Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Black Cat Day

Or, as you humans know it, Happy Halloween.

I will once again take the opportunity to extol the virtues of the Black Cat.

The ancient Egyptians were wise enough to worship us.

And to dispel myths - Charles I of England believed his black cat was good luck and he was proven right.   The day after his black cat finished her 9th life, Charles I was charged with high treason and ultimately beheaded.  So, make sure to keep your black cat around!!

And lest you wonder what the legal connection is, here are my results searching Google Scholar for cases mentioning black cats .   Note particularly, Equitable Life Assurance v. Berry in which the judge categorizes fear of a black cat as a mental disease.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

New CRS Report: The Appointment Process for U.S. Circuit and District Court Nominations: An Overview

"In recent decades, the process for appointing judges to the U.S. circuit courts of appeals and the
U.S. district courts has been of continuing Senate interest. The responsibility for making these
appointments is shared by the President and the Senate. Pursuant to the Constitution’s
Appointments Clause, the President nominates persons to fill federal judgeships, with the
appointment of each nominee also requiring Senate confirmation. Although not mentioned in the
Constitution, an important role is also played midway in the appointment process by the Senate
Judiciary Committee. "  Read Denis Steven Rutkus' complete report.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Monday, October 27, 2014

The Making of Modern Law: U.S. Supreme Court Records and Briefs, 1832-1978

Not everything is on Bloomberg, Lexis Advance or Westlaw Next, especially if you are looking for older documents.  The Making of Modern Law:  U.S. Supreme Court Records and Briefs, 1832-1978 is an excellent source for Writs of Certiorari, Petitioner/Respondent  Briefs, Amicus Briefs and more.  There are a number of ways to search this database and a "Search Tips" link is available.

You might be surprised at some of the issues that are still controversial today.  These are primary source documents for U.S. judicial history.  Read for yourself the arguments pro and con made at the time.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Sunday, October 26, 2014

HeinOnline Training Videos

HeinOnline is recently in the process of updating its training materials including videos.  A new video has been added on how to print PDFs using HeinOnline.  New videos will be added every month on a range of topics including using Fastcase, search strategies, library-specific content and much more.  If you are interested in certain help video topics, HeinOnline is seeking additional suggestions here.  Access the new videos and upcoming videos here.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Saturday, October 25, 2014

HeinOnline's United Nations Law Collection

Since yesterday was United Nations Day, this is a good time for a reminder about the United Nations Law Collection on HeinOnline. Finding international sources can be a challenge. This collection should not be overlooked when searching for treaties, international arbitration rules and awards, International Court of Justice judgments and case materials, and so much more.  Special finding features also make it easy to search for a treaty or agreement by citation, popular name, and other identifiers.

The United Nations Law Collection consists of nine sections: Treaty Publications; International Court of Justice (ICJ); United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL); International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS); United Nations Yearbooks; United Nations Serials; Codification and Progressive Development of International Law; and United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research.  There is a wealth of material here for researching topics in international law, trade, and human rights, as well as for the source gathering of specific documents--all of it in PDF.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Applying Native American Traditions to New York Disputes


The Peacemaking Program of the Court Innovation Project now has a branch in the Red Hook neighborhood of Brooklyn. According to a recent article,


“Peacemaking is used today in the [Native American] tribal court system as a restorative practice that focuses on mending relationships and healing the community after an offense has been committed. When a case is referred to peacemakers, a circle is formed that includes the victim and the offender, any family or community members who have been affected by the crime or dispute and some tribal elders. Bread is broken, prayers are said, and then the issue is talked out until a resolution is reached.


Despite concerns that such a culturally specific and spiritual practice would not work in a multicultural urban environment with no particular spiritual tradition, peacemaking is flourishing at the Red Hood Community Court, and plans for expansion are already underway. Since the program was launched, the peacemakers have handled over 50 court cases and a number of conflicts referred directly from the community.”

Read more here.


Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Monday, October 20, 2014

Study Guides

Sometimes you just need a little help preparing for a law school exam.  The Study Guides LibGuide is a list of resources that you can find in the law library by subject and series.

Only the most recent edition of each study guide is listed.  Earlier editions may also be available.  Academic Support (Law School, rooms 219 & 220) also lends from its library of study guides, which includes series not held in the Law Library.  Flashcards and audio CD’s are  listed by series and subject.  Unless  you see “Reserve,” the location will be in the Classified Collection, i.e. the main stacks.

In each list by subject, BL = Black Letter; CI = Concepts & Insights; EE=Examples and Explanations.

Check out the different kinds of study guides now so you can discover which type is best for you.  

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Legal Forms Libguide

Are you researching for various subject specific forms and would like to have all the resources in one place?  Try the Legal Forms Guide, this guide provides lists of major sets (like Bender's, American Jurisprudence and more), subject specific forms, online free and fee forms.  This guide only reflects resources available in the Law Library in print and online.  Click here to access the guide.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Friday, October 17, 2014

Current State Statutes now online

Most of us look online for state statutes anyway.  Now it is official - to get the current statutes for states*, you should look either on Lexis Advance, Westlaw Next, Bloomberg Law or the web.

On the web, you can find links to all of the states' statutes at http://statelaws.findlaw.com/state-codes.html .   For states that provide their authenticated official code, see the web site for the states that have adopted the Uniform Electronic Legal Materials Act.  

*The Library still has current state statutes in print for NY, NJ, FL, TX and CA . 


Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Texas, A Major Presence in the Legal News

The State of Texas is much in the legal news these past couple of days, with mixed results for its legislature.

On the one hand, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit reinstated Texas’s voter ID law. Read more here.

On the other hand, the U.S. Supreme Court blocked a Texas law that would have forced several abortion clinics to close. Read more about that ruling here.


Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat