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.

Spring ALERT Program

Welcome back!

What you have been awaiting: the spring 2017 ALERT schedule.

  • Topic 1: Researching Ethics Decisions (1/18 @5:00 and 1/19 @1:00)
  • Topic 2: Tech Tools (2/8 @5:00 and 1/9 @3:00)
  • Topic 3: Fastcase! (3/1 @5:00 and 3/2 @3:00)
  • Topic 4: Tools/Databases for Transactional Practice (3/29 @5:00 and 3/30 @3:00)

Sign up here.

And

Read more about the ALERT program here (ok, yes both links are the same).

Break!

For some, it is the most wonderful time of the year.  Exams end and a long break begins.

It is not wonderful for me.  I am so very sad to see everyone go. Come back!  /s

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By Mdf

The library will only be closed for a couple of weeks. Whew! We will be back for limited hours on January 2, 2017 before swinging into full hours.

Here are specifics:

  • Thursday, December 15th & 16th: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  • Saturday, December 17th – Sunday, January 1st:  Closed
  • Monday, January 2nd – Friday, January 6th: 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.
  • Saturday & Sunday January 7th and 8th: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Thanksgiving & Exam Hours

As usual, we’re changing up the library’s hours for the Thanksgiving holiday and the upcoming exam period.

During the week of Thanksgiving we are operating with reduced hours, as follows:

  • Monday, Nov. 21s & Tuesday, Nov. 22nd: 8 a.m. – 9 p.m.
  • Wednesday, Nov. 23rd: 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.
  • Thursday, Nov. 24th – Saturday, Nov. 26th: Closed

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We will reopen for extended hours on November 27th through December 14th. During this period, the building is closed to those not affiliated with the College of Law.  Since we are open until midnight, do remember you can call a safety escort when you are here studying late.

After the exam period (whew!), we will again have reduced hours until the winter break, as follows:

  • Thursday, December 15th & 16th: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

 

The above is also on our calendar.