Why do we eat hot dogs and watch fireworks?

Everyone knows the 4th of July is Independence Day. Most everyone knows that it is Independence Day because that’s when the Declaration of Independence was signed. But how much do you really know about the Declaration itself? The National Archive houses the Declaration of Independence. It also has an online exhibit that discusses its drafting, preservation and many other fascinating topics related to the document. Law students and lawyers should take a moment to reflect on the Declaration and its relationship to American law . . . and then they should have a hot dog and blow something up.

How do you write a commencement speech? Crowdsource it.

Congratulations to our Seattle University School of Law Graduates and thanks to our wonderful speakers. While many speakers may have peers review their speech prior to the ceremony, a student speaker at Stanford Law School has taken it to the next level – she is crowdsourcing her speech.

Washington State Bicycle Laws

Bike month may be over, but bike laws apply year round. Find out more about bike laws and bicycling in Washington on the Cascade Bicycle Club site.


The month is May and “may” is also a word on which many disputes have arisen and many court cases have hinged. One would typically define “may” as permissive. However, according to Black’s Law Dictionary, some courts have interpreted “may” to be synonymous with “shall” or “must” “in an effort to effectuate what is said to be legislative intent.” It seems like that may be stretching a bit.

Security Precautions in the Library

Theft can be a problem in any building on campus and we remind you to never leave personal belongings unattended in the library. Remember to take valuable items with you when you leave or ask a colleague to watch valuables if you will be gone for a very short period of time. Study rooms are no exception.

Be sure to secure your laptop even if you plan to just step away for a moment. There are laptop security devices installed on carrels and tables throughout the library to secure your computer. Security cables can be purchased in the bookstore. The library has a limited supply of security cables available for check-out at the circulation desk.

Courthouse Creepiness

The American Bar Association has featured 9 haunted courthouses! Check it out!


Banned Books 2014

Celebrate the Freedom to Read during Banned Books Week 2014. For over 30 years libraries, publishers, booksellers, journalists, teachers and readers have been coming together during Banned Book Week to explore the issues and controversies around book challenges and book banning. The American Library Association compiles a yearly list of the most frequently challenged books.

The top five most challenged books for 2013:
1. Captain Underpants (series), Dav Pilkey
• Reasons: Offensive language, unsuited for age group, violence
2. The Bluest Eye, Toni Morrison
• Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, violence
• In our collection at: LAW-Culp Collection (3rd Floor-Range 3A) PS3563.O8749B55 1994
3. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, Sherman Alexie
• Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, offensive language, racism, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
4. Fifty Shades of Grey, E.L. James
• Reasons: Nudity, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
5. The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins
• Reasons: Religious viewpoint, unsuited to age group

Self Defense Against Robots?

What are the legal implications of shooting down a drone that is trespassing on your property? What about disabling a peeping Tom drone? In their paper “Self Defense Against Robots”, Michael Froomkin and Zak Colangelo examine “when, under U.S. law, humans may use force against robots to protect themselves, their property, and their privacy.”



That Thing in Your Hand

The highlighter. Every law student has one . . . or two . . . or more. But before most of today’s law students were born, law students underlined important passages in their casebooks (and probably some unimportant ones too). A few years back, the New York Times Magazine section wrote an article about the evolution of highlighters. Be ironic. Print it out and underline the important passages.

John McKay Headed to Palestine

John McKay, former US Attorney, has been with SU Law school since 2007. He teaches very popular courses on National Security Law and the Constitutional Law of Terrorism. He also works with the externship program and helps students connect with attorneys, judges and other leaders in the legal profession. He will be moving to Ramallah in the West Bank to work for the US State Department coordinating Rule of Law initiatives.