PAINT BY US CODE NUMBER : PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS

[REBLOG FROM NOV. 2016]

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Waterskiing Uncle Sam by Jefferson National Expansion Memorial

As we near the end of the US Presidential race, elections have taken center stage in the American consciousness. Headlines about recounts and possible non-concession have brought back memories of the Bush-Gore legal battles over Florida and a general re-interest in election law. But, where exactly does election law come from? While the nuts and bolts of the actual elections are left to the states, the United States Code lays out a very particular, partly unknown, and maybe even esoteric set of steps required to elect the President of the United States. So, come with me on an educational and entertaining journey through Title 3, sections 1-20 of the US code. Make sure to hold on to your hats- things might get weird.

3 U.S.C. § 1  – Time of appointing electors

This is straightforward, mostly.  The states appoint their electors, the people who actually elect the president, on the “Tuesday after the next Monday in November” following the presidential election.  Yes, you read that right.  States don’t even pick their electors until after the election. Contrary to popular belief, the citizens of the US do not actually elect the president, electors do.  Each state decides how the vote of their citizens effects the votes of the electors.  Typically, the electors select whichever candidate wins the state.  However, Nebraska and Maine election laws allow the states to split their electoral votes proportionally according to the popular vote.

3 U.S.C. § 2 – Failure to make a choice on proscribed day

If the state fails to choose electors on the proscribed day, the job then falls to the state legislature.

3 U.S.C. § 3 – Number of electors

This is probably the best known of the US election statutes.  The states get a number of electors equal to their number of Senators and Representatives.

3 U.S.C. § 4 (2012) – Vacancies in Electoral College

States can fill any vacancies in their electors when those electors meet to actually vote.

3 U.S.C. § 5  – Determination of controversy as to appointment of electors

This one is strange.  If the states choose, they can create procedures for settling any controversy in the picking of electors.  However, 3 U.S.C. § 5 requires that these procedures make a determination at least six days before the state electors meet to cast their votes. Don’t want to hold up the entire US Presidential election because of a few people fighting over who gets to be their states proxy vote now, do we?

3 U.S.C. § 6  – Credentials of electors; transmission to Archivist of the United States and to Congress; public inspection

Ok, this one is a bit long, and weird.  The executive of each state, typically the Governor, “as soon as practicable” must give “a certificate of ascertainment” , by certified mail, of all the state’s electors to the Archivist of the United States.  If the electors are chosen by votes, the governor has to include the number of votes too.  The governor must also send six duplicates of this certificate to each of the state’s electors.  If there was a controversy, the Governor must also send a certificate stating the outcome of that controversy.  The Archivist must keep all of these certificates for at least one year for public inspection, and give copies to both the house and senate of each and every certificate received.  I’m pretty sure certificate means letter or document in “Old Timey Government English”, and this whole electoral process stems from a time when electors had more power (ie. they were less likely to listen to the state’s voters.)  However, it a nice piece of election tradition as well as a reminder of American history, so, why not? Lets keep going!

3 U.S.C. § 7 (2012) – Meeting and vote of electors

Finally, an easy one.  Electors shall meet and give their votes on the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December next following their appointment at such place in each State.  That’s right, again.   The entirety of the nation is well aware of who is going to be the president well before they are actually elected by the electors.

3 U.S.C. § 8 – Manner of Voting

Another easy one.  The electors vote as directed by the constitution.  We’ll save the constitution for another day.

3 U.S.C. § 9 – Certificates of votes for the President and Vice President

The electors must make and sign six certificates, with each certificate containing two lists; one for president and the other for the vice president.  Yes, for each electoral vote they must provide six signed certificates.   They also attach one of the lists of electors given to them by the executive of the state, or Governor, to each certificate.

3 U.S.C. § 10 – Sealing and endorsing certificates

Another easy one- they have to seal and endorse the certificates.  That’s all this law says.  You’d think they could have just rolled that into § 9.

3 U.S.C. § 11 – Disposition of certificates

What do they do with all these new certificates?  § 11 and I are both glad you asked.  The electors deliver the certificates as follows: one to the President of the Senate, one to the Secretary of the State, two to the archivist of the US, and one to the judge of the district where the electors assembled.  The archivist must keep one of the copies in case the president of the senate requests it, and the other for public inspection.

3 U.S.C. § 12– Failure of certificates of electors to reach President of the Senate or Archivist of the United States; demand on State for certificate

This seems to be another section of the law that was much more important before you could pick up a phone and ask the governor; “hey! Governor!  Where are all the certificates?” If the certificates fail to arrive to the President of the Senate or the Archivist by the fourth Wednesday in December, probably a week after the voting, The President of the senate should request the backup certificates from the Secretary of the State.  § 12 also says that the Archivist should serve as back up, and do the requesting if the President of the Senate  is absent.

3 U.S.C. § 13 –  Same; demand on district judge for certificate

The reason for the six certificates, and the preference by the drafters for multiple contingency plans, is becoming more evident.  If the President of the Senate or the Archivist strike out with the Governor, they then should ask the District Judge.

3 U.S.C. § 14 – Forfeiture for messenger’s neglect of duty

So you were supposed to deliver the certificates to the President of the Senate, or Archivist, and you forgot?  Do not pass go.  Forfeit $1000.  Seriously. If you mess this up, by law, you must forfeit $1000.

3 U.S.C. § 15 – Counting electoral votes in congress

Where: The sixth day of January succeeding every meeting of the electors, The House of Representatives

Who: Congress, both houses, the whole thing.

When? 1:00 pm

What: Counting the votes.  This section lays out, in tedious minutia, the rules for counting the electoral votes.  This whole thing is too long to cover here, but some of the highlights are:  The President of the Senate opens the envelopes.  The state’s votes are counted in alphabetical order, starting with the letter “A.”  As they are opened, the envelopes should be immediately handed to two previously appointed tellers.  The counts are entered into both the House and Senate Journals.  Objections must be made in writing, and be signed by a member of both the House and Senate.  After all objections to a vote are received and read, the Senate leaves the House so each can debate independently.  But, so long as the electors were correctly certified, there’s not much either body can do.

3 U.S.C.A. § 16 –  Same; seats for officers and Members of two Houses in joint meeting

But where  is everyone going to sit?  Thank goodness, the statutes actually tell us.  President of the Senate: Speakers Chair; Speaker – on the Presidents left;  Senators – the hall on the Right; Representatives – anywhere the Senators are not sitting; Tellers, Secretary of Senate, Clerk of The House – at the Clerks Desk;  Other various officers – in front of the Clerk’s desk and upon each side of the Speaker’s platform.  This section also states that they can’t dissolve the meeting until all the votes are counted and the winner declared.  They cannot take a recess unless they have some question about the votes.  Even then, they cannot declare a recess beyond the next calendar day, Sunday excepted, at 10:00 “in the forenoon.”  If they haven’t completed the counting by the fifth calendar day, they cannot take any more recesses.

3 U.S.C.A. § 17- Same; limit of debate in each House

If the two houses separate to decide on an objection, as per § 15, each Senator or Member can only speak for five minutes, and not more than once.  The whole debate cannot go on more than two hours.  Limited filibustering only.

3 U.S.C.A. § 18 –  Same; parliamentary procedure at joint meeting

The president of the senate has the power to preserve order.

3 U.S.C.A. § 19 –  Vacancy in offices of both President and Vice President; officers eligible to act

Like the constitution, we’ll deal with vacancies at another time.

3 U.S.C.A. § 20 – Resignation or Refusal of Office

….must be in writing and delivered to the secretary of state.  Thank goodness, this is over.

Featured Database – Proquest Congressional

Looking for government documents is an important part of Legal Research.  Whether you’re sourcing for a journal, trying to find an old committee report, or looking for some legislative history, most law students don’t escape the clutches of legal education without having to look through some federal government publications. 

While there are free sources that provide access to government documents, coverage, availability, and location can be challenging to navigate.  Publications can be spread across several different sites, each containing different coverage and search interfaces.  This is why, when a student swings by the reference desk to ask about researching federal government documents, I send them to Proquest Congressional. 

Proquest Congressional is an expansive collection of government documents.  It includes historic congressional bills, member records, hearings, debates, executive orders, and much much more.  Typically the coverage goes back to the 1700’s to the initial publications of the United States and sometimes even before.  If it is a government document cited in a brief, article, or case, I would bet that Proquest Congressional has it.

Beyond containing a lot of information, it also has simple, intuitive navigation.  The advanced search allows you to pick which collection to search without presenting an overwhelming number of options.  It also provides several fields which are incredibly useful if you’re looking for a particular person, date, or piece of legislation.  The “search by number” function, available in the Legislative and Executive Publications dropdown menu, makes searching for a citation a breeze.  Search by number provides prompts for almost any congressional document with fields designed to change with the selected publication.  This way, there is never a question about how to enter a citation, where to put a dash, or how to abbreviate a publication.

Proquest Congressional makes finding citations easy.

Proquest Congressional is something everyone should explore.  While you might not need it on a day to day basis, knowing the navigational basics makes you a much more powerful researcher.  The day that a government publication question comes, and trust me it will, a basic knowledge will let you find what you’re looking for in minutes instead of hours.  You’ll look like a gov docs whiz and impress the boots off of your editor, professor, or boss. 

Summer Online Content Suggestions

Summertime is fast approaching, which means it’s time for our annual summer reading suggestions!

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Every year we solicit summer reading suggestions from the Georgia State Law faculty. We usually purchase any books not available in our collection and add them to a summer faculty leisure reading suggestions display. Once it’s time to take the display down, the books are then added to the Law Library Leisure Collection.

Due to the new remoteness of all of our work, we’ve decided to change things up a bit.  Instead of asking for physical books that we can buy, we decided to ask faculty and staff for online content like blogs, videos, or really anything else they enjoy while away from the law school or relaxing at home.  Below are the answers we received… Enjoy!

*The recommendation list will be updated as submissions are received.

Pam Brannon

Bon Appetit – Bon Appétit is an “opinionated food brand” with it’s own YouTube channel. The channel features video content of recipes that everyone can create at home. There’s even a video with DeAndre Jordan cooking vegan pancakes!

Meg Butler

This summer I am considering a trial of the not-so-new Disney Plus service. There seems to be multiple options available to make my family happy, like Sophia and the Marvel heroes and villains. I, however, am most excited about July 3, 2020. According to the man himself (Lin Manuel Miranda), the Hamilton film will be available for streaming. We had tickets (a gross indulgence of my children and my own impulsivity) for the show at the Fox. I’m not sure how I feel about seeing the live show in August, but I’m super excited to be able to stream it from the comfort of my living room. Now that we are working from home, it sure seems to be “the room where it happened”!

Kris Niedringhaus

Buried Truths – Peabody Award-winning podcast. “Buried Truths acknowledges and unearths still-relevant stories of injustice, resilience and racism in the American South. The podcast is hosted by journalist, professor, and Pulitzer-prize-winning author, Hank Klibanoff.”

The Slowdown – 5 minutes of poetry and commentary from The Slowdown podcast or email newsletter.

A History of the World – A History of the World in 100 Objects from the BBC and The British Museum.

Recipes – A variety of recipes from Food52.

Patrick Parsons

Pasta Grannies – It’s exactly what it sounds like – short videos of older Italian grandmas making homemade pasta.  It sounds underwhelming, but I think it’s the best thing on the internet.

Cassandra Patterson

Goalcast – A “content production powerhouse”, Goalcast provides videos and other content intended to empower people authentically using real-life stories. It provides resources and practical advice to help motivate people.

Summer Westlaw & Lexis Access

WestLexis-holding-hands-on-beach-3727554Westlaw and Lexis have historically altered their access policy for students and recent graduates during the summer. The Law Library has recently received an update from both Sue Moore at Westlaw and Brittany Conklin at Lexis. Westlaw and Lexis will provide summer access as described below.

Access and Restrictions for Rising 2Ls and 3Ls

Lexis

Law students will automatically have free unlimited use of their law school Lexis Advance ID this summer. No registration is required.

Westlaw

You do not have to do anything to gain access to Westlaw over the summer.  However, there are use restrictions.

You may only use Westlaw over the summer for non-commercial research. You can turn to these resources to gain understanding and build confidence in your research skills, but you cannot use them in situations where you are billing a specific client at a law firm. Examples of permissible uses for your academic password include the following but are not limited to:

  • Summer coursework or any type of academic research
  • Research Assistant assignments
  • Law Review or Journal research
  • Moot Court or any trial competition research
  • Non-Profit work
  • Clinical work
  • Externship/Internship sponsored by the school

Access for Graduating 3Ls

Lexis

Updated 5/11/2020.  Lexis has extended their access through Feb 2021.

Graduates may access Lexis for free through December 31, 2020 February 28, 2021. No registration is required.

Westlaw

You must register for Graduate access.

Your access is “normal” until May 31, 2020. Starting June 1st and ending November 30, 2020, graduates will have extended Westlaw and Practical Law access for 60 hours per month for six months. This access is part of your academic subscription and there is no charge for this extended access.

To check if you signed up, graduates can go to lawschool.tr.com, sign on with their user name and password, and click on their name in the top right corner. They will see a link there for “Grad Access Status” and they can see if they have already extended. Graduates can extend at any time during the 6 month period but grad access will end on November 30, 2020. Any questions about Westlaw grad access, please email Sue at sue.moore@tr.com.

ALERT 2020 Certificate Awardees

ALERT Certificate

The library is pleased to announce our list of 2020 ALERT Program Awardees.

The Applied Legal Experience, Research, & Technology (ALERT) Program is a non-credit program that provides students with additional opportunities outside of the College of Law’s curriculum to learn advanced legal research and technology skills. Each student listed below will graduate in the Spring of 2020 having completed a predetermined number of ALERT sessions during their careers at the Georgia State College of Law.

Each session is approximately 1 hour and covers an advanced topic in legal research, technology, or an intersection of the two.  Students are awarded different levels of distinction according to the following requirements:

  • With Distinction: 6 Topics completed
  • With High Distinction: 8 Topics Completed
  • With Highest Distinction: 10 Topics Completed

Now without further ado, the 2020 ALERT Program Awardees are:

Highest Distinction

  1. Ovidiu Balaj
  2. Andrew Coffey
  3. Latrevia Collins
  4. Emily Gaston
  5. Timothy Graves
  6. Richard Quarles
  7. Justin Showalter

High Distinction

  1. John Hooven
  2. Tiffany Williams

Distinction

  1. Julia Collins
  2. Kristi Gibbs
  3. Tyler Graff
  4. Mark Hunter
  5. Courtney LeBeau

Winter Break Reading Suggestions

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Finals are a stressful time for law students(Duh.)  I remember wishing in law school that I could just take a nap one day and wake up with the entirety of my finals season completed (with excellent grades on my exams of course.)  While that may not be possible, or probably healthy, it can be useful to look forward to the relaxing holiday break that is a few short weeks away.

For the first time in almost four months, you’ll probably have a little time on your hands.  You may want to sleep in or catch up with friends or family, or maybe, just maybe, read something for fun.  For this reason, we here at The Georgia State College of Law Library thought it might be fun to offer up a few non-law reading suggestions for winter break.  Here we go!

Patrick Parsons

Working  by Studs Terkel

Studs Terkel is maybe the most famous interviewer in American history.  He’s interviewed thousands of people and ran a longstanding interview program on WFMT Chicago between 1952 and 1997.  He also wrote a number of oral histories detailing everyday people’s accounts of World War II, The Great Depression, and in this case, what they do to earn a living

Meg Butler

Bad Feminist  by Roxanne Gay

I recommend Bad Feminist by Roxanne Gay. Although it is not read by the author, I enjoyed it as an audiobook. In addition to providing a thought-provoking and self-aware narrative, Gay has a gift for description. One of my favorite parts is the chapter describing her relationship with Scrabble. I checked this out from the library (afpls.org) and will return when I’m done! It’s also available in print form if you want to request it through GSU.) If you prefer fiction over essays, I recommend her collection of short stories Difficult Women.

Cassandra Patterson

Girl, Stop Apologizing: A Shame-free Plan for Embracing and Achieving Your Goals by Rachel Hollis

Rachel Hollis has seen it too often: women not living into their full potential. They feel a tugging on their hearts for something more, but they’re afraid of embarrassment, of falling short of perfection, of not being enough. In Girl, Stop Apologizing, Rachel Hollis sounds a wake-up call. She knows that many women have been taught to define themselves in light of other people—whether as wife, mother, daughter, or employee—instead of learning how to own who they are and what they want. With a challenge to women everywhere to stop talking themselves out of their dreams, Hollis identifies the excuses to let go of, the behaviors to adopt, and the skills to acquire on the path to growth, confidence, and believing in yourself.

Terrance Manion

Broken Earth Trilogy by N.K. Jemisin

– coincidentally was named Entertainment Weekly’s Best Fantasy of the Decade just the other day

The Hike by Drew Magary –

“a surprisingly rewarding piece of fiction ”

The Moment of Lift by Melinda Gates

” stirring in that it is both troubling and hopeful” (which in all honestly I read at the behest of my wife who works for a non-profit organization whose platform includes international women and girl empowerment programs)

Movies and Other Things by Shea Serrano

is like arguing with your buddies (who know a lot more about film than you) at a bar and letting the debate go do whatever tangent the person who bought the last round wants.

Gerard Fowke

The Secret History by Donna Tartt

With a propulsive murder plot set in an insular academic environment during a season of bitter cold, Donna Tartt’s The Secret History is clearly the perfect diversion for any law student on winter break.

We’re Hiring!

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The Law Library is currently accepting applications for graduate research assistants (commonly known as GRAs) for the spring semester. We currently need multiple Reference, Law Library, and Digital Services GRAs.  Position descriptions are linked below:

http://libguides.law.gsu.edu/grahiring 

Eligibility

Law Library GRA positions are open to all GSU law students who have completed their first two semesters of classes. Part-time students are eligible. Students may apply for both types of GRA position, but cannot be hired for both positions at the same time.

Submission

Reference GRA applicants (Due Nov. 20) – Email one document which includes a 1) cover letter, 2) current resume to Patrick Parsons (pparsons@gsu.edu). Include your last name in the file name.  Please note that our current open position is for Tues/Thursday 6-8, Saturdays 1-6.  Applicants can also complete the application process through symplicity.

Law Library GRA applicants (open until filled) – Email one document which includes a 1) cover letter, 2) current resume to Cassandra Patterson (cpatterson31@gsu.edu). Include your last name in the file name.  Applicants can also complete the application process through symplicity. Students must have a Scholarship Letter to be eligible for this position.

Digital Services GRA applicants (open until filled) – Email one document which includes a 1) cover letter, 2) current resume to Gerard Fowke (gfowke@gsu.edu). Include your last name in the file name.  Applicants can also complete the application process through symplicity. Students must have a Scholarship Letter to be eligible for this position.

We’re Hiring!

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The Law Library is currently accepting applications for graduate research assistants (commonly known as GRAs) for the summer semester. We currently need multiple Reference and Research GRAs.  Position descriptions are linked below:

http://libguides.law.gsu.edu/grahiring 

Eligibility

Law Library GRA positions are open to all GSU law students who have completed their first two semesters of classes. Part-time students are eligible. Students applying for Summer positions must be enrolled in at least 4 hours of Summer classes. Students may apply for both types of GRA position, but cannot be hired for both positions at the same time.

Submission
Applications are due at 5 p.m. Wednesday, April 10, 2019.

Reference GRA applicants – Email one document which includes a 1) cover letter, 2) current resume, and 3) completed availability form (available in the link above) to Patrick Parsons (pparsons@gsu.edu). Include your last name in the file name.

Research GRA applicants – Please complete the application process through Symplicity.

Welcome Back Students!

Cue the annual welcome back blog post!

It’s everyone’s favorite time of year.  A summer of work, summer classes, internships, externships, pre-lawschool anxiety is now over.  We’re back!  Fall classes started yesterday and everyone seems to be getting into the swing of things already.  For those of you who are law school returners, you seem to have picked up where you left off checking out study rooms, being quiet on the 6th floor, and looking generally happy to be in our beautiful building.  For you new students, so far so good!  However, the pursuit of knowledge is neverending. So, just in case you forgot, or you didn’t know, or you are choosing to forget, I wanted to highlight a few things in the library.

 

Beyond these highlights, we’re just glad to have you all back.  It was getting awfully quiet without you.

Faculty Suggested Leisure Reading – Summer 2018

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Photo by Ernesto De Quesada https://www.flickr.com/photos/erlin1/

Summer is here!  Today is officially the last day of finals here at Georgia State University College of Law.  Tomorrow, we will graduate our 2018 class of J.D. Students.  Soon, rising 1L’s and 2L’s will begin summer jobs and internships, and a lucky few will start their summer classes.

While there is still a lot going on for the everyday GSU Law Student, this is a time where many of them take some time for themselves away from law school.  So, as is tradition, we surveyed the GSU law faculty for books and other media they suggested for summer leisure reading.  Without further ado, here are the GSU Law Faculty Summer Reading Suggestions.  We buy all the books on the list so see the hyperlinks for book descriptions and the Leisure Collection (to the right of the Ref Desk) to borrow.

 

1.  Pam Brannon

 

2.  Karen Johnson

 

3. Kris Niedringhaus

 

4.  Stacie Kershner

 

5.  Bill Edmundson

 

6. Deepa Varadarajan

 

7. Nirej Sekhon

 

8.  Leslie Wolf

 

9. Yaniv Heled

 

10. Lisa Radtke Bliss

 

11. Terrance Manion

 

12. Lauren Sudeall Lucas

 

and, last but certainly not least

13. Patrick Parsons