Curious about what legal stories may make headline news in 2016? Each year, the New Yorker posts a list of what it predicts to be the top five legal stories for the upcoming year. This year’s list may be found at: http://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/the-top-five-legal-stories-of-2016. Happy New Year!
Legal blogs are helpful free resources where you can find updates on emerging trends, and analysis of topical issues. Each year, the ABA Journal releases a feature called Blawg 100, in which it compiles a list of the top 100 blogs. This year’s list may be found at: http://www.abajournal.com/magazine/article/the_9th_annual_blawg_10. Looking for more? Check out our research guides on Law Blogs and Finding News & Keeping Current as a Lawyer.
If you are interested in tax law, Tax Analysts publishes several resources which may be helpful for your research. Under the Key Documents tab, Tax Notes includes updates and analysis of federal and state tax laws, IRS ruling and regulations, court opinions, Treasury reports, and more. Under the Publications tab, Tax Notes Today focuses on the latest news and documents, while Tax Notes International covers international tax issues.
If you are interested in accessing these resources, please:
Please note that while you have to be on campus to register for an account, after registering you will be able to use the site anywhere. If you have any questions, or if you are looking for additional resources, just ask a reference librarian!
As I was reading the New York Times recently I came across an article about the Batmobile. Turns out it is protected by copyright because it is a character- guess all those little kids making their own cardboard batmobiles never knew that. I wanted to read the decision, so I immediately turned to Bloomberg/BNA – they have the best newsletters for keeping up with current legal developments. The library e-Resources A-Z list pointed me to the Patent, Trademark and Copyright Journal. The article I find gives me the case name, the docket number and all the information I would need to find the decision and even the underlying court documents. I also looked at Law360 – great for keeping up with pending litigation – which pointed me to the other cases “before the Batmobile” which protected characters. WestlawNext and LexisAdvance both include legal newsletters that are subject-specific. HeinOnline has ABA newsletters which cover various practice areas. Most practicing attorneys use some newsletter – either Bloomberg/BNA, Law360 or a subject-specific newsletter – to keep up with developments in their practice area. In about 5 minutes I was an expert on the Batmobile and how it was protected.
Curious about world news? Through PressDisplay, you have access to over 4,000 newspapers in 60 languages from 100 countries. When using this resource, you can either browse recent articles, or limit your search by topic or country of publication. Looking for more? Just ask a reference librarian!
Lately, there have been many high-profile sports cases featured in the news. Today, for instance, the National Labor Relations Board (N.L.R.B.) released a decision denying Northwestern student athletes’ request to form a union. Patriots’ quarterback Tom Brady and the N.F.L. are also currently before the U.S. District Court, debating Brady’s four-game suspension in the upcoming season.
If you are interested in reading more about these or other decisions, there are several sources that you can turn to. For example, the N.L.R.B’s decision is accessible from their website, and may be found here. You may also find secondary sources to be helpful. The Boston Globe, for instance, has written a story on the Brady’s suspension, which analyzes the dispute and includes links to some of the motions filed in the case. Looking for more? Just ask a reference librarian!
Now that we are well into June, the “major” cases that the Supreme Court has taken up in the current Term are beginning to be decided. For dates when opinions will be released, see the Mondays marked in blue on the calendar on the Court’s home page.
One such case is Zivotofsky v. Kerry, a/k/a the Jerusalem passport case, decided on Monday. The Court struck down §214(d) of the Foreign Relations Authorization Act, Fiscal Year 2003, which directed the secretary of state, upon request, to record “Israel” as the place of birth of a U.S. citizen born in Jerusalem. In a 6-3 decision, the majority held that Congress had intruded on the power to recognize foreign nations and governments, designated to the President by Article II of the Constitution.
Numerous commentators have written about the decision.
- Michael Dorf: Zivotofsky May Be Remembered as Limiting Exclusive Presidential Power
- Opinio Juris: reflections by Julian Ku, Deborah Pearlstein and Peter Spiro
- Washington Post: Peter H. Adler, A Major Victory for Executive Power at the Supreme Court
- SCOTUSblog: Curtis Bradley, Zivotofsky and Pragmatic Foreign Relations Law
- SCOTUSblog: Eugene Kontorovich, Zivotofsky Was Not About Recognition by Congress or the President
- SCOTUSblog: Alan B. Morrison, Symposium: President wins in Zivotofsky: Will there be another battle?
- SCOTUSblog: Michael D. Ramsey, Justice Thomas gets it right in Zivotofsky
- Jack Goldsmith: Why Zivotofsky Is a Significant Victory for the Executive Branch
Still to come this month are the highly anticipated King v. Burwell (which challenges IRS regulations extending tax credits to coverage purchased through exchanges established by the federal government, involving the health insurance of millions of Americans) and Obergefell v. Hodges (the same sex marriage cases).
Curious about intellectual property law? You may want to check out IP Watch, a non-profit news service that focuses on stories from around the world. This database is easily accessible through the Fineman & Pappas Law Libraries’ eResources A-Z list, and is searchable in a variety of ways. For instance, you can browse through a list of the most recent stories on the database’s main page, or focus on a topical category, such as copyrights, patents, or trademarks. If you are interested in a particular issue, you can also search the website using its search bar. Finally, IP Watch also enables you to search by geographical region.
In you are interested in accessing content in a different format, IP Watch offers an email subscription service, Facebook posts, a LinkedIn account, and a Twitter account to help keep you informed. IP Watch’s content is available in English, French, Spanish, Arabic, and Chinese.
An earlier post in this blog reported on the status of the same-sex marriage cases that are pending before the U.S. Supreme Court.
At that time (March 18), as noted on SCOTUSblog’s merits cases section, most of the amicus curiae briefs that had been filed at that time supported the rights of those seeking to establish a Constitutional right to marry. In recent weeks, the filing of briefs has continued, and the Court has received numerous briefs that support the state laws that prohibit same-sex marriages; these include those of the Republican Platform Committee, the Concerned Women for America and the Conference of Catholic Bishops.
SCOTUSblog continues to be a major source of legal analysis on the case and the arguments of the parties. Lyle Denniston has posted the first three of four preview articles summarizing (1) the perspective of the same-sex couples who have challenged laws prohibiting recognition of their marriages; (2) the position of the state governments defending their laws, and (3) the amicus briefs supporting the couples. A fourth post, summarizing the amicus briefs supporting the state governments, is forthcoming.
As the date of oral argument (April 28) approaches, news and commentary on the cases is increasing, including articles anticipating an expected ruling in support of the couples and the relationship of the marriage cases to the “religious freedom” laws proposed or adopted in some stated. See, e.g., these articles in NPR, Slate and The Huffington Post.
Over the past year, no U.S. legal issue has generated more news coverage and commentary than the legal status of same-sex relationships, particularly the questions whether the Constitution requires states to grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples and to recognize such licenses grated in other states.
In June 2013, the Supreme Court decided United States v. Windsor (2013), which struck down as unconstitutional a provision in the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which defined “marriage” under federal law to exclude same-sex couples. After Windsor, numerous federal and state courts ruled that the Constitution requires states to recognize same-sex marriages. In November 2014, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit reached a different result, upholding bans on same-sex marriage under the laws of several states.
By granting certiorari in cases from the four states comprising the Sixth Circuit–Bourke v. Beshear (KY), DeBoer v. Snyder (MI), Obergefell v. Hodges (OH) and Tanco v. Haslam (TN)–the Supreme Court decided to address two questions left unresolved by Windsor. (Click below to expand image.)
The Court has scheduled oral argument for April 28. In the past two weeks, dozens of briefs have been filed. Many of them are amicus curiae (or “friend of the court”) briefs, filed by persons or entities that are not parties to the case but wish to provide their perspectives to the Court. Most of them–including those of The American Psychological Association, The Cato Institute and the United States government–support the right of same-sex couples to marry. The Court’s decision is expected by the end of June, with these cases among the last to be decided in the Court’s October 2014 Term.
For those monitoring the topic, some of the best information sources are organizations that have been involved in the legal battle–e.g., Freedom to Marry and Lambda Legal. Other good sources include The New York Times and SCOTUSblog.