Law and Legal

Statistics and Academic Law Library Survival

The RIPS Law Librarian Blog – Duane Strojny: “..Over the past few years, law school worlds have been drastically altered. The number of students attending law school has dropped significantly. Although the number of LSAT takers has increased slightly, no new large wave of law students will materialize. This has alarmed many in legal academia, and rightly so. In addition, bar results are down in many states, baby boomers have not retired as expected, and the big law firms have given way to a more automated world. Taken together, it sounds like gloom and doom. I say the opposite is true. We can reinvent ourselves like never before…”

Categories: Law and Legal

5 takeaways from the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment

GreenBiz: “Today, more than 275 brands, retailers, recyclers, governments and NGOs are announcing a shared vision to close the loop on plastic pollution. In a first-of-its-kind collaboration, the signatories to the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment — collectively responsible for producing 20 percent of all plastic packaging globally and represent the full value chain for plastics — have pledged to eradicate plastic waste and pollution. The scale, scope and shared approach of today’s announcement, made at the Our Oceans conference in Bali, makes it one of the most significant actions around plastic pollution to date. The commitment, launched with the social media hashtag #LineInTheSand, is being led by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation in collaboration with U.N. Environment. While many signatories had set individual goals prior to today’s announcement, this represents a far broader scale and scope of commitments to meaningfully tackle plastic pollution.

Signatories of the commitment are formally endorsing the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s framework of a circular economy for plastics, which centers on ensuring that plastics never become waste. That vision is defined by six key points:

  • Elimination of problematic or unnecessary plastic packaging through redesign, innovation and new delivery models is a priority
  • Reuse models are applied where relevant, reducing the need for single-use packaging
  • All plastic packaging is 100 percent reusable, recyclable or compostable
  • All plastic packaging is reused, recycled or composted in practice
  • The use of plastic is fully decoupled from the consumption of finite resources
  • All plastic packaging is free of hazardous chemicals, and the health, safety and rights of all people involved are respected…”
Categories: Law and Legal

Southern Poverty Law Center – Guide to Hate and Extremism in the US

“The SPLC is the premier U.S. organization monitoring the activities of domestic hate groups and other extremists – including the Ku Klux Klan, white nationalists, the neo-Nazi movement, antigovernment militias and others. We track more than 1,600 extremist groups operating across the country. We publish investigative reports, train law enforcement officers and share key intelligence, and offer expert analysis to the media and public. Our work fighting hate and extremism began in the early 1980s, amid a resurgence of Klan violence that began several years after the end of the civil rights movement. Each year since 1990, we have released an annual census of U.S. hate groups. In the mid-1990s, we also began documenting the number of radical, antigovernment militias and other organizations that comprise the far-right “Patriot” movement. Over the years, we’ve crippled or destroyed some of the country’s most notorious hate groups – including the United Klans of America, the Aryan Nations and the White Aryan Resistance – by suing them for murders and other violent acts committed by their members or by exposing their activities.

  • Hate Map: There are 954 hate groups currently operating in the US.
  • Extremist Files: A database on prominent extremist groups and individuals
  • 100 Days in Trump’s America: A report on white nationalists and their agenda to infiltrate the mainstream
  • Terror From The Right: A synopsis of radical-right terrorist plots, conspiracies and racist rampages since the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995. It includes a roster of murdered law enforcement officials…”
Categories: Law and Legal

Report – astonishing 60% decline in size of populations of mammals, birds, fish, reptiles, and amphibians in just over 40 years

“The Living Planet Report documents the state of the planet—including biodiversity, ecosystems, and demand on natural resources—and what it means for humans and wildlife. Published by WWF every two years, the report brings together a variety of research to provide a comprehensive view of the health of the Earth.

We are pushing our planet to the brink. Human activity—how we feed, fuel, and finance our lives—is taking an unprecedented toll on wildlife, wild places, and the natural resources we need to survive.

On average, we’ve seen an astonishing 60% decline in the size of populations of mammals, birds, fish, reptiles, and amphibians in just over 40 years, according to WWF’s Living Planet Report 2018. The top threats to species identified in the report link directly to human activities, including habitat loss and degradation and the excessive use of wildlife such as overfishing and overhunting.

The report presents a sobering picture of the impact human activity has on the world’s wildlife, forests, oceans, rivers, and climate. We’re facing a rapidly closing window for action and the urgent need for everyone—everyone—to collectively rethink and redefine how we value, protect, and restore nature.

“This report sounds a warning shot across our bow,” said Carter Roberts, president and CEO of WWF-US. “Natural systems essential to our survival—forests, oceans, and rivers—remain in decline. Wildlife around the world continue to dwindle. It reminds us we need to change course. It’s time to balance our consumption with the needs of nature, and to protect the only planet that is our home.”..

Categories: Law and Legal

A look at the 14th Amendment’s Citizenship Clause

WASHINGTON (AP) — “President Donald Trump says he wants to order the end of the constitutional right to citizenship for babies of non-citizens and unauthorized immigrants born in the United States. Section 1, which contains the Citizenship Clause, of the 14th Amendment guarantees that right for all children born in the U.S. A look at the 14th Amendment:

WHAT CITIZENSHIP CLAUSE SAYS:

“All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.”

The second sentence contains two of the most important clauses in the Constitution, the due process and equal protection clauses. They apply to everyone in the U.S., not just citizens:

“No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty or property, without due process of law, nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

Categories: Law and Legal

GPO issues digital release of statue compilations

“U.S. Government Publishing Office (GPO) releases an initial set of 40 Statute Compilations as a pilot on govinfo, GPO’s website that offers public access to Federal Government information. These publications are compilations of public laws that either do not appear in the U.S. Code or that have been classified to a title of the U.S. Code that has not been enacted into positive law. Each Statute Compilation incorporates the amendments made to the underlying statute since it was originally enacted. www.govinfo.gov/app/collection/comps. GPO is partnering with various Congressional offices on this project, including the Office of the Legislative Counsel of the U.S. House of Representatives, the Office of the Legislative Counsel of the U.S. Senate, the Clerk of the House, and the Secretary of the Senate. Additional Statute Compilations will be added to govinfo over the next several months. The next phase of this project will be to convert legacy Statute Compilations file formats into United States Legislative Markup (USLM) XML and provide access to those files as bulk data.

The release of Statute Compilations on govinfo now gives the public easy access to these documents on smartphones, tablets, laptops and personal computers,” said GPO Acting Deputy Director Herbert H. Jackson, Jr. “This is another example of how GPO is working with Congress to provide digital access to the workings on the three branches of the federal government.”

Categories: Law and Legal

Anti-Racketeering Civil Suits Jump in 2018

“The latest available data from the federal courts show that civil filings under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) jumped significantly during FY 2018. As of the end of fiscal year 2018, the government reported a total of 1,405 civil lawsuits filed in federal courts under RICO. In fiscal year 2017, just 693 suits were filed. This past year also saw substantially more of these suits compared with any previous year over the past decade. Some of the rise in civil suits under RICO has been driven by increased use of the statute by consumers alleging corporate fraud. The increase in litigation during this past year resulted from civil disputes with a variety of corporations, from Purdue Pharma L.P. to Facebook. Litigation was brought not only by private parties, but by a significant number of local government bodies. Although better known by its criminal provisions, the civil component of RICO is playing an increasing role in RICO’s legal application in federal courts. Over the past decade, the number of civil filings brought under RICO on average have been three times the number of prosecutions under RICO’s criminal provisions according to TRAC’s analyses of internal case-by-case Justice Department records tracking criminal prosecutions. In FY 2018, for example, a total of 213 criminal defendants were prosecuted under RICO, as compared to the 1,405 civil suits filed. Among federal districts, Massachusetts saw the most federal civil suits filed under RICO last year with a total of 115. There 80 towns and cities sued several major drug companies under RICO, including AmerisourceBergen Drug Corporation, Purdue Pharma L.P., and Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc., among others, seeking damages over the opioid crisis.”

Categories: Law and Legal

How to book flights online for cheap airfare, in 9 steps

Business Insider: “Booking your flight is often a stressful experience. But it doesn’t have to be. We compiled nine tips to help you through every step of the flight-booking process, from finding the cheapest deals to setting yourself up to get upgrades on your flight. Check out [this] infographic below for some tips to help you book your next flight…” [h/t Pete Weiss]

Categories: Law and Legal

Navigating Law Librarianship While Black: A Week in the Life of a Black Female Law Librarian

“Three authors have written a very good essay about microaggressions, creating a composite character so that individuals from the incidents won’t be identifiable: Shamika D. Dalton, Gail Mathapo & Endia Sowers-Paige, Navigating Law Librarianship While Black: A Week in the Life of a Black Female Law Librarian, 110 Law Libr. J. 429 (2018). Right now it’s available on AALL’s website. After a time, it will only be available there to those with passwords, but you’ll be able to get it on HeinOnline [paywall]. Many of the examples can easily fit work and teaching contexts other than law librarianship.” [via Mary Whisner]

Categories: Law and Legal

The Government Must Now Obtain A Warrant To Compel Disclosure of Cell Phone Location Records

New on LLRXThe Government Must Now Obtain A Warrant To Compel Disclosure of Cell Phone Location Records – Attorney Charles Holster discusses the ramifications of the June 22, 2018 Supreme Court decision, Carpenter v. United States that held a warrant is required before a wireless telephone service provider may be compelled by a governmental entity to turn over its customer’s “historical” Cell Site Location Information.

Categories: Law and Legal

New on LLRX – Top Ten Tips from My Job Search

Via LLRXTop Ten Tips from My Job SearchKenny Ames shares his job search strategy, presented in a concise, focused and objective article that you can quickly apply to your own search. Ames offers readers a thoughtful and meaningful list of suggestions to help concentrate your energy on highlighting capabilities, strengths as well as colleagues and contacts, and the critical follow-up factor.

Categories: Law and Legal

The Highway Drone Dataset

Naturalistic Trajectories of 110 000 Vehicles Recorded at German Highways

Request access to the dataset! [The HighD dataset is free for non-commercial use only. If you are interested in commercial use]

“About the Dataset – The highD dataset is a new dataset of naturalistic vehicle trajectories recorded on German highways. Using a drone, typical limitations of established traffic data collection methods such as occlusions are overcome by the aerial perspective. Traffic was recorded at six different locations and includes more than 110 000 vehicles. Each vehicle’s trajectory, including vehicle type, size and manoeuvres, is automatically extracted. Using state-of-the-art computer vision algorithms, the positioning error is typically less than ten centimeters. Although the dataset was created for the safety validation of highly automated vehicles, it is also suitable for many other tasks such as the analysis of traffic patterns or the parameterization of driver models. Click here for details.”

Categories: Law and Legal

The Deadly Problem with Bike Lanes

Outside: Most cyclists know that bike lanes offer very limited physical protection. They might not know that they offer approximately zero legal protection either.

…Experienced cyclists already know that a conventional bike lane—where government officials paint stripes on the road to demarcate a dedicated space for riders—offers few real physical protections from motor vehicles. But the case in Bend offers a window into how the legal protections they offer are extremely limited, too. The problem extends outside of Oregon. After the October ruling, I spoke with two attorneys who specialize in cycling-related law—one based in Colorado and the other in Ohio—and both said that existing laws in their states do almost nothing to define cyclists’ right of way in bike lanes or protect them in a crash…”

Categories: Law and Legal

The Caselaw Access Project expands public access to US law

Three Hundred and Sixty Years of Caselaw: “The Caselaw Access Project (“CAP”) expands public access to U.S. law. Our goal is to make all published U.S. court decisions freely available to the public online, in a consistent format, digitized from the collection of the Harvard Law Library.

What data do we have? CAP includes all official, book-published United States case law — every volume designated as an official report of decisions by a court within the United States. Our scope includes all state courts, federal courts, and territorial courts for American Samoa, Dakota Territory, Guam, Native American Courts, Navajo Nation, and the Northern Mariana Islands. Our earliest case is from 1658, and our most recent cases are from 2018. Each volume has been converted into structured, case-level data broken out by majority and dissenting opinion, with human-checked metadata for party names, docket number, citation, and date. We also plan to share (but have not yet published) page images and page-level OCR data for all volumes…”

Categories: Law and Legal

11th Annual Women in the Law Conference

“The eleventh annual Women in the Law Conference will take place on Friday, May 17, 2019, at Northeastern University School of Law. This conference provides career guidance and professional development growth to women attorneys and other professionals at all stages of their careers and brings together powerful decisionmakers from Massachusetts, Alaska, Canada, California, Illinois, New York, Washington, DC, and beyond. The conference organizers have posted a long list of links to articles that you might find interesting.” [via Mary Whisner]

Categories: Law and Legal

How to Remember What You Read

Farnam Street: “Why is it that some people seem to be able to read a book once and remember every detail of it for life, while others struggle to recall even the title a few days after putting down a book? The answer is simple but not easy. It’s not what they read. It’s how they read. Good reading habits not only help you read more but help you read better…”

Categories: Law and Legal

The Tree of Life Shooting and the Return of Anti-Semitism to American Life

The New Yorker – Alexandra Schwartz: The Tree of Life Shooting and the Return of Anti-Semitism to American Life. “It is the ancient Jewish expectation of persecution—when, where, has it not been with us?—married to American reality: a country saturated with guns and habituated to quotidian massacre, plagued by age-old racism and bigotry, which have lately been expertly inflamed by the holder of the highest office in the land. For the past few years, American Jews have glanced warily at Western Europe, where anti-Semitism, never dormant, is once again on the rise. The British Labour Party has been riven by accusations of anti-Semitism among its leadership. French Jews have emigrated to Israel in unprecedented numbers. In Sweden, synagogues and Jewish centers have been firebombed. After 9/11, American synagogues and community centers became barricaded spaces, outfitted with concrete sidewalk barriers and metal detectors, so that going to services felt like going to the airport. The concern then was an external threat.”

Please note my previous post – and we all know that hatred is never sleeping, just resting a bit, here and there, but certainly, never, everywhere – we just count the days or weeks to when it will roar back with consequences that change of course of lives and families and communities, history, humanity…the future. We are all mourning – we stand together but we should not always be coming together, only, to mourn those whom we have lost to violence.

Categories: Law and Legal

The Master of Paper Props

“Ross MacDonald makes his paper by making paper. For the last 25 years, he’s created tens of thousands of paper props for movies and television shows like “Baby’s Day Out,” “Silver Linings Playbook,” “Boardwalk Empire” and “Parks and Recreation.” From handwritten letters to driver’s licenses, each piece is custom made and thoughtfully imbued with backstory. Step into Ross’s Connecticut workshop to see how movie magic gets illustrated, aged, cut and copywritten…” [Archivists, librarians, researchers – take a minute to watch this little film please]

Categories: Law and Legal

US midterm elections: A guide to everything you need to know

CNN – “Millions of voters will soon go to the polls across the US, but they won’t be picking a president. The impact of the midterm elections, however, could be almost as significant. President Donald Trump isn’t on the ballot, but the results will be a referendum on the polarizing US leader, his policies and the Republican politicians who have tied their fortunes to his. President Trump could have more power or less in Washington by the end of Election Day. The elections are on Tuesday, November 6, but lots of people will have already voted by then because early voting is a thing in the US, where about 40% of ballots were cast before Election Day in 2016. Here’s everything you need to know about the US midterm elections.” [h/t Pete Weiss]

Categories: Law and Legal

Comparison of Google, Bing and DuckDuckGo

Business Insider: “Switching your search engine is not something to be taken lightly — it’s our internet lifeblood. We rely daily on algorithms we don’t understand to surface the exact article we’re looking for. And if for some reason it’s not at the top of our results — even if the search we entered was a half-baked string of words — we get frustrated. Luckily, in 2018, Google has put most of those frustrations to rest. But now that search seems to be in a “steady state,” it gives us some time to consider what else is out there. These past two weeks, I did something that 15, maybe even 10 years ago, may have been inconceivable: I gave other search engines a go. First, I tried the privacy-focused, ad-blocking DuckDuckGo. The next week I moved to Microsoft’s Bing, something I never thought I’d hear myself say…” [h/t Pete Weiss]
Categories: Law and Legal

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