Monday, July 30, 2018

Greatest Legal Movies Revisited

The ABA Journal's cover story this August updates its 2008 list of The 25 Greatest Legal Movies. The 2018 update expands the scope of the original list. More recent examples of award-winning courtroom dramas are here (such as Loving and Marshall), but the list also includes films whose subject matter intersects with the law (such as the investigative journalists in 2017's Spotlight) and legal documentaries (such as this summer's breakout hit RBG).

The 2018 list also makes a bit more room for laughs: 2001's law school comedy Legally Blonde has been added to the 2018 best-of list, and 1992's hilarious My Cousin Vinny retains its place on the list. An additional 25 Honorable Mentions are featured in the 2018 update as well. See the original 2008 list gallery and the 2018 update.

The Goodson Law Library has many of the original 25 films, as well as the new updates, in its Legal DVD collection on level 3. DVDs may be borrowed for 3-day loans; just bring the empty case to the Circulation/Reserve desk to receive the disc. Thousands of additional films are available in the Duke Libraries Catalog either through the Lilly Library on East Campus or through online databases, such as the Alexander Street Video Collection or NC Live Video. For help locating feature films or other video, be sure to Ask a Librarian.

Friday, July 27, 2018

The Highest Court in the Land

The U.S. Supreme Court and Sports Illustrated don't often intersect. But the July 30 issue of the popular sports magazine features a delightful story about the true "highest court in the land": the small basketball court above the U.S. Supreme Court's historic courtroom. You can read it online now, or look for the print edition in the Goodson Law Library's Leisure Reading collection soon.

Keeping with Court tradition, the story does not include actual photographs of the basketball court and its neighboring gym. As with the Court's longstanding ban on photography and video in the SCOTUS courtroom, the SI story instead features illustrations by sketch artist Arthur Lien.

The basketball court and gym began life as a Court storage room, before their transformation sometime in the 1940s. From that point on, Justices, clerks, and Court staff alike enjoy the facilities for games of basketball and other athletic pursuits – as long as the Court is not in session below, where noise from the basketball court and neighboring gym would rattle the walls of the building.

The SCOTUS basketball court has caused its share of injuries over the years. Justice Clarence Thomas tore his Achilles tendon in a 1992 pickup game with his clerks, who at the time included former Olympic athlete and NBA player Karl Tilleman. While clerking for former Justice Thurgood Marshall, current Justice Elena Kagan also sustained a leg injury from the court's unforgiving floor. Still, Kagan fondly recalls her basketball glory days, when teammates nicknamed her "Shorty" but ran plays that allowed the 5'3" now-Justice to score over much taller players.

To learn more fun facts about the history of the U.S. Supreme Court and its building, try a search of the Duke Libraries Catalog for the subject United States Supreme Court – History. You'll find many titles, including the 1965 title Equal Justice Under Law: The Supreme Court in American Life that is referenced in the Sports Illustrated article. The library's research guide to the U.S. Supreme Court will also provide information about reference works on the Court’s history. For help with finding these resources, be sure to Ask a Librarian.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Newspapers Off the Beaten Path

Researchers have many options for accessing historical full-text archives of major news publications such as the New York Times and Washington Post, or popular magazines like Time and Newsweek. (Search the Duke Libraries Catalog  to see your options in print, electronic, and microformats.) But if you are researching a topic of limited geographic reach, or just interested in finding a variety of perspectives, a search of more specialized news resources might be in order.

Two campus-wide databases provide access to alternative press publications:

Additional resources for searching current and historical news publications can be found in the Duke University Libraries research guide to Newspapers. Some additional databases that can provide valuable historical perspective include:
  • African American Newspapers, 1827-1998 spans more than 150 years of African-American newspapers and periodicals.
  • Ethnic NewsWatch covers 1959-present, and includes more than 400 newspapers, magazines and journals from the ethnic and minority press around the world.
  • GenderWatch dates back to 1970 and includes a mix of women's studies and gender studies newspapers, magazines, and scholarly journals.
  • Hispanic American Newspapers, 1808-1980 spans more than 150 years of publications in English, Spanish, and French, digitized from the University of Houston.
  • LGBT Life With Full Text includes magazines, newsletters, and newspapers focused on gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender issues.

For help finding or using news databases – whether they are mainstream publications or a bit off the beaten path – be sure to Ask a Librarian.