The Online Reading Room: Professor Insight

By John Evans

Have you ever sat down to write a take home exam and wondered what your professor actually thought about the subject? Or had a professor make a side comment about an issue they clearly care about but goes well beyond the scope or depth of the class? Well for you, the more curious law students (if you have some time on your hands), I have an answer.

The Reading Room.

The Reading Room is an institutional repository which seeks to be a comprehensive collection of the works written by GSU Law faculty. In the Reading Room, each professor has their own page listing their published works. The works are separated into categories based on type of publication.

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If you just want a quick glance at the professor’s opinion, look for the popular press section. This section contains newspaper articles and blog posts, which should give you an introduction to the topic.

If you are interested in a little more treatment of the topic, head to the “article” section. For most professors, the bulk of their publications are in the “article” section – publications in law reviews and law associate journals. Items in this section are meant for a more learned audience, so it will require a bit more time.

If your appetite can’t be satisfied by a few dozen pages or want more diversity in opinion, check out the “contribution to books” section. Here you will find works where the GSU professor wrote only a portion of a book.  If you want to really get into your professor’s head, look for the full books section – you can access these items in the library.

So you have found a piece of writing that fits your needs, so what’s next? Each work in the Reading Room, has its own bibliographic page with a treasure trove of information. If you are really short of time, simple reading these titles in aggregate can paint a picture in your head of the professor’s opinions. You will also find the citation for the work in order to help you find it.

As we all know, openfinding sources, even with the citation, can be difficult. The Reading Room again comes to our rescue. For most writings, especially those in the article and popular press sections, the reading room provides a link to the text of the writing. For an increasing number of  works, there is also a full text PDF. Currently the library is working on obtaining permission to post full text of as many of the works as possible.

So next time you are starting a research project and want to know what your professor has to say, come and check out the Reading Room.

Inauguration Facts!

by Veselin Simonov

Image by Flickr user The British Library. Originally appeared in “The Household History of the United States and its people”, Macmillan & Co, 1889.

Recently, the United States witnessed the inauguration of its 45th President – Donald J. Trump. Inaugurations are festive events and they never fail to make history. Here are some fun historical facts about past presidential inaugurations!

  • Constitutional guidelines about the presidential inauguration only include the date and the oath. Everything else has developed as a matter of tradition and technically isn’t legally required.
  • In 1801, Thomas Jefferson was the first to be inaugurated in Washington, D.C. after the city was designated as the fledgling nation’s permanent capital.
  • Jefferson is also the one that started the tradition of the inaugural parade after he rode to the Presidential House from the Capitol when mechanics from the Navy Yard started following him in celebration.
  • In 1865, Abraham Lincoln was the first President to invite African Americans to the inaugural parade.
  • Andrew Jackson’s 1829 public reception drew 20,000 people and the White House was so crowded, Jackson had to escape through a window.
  • While we’ve just inaugurated our 45th President, only 44 men have held the job – Grover Cleveland is counted twice due to his non-consecutive terms in office.
  • The shortest inaugural address: George Washington, 135 words. The longest inaugural address: William Henry Harrison, 8455 words (clocking in at almost 2 hours!).
  • In 1861, the only float in Lincoln’s inaugural parade was one symbolizing the Constitution and the Union. It was clad in red, white and blue with a small girl symbolizing each of the 34 states, even those that seceded.
  • In 1969, Richard Nixon’s inauguration limited the number of military units present to appear less hawkish.
  • Calvin Coolidge was sworn in by his father – a justice of the peace – rather than the Chief Justice, as tradition usually dictates. This is because he wasn’t elected – he took over the presidency after Warren G. Harding’s death.
  • If a presidential term begins on a Sunday, the President will take the oath privately that day and then repeat it at a public ceremony the next day.

Source: White House Historical Association

If These Walls Could Speak – a Brief History of the U.S. Supreme Court Building

by Veselin Simonov

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Image by Flickr use Matt Wade

Lawyers and law students stand in awe of the Supreme Court of the United States. We reverently refer to it as “the Court”. We pick and choose the justices we like and agree with. We read the cases and treat the rulings as powerful and definitive. We argue over the Court’s role in our democracy but even during our debates we cannot overstate its importance to our society. The power of judicial review makes the Court the ultimate authority on saying what the law is. The Court is the nation’s heart of judicial power and such a powerful institution doesn’t come without its fair share of fascinating history.

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The courtroom. Featuring the pillars made of Sienna marble. Image by Flickr user Phil Roeder.

Take the building the Court meets in, for example. Surprisingly, it’s relatively new – the Court didn’t get its own building until 1935 after existing for 146 years. At the very beginning, the National Capital was located in New York and the Court met at the Merchants Exchange Building. The Capital then moved to Philadelphia in 1790. There, the Court convened first in the State House (Independence Hall) and then in City Hall. Ten years later, the Capital moved again, this time to its permanent home in Washington, D.C. and the Court had no building of its own in which to convene. Congress thus offered the Court space in the Capitol Building. This started a period during which the Court would move several times around the Capitol Building. This ended when the British set fire to the Capitol in the War of 1812 and the Court was forced to meet in a private home until 1819. Once the Capitol was restored, the Court moved back in and met in a chamber now known as the “Old Supreme Court Chamber” until 1860. Then, the Court relocated to what is now known as the “Old Senate Chamber” until it finally moved into its own building in 1935.

The new building’s chief proponent was Chief Justice William Howard Taft (yes, that William Howard Taft – President Harding appointed him to the bench eight years after Taft finished his term as the 27th U.S. President). Taft convinced Congress to stop housing the Court in the Capitol Building and give it its own place. To that end, Cass Gilbert was chosen as the lead architect. Tragically, neither Gilbert nor Taft would live to see the building completed and the construction of their vision was finished under the direction of their successors. On October 13, 1932, Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes spoke as the cornerstone was laid. His words were “the Republic endures and this is the symbol of its faith.”

Construction was complete in 1935 and the Court held its first session there on October 7 of that very year. The building incorporates several different types of marble. The main facade is made of Vermont marble while the inner courtyards consist of Georgia marble. The marble for the main courtroom’s 24 columns comes from Sienna, Italy – as per Gilbert’s exact directions. The building currently houses the Great Hall, the courtroom, the reading rooms and chambers of the justices, an exhibition hall, a gym, a basketball court (aptly named the Highest Court in the Land) and much more.

Not everyone was thrilled with the opulence of the structure. Associate Justice Harlan Fiske Stone called it “almost bombastically pretentious…wholly inappropriate for a quiet group of old boys such as the Supreme Court.” Another justice supposedly said the justices would be “nine black beetles in the Temple of Karnak.” Yet another justice humorously suggested that they should ride into the building on elephants. Remarkably, the opulent building came in $94,000 under budget, costing around $9.6 million in 1935 terms ($169.5 million in modern terms).

Concerns over the building’s extravagance aside, the Court finally had a home of its own – a place not only for the justices to decide cases, but a building symbolic of the judicial authority of the U.S.

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The Great Hall. Image by Flickr user Phil Roeder.

Laptops in Classroom: Useful Tool or Attention Drain?

By John Evans

Most law students love their laptops. Editable, searchable notes which take less space and are much lighter than traditional books and pens. Laptops can also enable access to online textbooks and research platforms—all in the middle of class.  These new age textbooks can substitute lower costs, incorporate all sorts of media, and integrate advanced note taking options.

On the flip side, there is the distraction of social media, online games, articles and newspapers. Are the academic benefits worth the attention drain and temptations?

Some classes greatly benefit from the incorporation of laptops. For example, I found that the ability to update my work in real time while discussing issues in class was of immeasurable help in Foundations and Advocacy. However in more traditional classes, laptops only serve as a note taking devices.

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By Dread83

 

Even professors seem divided on the issue. Some professors have issued outright bans.  Others have embraced technology by abandoning the analog casebook.

Recent academic studies do point to some answers. One study from the University of Michigan, showed that when laptop use is incorporated into classroom, as opposed to just being used to take notes, students report greater classroom engagement.  Another study showed that when laptops were only used for note taking, students who used laptops in class had a statistically significantly lower grade when controlling for academic aptitude. The study also found that 25% of students played games in class and 43% used the laptop to surf the web.

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By John Keane

 

Does this question come down to self-control? Is the onus on us, as students, to uses are laptops more responsibly. Should professors put their foot down and ban laptops?  Is it just another factor helping the cream to rise to the top? Does the ability to concentrate through available distractions demonstrate a useful job skill, thus reflected in a student’s GPA?

What strategies do you use to ensure you only use your laptop for classroom activities?

Has Bankruptcy Become a Weapon for Team Owners to Circumvent League Control?

A 5 Part Series by Blake Williams

 

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With a total of 11 professional sports franchises filing bankruptcy and considering the unique ways that franchises attempt to use it to their advantage, bankruptcy has truly become a peculiar feat within sports culture.  While the rate of filings among professional sports franchises is not very high, three MLB franchises and two NHL franchises have filed for chapter 11 protection within the last seven years.  While these franchises’ respective circumstances have been unique, most of their financial troubles were caused by the majority owner defaulting on loans, disputes between the league and the franchise, or subpar performance on the field leading to poor support from the local community (the Cubs being the notable exception).  Overall, team bankruptcies must be judged as successes because 9 of the 11 franchises successfully reorganized and remain active in the same city they were in when they filed.

It’s particularly peculiar, that of the 11 franchises that filed bankruptcy over the last 45 years, six of them have been from the National Hockey League.[1]  Patricia Moses of Portfolio 101 explained that, “It turns out that NHL teams have a higher likelihood of failure because the teams have less cash flow and the owners usually have a lower net worth than owners of other sports franchises”.[2]  The NHL has 30 teams, which means that 20 percent of the league has filed for bankruptcy protection at least once. The Pittsburgh Penguins are the only team that has filed twice. Also, the Cleveland Barons were the last major league sports franchise to cease operations due to its bankruptcy filing and subsequent merger with the Minnesota North Stars (now the Dallas Stars).

The MLB seems to have caught the latest bankruptcy bug.  The MLB has had five franchises file for bankruptcy, with three of the filings having occurred since 2009. This means that one out of six franchises have filed.  The most interesting fact is that as of recent, it’s not the small-market teams that are filing, but rather the big-market teams.[3]  No NFL or NBA teams have ever filed for bankruptcy protection.[4]

 

Stay Tuned for Part II: Reasons Teams File for Bankruptcy

 

[1] Patricia Moses, 4 Reasons Pro Sports Team File for Bankruptcy, Investopedia (Mar. 9, 2011),  http://www.investopedia.com/financial-edge/0311/4-reasons-pro-sports-teams-file-for-bankruptcy.aspx.

[2] Patricia Moses, 4 Reasons Pro Sports Team File for Bankruptcy, Investopedia (Mar. 9, 2011),  http://www.investopedia.com/financial-edge/0311/4-reasons-pro-sports-teams-file-for-bankruptcy.aspx.

[3] Matt Egan, The Latest Weapon in the Pro Sports Playbook: Bankruptcy, Media Advertising: FOXBusiness (July 01, 2011), http://www.foxbusiness.com/features/2011/06/30/pro-teams-throw-chapter-11-into-playbooks.html.

[4] Joseph Checkler, Sports Teams’ Secret to Success After Bankruptcy: File Again!, The Wall Street Journal (June 27, 2011), http://blogs.wsj.com/bankruptcy/2011/06/27/sports-teams-secret-to-success-after-bankruptcy-file-again/.

I’m On Campus and I Want Food!

Now that you are a month into the semester, you might be looking for some new dining options. You’re studying hard, spending long hours on campus, the student organization kick-offs that provide free food are dwindling, and you may be tired of the cuisine available within walking distance or in the law school. You could walk to your car, fight traffic, and drive in search of food more suitable to your palette, but with the study hours required for law school, ain’t nobody got time for that!

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by Jean Fortunet

There is a solution for bored taste buds. Downtown Atlanta is a foodie’s heaven. Although all of the tasty meals may not be in walking distance, the COL’s urban location offers a variety of delivery options. In fact, there are so many options that the delivery services compete with each other by offering discounts (sometimes FREE) delivery on initial orders, and many offer referral fees. Plan your meals as carefully as you craft a legal memo in Lawyering Foundations, and you may eat cheap for a few weeks!

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Event Management System: A New Way to Host Events

One of the College of Law’s numerous informative events put together by student organizations last year. This panel was organized by the American Constitution Society and discussed the passing of Justice Scalia.

by Veselin Simonov

If you are not a part of a student organization or club – then what are you waiting for?! The College of Law has over 25 different student organizations and one of them will surely catch your eye! From constitutional law to labor and employment – we have it all and you can check them out here.

If you are already part of a student organization, chances are your board will want to set up an event. To do that, you would need to reserve a room. Room reservations were previously done via email, however the College of Law recently began handling room reservations through the Online Event Management System (EMS). EMS is a simple, hassle-free way to reserve lecture halls and event space for speaker and panel-style events. This system is not for reserving library study rooms – you will still have to do that at the fifth floor desk or online.

To access EMS, go to the Events tab on InsideLaw. If you choose Internal Calendar, it will show you everything occurring in the College of Law on a particular day, including all the classes. If you choose Public Calendar, it will show you more typical “events,” like programs put on by CSO or by student organizations. To access EMS, select “Add an Event”. If you have not used the system before, you will have to submit an access request. You will typically receive permission to access the system within 24-36 hours of your request.

Once you have been granted access, you can request a room by going to “Reservations”. This will take you to a scheduling page where you need to enter some basic details about your event like date, time, expected attendance, etc. Once you complete your search, simply select a room from those shown as available and complete the booking (which formally requests permission to use the room). If you encounter any problems with the system, please contact College of Law staff by emailing lawevents@gsu.org.