Archive for the ‘legal history’ Category

  • Today in Legal History: Earth Day

    Before 1970 there were no legal or regulatory devices to protect the environment. In the spring of 1970, Senator Gaylord Nelson, inspired by the student anti-war movement, created Earth Day as a way to force environmental protection onto the national political agenda. On April 22, 1970, Earth Day was observed by millions of Americans who […] Read more...
  • Today in Legal History: Bay of Pigs Invasion

    On April 17, 1961, a CIA-backed group of Cuban refugees tried to invade Cuba at the Bay of Pigs. As soon as the party landed, they were met with resistance from Castro’s forces, and promised US air support never materialized. Of the 1,200 exiles trying to recapture their homeland, 100 died and the rest were […] Read more...
  • Today in Legal History: Hugo Grotius is Born, April 10, 1583

    Hugo Grotius (10 April 1583 – 28 August 1645), was a Dutch jurist, theologian, and philosopher.  His theories of natural law and seminal works on the law of war and peace and the law of the sea are still influential in international jurisprudence.  He is often referred to as the father of international law. Read more...
  • Today in Legal History: Congress’ First U.S. Wartime Conscription Law Takes Effect

    Congress passed the conscription law on March 3, 1863, when faced with a major challenge posed by the Confederacy to the Federal Government’s survival and President Lincoln’s legitimacy. However, the first draft in the United States was not imposed by Congress but by the Confederacy. This may come as a surprise to some, since a […] Read more...
  • Today in Legal History: Woman Lawyer’s Bill Passed in California

    Through the efforts of Clara Shortridge Foltz and Laura deForce Gordon, the words “white male” were replaced with “person” in the state requirements to take the bar exam.  This had the effect of not only allowing women to take the bar, but minorities as well.  Ms. Foltz, the single parent of five children, went on […] Read more...
  • Today in Legal History: Teaching of Evolution Banned in Tennessee, March 13, 1925

    On March 13, 1925 the Tennessee senate passed the Butler Act which prohibited the teaching of evolution in publicly funded schools in the state.  Within a year of the law’s enactment, a high school biology teacher, John Scopes, challenged the law and was arrested.  His trial became one of the most famous trials in American […] Read more...
  • Today in Legal History: Roosevelt Signs Lend-Lease Program

    The Lend-Lease program was Franklin Roosevelt’s way to circumvent US laws requiring that all sales to foreign governments be made in cash.  Roosevelt strongly believed that the Allied powers needed help.  This program was met with skepticism; some of the provisions of the bill permitted the President to shut down strikes.  However, Great Britain was […] Read more...
  • Today in Legal History: Confederate Constitution Adopted

    The Confederate Constitution, adopted on March 11, 1861, provides an interesting insight into the political opinions of the South during the antebellum period. While much of the Confederate version is clearly taken straight from the US Constitution, there are differences. The President is limited to a single six year term, for example. The Bill of Rights […] Read more...
  • Today in Legal History: Campbell v. Acuff-Rose Decided

    2 Live Crew was a rap group who recorded a song called “Pretty Woman”. This song was based heavily on a prior work recorded and co-written by Roy Orbison. Orbison’s record label sued for copyright infringement. The Orbison version was a wistful ballad about a lovely woman walking. By contrast, the 2 Live Crew version […] Read more...
  • Today in Legal History: Constitution Goes into Effect

    Work began on the US Constitution in September of 1786. While all states did eventually ratify the Constitution, not all of them did so before the Constitution took effect on March 4, 1789. The Constitution was the result of intense negotiation and compromise. The Bill of Rights was written as part of these negotiations. The Constitutional […] Read more...