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, http://www.thestate.com/2013/02/27/2650678/capitol-march-cemented-constitutional.html

Who Are These People? Hon. Jean Hoefer Toal

toal-j-lgThe next person in our “Who Are These People?” Series is The Honorable Jean Hoefer Toal.  Judge Toal, or at least her painting, lives above the reference desk next to that of Matthew J. Perry.

Along with being a IMG_20150220_161024892_HDRUniversity of South Carolina Law Alumni, she was also the first woman, as well as the first Roman Catholic, to serve as the Chief Justice of The Supreme Court of South Carolina.  She began at the South Carolina Supreme Court as an Associate Justice in 1998 and has been the Chief Justice  since 2000.  Before her time on the bench, Judge Hoefer Toal represented fingerRichland County in the South Carolina House of Representatives for 13 years.

This Week in Legal News

news icon for blogOn Monday night,  U.S. District Judge Andrew S. Hanen, of the Brownsville Division of the Southern District of Texas, issued a temporary injunction to block implementation of President Obama’s executive orders on immigration.  The injunction was a response to a challenge to the orders filed by 26 states, a suit that the administration contends is without merit.

On Wednesday, the U.S. Court of Military Commission Review overturned the terrorism convictions of David Hicks, a former detainee at Guantanamo.

Two U.S. law schools, the State University of New York at Buffalo Law School and the University of Iowa College of Law,  have announced that they will admit some students without requiring that they take the LSAT.


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!

Who Are These People? Judge Goolsby’s Figurines

IMG_20150213_154035400The Coleman Karesh Law Library has a rather extensive collection of legal materials.  As you might guess, most of our collection focuses on things like statutes, cases, administrative materials, legal practice books, international law books, self help legal books, etc.


What you may not know is that the Coleman Karesh Law Library is home to one of the best judicial figurine collections in the country.

Judge Tolbert Goolsby, Jr. was a Judge of the South Carolina Court of Appeals from its inception in 1983 until his retirement in 2007.  Many South Carolina lawyers knew Judge Goolsby for his fair, judicious decisions.  However, those closest to Judge Goolsby knew him for something else: his collection of judicial figurines.  While serving on the bench, Judge Goolsby amassed an immense collection.  These figurines ranged from elaborately carved stone figures to glass blown pieces to paper figurines made by the mother of a former law clerk.

IMG_20150213_153835985_HDRAfter retiring, Judge Goolsby IMG_20150213_154146611_HDRgenerously donated the entirety of his collection to the Coleman Karesh Law Library, along with two beautiful wooden display cases.  The collection is so large that both cases do not hold all the figures.  Some must be stored and periodically “rotated in.” The figurines now reside in the library’s legal history room.

This Week in Legal News

The Supreme Court of Canada has struck down the nation’s ban on physician-assisted suicide.  Meanwhile, in the U.S., news icon for blogColorado legislators have rejected a bill that would have made assisted suicide available to terminally-ill patients.  Five states currently permit physician-assisted suicide: Oregon, Vermont, Washington, New Mexico and Montana.

On Monday, Alabama became the latest state to recognize marriage equality, after the U.S. Supreme Court denied a request from the state Attorney General for the extension of a stay of a federal injunction prohibiting him from enforcing Alabama’s ban on same-sex marriages.  Probate courts in a majority of Alabama’s 67 counties, however, are refusing to issue marriage licenses, either rejecting same-sex couples outright or closing their offices, after a call to such action by Chief Justice Roy Moore.  On Thursday, a federal judge ordered Mobile County to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.  Marriage equality supporters hope that this order will clarify the issue in other counties.

On Wednesday, the captain of the Italian cruise ship Costa Concordia was found guilty and sentenced to 16 years on various charges related to the 2012 shipwreck.

On Thursday, Facebook announced that it will permit users to name a “legacy contact” who will be able to administer a page following a user’s demise.  This is a departure from Facebook’s previous policy of freezing an account upon verification of an account-holder’s death.





Getting to Know Your Law Library: Patrick Parsons

Patrick R. ParsonsMeet….Me!  Hello All.  My name is Patrick Parsons and I am the newest, youngest, and best looking of all the law librarians.  I have been working at the Coleman Karesh Law Library since December of 2014, so basically forever and believe me, I traveled a long way to get here.  I grew up in a small town outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania called Connellsville.  The town is located in Fayette County, which lies directly across Pennsylvania state lines from West Virginia.  We were once known as the coke (coal product not drug) capitol of the world.  Then, with the collapse of the American steel industry things got pretty bleak, as they did in a lot of “rust belt” areas.  In 1996, the county was dropped from the list of “distressed” Appalachian Counties, which was a big step forward for us.

Appalachia_WilliamsAfter high school I attended the Penn State University, majoring in history and political science.   I spent a summer working on Capitol Hill as an intern and worked in kitchens and painting houses the rest of my time.  In case you were wondering, Beaver Stadium at Penn State currently holds 107,282 people.  William Bryce at USC holds a paltry 80,000.  Just in case you were wondering.

PSUAfter college, I attended the University of Pittsburgh School of Law in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where I lived for the next six years.  During law school and after, I worked predominantly on criminal Justice issues, including everything from system reform to prisoner reentry to criminal defense.   I was part of the team that wrote the county plan for jail re-entry and recidivism reduction.  I also worked with county policy makers to help streamline criminal justice practices.

But, after working as a lawyer and consultant for three years I wanted a change, and decided to go back to school to be a law librarian.  I applied and was accepted into a law library fellowship at the University of Arizona.  So, in December of 2012, I move 3,000 miles from snowy Pittsburgh to the desert of Tucson Arizona.

While at the University of Arizona I pursued my Masters in Library and Information Sciences while working at the University of Arizona Law Library.  At the library, I focused on student outreach initiatives while providing reference help to patrons.

After receiving my degree, I began looking and interviewing for law librarian positions.  I then applied, interviewed, and received my current position here at the Coleman Karesh Law Library at the University of South Carolina School of Law.  Now I spend my days teaching legal research in the LRAW program, helping patrons at the reference desk, and writing enthralling blog posts to our ever expanding readership. In my free time, I collect records, play the organ, and exercise enough to make sure I stay the best looking librarian here at Coleman Karesh.

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, http://library.sc.edu/blogs/academy/2011/08/29/domestic-terrorism-8-7-4/





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.