Celebrity “Citings” in Case Law

By Catherine Schutz

Ninth Circuit Judge Marsha S. Brezon recently cited comedian and political commentator John Oliver, host of HBO show Last Week Tonight, in her opinion in Paeste v. Guam, 2015 U.S. App LEXIS 15067. Oliver’s show on March 8 of this year concerned the impact a set of Supreme Court decisions from over 100 years ago currently has on U.S. territories, and Judge Brezon used this show as evidence of popular criticism of what she described as such “insular cases.”

Happily, this is not the first time that Judges have cited popular culture in their opinions. Any law student is familiar with the comic relief that humorist Judges can provide during weekly readings. Here are a few more notable examples:

  • In U.S. v. Stapleton, Judge Amul R. Thapar likened a criminal defendants attempts at using civil procedure as a diversionary tactic to “the legal equivalent of Obi-Wan Kenobi’s ‘These aren’t the droids you’re looking for” from Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. (U.S. v. Stapleton, 2013 WL 3967951 (E.D. Ky. 2013)).
  • Third Circuit Judge Evans cited Yogi Berra’s famous quote “A oral contract isn’t worth the paper it’s written on” in lamenting the fact that the musical group the Butthole Surfers had not written up a deal they entered into with a record distributor (Walthal v. Rusk, 172 F. 3d 481 (7th Cir. 1999)).
  • In the dissenting opinion of Chambers v. State, Minnesota Supreme Court Judge Anderson objected to what he viewed as the “unconstitutional sentence of life in prison without the possibility of release” by referencing Danish physicist Niels Bohr famous quote: “Prediction is very difficult, especially about the future.” (Chambers v. State, 831 N.W.2d 311 (Minn. 2013)).
  • Maryland Court of Appeals Judge Glenn T. Harrell prefaced his opinion in In re: Tyrell A., a case concerning a flight that broke out between two high school students at their school, with a quote from the movie Fight Club: “The first rule of Fight Club is: You do not talk about Fight Club.” He later commented that the boys had regrettably not followed that rule. (In re: Tyrell A., 112 A.3d 468 (Md. Ct. App. 2015))
  • In his dissent to Sprint Communis. Co., L.P. v. APCC Servs., Chief Justice Roberts described his belief that respondents lacked Article III standings as “When you got nothing, you got nothing to lose”, quoting Bob Dylan’s song Like a Rolling Stone. This was allegedly the first time a Supreme Court Justice has cited a rock lyric in an opinion. (Sprint Communis. Co., L.P. v. APCC Servs., 554 U.S. 269 (2008)).
  • Finally, even Justice Scalia is not immune to the draws of pop culture, referencing the movie Casablanca in his plurality opinion in Rapanos v. United States. He thanked the lower court for the original reference and included the following exchange between Humphrey Bogart and Claude Rains as an illustration of “the absurdity of finding the desert filled with waters”:  “‘Captain Renault [Claude Rains]: “What in heaven’s name brought you to Casablanca?” “‘Rick [Humphrey Bogart]: “My health. I came to Casablanca for the waters.” “‘Captain Renault: “The waters? What waters? We’re in the desert.” “‘Rick: “I was misinformed.”‘” (Rapanos v. United States, 547 U.S. 715 (2006)).

LexisNexis Courtroom Cast

By Zach Dalton

LexisNexis Courtroom Cast (formerly AudioCaseFiles) is a valuable resource available to Georgia State law students for free. Students can sign up for the site using their Georgia State email address.

Courtroom Cast provides students with access to audio and video of real court cases containing concepts learned in class. This can facilitate a deeper understanding of how concepts come together when representing a client.

Audio Versions of Cases

The site contains audio versions of selected cases from your casebooks. To access these audio files, one must scroll down to the bottom of the page, select the proper subject under the heading of “Browse Audio by Casebook,” and then choose the casebook which is being used for your class. You can listen to the cases using your favorite audio program or by downloading the MP3 to your chosen digital audio device. Unlike having a computer read the text of the opinion, these use real people and are much easier to listen to. These audio versions can be very helpful for those who have a significant commute each day. This can also be helpful for those who just get tired of reading so many pages each week.

Courtroom Training Videos

Upper level students will appreciate the courtroom training videos. These cover a variety of topics, such as trial advocacy, rules of evidence, and appellate advocacy. The videos break these different skills down into manageable sections and provide commentary and analysis to improve one’s ability to better represent a client.

The site also contains videos of complete trials, including many from Georgia. If you were ever interested in how a trial proceeds while in the courtroom, this could be very helpful. Individual sections of the trials are also able to be viewed. This could allow you to watch a specific section (ex. opening statements) in dozens of trials if you are having difficulty in that specific area.

LexisNexis Courtroom Cast is another of the many free resources available to Georgia State Law students. Go to the site and give it a try.




Finding What You Need in the Law Library

The new Circulation and Reference area

The new Circulation and Reference area

Hopefully you have found the wonderful amenities in our new library space—you know where the terraces are, you have found the place that will contain Miss Demeanor’s Café, and you located the bathrooms.

Now you need to know where to find things.  Use this guide to find things you need.

Reserve Items: Course required books, book stands, lap desks, games, and more are available on request at the Circulation Desk.

Reference Collection:  The materials you used to ask for at the Reference Desk and the other reference materials, including a copy of the Official Code of Georgia (O.C.G.A.) are located just to the right of the Reference Desk.

Study Aids:  The Study Aid Collection can be found in the same low shelves as the Reference Collection—just to the right of the Reference Desk.

Georgia Collection:  The Georgia state materials are located on the library 5th floor behind the elevators, in free-standing shelves.  The collection includes Georgia primary sources including Georgia Laws, West’s Annotated Code of Georgia, and reporters for Georgia cases.  You will find secondary sources including past editions of Georgia treatises (current editions are in the Reference Collection) such as Redfearn Wills and Administration in Georgia and a wide variety of Georgia continuing legal education materials.

Core Practice Collection:  A number of our heavily-used resources and practitioner tools, such as legal encyclopedias, form books, and practice guides are located the Core Practice Collection on the 5th floor behind the elevators, right next to the Georgia Collection.

Law General Stacks:  Material in General Stacks are located on both the 5th and 6th floors.  Call numbers beginning with AC and running through KE will be found on the 5th floor, starting behind the elevators.  If the call number starts with KF1 or comes later in the alphabet, you’ll want to start looking for the title on the 6th floor, just as you walk off the elevator.

Law Periodicals:  If you want to look at a journal article that you can’t access online because it’s too recently published, you may want to come up to the 6th floor behind the elevators.  The journal titles are in alphabetical order.

Leisure Collection:  The DVDs, fiction, and fun non-fiction are all still available for you to check out and enjoy—they are located at the back of the active learning area on the 5th floor.  Walk past the IT Help desk and turn left, and you’ll walk right to the collection.

If you have any questions about finding our other special collections—state materials or the Young Adult Collection—please stop by the reference desk and we will be happy to help you!

Welcome to the new building!

ALERT Program

The Law Library is rolling out a new program this fall called the Applied Legal Experience, Research, & Technology (ALERT) Program. The ALERT Program is a non-credit program that provides students with additional opportunities to learn advanced legal research and technology skills outside of the College of Law’s curriculum. By completing the ALERT Program, students can demonstrate to potential employers that they have obtained practice ready skills that will enable them to hit the ground running.

To get more information about the ALERT Program, check out the program’s webpage.

We will be holding an information session about the program on Wednesday, August 26th, at 12 p.m. and 5 p.m. Food will be provided, so please RSVP if you plan to attend.

RSVP: 12 p.m., Room 241

RSVP: 5 p.m., Room 346


Taking Advantage of Law Library Resources

By Blake Williams and Zach Dalton

Study Materials

The Law Library provides several types of print and online resources that students can use to study and supplement course readings.

CALI Lessons

  • The Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction maintains a collection of almost 1,000 interactive, computer-based lessons covering 33 legal education subject areas. The interactive tutorials are written by law faculty to supplement traditional law school instruction. The format of the exercises varies according to the authors’ objectives.

To access CALI lessons:

  1. Go to www.cali.org
  2. Enter the email and password you created at registration. (If you have not registered, you will need to create a new user account. Contact Austin Williams to obtain an authorization code.)
  3. Click on Login
  4. Select Lessons (from Quick Links) and then choose a specific lesson
  5. Click on Web/HTML to use online or Win/Download or Mac to download lesson

Exam Archive

  • The Law Library’s website provides an archive of sample past examinations from many College of Law professors.

Study Aids

  • The Law Library provides students with a robust collection of study aid resources and supplements. The collection includes many notable series, including Examples & Explanations, Crunchtime, and Acing.

Study Space in the Law Library

The Law Library offers different types of study areas with wireless coverage available throughout the entire library.

Study Carrels, Work Spaces, and Soft Seating

  • The Law Library has nearly 300 seating options, including study carrels, work spaces, soft seating, and a formal Reading Room. These seats are available on a first come/first served basis and many provide power outlets and non-data USB ports for charging mobile devices.

Group Study Rooms

    • The Law Library has 27 group study rooms for use by Georgia State Law students. Students in groups of two or more may reserve study rooms on a first come/first served basis. All study rooms contain tables with power outlets, dry-erase boards, and five of the study rooms (530-533 and 537) have large format televisions for viewing audio visual materials. Most study rooms seat up to 6 people. Rooms 537 and 603 can seat up to 10 people.


    • Law students can make group study reservations using the online booking system or at the Circulation Desk.

Quiet Floor

  • The Law Library established the 6th floor as as area for quiet study.  Please refrain from conversation while using this area.

Law Library Student Computer Lab

  • The Law Library hosts a 16 workstation student computer lab with general purpose and research-service-specific printers located just outside the door. The  student computer lab is available to law students during the library’s operating hours.

Welcome to 85 Park Place!

View from a study room


Orientation is over, and fall semester starts on Monday – welcome (back) to law school! As you’re no doubt aware, quite a bit has changed. We got some new DVDs. We have some new brightly colored book trucks. There are some awesome new faculty.

Oh, and we moved buildings.

What does this mean for you?

  • Windows!
  • Stairs!
  • An actual quiet floor (the 6th floor)!
  • More study rooms!
  • Terraces!
  • A cafe in the library (coming soon)!

If you want to see what the new building looks like, stop by (bring your PantherCard to prove you’re a law student!) any time we’re open. If you want an online preview, check out the photos from our earlier post about the new library. If all of this makes you nostalgic for the old place (or if you’re a 1L and not sure why we’re so excited about our new building), we have photos of that, too.

While a lot has changed, some things stay the same. We’re still here to help you find whatever you need to succeed in law school, whether it be books, study aids, things to do to relax, or even just the sympathetic ear of someone who has gone through this before. We’re here to help!

Changing Facebook Settings To See Our Posts

facebook by flickr user moneyblognewz

image by flickr user moneyblognewz

Facebook recently changed its settings options to allow users more control over what they see in their news feeds. This means you can take a few steps to ensure you always see posts from the Law Library’s page. Woohoo!

Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Like us on Facebook. (If you haven’t already, of course.)
  2. From any page, look for the small down arrow on the top right of the page. Click it.
  3. Select News Feed Preferences, then select the Pages section.
  4. Find our page from your list of Pages you follow, and click the Following button next to our name.
  5. Change that setting to See First.
  6. Bask in the knowledge that you’ll never miss one of our posts again.