Maymester Hours


The law library will be open from 8:00am-7:00pm Monday through Friday during the month of May.  The library will be closed on Saturday and Sunday during May.

As usual, the Reference Desk will be staffed from 8:30am-5:00pm.

South Carolina – Where Barbeque is Law

barbecueOr at least it used to be. Here in Columbia, South Carolina, we take our barbeque very seriously.  Some of the state’s best barbeque resides here in the midlands.  The locals stand by their mustard based sauce, undeterred by the preferences of other southerners, including one outspoken Georgian expatriate .   In 1985, the South Carolina Assembly even passed a “Truth in Barbeque” law requiring some very distinct signage. The law hoped to address the fraudulent trend of selling oven-cooked pork as real barbeque, which is traditionally cooked over wood.   In particular, the law required the following:

SECTION 1. The Department of Agriculture shall design and print distinctive decals which may be displayed wherever barbeque is sold. Each decal must state one of the following:

(1) “Barbeque – Whole hog – Cooked with wood”.

(2) “Barbeque – Whole hog – Cooked from a heat source other than wood”.

(3) “Barbeque – Part of, but not whole hog – Cooked from any source of heat”.

(4) “Barbeque – Part of, but not whole hog – Cooked with wood”.

Any person who uses a decal which falsely states the type barbeque sold by him is guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction must be fined not more than two hundred dollars or imprisoned for not more than thirty days.

Not only does South Carolina have its own distinct kind of barbeque, it once took the process so seriously that it was willing, nay excited, to jail and fine those daring enough cook it improperly or dishonestly.  Sadly, the law was unceremoniously repealed in 1992, leaving us once again exposed to oven-cooked pork.  While the law no longer exists, the passion for South Carolina barbeque is as strong as ever and thriving in its mustard-based glory throughout the area.



Featured Scholarship: “The Social Medium” by Prof. Colin Miller & 3L Charles White

In a new feature, we are highlighting scholarship coming out of the University of South Carolina School of Law.  “Social Medium: Why the Authentication Bar Should Be Raised for Social Media Evidence” is the inaugural article published in the Temple Law Review Online, a new publishing platform meant to highlight shorter articles, articles on timely issues, or responses to the articles published in the print edition of the Temple Law Review.  Written by Associate Dean for Faculty Development, Colin Miller, and 2015 graduate Charles White, the article looks at the recent trend of using social media evidence and why a more strict authentication standard is needed for social media evidence to be used.

Check out the article here.

10 Things to Do in Columbia in May

Exams are over, graduation is imminent, and now is the time to get out there and explore the best of what spring in the Midlands has to offer.  Here are ten awesome things happening this month in (and near) Columbia.

1.  Love good food?  Attend the 5th Annual Taste of Black Columbia: An Evening with Kenny Latimore.  The event celebrates local caterers and chefs, while supporting local historically black colleges and universities.   May 8th, $65/$55.

2.  Go in search of the Holy Grail!  Spamalot is playing at the Town Theatre from May 8th-May 29th.  Tickets range from $15-$25.

3.  Have some spooky fun on a Moonlight Cemetery Tour!  On May 14th, grab your flashlight and tour Elmwood Cemetery.   Starts at 7:30pm, $12/adults and $6/youth.

4.  Attend the SC Book Festival from May 15th through 17th at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center.  Over 100 authors will be there doing readings, having panel discussions, and signing books.  Saturday and Sunday are free to everyone!

5.  Check out the first ever Saluda Shoals MusicFest on May 16th, 2015 from 1pm-8pm.  $10/person.

6.  Do you have disco fever?  Sign up for the Disco Dash 5k & Boogie Youth Run in Hopkins, SC.  May 16th, starting time 9:30.  Race admissions are $35 w/ shirt, and $25 w/o shirt.

7.  Looking for some family fun?  Check out the Forest Acres Festival from 10am-4pm at AC Flora Athletic field on May 16th.  Admission and rides are all free!  And there’s a petting zoo AND pony rides!!! 

8.  Learn more about family fitness at Gimme Five Family Fitness Day.  Families can participate in obstacle courses, relay races and cooking demonstrations.  Located at Charles Drew Wellness Center from 11am-3pm.

9.  Love local music?  Check out Edventure After Dark Presents: Vibes, a showcase of local singers and songwriters.  May 21st, from 6:30-8:30pm.

10.  Wanna prove how fit you are and raise money for a good cause?  Participate in the Fight for Air Climb 2015, a challenge to climb the 25 flights of stairs of the Capitol Center in downtown Columbia.  May 30th at 9:00am, $25 to participate; all proceeds benefit the American Lung Association.

May 4 – Star Wars Day, Legal Version

Title? Yoda’s Playlist Author? “Jonathan Powell – License? “CC BY 2.0″ –

May 4.  It’s the first Monday in May. For USC law students, it’s the first Monday after finals.   It’s also STAR WARS DAY!!!! (May 4th, May the force.  Get it…..?)  Typically, this kind of day has very little to do with us here in the legal community.  Beyond some themed ties and maybe pins, lawyers are generally unable to celebrate Star Wars Day.

However, that doesn’t mean lawyers are not involved.  As is usually the case, Star Wars day brings up a few interesting legal issues for businesses.  The folks over at  Legalmatter Blog have done a really interesting write up on intellectual property issues that can arise out of these kinds of “tribute days.”  For instance;

“While it’s true that Star Wars references are everywhere on May the 4th, there’s a big difference between a diehard fanboy celebrating the day by tweeting a picture of him and his friends dressed as Jedi; and a retail chain sponsoring a contest urging its employees to do the same. There’s a good chance the latter would be considered commercial speech, while the former almost certainly wouldn’t be. And that’s significant, because commercial speech (the legal term for advertising) is subject to a higher level of scrutiny than non-commercial speech. And for that reason, it involves more inherent legal risk.”

They also say businesses can even get into trouble by associating their brand with Star Wars.

For this reason, a permissible tribute does not attempt to reproduce or recreate any Star Wars logos, or even directly mention the names of trademarked characters. Any references to that galaxy far, far away tends to be indirect and implicit. A tribute can evoke the spirit of Star Wars by hinting at its themes; but it shouldn’t make overt use of any trademarks, which could lead to an implied association. That’s the path to dark side of infringement.

For the whole article, or just a really interesting blog about intellectual property, visit the Legalmatter Blog.

This Week In Legal News

On Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the same-sex marriage icon for blog

On Wednesday, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a challenge to Oklahoma’s lethal-injection protocol.

Also on Wednesday, the North Carolina House of Representatives passed legislation to resume executions.  The state has not carried out executions since 2006.

On Thursday, a terminally-ill South African man won the legal right to physician-assisted suicide, a procedure that is illegal in South Africa.

Are You Working as an Research Assistant This Summer?

If so, we have a great training opportunity for you on May 13th and May 14th.  As you know, in the 1L curriculum, we focus primarily on primary sources at both the state and federal level.  There are a ton of other resources out there that can aid hugely in your efforts to be a kick-butt research assistant.

Why do you wanna be a kick-butt research assistant?  So the professor you’re working for loves you and becomes an enthusiastic reference for you in your job search!

We are covering a bunch of different topics and you can pick the ones you believe will be relevant to your summer research.  If you have questions about this, talk to the professor you’re working for and get the specifics of your project.  Then, come talk to us and we can recommend sessions that would be helpful!

To sign up:  Sign in to WestlawNext, and select the TWEN tab to see your courses.  Then select the orange Add Course button.  Check the box next to RA Training 2015 and hit submit at the bottom of the page.  Once you do this, you will see the course listed under My Courses.  Choose which sessions you want to attend by signing up for those sessions using the Sign-Up Sheets link.

Here’s the schedule:

Wednesday, May 13th, Room 135
9:00-9:30: Introductions, Library Policies & Procedures
9:30-10:15:  Specialized & Non-Legal Resources 10:15-10:30:  Break
10:30-11:30:  International Resources
11:30-12:00:  Online Catalog
12:00-12:45:  LexisAdvance Presentation & Lunch
12:45-1:45:  Administrative Law

Thursday, May 14th, Room 135
9:00-9:45:  WestlawNext
9:45-10:30:  Legislative History
10:30-11:15:  Citation
11:15-11:30:  Break
11:30-12:00:  Current Awareness
12:00-12:45:  Bloomberg Law Presentation & Lunch

We hope to see all you Research Assistants there!  If you can’t make a session, but want an overview of that area of legal research, please contact the presenter for each session, as listed on the TWEN course.

Have You Ever Wondered What This Thing Is?


Enormous paperweight, book binding machine, or perhaps a torture device for late library book offenders?  Actually, it’s an antique copy machine. If you think current copiers can be a pain, keep this tedious process in mind the next time you have a multitude of pages to reproduce!

For more information on the letter press copier and other 19th century law office devices, check out The Law Library’s Colcock-Hutson Collection here.

Getting to Know Your Law Library: Alyson Drake

pumpkinsProfessor Alyson Drake is in her third year of teaching the Legal Research, Analysis, and Writing course and working at the Coleman Karesh Law Library.  In addition to teaching LRAW, she helped develop and teach the Legal Research for Practice Workshop, and will be teaching a new course this Maymester on Foreign & International Legal Research.  You can also spot her at the Ref Desk a few mornings a week.  She answered 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?  I tend to prefer the classics (and by that I mean Ancient Greek epic poetry and philosophy–nerd alert!), but my favorite modern novel is Bel Canto by Ann Patchett.  I think it’s a really beautiful thought piece on humanity and the bonds we make across background, age, and ethnicity.

2.  What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?  I’d want to be a photographer.  While I like shooting black and white landscapes the most, I think it’d be a blast shooting weddings and engagements and baby pictures–you’re there for all of life’s happiest moments.

3.  What profession would you not like to do?  Naval officer whose job involves living on a submarine for months at a time…I’d miss the fresh air too much.  I don’t know what the Beatles were thinking wanting to live in a yellow submarine.

4.  What’s your form of exercise/outdoor activity?  Definitely swimming–it’s even more relaxing than yoga to me.

5.  If you could visit any place in the world for a two-week vacation for free, where would you go?  Ireland.  I’ve wanted to go for a long time.  The rest of my family went during my first year of law school, but it was the first week of classes and I didn’t feel I could miss them.  What would y’all have done?  :p



6.  When you have 30 minutes of free time, how do you pass the time?  Usually I spend time playing with my pup, Maxie.  She’s a snuggly little bug who loves to play fetch, so I’d probably spend the whole time throwing her tennis ball, penguin, or rope.maxie

7.  When was the last time you had an amazing meal and where did you have it?  In Greenville.  We were going to see Wicked at the Peace Center, and we went out to a French bistro-type place beforehand: Passerelle Bistro.  The parsley-lemon stuffed mountain trout was seriously yummy, and so was the pork roulade my significant other got–especially the side of sweet potato–Roquefort cheese gratin that came with it.  Mmmmmmm, delicious!

Disclosure: When Prof. Drake answered this question in February, this was the last amazing meal she’d had.  But two weeks ago, her significant other made the most delicious leg of lamb on the grill and it surpassed even the cheese gratin!

Prof. Drake totally has this much swagger.

Prof. Drake totally has this much swagger.

8.  If you could be any fictional character, who would you be?  I think I’d pick Merry from the Lord of the Rings trilogy.  He was able better able to handle serious matters than Pip, but still largely seemed to enjoy life.  Plus, he got to travel all over Middle Earth and meet Treebeard.  Who doesn’t want to meet an Ent? Answer: no one.

9.  What’s your best (legal) research tip?  Read the resources you find as you find them–it’s the only way to make sure you’re on the right track.  Gathering up a pile of cases can be tempting, but reading the first one you find that’s on point can lead you to the most important authorities on that legal issue! (And tip 2: remember that secondary sources are your friends!)

Move Over Moped – South Carolina Moped and Scooter Law

10609045206_9abcdf5188_zOne of the first things I noticed when I moved to Columbia was the overabundance of scooter traffic.  There are scooters parked in all the campus motorcycle spots.  There are scooters locked to bike locks.  There is even a scooter store a few blocks from my house.  Scooters seem to be everywhere.  I get it, they’re inexpensive and easy to drive.  The hills in Columbia make biking difficult and the USC campus is rather spread out.  Still,  the overall glut of scooters here seems odd.

As a good and devoted law librarian, I did a little research.  The mass of scooters and mopeds is due to some interesting loopholes in South Carolina law.

First, all operators much possess a valid driver’s license OR a moped license.  As we all know, you have to be 16 to obtain a regular driver’s license.  However, the same is not true of moped licenses. Moped licenses are granted without regard to eligibility, possession, or suspension of driver’s licenses.  Practically speaking, this means a few things; 1.  If your regular driver’s license is suspended, you can still obtain a moped license. 2. If you are under 16 and you want to drive, you can still get a moped license (the law currently says 14 and older).  S.C. Code Ann. § 56-1-1720 (2006).

Second, the State of South Carolina does not consider mopeds “motor vehicles.”  This means the laws regulating motor vehicles do not apply to mopeds.  This includes laws regulating registration, license plates, and even DUI.  While there is a bill in the Senate attempting to close this loophole, some judges have recently upheld that the South Carolina law prohibiting driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol does not apply to mopeds.  S.C. Code Ann. § 56-3-10 (2006).

Note: South Carolina law refers to mopeds only, but the law includes scooters as well as defined by S.C. Code Ann. § 56-5-165 (2006).