Happy Birthday, Thomas Jefferson!


It is the 273rd anniversary of Thomas Jefferson’s birth today. Please come join us in the library tomorrow at 2:00 p.m. to have some cake to celebrate. While you are there, please check out our Thomas Jefferson collection located near the circulation desk, next to our study aids collection. We also have a display of United States currency featuring Thomas Jefferson, generously on loan from Professor Steve Semeraro.

Happy National Library Week!

library week 2016

Celebrate National Library Week 2016 (April 10-16) with the theme “Libraries Transform”

We will celebrate National Library Week with a few events. On Thursday, April 14, 2016 at 2:00 p.m. in the library lobby, please join us for cake to celebrate both National Library Week and Thomas Jefferson’s birthday (which is on April 13th). While you’re there, take a look at our display of U.S. currency featuring Thomas Jefferson, generously on loan from Professor Steve Semeraro.

Starting on Monday and continuing all week, there is a legal research trivia contest open to students. A correct entry in the trivia contest enters you into a drawing to win a gift certificate to Macy’s. Handouts of the trivia contest will be available next to the circulation desk on the fourth floor library.

Also starting on Monday and lasting all week, we will have a student survey on library services. After completing the anonymous survey, you can enter to win a gift certificate to Macy’s. I hope everyone participates in the survey, because we depend on your feedback to improve the library.

You may access the survey here.



Chief Justice Calls for Webcast of Oral Arguments, Bail Reform

Chief Justice Calls for Webcast of Oral Arguments, Bail Reform by Staff Writer for the California Bar Journal, Amy Yarbrough

In a move aimed at making the state’s court system more transparent, the California Supreme Court will soon start webcasting its oral arguments.

The announcement came during the annual State of the Judiciary address to legislators on March 8, when Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye also highlighted other court improvements and called for reforms, including to the bail system.

The webcasts will begin at the court’s May oral argument sessions in San Francisco, according to Cathal Conneely, a spokesman for the Judicial Council. Although the court’s special outreach sessions with high school and law students have been broadcast online since 2005 and audio and video in other select cases have been made available, webcasts have not been a regular practice until now, Conneely said.

Now in her sixth year as chief justice, Cantil-Sakauye also spoke of the need to eliminate inequities in court fees and fines, which she said have “morphed from a system of accountability to a system that raises revenue for essential government services.”

Of the approximately $1.7 billion the judicial branch brings in each year, more than 60 percent pays for programs at the state and local level. The rest goes back into the court system, she said.

Read the entire article here.

Jury rejects fraud claim against law school

Jury rejects fraud claim against law school by Gary Warth of The San Diego Union-Tribune

A San Diego Superior Court jury on Thursday disagreed with a former law student who claimed the Thomas Jefferson School of Law willfully misrepresented employment data to perspective students.

Anna Alaburda, who graduated near the top of her class in 2008, said she enrolled in the school after reading about the high employment rate of its graduates. She has never worked full-time as an attorney since her graduation, however, and her lawsuit questioned the accuracy of data presented by the school.

While the employment rate of graduates appeared in some rankings to be about the same as other law schools, Alaburta’s attorney during the trial said the school didn’t disclose that some of those graduates were working in book stores, restaurants, hair salons, and even selling tractors.

An attorney for the school rejected the claims and said Alaburda never proved them. The attorney also reminded jurors that she had turned down a job offer, and that many Thomas Jefferson alumni have had successful careers.

Alaburda is not alone in complaining that she enrolled in a law school after reading misleading information about the employment success of graduates. Hers was among 15 suits filed by graduates with similar complaints across the country.

In other cases, judges rejected requests to grant class-action status to the lawsuits or rejected the cases after saying the students were sophisticated enough to know about the job market themselves.

Alaburda sought $92,192 in lost income and $32,475 in reimbursement of tuition and fees.

Read the entire article here.

New way to reserve study rooms

Beginning on Monday, March 21, 2016, the Thomas Jefferson School of Law Library will be using LibCal for study room reservations.

What is LibCal?

LibCal is an online program that will allow students to reserve study rooms by logging onto LibCal, entering in their student information, and reserving a study room of their choice. Convenient features include mobile bookings with built-in QR codes, auto-confirmation or mediate bookings, and remote booking through the website. To utilize the QR code feature, download any QR code scanner app and install the app onto your smart phone. The QR code scanners work on both android and Apple phones.

To Reserve a Library Study Room:

Go directly to http://studyrooms.tjsl.edu or scan the QR code. Click “Book a Room”. Choose your time slot. Fill out the booking form completely. Confirm or cancel your reservation via the confirmation email sent to you. After confirming, you will receive an email with a calendar appointment you can add to your personal calendar.


LibCal QR code.jpg

  • Rooms may only be reserved and used by Thomas Jefferson School of Law students and alumni. Alumni may only reserve rooms for bar study.
  • You must use your tjsl.edu email address to make a reservation and reservations must be confirmed by email.
  • Individuals can reserve a maximum of four hours (four 60-minute time slots) in any given day; the four 60-minute time slots do NOT need to be consecutive; BUT separate reservations must be made for each non-consecutive time period. Reservations can only be made on the same day as the room use.
  • A room reservation expires fifteen minutes after the beginning of the time requested. After this time, if the reserving party has not arrived, the room may be reserved by others.
  • Reservations are necessary to assure room availability. Rooms may be used without reservation if unoccupied, but users MUST yield the room to someone with a valid reservation.
  • You MUST leave the study room when your reservation ends if it has been reserved by someone else.
  • Upon leaving, students/alumni are required to remove all items brought into a study room and return any chairs brought in to their original location.
  • Do NOT leave personal belongings in study rooms. Belongings left unattended in an unreserved room or after the reservation period are subject to removal by staff. The library assumes no liability for lost or stolen items left in the study rooms or anywhere in the library.
  • Noise MUST be kept to a minimum. Study rooms are not soundproof.
  • Food is allowed as long as it is not messy, smelly, or noisy. Drinks are allowed in spill-proof containers. All trash must be placed in trash/recycling bins.
  • Courtesy and civility in the use and yielding of the rooms to others is required.
  • Reserving rooms under another student’s name is prohibited and is a violation of the honor code. Any student taking such action will be subject to discipline.
  • If the rules set forth above are not followed, your reservation will be deleted by staff and made available to others. Library staff reserves the right to reassign individuals/groups to another room.

Shifting Alliances Tally Up To More Unpredictable CA Supreme Court

Shifting Alliances Tally Up To More Unpredictable CA Supreme Court by John Roemer

After decades of domination by conservatives, the newly reconstituted state Supreme Court is now approaching political parity.

It’s not just the three fresh Democratic justices appointed by Gov. Jerry Brown who have altered the high court’s makeup. Goodwin H. Liu, appointed in 2011, was joined last year by Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar and Leondra R. Kruger.

That made for a 4-3 divide that still favors the Republican appointees: Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye, the chief justice, Kathryn Mickle Werdegar, Ming W. Chin and Carol A. Corrigan. But it is Werdegar’s political odyssey leftward – not the new appointees – that is shifting the bench calculus.

In themselves, Brown’s appointments have uncanny echoes of the 1970s and ’80s, during his first term as governor. Brown placed seven justices on the court, three of whom were ousted from the bench in a politically charged 1986 retention election focused on Chief Justice Rose E. Bird’s rejection of the death penalty.

Now Brown has a second chance to remake the court in a state where aversion for capital punishment has steadily progressed. A 2014 poll found that 56 percent of voters said they still support the death penalty, but it was a sharp drop from 68 percent in 2011. The issue could come before voters this year. Two competing voter initiatives are vying to get on the ballot.

The surprise is that the most outspoken justice on the topic has been Werdegar, who wrote for a unanimous court last year that the Eight Amendment’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment could potentially be extended to include the lengthy, arbitrary delays in executions that have plagued California’s death penalty system.

Read the full article here.

Antonin Scalia, Justice of the Supreme Court, Dies at 79

Antonin Scalia, Justice of the Supreme Court, Dies at 79 by lawyer and Supreme Court correspondent of the New York Times, Adam Liptak

Justice Antonin Scalia, whose transformative legal theories, vivid writing and outsize personality made him a leader of a conservative intellectual renaissance in his three decades on the Supreme Court, was found dead on Saturday at a resort in West Texas. He was 79.

“He was an extraordinary individual and jurist, admired and treasured by his colleagues,” Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. said in a statement confirming Justice Scalia’s death. “His passing is a great loss to the Court and the country he so loyally served.”

The cause of death was not immediately released. A spokeswoman for the United States Marshals Service, which sent personnel to the scene, said there was nothing to indicate the death was the result of anything other than natural causes.

Justice Scalia began his service on the court as an outsider known for caustic dissents that alienated even potential allies. But his theories, initially viewed as idiosyncratic, gradually took hold, and not only on the right and not only in the courts.

He was, Judge Richard A. Posner wrote in the New Republic in 2011, “the most influential justice of the last quarter-century.” Justice Scalia was a champion of originalism, the theory of constitutional interpretation that seeks to apply the understanding of those who drafted and ratified the Constitution. In Justice Scalia’s hands, originalism generally led to outcomes that pleased political conservatives, but not always. His approach was helpful to criminal defendants in cases involving sentencing and the cross-examination of witnesses.

Justice Scalia also disdained the use of legislative history – statements from members of Congress about the meaning and purposes of laws – in the judicial interpretation of statutes. He railed against vague laws that did not give potential defendants fair warning of what conduct was criminal. He preferred bright-line rules to legal balancing tests, and he was sharply critical of Supreme Court opinions that did not provide lower courts and litigants with clear guidance.

All of these views took shape in dissents. Over time, they came to influence and in many cases dominate the debate at the Supreme Court, in lower courts, among lawyers and in the legal academy.

Read the full article here.