The MLB Lockout: A Look at the Issues

By Ross Crowell, GSU Law Library Sports Law Correspondent

Here in Atlanta, many baseball fans should be looking forward to the upcoming baseball season, as the Braves are fresh off of a World Series victory. The Braves should start off the 2022 season in under two months, as their first game is scheduled at the Miami Marlins on March 31. However, the Braves and the rest of Major League Baseball (“MLB”) likely will not be playing games as scheduled. It appears to be an all-but certainty that the 2022 season will not start on time due to the MLB lockout. And ultimately it might be beneficial to remember that the lockout grew out of something everyone who’s taken 1L Contracts is at least passingly familiar with: protracted negotiations over an extremely complex contract.

The MLB Lockout: A Look at the Issues

We are now over two months into the lockout, which has been caused by the owners and players failing to reach a new collective bargaining agreement (“CBA”). Further, it appears that the two sides have not made much progress in reaching an agreement. The lockout began on December 2, when the Major League Baseball Players Association and the owners could not reach an agreement, resulting in the MLB’s first work stoppage since 1994. 

The players and owners are mainly arguing over financial issues, with players upset that they aren’t paid the high salaries they think they deserve. The players also want to change a long-time rule that forces players to wait six years to reach free agency. As players’ first contracts are usually not for substantial money unless they were a high draft pick, this rule forces players to wait a significant amount of time before they can cash in on a big second contract (potentially worth hundreds of millions of dollars in some cases). 

Further, the players and owners are struggling to reach an agreement on the pre-arbitration bonus pool. The players recently lowered their proposed pre-arbitration bonus pool from $105 million to $100 million, while the owners are sitting at a proposed $10 million. Thus, there is a significant gap in those negotiations. 

Additional issues that the two sides are arguing over are disincentivizing tanking (i.e., stop rewarding teams who intentionally perform poorly), increasing the competitive balance tax threshold, and ending service-time manipulation. The service-time manipulation is an interesting issue that notably occurred with Atlanta’s All Star outfielder Ronald Acuña. With Acuña, the Braves knew that he was ready to be a big contributor during 2018. However, Atlanta waited until three weeks into the season to call Acuña up from the minor leagues, as this would allow the Braves to get an extra year out of Acuña’s contract before hitting free agency. Thus, the players are hoping the new CBA will put an end to this practice. 

Moreover, these negotiations involve several attorneys. Notably, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred was a labor and employment partner at Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP prior to his career with the MLB. While Manfred was with Morgan Lewis, he negotiated on behalf of the owners during the 1994-1995 MLB lockout, along with negotiating the league’s first drug-testing program in 2022. Dan Halem, who is the league’s Deputy Commissioner, previously served as a partner at Proskauer Rose LLP, working in labor and employment law, along with sports law. Additionally, Bruce Meyer, the MLB Players Association Senior Director of Collective Bargaining and Legal, is a partner at Weil Gotshal & Manges LLP. Meyer also has experience working on behalf of the NHL, NFL, and NBA during arbitrations, lawsuits, and CBA negotiations. 

These are just a handful of things that are being heavily disputed between the players and owners. With spring training tentatively beginning on February 16, it appears highly unlikely that things will get started on time, likely resulting in the regular season getting pushed back. If you are planning on going to the Braves’ home opener on April 7 against the Mets, now might be the time to start coming to the realization that the game may not occur.  

So, when you’re trying to connect tricky concepts around negotiations, contracts, and labor law to the real world, it might actually be beneficial to think of all of those baseball games that will never be played.

Illustrating the Law on Exhibit

The Georgia State University College of Law Library recently unveiled its new book display, Illustrating the Law. This collection showcases law library print materials that include illustrations. The exhibit is on display for the remainder of the month and is located on the fifth floor of the College of Law Building, just past the reference and circulation service desks on the short shelving that hosts the DVD and leisure collections.

May, John Walker. Inside the bar and other occasional poems. Hoyt, Fogg & Donham, The Making of Modern Law: Legal Treatises, 1800–1926.

The practice and study of law are incredibly writing-intensive. As such it comes as no surprise that the materials supporting these endeavors generally consist entirely of text, offering very little to break up its dense prose or offer even a cursory nod to the visual learner. Law is written. Our codes, cases, regulations, practice materials, formbooks, treatises, law review articles, legal encyclopedias, and casebooks rarely include an illustration, but there are some exceptions. This exhibit brings together those unique legal resources that opt not to rely entirely on verbose, sesquipedalian prose and instead include an illustration or two. These types of publications range from legal medical dictionaries detailing injuries for tort litigation to technology instructional guides for lawyers peppered with screenshots and flow charts to modern graphic novels tackling legal issues and instruction to somewhat more-refined coffee table books that celebrate a place, time, legal body, or actual library.

Take some time over the next month to explore this temporary collection. Consider how legal publishing uses (and does not use, for that matter) illustrations and graphics to better support the practice and study of law. Evaluate whether these examples add value to their respective areas of law and why so few resources include illustrations.

This exhibit is part of the law library’s revolving series of book displays promoting the breadth and value of its print collection. Not everything is online, after all. Past law library book exhibits include:

This display was inspired by Law’s Picture Books: The Yale Law Library Collection by Michael Widener and Mark S. Weiner.

Breyer Retires: some helpful and interesting resources

As you surely know, Justice Breyer recently announced that he would be stepping down at the end of this term, setting another Supreme Court confirmation process in motion. However, you may not know how to further research Breyer’s legacy and SCOTUS confirmations.

Breyer Retires: some helpful  and interesting resources

Justice Breyer was well-liked by his colleagues and had a reputation for asking colorful hypotheticals from the bench. SCOTUSBlog has great coverage of his overall legacy, including many reminiscences from former clerks. Before his nomination to the federal bench, Breyer taught admin law, and some of the best scholarship on his SCOTUS tenure focuses on this subject, such as this Justice Stephen Breyer’s Contribution to Administrative Law symposium. During his nearly three decades on the Supreme Court, he (of course) wrote important opinions on a wide array of topics, often crafting compromises and creating nuanced balanced tests: the Congressional Research Service (CRS for short—you’ll be seeing a whole lot more of them in this post) recently published a nice overview of his jurisprudence.

To this writer, his most memorable opinion was in dissent, issued in Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District No. 1, a case that sharply limited desegregation efforts in public schools. I would encourage anyone who’s ever dismissed Justice Breyer as a bloodless technocrat to listen to him read what Justice Stevens called his “eloquent and unanswerable dissent” from the bench, asking “what happened to stare decisis?”

With Breyer’s imminent retirement, the appointment process for his successor begins. If you’d like to further explore that process, HeinOnline’s History of Supreme Court Nominations collects an impressive array of primary and secondary sources. Those sources include this excellent CRS report on what goes into the President’s selection of a nominee. There are also helpful CRS reports on the rest of the process, including one on the nominee’s consideration by the Senate Judiciary Committee and another discussing the limitations and customs surrounding the questions Senators ask judicial nominees during confirmation hearings.

As you might expect, there is a plethora of scholarship on the appointment process. For a data-based deep-dive into nominations and confirmations from the institutional perspective of SCOTUS, you can’t beat The Supreme Court Compendium‘s chapter on the topic. The legal scholarship on this topic is voluminous, with law review articles exploring the original meaning of ‘advice and consent’ and analyzing SCOTUS confirmations from a historical perspective. Another major strain of scholarship analyzes the role of ideology or politics in the process, as well as the desirability of obscuring that role. Tackling the politics from another perspective, there are also quite a few articles discussing nominations within the context of the Court’s antidemocratic or countermajoritarian characteristics. Other legal scholarship approaches the topic from more oblique angles, with intriguing articles looking at confirmation hearings as “a valuable form of cultural expression” and elaborating on martial metaphors for the confirmation process.

In addition to the legal scholarship discussed above, there is a veritable ton of academic work on SCOTUS appointments taking place in other disciplines, especially political science. Scholars in that field have written interesting articles on topics such as the timing of nominations, the President’s constraints in choosing a nominee, the role of interest groups in nominations, the role of shared identity in public support for a nominee, and how contested nominations contribute to public polarization.

For a deeper dive, there are some great research guides out there that provide a more in-depth treatment of the many, many resources available on these topics. And, of course, if there are any resources on Justice Breyer’s retirement, or on SCOTUS appointments more generally, that you have found to be especially useful or interesting, be sure to let us know in the comments.

PowerNotes Helps Manage Research Across Multiple Research Services

The GSU College of Law Library recently added PowerNotes (Premium) to its Database List. This is perhaps somewhat misleading as PowerNotes is not a research database, per se, but rather a research outlining and management tool. There is a stripped-down free version of PowerNotes; however, the law library acquired institutional access to its premium service (including unlimited projects and other upgrades) for the GSU College of Law community.

PowerNotes uses a browser extension to help with online research, specifically gathering and keeping track of source materials, and organizing and creating a writing outline. Users can install either the Chrome or Firefox browser extension; these are the only browser options at the moment. Once installed, use your campus email address to create an account. Now, you can create a project and begin searching on a preferred research platform or across the web, generally. PowerNotes works with any webpage you browse, including legal subscription services such as Westlaw Edge, Lexis+, and HeinOnline (which provides a LibGuide on how to use PowerNotes on its platform). This is perhaps its most significant feature– centralizing your research regardless of where the source material resides online.

When users find relevant information, they can highlight the text, save it, assign a topic to it and annotate it. The text is saved with a link back to the source. Citation information is automatically collected and put in a preferred citation format, say bluebook. At any time during the research process, users can revisit their projects and reorganize, rename, or expand their topics and quotes.

PowerNotes has compiled a helpful instructional video library. Also, the law library will host training on PowerNotes on Tuesday, March 1 @ 3:15 PM and Wednesday, March 2 @ 5:10 PM. Both sessions will be 45 minutes and satisfy a topic session for the Law Library’s Applied Legal Experience, Research, & Technology (ALERT) Program.

In the interim, if you have questions or problems accessing PowerNotes, contact Librarian Manion. Do good research.

Introducing Aspen Learning Library (formerly known as Wolters Kluwer Online Study Aid Library) & its Companion App

In this post, Law Library GRA Ross Crowell takes a closer look at a resource with a fancy new name but lots of familiar (and very helpful) content.

Introducing Aspen Learning Library (formerly known as Wolters Kluwer Online Study Aid Library) & its Companion App

If you’re a regular user of the law library’s online study aid collection, you’ve probably noticed the recent change in nomenclature: what was formerly known as the Wolters Kluwer Online Study Aid Library is now called Aspen Learning Library. It’s got all of the same study aids, and you can still find it in the same place on the library’s database list, but it now features a new interface and a new app (rather sensibly called the Aspen Learning Library App), which you can find on the App Store, Google Play, and for desktops. I downloaded it on my MacBook and have enjoyed the ease of being able to access all of these great study aids in just a few clicks. Instead of having to log onto the GSU Law Library website and then log in again to access these study aids, they are now accessible simply by opening an app. In addition, unlike the generic IPC Reader app that some students used for these study aids, this one is designed specifically for these resources.

Here is a look at the desktop app’s interface. As of now, there are 211 different study aids that are accessible through the app. 

You’re sure to see some familiar titles. All 1L course study aids are available here, along with study aids for many other courses such as Admin Law, Corporations, Wills Trusts & Estates, and Constitutional Law. One favorite I accessed via the app are the Casenote Legal Briefs, which provide detailed briefs for many cases. Personally, I wish I would have used this study aid for Con Law during my 2L year, as it would have made my life a lot easier by simplifying the long cases that I struggled to understand. These briefs can be great when you are struggling with a case, as they provide condensed and simplified explanations. 

In addition to the Legal Briefs, the app also has Examples & Explanations for many popular electives and core classes. I enjoy using these study aids around finals time, as they can be a good way to do practice problems and then check your answers. There are several other types of study aids available in the app, but these two are the ones that I use the most. 

Feel free to download the app, get logged in, and access all of these great study aids to get you through the semester. To get started, I downloaded the app here. After starting the app, I signed in through “OpenAthens”, searched Georgia State University, then logged in with my GSU credentials. Hopefully, you find that this app will be beneficial to you for the semester and the rest of your time in law school.

The GSU ALERT Program – Why? Why not!

The GSU College of Law Library has just announced its slate of spring ALERT programming… Hooray!  This semester’s line-up includes some real bangers, with sessions covering PowerPoint, Health Law Research, the Bluebook, and Fastcase!

But, as a law student, you maybe wondering: what exactly is the ALERT program?  Where did it come from?  What might distinguish ALERTS from some of the other programming available at the college of law, and why might you choose to attend?  I’m glad you asked because that is the purpose of this hea’ blog post. 

Where can I access the information on the ALERT Program?

See https://gastate.view.usg.edu/d2l/home/1188316

How long has the ALERT program been around?  Where did it come from?

Legend has it that the ALERT program began sometime in the fall of 2015, when then Librarian and now interim director of the Georgetown Law Library (yes that Georgetown) Austin Williams pitched the program as a way to provide supplementary research and technology training to the GSU law community.  Yours truly took it over in Spring 2016 and it has been rolling ever since. 

What is the ALERT Program? 

Basically, it’s a series of four presentations given per semester, twice (we do each twice, once early and once late.)  If you complete at least six you receive a digital badge as soon as you finish and a certificate at the awards ceremony before you graduate.  They generally last around 45 minutes with time to answer the quiz at the end.

What if I can’t make it to the in-person session?

Lucking, there are also ONLINE ALERT sessions.  Just see the ALERT I College Page for exact directions.  Generally, you have to watch the video lesson and take the quiz.  Easy peazy, one, two, threezy.

But why? 

That’s really the question isn’t it?  Why take a minimum of six hours of your life to learn even more (I know – my brain feels full daily and I’m not even in law school.)  There are actually exactly three reasons why.

  1. It looks good on your resume.  When I interview people to be GRA’s in the law library, I’m always looking for interesting things to ask about.  For an interviewer, this is that type of thing.  Moreover, when they do ask, it gives you a chance to brag about yourself a little bit.  When asked, being able to say something like “ Oh, that’s a supplementary educational program I CHOSE to participate in because I wanted to learn more about legal research and technology.”  Saying things like  “We’ve done things above and beyond what is expected from the 1L class like business research, legislative history, and productivity tools lessons” makes you look motivated and engaged. 
  2. You’ll actually learn things.  There is only a finite amount of information that you can conceivably include in a one-credit Legal research class.  These sessions are designed to build upon the foundation you started in research methods. 
  3. It builds a foundation for learning even more.  Again, we can’t really hope to teach you any big subjects in around 45 minutes.  But, introductions are important.  Simply knowing that a certain type of resource or technology exists will allow you to seek it out later, even if you don’t remember exactly how to use it.

So, Just do it!

If you have a free 40 minutes here and there, why not ALERT!  It’s a fun(ish), easy way to kill time between classes.  Lots of them are also available online.  If you have any questions about procedures, topics, or really anything else, you can send me an email at pparsons@gsu.edu

Is it February 3rd Yet?

This post from the Research, Instructional & Patron Services Law Librarian blog really struck a chord with this blog’s editor. Perhaps it will resonate with you as well. If you’d like to see more content from other sources, let us know in the comments!

RIPS Law Librarian Blog

It’s a new year. A new semester. A new COVID.

But everything feels the same. Actually, not the same, worse? Omicron has made the past few weeks feel like a traumatic retelling of Groundhog Day, minus the quirky smalltown and love story. This timeline is all Ned Ryerson.

2022 has been a real downer so far. COVID cases are surging, highly anticipated events are being cancelled, and we are again being pushed into forced isolation. We’ve been through this before, so why does it feel so much worse this time?

There are a confluence of factors contributing to our collective ennui. The pandemic has dragged on for years. We are at peak time for Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). And generally, spring semester is just harder on our psyches than fall semester. It’s even harder on our students: graduation chaos; stress over summer positions; and the honeymoon period of the…

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Welcome Back!

That winter break of celebration and relaxation? Hope you were able to take full advantage, because it’s now but a memory, and we find ourselves back for another semester.

But that’s not a bad thing. From personal experience, I can tell you that law school tends to get less stressful as you go along. That initial 1L shock wears off as you get more familiar with its overall format.

That’s good news if you’re hoping to make a triumphant return and improve your grades! This very blog has some materials that will help you achieve that goal, such as this excellent post on effectively managing that most precious commodity, your time. Similarly, it’ll improve your temporal efficiency if you’ve got your course outlines in order from the very start, so you may want to take a look at this post on powering up those outlining skills.

Or maybe you’d rather just sit back and take advantage of the ‘calm before the storm’ by catching up with your friends? That’s cool, but don’t forget to also catch up on some enlightening and entertaining GSU Law Library content that’s not so focused on super-charging your studies? If you’re a history buff or an Atlanta aficionado, you’ll love this highly informative post on the rich history of Georgia’s African-American legal community. Another Blackacre Times ‘greatest hit’ comes in the form of this intriguing rundown of Abe Lincoln’s legal career. And don’t miss this highly amusing post on courts citing talk show hosts, folk singers, Jedi knights, and other unconventional authorities in their opinions.  This recent post on the law of the SEC will even get you ready for the big game!

Of course, as your classes gear up again, you know the library’s got your back. We’re offering the same great services to make your life easier and improve your legal research skills, such as course reserves, online study aids, and the ALERT program (starting up on Tuesday, Jan. 18th and Wednesday, Jan. 19th w/ a can’t-miss session on rocking PowerPoint). If you see one of your favorite librarians, don’t forget to say hello! We’re here to help. Welcome back!

Legal Consequences of Oklahoma and Texas Joining the SEC

As we gear up for an SEC-dominated national championship, Law Library Sports Law Correspondent Ross Crowell’s got you covered with this post on the possible legal consequences of new additions to the conference.

On July 29, the Southeastern Conference (“SEC”) unanimously voted to add the University of Oklahoma and the University of Texas, effective July 1, 2025. Oklahoma and Texas, who have been members of the Big 12 Conference (“Big 12”) since the conference’s inception in 1994, potentially could join the SEC even sooner than 2025, as they could be playing in the SEC as early as 2022, as reported by Matt Hayes. 


While this move has some Longhorn and Sooner fans thrilled about the new competition, there are a few legal hurdles the universities face. 


First, the Big 12 said that it expected Texas and Oklahoma to adhere to its bylaws and television contracts that the schools signed, and if the schools failed to do so, each school would owe the Big 12 over $76 million.  Additionally, the Big 12 bylaws provide that a departing member must give the Big 12 at least 18 months’ notice that they are leaving the conference, and also must pay the Big 12 a “commitment buyout fee”, equal to the amount of distributions the schools would have received during the last two years of its membership. The bylaws additionally provide that Texas and Oklahoma would have to give up all distributions the school would have received during the interim period between the schools’ notice and departure. The consequences of the Big 12 bylaws result in Texas and Oklahoma missing out on tens of millions of dollars. 


Further, following the schools’ announcement of departure, the Big 12 sent ESPN a cease and desist letter, demanding that the sports network stop communicating with Big 12 members and other conferences over matters regarding Big 12 schools. Big 12 commissioner claimed that ESPN “actively engaged in discussions with at least one other conference regarding that conference inducing additional members of the Big 12 Conference to leave the Big 12 conference.”
These are just a few of potential legal issues the schools (and ESPN) are facing due to the move. While both Texas and Oklahoma’s football teams alone bring in over a combined $200 million a year in revenue, with that number likely increasing when they join the SEC, the programs will likely have to pay tens of millions of dollars back to the Big 12 due to this move.

As you can see, SEC football is not so different from a Contracts exam. Leave a comment if you spot any additional issues with the teams switching conferences!

The Pets of GSU Law, Pt. 2

Because GSU Law has too many adorable pets for just one post

1L Kylie Berube’s kitty Cleopatra is a huge diva. She loves to play fetch and is always energetic and happy to see everyone she meets!
The adorably named “Mr. Goose” belongs to 3L Sally Nicholas.
The majestic Lenore keeps Sally Nicholas and Mr. Goose company.
1L Caitlin Lowther wants us to know that Beau and Elle are 15 weeks old and they love to play outside and chew on everything.

Of course, there are more where those came from! Hang out with us at the library to study for exams and you can soak them all in. Thanks for sharing and good luck on finals!