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DRAGNET: Search across several free legal databases at once

DRAGNET is a specialized search engine that allows one to search across several free legal search sites at once. DRAGNET was created by the librarians at New York Law School. Try it out!


 

Judicial Appointments eBooks at SU

With President Obama’s recent Supreme Court nomination, judicial appointments have been in the news. If you’re interested in learning more about judicial appointments from the comfort of your home, check out these eBooks from Seattle University’s Library:

Two-Fer Electing a President and a Supreme Court by Clint Bolick (2012)

Available at: ebrary Academic Complete. Publisher’s Description:

Constitutional scholar Clint Bolick examines the importance of judicial nominations in current and future political campaigns—not just in campaigns for president but also for the senators who confirm the nominees and the governors who appoint state court judges. He offers his opinion of the framers’ original intentions—that the judiciary play a robust role in curbing abuses of government power and protecting individual rights—and provides both a historical perspective and a look at the courts’ decisions on today’s most contentious issues.

Court Nominations Issues in Nomination and Confirmation by Peter C. Kesterhoff (2009)

Available at: ebrary Academic Complete. Publisher’s Description:

This new book sheds light on whether Senate processing of lower court nominations, particularly to the courts of appeals, has tended over recent decades to slow down in presidential election years. The report begins by reviewing recent debate, and historical events dating back to 1980, concerning whether the Senate and its Judiciary Committee customarily observe a practice referred to as the “Thurmond rule.” Next, the report provides narratives on each presidential election year from 1980 to 2004, reviewing Senate and committee actions taken on court of appeals and district court nominations in each of the years. The book then compares these years quantitatively, examining the number and percent of nominations processed and the last dates of committee and Senate action taken. Findings include the following: Senators of both parties at different times have spoken of their expectations of a drop-off in processing of judicial nominations occurring earlier in presidential election years than in other years. However, there is no written Senate or Judiciary Committee rule — nor was any bipartisan agreement reached during the 1980-2004 period — concerning judicial nominations in presidential election years.

Advice and Dissent The Struggle to Shape the Federal Judiciary by Sarah A. Binder & Forrest Maltzman (2009)

Available at: ebrary Academic Complete. Publisher’s Description:

For better or worse, federal judges in the United States today are asked to resolve some of the nation’s most important and contentious public policy issues. Although some hold onto the notion that federal judges are simply neutral arbiters of complex legal questions, the justices who serve on the Supreme Court and the judges who sit on the lower federal bench are in fact crafters of public law. In recent years, for example, the Supreme Court has bolstered the rights of immigrants, endorsed the constitutionality of school vouchers, struck down Washington D.C.’s blanket ban on handgun ownership, and most famously, determined the outcome of the 2000 presidential election. The judiciary now is an active partner in the making of public policy.

Advice and Consent : The Politics of Judicial Appointments by Lee Epstein & Jeffrey A. Segal (2005)

Available at: ebrary Academic Complete. Publisher’s Description:

From Louis Brandeis to Robert Bork to Clarence Thomas, the nomination of federal judges has generated intense political conflict. With the coming retirement of one or more Supreme Court Justices–and threats to filibuster lower court judges–the selection process is likely to be, once again, the center of red-hot partisan debate. In Advice and Consent, two leading legal scholars, Lee Epstein and Jeffrey A. Segal, offer a brief, illuminating Baedeker to this highly important procedure, discussing everything from constitutional background, to crucial differences in the nomination of judges and justices, to the role of the Judiciary Committee in vetting nominees. Epstein and Segal shed light on the role played by the media, by the American Bar Association, and by special interest groups (whose efforts helped defeat Judge Bork). Though it is often assumed that political clashes over nominees are a new phenomenon, the authors argue that the appointment of justices and judges has always been a highly contentious process–one largely driven by ideological and partisan concerns. The reader discovers how presidents and the senate have tried to remake the bench, ranging from FDRs controversial court packing scheme to the Senates creation in 1978 of 35 new appellate and 117 district court judgeships, allowing the Democrats to shape the judiciary for years. The authors conclude with possible reforms, from the so-called nuclear option, whereby a majority of the Senate could vote to prohibit filibusters, to the even more dramatic suggestion that Congress eliminate a judges life tenure either by term limits or compulsory retirement. With key appointments looming on the horizon, Advice and Consent provides everything concerned citizens need to know to understand the partisan rows that surround the judicial nominating process.

Check out this handy guide for information on how to use eBooks at SU.


 

50 Years Ago: Miranda v. Arizona

Fifty years ago, the United States Supreme Court heard and decided the case Miranda v. Arizona. Today, “Miranda rights” and “Mirandizing” are parts of the country’s legal lexicon. The issues in the case involved custodial interrogations and a criminal defendant’s Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. The U.S. Courts website has a “Facts and Case Summary” page that discusses the four cases consolidated into the Miranda decision and the essentials of the Court’s decision. It also mentions that even though his original conviction was overturned, Miranda was subsequently tried, convicted and sentenced to 20-30 years in prison.


 

Supreme Court Nomination Process

It does not happen often but the President will soon be nominating a candidate to be the next U.S. Supreme Court Justice. This often contentious process is described in a research guide available from the Georgetown Law Library. The guide details not only the process, but the history of nominations and citations and (sometimes) links to source documents.


 

McCleary Documents

The single largest, looming issue for the Washington Legislature is that of funding basic education. It has come to a head because the State Supreme Court found the Legislature in contempt of court for not fully funding education as constitutionally mandated under the Washington Constitution. There have been many court decisions, court filings and responses from the Legislature as well as the State Attorney General. Many of those are available on a page devoted to McCleary on the Washington Court website. If you want primary source documents to study the issue, this is a good resource.


 

Books By and About Justice Scalia in SU’s Library Collection

Written By Justice Scalia:

Reading Law: the Interpretation of Legal Texts by Antonin Scalia & Bryan A. Garner
Available at SU Law Library LAW-3rd Floor (K290.S33 2012)
Publisher’s Description:

In this groundbreaking book by best-selling authors Justice Antonin Scalia and Bryan A. Garner, all the most important principles of constitutional, statutory, and contractual interpretation are systematically explained in an engaging and informative style-including several hundred illustrations from actual cases. Never before has legal interpretation been so fascinatingly explained. Both authors are individually renowned for their scintillating prose styles, and together they make even the seemingly dry subject of legal interpretation riveting. Though intended primarily for judges and the lawyers who appear before them to argue the meaning of texts, Reading Law is sound educational reading for anyone who seeks to understand how judges decide cases-or should decide cases. The book is a superb introduction to modern judicial decision-making.

Making Your Case: the Art of Persuading Judges by Antonin Scalia & Bryan A. Garner
Available at SU Law Library LAW-Reserve (KF8870.S28 2008)
Publisher’s Description:

In their professional lives courtroom lawyers must do these two things well: speak persuasively and write persuasively. In this noteworthy book, two of the most noted legal writers of our day Justice Antonin Scalia and Bryan A. Garner systematically present every important idea about judicial persuasion in a fresh, entertaining way. Making Your Case: The Art of Persuading Judges is a guide for novice and experienced litigators alike. It covers the essentials of sound legal reasoning, including how to develop the syllogism that underlies any argument. From there the authors explain the art of brief-writing, especially what to include and what to omit, so that you can induce the judge to focus closely on your arguments. Finally, they show what it takes to succeed in oral argument.

A Matter of Interpretation: Federal Courts and the Law: An Essay by Antonin Scalia & Amy Gutmann
Available at SU Law Library LAW-4th Floor (KF4552 .S28 1997)
Publisher’s Description:

In exploring the neglected art of statutory interpretation, Scalia urges that judges resist the temptation to use legislative intention and legislative history. In his view, it is incompatible with democratic government to allow the meaning of a statute to be determined by what the judges think the lawgivers meant rather than by what the legislature actually promulgated. Eschewing the judicial lawmaking that is the essence of common law, judges should interpret statutes and regulations by focusing on the text itself. Scalia then extends this principle to constitutional law. He proposes that we abandon the notion of an everchanging Constitution and pay attention to the Constitution’s original meaning. Although not subscribing to the “strict constructionism” that would prevent applying the Constitution to modern circumstances, Scalia emphatically rejects the idea that judges can properly “smuggle” in new rights or deny old rights by using the Due Process Clause, for instance. In fact, such judicial discretion might lead to the destruction of the Bill of Rights if a majority of the judges ever wished to reach that most undesirable of goals.

Written About Justice Scalia:

Scalia: A Court of One by Bruce Allen Murphy
Available at SU Law Library LAW-4th Floor (KF8745.S33M87 2014)
Publisher’s Description:

Scalia: A Court of One is the compelling story of one of the most polarizing figures to serve on the nation’s highest court. Bruce Allen Murphy shows how Scalia changed the legal landscape through his controversial theories of textualism and originalism, interpreting the meaning of the Constitution’s words as he claimed they were understood during the nation’s Founding period. But Scalia’s judicial conservatism is informed as much by his highly traditional Catholicism and political partisanship as by his reading of the Constitution; his opinionated speeches, contentious public appearances, and newsworthy interviews have made him a lightning rod for controversy. Scalia is “an intellectual biography of one of [the Supreme Court’s] most colorful members” (Chicago Tribune), combined with an insightful analysis of the Supreme Court and its influence on American life over the past quarter century.

American Original: the Life and Constitution of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia by Joan Biskupic
Available at SU Law Library LAW-4th Floor (KF8745.S33B57 2009)
Publisher’s Description:

Combative yet captivating, infuriating yet charming, the outspoken jurist remains a source of curiosity to observers across the political spectrum and on both sides of the ideological divide. But for all his public grandstanding, Scalia has managed to elude biographers―until now. In American Original: The Life and Constitution of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, the veteran Washington journalist Joan Biskupic presents for the first time a detailed portrait of this complicated figure and provides a comprehensive narrative that will engage Scalia’s adherents and critics alike. Drawing on her long tenure covering the Court and on unprecedented access to the justice, Biskupic delves into the circumstances of his rise and the formation of his rigorous approach on the bench. This book shows us the man in power: his world, his journey, and the far-reaching consequences of a transformed legal landscape.

What Good is Legislative History?: Justice Scalia in the Federal Courts of Appeals by Joseph L. Gerken
Available at SU Law Library LAW-4th Floor (KF425.G47 2007)
Publisher’s Description:

This title from Hein is the first to study the influence of Justice Antonin Scalia’s criticism of legislative histories in more than 250 court decisions. Gerken paints a picture of Justice Scalia’s influence on the judicial system with his approach to statutory interpretation. This book provides unique insight into how judges think and what reasoning goes into their decisions.

Justice Antonin Scalia and the Conservative Revival by Richard A. Brisbin
Available at SU Lemieux Library 4th Floor-Books (KF8745 .S33 B75 1997)
Publisher’s Description

As the leading legal voice of the American conservative movement, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia has challenged the assumptions and legal methodology of American liberals. In this thorough and exacting study of the development of Justice Scalia’s legal principles, Richard Brisbin explores the foundation and elaboration of the justice’s conservative political vision. After reviewing Scalia’s legal experiences before joining the Supreme Court and describing the influences on his political and legal thought, Brisbin undertakes a detailed analysis of Scalia’s Supreme Court voting record and opinions. The conservative philosophy emerging from Scalia’s legal decisions, Brisbin argues, assumes the legitimacy and propriety of political regimes functioning under the rule of law. It disciplines—sometimes harshly—inappropriate uses of liberty and accepts the proposition that the law can serve as an effective means to structure, interpret, and control political conflicts. The most comprehensive study of Justice Scalia’s politics and jurisprudence yet published, Justice Antonin Scalia and the Conservative Revival joins a vital discussion on contemporary American conservatism and the use of the law to restrain or undermine the New Deal state.


 

Featured Database: BNA

The over 100 titles in the BNA library provide news, analysis, and cases on legal and regulatory developments on a variety of subjects.  BNA newsletters can also help with interview preparation because they are aimed at working professionals, with concise information in specific practice areas.  Interviewing for an IP position?  There are a variety of reports on different facets of intellectual property, including international.  There are dozens on tax topics, health law, and corporate law.  Read up before the interview and you will be able to talk intelligently about current developments in specific practice areas.  For those of you writing articles, BNA newsletters are also helpful for identifying possible paper or article topics.  BNA newsletters are available through the library’s Databases page.


 

Martin Luther King Papers Project

In 1985, Coretta Scott King asked Clayborne Carson, a Stanford historian to edit and publish her husband’s papers.  Hosted by Stanford University, the King Papers Project is a joint venture of Stanford, the King Center and the King Estate.  The Project website contains the full-text of sermons, speeches, correspondence and other writings of Dr. King.


 

Research Guide on Exam Taking Resources

Need help preparing for exams? Consult our online research guide for a bibliography of books and other resources you may find useful for exam preparation.


 

Have You Registered for a Casemaker X Account Yet?

One of the “perks” of becoming a member of the Washington State Bar Association (WSBA) is that you gain access to Casemaker, a subscription legal research database that has state and federal primary law (cases, statutes and regulations). Recently, the WSBA extended free access to Casemaker to law students and faculty of Washington State law schools via the Casemaker X database.

In addition to the state and federal primary law available via Casemaker, Casemaker X also provides access to the WSBA deskbook series through the Casemaker Libra platform. Students often find the Washington Civil Procedure and Washington Appellate Practice deskbooks (among others) especially helpful for drafting exercises.

Register for Casemaker X via casemakerx.com. Be sure to use your seattleu.edu email account to register. If you have questions about Casemaker X or the WSBA deskbooks, contact the reference desk at 398-4225 or lawreference@seattleu.edu.