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BLAWg In Bloom

The Indiana Law Library Blog

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Happy Halloween!

Have a safe and happy Halloween this year!  According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Americans consumed 24.5 pounds of candy in 2007, and this is the time to do it!

The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act

Yesterday President Obama signed a law ten years in the making.  The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act (passed as part of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010) expands the concept of a hate crime to include crimes based on sexual orientation.  Some are referring to it as the first real civil rights legislation for gay, lesbian, and transgendered people.  After several of the versions of the bill died in various Congressional committees, it was finally passed as an addition to the bill authorizing the defense budget for 2010, which caused some controversy.  For more, take a look at articles on CNN, the Washington Post, and the Los Angeles Times, which includes the remarks of the President.

Prof. Fidler on the Swine Flu

Today at 11:45 the Washington Post will be moderating a discussion with our own Professor David Fidler on the H1N1 virus, the vaccine, and the government’s role in combating the disease.  Take a look!  You might want to ask a question, or just follow the discussion in general.

Flu Information

Welcome back from break!  We hope that you had a nice one.  Now that you are back, and spending time in close company with many different people, you might be thinking about the flu, both seasonal and the H1N1 strain.  Trends in Google searches show that interest in the flu has been intense in Indiana and in the United States in general.  There are several good places to go for flu information, but the federal government’s website, , is probably one of the best.  It includes information on the flu itself, a little quiz to help you tell if you have the H1N1 flu, and also lots of information about flu vaccination.  It will also help you find a place to get your vaccinations.  The American Lung Association is keeping track of where to get seasonal vaccinations, and the Indiana State government website is the place to go to find out about H1N1.  Stay healthy this season!

An Archive of Blawgs

Legal blogs have taken on a life of their own.  They provide news and current events, and also a look into the minds of some of the best legal scholars.  With that in mind, the Law Library of Congress has been archiving blawgs since 2007.  This database includes more than 100 items and covers a large variety of legal issues.  You can search by keyword, or just browse by subject.  Go take a look!

Legal Fiction

It is always fun to pick up the latest John Grisham or Scott Turow novel, but have you ever considered writing legal fiction yourself?  Well now is your chance.  If you have ever tried your hand at legal fiction you should consider entering the New York Law Journal’s annual fiction contest.  Just submit five copies of your legal short story or first chapter by November 6, and you could be published and win fabulous cash prizes!  If you are interested you will find more information on the official flyer.

The 50 Most Powerful People in D.C.

Late last month GQ Magazine released its 2009 list of the most powerful people in Washington D.C, with White House Chief-of-Staff Rahm Emanuel in the top spot.  The President, Vice-President and their families are excluded from the list, but other than that anyone is fair game.  The list naturally includes many of the top politicians, including former Vice-President Dick Cheney and presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton, among others, but it doesn’t limit itself.  Other contenders include journalists, lawyers (including Chief Justice John Roberts, and Tom Goldstein, the founder of SCOTUSblog), a restaurateur, a hockey player, and the “unofficial stylist” of First Lady Michelle Obama.  It is interesting to see who is influential, and how.  Go take a look!

LL.M. Programs

This month’s National Jurist includes an article on the 223 U.S. LLM programs.  The magazine has compiled information on subject matter, application deadlines, and tuition fees, both in and out of state. Are you interested in continuing your legal education?  There are some subjects that really benefit from further, more targeted instruction.  Thanks to the TaxProf Blog for throwing this our direction, and for compiling a second ranking of tax LLM programs.

New United Kingdom Supreme Court Now At Work

On October 1, the United Kingdom implemented a potentially far-reaching constitutional change, with the coming into force of Part 3 of the Constitutional Reform Act of 2005.  This statute establishes the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom as an autonomous court of highest appeal, with jurisdiction to hear civil and criminal appeals from courts in England and Wales, and Northern Ireland, as well as civil appeals from Scotland.  (Scottish criminal law is insulated from review by English courts under the Act of Union.)  The new Supreme Court thus replaces the Appellate Committee of the House of Lords (Law Lords), which itself was formally created by the Appellate Jurisdiction Act of 1876.  However, the exclusive power of the House of Lords to function as a court of highest appeal actually dates back to 1399, when the House of Commons ceased hearing petitions to overrule judgments of lower courts, and the power of Parliament generally to act as a court of appeal can be traced back over 600 years to the work of the royal court, or Curia Regis.  In purely institutional terms, the creation of the new Supreme Court of the United Kingdom is therefore a major innovation. Full Story »

A New Supreme Court Session

The U.S. Supreme Court began their new session yesterday, and so far Justice Sotomayor is living up to her reputation for tough questioning.  Interestingly enough, though, there is a lot of press that is not about the cases that the Court is hearing, but about the cases that it has declined to hear.  So far the Court has discussed attorney-client privilege in the Mohawk case, and the ability to question prisoners who have asked for counsel in the Shatzer case, but there is also some interest in the 2,000 odd cases that the Court is letting stand.  There are always a large number of cases that the Supreme Court is not able to hear, and this term it includes cases on students saying the Pledge of Allegiance, Choose Life license plates in Illinois, a death row inmate with developmental disabilities, and the release of documents concerning sexual abuse cases involving priests.  It is an interesting list, and SCOTUSblog has some of the highlights.  Are there any of these cases that you would have taken?

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