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Today is Constitution Day

Posted By on September 17, 2010

Take a few minutes to celebrate

  • View a “Video Short” from the National Archives. “Acting Chief of Reference at the National Archives Trevor Plante takes viewers inside the National Archives vaults to see some of his favorite rarely-displayed documents.”
  • Which of our nation’s founders are you most like? Take a quiz to find out.
  • Become a fan of the U.S. Constitution  on Facebook.
  • Learn about the United States and other countries’ constitutions using HeinOnline’s World Constitutions Illustrated.

A Quick Library Guide for New Students

Posted By on September 8, 2010

Where is the Reserve Desk?

On the Fourth Floor, across from the Janet Lee Reading Room. Here you can find materials put on reserve for you classes (except items posted online) as well as a selection of DVDs, hornbooks, nutshells and other heavily used library materials.

Where can you ask a reference librarian a question?

At the Reference Desk, across from the Janet Lee Reading Room. You can also stop by any librarian’s office, send an e-mail to a specific librarian or send an e-mail to reference@wulaw.wustl.edu.

Where is wireless network access available?

Everywhere in the Law School, including the Library. Wireless is also available in many locations around campus. See instructions to configure wireless access. To access  databases restricted to use in the Law Library you must install and run the Law School’s VPN software.

Where are the Law School Networked Printers?

There are a total of five printers: two on the Second Floor in the microfiche area, one in the Computer Lab, and one each on the First and Fourth Floors near the stairs.  The Second Floor and lab printers are the only ones that will print double sided.  The lab printer is only available when printing from the lab computers, but you can print to the other printers from the lab, the walk-up terminals, or your laptop.

Where are the photocopiers?

On the Fourth Floor across from the bathrooms. You can buy a copycard with paper bills. You can copy without a copycard with change.  Change is not available in the building, so come prepared. Credit cards and campus cards are not accepted.

Where are the LexisNexis & Westlaw Printers?

LexisNexis & Westlaw printers can be found on the 2nd Floor of the library by the bathrooms. Lexis has an additional printer outside the Library by the lockers on the 2nd floor.

Where are the bathrooms in the Library?

Behind the stairs (except First Floor where they are South of the stairs).

Where can I enter the Library after the doors lock?

At every Library entrance with a ID card reader. Students have access to the Law Library 24/7.  The Circulation and Reserve Desk is only open during regular library hours.

Variety Is the Spice of Life and Studying?

Posted By on September 7, 2010

In today’s New York Times, an article on study habits posits that variety is the key to retention.  The author explains repetition and last minute cramming is not always the key to retention of new material.  Instead, mixing up studying habits with self-testing, spacing out your study sessions, and even a change in where you study can help improve your performance.   The more students vary their study habits, the more likely they were to retain information and recall that information on a test.  Researchers theorize that the brain needs the variety to create a stronger neural impression of the information.   And, in a bit of good news for those who are struggling with new concepts, the author notes that “[t]he harder it is to remember something, the harder it is to forget.”

Want to learn more?  Check out, Benedict Carey, Research Upends Traditional Thinking on Study Habits, NYTimes.com (September 6, 2010).

E-Book Readers

Posted By on September 7, 2010

If you are thinking about purchasing an e-book reader but are unsure which to buy, Justin the Librarian has a good overview/review of the readers and their respective pros and cons.

Westlaw Next

Posted By on September 7, 2010

I hope you are all enjoying Westlaw Next … which you are now able to access via your normal Westlaw OnePass user name and password.
If you go to lawschool.westlaw.com and sign in, you should see something like this:

Across the top of your screen (blue background with white letters) you should have a choice to enter classic Westlaw , WestlawNext, Twen, or LawSchool Exchange (also Bookstore or BarBri). Just click on WestlawNext and you should be good to go.

If you do use WestlawNext, please keep the following in mind:

1. You must print to your attached printer (or download and then print to the network printer you typically use).  In other words, with WestlawNext, you cannot send print jobs to the dedicated Westlaw printers.

2.  As of right now, WestlawNext does not contain all the content of classic Westlaw.  It will, however, it does not yet. I have noticed this to be particularly true for court documents and international materials but also for miscellaneous other publications. If you do not find what you think you ought, try the search on classic Westlaw.

When in the Course of human events…

Posted By on September 3, 2010

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation. . .

Few documents mean more to Americans than the Declaration of Independence.  The National Archives houses what is believed to be the original engrossed version of the Declaration.  Click on the images above to see how the original Declaration looks today.  Although faded, the Declaration is well preserved in an argon filled, bullet-proof chamber (but as this website explains, it’s nothing like what you may have seen in “National Treasure“).  To view more American historical documents, check out the National Archives’ Digital Vault.

The Almighty US News

Posted By on August 18, 2010

According to an article in today’s Chronicle, U.S. News is now charging a fee  if a school wants to use the ‘Best Colleges 2011′ logo. It will apparently cost a college $700 to use the image on its web site for a year.  Unlimited use ranges from $3,500 to $8,200 (print and electronic).

The full article: http://chronicle.com/blogPost/The-US-News-Seal-of/26287/?sid=at&utm_source=at&utm_medium=en

Gulf Coast World War II Shipwrecks

Posted By on August 16, 2010

The Minerals Management Service, a division of the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, manages the energy resources on the Outer Continental Shelf.  Using oil industry deep water surveys and conducting its own investigations, MMS has produced a report on the shipwrecks of World War II in the Gulf of Mexico.  The purpose of the report is to document the biological and archaeological aspects of these wrecks.  But, what what emerges from the report is both a little known history of World War II and fascinating glimpse of a thriving undersea world within these wrecks.

In 1942, Hitler ordered German u-boats to the coast of America to disrupt shipping and supply lines.  While the Atlantic and Pacific coastlines had taken precautions against u-boat attacks, the Gulf Coast had not.  The report notes that “.. [w]hen U-boats entered the Gulf of Mexico many German commanders noted coastal lights burned as in peacetime.”*  During 1942, German u-boats sank fifty-six ships in the Gulf.  Of those fifty-six, six vessels are profiled within the report.  Also included in the report is a discussion and pictures of the wreck U-166, the only u-boat known to have been sunk in the Gulf.

It’s not only the historical aspects that make this report interesting.  These wrecks also provide scientists the opportunity to study the flora and fauna that grow on wrecks; a sort of “artificial reef effect.”  Throughout the report are pictures and descriptions of species of plants and animals that thrive on these artificial reefs as well as discussions on what happens to those reefs once time and the sea water breaks them down.

R. Church et al.,  Archaeological and Biological Analysis of World War II Shipwrecks in the Gulf of Mexico; Artificial Reef Effect in Deep Water (Dep’t of the Interior, OCS Study, MMS 2007-015).

* see p. 7.


Posted By on August 10, 2010

It seems like there’s been an increasing interest lately in documents from PACER.  RECAP is a free extension for Firefox that once installed, will automatically save the documents you download into a free archive.

To participate in the RECAP project, go to https://www.recapthelaw.org/ and click on “Add to Firefox.”

To find PACER documents that have already been downloaded and are now available for free, go to The RECAP Archive at http://archive.recapthelaw.org/

In the Navy….

Posted By on July 28, 2010

“In the Navy” is a 1979 hit song by the Village People.  It is also the title of a 1941 film starring the comedy team of Abbott and Costello.  “Here’s a restored 11 minute clip from a long believed to be lost 1915 documentary on the US Navy. It was commissioned by Secretary of the Navy, Joseph Daniels.”  “The filmmakers were allowed full access to the ships and captured sailors in their day to day activities. All copies of the documentary were thought to have been lost until this fragment was discovered in Australia.”

Taking Photos In Public Places Is Not A Crime

Posted By on July 28, 2010

Is it ok to take pictures of police arresting someone in a public area?  Is it ok to video a police officer conducting a traffic stop?  Professor Glenn Harlan Reynolds points out that too many officials think taking photos is a crime.   He then points out why they are wrong.

Yale’s Rare Book Collection ….

Posted By on July 28, 2010

If you missed this article in the March 17 New York Times , I’ll bet you can’t guess what Yale Law Library is now collecting for its renown rare book room. In fact they are now the official depository for such materials.  Give up?  Bobbleheads of Supreme Court justices.  Read all about it: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/18/us/18bobble.html.

Required Reading: Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act

Posted By on July 27, 2010

If you’re interested in learning more about the Dodd-Frank Act, there’s some library resources to help you.

Check out CCH’s new title, Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act: Law, Explanation and Analysis.  Available through our CCH Intelliconnect database, this publication walks the reader through the entire Dodd-Frank Act.  Useful commentary is included as well as a legislative history of the act.

To read the committee report, check out the Dodd-Frank Wall Street and Consumer Protection Act Conference Report (111 H. Rpt. 517) available through our LexisNexis Congressional database.

Need a quick legislative history for Dodd-Frank? LexisNexis Congressional also compiles legislative histories – just search for a bill or public law (111-203) to get started.

Another great resource for legislative information is THOMAS; check out the bill summary and status information for H.R. 4173 (a/k/a Dodd-Frank).

It’s Here!

Posted By on July 27, 2010

WestlawNext is now accessible from the home (http://lawschool.westlaw.com) page and using your Westlaw OnePass password.  You should see a familiar looking page … with the blue band across the top and that ability to choose TWEN, Research, etc. Now you have the choice to click on Home (where my cursor is sitting),  Westlaw (traditional), WestlawNext, TWEN, Law School Exchange etc.

Snapshot in Time: Justice Frankfurter’s Nomination Hearing

Posted By on July 21, 2010

In early January 1939, the Senate Judiciary Committee heard public testimony about the nomination of Dr. Felix Frankfurter to the Supreme Court.  This Hearing is notable because it was one of the first times a Supreme Court nominee publicly testified on his own behalf before the Committee.

Dr. Frankfurter was a controversial appointment.  He served on the defense team for the Sacco and Vanzetti and was on the public record as having opposed the verdict in that case.  Frankfurter supported New Deal legislation and programs.  Frankfurter also worked with the A.C.L.U.  At the time, the A.C.L.U. was believed by many to be a communist front organization.  The witnesses who testified at the Hearing were concerned that Frankfurter’s appointment to the Court was another subversive step by F.D.R. to transform the country into a socialist nation.  Many raised charges that Frankfurter was a communist or an anarchist in disguise.

Nomination of Felix Frankfurter: Hearings Before a Subcomm. of the Comm. on the Judiciary, 76 Cong. (Jan. 11 and 12, 1939).

The Hearing is accessible through Lexis Congressional; just use “Frankfurter” in the search terms box, then scroll down and restrict your search to the 76th Congress, and then click on search.

Content Advisory: This Hearing is a product of its times and does contain racist and offensive language.  The library and its staff do not endorse or support the views contained within.

Dungeons, Slavery, Executions No More

Posted By on July 20, 2010

Discover the history of U.S. bankruptcy laws in Part III of HeinOnline’s Taxation and Economic Reform library: the History of Bankruptcy.  This new database contains legislative histories of bankruptcy laws in America, other related documents and direct linking to relevant law review articles. Check it out: http://www.heinonline.org/HOL/Index?collection=bank&set_as_cursor=clear

Start your day off with a smile

Posted By on July 19, 2010

Check this video out … The Chronicle ‘renamed’  the video,  “Anything is possible when you’re in the library.”  It’s good:   New Spice I Study like a scholar, scholar

Elena Kagan Confirmation Hearing Starts Today, 12:30 E.S.T.

Posted By on June 28, 2010

Elena Kagan’s confirmation hearing starts today.

You can follow the live video feed from the hearings through C-Span, the Senate Judiciary Committee, or NPR.

Thursday Matinee: U.S. Anarctica Expedition 1939-1941

Posted By on June 24, 2010

On such a hot day, one wonders what it would be like to be in Antarctica.  Don’t have enough time to take a trip to the bottom of the world?  Take a few minutes and enjoy Antarctica as it was in 1939.

This is a color film of Admiral Byrd’s Second Antarctica Expedition taken during the years 1939 – 1941.  Interesting segments include a visit to Pitcairn Island where the descendants of the crew of the Bounty live, crew interaction with penguins, film of ice flows, and film of the day-to-day life of the expedition crew.  There is no audio but the film has narrative title cards between segments.  It’s a strangely beautiful film.

At a hearing before the House Subcommittee of the Committee on Appropriations, it was explained that the expedition was undertaken to perfect the U.S.’s claim of title to the area known as “Little America.”  Many were disappointed that the U.S. had relinquished its claim to Greenland.  With the rise of aviation, Greenland was seen as a key area not only for staging polar expeditions but also as a staging ground for flights to the Continent.  The State Department wanted to make sure that the U.S. did not want to make the same mistake with Antarctica; thus, the rush to create indications of an intent towards permanent settlement and usage.  The cost for the entire expedition was an estimated $1 million (approximately $15.4 million today).

ANTARCTICA, 1939 – 1941 courtesy of the FedFlix archive at the Internet Archive.org.

Expedition to the Antarctic Regions: Hearings Before the H. Subcomm. of the Comm. on Appropriations, 76th Cong. (1939).

Hey! I Think I Can See My Vuvuzuela!

Posted By on June 18, 2010

If you’ve caught World Cup fever, take a few minutes to see what your team’s country looks like from outer space.  NASA has put together an interesting and beautiful collection of photos of the countries participating in the World Cup.

It’s a Flickr show, so no pesky downloads are needed for photo viewing.

Interested in GAO Updates?

Posted By on June 9, 2010

Did you know that you can subscribe to GAO (US Government Accountability Office) updates via email? You can choose your  topic of interest.

For more information see: www.gao.gov/subscribe/index.php

Madonna in Malawi

Posted By on June 4, 2010

Ok, so this isn’t such new news but then again the tabloids probably did not include the full text and reasoning of the court in Madonna’s case before the Supreme Court of Appeals in Malawi. [1] Nor did they report on our library’s newest database, Oxford Reports on International Law.   Follow the link in the footnote to read how Madonna’s case led to a  groundbreaking opinion and find out if Madonna gets the baby.

The library’s other new database is The Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law .  For a sample of the encyclopedia’s essays, and more about some of the documents mentioned by the above court, see the article, Children, International Protection by Evarist Baimu.

[1] In the matter of the Adoption of Children Act Chapter 26:01 of the Laws of Malawi and in the matter of Chifundo James (an infant), Appeal judgment, MSCA Adoption Appeal No 29 of 2009; ILDC 1345 (MW 2009)

Friday Matinee

Posted By on May 28, 2010

Lights!  Cameras!  Action!  Memorial Day Weekend is the start of the blockbuster summer movie season.  Let’s kick off the season with a few gems from the film archives of the federal government.

Winged Scourge.  This 1943 info-tainment film, made by Walt Disney, demonstrates the latest methods in mosquito prevention showing the Seven Dwarfs implementing various techniques.   That’s right, the Seven Dwarfs.  Some of the advice still holds true today; eliminate standing water, patch cracks in your windows and doors to prevent infestations.  Other techniques seem a little, um, unusual, including spreading oil on ponds to kill mosquito larvae.  Can’t wait for the Dwarfs?  Jump to minute 4.57.

Atomic Attack.  Get out your hanky for this 1950 tearjerker.  One bright sunny day, a nuclear bomb is dropped on the city of New York.  Watch one Westchester family struggle to survive in a post-apocalyptic world.  Did her husband survive the blast in New York?  Will the dashing young doctor, played by Walter Matthau, save the youngest daughter from radiation sickness?  Will the civil defense workers realize that walking around in rain immediately after a nuclear blast may not be the best of ideas?  And why is the older daughter’s chemistry teacher hiding at their house?

Krazy for Kagan

Posted By on May 28, 2010

If you’re looking to update yourself on Elena Kagan’s resume, writings, and her responses to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary’s questionnaire, there’s some great websites for you to check out.

  • Senate Committee on the Judiciary.  The Committee on the Judiciary has posted Kagan’s completed questionnaire as well as all her writings and speeches that are referenced within the questionnaire.  The site organizes her body of work by question number and then in reverse chronological order.
  • Law Library of Congress.  The Law Library of Congress has compiled a site that has full-text of Kagan’s articles, her confirmation hearing as Solicitor General, transcripts of her oral arguments before the Supreme Court, and a round-up of blogs and news organization sites on Kagan.

Kagan’s nomination hearing is set for June 28th.

WEXIS Alternatives?

Posted By on May 25, 2010

Have you heard of Loislaw?  Fastcase?  Casemaker? Each is a lower cost alternative to Westlaw and Lexis that appears to be a survivor in the legal research arena.  You may be thinking, “why do we care?  We have free access to Westlaw and Lexis.”

Here’s why you care:

  1. Our access to Westlaw and Lexis is not free and is an increasingly large line in the library’s shrinking acquisitions’ budget.
  2. Our students lose their ‘free’ access each summer as they head off to summer jobs.
  3. When they graduate, most of our students are going to be in a cost conscious environment and it’s our job to send them out as prepared as possible.

Fastcase is a free service for many attorneys.  Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri Nevada, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Tennessee, Wisconsin,  and Virginia are among the bar associations that offer free Fastcase access to their Bar members.

Some of the Benefits of Fastcase:

  • The computer generation will like the Google-like searching capability
  • The low cost

Downsides are:

  • No value added materials … no digests or annotations. No searching by headnotes.
  • Secondary sources are limited to bar publications and even those are not included in the free subscription.
  • To do a sufficient cite check, you still need to KeyCite and/or Shepardize your source.

You can read more complete reviews of Fastcase at

You can try it out for yourself.  We have ip authenticated access which means that if you go to http://law.wustl.edu/Library/pages.aspx?id=7813 and click on the FastCase icon, you can try it out (don’t forget that if you are at home, you must first connect to the VPN).

It’s Friday

Posted By on May 21, 2010

For your amusement from the website Overheard in Court:
Somewhat appropriate for today
Same objection, different name…
Brand new attorney and a judge with a sense of humor.
ATTORNEY: Objection, Judge! He is beating a dead horse!
JUDGE: Is that your legal objection?
ATTORNEY: Yes, Judge
JUDGE: I don’t see that as a legal objection.
ATTORNEY: It is listed somewhere between, “Objection, that’s confusing” and “Objection, its’ just not right to ask that question.”
JUDGE: Well, then in that case, I’ll sustain it, but next time you might want to just say, “Objection, asked and answered.”

and then there’s just plain funny …
Just a man… now
From: court reporter
Q. You said earlier that your dad has changed since the accident?
A. Yes.
Q. Can you tell us exactly how your dad has changed?
A. My dad used to be able to do everything. He was real smart. He could do several things at once. He could multitask. Since the accident, he hasn’t been able to do that.
Q. You mean, he’s more like a man now?
(Side note: The attorney was a man, and laughter followed.)

Seussical Suit
Office building tenant suing landlord for maintenance problems
Q. And what was your complaint?
A. Well, there were ants in the plants.
Q. Ants in the plants?
A. Yes, in all of our indoor plants. They were everywhere.
Q. I see. Anything else? Other complaints, problems?
A. Yes. There were also bugs in the rugs.
Q. So ants in the plants and bugs in the rugs?
A. Exactly.
MR. ATTORNEY: (Pauses)Could…we..go off..the record?

When in Rome…
Q. When did the noteholders first contemplate that they may make a bid, and so pull back from receiving information about the company’s sale of assets?
A. The noteholders?
Q. Yes.
A. Qua noteholders?
Q. Yes.
COURT REPORTER: You said “qua”?
THE WITNESS: Qua. Q-U-A. Sorry, I’m surrounded by lawyers. I can’t help it.

Oyez, Oyez, Oyez!

Posted By on May 19, 2010

Elena Kagan’s nomination got you thinking about the Supreme Court?

Then, spend some time with Oyez.  Oyez, brought to you by the National Science Foundation, is website devoted to all things Supreme Court.  Here’s a sampling of what’s available:

  • Recordings of oral arguments from current and past cases, i.e. U.S. v. Lopez (1995)
  • A virtual tour!  Check out the pic of Justices Ginsberg and Scalia on top of an elephant located in Ginseberg’s chambers
  • Listing of attorneys who have appeared before the Court
  • Summaries of cases (browse by year or search by keyword) and links to opinions
  • Pictures and bios of the Justices, both past and present, like John Blair,
    a Washington appointee to the court and one of the original justices.

Turkey: Legislature Approves Amendments to Constitution

Posted By on May 18, 2010


(May. 12, 2010) The Grand National Assembly (Turkey’s parliament) approved a set of amendments to the Turkish Constitution on May 7, 2010. The changes, proposed by the ruling Justice and Development Party, include a revamping of the Constitutional Court, major restructuring of the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors, and new restrictions on the power of military courts. (Hilary Stemple, Turkish Parliament Approves Constitutional Reforms, PAPER CHASE NEWSBURST, May 7, 2010, available at http://jurist.org/paperchase/2010/05/turkish-parliament-approves-constit
; Türkiye Cumhuriyeti Anayasasının Bazı Maddelerinde Değişiklik Yapilmasi Hakkinda Kanun [Text of the 26 amendments in Turkish], Law No. 5982, May 7, 2010, Grand National Assembly of Turkey website, available at http://www.tbmm.gov.tr/kanunlar/k5982.html.)

Whether and how to use foreign caselaw when interpreting the U.S. Constitution:

Posted By on May 18, 2010

See blog article from Comparative Constitutions.

We have the book  that is mentioned the blog. “Constitutional Engagement in a Transnational Era” by Vicki C. Jackson  K3165 .J3253 2010

Friday Fun

Posted By on May 14, 2010

from http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/law_librarian_blog/2010/05/friday-fun-printing-from-the-ipad.html

May 14, 2010

Friday Fun: Printing from the iPad (and Other iPad Functionalities)

Hat tip to PC World’s JR Raphael who writes in The Apple iPad Printing Secret, “The good folks at The Form Group, an Ohio-based visual design firm, have come up with a fantastic workaround that lets you print directly from your iPad. No major modifications are needed, and you’ll be up and running in minutes.” Here’s the how-to!


After trying to print, here’s a iPad use for copy-capable “devices.” Hat tip to The LIS Kid. [JH]


May 14, 2010 in Friday Fun | Permalink