Check it Out: Women, War & Peace

This PBS mini-series challenges the conventional wisdom that war and peace are men’s domain, and reveals the central role of women in the quest for peace and justice in modern warfare. Narrated by Matt Damon, Tilda Swinton, Geena Davis and Alfre Woodard, this mini-series is the most wide-ranging global-media initiative ever produced on the roles of women in war and peace. Check out Women, War & Peace from the law library.

New and Notable: Dissident Gardens

ad-fic-lethemJonathan Letham, Dissident Gardens (Doubleday  2013) New Books Collection KF8205.D88 2013  

“A richly saturated, multigenerational novel about a fractured family of dissidents headquartered in Queens. It’s 1955, and witty, voluble, passionate Rose Zimmer—an Eastern European Jew, worshipper of Abraham Lincoln, and street-patrolling leftist—has outraged her communist comrades by having an affair with Douglas Lookins, an African American policeman. She, in turn, is wrathful when she catches Miriam, her smart and gutsy15-year-old daughter, in bed with a college student. Lethem is breathtaking in this torrent of potent voices, searing ironies, pop-culture allusions, and tragicomic complexities. He shreds the folk scene, eviscerates quiz shows, pays bizarre tribute to Archie Bunker, and offers unusual perspectives on societal debacles and tragic injustices. A righteous, stupendously involving novel about the personal toll of failed political movements and the perplexing obstacles to doing good.” – Review by Donna Seaman Booklist

New and Notable: Shadow Nations

51hyt9fVQGL._SY344_PJlook-inside-v2,TopRight,1,0_SH20_BO1,204,203,200_Bruce Duthu, Shadow Nations: Tribal Sovereignty and the Limits of Legal Pluralism  (Oxford University Press 2013) New Books Collection KF8205.D88 2013

“This book digs through the details of Federal Indian law to effectively expose theoretical flaws eroding the foundations of tribal sovereignty. Duthu’s thoughtful reconstruction demonstrates how legal pluralism can build a jurisprudence which is both respectful of tribal sovereignty and the aspirations for freedom, liberty and equality which have long animated American political thought.”– John Borrows, Robina Chair in Law, Society, and Policy, Faculty of Law, University of Minnesota

Featured Database: ProQuest Congressional

ProQuest Congressional provides indexing (1789 to current) and selected full-text access (late 1980’s to current) to various publications of the United States Congress including bills, laws, hearings, testimony, reports, biographies, committee assignments, and voting records. It is a key online resource for compiling legislative histories. Contact the library reference desk for search assistance. A link to this resource can be found on the library database page.

Secured Transactions

So much law comes back to two things: tax law and secured transactions.  If you rent-to-own a TV or have a mortgage, you’re in a secured transaction contract right now.  It’s good to have a working knowledge of secured transactions even if you don’t want to go into business law, and this research guide by Kelly Kunsch can help you with just that.

Check it Out: Dummy

Based on the true story of a deaf-mute, illiterate African American man (played by LaVar Burton) who is accused of murdering a prostitute. Paul Sorvino plays the deaf attorney who defends him but is unable to communicate with him. Watch as the case that challenged our legal system and challenges our concept of justice unfolds to see if the state can try a man incapable of defending himself. Check out Dummy from the law library.

New and Notable: Buying America from the Indians

51lT2zpCFbL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Blake A. Watson, Buying America From the Indians: Johnson v. McIntosh and the History of Native Land Rights  (University of Oklahoma Press 2012) New Books Collection KF228.J644W38 2012

“In Buying American from the Indians, Blake Watson succeeds in giving a new spin to the 1823 Supreme Court case of Johnson v. McIntosh…. Scholars of indigenous peoples, even those well beyond the North American continent, are alert to Johnson v. McIntosh as clearly one of the “10 Worst Indian Law Cases Ever Decided,” to use Walter EchoHawk’s (2010) damning characterization. From this perspective, Chief Justice John Marshall’s opinion in Johnson is infamous for at least three reasons. First, it denies to native people legal title to their land, leaving them only a right of occupancy. Second, it vests the legal title to the lands in North America in the European crowns and their successor American governments, elevating the Doctrine of Discovery (that the lands of non-Christian peoples, “discovered” by a European adventurer, belong to his monarch and the successor governments) from a generally, but not universally, accepted understanding in international law to positive domestic law sanctioned by the High Court. Third, in justifying the Doctrine of Discovery, Marshall’s opinion permanently inscribes into the U.S. Reports a disparaging view of the native peoples of North America. They were, Marshall wrote, “fierce savages, whose occupation is war” (21 U.S, 543, 590).

By the end of the book, Watson makes it clear that he subscribes to the “Worst Indian Law Case” assessment and directly calls for Johnson’s repudiation. How he gets there is what makes this book interesting…” Excerpted from a review by Susan E. Grogan

Today in Legal History: Human Rights Day

On December 10, 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly. The UDHR’s broad range of political, civil, social, cultural and economic rights are not binding; however, the document has inspired the human rights laws and treaties which constitute an international standard of human rights. The UDHR was created to serve as “a common standard of achievement for all peoples and nations,” and was the first universal document to state that all humans have certain inalienable rights. Human Rights Day was formally observed after the Assembly passed the resolution 423 (V) in 1950, which invited all nations and interested parties to observe December 10th as Human Rights Day.

More information is available at:

Law School Insight, Humor, and Inspiration

Sometimes you have to laugh … or wax theoretical … about the nature of legal education.  This research guide points you to commentary which is more useful than what you might find online, and it’s even in book form so you can read it on the bus.  Plus, you can see how different legal education used to be, and be extremely thankful it’s not like The Paper Chase anymore.

Check it Out: The People vs. Larry Flynt

Based on the true story of Hustler Magazine’s controversial publisher Larry Flynt (Woody Harrelson) and his fight for the freedom of speech. Flynt takes on the Religious Right all the way to the Supreme Court, arguing that he and his magazine are protected by the First Amendment. Check out The People vs. Larry Flynt from the law library and watch Larry Flynt’s infamous courtroom antics.