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The Indiana Law Library Blog

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Happy Bill of Rights Day!

On December 15th, 1791 the Bill of Rights was ratified and came into effect. It’s tough to imagine our country without it. There are various ways to celebrate Bill of Rights Day, including by reading the Bill of Rights, and you can sign a pledge to that effect. Or you could read more about the creation of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Or you could take one of the many Bill of Rights quizzes online like this one, or for a slightly harder one devoted entirely to the first amendment, try here.  In any case, it doesn’t hurt to take a break from studying for you finals to appreciate the significance of the laws you are studying.  Happy Bill of Rights Day!

Resources for U.S. Government Publications

New to Law School? Or have you forgotten where to find government information and documents? The Law Library provides access to free and subscription-based indexes and full-text sources of government publications. These databases are accessed from the Law Library Online Resources web page, grouped under the heading Government Resources.

Here is a quick overview of resources for locating government documents (including bills, hearings, committee reports, debates, statutes, regulations, committee information, agency decisions and treaties). Full Story »

New United States Code Website

The Office of the Law Revision Counsel of the United States House of Representatives has created a new online version of the United States Code.  Key features, including a new search engine and an expanding “Table of Contents” style browse of the Code, are described here.

Additionally, the Law Librarians of Congress have blogged about the beta site at In Custodia Legis.  So as not to reinvent the wheel, I’ll link to their blog post about the new version of the USC here.

FYI…note the new Title 51 (National and Commercial Space Programs)!

A Town Hall on Facebook

President Obama will be holding a town hall today—on Facebook.  At 4:45 Eastern Time there will be a streaming town hall.  All you have to do is like the White House Facebook page and then RSVP for the event.  You can submit questions, either via Facebook, or from  President Obama has been active in using social media in the past, and for this event he will be broadcasting live form Facebook headquarters in Palo Alto.  More than 35,000 people have already RSVP’d.

Happy Tax Day!

Today is Tax Day, and all federal tax paperwork needs to be sent off today.  April 15th is the traditional due date for taxes, but this year Emancipation Day fell on April 15th, and then the weekend pushed the date back yet further.  Tax day has changed dates throughout the years, generally falling sometime in the early spring.  A federal income tax was first established as a means for the federal government to collect money during the time of the Civil War.  The ability of congress to impose taxes was legally challenged on occasion until the Sixteenth Amendment settled the issue—though naturally tax is still a very litigious subject, and a highly politicized one.

For more information on the legal history of Tax Day and how it came to be on April 15th Westlaw Insider has a page devoted to it. offers a look back, and also a list of other interesting April 15th events.

Your 2010 Federal Taxpayer Receipt

Want to see how your federal tax dollars are spent?  Check out your Federal Taxpayer Receipt.

LexisNexis Congressional: New Name and New Content


LexisNexis Congressional has been renamed ProQuest Congressional.

Back in December 2010, ProQuest acquired several products from LexisNexis, including LexisNexis Congressional and LexisNexis Statistical Insight (now renamed ProQuest Statistical Insight).

New Content

We now have access to a new collection of digital content on Proquest Congressional: 

House and Senate Unpublished Hearings Digital Archive, Part A (1973-1979).

Want to know more about Unpublished Hearings?

ProQuest publishes many useful guides on their products and content, including this background information on unpublished hearings:

  • Not all congressional hearings are published. Each committee makes its own decision regarding which hearings are to be published. A committee may decide not to publish a hearing because it contains classified or sensitive information, or because it pertains to private or other legislation deemed to be not of great interest to the public at large, or simply because committee budget or workload considerations preclude the publication. The committee does not have to justify its decision not to publish.
  • The transcripts of unpublished hearings are transferred to the National Archives. Senate hearings generally remain closed for 20 years, and House hearings remain closed for 30 years. Hearings that contain classified or sensitive material generally remain closed for 50 years.
  • When they are released, unpublished hearings are not normally published by the committees, although in unusual circumstances they may be. For example, the transcripts of the Senate Government Operations Committee Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations 1953 hearings to investigate alleged espionage and subversive activities were published as a Government Operations Committee print in 2003.

You can access ProQuest Congressional and ProQuest Statistical Insight from the Law Library’s Online Resources page.  Please see a reference librarian if you need assistance with ProQuest Congressional or any other database!

Free Language Lessons from the U.S. Government

Government Information & Kent Cooper Services at the Wells Library recently blogged about free language lessons from the Foreign Service Institute.  These lessons were developed by the U.S. Government and are in the public domain.  Check it out!

What happens during a Federal Government shutdown?

If you’re interested in what might happen to some government resources in the event of a shutdown, read on.

Supreme Eggnog

‘Tis the season for eggnog! Ever wonder what the legal description of eggnog is?   Well look no further than 12 CFR 131.170.  For a more simple legally related eggnog, take a look at our post from last year at about this time.  We reprinted an eggnog recipe from former Chief Justice Harlan Stone sent to us from the Green Bag.  In case you have forgotten, here it is again, complete with color text.  Enjoy!

Harlan Fiske Stone and his wife Agnes Harvey Stone hosted a New Year’s Eve reception every year (save one) that he served as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. The Chief Justice was a respectable oenophile, but he had no objections to egg nog in its season, and the Stones habitually attended several egg nog parties hosted by various government officials on December 31.

Preserved for posterity in the papers he deposited in the Library of Congress is what appears to be the Stone’s own egg nog recipe. It is reprinted – without warranty – below. Harry Parker we have been unable to identify. One unconfirmed suggestion is that Parker may have been a messenger for Justice Felix Frankfurter. In any event, Chief Justice Stone was a great lover of good food and drink, as well as of the law. We are sure he would be pleased that his legacy includes the former as well as the latter.

Egg Nog – Harry Parker (by way of Chief Justice Harlan Fiske Stone)


12 eggs

1 gallon milk

Ground nutmeg

1 lb sugar

1 quart whiskey

½ pint brandy

1/8 pint rum

1) Separate egg yolks from whites

2) Cream yolks of eggs and sugar together

3) Add whiskey, brandy and rum. Beat well

4) Add milk, stir well

5) Add nutmeg to taste

6) Beat whites of eggs very light

7) Add the beaten whites of eggs and stir in well

Notes: If put in cold place will keep for 30 days. Never use all cream. Cream contains large percentage of fat. If made of all cream the egg nog will become rancid. Be sure to add whiskey, brandy and rum before adding milk.

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