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BLAWg In Bloom

The Indiana Law Library Blog

Women and the Right to Vote in Indiana

brevier19In 1881, the Indiana General Assembly debated the right of women to hold school board offices and the right to vote. Two women, Dr. Mary Haggart and Mrs. Helen Gougar, were invited to address the House of Representatives, which they did on the afternoon of February 15, 1881. In response, Senator David Hefron from Greene and Daviess counties, addressed the Senate on February 25, 1881. While complimenting the women on their “eloquent and forcible addresses,” he went on to say that he did not support women suffrage. The Senator stated that “Political power will degrade, not elevate women. … The field of politics is now so corrupt, debauched and debasing that thousands of good men turn from it with disgust and aversion, and shall we make woman–the stay of society, the hope of the world–shall we make her a factor in this cesspool of political corruption? … I am willing to give to woman all the legal rights enjoyed by man, placing her upon an equal footing with him before the law in respect to her person and property, but I wish to save her, and thereby save the purity and morality of society by excluding her from the evil tendencies and debasing influences of political strife.” [Brevier Legislative Reports, v. 19, pp. 228-29]

Indiana did not grant women full suffrage until the passage of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in 1920.

To All Those Who Serve, We Thank You: Resources for Veterans

Indiana Department of Veterans Affairs LogoBoth state and federal governments offer myriad services and benefits to the men and women who serve in our armed forces, but ask any veteran who has applied for disability benefits, and he or she will tell you that it is hardly a quick and painless process.  Though it is intended to be a simple system that anyone could navigate, in reality the process, coupled with the tremendous backlog of pending claims, often proves frustrating and overwhelming.  Fortunately, there are a number of services available to assist veterans through the claims process.

Just this year, the Maurer School of Law expanded their Disability Law Clinic to include a Veterans Benefits component, offering free legal assistance to veterans applying for disability benefits; it is the only such legal clinic in the state.  You can find out more about the services offered here.

The following is just a sampling of additional resources and services dedicated to Hoosier Vets:

  • Indiana Department of Veterans’ Affairs – This site provides a wealth of resources on benefits and services available to veterans and their family members.  You can find information here on both federal benefits and state benefits for Hoosier vets.
  • Veterans Home – An Indiana institution since 1896, Veterans’ Home offers a full range of housing services for veterans, from independent living to short-term rehabilitative care. They even offer a memory care unit for vets or their spouses living with Alzheimer’s or other dementia illnesses.
  • Veteran’s Business Enterprise Program
    • This program works to encourage the state of Indiana’s competitive contracts for the purchase of goods and services to favor veteran-owned businesses.
  • Veteran Opportunity Partner
    • Perhaps you’re not a veteran, but you’d like to give back to those who’ve served. You may want to read up on becoming a Veteran Opportunity Partner, to provide services or discounts to vets throughout Indiana.
  • Finally, if you are interested in additional legal assistance with your veterans’ benefits claim, here are some resources:

Love Your Lawyer Day

Yes, there truly is a day for everything now.  Love Your Lawyer Day was established in 2001 by lawyer marketer Nader Anise, Executive Director of the American Lawyers Public Image Association (ALPIA).  What should you do to celebrate?  According to the 2015 press release, if you’re an attorney, ALPIA encourages you to dedicate 1 hour to a pro bono project or donate the equivalent of one billable hour to a charity of your choice.  Non-lawyers are encouraged to call up their counsel and thank them for their hard work, and perhaps even send them a card or flowers!  At the very least, we are asked to refrain from bad lawyer jokes.  Although the day has been championed by everyone from the Wall Street Journal to the ABA’s Law Practice Council, it has seen its share of criticism as well.

In honor of Love Your Lawyer Day (celebrated on the first Friday of November), I thought I’d highlight lawyers we love…in film.  The Law Library’s physical collections don’t end with treatises, codes, and reporters – we also have a fairly extensive, continuously updated, A/V collection.  So if you’re looking for some lawyers and legal flicks to love this weekend, here are a few of my favorites (both serious and seriously funny), for your viewing pleasure:


You can see a full list of our audio-visual collection here.  To check out audio-visual material, see the attendant at the Circulation Desk.  This year, Love Your Lawyer Day coincides with National Nachos Day, so if you’re looking for a snack to go along with your movie marathon, you can celebrate two national days at once!

Roving the Repository: War Trials and Tourism

The Jerome Hall Law Library’s Institutional Repository has a growing collection of Historic Documents.  The most recent added document came from the family of the late local Bloomington business woman Linda Prall, whose grandfather (Floyd J. “Jack” Mattice) was a University of Michigan Law School graduate and served as an American Associate Counsel during the Tokyo War Crimes Trials.  The scrapbook she donated is believed to have been compiled by Mattice’s secretary during his time in Japan and then presented to him upon his return to the United States.


(A typical page in the Scrapbook)

Upon receipt of the gift, the Library’s Technical Services Department digitized the scrapbook and placed the original in the archives.  The scrapbook contains both personal and professional papers documenting Mattice’s time in Japan.  Among the miscellaneous contents are official orders; memoranda; newspaper clippings; photographs; souvenirs; maps; telegraphs; and handwritten personal letters to and from Mattice.

Additionally the scrapbook contains several typed manuscripts, assumed to have been written by Mattice.  These include, “Causes of the Pacific War,” “International Military Tribunal for the Far East,” “Observations Anent Japan,” and “A Weekend in Tokyo.”


(First page of “The Causes of the Pacific War” manuscript”)

The scrapbook measures 14” x 10.75” and contains twenty-five leaves.  The book is bound between two red cover boards with ribbons holding the boards in place.  A three dimensional origami figure rests on the cover.


(Cover of the Mattice Scrapbook)

To view the digitized scrapbook, click here; to see the actual scrapbook, contact a Reference Librarian.

Halloween by the Numbers

What are your Halloween plans? Maybe you are going to join the estimated 41.2 million trick or treaters? After all, trick or treating is a great way to sample the products of the 1,337 manufacturing companies that produce chocolate or other cocoa products in the US.

And where to celebrate Halloween? Sleepy Hallow, NY seems like a good choice, but then you might also try Slaughter Beach, DE.

You could go to a scary movie in one of the 4,471 theaters in this country. Possibly wearing a costume you got at one of the 1,148 costume shops.

Whatever you decide to do this Halloween, have fun! And if you’d like more spooky statistics, check out the US Census’ annual Facts for Features Halloween report!

Creepy Cases

IUpumpkin_borderWhile usually associated with ghosts and goblins, Halloween can also be a catalyst for unique and interesting lawsuits. A 2011 article from the New York State Bar Association Journal entitled Case Law from the Crypt: The Law of Halloween summarizes several of these strange cases.

In one case, the plaintiff alleged that a neighbor’s holiday decorations—which included an “‘Insane Asylum’ directional sign pointed towards the plaintiff’s house” and a tombstone referencing the plaintiff— were “defamatory, harassing, and caused emotional distress.”

Seasonal haunted houses that prove to be a bit too “haunted” have repeatedly been the subject of personal injury cases. In general, the courts have found that because haunted houses are intended to scare people, and that limited lighting and startling surprises are necessary to accomplish that goal, the owners are often held to a lower standard when determining negligence.

Another frequent source of lawsuits involves Halloween costumes. While some are deemed offensive or inappropriate for the workplace, others are judged to be just plain dumb. Take the man who agreed to dress up as a sheep to go along with his wife’s Little Bo Peep costume. Apparently it did not occur to him that lighting a cigarette when covered with cotton balls was not a good idea. While Johnson & Johnson, the manufacturer of the cotton balls was initially found partially liable for failing to warn against the possibility of setting oneself on fire while impersonating a sheep, the verdict was ultimately set aside.

So you see, even Halloween is not immune from the legal system. Whether you’re talking about spooking up your house or dressing up in costumes, lawyers and lawsuits are sure to follow.

Digital Repository Update: 2 Million Downloads and Counting!

Around this time four years ago the Digital Repository, the institutional repository for the Maurer School of Law was launched by the Law Library.  I thought this was a good time to offer a brief report on its progress during this past year.  The repository now contains over 9,000 items and on September 30th passed the 2 million mark for downloads by users around the world!

The content of the Repository is constantly expanding, and this year two significant collections were added:

Portrait Gallery – The Law School is filled with portraits of notable people from our rich history. These can be found in our classrooms, the library, and in our hallways. In fact, the Library frequently receives requests from relatives to see a portrait of their ancestor, which they have been told is in the Law School, but they don’t know where. This portrait gallery contains a photograph of each portrait along with information about its location in the Law School, artist if known, and other information that might be available.  Access the Portrait Gallery here.  I would like to thank Lara Little, the Library’s Archive and Digital Preservation Specialist, for the work she has done on this gallery.

Books by Maurer Faculty – Unlike many articles from law journals, copyright considerations make it difficult to place the content of entire books written by our faculty in the Repository. However, we did want to represent this body of scholarship in the Repository. We have created a gallery of books written by Maurer faculty with pictures of the cover, information on finding the book in our library and how to purchase the book, and links to an electronic version if available. Click here to check out this gallery.  Dick Vaughan, the Law Library’s Acquisitions Librarian, has done a wonderful job putting this collection together and will be continuing to add to it.

Here are a few additional highlights from the past year:

Most Downloaded Faculty Scholarship:The Relative Bargaining Power of Employers and Unions in the Global Information Age: A Comparative Analysis of the United States and Japan,” by Kenneth G. Dau-Schmidt and Benjamin C. Ellis, 20 Indiana International & Comparative Law Review 1 (2010), 434 downloads.


Most Downloaded Student Scholarship (article): “Unlocked and Loaded: Government Censorship of 3D-Printed Firearms and a Proposal for More Reasonable Regulation of 3D-Printed Goods,” by Danton L. Bryans, 90 Indiana Law Journal 901 (2015), 325 downloads.


Most downloaded Student Scholarship (Theses & Dissertation): “Enhancing the Effectiveness of the Public Procurement System of Iraq Through Reforming the Bid Protest Processes,” by Ali Ahmed Rahman, (Dissertation), 444 downloads


And, last but not least, the most downloaded Faculty Scholarship article since the Repository has been in existence is Dan Cole’s article “Liability Rules for Surface Water Drainage: A Simple Economic Analysis,”, 12 George Mason University Law Review 35 (1989), with  5,227 downloads!


If you wish to read more about the Repository, Dick Vaughan has written an annual report which can be found in the Digital Repository here. Please let me know if you have any questions.



Dictionary Day

Happy Dictionary Day! October 16th is the birthday of Noah Webster, the father of the modern dictionary. Webster’s contributions were to general lexigraphy, but there are many other kinds of dictionaries, including ones expressly devoted to legal terminology.

Law is replete with terms of art. Understanding these terms is crucial to interpreting and applying the law to different situations. Fortunately, there are a number of legal dictionaries to help when you encounter an unfamiliar term. Presently, the most widely recognized and utilized legal dictionary is Black’s Law Dictionary. Courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court, rely on and cite its definitions in their case opinions. Black’s is now in its 10th edition and available in WestlawNext. Also, the earliest editions have entered the public domain and are freely accessible on a variety of websites.blacks

Other general legal dictionaries include Ballentine’s Law Dictionary (3rd edition) on Lexis Advance and, for historical legal terms, the no-longer-updated Bouvier’s available in HeinOnline. Free legal dictionaries such as Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary of Law and Wex – an online combination legal dictionary and encyclopedia – are accessible on Findlaw and Cornell’s Legal Information Institute (LII), respectively. There are also specialty legal dictionaries for specific areas of law. Typically these cover highly technical practice areas, such as medical malpractice and taxation (e.g., West’s Tax Law Dictionary). Finally, for advice on the proper use of legal terminology, consult Bryan Garner’s Dictionary of Modern Legal Usage, 3rd edition (Reference, KF156 .G367 2011).

Keeping a legal dictionary close at hand makes you a sui generis and savvy lawyer!

Law Library Workshop: Researching Statutes in Print

With so many ways to access statutes online today, why in the world would we encourage you to attend a workshop on researching statutes in print?  Allow me to posit two arguments: (1) Understanding the print will actually make you a better electronic researcher, and (2) sometimes print is your only option.

First, statutory codes make more sense online if you first understand how they’re organized in print.  Electronic research has as one of its flaws a flattening effect, where each link you click on in a database looks fairly similar to the page you were just viewing, making it difficult to see how a resource is organized.  If you click on enough links-within-links-within-links, it can actually be easy to get lost in an electronic resource, unsure how you ended up where you did.  Believe it or not, having a basic understanding of how resources are arranged in print can be immensely helpful in understanding their electronic translation.  This is especially true of resources with deep levels of organization, like statutory codes.

Second, for as commonplace as electronic legal research is today, there are occasions when print is your only option.  What if you’re working somewhere that can’t afford Lexis or Westlaw and you need more information than the free electronic resources can afford?  What if you’re hours away from a filing deadline, still finishing your research, and the power goes out at your firm?  What if your boss just prefers print?  Believe it or not, these situations do arise, and if you want to make a good impression on your employer, you’ll want to be prepared.

We’ve got you covered.  The Law Library is offering a print statutes workshop this week, offered four times: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday at 5:30.  You can sign up by going to our events calendar and clicking on the workshop date that works best for you.  The workshop will run approximately 45 minutes.

We hope to see you there, and if you have any questions about the event, drop by the Reference Office and ask!

Put Your Feet Up and Relax!

You know, it’s been scientifically proven that the brain is no longer productive after studying for eight hours.  Well, I expect you already knew that! At the end of a hard day’s studying try exercise, meditation, a healthy meal, or overcome your burnout by watching a movie.  Let IU’s libraries recharge your batteries.

Once logged into IUCAT, you will notice that there are many books and e-books on mindfulness, yoga and relaxation.  Remember that healthy meal?  IUPUI University Library holds a sizeable collection of circulating modern cookbooks. You may request any item that displays a red “request this” button to the right of the book’s title.  Click on this button and select “Blmgtn – Law Library” as your pick-up location.  You will receive an email when your book is ready to pick-up at the circulation desk.  Items available on the Bloomington campus usually take 1-2 days to arrive and items from the regional campuses take 3-5 business days.  The Auxiliary Library Facility delivers their items on the same afternoon (if requested before noon) or the next business day (if requested after noon).

The Law Library houses a collection of legal movies and documentaries.  Check out one of our most recently added movies or try an old classic.  How about viewing the critically-acclaimed civil rights series Eyes on the Prize (one of the library’s many documentaries)?  A full listing of our audiovisual collection is available for browsing at the circulation desk and includes a brief synopsis of each movie.  The Wells Library’s Media Browsing Collection (1st floor, East Tower) includes over 18,000 English and foreign films and documentaries. Filmakers Library Online showcases award winning documentaries on subjects such as criminal justice, human rights and environmental studies.

Realized that you no longer want to pick up that manual on endurance running?  That’s fine – we keep requested items on hold for 2 weeks before returning them.  Have fun requesting!