Author Archives: Alyson Drake

Getting to Know Your Library: Pamela Melton

CockydanceMany of you know Professor Pamela Melton from the 1L LRAW program or one of our upper-level research courses.  In addition to her teaching duties, Professor Melton serves as Associate Director for Library Administration.  She also keeps busy in law librarian professional organizations, currently serving as Immediate Past-President of the South Eastern Chapter of the American Association of Law Libraries.   We asked Professor Melton a few questions to get to know her a little better.

1.  We’re librarians, so the obvious first question:  What’s your favorite book?  Anything by Anthony Trollope

2.  What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?  Professional ballroom dancer

3.  What profession would you not like to do?  Dental hygienist

4.  What’s your favorite form of exercise/outdoor activity?  Any kind of partner dancing (ballroom, swing, salsa, Argentine Tango)

5.  If you could go on a road trip with any person (living or dead), whom would you choose?  Gene Kelly.  We’d hit every dance venue we could find, coast to coast.

6.  When you have 30 minutes of free time, how do you pass the time?  I play Candy Crush.

7.  If you could visit any place in the world for a two-week vacation for free, where would you go?  Italy, Kenya, or the Galapagos Island.  I can’t pick just one.

8.  When was the last time you had an amazing meal and where did you have it?  Last night (and every night) at home.  My husband is a wonderful cook.

9.  If you could be any fictional character, who would you be?  Elayne Trakand, the Daughter-Heir of Andor

10.  What’s your best (legal) research tip?  Master terms and connectors searching.  It’s the best way to use WestlawNext & Lexis Advance.

 

Celebrating the Magna Carta’s 800th Anniversary

Magna_Carta_(1297_version_with_seal,_owned_by_David_M_Rubenstein)Did you know that the Magna Carta is turning 800 years old this year?

The Magna Carta is the foundation of many freedoms enjoyed by people in more than 100 countries, as it limited the power of authoritarian rule and cemented legal ideas like trial by jury, religious liberty, and taxation limitations.

The original “Great Charter” was agreed to by King John on June 15, 1215, as he gave in to demands by barons and bishops to limit his power.  The original document would be revised several times in the first century after its creation.  The 1297 version of the Magna Carta went on to become part of English law.

500 or so years later, it became a crucial resource in the writing of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.

There are many opportunities to learn more about the Magna Carta during this anniversary year!  The first is Magna Carta 800th, a website devoted to explaining the history of the document and the influence that the Magna Carta has had worldwide.   It also includes projects, articles, and events that may be of interest, as well as an interactive map of where you can find remaining copies of the Magna Carta worldwide.  The education section includes information on the 25 barons and the important bishops who brought about the Magna Carta, as well as other resources for teaching.

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The University of South Carolina School of Law, along with the University Libraries, is also hosting Professor A.E. Dick Howard from the University of Virginia School of Law in a talk entitled, “Magna Carta: A Legacy 800 Years in the Making” on April 7th at 5:30pm in the Hollings Special Collection Library Program Room at Thoma Cooper Library.  The talk coincides with an exhibit on the Magna Carta.  For more information or to reserve a seat, email zmhilton@mailbox.sc.edu.  This is a great chance to learn more about an important document in legal history.

Getting to Know Your Law Library: Karen Taylor

taylorKaren Taylor is the Head of Access Services at the Law Library.  Ms. Taylor is our senior-most librarian and you can find her in the office behind the Circulation Desk.  We asked her a few questions to get to know her a little better.

1.  We’re librarians, so the obvious first question: What’s your favorite book?  Trustee from the Toolroom by Nevil Shute

2.  What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?  Archaeologist

3.  What profession would you not like to do?  Doctor

4.  What’s your favorite form of exercise/outdoor activity?  Swimming

5.  If you could go on a road trip with any person (living or dead), whom would you choose?  My best friend

6.  If you could visit any place in the world for a two-week vacation for free, where would you go?  Great Britain

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7.  When you have 30 minutes of free time, how do you pass the time?  Gardening

8.  When was the last time you had an amazing meal and where did you have it?  Last week, at home

9.  If you could be any fictional character, who would you be?  Claire Randall (from the Outlander series)

10.  What’s your best (legal) research tip?  Keep the search simple

 

 

Getting to Know Your Law Library: Joey Plumley

Joey Plumley is the Law Library’s Acquisitions and Access Services PLUMLEY, JOEY 142__084-1047Assistant.  In addition to working as a member of our Technical Services Department, you’ll find him working nights at the Circulation Desk.  We asked Joey a few questions to get to know him better!

1.  We’re librarians, so the obvious first question:  What’s your favorite book?  The Icewind Dale Trilogy.

2.  What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?  I have had a number of other professions before this one…but one I have not tried would be something in sports management.

3. What profession would you not like to do?  Not a farmer, construction worker, or miner.

4.  What’s your favorite form of exercise/outdoor activity?  I enjoy golf and tennis, but have not done either in a while due to a shoulder injury.

5.  If you could go on a road trip with any person (living or dead), whom would you choose?  I would choose my mom, who passed away a number of years ago.

6.  If you could visit any place in the world for a two-week vacation for free, where would you go?  If everything would be covered, then gambling in Law Vegas!!!1_Las_vegas_strip
7.  When you have 30 minutes of free time, how do you pass the time?  I try to catch up on current events or my favorite TV shows when I have the chance.

8.  When was the last time you had an amazing meal and where did you have it?  I recently had lunch at McCutchen House here on campus and it was very good.batman_color_by_txboi001-d4ad6u5

9.  If you could be any fictional character, who would you be?  I’m Batman.

10.  What’s your best (legal) research tip?  When asked by new law students, I always suggest that they get to know a reference librarian and make them their friend.

Celebrating Women’s History Month: Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act

In March, we celebrate Women’s History Month.  In recognition of this, we are taking a look back at the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.  The Act arose out of a Supreme Court case.

Lilly Ledbetter was an employee at the Goodyear Plant in Gadsden, Alabama.  Upon receiving an anonymous note revealing the salaries of her three male co-managers, she filed a complaint with the EEOC.  She had previously been the victim of sexual harassment at her workplace and had been told by her boss that he didn’t think a woman should be working at the plant.  Her case went to trial and the jury awarded her back-pay, as well as millions in compensatory and punitive damages for the discrimination she had faced.

The Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit reversed the jury’s verdict, arguing that the case was filed too late–despite the fact that she continued to receive discriminatory pay.  They reasoned that the company’s decision to pay her less than her male counterparts had been made years earlier.  The Supreme Court upheld the Eleventh Circuit’s decision in a 5-4 opinion, stating that employees can’t challenge ongoing pay discrimination if the original decision to pay the employee in a discriminatory fashion occurred more than 180 days earlier–even if that employee was continuing to be paid less.

The decision upset longstanding precedent under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and undermined Congress’s objectives to eliminate workplace discrimination.  In her dissenting opinion, Justice Ginsberg said pointed out that someone could still take action to fix this discriminatory treatment– “[o]nce again, the ball is in Congress’ court.”

In less than two years, Congress did just that, passing the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009.  Under the act, each discriminatory paycheck resets the 180-day limit to file a claim, rather than the original decision to discriminate.  This allows employees who are unaware of discrimination initially to challenge pay discrimination when they find out about it.

To listen to the Supreme Court oral arguments or read the opinion, visit Oyez.

Getting to Know Your Law Library: Rebekah Maxwell

spellslinger-1In addition to teaching in the first-year Legal Research, Analysis, and Writing program, Rebekah Maxwell is the Associate Director for Library Operations.  We asked her a few questions to get to know her a little better.

1.  We’re librarians, so the obvious first question: What’s your favorite book?  The Dark Tower series by Stephen Kingdark-tower-covers1

2.  What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?  Mortuary Science

3.  What profession would you not like to do?  Euthanasia tech at animal shelter

4.  What’s your favorite form of exercise/outdoor activity?  Walking

5.  If you could go on a road trip with any person (living or dead), whom would you choose?  Freddie Mercury

6.  If you could visit any place in the world for a two-week vacation for free, where would you go?  Cumberland Island, GAcumberland

7.  When you have 30 minutes of free time, how do you pass the time?  Walking to my car…

sherlock-holmes-147255_6408.  When was the last time you had an amazing meal and where did you have it?  Last week at Taco Time on Garner’s Ferry

9.  If you could be any fictional character, who would you be?  Sherlock Holmes

10.  What’s your best (legal) research tip?  Follow instructions

ABA’s Little Book of ______ Law Series

Have you ever wondered about the legal ramifications of what happens when a restaurant receives a bad review by a food critic?  What about the coffee house craze; when–according to the law–is there too much of a good thing?  Have you ever thought about fashion as expression under the first amendment?  What about Elvis impersonators, how are the boundaries of their impersonations defined legally?  Who is responsible for a treacherous treadmill, the owner or the seller?  Can one engage in running sans clothing to get fit?  What are the statutory interpretations of cowboy boots?  Can the boots be defined as weapons?

These and so many other questions are answered by the books in the American Bar Association’s Little Book of _______ Law series. A quick read, each title in the series is filled with quirky and fun anecdotes of litigation and other aspects of the law. If you have a particular interest outside of the law, check out the following titles owned by the law library to see if a title exists that addresses the legal issues of your particular passion:

Little Book of BBQ Law
Little Book of Basketball Law
Little Book of Boating Law
Little Book of Coffee Law
Little Book of College Football Law
Little Book of Cowboy Law
Little Book of Elvis Law
Little Book of Fashion Law
Little Book of Fitness Law
Little Book of Foodie Law
Little Book of Golf Law
Little Book of Horse Racing Law
Little Book of Hunting and Fishing Law
Little Book of Music Law
Little Book of Movie Law
Little Book of Skiing Law
Little Book of Space Law

Any of these books would be a great gift for the lawyer on your list!

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.