see the article by Alex Wang, Senior Attorney and director of NRDC's China Environmental Law, in the Huffington Post.

If you would like further information regarding green activism in China, see:
Green Anhui and Green Law China

Thursday, March 3, 2011

"Caucasian Chalk Circle" at UW

Bertolt Brecht's "Caucasian Chalk Circle" is playing on campus through March 13.
In an attempt to settle property disputes after an apocalyptic war, a village performs an ancient parable for its neighbors. In it, amidst civil strife and unrest, a young servant girl risks her life to save an abandoned child of noble birth. Years later, when the biological mother demands the child back, an unconventional judge, who is not always guided by the letter of the law, devises the test of the chalk circle to decide their fates.
Take a culture break—and think about dispute resolution, too!

Chief Justice John Roberts: Word Nerd

In Chief Justice John Roberts: Word Nerd (, March 1, 2011), Garrett Epps discusses FCC v. AT&T Inc., in which Roberts parses FOIA's "personal privacy" exemption NOT to include corporations' privacy, even though corporations are "persons."

The linguistic analysis Epps quotes is clever and persuasive -- but Epps also notes that Roberts didn't add anything about the policy behind FOIA.

Are you a word nerd? Or would you like to improve your knowledge of style and usage so you can hang with word nerds? Take a look at the resources listed in our guides:

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Typography for Lawyers

Michael Butterick wants lawyers' documents to look better than they do.

Butterick began his career as a font designer and engineer and became a web designer in the 1990s. Later he went to law school and now practices law — with a good eye for a well-designed page.

In 2008 he began a website, Typography for Lawyers, that offers advice — with lots of clear examples — about how to make documents clear, readable, even beautiful. Job applicants: check out the advice on resumes and business cards!

Now he's turned the website into a book, Typography for Lawyers: Essential Tools for Polished and Persuasive Documents (Z246 .B98 2010 at Classified Stacks). It is, as you might expect, well laid out, attractive, and easy to use. Take a look.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


After each census, most states need to redraw their congressional districts -- some states pick up a new representative; some lose one; and even the states that stay the same have often had their populations shift so districts need to shift accordingly. The Bureau of the Census explains the data that will fuel redistricting.

Washington State is adding a 10th Congressional District, so we will definitely see changes. Our Redistricting Commission has five members -- four are appointed by the Democratic and Republican caucus leaders of the House and the Senatel; they name a chair.

Nationally, the process can be highly charged. The legislatures in charge of redistricting have an interest in how the maps turn out: each legislator wants to have a secure seat, and the members of each party want their party to have a good shot at the next election.

And so of course there are lots of rules about how it should be done. See this page from the National Conference of State Legislatures. Last month the NCSL had a series of seminars on redistricting. The materials are available here.

The history of manipulating districts goes back a long way. A lizardlike district drawn by Jeffersonian Republicans and approved by Massachusetts Governor Elbridge Gerry inspired the term "gerrymander" for a district drawn awkwardly to suit political ends.

gerrymander cartoon (Graphic from American Treasures of the Library of Congress, The Gerrymander)

This year, students at Columbia Law School can take a course called Redistricting and Gerrymandering. As part of the course, they try their hands at redistricting actual states. Each plan has to explain the principle the author was using -- e.g., minimizing the change from the current lines or maximizing proportional representation (matching the political mix of the state as a whole). They are sharing their maps with the world at

This website and associated project have three goals. First, the project seeks to educate both the students involved and the general public about the redistricting process. We hope that the maps and redistricting plans contained here depict what is possible in the current round of redistricting and what nonpartisan plans might look like. Second, we hope that these plans serve as a benchmark against which incumbent-drawn plans can be assessed. While not passing judgment on the plans states adopt this redistricting cycle, we hope that the plans contained here illustrate alternative paths not taken and therefore, both the promise and potential pitfalls of nonpartisan redistricting. Finally, for those states that fail to craft redistricting plans, this website provides ready-made legally defensible congressional plans.

We also encourage others to submit plans to be posted to this website. Students in similar classes at other universities will be posting plans here later in the redistricting cycle.
Plans for only a handful of states are available so far. It is interesting to look at the substantial analysis that goes into a plan.

ScienceCinema & Department of Energy videos

ScienceCinema, a new site providing access to U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) multimedia presentations, allows users to locate precise points in DOE videos where certain words or phrases are spoken.

For example: a search for "oil spill" provides six videos, the most recent of which is "Oil, Water, and Wildlife: The Gulf of Mexico Disaster and Related Environmental Issues" (8/4/2010).

Once you retrieve your search results, you can then click on the exact point at which your chosen phrase, "oil spill," is heard. In other words, you won't have to wade through lengthy recordings to find the content you need.

How does it work? The site uses special audio indexing and speech recognition technology developed by Microsoft Research.

Who’s Running the Library?

A large library like the Gallagher Law Library needs a lot of different people with different training and skills to make everything go.

You probably interact most often with people at the Circulation Desk (full-time and part-time staff members, student workers, and law librarianship interns), in Interlibrary Loan (full-time librarian Judy Davis and her student assistant), and in the Reference Office (full-time librarians, part-time librarians, and law librarianship interns).

Less obvious to library users – but absolutely necessary – are the librarians, staff, student workers, and interns who choose the books we buy, decide what databases to subscribe to, deal with the publishers and vendors, catalog the materials, maintain the computer systems, file the updates, and prepare materials for binding. Imagine a reference librarian trying to help you find useful information without any books or databases!

The whole operation is overseen by Penny Hazelton, Associate Dean for Library and Computing Services.

What’s the difference between a “librarian” and any other person who works in a library? Librarians have a professional degree: a master’s in library science (or master’s in library and information science). The law librarianship interns have J.D.s and are currently working on their master’s degrees in the UW Information School.

For more about the law librarianship program, which is directed by Penny Hazelton, see this page. For more about law librarianship as a career, see my article, Choosing Law Librarianship: Thoughts for People Contemplating a Career Move, LLRX, April 4, 2008, and the American Association of Law Libraries pages, Careers in Law Librarianship.