Supreme Court to Make Ruling on Same-Sex Marriage

Supreme CourtOn Friday, January 16th, the Supreme Court decided to rule on same-sex marriage, granting certiorari in four cases.

The Court limited the petitions (coming from four states: Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee) to just two questions.  First, does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to license a marriage between two people of the same sex?  And second, does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out of state?  The court has allotted one hour and ninety minutes for oral arguments, but a date for the oral arguments has not yet been set.

To see the documents for the four cases involved, click the case names:  Tanco v. Haslam, Obergefell v. Hodges, DeBoer v. Snyder, and Bourke v . Beshear.

More coverage to follow on what will likely be a ground-breaking decision regardless of how the Court decides…



cartoonWhat is a courtroom actually like?  Most non-lawyers, or non serial criminals, don’t spend a lot of time in a court room.  Often our impressions of court room activity come from TV dramas and books/movies like To Kill a Mockingbird.  The real thing can actually be a lot more raucous, unorganized, and sometimes even funny.  So, before you start judging your classroom participation or your courtroom demeanor against the likes of Atticus Finch, remember that attorneys and judges can say some really ridiculous things too.

Please Label This THIS WEBSITE  Exhibit 1,

and this video exhibit 2.


This Week in Legal News

The U.S. Supreme Court this week heard oral argumennews icon for blogts in Rodriguez v. United States, a case that asks whether a police officer can extend a completed traffic stop to conduct a dog sniff, absent reasonable suspicion or other lawful justification.

On Thursday, a federal judge for the US District Court for the District of Arizona blocked a ban by that state on drivers’ licenses for immigrants who were brought to America illegally as children.

On Friday, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to review the protocol for lethal injection drugs used in executions.




The Honorable Matthew J. Perry is our second entry into  the “Who Are These People” series.  Judge Perry, or should I say the painting of Judge Perry, hangs in the esteemed position directly above the reference desk.  perryBefore becoming a Judge, Mr. Perry was one of the most important civil rights lawyers in the history of South Carolina. Chief United States District Judge Joseph Anderson once wrote “to say that Matthew Perry was good in the courtroom is like saying Mickey Mantle knew how to swing a bat . . . Aristotle taught that lawyers and judges should be the very personification of justice. Matthew J. Perry Jr. comes as close as any person I have known to meeting Aristotle’s ideal.”



Upon finishing school, Perry concluded that he needed to learn and practice law due to “a growing awareness of racial injustices, many of them manifested by state laws.”

He quickly erupted to the forefront of the Civil Rights Movement by agreeing to represent Gloria Blackwell, an African American woman who was arrested for sitting in a “whites only” waiting room upon bringing her daughter to the emergency room. Perry insisted that he be allowed to build his case around discrimination and as a result he was subsequently jailed as well for making what the court deemed to be “remarks disrespectful to the court.”  The case against Blackwell was eventually dismissed and the hospital was later integrated thanks in part to Perry’s efforts.

Judge Perry is also remembered in our Memory Hold the Door project which can be viewed here.

Matthew J. Perry, Jr.



This Week in Legal News

  • On Monday, the US Supreme Court heard a new religious rights case involving an Arizona town rnews icon for blogequiring a church to remove signs about its worship services.
  • The US Court of Appeal for the 10th Circuit affirmed the dismissal of a lawsuit against the University of Kansas School of Law by a student who was expelled for failing to disclose criminal convictions on his application.
  • On Thursday, Arizona became the first state in the nation to pass a law requiring high school students to pass a US citizenship test on civics as a condition of graduation.
  • A federal district court judge ordered the state of Michigan to recognize 323 same-sex marriages.
  • The US Supreme Court agreed on Friday to take up the issue of same-sex marriage.

New Titles: Precedent in the United States Supreme Court

precedentDid you know that the Coleman Karesh Law Library gets new titles in on almost a daily basis?  The most recent editions can be found on a cart next to the copy room on the first floor of the law library, for your perusing pleasure!

One interesting title that caught my eye this week is Precedent in the United States Supreme Court, part of the Ius Gentium: Comparative Perspectives on Law and Justice series.  This title in the series presents a variety of perspectives on the use of precedent by our nation’s highest court from constitutional law scholars at some of the nation’s best law schools.  Topics include how the court establishes precedent, how they decide to overrule precedent, the influence of concurrences and dissents, and more.

An interesting read for those interested in Constitutional Law!

MLK, Jr. Weekend Library Hours

The Coleman Karesh Law Library will be open the following hours over the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday weekend:

Friday, January 16th:  7:00am-8:00pm
Saturday, January 17th:  9:00am-5:00pm
Sunday, January 18th:  3:00pm-11:00pm
Monday, January 19th:  1:00pm-11:00pm

Regular library hours will resume on Tuesday, January 20th.

Reference assistance will be available on Friday, January 16th from 8:30am-5:00pm, but the Reference Desk will not be staffed on Monday, January 19th.

Resources You’ll Want to Know: Fastcase

A recent article entitled “The 10 Most Important Legal Technology Developments of 2014” notes that value companies, such as Fastcase and Casemaker, are beginning to be more widely used by larger firms.  The article notes that “larger firms are encouraging associates to use them for routine case law and statutory research.”  This is probably in part due to their lower costs and the fact that Fastcase and Casemaker are sometimes provided for free to dues-paying members of state bar associations.

South Carolina is one such state, recently making the switch from Casemaker to Fastcase.  To try out Fastcase and start getting familiar with it, select “Law Library Electronic Resources” from the library’s homepage.  Fastcase is listed under Legal Search Engines Research on the left hand side.  fastcase

For some videos on how to use Fastcase, select Tutorials under Help Options on the Fastcase homepage.  You can sign up for a webinar training or watch short videos on the basics of using Fastcase.

Who Are These People – Coleman Karesh

Welcome to the first post in our “Who Are These People, or WATP series.  If you have ever visited the Coleman Karesh Law Library at the University of South Carolina, you may have noticed that the library is chock full of paintings.   We decided that it might be fun to tell you a little about the men and women living in said paintings.  In turn, WATP was born. (On a side note, I’m not convinced that WATP is going to survive as an acronym.  If you have any other ideas, please let us know.)

The initial offering of the Who Are These People series is a teacher, a scholar, and the eponym of our beloved library:

Coleman Karesh

The painting is located to the right of the elevators on the first floor of the Coleman Karesh Law Library at the University of South Carolina.

And why is Professor Karesh important?  Why is he so famous that he has an entire library, nay, an entire university LAW library, as his namesake.  Does he really deserve to be the first entry in the prestigious Who Are These People blog series?  Well, let’s just ask the Memory Hold The Door project, which chronicles famous South Carolina legal professionals.  From Professor Karesh’s Memory Hold The Door entry:

“Coleman Karesh was born in Newburg, New York, the son of Rabbi David Karesh and Lena Mishkoff Karesh. He was survived by his widow, Alice Freed Karesh, and four daughters.

He graduated from the University of South Carolina, receiving an A.B. degree in 1923 and an LL.B. degree in 1925. He practiced law in Columbia for twelve years with Senator James H. Hammond.

In 1937, he joined the law faculty of the University of South Carolina and taught until his retirement in 1972. He was the first recipient of the Russell Award for Distinguished Teaching in 1957. Upon his retirement, the library in the new University of South Carolina School of Law was named the Coleman Karesh Library, recognizing his long and brilliant career in teaching. He was a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Alpha Delta, the American Law Institute, and was, for many years, the State of South Carolina’s Commissioner on Uniform State Laws.

A master teacher, his scholarship was precise and profound, his teaching blended wit with wisdom. Long after graduation, his students, judges and lawyers alike, constantly sought his counsel. No man in his generation had as much influence on the State of South Carolina’s Bench and Bar. He lives in the hearts of those who felt his reverence for the law and loyalty to its principles.”


This Week in Legal News

A few interesting legal news stories from the past week:

  • The Supreme Court denied petitions for certiorari in seven cases challenging state laws barring recognition of same sex marriages.  Perhaps not such a huge surprise given that there was no split among the lower courts.
  • The Pennsylvania Supreme Court recently held that a lifetime registration requirement for juveniles offenders to be unconstitutional.
  • Jury selection in the Boston Marathon bombing trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev began on Monday, after a federal appeals court denied his argument to change venue.
  • Kazakhstan’s new Criminal Procedure code will require police to read suspects their rights when making an arrest; the rights are based on the U.S.’s Miranda warnings.
  • The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit upheld a New York state rule barring children who are not immunized from public schools, due in large part to an exception allowing children whose parents have “genuine and sincere religious beliefs which are contrary to” the rule not to be immunized.

What’s on your legal news radar this week?  Let us know in the comments!