Monthly Archives: November 2012

Escaping the Law School Bubble, or Home for the Holidays

As exams approach, so does going home for the holidays.  Unfortunately, after a semester (or a year or two) of law school, it’s sometimes difficult to remember how to talk about something OTHER than contracts or evidence or whatever subject you’ve just spent the last two weeks studying non-stop in order to prepare for exams.

Even worse, though, is when you just want to talk about anything BUT those topics you’ve been cramming, but your loved ones just want to ask you law-related questions.  Check out this article at for advice on how to change the steer the conversation in a different direction.

Legal News of the Day: Women File Suit Against the Army and DoD over Combat Exclusion

On Tuesday, four women serving in the armed forces filed suit against the Department of Defense and the United States Army in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in an attempt to end a policy that prevents women from serving in combat units.  The petitioners argue that the 1994 combat exclusion barring women from positions “whose primary mission is to engage in direct combat on the ground” limits women’s careers and violates the Equal Protection Clause.  In January of last year, the Military Leadership Diversity Commission recommended that women be allowed to serve in direct military combat.

Supreme Court to Consider Same-Sex Marriage

On this Friday, the Supreme Court is scheduled to consider multiple petitions seeking review of lower court decisions on the issue of same-sex marriage.  Eight  petitions deal with the constitutionality the Defense of Marriage Act of 1996 as it applies to gays and lesbians who are already legally married under state law.  Another considers a similar state law adopted in Arizona in 2009 for state employees.  The final petition involves the constitutionality of “Proposition 8,” a voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage in the state of California.

SCOTUSBlog is doing an excellent four part series on the issue of same-sex marriage this week.  Part I considers the constitutional standard of review that should be applied.  Part II considers the arguments in favor of same-sex marriage, while Part III considers the arguments against same-sex marriage.  Finally, Part IV explores the options the Justices have as they consider the petitions.  Check it out!

Exam Prep Tip for 1Ls and Beyond: CALI Lessons!

Back during library orientation the first week of school, you were all told about a fantastic resource called CALI, where they have lessons on your first year courses (and upper-level courses, too).  They are a great way to review what you’ve already studied and test what you still need to learn, or simply to give yourself a break from outlining without taking a break from studying.

If you haven’t registered for CALI yet, you can do so by going to the following website:  You’ll be asked for the authorization code, which was given to you during orientation.  If you lost your authorization code, stop by the Reference Desk or ask any of the law librarians, and we’ll get you set up!

Good luck with exam prep!


Love  There’s a new free app, available in the iTunes store, that offers you the most recent info and media on the Supreme Court’s latest happenings.

A few of the features:

  • abstracts for cases that are granted review;
  • searchable audio of oral arguments;
  • searchable transcripts; and
  • up-to-date summaries of SCOTUS’s most recent decisions.

If you like being in the know about what’s going on at the Supreme Court, this is the app for you!

For more about the app, check go here.  It’s available to iPad, iPhone, and Android.


Struggling to Find the Perfect Gift for a Legal Junkie?

Look no further:  Supreme Court Justices: Illustrated Biographies, 1789-2012.  It’s the third edition, updated to include new entries for Chief Justice Roberts and Associate Justices Alito, Kagan, and Sotomayor.  According to the description, it includes biographical essays on each justice from John Jay to Elena Kagan, and touches on “the major issues on which the justice presided.”  It comes out on December 12th, but is available for pre-order from Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Legal News of the Day: Supreme Court Issues First Opinion of New Term

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court released the first opinion of the 2012-2013 term (find the slip opinion of U.S. v. Bormes here), ruling unanimously that the federal government doesn’t automatically waive sovereign immunity through the Little Tucker Act.  Instead, the Court held that waiver of immunity occurs when a law imposing monetary damages has judicial remedies of its own.  The court did not determine if the law at issue, the Fair Credit Reporting Act, waived sovereign immunity, instead remanding the case back to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals.  F0r a summary of the case’s holding, see SCOTUSBlog’s analysis.

Listen to Supreme Court Oral Arguments (and Do Other Cool Things) at the Oyez Project

The Oyez Project is a multimedia archive of the Supreme Court’s goings on.  Soon after the Court hears oral arguments, Oyez posts audio transcripts of the arguments for your listening pleasure.

Simply visit Oyez, click on the cases tab at the top of page, and it’ll bring up the list of cases from the most recent term.  A side menu will allow you to bring up cases from past terms as well.  Click on case titles to find a brief discussion of the case, audio transcripts of the oral arguments (for those cases between the 1960s and the present), a link to the full opinion, and pictures of the justices (you can switch to have them organized by vote, by seniority or by ideology).

One neat feature is that when you play the oral arguments, it not only plays the audio, but provides picture of who’s speaking so you can keep track of which justice is asking which questions.  You’re also able to download the full transcript text.

Other features at Oyez include videos of Supreme Court argument previews by law professors, biographies of Supreme Court justices past and present, and a visual tour of the Supreme Court.

Legal News of the Day: PA Court Allows Voter ID Law Ads to Continue

A Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court judge decided Thursday that Pennsylvania can continue displaying ads encouraging voters to show ID when they vote.  In October, the court prevented the voter ID law from taking effect before tomorrow’s election.  The judge stated that the ads were intended to educate voters, not to mislead them into thinking ID is required to vote.  The ads say “Show It” in large letters, and “If you have it” in much smaller letters.