Saturday, November 07, 2009

New York Anniversary

Last Tuesday was an election day for New Yorkers, but yesterday was the anniversary of a momentous day in New York election history--November 6, 1917, when New York state passed a constitutional amendment granting women the right to vote.

Alice Paul and the National Woman's Party had been picketing the White House since January of that year, followed by arrests and continuing protests. Although the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution, granting suffrage to all American women, was not ratified until August 1920, New York's amendment and a march of 25,000 women in late 1915 in New York City were major events in the last successful push for the vote. The Library of Congress American Memory collection features a fascinating photo and timeline glimpse into the all-important year of 1917 in the history of legal rights for women.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Friday, November 06, 2009

Supreme Stats

For those interested in analyzing the decisions and justices of the U.S. Supreme Court, there are two great web sites for you. SCOTUS BLOG has a companion site, SCOTUS WIKI which provides Supreme Court statistics, such as Justice agreement, opinion tally and a circuit scorecard by term going back to 1995.

Another site, the Supreme Court database, provides downloadable data sets for you to manipulate and analyze in your favorite statistics software. Currently the data on this site goes back to 1953. According to the National Law Journal, they have just received funding to expand their data back to the first Supreme Court recorded decision in 1792.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Judge Allows Constitutional Challenge to Human Gene Patents

Those who track the unusual intersections of Constitutional law and intellectual property law may find the following news story of interest. As reports, opponents of patenting human gene sequences received a rare court victory recently, when a federal judge refused to dismiss a suit that challenges patents for two genes linked to cancers in women.

The case involves seven patents relating to human genes BRCA1 and BRCA2, mutations of which are implicated in breast cancer and ovarian cancer. The University of Utah owns the patents, which it licenses to the Salt Lake City-based company Myriad Genetics.

In his opinion, Manhattan federal district court Judge Robert Sweet wrote that "the challenges to the patents-in-suit raise questions of difficult legal dimensions concerning constitutional protections over the information that serves as our genetic identities and the need to adopt policies that promote scientific innovation and biomedical research”.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Wednesday, November 04, 2009


Many students come to the desk looking for information about newspapers--especially where to find copies of those newspapers. One good place to start looking is the Library of Congress's newspaper directory. Using the newspaper directory, you can find newspapers by geographic region, year, and type of newspaper. Once you find the newspaper that you are looking for, you can click on the link that says "Libraries that have it" to find out where you can get a copy of the paper.

I found the Cleveland Plain Dealer, clicked on "Libraries that have it" and was given a long list of libraries that own it, plus a description of the holdings. In addition to several Ohio and Pennsylvania libraries, I found that the New York Public Library has microfiche copies of the newspaper back to 1965.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Have you voted yet today?

Remember that today is an election day and if you are registered to vote you should do so. Most of the races today are for state and local offices but these are still very important. Who will represent you in the state legislature? Who will be the judges? Who will be the Nassau County executive? We usually pay more attention to federal elections, but many issues are decided on a state and/or local level, i.e. property taxes.

Polls are open until 9 PM this evening so you still have time. Vote!

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Monday, November 02, 2009

Research Resources: Current Index to Legal Periodicals

Current Index to Legal Periodicals is prepared on a weekly basis by law librarians and staff of the Marian Gould Gallagher Law Library at the University of Washington. This publication provides topical access to approximately 475 law school reviews and other selected legal journals under 100 subject headings. In addition, CILP provides full tables of contents of all journals indexed.

To access Current Index to Legal Periodicals:

  • Go to the Library's home page, click "Online Resources"
  • Then, click "Article Finding"
  • Scroll down and click the "Current Index to Legal Periodicals" link
Dates of coverage are from 1999 to present.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Blawg Reviews

Many law reviews are now offering their articles for free on their websites. This move to 'open access' publishing is changing the look of legal scholarship. Some law reviews are becoming more interactive--with responses to articles now sometimes coming in comments pages and short online responses, rather than only in lengthy printed articles. A New York Law Journal article reviews this phenomenon, saying that this more interactive format is making some law review websites look similar to law blogs.

A few places to get started looking for open access law review articles are: -- You can search open access law review articles here -- the Directory of Open Access Journals
Library of Congress list of law reviews online

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat