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:

Keeping up with the 2015 Georgia General Assembly

401px-Georgia-state-capitol-domeWe are already six days into the 2015 Session of the Georgia General Assembly. Even if you don’t have time to venture over to the assembly during this session, you can still keep track of legislation and proceedings using a couple few free and commercial resources.

Legislation Tracking

  • Georgia General Assembly Legislation Advanced Search (FREE): The legislation advanced search will allow users to locate legislation from the current session and past sessions of the general assembly. Once you locate a bill or resolution of interest, click on the number, and you will find information on who sponsored the bill, which committees reviewed the legislation, the first reader summary, the status history, and current and previous versions of the bill.
  • Composite Status Sheets (FREE): The sheets provide a consolidated listing of the status of all bills and resolutions introduced during the session.
  • State Bar Legislative Program (FREE): The State Bar of Georgia’s Legislative Program provides a weekly update on the assembly, as well as information on legislative matters of interest to the Bar or affecting the practice of law.
  • WestlawNext Georgia Bill Tracking (Commercial): This database provides summaries and status information concerning current and recently-ended Georgia legislation. A WestlawNext username and password is required to access this database.
  • Lexis Advance GA Bill Tracking Reports (Commercial): This database contains a summary and legislative chronology of all pending Georgia legislation in the current legislative session. A Lexis Advance username and password is required to access this database.

Viewing Floor Proceedings


Magna Carta is 800 years old

drawing of King John using a laptop to post the Magna Carta to Facebook

King John Posts the Magna Carta to His Facebook Wall, by Mike Licht

The year 2015 marks the 800th Anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta by King John. The Magna Carta, or the Great Charter of Liberty, is widely viewed as the foundation for individual liberties and the rule of law. The history of the document is storied and murky, including multiple reaffirmations of the principles by monarchs facing an unhappy ruling class and the annulment of the Charter by Pope Innocent III. However, the concept of the liberties outlined in the Magna Carta has persisted through the centuries, particularly in America and Great Britain. America’s Founding Fathers looked to violations of the rule of law by the British king as justification for founding a new country. These ideals of freedom and democracy echo in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the European Convention of Human Rights. Even 800 years later, we are still learning about the Magna Carta. Researchers at the British Library preparing for the anniversary recently discovered an account of the sealing of the Magna Carta at Runnymede in an obscure medieval work known as the Melrose Chronicle.

If you would like to learn more about the Magna Carta, Georgia State Law’s Professor Rowberry is organizing a CLE symposium for the Georgia Bar on the meaning of the Magna Carta and its relevance to Georgia. The event will be Monday, March 30, 2015 from 8:15am to 3:00pm at the State Bar of Georgia Conference Center, 104 Marietta St. NW, Atlanta, GA 30303. Symposium attendees will also get to view the American Bar Association’s exhibit on the Magna Carta. More details on the CLE will be available in mid-February. Check the seminar schedule on the ICLE website for more information.

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.

The Law Library, RFID, and You

Photo of RFID shelf reader.

Photo by Michael Porter.

Starting tomorrow, January 14th, workers will be going around the library, taking books off of shelves, hopefully not making all that much noise, and in general just doing, well, stuff in the library. What are they doing?

As a part of our move to the new College of Law building, the Law Library is implementing a new system of keeping track of our books using RFID. RFID (which stands for “radio frequency identification”) involves marking each book with a tag that contains a small memory chip. The tag contains information unique to each book that can be read using specialized equipment.

What does this mean for you? Well, many things on the surface won’t change – you’ll still need to check books out at Circulation, and the gates will make noises if you go through them with a book that wasn’t checked out. But an RFID system will help us keep track of what we have more efficiently, particularly if something gets misplaced. For example, if a book isn’t where it’s supposed to be on the shelf (which, yes, does happen, despite our best efforts), we will be able to use a scanner to scan the shelves for the book. We can also check the shelves more efficiently to make sure that everything is where it’s supposed to be. The result is a library where everything is more organized and easier to find. And isn’t that the way a library should be?

We’re aware that this project will result in a bit of noise, but we believe it will be minimal and confined to relatively small areas of the library at any given time. Have questions? Feel free to ask Terrance Manion, the College of Law’s Director of Information Technology.

The Adventures of James Bond and the Public Domain

image by flickr user cronncc

image by flickr user cronncc

January 1, 2015 was a momentous day — not because it was the start of a new year, but because it saw the works of Ian Fleming, the creator of James Bond, enter the public domain in Canada and a few other countries.

Now, before you start filming your own Bond movie or releasing the books for free in Kindle format for your friends to read in class, remember that the intricacies of copyright law mean that the books are not in the public domain here in the US, and nothing that is unique to the movie versions is in the public domain in any country. i09 has a succinct write up that covers the basics.

If you’d like to learn more about the public domain, the Berne Convention, or international copyright law in general, the GSU libraries have a good selection from which to choose. The University Library also has books about Ian Fleming and a few of the Bond books/movies, including the under-appreciated Quantum of Solace.

“Do you expect me to talk?”

“No, Mr. Bond, I expect you to live on in popular culture for years to come!”