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.

Proposal to lift ban on academic credit for paid externships draws heavy opposition

Proposal to lift ban on academic credit for paid externships draws heavy opposition by Senior Writer of the ABA Journal, Mark Hansen

A proposed change in the law school accreditation standards that would lift the ban on students receiving academic credit for paid externships has drawn a lot of comment – and much of the comment is in opposition of lifting the ban.

Under the current standards, law students are barred from receiving both credit and pay for an externship. But the governing council of the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar has approved for notice and comment a proposal that would eliminate the ban.

That proposal is just one of four proposed changes in the standards that the council has posted for notice and comment. But it is the one that has drawn the lion’s share of comments. And most of these comments have been negative.

Read the full article here.

Bluebook Trainings Offered This Semester

The training provides an overview of The Bluebook and citation rules.

Specifically:

  • Introduction/structure of The Bluebook;
  • Tabbing The Bluebook;
  • Elements of basic citation form, rules, and exercises;
  • Use of introductory signals and short form;
  • Citations of other sources and the internet; and
  • Reinforce lesson learned through multiple practice exercises.

For the training to be effective, any student participating must bring his or her copy of the Bluebook (19th ed. or 20th ed.) and different colored tabs or something similar. Here’s the link where you can view an example.

Please sign up through the “Bluebook Training” TWEN page.

BB training Spring 2016

New Year, New Laws

New Year, New Laws, by Sara Randazzo and Max Rust

From coast to coast in 2016, new laws are going into effect regulating everything from where guns can be carried to how children are immunized. More than a dozen states are boosting minimum wages, others are increasing access to the polls, and some are strengthening worker equality laws.

Read the full article here.

Yale Finds Error in Legal Stylebook: Harvard Did Not Create It

Having some trouble with The Bluebook? You are not alone! Our reference librarians are always available and happy to help you with navigating The Bluebook.

Yale Finds Error in Legal Stylebook: Harvard Did Not Create It by The New York Times Supreme Court Correspondent and Lawyer, Adam Liptak

Among the low points in an American legal education is the law student’s first encounter with The Bluebook, a 582-page style manual formally known as “A Uniform System of Citation.” It is a comically elaborate thicket of random and counter-intuitive rules about how to cite judicial decisions, law review articles and the like. It is both grotesque and indispensable.

The Harvard Law Review has long claimed credit for creating The Bluebook. But a new article from two librarians at Yale Law School says its rival’s account is “wildly erroneous.” The librarians, Fred R. Shapiro and Julie Graves Krishnaswami, have done impressive archival research and make a persuasive case that their own institution is the guilty party.

Read the full article here.

 

Six Tips for Surviving Finals Week

Six Tips for Surviving Finals Week by professional SAT tutor, Brian Witte

Don’t pull an all-nighter.

Even after months of dedication and hard work, your success or failure in a class can hinge on a single, heavily weighted assignment – the final. To further complicate matters, many schools compress all course finals into a single week. This may understandably seem like a recipe for stress and dread, but there are a number of ways to improve your performance during finals week. Here are six to try this fall:

  1. Verify the details
  2. Get some sleep
  3. Stay active
  4. Eat well
  5. Experiment with different methods of studying
  6. Silence your social media accounts

Read the full article here.

Courts struggle to sort out meanings of emoticons and emoji

Courts struggle to sort out meanings of emoticons and emoji by ABA Senior Writer, Debra Cassens Weiss 

Keyboard-crafted emoticons and digital emoji are becoming an issue in court cases, where judges are asked to decide whether the symbols affect the meaning of texts and emails.

Emoticons such as “;-P” denoting a stuck-out tongue and “;)” denoting a wink are particularly tricky for courts, Slate reports in a story noted by Above the Law. Slate summarizes several cases, including these:

  • A University of Michigan law student sued a female classmate who reported he was stalking and harassing her, along with the school and police for launching an investigation. No charges were ever brought. He argued his texts to a friend saying he wanted to make the classmate “feel crappy” and experience depression shouldn’t have been taken seriously, in part because he used an emoticon indicating a stuck-out tongue. A federal judge in Michigan found the emoticon didn’t materially alter the meaning of the text.
  • In August, a Delaware judge interpreted a winking emoticon used in a text in which a man boasted about surprising a woman by purchasing a plane ticket so he could be seated next to her on a flight to Paris. The man said the wink showed he was joking; the judge said the emoticon showed he was amused by the opportunity to harass the woman.
  • A Michigan appeals court ruled last year that a post to an online message board about corruption wasn’t defamatory because it included a tongue-out emoji, indicating the post was a joke.

Read the entire article here.