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Today in Legal History: Truman Orders U.S. Troops to Korea

On June 27, 1950, President Truman ordered U.S. Air and Naval forces to join forces with South Korea’s army in order to prevent the communist conquest of the independent nation.  Two days earlier, 90,000 communist troops of the North Korean Army invaded South Korea, prompting a U.N. Security Council emergency meeting and the call for a cease-fire order.  Truman’s action, in the midst of the Cold War, met with approval from Congress and the U.S. public. The Korean War continued until July 27, 1953, when after two years of negotiations an armistice was signed and the war ended.

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Today in Legal History: Statue of Liberty Arrives in New York

The Statue of Liberty arrived in New York Harbor on June 19, 1885. The statue was a gift from France to the United States commemorating the centennial of the American Declaration of Independence. The 151-foot statue, Liberty Enlightening the World, was designed by Frederic-Auguste Bartholdi, and was dismantled into 350 pieces to be transported to the United States. The statue took four months to reassemble on Bedloe’s Island where it remains a symbol of freedom and democracy to the nation and the world.

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Today in Legal History: Miranda Rights Established

From WikipediaErnesto Miranda’s wrongful conviction led to the landmark case, Miranda v. Arizona (384 U.S. 436). On June 13, 1966, the Supreme Court delivered its decision, establishing that before a defendant’s statement to the police can be admitted as evidence, there must be proof that the defendant was informed of his/her right to counsel and against self-incrimination—what is now called the “Miranda Rights.”

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Today in Legal History: Tom Bradley Elected First African American Mayor of Los Angeles

On May 29, 1973, Thomas Bradley became the first African American mayor of Los Angeles. Bradley had served in the Los Angeles police department for over 20 years, and earned his law degree from Southwestern Law School. In 1963, he was elected to the Los Angeles City Council, being one of the first African Americans to serve on the City Council. In the 1960s, America was divided by race, social issues, and politics. In the midst of these tensions Bradley decided to run for mayor in 1963. He was defeated by Sam Yorty. Bradley ran again in 1973 and this time he won becoming the first black mayor of Los Angeles.

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Today in Legal History: Memorial Day

Memorial Day, initially called Decoration Day, was first observed on May 30, 1868, to honor the Civil War soldiers who died in battle by decorating their graves. While Memorial Day was celebrated in the years following 1868, it was not declared a national holiday until 1971 when Congress declared it be celebrated on the last Monday of May. Today, Americans celebrate Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries or memorials, participating in parades, and gathering with family and friends.

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Today in Legal History: U.S. Term Limits v. Thornton

The state of Arkansas imposed term limitations through Amendment 73, a ballot measure that prohibited the listing of any person who served the maximum terms allowed in the U. S. House or Senate on the general election ballot. Soon after the measure was adopted in 1992, Bobbie Hill, the League of Women Voters, and U.S. Representative Ray Thornton filed suit in Arkansas state court alleging that Amendment 73 violated Article I, sections 2 and 3 of the U.S. Constitution.

On May 22, 1995, the Supreme Court decided, in U.S. Term Limits, Inc. v. Thornton (514 U.S. 779), that the states could not add to or change the qualifications listed in the U.S. Constitution for those elected to Congress. The Supreme Court ruled that the qualifications listed in the Constitution are inclusive, and therefore no state could impose additional qualifications either directly or indirectly.

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Hamilton

You may have heard Hamilton is coming off the $10 bill, but, in response to the extreme popularity of ‘Hamilton’ (the Musical), Hamilton is here to stay. Did you know that Seattle University’s undergraduate library has the book that inspired the musical? Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow is available in the Lemieux Library on the 4th Floor at E302.6 H2 C48 2004. And if you like the musical and biographies of the founding fathers, you’ll love Originalism (the judicial interpretation of the constitution that aims to follow closely the original intentions of those who drafted it). Here are two books we have on Originalism:

Living Originalism by J. M. Balkin, Available at SU Law Library LAW-4th Floor (KF4552.B35 2011)

Originalism: A Quarter-Century of Debate by Steven G. Calabresi, Available at SU Law Library LAW-4th Floor (KF4749.A2O75 2007)


 

Today in Legal History: Former Vice President Spiro T. Agnew Disbarred

From WikipediaOn May 2, 1974, the Maryland Court of Appeals disbarred Former Vice President Spiro Agnew. A Baltimore grand jury had linked Agnew to political corruption—bribery, extortion, and tax evasion.  Agnew avoided indictments on bribery and extortion by pleading no contest to tax evasion. Agnew resigned from office in 1973, and while the government did not prosecute him on charges of bribery and extortion, he was nonetheless disbarred as a result of his no-contest plea.

More information is available at:

  • ABA Journal
  • U.S. Senate History

 

Law Day Legislation

Although celebrated previously, Law Day was officially codified in 1961 by Public Law 87-20. Law Day is May 1 and is intended to be “a special day of celebration by the American people in appreciation
of their liberties and the reaffirmation of their loyalty to the United States of America; of their rededication to the ideals of equality and justice under law in their relations with each other as well as with other nations; and for the cultivation of that respect for law that is so vital to the democratic way of life.”


 

April is Poetry Month!

Ven-Fuel was convicted of fraudulent acts,
By the Trial Court’s finding of adequate facts.
We think it likely that fraud took place,
But Materiality was not shown in this case.
So while the Government will no doubt be annoyed,
We declare the conviction null and void.

U.S. v. Ven-Fuel, Inc., 602 F.2d 747, 748 (C.A.Fla., 1979). Written by Judge John R. Brown.
Ven-Fuel had been convicted of importing fuel oil under an import license obtained by fraudulent statements, but the appellate court found the statements not material. The entire poem is 14 lines, and an elegant summary of the case.