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BLAWg In Bloom

The Indiana Law Library Blog

Introducing Title 52 of the United States Code


Most of us at some point in our early education had a Civics class that taught us about the branches of government and the laws we are all bound to follow.  When learning about statutes passed by Congress (usually in conjunction with a screening of Schoolhouse Rock’s “I’m Just a Bill”), we learned about the 50 Titles of the US Code.  No more!  After decades of the standard 50 titles we’ve come to know, the Office of the Law Revision Counsel recently began adding new titles to our federal codification of laws.  Ordinarily, reorganizations of the code involve moving existing laws to other (existing) titles, or renumbering sections within existing titles.  However, recently the OLRC has determined that, to best organize statutes within the code, creating a few new titles is in order.  Changes began in 2010 with Title 51 – National and Commercial Space Programs.  On September 1st, 2014, the second new title came into effect: Title 52 – Voting & Elections.  And they’re not stopping there!  There are even more new titles in the works: Title 53 – Small Business, Title 54 – National Park System, and Title 55 – Environment.  It’s important to understand that, even when new titles are created, this does not mean they are filled with new laws; instead, the OLRC is reorganizing the code by pulling existing laws on a subject and placing them together for easier reference; laws on the same topic are often spread among different titles, so by creating a new title, it becomes much easier for researchers to access all the laws on a subject.

Even more interesting is the process of approving the creation of these two recent title additions to the U.S.C.  Title 51 is a positive law title, meaning that the title itself was statutorily enacted.  This follows the same process as any other statute traveling through Congress: the OLRC presents the proposed title to the House Judiciary Committee, there’s a notice and comment period, the House approves the bill, and the Senate must approve the bill.  For more information on the positive law codification process for new titles, the OLRC has created a helpful brochure.  In contrast, Title 52 is not a positive law title.  The OLRC has editorial reclassification privileges when parts of the Code outgrow their existing titles.  In this case, the volume of statutes pertaining to voting and elections has vastly grown over the years, and the OLRC determined that a new title was required to make room.  The difference between positive and non-positive law is subtle.  Essentially, statutes within a positive law title are reorganized verbatim – they constitute legal evidence in a court of law; in contrast, statutes that have been reorganized into a non-positive law title are only considered prima facie evidence of the law.

You can learn more about the OLRC (and browse the U.S.C. online) by visiting their website.


Found in the Stacks: Medieval Poor Law

The Law Library is the place law students study, faculty members do research, and laypeople come to learn about the law. We have an excellent collection of the basic legal materials of course, but shelf reading can also lead to little research gems. As we find interesting and unexpected books, we will tell you about them on the BLAWg IN Bloom.

Today: Medieval Poor Law by Brian Tierney, University of California Press, 1959. KBG .54

While there are plenty of areas of law that are relatively new, poverty has always been an issue, and thus laws concerning it are relatively old. Tierney was writing in large part for social workers, but he explores the legal issues as well. At the time, the Church was the primary charitable institution, so Tierney explores the theology behind poor law and the actual mechanics of it. If you are looking for something interesting to take your mind off studying for a few minutes, check out Medieval Poor Law.

Have you found any particularly interesting books lately? If so, let us know!

Scottish Independence Vote Today

Polls opened in Scotland this morning for a vote on the recent Scottish Independence Referendum. Scotland is considering leaving the United Kingdom. The referendum has been in the works since 2011. A key step in the process came with the Edinburgh Agreement of 2012, in which the Scottish Government and the UK Government jointly assented to a referendum on independence to be voted on in 2014. The referendum needs a simple majority to pass, and many news sources are predicting a close vote. If you wish to know more about the referendum, the website of the Scottish Government has a page devoted to the referendum and the potential consequences.

Roving the Repository: The US Constitution at IU Law

constitution-150_2If you haven’t had a chance to check out the Law School’s Digital Repository, I would highly  encourage you to do so.  Not only do we house electronic versions of every issue of every law journal that has been hosted at Maurer Law, as well as a great library of our faculty’s publications, I particularly enjoy browsing the Historic Documents collection – you never know what you’re going to find!  In honor of Constitution Day, I decided to see what documents, if any, we might have about the US Constitution.  Lo and behold, in my favorite category I found The Constitution of the United States at the End of One Hundred Fifty Years.  This was a publication of a former IU School of Law professor, Hugh Evander Willis.

As Professor Willis states in the introductory Explanatory Note, “[M]ost people know that the greater part of our United States Constitution is not found in the printed document generally distributed as our United States Constitution, but is found in the Supreme Court Reports and is the work of the United States Supreme Court” (5).  The richness of this publication is evident from its introduction, which provides a brief history of constitutional development in the United States, how the Supreme Court has grown in its own role as “Constitution-Maker,” as well as a breakdown of individual significant contributions by Justice.  The introduction emphasizes that constitutional law far exceeds the written words of the original document and its amendments, and to only familiarize oneself with the text of the document wouldn’t const-150-examplecome close to familiarization with the subject as a whole; therefore, in addition to re-printing the text of the US Constitution, this work incorporates the Supreme Court’s contributions to constitutional law as well.  For each article of the Constitution (some broken into sub-parts), the true text of the Constitution is seen in normal, Roman font, and the Supreme Court’s contributions are added in italics.  These italicized additions are footnoted, with citations to the cases that added these contributions to our wealth of constitutional law.

Published in 1939, this work is clearly not a comprehensive resource for understanding developments in constitutional law today, but for historical constitutional research, this is quite a find.  To grasp comprehensive developments in constitutional law today, we primarily rely on citators in Westlaw and Lexis to provide us with every case that has discussed a constitutional provision.  If only we had a resource like this today!

Welcome New Students

Welcome to the new 1L class, and congratulations on starting orientation today! We hope that you have a wonderful law school experience. All of us at the Law Library will do everything that we can to make your time here both rewarding and comfortable. The Library is a place to study, learn, reflect, and prepare. We hope that you will take advantage of our facilities and many services, and if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to ask anyone on the Library staff. We are excited about working with all our new students over the next three years. Also, don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook! We look forward to seeing you on the Library tours this Friday morning.

Good Luck on the Bar Exam!

After a summer of studying, it’s finally here. Today is the first day of the bar exam.   We’ve seen several of you at the Law Library nearly every day this summer, and we know that you’ve worked hard and are prepared. Don’t panic, remember your notes, and the best of luck to all the test takers!

Services for Alumni

hein-alumni-accessYou graduated.  Congratulations!  Here’s our gift to you: The Law Library is here to help you even post-graduation.  Our newest service for alumni is a subscription to HeinOnline’s Alumni Access Program, which provides you access to Hein’s Law Journal Library.  This collection is well known for providing access to the full run of a vast collection of law reviews, bar journals, and more, and the Alumni Access Program ensures that you retain access to this significant collection even as you venture beyond your law school years.  Sign up for access to our Hein Alumni account by visiting our Alumni Services guide and filling out the brief form.

While at this guide, you might want to take a look at some of the other services available to you as an alum.  For instance, if you have an interest in multidisciplinary databases, you may want to look into IU’s alumni access to JSTOR and ProjectMuse.  If you are interested in using materials from our physical collection, refer to this guide to see what copy and send services we offer.

Most importantly, don’t forget that the reference librarians are here to help you, no matter where you’re located or how long ago you graduated.  We’ve created and continue to build a collection of research guides on a variety of legal research subjects.  Materials in our digital repository – including historical school documents as well as a considerable library of scholarly articles from our journals and our faculty – are available to you for free.  Finally, we’d be happy to answer your research questions over the phone (812) 855-2938, via email, or in person.

You may leave, but we’re still here for you!  Remember, when in doubt, ask a law librarian.

Election Day

Monroe County Primary Election Day is today, so if you would like to be involved in local politics today is the day to get out and vote.  Not sure when and where?  There are some great resources online to help you. You may want to check the Indiana Voters page from the Indiana government website.  If you are registered to vote in Indiana you simply have to enter your county, name, and birthdate into this website and it will tell you where you polling place is, and who is on your ballot.

You might also take a look at the local paper for your information. The Herald-Times offers sample ballots, race previews, and a map of polling places.  It’s hard to find the time during finals—but get out there and vote!

Don’t Know Much About [the Law Library’s] History

Looking forward to today’s dedication of the Reference Office in honor of Colleen Kristl Pauwels, former Director of the Law Library, I became curious about our Law Library’s history.  After all, the Law School has been around since 1842, so there’s quite a history to be found.  Digging around in our archives, I pieced together a [mostly complete] picture of the Law Library’s history, and thought I’d share my findings.  For instance, did you know our Law Library’s collection has been destroyed twice by fire?  Curious?  Read on!

Law Library 1906The Law School was established in 1842, originally as a law department in the university.  The Law Library began the following year, in 1843, when the Indiana University trustees gave Professor McDonald, the head of the law department, $100 to purchase books for the collection.  At the time, it is believed that the Law Library was housed in the University Library.  That initial collection of books was destroyed by a fire in 1854, which also destroyed the collections in the University and Literary Society Libraries.

As will happen throughout any school’s long history, the Law School has relocated to several different buildings throughout its history, especially in the beginning.  Around 1870 the Law School moved to a building that fronted the courthouse square, and only part of the Law Library moved with it, the rest remaining at the University Library.  Students at the time complained about this split in the collection, because it was so cumbersome to have to travel to the University Library to see the other portion of the Law Library’s collection.  When the Law School closed from 1877-1889 due to lack of funds, the Law Library’s collection returned to the University Library – only to be consumed by yet another fire in 1883!

In 1889, when the Law School re-opened, it moved to Maxwell Hall, and the Law Library was finally housed in the same building as the school.  With the Law Library collection having been destroyed twice by fire, the collection at this time was still relatively small, and mostly consisted of donations; but starting in 1891, the Indiana University trustees began approving funding ($1,500 in 1891) to increase the Law Library collection.  By 1901-02, the Law Library was up to 4,500 volumes, consisting of materials we still commonly rely on today – reporters, legal encyclopedias, etc.  In an effort to further expand the collection, the Law Library’s annual budget was increased from $600 to $1,200 that year as well.

The Law School didn’t remain in Maxwell for long, moving to Kirkwood Hall in 1894 and into Wylie Hall in 1904 or 1905.  During this time, the University Library moved into Maxwell Hall, but by 1907 a Library Building had been constructed, and the University Library was poised to vacate Maxwell again.  It was decided that the Law School would return to Maxwell Hall, and a three-story addition was added to the building to accommodate this move.  The University Library move-out and Law School move-in occurred over the holidays in 1907, but unfortunately they ran out of time and manpower to move the Law Library and its 6,000-volume collection before the start of classes that spring.  The law students at the time did not want to be separated from the books they so frequently relied on in the Law Library, so they volunteered to move the collection themselves!  As a result, 75 law students moved the entire collection in just two hours one Saturday that spring semester.Law Library 1940

From 1908 to 1914 another appeal for Law Library funding helped to significantly increase the collection, such that by 1914 the Law Library saw the need for a full-time staff member to manage the collection.  Samuel Dargan was appointed Curator of the Law Library in 1914, and served in this position until 1948.  Up until this point, the Law Library had always been maintained by a law student.  (Fun fact: one of these law students in charge of the Law Library was none other than Sherman Minton, who went on to become a Supreme Court Justice!) 

In 1925, the collection was up to 14,350 volumes, and the need for an experienced librarian arose.  Rowena Compton was therefore hired as the first Law Librarian at our Law Library, and faced the task of properly cataloging our collection for the first time.  Under her direction the collection grew to over 20,000 volumes by 1930.  When Compton retired in 1930, Mary Jean Ashman assumed leadership of the Law Library; for the first time, the Law Librarian position also included responsibilities as Instructor for Legal Bibliography.  During her tenure, the Law Library increased in space, when the Law School Administration moved to another building; Ashman used this increased space to enlarge the reading room and add more tables and chairs to double the seating capacity.

It is at this point, in the 1930s, that my research faltered a bit.  Most resources I used to create this blog post provided historical coverage only, ending in the 1930s.  Mary Jean Ashman retired in 1949, and Betty V. LeBus became Director of the Law Library, serving in this role from 1950-1978.  Looking at an ABA Site Re-Inspection report from 1977, it seems that the Law Library’s reputation wavered between 1950 and 1980, due to lack of funding for collection development, space, and staffing.  When Colleen Pauwels became Director of the Law Library in 1979, she was asked to create a long-range plan to remedy this.

IMG_0067Through her directorship of 33 years, Colleen built the Law Library’s reputation back up by securing an addition to the Law Library, increasing our staffing, and increasing our book budget.  Her tenure as Director saw the Law Library transition into the age of computers, the Internet, and cutting-edge technologies like CD-ROMs (okay, at one time they were considered cutting-edge!) and wireless connectivity.  We have always endeavored to meet the evolving needs of our students and faculty, and Colleen was a driving force for that ideal.  Through her efforts, our Law Library today is recognized as one of the best in the nation.  It is only fitting, therefore, that, if the Reference Office be named for anyone, it be named in honor of and in gratitude to Colleen Kristl Pauwels.

(Image 1: Law Library, circa 1906)

(Image 2: Law Library, 1940)

(Image 3: Law Library today)

Jumpstart Returns!

The extremely popular Jumpstart research program returns to the Law Library. Jumpstart sessions will be available April 8th-April 17th. The program, designed by the reference librarians, will again work towards preparing law students for summer internships, clerkships and the first year of practice. During last year’s sessions, a number of students learned the necessary research skills for dealing with materials such as legislative history, administrative law and the regulatory process, and computer-assisted legal research.

Following the formula established in previous years, each of the Jumpstart sessions will begin with a brief review of the basic legal resources so that every student has a complete grasp of the legal research process. The librarians will also provide information about more specialized types of reference books, including practice aids and form books. The Jumpstart sessions will then focus on individual student problems and questions about legal research, with an emphasis on the type of practice student participants will be seeing in the summer.

If you have any questions about the Jumpstart programs, be sure to drop by the Reference Office and speak to a reference librarian. We’d especially like to hear from those of you who already know in what jurisdiction you’ll be working this summer and any special areas of law with which you’ll be dealing. We tailor the Jumpstart sessions to your particular needs in order to make the program a continuing success.