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The Indiana Law Library Blog

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New Tobacco Regulation

Yesterday the Senate voted 79-17 in favor of FDA regulation of the tobacco industry.  The new law would allow, among other things, a decrease in the nicotine content of cigarettes, an increase in the size of warning labels, and a ban on flavored cigarettes.  As the House passed a very similar bill (and will probably vote on this one today), and the President has announced that he will sign the legislation, it is very likely to become a law soon.  Legislators hope that this new law, in conjunction with other anti-smoking legislation, will cut down on both youth and adult smoking in the next few years.  What do you think?  For more information, you can look at the Washington Post, the New York Times, or the Associated Press.

Stay Connected to the White House

Keep tabs on President Obama and the White House through various social networking applications, all linked to from the White House website

According to the Memorandum on Transparency and Open Government, “Public engagement enhances the Government’s effectiveness and improves the quality of its decisions. Knowledge is widely dispersed in society, and public officials benefit from having access to that dispersed knowledge.”

Fiat Acquires Chrysler

Late yesterday the Supreme Court decided to allow the deal between Fiat and Chrysler, and this morning, with little ceremony, the deal went through.  The challenges brought by the three Indiana interests, funds for state police, construction workers, and teachers, have been set aside.  Is this a good move?  The IndyStar reports that, according to Richard Mourdock, who represents two of the interests, it is a gross miscarriage of justice, the interests lose nearly $5 million in debt (the brunt of that born by the teachers at about a $4.6 million loss).  On the other hand, the local Herald-Times quotes our own Prof. Long as saying that had the sale not been permitted to go through the losses would have been much higher.  What do you think?  For thoughts outside of Indiana you can also go look at the New York Times or the SCOTUSblog.

NTSB Hearing

Today began the first of three days of hearings at the National Transporation Safety Board (NTSB) for the crash landing into the Hudson River of US Airways Flight 1549 on January 15.  Captain Chesley B. Sullenberger III and passenger Billy Campbell were the first witnesses to testify before the Board today. 

A NTSB advisory provides information on the hearings, including links to the public docket, agenda, and live webcast.

From its website, “[t]he National Transportation Safety Board is an independent U.S. Federal agency that investigates every civil aviation accident in the United States and significant accidents in the other modes of transportation, conducts special investigations and safety studies, and issues safety recommendations to prevent future accidents.”

Two Interesting Supreme Court Cases

Yesterday the U.S. Supreme Court dealt with a couple of controversial cases.  In the first, a West Virginia judge recently refused to disqualify himself on a case that involved a company which contributed a substantial sum of money to his election.  A 5-4 majority of the Court ruled that situation was extreme enough that recusal was required.  The minority argued that this decision will “erode public confidence in judicial impartiality.” The New York Times has the story. 

A case that is a little closer to home involves the purchase of Chrysler by Fiat.  Three Indiana groups are protesting the sale. At the moment the case is in limbo, Justice Ginsburg having merely stayed the case.  It is a tricky situation, though-the Indiana interests want time to present their case, but Chrysler argues that it is losing money so quickly that the deal may not go through if they wait too much longer.  Once again you can look at the New York Times, or recent SCOTUSblog entries cover both issues.

Info on Emerald Ash Borer

Purdue’s extension service has prepared a website on the emerald ash borer (an invasive species which damages and kills ash trees).  The links section in the lower left hand corner of this website also features connections to additional resources from other Midwestern land grant universities, the Indiana Dept. of Natural Resources, and the U.S. Forest Service.

The Ranking Game

We are all proud that Maurer recently jumped up to number 23 in the U.S. News & World Report Rankings.  Many people consider these rankings to be the most important in the legal education world, but that doesn’t mean that your criteria for a law school matches perfectly with your own requirements.  For that personal touch, or just to make sure that you understand the strength and weaknesses of ranking systems in general, you might want to take a look at The Ranking Game.

The Ranking Game was created several years ago by our own Prof. Stake, and it allows you to rank law schools based on criteria that you select.  Not only can you choose to give a great deal of weight to the size of the law library, but you can also choose to make the number of Tibetan restaurants within 400 meters part of your criteria.  Go play around a little!

White House Releases Cybersecurity Documents

New Travel Requirements

Effective June 1, 2009, all citizens of the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Bermuda must carry a passport or other accepted documentation when entering or leaving the U.S. by air, land, or sea.

This requirement—known as the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative—has been gradually implemented since 2007 to allow sufficient time for travelers to obtain proper documentation. Visit the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to see what types of documentation are accepted.  


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