Articles of Confederation


flickr photo by annalynnc

flickr photo by annalynnc

By Nirvi Shah

On January 30, 1781, Maryland was the thirteenth and final state to ratify the Articles of Confederation, which took effect on March 1, 1781.  In comparison to the current U.S. Constitution, the Articles of Confederation designated less control to a central government, leaving most of the power with state governments.  Due to the need for a stronger central government, the U.S. Constitution replaced the Articles of Confederation on March 4, 1789.

Here are a few books in the Law Library where you can learn more about U.S. History and the Articles of Confederation:

Here are some additional links to online sources:

Origins of the Martin L. King, Jr. Federal Holiday

flickr photo by Julian Fong

flickr photo by Julian Fong

By Darius Wood

Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday is one of the ten federal holidays, and only one of two federal holidays that is for an individual – Washington’s Birthday is the other. “President Ronald Reagan signed the King Holiday Bill into law on Nov. 2, 1983,” but the foundation for the bill was laid in the decade’s prior, spearheaded by King’s wife, Coretta Scott King.  As most know, Martin Luther King, Jr. rose to national acclaim for his nonviolent civil disobedience approach to racial and social justice issues facing the African American community. Shortly after Dr. King’s assignation on April 4, 1968 Congressman John Conyers Jr. introduced the first bill to make King’s Birthday, January 15, a federal holiday.  This attempt failed, but the effort persisted; in 1971 the Southern Christian Leadership Conference presented a petition to Congress containing 3 million signatures.  Unfortunately, this attempt too failed. In 1979, Mrs. King, testified before the Senate and a joint session of Congress in support of the Martin Luther King, Jr. national holiday leading President Carter to urge Congress to pass a bill making Dr. King’s birthday a national holiday.  This bill fell short by 5 votes in the U.S. House of Representatives. However, the momentum continued and in 1980 Stevie Wonder released a song, “Happy Birthday,” celebrating Dr. King’s legacy.  Later in 1982, Mrs. King presented another petition containing 6 million signatures to their representatives.  The next year, in 1983 the House of Representatives finally passed the bill by 338 to 90, making the third Monday in January a national holiday.  The Senate then passed the bill by a vote of 78-22. President Reagan signed Public Law 98-144 establishing the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Holiday, beginning in 1986. Sources:

Interview Season is Upon Us, or Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost

by Murtaza Khwaja

image by flickr user petur-t

image by flickr user petur-t

The Judicial Clerkship Job Fair and the Public Sector Job Fair are both coming up in the next few weeks, and 1Ls are finally able to join the rest of us in applying for upcoming jobs, internships, and/or other positions.

While this will be the 1Ls’ first foray into the legal job market, the rest of us have a little more experience.  However, all of us are faced with the same questions: What do we want to do with our law degree? Where do we want to work? Where do we see ourselves after graduation?

Now, I am sure several of us may have answers to some and maybe all of these questions but for many of us, myself included, internal conflict over a variety of issues remains.

Some of these conflicts come from seemingly having too many interests — from criminal law to international human rights to family law to intellectual property to health law, etc. Any experience I have had in the study or practice of any of these fields has been both exceedingly informative and enjoyable. In the long run however, it seems prudent to become more specialized or at least make my job search more specific instead of feeling as if I am haphazardly applying to too broad a scope of positions.

Other questions exist as well.  Questions like: Is this organization/firm/group the best fit for me individually? How far is too far for a commute? Are there snacks? Okay maybe the last one is just me, but in all seriousness I know that we all must have some uncertainty as we prepare to take the next step in our legal careers.

And that’s okay! I might still be figuring it out, but I know that with self reflection, consultation with both family and friends, and a degree of chance I will end up in the right place for myself.  Or at least that’s my own belief borne out of my faith in things working out the way they are meant to as long as I do my part.

For those facing similar dilemmas, please feel free to share your own experiences and how you are dealing with them/are planning to deal with them. For those unsure, definitely reach out to GSU’s Career Services, professors, and/or your own family and friends. Career Services will give great professional advice but do not discount advice from loved ones. At the end of the day, these are the people that know you best and thus, in all likelihood, will remind you of who you really want to be and what you really want to do. Professors are also great to talk to due to their vast amount of experience in a wide array of fields. All of these resources can help in their own way, and ultimately you will forge your individual path.

In the meantime, best of luck with the new semester, and any upcoming interviews or applications. With hard work, faith, and the right people in our lives, I am sure we will not only find the best fit for us but also create our own place in the world as we set out into the next stage of our lives.

True Privacy? Touch ID & Biometric Fingerprint Readers

flickr photo by Kārlis Dambrāns

flickr photo by Kārlis Dambrāns

By Darius Wood

Biometric Fingerprint readers like those found on the new iPhone 6 and Samsung Galaxy S5 have become major selling point in terms of protecting privacy, but they may be providing a false sense of security.

It has already been show that these fingerprint readers are imperfect and are capable of being hacked.  See: Galaxy S5 hacked, iPhone 6 hacked

Further, a phone secured with a fingerprint scan may not be protected from the government. The Fifth Amendment protects against compelled self-incrimination, not the disclosure of private information. Virginia Federal Circuit Judge Steven Frucci ruled last month that unlike passcodes, which are protected by the Fifth Amendment, fingerprints are not.

The judge said that providing your fingerprint does not communicate knowledge like disclosing a password, instead, it is similar to a providing a key or DNA, which are both legal.  The judge granted a motion to compel a fingerprint that would allow the government to search the defendant’s phone but denied the motion to compel the defendant’s passcode.

Judge ruling on Motion to Compel 

Pleasure Reading?

by Meghan Starr

image by flickr user pedrosimoes

image by flickr user pedrosimoes

If you’re thinking about what to do over the break, have you considered reading?

No, seriously.  Think about finding and reading a book FOR FUN!

In this month’s ABA Journal, Bryan A. Garner talks about a common problem for lawyers (and law students) – losing the ability to enjoy a good book.  The volume of reading in law school coupled with what is often poor legal writing make it easy to get in the habit of skimming for the main idea or relevant facts. Do you really read the citation strings that come in the middle of a paragraph?

If you feel guilty about picking up the latest Janet Evanovich or James Patterson, rest assured that many law professors think it is important for your professional, as well as personal, development.  Reading books targeted to a general audience can help you develop a more natural writing and storytelling style that can come in handy when trying to persuade a judge or jury.  The classics can help show you the power of language.

If you have already fallen victim to the syndrome and treat Gray Mountain as if it were written by Judge John Grisham, then try these tips:

  • Listen to audio books to force you to hear every word.
  • Try short stories: you may feel less need to rush through.
  • Read aloud: Not only will you absorb the content, but you will also be aware of the rhythms of the language.

I am fortunate enough to have a son that still loves to sit and read with me.  We have been reading Hatchet by Gary Paulsen out loud together over the last month.  We get to sit and snuggle, talk about the plot, and discuss the words Paulsen uses.  My personal tip – find a reading partner.

To read the article in its entirety, you can find it in the November issue.

Getting Ready for Thanksgiving: Law School Style

by Murtaza Khwaja

image by Flickr user julesandjoe

image by Flickr user julesandjoe

Woohoo! So you’ve pretty much gotten done with another (or, for 1Ls, your first) semester of law school! Now just for acing those final exams. Before you get there though, here are some tips for making the most of your time and for enjoying a delicious and (relatively) nutritious Thanksgiving dinner!

First, for the classic turkey. Skip the struggle and mess of preparing a turkey and just pick up a traditional Thanksgiving day bird from your local Publix supermarket. Your kitchen and any dinner guests will thank you. And with all the extra time you save, you can focus on outlining, finishing up your Lawyering: Foundations memo or maybe even something more recreational like football. Hey, it is called Thanksgiving B-R-E-A-K.

  1. Don’t forget to pick up a pre-packaged container of gravy when you pick up your turkey. Nothing’s worse than overly-dry mashed potatoes or turkey.
  2. Speaking of mashed potatoes, here’s a link to a quick and delicious recipe for the creamiest, and most savory of dishes.
  3. While Thanksgiving is a time to indulge, there’s no need to not also be healthy if we can help it, so here’s a great recipe for roasted Brussels sprouts.
  4. No Thanksgiving is complete without stuffing. Luckily, Pepperidge Farm Stuffing’s got you covered. Just add celery, onions, pepper and any other ingredients of your choosing based on taste, and you’re good to go.
  5. Keeping rolling along with these easy-to-make dinner rolls from Bobby Flay.
  6. And who could forget the green bean casserole? Paula Deen certainly won’t let you, and her recipe for the dish won’t let you ever forget either.
  7. Last but not least, now to my favorite part of Thanksgiving, the pie. While I’m partial to pecan, pumpkin pie is also a perennial favorite. Edwards Pumpkin or Pecan Pie is an excellent choice. Just let it sit in the oven for 25-30 minutes, and then add your favorite vanilla ice cream and/or cool whip based on personal preference.

With all these delicious dishes, I’m sure your Thanksgiving dinner will be top notch, and hopefully, you’ll be able to use all the time you save to start getting on your study grind.

Don’t forget to be thankful for all the food, friends, family and wonderful opportunities (like being in law school J ) you have in your life.

Wishing all of you the happiest and restful of Thanksgivings.



On Your Radar


By Nirvi Shah

Here are a few suggestions of some of the things that should be on your radar as exams and winter break draw near.

For the scared 1Ls: Yes, your first exam period in law school is intimidating. Fortunately, everyone else in your class feels exactly the same way.   Here are my personal recommendations to help you better prepare for exams.

  • Blond’s Law Guides
    • These books include case clips, EasyFlow Charts, outlines, and mnemonics to help organize students’ notes and learn the information.
    • From my personal experience, the series covers most of the cases you study in class.
  • Examples & Explanations (E&E)
    • This series provides summaries of legal concepts, hypotheticals to practice each concept, and example answers to help students understand the content for which professors are looking.
  • GSU Law Library Exam Archive

For the overworked 2Ls: You’re over the first year hump, but many of you are now trying to fight off anxiety of finding an internship position for the summer. Here are some tools to help you throughout the job application process.

For the “bored” 3Ls: Due to the old law school adage, “in first year they scare you to death, in second year they work you to death, and in third year they bore you to death,” many 3Ls believed the third year would be their easiest year in law school. I know plenty of peers who disagree with that notion. While classes maybe easier to prepare for, there are many peripheral tasks to complete, specifically the bar exam application.

Good luck on exams and see you in the library!