Archive for the 'Law Library' Category

Mar 18 2015

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The State of Same-Sex Marriage and the Law

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.)

 SSM questions

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.

For worldwide information, the Jones Day law firm provides a database of jurisdictions, detailing the degree to which each country recognizes the status of same-sex relationships.

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Mar 17 2015

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Certification Makeup Class: Keeping Up With the Law

The class on current awareness tools, Keeping Up With the Law, is scheduled for Wednesday, March 18, 1 p.m. (Room 335).

Slots are still available. If you haven’t registered, you can do so at:  http://lawlibraryguides.bu.edu/certification/register

Class page: http://lawlibraryguides.bu.edu/cert2015_keepingup

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Mar 16 2015

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Environmental Law Research

Filed under Law Library

Environmental law is a tangle of regulations and agency guidance.  Sorting out this tangle is best accomplished with a good treatise on your area of law.  With BU Libraries Search you can find books like Greenhouse Governance: Addressing Climate Change in America which is available online to help you see the larger structure of this area of the law.

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Then you can use a one-stop shopping resource like the Environmental Law Reporter to see if there are any federal laws, regulations, agency guidance or state developments.

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Mar 15 2015

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Certification Make-up Class: Court Documents

The make-up class on Court Documents research is scheduled for Monday, March 16, 1 p.m. (Room 335).

Slots are still available. If you haven’t registered, you can do so at:  http://lawlibraryguides.bu.edu/certification/register

Class page: http://lawlibraryguides.bu.edu/cert2015_Court-documents

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Mar 04 2015

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Biographies of the Justices

Filed under Law Library,SCOTUS

Like most law school libraries, the Fineman & Pappas Law Libraries collect books about Supreme Court Justices, including biographies and analyses of their jurisprudence. New titles about the members of the Rehnquist and Roberts Courts continue to arrive, such as Bruce Allen Murphy’s Scalia: A Court of One and Ralph Rossum’s Understanding Clarence Thomas.

It’s easy to discover other titles using the BU Libraries search engine. One approach is to start with a known title and use the record for that book to locate others. For example, starting with the record for the Murphy book on Scalia, the “More Information” tab provides the Library of Congress subject headings assigned to that book. By clicking on one of those headings (e.g., “United States. Supreme Court — Biography”), the user can retrieve a list of items that have been assigned the same subject heading. That is well over 100 books.

For a more refined list, the Advanced Search feature allows the user, for example, to retrieve just records for books published in the last 10 years. The resulting search retrieves 33 titles. (Click image below to enlarge.)

 

Scalia_record     Scalia_subject-heading

 

Another approach is to use a basic keyword search. Limited to books from the last 10 years, the keywords “supreme court biography” retrieved 101 titles.

 

Sct-biography-search

 

See the Help menu here for guidance on searching for books, for articles, or for “everything” within the scope of a BU Libraries search. For other tips on research strategy, ask a reference librarian.

 

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Mar 02 2015

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Tax Law Research

Filed under Law Library

If you are a practicing tax attorney you are not going to use WestlawNext or Lexis Advance.  There are specialized tax products that offer much more in depth access to tax materials.  RIA Checkpoint is the online favorite among users because of its easy to use interface.  You can search it by code section or by topic as well as using an index.  The Standard Federal Tax Reporter has the better editorial content and you can find all the content on one code section (regulations, agency publications and adjudications, and editorial content) all in one place.  Like RIA Checkpoint you can find documents by citation.  The SFTR can be found on the Intelliconnect platform.  Both of these were heavily used print looseleafs before they made their transition to an online platform.  BNA offers the wonderfully helpful Tax Management Portfolios which are organized by topic and code section. and has added to them by offering all primary source materials on the BNA Tax & Accounting Center.

Prepare for tax practice by getting to know these three heavily used resources: Intelliconnect, RIA Checkpoint and BNA Tax & Accounting Resource Center.

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Mar 02 2015

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Power Searching

Filed under Law Library

Search engines now do our thinking for us.  But there are ways to make those search engines to what you want.  Not getting the results that you need?  Find out how you can control your search results in the Power Searching class:

Monday, March 2, 1-2 PM

Tuesday, March 3, 9-10 AM & 1-2 PM

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Feb 27 2015

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New Certification Classes Added

Additional sections of the certification classes will be held in March.

New Certification Classes

To register for these classes, please go to http://lawlibraryguides.bu.edu/certification/register and click on the class that you are interested in.

 

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Feb 27 2015

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UN Human Rights Case Law Database

The United Nations has created a searchable database of case law generated by the treaty bodies, or panels of experts, that enforce the major human rights conventions within the scope of the United Nations Human Rights apparatus.

As noted in this post in the Canadian law blog Slaw, this Jurisprudence database was created using data compiled at the Utrecht University School of Law. Unlike the database of documents generated during periodic reporting cycles, where the Treaty Bodies monitor state party compliance with their obligations under the conventions, the Jurisprudence database concerns individual cases initiated by an “information” submitted by an individual or state party complaining of conduct by a state party that violates the convention.

For example, a search for jurisprudence involving complaints against Canada under the Convention Against Torture (CAT) could be run by searching for the keyword “torture” and then use filters to identify cases involving Canada from the list of state parties and CAT from the list of human rights conventions. Of the 21 results, the researcher  can select a document, and then designate the language (English, French, Spanish, Russian) and document format (Word, PDF, etc.).

 

CAT-Canada search   CAT-Canada

 

This provides one more convenient tool for researchers and complainants to discover documents that can illustrate how these conventions are interpreted and applied to individual cases.

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Feb 23 2015

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Certification Class on Finding Court Documents

Many tools are available to you to locate dockets, briefs and other documents generated while a case is pending before a court–at any level. This session will focus on how to use some of these tools, including court web sites, Westlaw Next and Bloomberg Law, among others.

Sessions of this class are offered in Room 335 on:

Tuesday, Feb. 24, 9 a.m.  (LLM preferred) and 1 p.m.
Friday, Feb. 27, 12 p.m.

To register:  http://lawlibraryguides.bu.edu/certification/register

Class page: http://lawlibraryguides.bu.edu/cert2015_Court-documents

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