Author Archives: Rebekah

Free Access to Laws of South Africa

Calling all foreign law fans! The Oliver R. Tambo Law Library at the University of Pretoria, South Africa, has partnered with the South African Legal Information Institute and the Constitutional Court Trust to provide free access to the laws of South Africa. The site launched on 19 September 2013, and is currently a work in progress with information still being added. Check out these resources here. (Hat tip to Ms. Shirley Gilmore, Head of the Oliver R. Tambo Law Library, for getting the word out.)

New Resource for High Court of Australia

Calling all foreign law fans! Melbourne Law School has launched the first legal academic blog covering the High Court of Australia. The blog, “Opinions on High,” went live today and offers posts on most important cases from 2013 forward, as well as Features on the Court. You can also find links to opinions, acts, and other resources. You can access the blog here.

Hat tip to Carole Hinchcliff at Melbourne Law School for getting the word out!

Two New Digital Historical Resources

On Thursday, April 18, the Digital Public Libraries of America launched a beta version of a portal to American archival and historical materials. Visit the DPLA at and be amazed! And there’s more! Visit the South Carolina Digital Library for historical and archival materials at the state level. Hat tip to Kate Boyd of USC’s Thomas Cooper Library for getting the word out about these great resources.

What Not To Do In Court

Where do I start? There are many things you shouldn’t do in court, but today’s item is a good beginning. A FL defendant managed to turn a bail hearing into a 30-day sentence for contempt when she directed a rude hand gesture at the judge. Read more here.

Knowledge nugget: the article linked above has a good overview of contempt charges.

Happy Human Rights Day!

On 10 December 1948, the United Nations established an annual Human Rights Day to mark the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Declaration contains a preamble and 30 articles that outline the rights and freedoms to which anyone is entitled anywhere in the world. Visit the UN’s Human Rights Day page to read a copy of the Declaration and to get more details.

History of Per Curiam Opinions

Ever wondered how a court comes to use the designation per curiam (“by the court”) for an opinion, rather than the name of a particular author? In a recent thought-provoking piece on SCOTUSblog, Professor Ira Robbins of American University provides a history of the practice, as well as some perspective on its modern usage. Find out more here. [Hat tip to our own Candle Wester for forwarding the link!]

Is your “burn phone” data private? Maybe not.

On Tuesday, August 14, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit ruled that there is no expectation of privacy in data from a disposable cellphone. At issue in the case was the DEA’s use of GPS data from the defendant’s “burn phone,” which the defendant attempted to frame as a warrantless search. The Court was not persuaded, noting that “Because authorities tracked a known number that was voluntarily used while traveling on public thoroughfares, Skinner did not have a reasonable expectation of privacy in the GPS data and location of his cell phone.” Get the whole scoop here.