Friday, October 27, 2006

Halloween Happenings in the Law Library

In the spirit of Halloween, law students who come to the library on Halloween will be treated to some sweets. Pick up yours at the Circulation Desk--tricks are optional!
Witches have long been part of the Halloween scene, but they have a legal history as well. For a look at the Salem Witch Trials, visit the University of Virginia's Salem Witch Trials Documentary Archive and Transcription Project.
Tired of looking at casebooks? Tease your brain with Halloween Hangman, but be warned! The skeleton heckles you as you try to find the letters in the words.
If you like going through creaky old doors and down pitch-dark hallways, finding your way through scary situations that have nothing to do with law school mid-term exams, try a visit to the Haunted Mansion.
The Law Library staff wishes you a Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Habeas Corpus?

The DOJ is in the process of notifying courts that they no longer have jurisdiction over pending habeas corpus cases, pursuant to the President's signing of the Military Commissions Act of 2006. Read a copy of the letter sent to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals on October 17 (the day the President signed the Military Commissions Act). The Wall Street Journal has an interesting op-ed piece by John Yoo that points out the power struggle between the Congress and the courts that arose out of the Hamden decision, where Yoo asserts that the Supreme Court tried to take control of the terrorism policy of the Bush administration. For another view, see the MSNBC video link on Keith Olbermann's Special Report on Habeas Corpus at

Friday, October 13, 2006

The Use of Computer Animation in Court

The use of computer animation in the courtroom can be powerfully persuasive. Z-Axis Corporation has used this technology for 20 years to help lawyers in court. Now, the company has produced a series of vodcasts that describe the history of the use of computer animation in the courtroom. One of the vodcast examples shows how this technology was used to prove that the collapse of the WTC was actually two events, thus convincing the jury that the insurer, under the terms of the policy, was obligated to pay for each event. View the vodcasts here.

Thanks to Law Librarian Blog for highlighting this information.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Presidential Signing Statements

Presidential Signing Statements are in the news again. In September, the Congressional Research Service (CRS) wrote a report that asserts that President Bush's continued and frequent use of Presidential Signing Statements that say that the President has the right to interpret as he sees fit the laws passed by Congress are part of an ongoing effort to make the executive branch more powerful than the legislative branch of the U.S. government. An example that supports this claim can be found in the President's Statement on H.R. 5441, the "Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, 2007", where the signing statement says such things as "The executive branch shall construe as calling solely for notification the provisions of the Act that purport to require congressional committee approval for the execution of a law" and "To the extent that provisions of the Act, such as section 558, purport to direct or burden the conduct of negotiations by the executive branch with foreign governments or other entities abroad, the executive branch shall construe them as advisory." Read an article by Charlie Savage of the Boston Globe on this issue here.