Just the Facts

By Victoria Szymczak, Director of the Law Library

During the past year, a lot has been made of “fake news.”  Even if the news isn’t exactly “fake,” writers present facts in a way that may garner approval or outrage from their readers.  Newsworthy facts are accompanied by a narrative to provide context, and it is the narrative that creates the spin.  The curious reader may be left wanting to know just the facts.  Fortunately, there are some outlets that will satisfy those cats.

USAFacts.org is the brainchild of former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.  Content consists of freely available information organized into a single platform.  To start off, the landing page for USAFacts.org presents a graphic showing you how much money the U.S. government took in (5.2 trillion) and how much it spent (5.4 trillion) in 2014.   You can browse the broad categories and then narrows down to smaller sets.  For example, if you follow the trail for revenue collected from payroll taxes, we learn that the U.S. government collected $228.2 billion for Medicare in payroll taxes.  On the other side – money spent – we can follow the trail in Wealth and Savings to see that we spent $511.6 billion (net of premiums) on Medicare.  You can also search for facts.  Searching for Presidential Campaign Contributions will yield results for 2014 ($924,000,000) and 2012 ($1,008,000,000).  This is a growing, and incomplete resource but it is easy to use and gets to the point quickly.

The Law Library subscribes to a database of statistics called Data Planet which is significantly larger than USAFacts (for the moment).  Data-Planet Statistical Ready Reference is designed to allow users to quickly navigate the billions of points of data contained in the repository, representing ~5,000 datasets covering thousands of geographic entities. With Data-Planet users can quickly search and view charts, maps, and rankings of time series among other filters.  Data Planet’s advanced search feature that allow you to tailor your search by category, state, and country.  For example, a search for solar energy consumption yields data from 1960 to 2014.  Using the advanced search feature, we can limit the results to Hawaii which tells us that we consumed 10,277,000,000,000 BTUs of solar energy in 2014 compared to 1,347,000,000,000 BTUs in 2000.

If you are savvy enough, you might be able to tap into government sources directly.  The gateway to government stored statistics is at https://www.usa.gov/statistics.  In addition to the federal sources, you can find links to local and state statistical gateways.  For example, if you select Hawaii from the state resources and follow the link to the Corrections Department, you will learn that 1,620 incarcerated men are being held at the Saguaro, AZ Correctional Facility and 2,954 incarcerated men are being held at jails and prisons in Hawaii.  Many of the larger, federal databases are more difficult to pinpoint and decipher, which makes the above two resources more friendly in some instances.

It does not take much to check the facts yourself.  So, don’t be lazy!

Expanded Assistance to Justice Portal Available to Hawaii Public

Legal service providers continue to find creative ways to use technology to expand assistance to justice efforts. Starting March 2017 the Hawaii Consortium of Legal Service Providers launched an online comprehensive legal services portal that guides people in need of civil legal help to the most appropriate organizations and resources. It has been designed to be a great first place for those seeking help in civil matters (non-criminal).

From the portal users will find brochures, videos, do-it-yourself online court forms, virtual learn-the-law courses, and other online legal resources. This portal is ideal for public librarians, social workers, the courts, and other state agencies.

You can find links to this portal and many other resources on the library website at http://library.law.hawaii.edu/public-patron-services/#resources.

For more informaton about the Portal see http://www.legalaidhawaii.org/hawaii-legal-services-portal.html.

Celebrate the 14th Amendment on May 1st – Law Day

By Roberta Woods, Reference and Instructional Services Librarian

Law Day 2017 The 14th Amendment Transforming American DemocracyRepresentative John Bingham of Ohio, who Justice Hugo Black called “the Madison … of the Fourteenth Amendment,” wrote the text of Section One of the Fourteenth Amendment. This section includes the due process, equal protection, and citizenship clauses, which, today, are at the heart of many of the most important U.S. constitutional protections. Bingham’s use of “privileges or immunities” is explicitly drawn from the language of Dred Scott (Scott v. Sandford, 60 U.S. 393 (1857)) and is intended to fundamentally reject the case.

Ratified on July 9, 1868, the Fourteenth Amendment is one of three Reconstruction Amendments. The Thirteenth Amendment, abolishing slavery, was ratified in 1865; the Fifteenth Amendment, prohibiting the federal and state governments from denying citizens the right to vote based on that citizen’s race, color, or previous condition of servitude, was ratified in 1870.

The 14th Amendment covers a number of important topics in its different clauses, including:

  • U.S. citizenship (providing for birthright citizenship)
  • The privileges and immunities of citizens
  • Due process (including both substantive and procedural)
  • Equal protection under the law
  • Enforcement of laws

The Fourteenth Amendment greatly expanded the protection of civil rights to all Americans and is cited in more litigation than any other amendment. Through a doctrine known as incorporation, it is the reason that many of the protections of the Bill of Rights have been applied to shield us against state action. Previously, those rights were only enforced against the federal government. Given that most of the law enforcement in this country is done at the state and local level, the importance of having constitutional protections applicable to those proceedings cannot be overstated. Without incorporation, Miranda warnings would not have to be administered by local police, the First Amendment would not stop states from restricting free speech, and an individual would have no Sixth Amendment right to counsel in a state proceeding.

The Fourteenth Amendment has also been the basis for the recognition of certain fundamental rights, including the right to privacy and the right to marry. Many of the laws that resulted from the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s found their support and inspiration in this amendment. It has also served as the basis for such key Supreme Court cases as Brown v. Board of Education (barring racial segregation in education) and Loving v. Virginia (striking down laws against interracial marriage), just to name a couple. Rarely, if ever, does a Supreme Court term go by without some major decision grounded in Fourteenth Amendment principles.

The information for this blog entry came entirely from the ABA website.  More information is available on the ABA website: http://www.lawday.org.

Earthquake Preparedness in the Library

By Garid Faria, Administrative & Fiscal Support Specialist

San José Library after 2007 earthquakeA major earthquake is one in which one or more of the following occurs: book stacks collapse or become unstable, walls or floors crack or crumble, window glass breaks, electrical wires or ceiling tiles become exposed, power is lost, flooding occurs, building entrances are blocked and/or occupants are injured.  They are unpredictable and strike without warning.

DURING THE EARTHQUAKE

  • DROP, COVER and HOLD ON. Minimize your movements to a few steps to a nearby safe place.
  • Move away from windows, skylights, suspended light fixtures or objects to avoid falling glass/objects.
  • Beware of collapsing book shelves and falling objects.
  • Take cover under a sturdy table or desk.

IF INDOORS

  • DROP to your hands and knees.
  • COVER your head and neck with your arms. This position protects you from falling and provides some protection for vital organs. Because moving can put you in danger from the debris in your path, only move if you need to get away from the danger of falling objects. If you can move safely, crawl for additional cover under a sturdy desk or table. If there is low furniture, or an interior wall or corner nearby and the path is clear, these may also provide some additional cover.
  • HOLD ON to any sturdy shelter until the shaking stops.
  • Stay away from glass, windows, outside doors and walls, and anything that could fall, such as lighting fixtures or furniture.
  • At night, hazards and debris are difficult to see and avoid; therefore, attempt to move in the dark with caution to prevent injury.
  • DO NOT get in a doorway as this does not provide protection from falling or flying objects and you likely will not be able to remain standing if the tremors are severe.
  • Stay inside until the shaking stops and it is safe to go outside. Do not exit a building during the shaking. Research has shown that most injuries occur when people inside buildings attempt to move to a different location inside the building or try to leave.
  • Be aware that the electricity may go out or the sprinkler systems or fire alarms may turn on.

IF OUTDOORS

  • If you can, move away from buildings, streetlights, and utility wires.
  • Once in the open, DROP, COVER, and HOLD ON.
  • STAY THERE until the shaking stops. Depending on the situation, you may need to duck inside a building to avoid falling debris.

AFTER THE TREMORS END

  • When the shaking stops, look around to make sure it is safe to move and there is a safe way out through the debris. Then exit the building.
  • Expect aftershocks and be prepared. These secondary shockwaves are usually less violent than the main quake but can be strong enough to do additional damage to weakened structures and can occur in the first hours, days, weeks, or even months after the quake. DROP, COVER, and HOLD ON whenever you feel shaking.
  • As you exit, PULL THE FIRE ALARM AND EVACUATE to the designated Gathering Area away from buildings/large trees. Staff assembles and conducts a head count to ensure all staff are accounted for.
  • Move injured to a safe area and render first aid as needed.
  • DO NOT BLINDLY RUN OUTSIDE as parts of the building may still be falling.
  • Avoid coming in contact or getting near fallen electrical lines.
  • Beware of fire as it is the most common hazard after an earthquake.

AFTER EXITING THE BUILDING

  • DO NOT RETURN to any building for any reason until the building is declared safe.
  • Call DPS at 6-6911 to report damage and request minor medical assistance OR call Emergency Services directly at 911 for a major emergency (police, fire/rescue, ambulance).
  • If telephones are not working, communicate with authorities in person or via email/text message.

Preservation of Jon Van Dyke’s Papers Underway at Law Library

 

The William S. Richardson School of Law Library received a grant from the Hawai’i Council for Humanities to process the papers of the late Professor of Law, Jon Van Dyke.  Van Dyke was a leader in ocean, indigenous, human rights, and environmental law.

The grant will focus on processing, indexing, and making accessible the papers and research behind Van Dyke’s book Who Owns the Crown Lands of Hawai’i?; his participation in the Ferdinand Marcos Human Rights Litigation case with his partner Sherry Broder; and his participation in various Pacific Island judiciary developments advocating for islander rights in Ocean Law, anti-nuclear issues, and self-governance, among other issues.

Archival processing will be coordinated by Archives Manager, Ellen-Rae Cachola, under the supervision of Library Director, Vicki Szymczak.  The archival processing program will engage students to learn about Native Hawaiian and Pacific Island history through hands-on archival preservation experiences.

A public event launching the Jon Van Dyke Collection will be in late February 2018. Please look out for the announcement in the coming year.

Read the official statement at https://www.hawaii.edu/news/2017/05/11/law-library-jon-van-dyke-papers/.

“Lexis Mania” Week (April 3-6)

Our new Lexis representative (welcome, Camden DeLong) will be visiting the law school April 3-6. While here, he will be conducting very useful and informative trainings. Students are encouraged to attend these programs as we rarely have visits from our Lexis rep. Please note the session on Apr 5 at 5:15 PM about Practice Pages: this session is perfect for SYS or Moot Court students.

Lexis points and food will be available at these sessions. Please RSVP at www.lexisnexis.com/lawschool.

Schedule:

Mon Apr 3  5:15-6:25: Lexis Refresher/Terms & Connectors Training & How to Shepardize + Advanced Shepardizing (Library 118)
Tues Apr 4 11:30-12:30: Lexis Refresher/Terms & Connectors Training (CR3)
5:15-6:25: How to use Lexis for interview purposes (CR3)
Wed Apr 5 11:30-12:30: Professional Research Certification (Library 120)
5:15-6:25: Practice Pages (very helpful for 2L/3L, especially for SYS or moot court) (Library 118)
Th Apr 6 11:30-12:30: How to Shepardize + Advanced Shepardizing (Library 118)

Thanks for your time and participation. It is very important for law students to be well-versed in all of the research opportunities and tools.

The Law Library Wants to Hear From You!

The Library Faculty and Staff will be conducting surveys of our services the week of March 19th!  What is involved?  Ten minutes of your time in exchange for a cup of joe or tea.  Here is the schedule.  Please come by and take our survey, even if you don’t want coffee or tea!

Mon, 3/20 12:30-1:30
Mon, 3/20 3:30-4:30
Tues, 3/21 9-10
Tues, 3/21 12:30-1:30
Tues, 3/21 4:30-5:30
Wed, 3/22 3-4
Thurs, 3/22 5-6