Yale Law Library - Reference Blog
April 2008 - Posts
Were patent appeals judges unconstitutionally appointed?
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office may have a major problem on its
hands -- the possibly unconstitutional appointment of nearly two-thirds
of its patent appeals judges. Read more about this case here.
Translogic Technology, a company whose patent was rejected, is raising this issue in a petition to the U.S. Supreme Court. A copy of the petition is available for viewing at the Law Library Reference Desk.
Lawyers Open Their File Cabinets for a Web Resource
Services are appearing on the Web that
may make it easier for consumers to do their own preliminary homework
on legal issues before seeking professional help. Read more here
House Hearing on Executive Branch Electronic Communications Preservation
The House Oversight and Government Reform’s Subcommittee on Information Policy, Census, and National Archives held a hearing yesterday to address the Electronic Communications Preservation Act (H.R. 5811), sponsored by Chairman of the Committee Henry Waxman (D-CA-30), Chairman of the Subcommittee Wm. Lacy Clay (D-MO-1), and Rep. Paul Hodes
(D-NH-2). The bill directs the Archivist of the United States to
establish standards for the capture, management, retrieval, and
preservation of White House e-mails and other electronic
communications. The Committee’s Press Release, summary of the bill, and
full text of the bill is available here. Transcripts from the hearing are posted here.
Under the Federal Records Act, the National Archives and Records
Administration (NARA) is responsible for assisting Federal agencies in
maintaining adequate and proper documentation of federal records. Given the increased use of electronic communications, federal agencies are potentially creating (and discarding) messages that have the status of federal records. According to a new report issued by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), when GAO reviewed the e-mail management practices of four senior agencies officials they found that, although the agencies’ e-mail records management policies addressed the regulatory requirements, these requirements were not always met for the senior officials.
New SSRN Working Paper
Dan Kahan, Cultural Cognition as a Conception of the Cultural Theory of Risk
Abstract: Cultural cognition refers to the tendency of individuals to form
beliefs about societal dangers that reflect and reinforce their
commitments to particular visions of the ideal society. Cultural
cognition is one of a variety of approaches designed to empirically
test the cultural theory of risk associated with Mary Douglas and Aaron
Wildavsky. This commentary discusses the distinctive features of
cultural cognition as a conception of cultural theory, including its
cultural worldview measures; its emphasis on social psychological
mechanisms that connect individuals' risk perceptions to their cultural
outlooks; and its practical goal of enabling self-conscious management
of popular risk perceptions in the interest of promoting scientifically
sound public policies that are congenial to persons of diverse outlooks.
The Law Library of Congress is hosting two articles by Louis Fisher on Constitutional problems raised by the military commissions/tribunals authorized by President Bush. The site also provides reference to two book-length treatments of the subject by Fisher.
A new article by a member of our faculty has come to our attention. Here is the opening:
In December 2006, the British Serious Fraud Office (SFO) closed an investigation into a case that has become a vexing test for the emerging international anti-corruption regime. The centerpiece of this regime is the Anti-Bribery Convention negotiated under the auspices of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The Convention—to which Britain is a party—requires the State Parties to outlaw overseas bribery. In closing the investigation into corruption involving a large defense procurement contract (dubbed Al Yamamah or “the dove”), the SFO and the Attorney General cited national security concerns.
Susan Rose-Ackerman and Benjamin
Billa, Treaties and National Security, 40 N.Y.U. J. Int'l L. &
Pol. 437 (2008).
The NYU Journal of Law and Politics has more (the whole article :-)).
Info you need about the law library this summer
The Yale Law Library Reference Department is hosting two brief, convenient and informative Out-the-Door sessions. Come get the information you need about using the law library – and what the library staff can do for you – this summer. The half-hour sessions are very informal. Just show up, pick up a handout, ask questions, and get answers. You’ll be in and out in about half an hour.
The schedule is:
4/24/2008 11:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. SLB Room 109
4/25/2008 10:10 a.m. 10:40 p.m. SLB Room 109
You don’t need to sign up -- just show up. We hope to see you next Thursday or Friday of next week!
Professor Siegel has posted on SSRN a version of a paper to be published in the Duke Law Journal. The paper is entitled: "The Right's Reasons: Constitutional Conflict and the Spread of Woman-Protective Antiabortion Argument". Here is the abstract:
"This Lecture investigates the social
movement dynamics that produced woman-protective antiabortion argument.
The Lecture explores the political conditions under which leaders of
the antiabortion movement began to supplement or even to supplant the
constitutional argument abortion kills a baby with a new argument,
abortion hurts women - a claim that achieved widespread public notice
with the Supreme Court's 2007 decision in Gonzales v. Carhart.
Lecture's genealogy of a social movement claim begins in the 1980s,
when members of the antiabortion movement asserted that abortion
subjects women to regret, trauma, and psychological illness, a
condition they termed post-abortion syndrome (PAS). My story then
follows changes in the abortion-harms-women claim as it was transformed
from PAS - a therapeutic discourse initially employed to dissuade women
from having abortions and to recruit women to the antiabortion cause -
into woman-protective antiabortion argument (WPAA), a political
discourse forged in the heat of social movement conflict that sought to
persuade audiences outside the movement's ranks in electoral campaigns
and in constitutional litigation.
Whereas PAS grew up as a
mobilizing discourse deployed primarily among women volunteers and
clients in the antiabortion movement's crisis pregnancy network - a
context in which abortion-hurts-women testimonials had important
expressive functions - WPAA took shape in political contexts in which
the abortion-hurts-women argument had important strategic functions. In
the 1990s, antiabortion advocates sought to explain to audiences that
ambivalently supported the abortion right why women would benefit from
legal restrictions on abortion. As they did so, they fused PAS claims
and stories with traditional gender-paternalist argument, justifying
restrictions on women's agency as needed to protect women from male
coercion and to free women to be mothers. As a political discourse
designed to rebut feminist, pro-choice claims, WPAA came to internalize
elements of the very arguments it sought to counter - fusing the public
health, trauma, and survivors idiom of PAS with the idiom of the late
twentieth-century feminist and abortion-rights movements. As the
Lecture shows, social movement mobilization, conflict, and coalition
each played a role in the evolution and spread of the woman-protective
antiabortion argument, in the process forging new and distinctly modern
ways to talk about the right to life and the role morality of
motherhood in the therapeutic, public health, and political rights
idiom of late twentieth-century America.
The Lecture concludes
by considering the new gender-paternalist justifications for abortion
restrictions discussed in Carhart. With the spread of woman-protective
antiabortion argument and its seductively modern justifications for
using law to impose motherhood on women, Justice Kennedy and the nation
will once again have to decide - not only how to balance the liberty of
the pregnant woman against the state interest in protecting potential
life - but more fundamentally, about the kind of women that
constitutional guarantees of liberty and equality protect. This
question is far from abstract, as South Dakota once again considers
whether to adopt an abortion ban, justified by fetal-protective and
woman-protective argument, in the 2008 elections."
The Law Library of Congress is making a habit of this
More great information from the Law Library of Congress, this time on the State Secrets Privilege. Here you will find links to several articles, statements, and other material by Louis Fisher regarding the privilege in this decade.
Publishers Sue Georgia State on Digital Reading Matter
Cambridge University Press, Oxford University Press and Sage Publications are suing Georgia State University, contending that the school is violating copyright laws by enabling professors to provide students with digital copies of copyrighted course readings published by the plaintiffs. The New York Times has a synopsis of the lawsuit here.
A copy of the complaint may be found here, from the Association of American Publishers' (AAP) website.
New paper at SSRN
Professor Listokin recently posted a new paper entitled "Does Shareholder Voting Maximize Stock Market Value." Here is the abstract:
"This paper examines the relation between
shareholder voting and stock market value from a novel empirical
perspective. If voting maximizes value, then the outcome of close proxy
contests should not have a systematic effect on stock prices; price
setters will anticipate that voting aggregates information efficiently
and will build this expectation into the price of the stock before the
voting outcome is announced The paper shows, however, that close
dissident victories are associated with significant positive movements
in stock prices, while close management victories are associated with
negative stock price effects.
This suggests that voting outcomes favor management rather than
maximizing value, with important policy ramifications. Viewed from a
regression discontinuity (RD) design perspective, the study provides
unique evidence that dissident control of decision making causes
increases in stock value."
The Law Library of Congress comes through again!
One of the great early American examples of a lawyer ensuring that unpopular defendants got a fair trial, even defendants with whom the lawyer may have disagreed took place in Boston in 1770. The lawyer was John Adams and the defendants were the British soldiers who were accused of murder from their involvement in the Boston Massacre of March 5, 1770.
The Law Library of Congress has posted copies of three published accounts of the records and transcripts of the trial, a history of the Massacre and trial, and a character sketch of Adams that includes his Speech on the Boston Massacre.
Great reading on one of the great ethical responses of the revolutionary bar!!
Whoa, slow down there
Sometimes the Internet feels slow and there has been a lot of scary press recently about it slowing down further as it gets more congested. Well, maybe we don't have to worry. CERN who brought you the web (and has a hand in the new supercollider) has announced the "grid" a communications network with speeds up to 10000 times faster than the internet!
New Law Library of Congress report on Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution
Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution renounces war and prohibits Japan from maintaining the potential to make war. Over the past few years, the very popular provision has been getting a lot of attention as Japan has more often participated in UN peacekeeping activities. It now appears that Article 9 will be amended within the next several years. A report written by the Japanese Foreign Law Specialist
within the Directorate of Legal Research for International,
Comparative, and Foreign Law of the Law Library of Congress has more.
UK Counter-terrorism bill
Parliament is debating a new counter-terrorism bill, it had it's second reading on the 1st. The main elements of the bill are:
- a provision to allow the pre-charge detention of terrorist
suspects to be extended from 28 days to 42 days in certain
- changes to enable the post-charge questioning of terrorist suspects and the drawing of adverse inferences from silence
requirements on people convicted of terrorist offences to let
authorities know where they are living and any changes to their
- enhanced sentencing of offenders who commit offences with a terrorist connection
- provision for inquests and inquiries to be heard without a jury."
By the way, Parliament has a wonderful bill site, no?
U.S. Justice Department releases "torture" memo
The U.S. Justice Department on Tuesday released a declassified 2003
memo justifying the use of harsh interrogation methods for suspected
terrorists held abroad. A copy of the memo will be available for viewing at the Law Library reference desk. In a quote to the New York Times, Eugene R. Fidell, who teaches military justice at Yale Law School and the Washington College of Law at American University, describes the memo as a
“a road map for the Pentagon for fending off any
Children's Rights in Iran
A new report from the Law Library of Congress has been posted. The report covers and references both international treaty obligations and domestic legislation.
Report on the economic impact of immigration in the UK
Today, the House of Lords released a report on the economic impact of immigration in the UK. Does it have anything to say to the US? The EU? Read it and you decide.