Friday, July 27, 2007


The Kelwall in the library is being replaced! Work will begin July 27 on the east side of the library (third floor study rooms) and will continue to the west side. Work will begin at 7 a.m. each day. The estimated completion date is August 10. There may be some noise during construction, and library users may want to avoid sitting close to the work areas. Please contact Randy Snyder, Frances Singh, or one of the other library staff with any concerns.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Executive Privilege

A Constitutional showdown looms on the horizon with the Bush administration claiming executive privilege for any number of things that Congress is interested in investigating.

Michel C. Dorf has written A Brief History of Executive Privilege, from George Washington to Dick Cheney. Mr. Dorf is the Isidor & Seville Sulzbacher Professor of Law at Columbia University School of Law. Cass R. Sunstein, a law professor at the University of Chicago, recently wrote an editorial for the Boston Globe on the issue of executive privilege. Read it here.


Thursday, July 05, 2007

Presidential Signing Statements

Senator Arlen Specter (R) Pennsylvania, has issued the following press release:
"Senator Arlen Specter, ranking member on the Senate Judiciary Committee, introduced on Friday legislation to regulate the use of presidential signing statements in the interpretation of an Act of Congress. The Presidential Signing Statements Act of 2007, S. 1747, has been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee...The bill seeks to protect the constitutional system of checks and balances by, first, preventing the President from issuing a signing statement that alters the meaning of a statute by instructing the courts not to rely on signing statements in interpreting an act; and second, granting Congress the power to participate in any case where the construction or constitutionality of an act of Congress is in question and a signing statement was issued when the act was signed." Read the bill here. An article from the Boston Globe about Presidential Signing Statements, and the controversy surrounding them, can be found here.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

"I've Got Friends in High Places....."

This might be the song I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby is singing after the grant of the executive clemency by President Bush, just hours after a three judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit rejected Libby's petition to remain free while he appealed his conviction. Libby was convicted in March on two counts of perjury, lying to Federal agents, and obstructing a federal investigation of whether members of the Bush administration disclosed the name of CIA employeeValerie Plame in violation of federal law. CBS reported that Bush did not consult the justice department before granting clemency to Libby. Prosecutor Fitzgerald's comments on the grant of clemency can be seen here.

For more information on Executive Clemency, you may want to read the following:
Andrew B. Whitford, The Political Roots of Executive Clemency
U.S. Dept. of Justice, Presidential Clemency Actions by Administration (1945-2001)
U.S. Dept. of Justice, Rules Governing Petitions for Executive Clemency
R.A. Saliterman, Reflections on the Presidential Clemency Power, 38 OKLA. L.Rev. 257 (1985)


Monday, July 02, 2007

Supreme Court Term Reviewed

The American Constitution Society held a panel discussion about the current term (just ended) of the U.S. Supreme Court. The panel discussed many of the Court’s important decisions and identified trends that are emerging. Streaming Video of the panel discussion is available here.