Saturday, October 11, 2014

Animal Rights: Personhood for Chimps?

The question of whether a chimpanzee has the legal right not to be kept as an isolated captive in a dark cage has been playing out in the courts of New York since December 2013, when the Nonhuman Rights Project, an advocacy organization founded by an animal protection attorney, filed lawsuits on behalf of three captive chimps. Last Wednesday in Albany, oral arguments in the case of Tommy, a "26-year-old chimpanzee living in a used trailer lot in Gloversville, NY, isolated in a cage in a dark shed on the owner's property," were heard by the Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Third Judicial Department. His attorneys argued that Tommy, a self-aware and autonomous nonhuman animal, was a wrongly imprisoned common law "legal person" entitled a writ of habeas corpus.

Read more about the oral argument and the background of the case here and in a Wired article by Brandon Keim. Those interested in the legal theories and arguments used in animal protection law should also check out this page created by the Nonhuman Rights Project to illustrate how the arguments used in the New York cases might fare in the courts of other states.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Friday, October 10, 2014

Shortcuts on Windows

For those of us "commoners" who use Windows rather than the hip, oh-so-cool  perfection of Apple products, here are a few tips for keyboard shortcuts to make our common life a little easier - and maybe even dip a toe into "cool".

My favorite - view 2 windows side-by-side for comparison.  This can be not just browser windows, but also documents, email or whatever you have open in a window.
While pressing the Windows logo key Picture of the Windows logo key, click the Right Arrow key or the Left Arrow key and your browser will slide over to one side. Select another window (such as a Word document) and use the shortcut only with the opposite arrow.

Worthy of mention - Zoom in, zoom out.   This is like the Ctrl + or Ctrl - in your browser.
Windows logo key Picture of the Windows logo key+Plus Sign or Minus Sign
The Plus Sign key (+) zooms you in, the Minus Sign key (-) zooms you out. This lets you see small text on a webpage or to check out the pixels in a photo.

For more shortcuts, check out the full list .

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Thursday, October 09, 2014

This Day In The Law: Roger Williams

On October 9, 1635, Roger Williams was banished from the Massachusetts colony for preaching that civil government has no right to interfere in religious affairs. Read Williams’s Plea for Religious Liberty here.

Acknowledgment to Jurist.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Considers Use of National Security Letters

Today, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals considered whether it would strike down a provision allowing the FBI’s use of national security letters.  A lower court judge ruled the letters unconstitutional because of the gag orders that bar recipients from telling anyone about the requests.  The Court allowed the FBI to continue sending the letters, pending an appeal.  The FBI issues thousands of national security letters annually while investigating terrorism and espionage cases. Unlike warrants, the demands for information are made without judicial oversight. Click here to read more.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

HeinOnline Library: World Constitutions Illustrated

HeinOnline's World Constitutions Illustrated is a library in the HeinOnline database, which contains "the current constitution of every country in the world in its original language. For countries where multiple original-language versions exist, we will provide each one. Also included will be at least one English translation." (source)

For every country there are additional research resources, such as commentaries and editorially selected relevant scholarly articles.  Also included for each country is a bibliography of selected works and Internet links to additional information about the country. 

HeinOnline can be directly accessed at Hofstra Law without a login when signed in to the Hofstra Law School network or accessed through the My Hofstra portal while off-campus.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Monday, October 06, 2014

The First Monday in October!

Today the United States Supreme Court officially begins the October Term 2014.  For a listing of articles previewing this term check out SCOTUSblog Monday round-up.  SCOTUSblog is a free online source with news, analysis, statistics and documents. 

BNA United States Law Week is a subscription database of news and analysis for the Court.  It has long been a go-to source for Court activity.  This is also available on BNA Bloomberg.

And, of course the United States Supreme Court has its own website

So, if you are a Court watcher you have several good resources to keep you current.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Sunday, October 05, 2014

10 Tips for Better Legal Writing

The ABA Journal recently posted an article entitled "10 Tips for Better Legal Writing" by Bryan Garner.  The article provides some great writing tips for all students and practitioners.  Read the entire article here.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat