Legal News of the Day: SEC Conflict Minerals Rule Under Scrutiny

Earlier this month, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit Court held oral arguments on whether the requirement that publicly traded companies disclose the use of certain minerals from certain African countries is a violation of the First Amendment and whether the SEC took arbitrary actions when adopting the rule.Cg-map

A trio of business groups challenged the Securities and Exchange Commission’s conflict minerals rule, but the district court upheld the rule.  The rule, meant to cut off funding for those perpetrating human rights abuses, requires companies to disclose whether their products contain tin, tunsten, tantalum, or gold from the Democratic Republic of Congo and its neighbors, but the business groups question whether the rule would help the African people and argue that complying with the rule would cost companies billions of dollars.  They also argue that the SEC could make compliance less of a burden by exempting those companies who use only trace amounts of the minerals in question.  The First Amendment argument is that the rule forces them to criticize their own products; during the oral arguments, the panel seemed concern that making companies share this information could be a “slippery slope.”  The SEC argues that it is following its Congressional mandate by creating the rule.

Legal News of the Day: SCOTUS Hears Arguments on Recess Appointments

Yesterday, the Supreme Court heard arguments in NLRB v. Noel Canning to decide whether the president’s power to make recess appointments can be exercised:

  • during a recess that occurs within a session of the Senate OR is limited to recesses that occur between enumerated sessions of the Senate
  • to fill any vacancy that exists during a recess OR is limited to those that arise during the recess

Last January, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit held that three appointments to the National Labor Relations Board by President Obama were unconstitutional.  The government appeals that decision.

For a review of the argument, see this SCOTUSblog post.

Legal News of the Day: Supreme Court Hears Argument on Authority of Military Bases to Punish Protestors

This morning, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the case of United States v. Apel, concerning whether military bases have the authority to punish anti-war protestors who violate the rules of access to military facilities.  The military base in question is Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, a base that the public needs special permission to enter, but across which runs Pacific Coast Highway, a public road, which are generally open to free speech activity.  In the late 1980s, a commander set up a public protest area just outside the main gate, along the highway.  There are laws making it a crime to enter a military base for an illegal purpose and to reenter a base after having been barred or removed from a base, but the federal government formally gave the state of California an easement to use the part of the Pacific Coast Highway that runs across the edge of the base as a public road.  The protest zone is within the space covered by the easement.

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The defendant in the case is no longer welcome in the protest zone due to an earlier incident in which he through blood on a sign at the gate of the base and then again years later for trespassing.  In 2010, Mr. Apel entered the protest zone on three occasions.  He was charged for violating the provision hat criminalizes entering a base after having been barred previously and convicted.  The Ninth Circuit overturned that conviction, relying on a prior case from the same military base that stated the Air Force can only punish those entering a base without permission if the military has “the exclusive right of possession” of the property and concluding that it shares authority over the protest zone and the part of Pacific Coast Highway because of the easement.

Check out SCOTUSblog’s analysis on the upcoming arguments to see the issues that will likely arise and what the court will be considering.

Legal News of the Day: Supreme Court Refuses to Hear Cases Challenging Internet-Only Sales Tax

Amazon_logoOn Monday, the Court refused to hear two new cases that challenged state taxes on Internet-only sales in states where those companies do not have a physical presence: Overstock.com Inc., v. New York Taxation Dep’t and Amazon.com v. New York Taxation Dep’t.  In both cases, the Internet retailers argued that they had no presence in the state and should be exempt from taxes on purchases made on those Internet retail sites by New York customers.  The Court of Appeals (the highest court in the state) ruled that they were subject to tax in New York because contracts with third-party local affiliates that generate customers for them through Internet links to the retailers’ websites is a substantial enough nexus to force the companies to collect taxes.  The Washington post posited that the court’s decision to stay out of the issue may pressure Congress to come up with a solution on a national level; in the meantime, Overstock.com has suspended its relationships with the local affiliates to avoid having to conform to the New York law.

Law Library Expands Hours

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The library will be open the following, expanded hours for Thanksgiving week:

Tuesday:  8:00am-12:00am
Wednesday:  8:00am-11:00pm
Thursday:  Closed for Thanksgiving
Friday:  11:00am-11:00pm

The library will be open the following hours during the exam period (Saturday, November 30th through Friday, December 13th:

Saturdays: 9:00am-11:00pm
Sundays: 9:00am-1:00am
Mondays-Thursdays:  7:00am–1:00am
Fridays: 7:00am-11:00pm (Note: The library will close at 7:00pm on Friday, Dec. 13th)

Good luck on exams, and please see a reference librarian for the CALI access code or to help find any other study materials that might be helpful as you prepare for exams!

New SCOTUSblog Feature: Why Supreme Court Cases Settle

Supreme CourtCheck out this latest SCOTUSblog post on why Supreme Court cases settle.  The post was written in light of the recent settlement in the Mount Holly v. Mount Holly Garden Citizens in Action Inc. housing discrimination lawsuit.  The post is part of a larger series called SCOTUS for law students; you can check out all the post in the SCOTUS for law students series here.

Legal News of the Day: SCOTUS Declines to Hear Case Challenging the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court

On Monday, the Supreme Court denied the petition for certiorari in a case challenging the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court’s April order requiring Verizon to turn over data to the National Security Agency including telephone calls and internet exchanges of United States citizens.  The petition, brought by the Electronic Privacy Information Center, sought to vacate the order and block similar orders, questioning whether the FISC exceeded its authority.

Prepping For Exams? Help is Here!

The library has lots of study aids available to help you prepare for your substantive law class exams.

The Study Aids are located across from the Reference Desk, to your left as you enter the library; there are also some study aids on reserve.  If you’re looking for practice questions with sample answers, this is the place to go; it can be very helpful for you to test what you know and find out what you might need to review again.  They can also help you think about how to approach questions; for example, the Crunchtime series has flow charts that were very helpful for me when I was in law school in making a plan of attack for certain types of questions.

Also helpful are CALI lessons.  It has lessons on all the first year courses, and again they are a great way to review hat 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 already, you can do so by going to the following website:  http://www.cali.org/user/register.  You’ll create your own password once you’re there. You’ll need USC’s authorization code.  Stop by the reference desk or ask your favorite reference librarian for it!

Good luck with studying!

Great Resources – HeinOnline: U.S. Attorney General & Department of Justice Collection

heinonline-logoThis fifty-fifth installment continues our series on HeinOnline’s digital collections.

HeinOnline’s database “U.S. Attorney General & Department of Justice Collection” is a resource that contains information, including government documents, Commission reports, hearing transcripts, and other various materials generated by or pertaining to the operation of the Attorney General’s office and the Department of Justice, as well as other Federal.  There are items from as far back as the 1860’s, including the department’s “Opinion on the Constitutional Power of the Military to Try and Execute Assassins of the President,” from 1865; and “Opinions of the Confederate Attorneys General,” from 1861-1865.  There are a number of items from the 1960’s and 1970’s, and only a few from more recent years.  There are a number of transcripts of confirmation hearings of past attorney general nominees.  The sources are listed in alphabetical order; it would be more logical to arrange them in chronological order.  The volumes can be searched by citation, or by keywords.

To access the Index to U.S. Attorney General & Department of Justice Collection, click here and select HeinOnline under Legal Search Engines Research.

To read up on other HeinOnline digital collections, see our coverage of these other helpful resources: Congress and the CourtsHistory of Supreme Court NominationsSession Laws Library/State Statutes: A Historical ArchiveU.S. International Trade LibraryChildren’s Law Journal,  Intellectual Property Law Collection,  State Attorney General Reports and OpinionsAmerican Indian Law CollectionWorld Constitutions IllustratedTaxation and Economic Reform in America, Parts I and IIU.S. Presidential LibraryEnglish ReportsWorld Trials LibraryU.S. Supreme Court LibraryFederal Register LibraryForeign & International Law Resources DatabaseNational Moot Court CompetitionAmerican Law Institute LibraryHistory of Bankruptcy:  Taxation & Economic Reform in America Part IIIStatutes of the RealmLegal Classics LibraryHistory of International LawU.S. Federal Legislative History LibraryPentagon PapersTreaties and Agreements Library, Canada Supreme Court Reports/Revised Statutes of CanadaU.S. Congressional DocumentsEuropean Centre for Minority IssuesForeign Relations of the United States (FRUS)U.S. Federal Agency Documents, Decisions, & AppealsLaw Journal LibrarySelden Society Publications and The History of Early English LawSubject Compilations of State LawsEarly American Case LawSpinelli’s Law Library Reference ShelfHarvard Journal of Law & TechnologyPhilip C. Jessup LibraryNational Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State LawsHarvard Research in International Law International Journal of the Jurisprudence of the FamilyAssociation of American Law Libraries (AALL)Association of American Law Schools (AALS)United States CodeManual of Patent Examining ProcedureBar JournalsCode of Federal Regulations,United Nations Law CollectionCataloging Online,  Parker School of Foreign and Comparative Law Publications, U.S. Statutes at Large, and Foreign Legal Periodicals.

Great Resources: HeinOnline – Index to Foreign Legal Periodicals

This fifty-fourth installment continues our series on HeinOnline’s digital collections.

heinonline-logoThe Index to Foreign Legal Periodicals (IFLP) is a multilingual index to articles and book reviews in over 500 legal journals from around the world.  It is produced by the Berkeley Law Library at the University of California, Berkeley for the American Association of Law Libraries.  The IFLP is an excellent resource for anyone researching public or private international law, comparative or foreign law, or the law of jurisdictions other than the United States, the UK, Canada and Australia.  The IFLP also includes analysis of the contents of about 80 individually published collections of legal essays, Festschriften, Melanges, and congress reports each year.

The IFLP collection dates back to 1985 (with a digitized version of the entire print index dating back to 1960) and includes records covering more than 265,000 articles and over 31,000 book reviews.  It also contains links to the full text of the more than 34,000 articles and book reviews that are available in HeinOnline’s other collections.  The IFLP collection is fully searchable by keyword, title, country of publication, and many other access points.

To access the Index to Foreign Legal Periodicals, click here and select HeinOnline under Legal Search Engines Research.

To read up on other HeinOnline digital collections, see our coverage of these other helpful resources: Congress and the CourtsHistory of Supreme Court NominationsSession Laws Library/State Statutes: A Historical ArchiveU.S. International Trade LibraryChildren’s Law Journal,  Intellectual Property Law Collection,  State Attorney General Reports and OpinionsAmerican Indian Law CollectionWorld Constitutions IllustratedTaxation and Economic Reform in America, Parts I and IIU.S. Presidential LibraryEnglish ReportsWorld Trials LibraryU.S. Supreme Court LibraryFederal Register LibraryForeign & International Law Resources DatabaseNational Moot Court CompetitionAmerican Law Institute LibraryHistory of Bankruptcy:  Taxation & Economic Reform in America Part IIIStatutes of the RealmLegal Classics LibraryHistory of International LawU.S. Federal Legislative History LibraryPentagon PapersTreaties and Agreements Library, Canada Supreme Court Reports/Revised Statutes of CanadaU.S. Congressional DocumentsEuropean Centre for Minority IssuesForeign Relations of the United States (FRUS)U.S. Federal Agency Documents, Decisions, & AppealsLaw Journal LibrarySelden Society Publications and The History of Early English LawSubject Compilations of State LawsEarly American Case LawSpinelli’s Law Library Reference ShelfHarvard Journal of Law & TechnologyPhilip C. Jessup LibraryNational Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State LawsHarvard Research in International Law International Journal of the Jurisprudence of the FamilyAssociation of American Law Libraries (AALL)Association of American Law Schools (AALS)United States CodeManual of Patent Examining ProcedureBar JournalsCode of Federal Regulations,United Nations Law CollectionCataloging Online,  Parker School of Foreign and Comparative Law Publications, and U.S. Statutes at Large.