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BLAWg In Bloom

The Indiana Law Library Blog

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The Court on Television

Reality judicial television shows have been around for many years.  Many of us have grown up on The People’s Court and Judge Judy.  But how do these shows first get on the air?  And what crosses the line between maintaining the dignity of the judicial system and pure entertainment?  One judge in San Diego, Judge DeAnn Salcido, recently decided to film a few of the more entertaining cases that came to her courtroom, complete with her own off-the-cuff wit in hopes of being the next courtroom TV show.  Instead of a contract she is facing discipline from the Commission on Judicial Performance.  The notice contends, among other things, that she was not upholding the integrity of the judiciary, that she made some inappropriate remarks.  Judge Salcido recently filed a response. covers the story in two nice articles here and here.

What do you think?  Should Judge Salcido be sanctioned?  Should she get a TV show? For that matter, how do you feel about Judge Judy? Where do you think we should draw the line between the law and entertainment?

Happy Columbus Day!

Columbus Day is actually one of the least recognized federal holidays.  Perhaps that is because it is rather controversial, with many places choosing instead to celebrate alternatives like Native American Day, Discoverer’s Day, or Indigenous Peoples Day.  Have a lovely day no matter which you celebrate, and for more information about Columbus Day you can take a look at or at the Columbus Day page from the History Channel.

Lawyer Commercials

The Wall Street Journal Law Blog this morning pointed us to Asylum’s list of ten hilariously awful lawyer commercials.  They are pretty amazing.  Enjoy!

Suing the Social Network

There has been much speculation recently about whether Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg will take legal action against the recently released movie The Social Network.  There has been similar speculation as to what his chances of winning are if he does. In general, most questioners, including the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal Law Blog, and THR, Esq. agree that Zuckerberg would be unlikely to win (and as time goes on, is more and more unlikely to actually sue) but it is an interesting problem to ponder.  It calls to mind the defamation and public/private figure issues that many IU Maurer students work on in their first year LRW classes.  Is Zuckerberg a public figure?  Is there actual malice? How do we measure the assorted claims of the movie’s truth or fiction?

Stephen Colbert in the House

This morning Stephen Colbert testified before a House Judiciary subcommittee about migrant workers in America. Colbert stayed in character, and house members stayed relatively deadpan.  Take a look at the video on the Wall Street Journal blog here!

Heroes on Trial

The Lillian Goldman Law Library at Yale is offering a really interesting exhibit of its rare books collection—comics set in the courtroom.  Some of them are simply detective stories, but they also have comics in which you see some of your favorite heroes on trial, Batman, Superman, the Hulk, etc.  Should the Hulk be responsible for property damage?  Does Superboy, as a minor, require guardianship? It’s reminiscent of the legal troubles of the Incredibles at the beginning of the Pixar movie.

For more information, check out the New York Times article on the Yale exhibit, or the Lillian Goldman Law Library’s Rare Books Blog, which includes cover images of several of their comics.  And thanks to the Law Librarian Blog for mentioning this story.

Happy Constitution Day!

On September 17, 1787 the members of the U.S. Constitutional Convention signed the Constitution into law.  Every year on September 17th we thus celebrate Constitution Day and Citizenship Day, and in fact the date kicks off Constitution week.  Each year there is a presidential statement reaffirming the holiday and educational institutions are encouraged to offer lessons on constitutional history.  We sometimes forget that all of the law that we study and practice has its roots in the United States Constitution. 

If you’d like to brush up on the Constitution, you can find a copy here.  The National Archives also has some interesting materials on U.S. Constitutional history.

Tax Returns for POTUS & VPOTUS

President Obama and Vice President Biden’s Tax Returns are here at the White House Blog.

According to their returns, the Obamas made $5.5 million in income in 2009 and paid $1.79 million in federal taxes.  The Bidens reported a total 2009 gross adjusted income of $333,182 and paid $71,147 in federal taxes.

Super Bowl Lawsuits

One of the most popular legal blog posts pre-game day was the Bitter Lawyer’s top six Super Bowl related lawsuits.  (Be warned, it seems that he was a Saints fan.)  There are any number of sports related lawsuits, however.  There is a nice, though older, list of ten from CALA.  The 10 Spot Blog has another list of ten that is a year newer than the CALA list.  Go take a look!

Lawyer of the Year

For the past few years Above the Law, a self-styled ‘legal tabloid,’ has invited readers to choose their Lawyer of the Year.  Last year it was Barack Obama, and the year before the Loyola 2L famous for posting discontented messages around the web (s/he also took top place in the Wall Street Journal Law Blog’s contest that year).  At this point, ATL has narrowed the nominations down to ten choices, some of whom are on the list for their skill and success, others for less flattering reasons.  Go take a look at the list of nominees—you have through this Thursday to cast your vote for the most noteworthy lawyer of 2009.

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