Author Archives: Alyson Drake

10 Things to do in Columbia in March

We know that law students often live in a bubble, but it’s important to get outside, clear your head, and think about things besides the rule of perpetuity and the commerce clause!  Whether you like art, music, or sports, there’s always plenty happening in Columbia.

Here are 10 awesome things happening right here in Columbia this month:

1)  Check out the Columbia Now: Four Photographers Show Us Our City exhibit at the Columbia Museum of Art, an photography exhibit highlighting the city we live in (All month long).

2)  Experience Columbia’s foodie scene and learn a little about Columbia’s history by booking a tour with Two Gals and a Fork.  (March’s tour is on March 7th, so book now!)

3)  Love Broadway?  Go out to see Seven Brides for Seven Brothers at Harbison Theater (March 8th).

4)  Run 10k, 5k, or 1-mile Family Fun Run as part of St. Pat’s Get to the Green event (March 14th).

5)  Then, enjoy being Irish for the day and attend St. Patty’s Day Festivities in Five Points on March 14th.

6)  Journey to Africa at the “From Here to  Timbuktu” exhibit at Edventure (Opening March 14).

7)   Enjoy a fairytale by getting tickets for the Columbia City Ballet’s production of Cinderella (March 20-21).

8)  Celebrate Columbia’s craft beer scene with any of the many events during Soda City Suds Week (March 21-28).

9)  Feel like a fancy night out?  Buy tickets for the Columbia Museum’s annual gala, A Fair to Remember (the theme is the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair) (March 27).

10)  Get colorful while getting some exercise by signing up for the 2015 Columbia Color Run 5k (March 28).


Need something free to do?  Here are some FREE things you can do.

1)  Get some fresh air hiking at Harbison State Forest!

2)  Go to Spring Trombone Night at the School of Music to listen to USC’s elite trombone ensemble perform.

3)  Hit up First Thursdays on Main on March 5, or the first Thursday of any month!

4)  See the United States Navy Band perform at the Koger Center on March 10th.  (Get your free tickets at the Koger Box Office.)

5)  Hear the Jazz Faculty perform at their recital at Johnson Performance Hall on March 26th.

6)  Take a walk at Riverfront Park.

Resources You’ll Want to Know: Jurisprudence

jurisprudenceOHCHR Jurisprudence is a new database from the UN Human Rights Office providing access to jurisprudence coming from the United Nations Treaty Bodies that receive and consider complaints from individuals:

  • the Human Rights Committee
  • the Committee Against Torture
  • the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women
  • the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
  • the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
  • the Committee on Enforced Disappearances
  • the Committee on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, and
  • the Committee on the Rights of the Child

The database is “intended to be a single source of the human rights recommendations and findings issued by” the above committee, allowing researchers to search “the vast body of legal interpretation of international human rights law as it has evolved over the past years.”  It could also be a helpful tool for those trying to prepare complaints to be submitted to one of the committees.

Researchers can do a basic keyword search, or can use the advanced search functionality, which provides a series of filters that researchers can use to narrow their results.

jurisprudencekeywordsearch AM

Today in History: Marbury v. Madison

Did you known that Marbury v. Madison was decided on February 24, 1803?  That’s right, 212 years ago today, the court established the power of judicial review!

A little refresher for all you current Con Law students out there!  What’s judicial review?  It’s the power of federal courts to void acts of Congress in conflict with the Constitution.  The decision in Marbury Madison helped solidify the Supreme Court as a branch of government with significant power.

As a lame duck President, Adams appointed a large number of justices of the peace for the District of Columbia.  The commissions were approved by the Senate, signed by President Adams, and affixed with an official government seal.  They were not delivered, and, upon coming into office, President Jefferson ordered his Secretary of State, James Madison, not to deliver them.  Marbury, one of those aforementioned appointees, petitioned the Supreme Court for a writ of mandamus compelling Madison to show cause as to why he should not receive his commission.

The court contemplated the question of judicial review as it considered the third question before the court–whether the Supreme Court could issue a writ.  The decision, written by Chief Justice John Marshall (pictured above), struck down section 13 of the 1789 Judiciary Act giving the Supreme Court the power to issue writs of mandamus, holding that it was a violation of the Constitution’s limited grant of original jurisdiction found in Article III, Section 2 of the United States Constitution.  As such, the Supreme Court lacked the jurisdiction to provided Marbury his desired remedy.

More importantly, the Marbury v. Madison decision noted that “it is emphatically the province and duty of the judicial department to say what the law is.”  Judicial review has enabled the Supreme Court to enforce constitutional limits on the other two branches of government.

In 2003, the ABA celebrated the 200th anniversary of Marbury v. Madison.  You can read more about the power of judicial review in Commemorating the 200th Anniversary of Marbury v. Madison: The Supreme Court’s First Great Case. You can read the Marbury v. Madison decision here.

Celebrating African American History Month: A Look Back at South Carolina’s Legal Role in the Civil Rights Movement, Part 2

This month, we are taking a look back at some of the landmark legal cases originating out of South Carolina.  Earlier this month, we looked back at Briggs v. Elliott, one of the cases combined into what became known as Brown v. Board of Education.

Today, we are going to look at Edwards v. South Carolina.   This case arose out of an organized march to the South Carolina State House grounds by 187 African-American high school and college students on March 2, 1961.  The group assembled peacefully at Zion Baptist Church in Columbia and marched in groups of fifteen to the South Carolina State House, where they peacefully expressed their grievances regarding civil rights.  Police told them to disperse or face arrest; when they chose not to disperse, instead singing religious and patriotic songs, the protesters were arrested for and later convicted of the common law crime of breach of the peace.

The Supreme Court eventually held in an 8-1 decision that arresting and convicting the petitioners was an infringement of the petitioner’s rights of free speech, free assembly and freedom to petition for a redress of grievances, all rights guaranteed by the Firth Amendment and protected by the Fourteenth Amendment from invasion by the States.  Justice Stewart wrote that the marchers’ actions were a clear example of First Amendment rights in “their most pristine and classic form,” and that states cannot make “the peaceful expression of unpopular views” criminal.

Students can listen to the oral argument before the Supreme Court at Oyez and read the Edwards v. South Carolina opinion here.  You can also watch a video about Edwards v. South Carolina.


Image credit:  The State newspaper,

Happening Now: Water “Law-gged”

SCLRToday and tomorrow in the Strom Thurmond Law Auditorium at USC, the South Carolina Law Review is hosting their annual symposium.  This year’s event is titled:  Water “Law-gged”: The Muddy Relationship Between Water Law, the Environment, and Economic Development.

Beginning at 6:00pm tonight with a keynote address by Stanford University Professor Buzz Thompson, a leading expert in environmental law and policy, the event will feature three panel discussions on Saturday.  Friday will also include an address from Duke University professor Jim Salzman.

The event is FREE to students! This is a great opportunity to learn about the effects of water law on the environment and economic development, engage with legal scholars, and support the Law Review.  See the full schedule here.

New Titles: Lay Words for Lawyers (2nd Edition)

Check out one of the newest editions to the library’s collection, Lay Words for Lawyers, by WIlliam Drennan, a publication released by the ABA’s Solo, Small Firm, and General Practice Division.  The book attempts to explain lay words that clients coming in to your office might use or that you might want to use to connect with jurors or witnesses as your case progresses.  Words are powerful!

The book is divided into nine chapters.  Chapter 1 deciphers computer terminology; Chapters 2-6 cover generational lingo; Chapter 7 explains expressions from literary works; Chapter 8 discusses sports talk; and Chapter 9 covers terms that have emerged since the start of the last millennium.

Each entry explains what type of client might relate or use the term, an explanation of the term, how a lawyer might use the term in practice, and an example of how the term might be used by the lawyer.

My favorite terms from each chapter:

Chapter 1, Computers: dog food
Chapter 2, Mature (Born 1930-1945): Ivan Shark
Chapter 3, Boomers (Born 1946-1964): “Everybody’s Somebody’s Fool”
Chapter 4, Generation X (Born 1965-1977): “Alone”
Chapter 5, Generation Y (Born 1978-1996): footchild
Chapter 6, Pangenerational: Gordian knot
Chapter 7, Literary: “hoist with his own petard”
Chapter 8, Sports: beanball
Chapter 9, Millennial: cellcide

If you don’t know one or more of these examples (and there were quite a few terms I’d never heard before), stop by and pick up Lay Words for Lawyers!  You might learn a few things!  I did!

Did 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!

Celebrating African American History Month: A Look Back at South Carolina’s Legal Role in the Civil Rights Movement, Part 1

February is African American History Month.  A recent blog entry by the Library of Congress highlights the history behind the yearly commemoration.  The Library of Congress also has an African American History month guide.

This month seems like a good time to look back at some of the landmark legal cases that arose in South Carolina.

Did you know that five cases were combined into the case commonly known as Brown v. Board of Education?  The first case, filed in 1949 in the District Court of South Carolina, was called Briggs v. Elliott, and it came out of Summerton, South Carolina.  The case began in attempt of parents to find a bus so their children could get to school without having to walk miles.  Local school superintendent R.M. Elliott refused to give them just one bus, while white children had 33 buses at their disposal.  The named petitioners, the Briggs, and Rev. Joseph Armstrong DeLaine (pictured), who organized the petition for educational equality, were fired from their jobs, along with others who signed the petition.  DeLaine’s church was later burned and he moved to New York after surviving an attempted drive-by shooting.

The court ruled against the petitioners in a 2-1 decision, ordering schools to be equalized, but not integrated.  The dissent from Judge Waring stated that “[s]egregation is per se inequality.”  The Briggs case was appealed to the Supreme Case, only to be remanded to district court after County school officials sent a document reporting on their progress in equalizing the schools.  The District Court found that progress had been made towards equality.

In May, combined with four other cases into Brown v. Board of Education, the United States overturned racial discrimination in public schools.  Once Brown was decided, the lower court reversed itself and complied with the mandate issued by the Supreme Court in Brown.

Photo credits:
SC Digital Academy: Primary Documents and K-12 Lessons,




In the News: Vaccinations

Child vaccinations have been a huge issue vaccinein the news lately.  All states have legislation mandating certain vaccines for students; all state laws also have exceptions for medical reasons.  Other types of exceptions include religious or philosophical exceptions.

The National Center for State Legislatures recently posted a 50-State Summary of school vaccine requirements and exceptions.  South Carolina’s student vaccination statute is found in the South Carolina Code Annotated § 44-29-180.  According to the NCSL’s chart and the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, South Carolina allows religious exemptions, but not philosophical ones.

West Virginia and Mississippi are the only states which do not give exemptions for religious or philosophical reasons, but California lawmakers are thinking about joining them by getting rid of their  philosophical exemption.  California is one of five states (including WV and Mississippi) that does not grant religious exemptions.

Come Try Out Our Chairs!

You may have noticed a few extra pieces of furniture in the library lately.  We currently have samples of potential furniture for the law library in the new building.  Now, we need your help!!!

readingroomAs the people who will be siting in these chairs for hours on end, we really value your input!!!  Please stop by, take a seat, and compare the chairs for us with our furniture survey!

There are three different types of chairs:occasional

1)  chairs for the formal reading room

2)  chairs for the Commons (similar to the law school lobby now, but way more studyroomawesome!), and

3)  study room chairs.

Remember that we’re only testing the style of chair, not the color or fabric, which we can change.

You can find a survey on a black cart as you enter the library!  We thank you in advance for your participation!

Tech Mistakes Lawyers Are Making

By now, you know that lawyers cannot get away from technology; it’s an integral part of their everyday life, from electronic filing to electronic researching to writing documents on their computers.  Clio, a tech firm, released a list of the top “10 Tech Mistakes that Lawyers Make.”

Many on the list are things that law students can start getting in the habit of now:  including backing up your data and being aware of social media and its implications on legal practice ethics.  Others tips include simple things like not leaving your computer on overnight (because anyone could see your information that comes in).

Take a look at the list, and keep an eye out for the IT Department’s Seminar Series, taking place in both the fall and spring semester, on topics like Backing Up, Practicing Safe Computing, and Legal Apps!