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

Archive for the ‘National’


First Monday at the U.S. Supreme Court

It’s the first Monday in October, which means the U.S. Supreme Court is back in session. The Court has started its session on the first Monday in October every year since 1917 when a new law went into effect changing the start to one week earlier. Starting this fall, the Supreme Court will allow attorneys to make an uninterrupted statement for two minutes to begin each case. As is true almost every year, a number of important cases will be heard that are sure to be studied in Constitutional Law classes for years to come. Here is a preview of a few of those cases (all links for cases come from SCOTUSBlog):

  • In Ohio and a number of other states it is perfectly legal for an employer to fire someone for being gay. This issue will be considered by the court in Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia (Consolidated with Altitude Express Inc. v. Zarda). While an earlier Supreme Court decision legalizing gay marriage is seen as a watershed moment in the path to LBGTQA+ equality, many feel true equality for all citizens cannot be said to exist until one is protected from workplace and housing discrimination.
  • Department of Homeland Security v. University of California – Case centers around whether President Trump was justified in revoking the Obama-era rule (DACA or Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals colloquially known as “Dreamers”) that shielded from deportation more than 700,000 young immigrants who entered the country illegally as children.
  • New York State Rifle & Pistol Assn. v. City of New York – Can a city restrict gun owners from carrying a handgun in their car? At issue is an unusual New York City ordinance that allowed residents to keep a legal handgun at home but prohibited them from transporting it, even to a second home outside the city.
  • Espinoza v. Montana – Must a state offer grants and scholarships to students in church-related schools if it offers such money to students in other private schools? Two years ago, the court broke new ground by ruling the 1st Amendment’s protection for the “free exercise of religion” forbids discrimination against churches when the government gives grants to private groups. Most states, however, have constitutions that forbid giving tax money to churches. The Montana Supreme Court, citing its constitution, blocked a state scholarship fund from giving money to students attending church-related schools.
  • City of Boise v. Martin – Can cities restrict homeless people from camping or sleeping on sidewalks or in public places? The 9th Circuit Court ruled no if no other indoor sleeping places are available. Now the Supreme Court will decide.

Also Supreme-Court related is our database U.S. Supreme Court Records and Briefs, which contains briefs and related documents from Supreme Court cases between 1832 and 1978. Access to this database is IP-authenticated for users connected to the law school’s computer network; faculty and students can also access the database while off campus by logging in with their CSU ID number and library PIN.

Law Library Legal Research Seminars – Earn Your Digital Badge!

digital logo featuring three point shield and lady justiceLaw Library Legal Research Seminars cover Westlaw, Lexis Advance and Bloomberg Law, as well as many topical legal research areas such as administrative law.  Several Seminars emphasize cost-effective research or include a social justice research issue.  Law Library Legal Research Seminars are for C|M|LAW students, including our MLS and LLM students, and are continuously available online via the Westlaw TWEN platform.  You earn points for completing an online Seminar by correctly answering 3/4 of the questions on that Seminar’s quiz.  Your Seminar points are good for the entire time you are here at C|M|LAW.  When you earn 100 points, you are awarded a Law Library Legal Research Letter of Recognition and a Digital Badge, which you can post to your LinkedIn page.  You can earn multiple Letters and Digital Badges.  Here are the currently available online Law Library Legal Research Seminars:

  • The Bluebook: Citing to Basic Sources
  • Starting Research with Secondary Sources**
  • Terms & Connectors Searching**
  • Cost-Effective Searching on Lexis Advance & Westlaw**
  • Lexis Overview
  • Shepard’s
  • Westlaw Overview
  • KeyCite
  • Practical Law from Westlaw
  • Bloomberg Law Overview
  • Administrative Law
  • Cost-Effective Federal Legislative History: Congress.gov and Govinfo.gov**
  • Researching Foreign Law
  • Tax Law Research
  • Health Law & Bioethics Resources & Scholarly Writing
  • HeinOnline
  • Scholar Catalog

** Social Justice track Seminar.  For more information on the Law Library Legal Research Seminars, contact Laura Ray, Outreach & Instructional Services Librarian.

Treaty Interpretation in the USCS

One of the basic concepts of legal research is using an annotated code like the United States Code Service (USCS) or the United States Code Annotated (USCA) to find cases interpreting a statute. In the USCS, this same concept can be used to research interpreting caselaw for the most important international treaties.

The International Agreements volume of the print USCS reprints the text of about forty important international treaties to which the U.S. is a party. Of course there are numerous treaties to which the U.S. is a party that are not included in this International Agreements volume, but it contains important ones such as the Berne Convention, the CISG, and the Torture Convention.

When looking up a treaty in the International Agreements volume of the USCS, you’ll first find the text of the treaty, followed by historical notes. Next are the notes of decisions, or interpreting caselaw, which are organized with a helpful table on contents. For example, if you are researching the Torture Convention and have a question about whether or not the treaty applies in a certain situation, interpreting cases can be found under the table on contents heading “Applicability.”

In LexisAdvance, the equivalent information will be found in the database labeled “USCS – International Conventions.” The USCA in Westlaw Edge does not have an equivalent volume on international agreements.

C|M|Law’s Space Law Connection

With the 50th anniversary of the moon landing in the news, it’s a great time to talk about Space Law!

C|M|Law’s Global Space Law Center (GSLC), directed by Professor Mark Sundahl, is dedicated to the study of space law and training next-generation space lawyers. GSLC is the only law school center in the nation focused on the law of outer space. Space law is made up of a variety of international agreements, treaties, conventions, and United Nations General Assembly resolutions as well as rules and regulations of international organizations. These documents address numerous issues such as settling disputes, liability for damages caused by space objects, preserving space and Earth environments, and the use of space-related technologies.

The Law Library has numerous resources available on Space Law, such as The Politics and Perils of Space Exploration and The Handbook of Space LawJournals on the topic include Air and Space Law and Journal of Space Law. There is also a Space Law Research Guide. The McGill Institute of Air and Space Law Publications are available through our HeinOnline subscription, which includes the complete Annals of Air and Space Law along with fifty additional titles.

Survey of Legal Research Learning Outcomes and Assessment Plans

Survey Results Pie ChartC|M|Law Outreach & Instructional Services Librarian Laura Ray recently presented a poster at the 2019 American Association of Law Libraries Annual Meeting on “Legal Research Learning Outcomes and Assessment Plans: A Survey of Current Developments and Methods for Law Librarian Engagement.”  Laura worked with Stacy Etheredge, University of Idaho Law Library Associate Director, in a review of the websites of 84 law schools in 29 states and the District of Columbia.  [Ohio law schools were not included.]  The poster presented a composite summary of readily available law school learning outcomes* and assessment plans** related to legal research.  Only 11 law schools (13.1%) had well developed legal research learning outcomes, and 45 law schools (53.6%) had a simple statement of such learning outcomes.  The poster also presented sample mappings of legal research learning outcomes to law school curricula, performance criteria and measurement instruments for such learning outcomes, and suggested methods for law librarians to engage in the development of such learning outcomes and assessment plans.  In the coming year, Laura and Stacy plan to continue their survey by reviewing the websites of the remaining 112 law schools, as well as contacting law schools not providing information on their websites.

*Standard 302(b) of the American Bar Association (ABA) Standards and Rules of Procedure for Approval of Law Schools specifies one of the four minimum learning outcomes to be competency in “legal analysis and reasoning, legal research, problem-solving, and written and oral communication in the legal context.”  **Standard 315 specifies conducting “ongoing evaluation of the law school’s program of legal education, learning outcomes, and assessment methods … to determine the degree of student attainment of competency in the learning outcomes and to make appropriate changes to improve the curriculum.”  Standards 302 and 315 were revised and became legally effective at the end of the ABA Annual Meeting on August 12, 2014, but the ABA did not require the application of these Standards until the 2016-2017 academic year. [See Transition to and Implementation of the New Standards and Rules of Procedure for Approval of Law Schools August 13, 2014.]