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


This Just In: The Great Dissenter

With the start of the Supreme Court term this week, what better time to look into Court history? In The Great Dissenter, author Peter S. Canellos delves into the life and times of Justice John Marshall Harlan on the bench during Reconstruction and Gilded Age America.

John Marshall Harlan’s dissent in Plessy V. Ferguson helped end segregation decades after his death and as such he is a notable American figure worthy of historical biography. Thurgood Marshall called Harlan’s Plessy dissent his “Bible” and used it as his legal roadmap to overturning segregation. Harlan’s words have also been credited with laying the legal foundations for jurisprudence during the New Deal and Civil Rights eras by defending of the rights of African-Americans, immigrant laborers, and people in distant lands occupied by the U.S.

Will the Insular Cases Be the Next to Be Overturned by Supreme Court?

The Insular Cases were a series of Supreme Court decisions that decreed limits to the rights of U.S. citizens in territories based largely on their race.  The cases arose from the U.S. acquisition of new territories from Spain after the Spanish-American War and the subsequent demands of residents of those places for equal rights.  The Supreme Court held that full constitutional protection of rights does not automatically extend to all places under American control only those places fully incorporated (that is deemed on the path to statehood by the U.S. government).

Currently the Supreme Court will consider whether to hear a case on this issue in Fitisemanu v. United States. This case is brought by U.S. nationals from American Samoa who do not have full U.S. citizenship.  American Samoans are U.S. nationals but not citizens, preventing them from voting in state and federal elections even when they become residents of a state. Natives of other territories are U.S. citizens who can exercise all constitutional rights provided they first move to a state.

This comes on the heels of the case decided by the Court in May of this year: United States v. Vaello-Madero in which both Justices Gorsuch and Sotomayor opined against the main ruling of the Insular Cases.

Now the American Bar Association’s (ABA) House of Delegates has passed Resolution 404 calling for equal rights for the 3.6 million residents of U.S. territories and rejecting the Insular Cases.

So now legal watchers, researchers, attorneys etc. have to wait and see what will happen next regarding the Insular Cases and rights for people in the U.S. territories.

The Making of Modern Law Databases: Landmark Records and Briefs from the U.S. Supreme Court and Courts of Appeals

The law library has two useful databases for researchers from Gale: U.S. Supreme Court Records and Briefs and Landmark Records and Briefs of the U.S. Courts of Appeals

U.S. Supreme Court Records and Briefs contains briefs and related documents from Supreme Court cases between 1832 and 1978. Previously, many of these briefs were not available through any of the library’s other legal databases, so this is a very useful for anyone doing research on older Supreme Court cases.

Landmark Records and Briefs of the U.S. Courts of Appeals contains materials from the first ninety years of the federal appellate court system’s history, and contains legal documents long unavailable or difficult to access by researchers.  The coverage is 1891-1980.

These sources are available off campus by using your CSU ID and PIN.

New Electronic Resource: The Making of Modern Law: Landmark Records and Briefs of the U.S. Courts of Appeals

The law library has a new electronic resource for your research needs from Gale: The Making of Modern Law: Landmark Records and Briefs of the U.S. Courts of Appeals.  This database focuses on the first ninety years of the federal appellate court system’s history, and contains legal documents long unavailable or difficult to access by researchers.  This database contains nearly two million pages of briefs from appellants, appellees, and supporters (through amicus briefs). It also includes appellant and appellee replies, appendices, memoranda, petitions, statements, transcripts, and more – all of which is searchable.  The coverage is 1891-1980.

This source is available off campus by using your CSU ID and PIN.

Also don’t forget about Gale’s U.S. Supreme Court Records and Briefs database which we have as well. This database contains briefs and related documents from Supreme Court cases between 1832 and 1978.

 

Legal History “Cohen” Essay Competition

photo of Morris L. CohenThe Legal History and Rare Books Special Interest Section (LHRB) of the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL), in cooperation with Gale, a Cengage Company, is conducting its annual Morris L. Cohen Student Essay Competition.  Full- and part-time students currently enrolled in accredited graduate programs in law, history, library science, or related fields are eligible to enter.  Essays may be on any topic related to legal history, rare law books, or legal archives.  Criteria on which papers will be judged include originality of topic or approach, quality and depth of research and analysis, clarity of presentation, and contribution to the field.  The winner will receive a $500 prize from Gale and present the winning essay at an LHRB-sponsored webinar.  Authors of the winning and runner-up essays will also be invited to publish their essays in LHRB’s online annual scholarly journal Unbound:  A Review of Legal History and Rare Books.  The Competition electronic submission deadline is 11:59pm EDT, Monday, 16 May 2022.

Full Competition details and Application Form are available at the LHRB SIS Morris L. Cohen Student Essay Competition web page.  Questions can be sent to Fred W. Dingledy (fwding@wm.edu), Senior Reference Librarian, William & Mary Law School.  The Competition is named in honor of Morris L. Cohen, late Professor Emeritus of Law at Yale Law School and recognized as “one of the towering figures of late 20th century law libraries.”  His scholarly work  focused on legal research, rare law books, and historical bibliography.