ALM Goes Mobile

ALM has recently released 14 apps for use on iPhones, iPads, and iPods that provide access to its regional and national news content.

They are:

The American Lawyer
Corporate Counsel
Law Technology News
The National Law Journal
Connecticut Law Tribune
Daily Business Review
Daily Report Online
Delaware Business Court Insider
Delaware Law Weekly
New Jersey Law Journal
New York Law Journal
Texas Lawyer
The Legal Intelligencer
The Recorder

The apps are well formatted and well-laid out for mobile devices. Users can view the front page, sort by topic, see most-viewed articles, and search jobs all from within the app. Law Technology News & Corporate Counsel are free from the iTunes App Store, the remaining apps are currently providing free access to their editorial content, thanks to sponsors. The ALM is still maintaining the Texterity-based apps that provide access to the mobile-friendly PDF versions of their magazines.



Dude, Where’s My

dude_where's my car

Lexis changed over to one password (Lexis Advance password) access this week.  You will notice that you are now automatically taken into Lexis Advance to research.  However, if there’s a resource from you need, you can still get there.  On the Lexis Advance home page, select the red research tab at the top of the page. research box

Within that menu, there will be an option for  Click that and you can access the resource you need.  Have questions about these changes?  Contact a reference librarian.


SCOTUS Decides Marriage Cases: DOMA Unconstitutional

On the last day of the Term, the Supreme Court released all the remaining cases it had heard argument on during the October 2012 Term. As expected, these included the two cases related to same-sex marriage. The cases were:

United States v. Windsor: In a 5-4 decision, Justice Kennedy writing for the majority, the Court held that section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) violates due process and equal principles principles of the 5th Amendment that apply to the federal government; this is a major victory for same-sex couples who are legally married under the law of their states but subjected to discriminatory treatment under federal law in areas such as income and estate taxes, immigration and Social Security benefits. The dissenting opinions were written by Roberts, Scalia and Alito.

Hollingsworth v. Perry: In another 5-4 opinion, concerning a challenge to the constitutionality of California’s Proposition 8, the Court determined that petitioners (Prop 8 proponents) did not have standing to appeal the order of the District Court that declared Propisition 8 unconstitutional. The majority opinion was by Chief Justice Roberts, joined by Justices Scalia, Ginsburg, Breyer and Kagan. It orders the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to dismiss the appeal from the District Court’s order. Pending proceedings consistent today’s opinion, this ruling apparently means that same-sex couples will be allowed to legally marry in California. Justice Kennedy dissented, joined by Justices Thomas, Alito and Sotomayor.

SCOTUSBlog’s Lyle Denniston provides this early summary of what the opinions do and don’t do.

In the third case released on Wednesday, Sekhar v. U.S., the court concluded that attempting to compel a person to recommend that his employer approve an investment does not constitute “the obtaining of property from another” under the Hobbs Act. All justices supported the conclusion. The lead opinion was written by Justice Scalia; Justice Alito’s concurring opinion was joined by Justices Kennedy and Sotomayor.

Some 300,000 readers were online to follow live-blogging from the Court by SCOTUSBlog this morning.


SCOTUS Update (Tuesday)

The Supreme Court released three more opinions today, including Shelby County v. Holder (No. 12-96), the challenge to the Voting Rights Act (VRA). Writing for the majority in a 5-4 ruling, Chief Justice Roberts concluded that Section 4 of VRA is unconstitutional in light of current conditions; its formula can no longer be used as a basis for subjecting covered jurisdictions to federal preclearance of changes in voting laws. Justice Thomas concurred; he would have struck down Section 5 of the VRA as well. Dissenting, Justice Ginsburg wrote that the court has usurped Congress’ role in determining how to enforce the post-Civil War Amendments to the Constitution.

The other cases that were announced today, in the order they were released:

  • Koontz v. St. Johns River Water Management District (No. 11-1447) (Takings case decided by 5-4 vote; Alito’s majority opinion held that the government’s demand for property from a land-use permit applicant must satisfy requirements of the Nollan & Dolan cases, even when it denies the permit, and even when its demand is for money; Kagan writing for the dissent)
  • Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl (No. 12-399) (Unusual 5-4 split in case applying the Indian Child Welfare Act; Alito writing for the majority, including Breyer, concluded that ICWA did not bar termination of parental rights of biological father who had earlier relinquished parental rights; Scalia and Sotomayor wrote dissenting opinions)

Well over 100,000 readers were following the live-blogging on SCOTUSBlog at the peak of activity this morning.

The cases remaining to be released are: Hollingsworth v. Perry, the Proposition 8 case; United States v. Windsor, the Defense of Marriage Act case; and Sekhar v. U.S., the case involving whether a lawyer’s advice is property for purposes of the Hobbs Act. These cases are expected to be released tomorrow morning, beginning at 10 a.m.


SCOTUS Update (Monday)

As noted here last week, the Supreme Court left its most highly anticipated cases for this week. One of them was released today: Fisher v. University of Texas, No. 11–345, the affirmative action case involving admissions at the University of Texas.

Writing for 7 justices (including Breyer and Sotomayor) Justice Kennedy concluded that the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals failed to apply the strict scrutiny required by Grutter v. Bollinger, 539 U.S. 306 (2003), when it affirmed the District Court’s award of summary judgment for the University regarding its admissions policy that included consideration of race. Justices Scalia and Thomas wrote concurring opinions; Thomas would explicitly overrule Grutter. Only Justice Ginsburg dissented. Justice Kagan did not participate. Initial reaction from live-bloggers on SCOTUSBlog viewed this as a compromise decision and not the sweeping rejection of consideration of race in college admissions that some had anticipated; Grutter is still alive but is likely to be challenged directly at another time.

The five other decisions released today include:

  • Vance v. Ball State University (an employee is a “supervisor” for purposes of vicarious liability under Title VII only if he or she is empowered by the employer to take tangible employment actions against the victim; 5-4 decision, Alito for the majority, Ginsburg for the dissent)
  • University of Tex. Southwestern Medical Center v. Nassar (Title VII retaliation claims must be proved according to traditional principles of but-for causation; another 5-4 decision on Title VII; Ginsburg writing for 4 dissenters)
  • Mutual Pharmaceutical Co. v. Bartlett (State-law design-defect claims that turn on the adequacy of a drug’s warnings are pre-empted by federal law; 5-4 decision, with Alito writing for majority; dissenting opinions by Breyer and Sotomayor)
  • U.S. v. Kebodoeux (Congress has power under Necessary and Proper clause to enact the federal Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA) and apply requirement to an offender who had already completed his state law sentence when SORNA was enacted; Breyer writing for majority; Scalia and Thomas dissenting)
  • Ryan v. Schad (per curiam decision in death penalty case; Ninth Circuit reversed and stay of execution vacated)

The Chief Justice announced that the Court would release more opinions tomorrow (Tuesday) and one more day this week. Stay tuned.


Summer Reading

It’s the first day of Summer. What was hard to make time for before–like reading for pleasure–may be more possible now, at least when on vacation. There is no shortage of suggestions for summer reading: libraries, bookstores, magazines, and others have book suggestions. These lists are more common now than at any time except December, when the best-books-of-the-year lists arrive.

Why Summer (but not Winter, Spring and Fall) reading? Why do we choose different books to read in the Summer? Will reading outlast the Summer? Recently, the New York Times re-ran an essay by Clive Barnes, first published in 1968, that explored these questions. Now for the lists …


The 2012 SCOTUS Term Winds Down

In the final weeks of a Supreme Court Term, there are dramatic moments on the days when opinions are released. Court-watchers and those who have a strong interest in the pending cases follow the news from Washington closely. Often, the most highly anticipated cases are among the last to be released, later in June.

Of the 64 opinions from the current Term, five were released on Monday. Still, as news coverage noted (see here, here, here), the “big” cases were not yet decided: neither of the same-sex marriage cases (DOMA or Proposition 8), nor the affirmative action case involving admissions at the University of Texas, nor the challenge to section 5 of Voting Rights Act. The Atlantic provides a brief summary of these four cases.

The next day for new opinions will be this Thursday. Once again, interested followers can visit SCOTUSBlog for its live-blogging from the Court, starting at 9 a.m.; at around 10 a.m., the justices will begin reading summaries of their opinions from the bench and the opinions will be posted on the court’s web site, as they are released.

And if the case you’re following isn’t announced on Thursday? Tune in again, on Monday …