Law and Legal
“The National Police Accountability Project (NPAP) condemns the use of overwhelming force by law enforcement to block legitimate protest against the racist and unconstitutional use of deadly force against Black Americans and other minorities. We denounce the president of the United States for using armed military units to clear the streets of peaceful demonstrators in order to create a photo op for him to spew his divisive and hateful rhetoric. Tear gas, pepper gas, so-called “rubber” bullets, and truncheons will not create an atmosphere in which needed changes can be made or healing occur. Unless and until we address the underlying causes of an epidemic of violence against Black persons, our society will not be at peace and cannot be united. The racism that leads to police violence is systemic and deeply rooted in our society, not merely the result of individual rogue officers. NPAP president Michael Avery stated, “We have seen case after case in which Black men and women are murdered or severely injured by police officers. It must stop. The police must be held accountable. All four officers who participated in the murder of George Floyd must be prosecuted and brought to justice.”…
@ABCNewsPolitics: “Attorney General Bill Barr releases statement on protests in Washington, D.C., saying, “there will be even greater law enforcement resources and support in the region tonight…”
- Meanwhile our area remains under consistent surveillance overhead by military helicopters, planes and drones.
- Via Wired – The Feds Are Now Using ‘Stingrays’ in Planes to Spy on Our Phone Calls
- Via Elizabeth Warren – “AG William Barr reportedly ordered law enforcement to clear Lafayette Square for Trump’s photo-op himself. He should resign. And @JusticeOIG should investigate the role that AG Barr & @TheJusticeDept personnel played in this ugly propaganda event.”
“The Drug Enforcement Administration has been granted sweeping new authority to “conduct covert surveillance” and collect intelligence on people participating in protests over the police killing of George Floyd, according to a two-page memorandum obtained by BuzzFeed News. Floyd’s death “has spawned widespread protests across the nation, which, in some instances, have included violence and looting,” the DEA memo says. “Police agencies in certain areas of the country have struggled to maintain and/or restore order.” The memo requests the extraordinary powers on a temporary basis, and on Sunday afternoon a senior Justice Department official signed off. Attorney General William Barr issued a statement Saturday following a night of widespread and at times violent protests in which he blamed, without providing evidence, “anarchistic and far left extremists, using Antifa-like tactics,” for the unrest. He said the FBI, DEA, US Marshals, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives would be “deployed to support local efforts to enforce federal law.”…
The New York Times – The enormous independent bookstore in Portland, Ore., became an unlikely tourist attraction. Now that it’s shut, Emily Powell, the chief executive, is having to rethink the books business. “Powell’s Books was selling books online before Amazon.com existed. Over the years, its flagship store grew to occupy a full city block in Portland, Ore. And the company, which until recently employed some 500 people, is still family owned. But when the coronavirus hit, Powell’s — like many businesses around the world — suddenly faced an existential crisis. Its chief executive, Emily Powell, closed the company’s stores in mid March. Without customers browsing the aisles, revenues dried up immediately, and the company’s head count was slashed by some 90 percent in a matter of days. As word of the layoffs spread, online orders spiked, allowing Powell’s to rehire many workers. Yet with its stores still closed and the virus still spreading, Ms. Powell — who took over the business from her father and grandfather — says it remains unclear how a sprawling bookstore will be able to safely reopen to the public. This conversation, which was condensed and edited for clarity, was part of a series of new live Corner Office calls discussing the crisis…”
The New York Times – By Anthony W. Marx, president of the New York Public Library. To stay true to their mission during the coronavirus pandemic, libraries should offer more digital services. “As we face tragedy, devastating economic turmoil and dislocation, public libraries will play a key part in the recovery of our country, cities and lives. Libraries offer all people — regardless of background or circumstance — free access to the tools and knowledge they need to open doors of opportunity and be productive members of society. To remain true to their mission, all libraries must undergo radical change. To serve the public in the face of unprecedented challenges, libraries will need to transition their services to the virtual space and explore new avenues to serve the public and bring people together, even while we are apart. Since the New York Public Library has invested for years in digital offerings, we have been able to quickly transition and expand a wide variety of online services. Our goal has been to replicate, as best we can, the unique experience of being in a library while at home. We offer online story times, tutoring and other educational tools for parents coping with remote learning, virtual book clubs, author talks, a book discussion podcast, virtual consultations with reference librarians, interactive online book recommendations and small business and job search webinars that have attracted thousands of participants. We worked with vendors to provide at-home access to research databases, made available thousands of special collections and improved access to hundreds of thousands of free e-books to browse and borrow instantly via our e-reader. And that is only scratching the surface…”
“#LIBREV says library workers make libraries as institutions possible. The COVID-19 crisis has made it clear that it is time to recenter the conversation in our field. Libraries will be necessary and important to their communities as we begin to strategize and recover from this crisis. It’s time to treat library staff as if we are necessary and important, too.
In hopes of building affinity and solidarity among similar groups, and helping like-minded folks find their collective power in this challenging time, we are attempting to continue the momentum built at the May 4, 2020 #LIBREV conference in a different kind of space.
This is an invitation to join us in our online community. It may become something more, but here’s a place to start. Let’s get to work on building a better future together.”
Pete Recommends – Weekly highlights on cyber security issues, May 31, 2020 – Four highlights from this week: A flood of coronavirus apps are tracking us. Now it’s time to keep track of them; Johns Hopkins releases report on digital contact tracing to aid COVID-19 response; Coronavirus stimulus payments mistaken for junk mail; IRS issues clarification; and Reality bites: Data privacy edition.
“Reuters today announced that TASS, the Russian news agency, has become a partner on its award-winning digital content marketplace, Reuters Connect here” [thoughts on impact on WestLaw and customer usage]
“Employment data for the graduating law class of 2019 as reported by American Bar Association-approved law schools to the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar is now publicly available. An online table provides select national outcomes and side-by-side comparisons for the classes of 2018 and 2019. Further reports on employment outcomes, including links to individual school outcomes and spreadsheets aggregating those reports, are available on the ABA Required Disclosures page of the section’s website. Each year’s employment outcomes measure law graduate employment on March 15, which is approximately 10 months after spring graduation. For the class of 2019, this date occurred just as the United States began experiencing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. As such, the data reported for the class of 2019 reflects law graduate employment outcomes on March 16, 2020 — the first business day after March 15 — and may not reflect current law graduate outcomes in today’s changed economic environment. For the class of 2019, the aggregated school data shows that 80.6% of the 2019 graduates of the 198 law schools enrolling students and approved by the ABA to offer the J.D. degree were employed in full-time, long-term Bar Passage Required or J.D. Advantage jobs roughly 10 months after graduation. That compares to 77.7% of the graduates reporting similar full-time, long-term jobs last year…”
“The American Association of Law Libraries’ Foreign, Comparative & International Law Special Interest Section will be hosting a webinar on international responses to COVID-19 on June 18, 2020 at 11 am and 2 pm US/Central. Please join us for Law Librarians Combatting Infodemic during the COVID-19 Pandemic! Here is the description:As the legal response to COVID-19 constantly evolves, it can be difficult to keep track of the rapidly shifting legal landscape. In two paired webinars on June 18, 2020, law librarians will provide an overview of legal responses to COVID-19 worldwide, introduce tools for tracking the international legal response, and explain how to evaluate sources of information in connection with this crisis. At 11 am US/Central, Alex Zhang (Washington & Lee), Alison Shea (Cornell), Yemisi Dina (Osgoode Hall Law School, York University), and Mariya Badeva-Bright (Laws.Africa) will update viewers on COVID-19 responses in Asia, Europe, and Africa, highlighting especially interesting responses that you may have missed and resources for learning more. At 2 pm US/Central, Marcelo Rodríguez (US Courts for the 2nd Circuit), Dr. Michele A. L. Villagran (San José State University), and Victoria De La Torre (AALL Latino Caucus Chair) will introduce viewers to Law Librarians Monitoring COVID-19, their project tracking COVID-19 in Latin America and the Caribbean, and provide updates on COVID-19 responses in the Americas. Please register now for the Law Librarians Combatting Infodemic during the COVID-19 Pandemic webinars on June 18 at 11 am and 2 pm US/Central. [via Caitlin Hunter, FCIL-SIS Continuing Education Committee Chair Caitlin, Reference Librarian Hugh & Hazel Darling Law Library | UCLA School of Law]”
The New York Times – “The attorney general has long held an expansive view of presidential power. With multiple crises converging in the run-up to the 2020 election, he is busy putting his theories to work…Now nearing the end of his career, Barr did not take his current job for the glory. He had already been attorney general once, in President George H.W. Bush’s administration, winning him a reputation as a wise old man — a reputation that, in the eyes of some, his tenure in the Trump administration has tarnished. Nor is he doing it for the money. His time in corporate America earned him tens of millions of dollars in compensation and stock options, and his bearing is still that of a Fortune 500 counsel, cozy manners wrapped around a harder core…
As far as what Barr is hoping to do with his canvas, [Stuart] Gerson [former head of DOJ Civil Division] says he is committed to the “hierarchical” and “authoritarian” premise that “a top-down ordering of society will produce a more moral society.” That isn’t too far away from what Barr himself articulated in a 2019 speech at the University of Notre Dame. In Barr’s view, piety lay at the heart of the founders’ model of self-government, which depended on religious values to restrain human passions. “The founding generation were Christians,” Barr said. Goodness flows from “a transcendent Supreme Being” through “individual morality” to form “the social order.” Reason and experience merely serve to confirm the infallible divine law. That law, he said, is under threat from “militant secularists,” including “so-called progressives,” who call on the state “to mitigate the social costs of personal misconduct and irresponsibility.” At their feet, Barr places mental illness, drug overdoses, violence and suicide. All these things, he said, are getting worse. All are “the bitter results of the new secular age.”…
Publishers File Suit Against Internet Archive for Systematic Mass Scanning and Distribution of Literary Works
Association of American Publishers: “Today, member companies of the Association of American Publishers (AAP) filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against Internet Archive (“IA”) in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. The suit asks the Court to enjoin IA’s mass scanning, public display, and distribution of entire literary works [Internet Archive Blog Posting], which it offers to the public at large through global-facing businesses coined “Open Library” and “National Emergency Library,” accessible at both openlibrary.org and archive.org. IA has brazenly reproduced some 1.3 million bootleg scans of print books, including recent works, commercial fiction and non-fiction, thrillers, and children’s books. The plaintiffs—Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins Publishers, John Wiley & Sons and Penguin Random House—publish many of the world’s preeminent authors, including winners of the Pulitzer Prize, National Book Award, Newbery Medal, Man Booker Prize, Caldecott Medal and Nobel Prize.
- Despite the self-serving library branding of its operations, IA’s conduct bears little resemblance to the trusted role that thousands of American libraries play within their communities and as participants in the lawful copyright marketplace. IA scans books from cover to cover, posts complete digital files to its website, and solicits users to access them for free by signing up for Internet Archive Accounts. The sheer scale of IA’s infringement described in the complaint—and its stated objective to enlarge its illegal trove with abandon—appear to make it one of the largest known book pirate sites in the world. IA publicly reports millions of dollars in revenue each year, including financial schemes that support its infringement design…”
Vox: “The video is horrific. George Floyd lies on the ground, facing the back end of a police SUV, as three cops kneel on his body. One of them, Derek Chauvin, has his knee on Floyd’s neck as the helpless man begs for his life. “I can’t breathe, man. Please understand. Please, man.” It’s a sadly familiar scene, and quite like one that played out in 1976 after Los Angeles police officers pulled over Adolph Lyons for a broken taillight. Like Floyd, Lyons was black. The officers met him with guns drawn and ordered him to face the car, spread his legs, and place his hands on top of his head. Not long after Lyons complained that a ring of keys that he held in his hands was causing him pain, one of the officers wrapped his forearm around Lyons’s throat and began to choke him. Lyons passed out. He woke up facedown on the ground, covered in his own urine and feces. The officers released him with a citation for the broken taillight.
- Lyons brought a federal lawsuit against the city and officers who assaulted him. But that case, City of Los Angeles v. Lyons (1983), did not end well for him. Decades later, the 5-4 decision still stands as one of the greatest obstacles to civil rights lawyers challenging police brutality in cases like George Floyd’s…”
Axios: “The ways Americans capture and share records of racist violence and police misconduct keep changing, but the pain of the underlying injustices they chronicle remains a stubborn constant.
Driving the news: After George Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police sparked wide protests, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz said, “Thank God a young person had a camera to video it.”
Why it matters: From news photography to TV broadcasts to camcorders to smartphones, improvements in the technology of witness over the past century mean we’re more instantly and viscerally aware of each new injustice.
- But unless our growing power to collect and distribute evidence of injustice can drive actual social change, the awareness these technologies provide just ends up fueling frustration and despair…”