Wednesday, October 19, 2016

New HeinOnline Library on the History of Slavery

The Goodson Law Library's HeinOnline subscription now includes the new library Slavery in America and the World: History, Culture & Law. Edited by Paul Finkelman of Albany Law School, Duke's Fall 2012 John Hope Franklin Visiting Professor of American Legal History, the collection compiles slavery-related treatises, law review articles, case law, and statutes into a single place, which is described as "all known legal materials on slavery in the United States and the English-speaking world."

The collection includes such seminal historical works as Catterall's Judicial Cases Concerning American Slavery and the Negro, a five-volume digest of early American case law concerning slaves. More modern works on slavery can also be found in the "Articles" tab as well as the "UNC Press" tab, featuring more recent e-books from the University of North Carolina Press.

The collection may be browsed or searched. For example, researchers who wish to learn more about the 1831 Nat Turner rebellion in Virginia (the subject of the current Hollywood film The Birth of a Nation) might search across this library for "Nat Turner." Results will include a reprinted pamphlet, Confession of Nat Turner, Leader of the Negro Insurrection in Southampton County. Results also include several 19th and 20th-century treatises on the topic, such as William Sidney Drewry's The Southampton Insurrection (1900), a compilation of interviews with surviving eyewitnesses. (Nate Parker, the writer/director/star of the 2016 film, has cited Drewry's work as important source material.)

The new Hein library now appears in the Duke University Libraries' HeinOnline landing page. Library users may access this library from anywhere on Duke's campus; Duke University students, faculty, and staff may also access HeinOnline from off-campus with a NetID and password. However, readers who are unaffiliated with Duke, or unable to visit a subscribing library in person, may also register directly with HeinOnline for free access to the Slavery in America and the World library. As noted in its October 5 press release, "The crisis revolving around race relations in America and the recent events surrounding this crisis have made the Hein Company rethink the idea of financially profiting from the sale of a collection on slavery."

To locate additional works in the Goodson Law Library about slavery and the law, consult the Duke Libraries Catalog or Ask a Librarian.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Federal Rulemaking, In Case of Emergency

Over the last few weeks, you have probably heard about Samsung's Galaxy Note 7, which was recalled by its manufacturer after numerous reports of spontaneous battery fires. Last week, the company announced that it had ceased production of the Android phone, now under one of the largest recalls ever issued for consumer electronics. Late last week, the Federal Aviation Administration announced a ban of the devices on all U.S. flights, via an emergency order to be published in the Federal Register later this week.

The ban, officially known as Emergency Restriction/Prohibition Order No. FAA-2016-9288, took effect at noon on Saturday. It now prohibits passengers and crew from carrying the banned Galaxy devices "on their person, in carry-on baggage, in checked baggage, or as cargo." Passengers caught carrying the device will be denied boarding of the aircraft. If a person accidentally does bring the Galaxy Note 7 on board, the device must be immediately powered off, with activation prevented for the remainder of the flight. Violators are subject to "civil penalties of up to $179,933 for each violation" and may be criminally prosecuted, as well. The order will remain in effect until the Secretary of Transportation "determines that an imminent hazard no longer exists or a change in applicable statute or federal regulation occurs that supersedes the requirements of this Order, in which case the Secretary will issue a Rescission Order."

This news serves as a reminder that not every federal agency rule is subject to the notice and comment (informal) rulemaking process outlined by the Administrative Procedure Act. Under the APA, proposed agency rules are published in the Federal Register with an opportunity for the public to submit comments on the proposal, and rules are eventually republished in final form along with a summary of the comments and any agency response. 5 U.S.C. § 553(B) provides that agencies may skip the more protracted public comment process "when the agency for good cause finds (and incorporates the finding and a brief statement of reasons therefor in the rules issued) that notice and public procedure thereon are impracticable, unnecessary, or contrary to the public interest." The FAA's emergency order notes that federal statutes give the Secretary of Transportation jurisdiction to regulate transport of lithium ion batteries, and also allows for emergency restrictions when needed "to abate the imminent hazard."

On the Federal Register website, emergency notices like the FAA's Galaxy Note 7 ban appear on the online Public Inspection Desk as a "Special Filing." As a reminder, the Public Inspection Desk allows readers to preview recently-released administrative rules and other documents before they appear in the printed edition of the daily Federal Register. also allows users to search or browse issues of the Federal Register back to 1994.

Regulations.Gov is another important federal rulemaking bookmark, which provides access to proposed rules during their comment period, and allows users to submit or review comments to the agency. For more information about the federal rulemaking process, and options for researching pending or enacted federal regulations, check out the Goodson Law Library research guide to Federal Administrative Law or Ask a Librarian.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

On the Ballot

For obvious reasons, interest in election law spikes every four years. But even in non-presidential election years, laws related to the electoral process have a huge impact on citizens. They dictate the boundaries of election districts (such as the North Carolina redistricting at issue in the upcoming U.S. Supreme Court case, McCrory v. Harris) , create requirements for voter eligibility (such as North Carolina's controversial voter ID law, partially invalidated by the 4th Circuit in July; a deadlocked U.S. Supreme Court declined to grant a petition for review, leaving the 4th Circuit precedent in place), and even determine the order in which candidates' names appear (such as the 2016 North Carolina legislative change, favoring the party of the current Governor).

Election laws are complex and vary widely by state. The National Survey of State Legislatures website offers a free roundup of Election Laws and Procedures, providing 50-state surveys on topics like voter ID requirements, registration rules, and maintenance of voter rolls. (For Law School community members, both Westlaw and Lexis Advance offer similar 50-state surveys on election law topics. On Westlaw, the SURVEYS database includes a Statutory Survey on Election Law; in Lexis Advance, follow the path Secondary Sources > LexisNexis® 50-State Surveys, Statutes & Regulations > Governments to view available election-related topics.)

For more information and the latest news about election law developments, check out Election Law Blog, Ballot Access News, and the CQ Voting and Elections Collection (available through Duke University). To locate books or other materials in the Goodson Law Library, try a search of the Duke Libraries Catalog for the subject heading "Election Law -- United States" or Ask a Librarian.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

100 Years of First Monday

Still missing a ninth justice after the death of Antonin Scalia in February, the eight remaining members of the U.S. Supreme Court will begin hearing oral arguments on Tuesday, October 4. But it is Monday, October 3, which marks the official beginning of the Court's October Term 2016 – for the last century, the "first Monday in October" has been the start date of the U.S. Supreme Court's annual term, thanks to Public Law No. 64-258.

The treatise Supreme Court Practice (10th ed. 2013), section 1.2(f) (KF9057 .S8 2013 & on Bloomberg Law) describes the long history behind the Supreme Court's now-famous start date:
In the First Judiciary Act of 1789, 1 Stat. 73, Congress mandated that the Court hold two sessions a year, "the one commencing the first Monday of February, and the other the first Monday of August." The provision for two sessions was apparently inspired in large part by a desire to allow the Justices to perform their time-consuming circuit-riding functions in the temperate spring and autumn weather. Subsequent term changes were made as the Court's business increased and the circuit-riding duties began a slow decline. During the nineteenth century, Congress reduced the number of sessions to one, while changing the opening day first to the second Monday in January, then to the first Monday in December, and then to the second Monday in October. Finally, in 1916, Congress fixed the opening day as the "first Monday in October." And the "first Monday in October" has remained to this day as the opening session of the Court's annual term.
The 1916 law came just a few days too late to be applicable in October 1916; the statute passed on September 6 with an effective date of 30 days. So the Court commenced for one last time on the second Monday in October 1916. The first "First Monday" term took place in October 1917.

In The Oxford Companion to the Supreme Court of the United States (Ref KF8742.A35 O93 2005 & in Oxford Reference Online), Duke Professor Emeritus of Political Science and Law Peter G. Fish noted that the earliest First Mondays were typically ceremonial in nature, featuring new admissions to the Supreme Court Bar, tributes to deceased justices and court officers, and (until the start of World War II) "adjournment for a White House visit." Oral arguments did not occur on First Monday until 1964, and have been scheduled regularly since 1975. This year, though, the Court will begin with a non-argument day.

What's in store for the Court in this new term? SCOTUSblog is a helpful resource for keeping up with the latest petition grants, oral arguments, and (eventually) opinions. The American Bar Association Supreme Court Preview includes briefs and other materials from upcoming cases.

With Justice Scalia's seat still vacant, pending congressional action on the March nomination of Merrick Garland, the Court continues to face the possibility of a 4-4 tie in controversial cases. As the nation was reminded last spring, a 4-4 Supreme Court results in a per curiam opinion which upholds the lower court's ruling "by an equally divided Court." (For more on the subject, see a 2002 article from the William & Mary Law Review, "Ties in the Supreme Court of the United States.")

For more information about the history and operations of the nation's highest court, visit the Goodson Law Library research guide to the U.S. Supreme Court  or Ask a Librarian.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Constitution Day 2016

How well do you know the U.S. Constitution? Today is the official observance of Constitution Day, a national holiday commemorating the signing of the United States Constitution on September 17, 1787. If it's been a while since you last reviewed the Constitution's seven articles and 27 amendments, take a moment to re-read this founding document. Considering its monumental importance to the American government and its legal system, it is a surprisingly short and simple read.

You can pick up a pocket-sized Constitution at the Goodson Law Library service desk, courtesy of either LexisNexis or Westlaw. You can also print your own mini-Constitution from House Document 112-129 -- be sure to choose the "booklet" option when printing! Alternatively, the text of the Constitution is available online through the U.S. Senate, the National Archives, and at the start of every print or online version of the United States Code, as part of the "Organic Laws."

Think you know the Constitution pretty well? Test your mettle with the Constitution IQ Quiz, the ABA's 2015 Constitution trivia and the Washington Post's 2015 Constitution Day quiz.

To delve into more detailed constitutional history tidbits and trivia, search the Duke Libraries Catalog for the subject heading "Constitutional history – United states." The Goodson Law Library owns more than 1000 titles with this subject heading, and more than 2400 with the subject "Constitutional law – United States." For help navigating our large constitutional law collection, be sure to Ask a Librarian.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Directories of Governments and Non-Governmental Organizations

Pop quiz: which book in the library contains an organization chart for the U.S. Coast Guard, lists of current congressional committees and their membership, and contact information for the National Pasta Association? You'll probably never need all three of those things at once, but you should know that you can find them all in the Washington Information Directory, whose 2016-2017 edition has just landed in the Reference Collection on level 3.

Published since 1975, the Washington Information Directory compiles contact information and descriptive summaries about governmental and non-governmental organizations in and around the nation's capital. Organized by topics (such as Law and Justice) and subtopics (such as Criminal Law, or Constitutional Law and Civil Liberties), each subsection includes lists of government agencies and non-governmental organizations, along with a brief description of their missions and public contact information. The directory is an interesting way to discover relevant governmental, professional, and non-governmental organizations in a particular area of interest. The Goodson Law Library keeps only the current year of this directory, although historical editions are available elsewhere on campus.

Duke University provides access to other directories of government agencies and non-governmental organizations. For federal government agencies, some excellent sources to review are:
  • The United States Government Manual (Ref Docs. AE 2.108/2: or online)
  • Federal Regulatory Directory (Ref. JK610 .F29).
  • State governments often publish directories of their agencies and offices as well. Although not always the official title, these are often nicknamed "Blue Books" (not to be confused with the legal citation manual). The American Library Association's Government Documents Round Table has compiled a helpful list of State Government Blue Books and Encyclopedias, which can be invaluable sources of information about state government offices.

Another helpful source for locating contact information about organizations is the Leadership Library on the Internet, available to current members of the Duke University community with NetID and password. The online Leadership Library contains updated versions of the popular "Yellow Book" print directory series (e.g., Federal Yellow Book, Judicial Yellow Book). Leadership Library provides more detail about members of an organization than other general directories, including personal email addresses and direct telephone extensions.

For non-governmental organizations, another great starting place is the Encyclopedia of Associations, available online in the Gale Directory Library. This set is published in three volumes: National Organizations of the U.S., International Organizations, and Regional, State and Local Organizations. A search of all three for "pasta" would return the same National Pasta Association in the Washington Information Directory, as well as four additional organizations in the United Kingdom, Spain, and – where else? – Italy.

Need help finding information about a government agency or a non-governmental organization? Be sure to Ask a Librarian.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Finding Images Online

Need to punch up a presentation with some visual interest? Duke University's Visual Studies Librarian Lee Sorensen has created a new online portal to help you with Finding Images, along with tips for using them without running afoul of copyright laws.

The guide includes tips for locating images and maps online, such as through many of Duke's subscription databases like the AP Image Archive. Links also include copyright-free resources like Creative Commons images on the photo-sharing site Flickr or Google Advanced Image Search.

However, as the guide sagely notes, the copyright status of images found online is often unclear. Sorensen states two basic rules of image-finding on the Internet:
  1. Assume an image is copyrighted unless there is an explicit indication that it is copyright free.
  2. People and institutions frequently claim ownership to images they don’t own.
The Finding Images guide includes information about Copyright and Fair Use. Many educational uses of copyrighted material should fall under non-profit fair use, for which no additional permission is needed (although the guide notes best practices for citing even copyright-free images). For additional information about copyright clearance, or "permissions," to use images or other copyrighted material in commercial works, consult the Duke Libraries Catalog for works on copyright. Results will include Getting Permission: How to License & Clear Copyrighted Materials Online & Off.

For help with either image searching or locating information about copyright law, be sure to Ask a Librarian.