News and information useful to Cleveland-Marshall College of Law students, faculty and staff.


Foreign Parliamentary Information Online

flags of the world If you are conducting foreign and international law research, the Law Library of Congress recently released a new report that is probably of interest to you. The new report, Features of Parliamentary Websites in Selected Jurisdictions, reviewed the parliamentary websites from 50 different countries and explored the content, enhancements, and tools on each. The report summarizes the findings in a table, detailing for each surveyed country what languages are available, whether audio and video streaming are offered, and what types of search features, tracking functions, and other tools are available.

This report is part of the Law Library of Congress’s collection of legal reports. The reports cover a variety of topics and contain commentary and recommended resources on issues and events. Each report lists the date that it was last updated. Many of the reports include information from several different countries, not just the United States, making this collection another useful source for foreign and international law research.

Real or Fake? Check Your Skills

question marks in various colorsHave a few minutes of downtime, or need a break from bar prep? Test your skills at identifying fake news. “Fake news” isn’t new, but it has been getting a lot of attention recently. According to this story from NPR, veteran journalist Maggie Farley decided to create a game to test a reader’s ability to discern credible news from deceptive pieces. Her idea originally targeted middle and high school students, but later expanded the audience to everyone after consulting with the game lab at American University. The open source result, Factitious, presents various news stories and players must decide if the stories are real or fake. The game then provides the answer, information about the sources, and tips for spotting fake news. Check it out!

Free Online Research Tools: Casetext

casetext logo Casetext is one of a growing number of free online sources for legal research. Developed by attorneys, data scientists, and engineers, Casetext offers free access to over 10 million cases, statutes, and regulations, plus articles and commentary from leading litigators. Coverage includes all United States Supreme Court decisions, Circuit Court and District Court decisions from 1925-present, all State Supreme and Appellate Courts decisions from 1950-present (including Ohio), federal statutes and regulations, and statutes from selected states (not including Ohio). To access the free database, enter your search terms in the search box at the top of the page. Then use the filters on the left-hand side to narrow your results.

When accessing court opinions, several features are included for free. Casetext shows negative treatment flags, “key passages” that highlight the most cited and discussed passages of your case, “summaries from subsequent cases” showing how your case fits into a legal argument, and “insights from experts” commentary from litigators and/or law professors.

Additional features are available for a fee. Casetext also offers CARA, a subscription-based research tool that uses machine learning and AI to assist with your legal research. For example, paying users can upload briefs, memos, and other legal documents, and CARA will find relevant cases, statutes, and regulations for you.

With SCOTUS’ Tam Decision, Indians Logo May Be Safe in the US.

A unanimous Supreme Court ruled today that the federal government’s power to ban all trademark protections for names it deems to be offensive violates the Constitution’s First Amendment.  The Tam case (Matal v. Tam) involved a rock band called the Slants. The Slants consist of four Asian Americans.  The band acknowledges that its name has been used as a racial slur; however, they say that its name is an attempt to reclaim the racial slur to take away its power.

The band’s application to trademark its name was denied by the Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) in 2011. The PTO can deny any trademark that alludes to immoral, deceptive, or scandalous matter; or matter which may disparage or falsely suggest a connection with persons, living or dead, institutions, beliefs or national symbols, or bring them into contempt, or disrepute. The Supreme Court ruled the disparagement clause violates the First Amendment’s Free Speech Clause.

So it appears, with this ruling the Washington Redskins trademark denial lawsuit will be settled in favor of the football team.  Also, the Cleveland Indians’ Chief Wahoo logo may be safe from trademark denial in the United States.  However, as we posted about recently, the Indians are still facing a fight over the logo in Canada.

Free Online Research Tools: New GPO.gov Webpage

The Government Publishing Office (GPO) announced yesterday, April 19th, that it is launching a newly redesigned agency website. The GPO website is a free source of government information available to everyone, with links to the GPO’s Federal Digital System (FDsys), partner agencies and organizations, GPO news, and other additional content.

The redesign makes the website mobile-friendly, improves the internal site search, and enhances the user interface. For example, if you are looking for the e-CFR, it is now more easily located by visiting the new GPO webpage, mousing over the “Explore and Research” tab, and clicking the third link under Government Information.

The new GPO website is in beta at this time and can be accessed at https://beta.gpo.gov/. After visiting the new site, users are welcome to provide feedback on the Beta Feedback Survey.

FDsys (remember this?) is also getting a redesign and will eventually by replaced by govinfo.gov. The govinfo site is currently in beta and features enhanced searching, and improved content management and digital preservation. All content on FDsys is available on govinfo, and both sites will continue to run parallel until the beta period is over. You can learn more about govinfo here, and submit feedback here.