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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!

Snyder v. Phelps

Today the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the much contested case Snyder v. Phelps.  Four years ago a group from the Westboro Baptist Church picketed the military funeral of a marine killed in Iraq.  They were protesting against gay rights, believing that God is allowing soldiers to die to punish America for homosexuality.  In the first incarnation of the case, the father of the soldier won a $5,000,000 verdict, but it was overturned on appeal.  The church argues that it is only exercising its rights to free speech and protest; the family of the soldier demands privacy and sanctity for military funerals.  CNN has a nice write up on the question. 

What do you think?  SCOTUSblog offers podcasts with attorneys arguing for either side.  USA Today offers a list of organizations which have filed amicus briefs in the case.

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?

Arlton v. Schraut

Today at noon the Court of Appeals of Indiana will be hearing oral arguments in the case of Arlton v. Schraut in the Moot Court Room.  Consider sitting in on this case, particularly if you are about to start moot court.  Sitting in on the actually process of lawmaking can give you a new perspective.

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