“Boundaries” Art Show April 7th

Friday, April 7, 2017 marks the opening of the William S. Richardson School of Law Library’s 2nd Art Show. This year’s exhibition is titled “Boundaries,” and will feature artistic interpretations on the theme in a variety of media.

The library’s first event was held in 2015, and focused on themes of social justice. As with the last show, this event will feature submissions from faculty, staff, and students, in addition to alumni and the extended law school ʻohana. “Boundaries” is a product of the collaborative efforts of the law library’s art committee, led by committee chair and reference librarian Roberta Woods, and builds upon the excellent rotating selection of works already installed in the library by the Hawaii State Foundation on Culture and the Arts: Art in Public Places lending collection. The art committee hopes that the added works submitted by law school ʻohana will serve as a platform to discuss contemporary issues in law and justice through the lens of artistic expression.

A special reception will be held in the lobby of the library from 5pm to 8:30pm to commemorate the opening, and will feature refreshments for attendees, a program of artists’ biographies, and a performance by the Pacific Tongues, a nonprofit organization and community of spoken word artists. Following the opening reception, the “Boundaries” exhibit will remain on display to the public during regular library hours through May 14th.

UC Berkeley School of Law Library Begins Permanently Archiving US Supreme Court Decisions

US Supreme Court sealLink rot has plagued the hallowed halls of the Supreme Court. The UC Berkeley School of Law Library has partnered with application developer Philip Ardery to address this problem by hosting U.S. Supreme Court Web Citations, a web service that captures snapshots of any web resource cited by the United States Supreme Court immediately after their opinions are issued.  The goal of the service is to leverage current web and archiving technologies to minimize the link rot that complicates research as websites change or become unavailable over time.

When a judicial opinion cites something from the web, researchers should be able to check it later and find exactly what it looked like when it was cited.1

This is a stopgap initiative until the Court implements a permanent solution. At present there are 612 decisions archived in PDF format on the site.


1. http://scotus.law.berkeley.edu, archived at https://perma.cc/Z7BV-CJNY

Author Book Talk: Violent Borders: Refugees and the Right to Move

Author book talkSecond Law Library Book Talk Series

Violent Borders: Refugees and the Right to Move
by Reece Jones, Associate Professor, Graduate Chair,
Department of Geography University of Hawai‘i at Manoa

—Boston Globe Recommended Book for Fall 2016—

When: Monday, March 13, 2017, 11:45am-1pm
Where: William S. Richardson School of Law Library Lobby
* Light refreshments will be served on a first come, first served basis.
Your RSVP by March 9th will be greatly appreciated.

The focus of this book is on how borders are formed and policed to understand the world’s current migration crises and a deep analysis of the changing role and impact of the border, as well as how border regimes sustain global injustice. Forty thousand people died trying to cross international borders in the past decade. According to the author these deaths are not exceptional, but rather the result of state attempts to contain populations and control access to resources and opportunities. While globalization is prevailing, limiting the free movement of people is reality. With the growth of borders and resource enclosures, the deaths of migrants in search of a better life are intimately connected to climate change, environmental degradation, and the growth of global wealth inequality.

More information on the book can be found at http://www2.hawaii.edu/~reecej/violent%20borders.html

New Legal History Database

By Catherine Bye, Technical Services/Acquisitions Librarian

HeinOnline’s History of International Law contains over 1,400 titles dating as far back as 1602.  This set covers classic international law subjects including the origins of international arbitration, war and peace (no, not Tolstoy’s War and Peace), the Nuremberg Trials, preparatory documents related to the conclusion of the Hague conferences and conventions, and the Law of the Sea.  For example, it includes a 1613 title Abridgement of All Sea-Lawes; Gathered Forth of all writings and monuments which are to be found amoung any people or Nation vpon the Coafts of the Great Ocean and Mediterranean Sea published in 1612 is an early English treatise on the origins of the Law of the Sea.

This collection also contains historical documentation related to the Hague Conferences and Conventions and several treatises on the origins of democracy and foreign relations.  You will be surprised by the breadth of this set.  It includes classics such as H.G. Wells’ The Fourth Year discussing the issues of post-World War I politics and establishing lasting peace in regard to the League of Nations (yes, he is known for science fiction but he also wrote extensively on non-fiction subjects) to treatises on compulsory arbitration of international disputes.

For first hand exploration, visit http://heinonline.org/HOL/Index?collection=hoil&set_as_cursor=clear

No More Fake News Presentation Series

No More Fake News Presentation Series. Schedule: Feb. 13, 12-12:30pm, Informal Presidential Powers: The Force Awakens (presented by Vicki Szymczak). Feb. 21, 12-12:30pm, Regulatory Withdrawals and Watching Federal Agencies (presented by Roberta Woods). Feb. 27, 12-12:30pm, Tracking Legislation in U.S. Congress: How to keep our eyes on Congress (presented by Brian Huffman). Held in the lobby of the Law Library, all current UH affiliates are invited to join in the discussion. Light refreshments will be served.

From Macedonia to “PizzaGate,” the impact of information disseminated through the internet can have very real consequences, whether said information is “real” or not. This February, reference librarians at the Richardson School of Law Library are hosting a series of talks to discuss the phenomenon of fake news. Each talk will focus on a specific topic pulled from today’s political headlines, as well as provide insight into how government documents and legal publications can be useful in making sense of current events. Held February 13, 21, and 27, from 12 to 12:30 pm in the lobby of the Law Library, all current UH affiliates are invited to join in the discussion. Light refreshments will be served.

Schedule:

  • Feb. 13, 12-12:30pm, Informal Presidential Powers: The Force Awakens (presented by Vicki Szymczak)
  • Feb. 21, 12-12:30pm, Regulatory Withdrawals and Watching Federal Agencies (presented by Roberta Woods)
  • Feb. 27, 12-12:30pm, Tracking Legislation in U.S. Congress: How to keep our eyes on Congress (presented by Brian Huffman)

Below are the recorded sessions:

A research guide has been created to accompany these presentations.

Ginsburg Overturns 4th Circuit: Kimbrough v. United States

If you think only published opinions can be scrutinized by the U.S. Supreme Court, you will find this opinion by Justice Ginsburg of interest. The underlying Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals opinion is unpublished but can be found in the Federal Appendix, 174 F. App’x 798. Here, Justice Ginsburg overturns the court below and clears up confusion over sentencing guidelines for crack cocaine and other drugs. Tom Michener, graduating in May, wrote the summary of this case.

You can listen to Justice Ginsburg announce the majority opinion (check out the majority opinion jabot she wears in the law library lobby display) here: https://apps.oyez.org/player/#/roberts2/opinion_announcement_audio/22651.

Kimbrough v. United States, 552 U.S. 85 (2007)

Summary:

In 1986, during the Reagan administration’s anti-drug initiative, Congress enacted a federal sentencing policy of punishing crimes involving crack cocaine at a 100-to-1 ratio compared to crimes involving powder cocaine.[1] Using that ratio, the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines prescribed the same sentence for a defendant convicted of dealing 500 grams of powder cocaine as they did for a defendant convicted of dealing only five grams of crack cocaine.[2]

In 2004, Defendant Derrick Kimbrough pleaded guilty to various crack and powder cocaine possession offenses. Under the relevant statutes, Kimbrough was subject to 15 years to life in prison. To determine the appropriate sentence within that range, the district court judge used the Guidelines, a formulaic system to determine a sentence in all federal crimes. The Guidelines dictated a range of 19 to 22.5 years in prison due, in part, to the 100-1 ratio.

The judge, however, determined that a sentence in that range would have been “greater than necessary” to accomplish the purposes of sentencing as set out in the sentencing guidelines. The judge also noted that the case exemplified the “disproportionate and unjust effect that crack cocaine guidelines have in sentencing” and sentenced Kimbrough to 15 years, the minimum. In 2006, the Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit reversed, citing circuit precedent which stated that “a sentence that is outside the guidelines range is per se unreasonable when it is based on a disagreement with the sentencing disparity for crack and powder cocaine offenses.” United States v. Kimbrough, 174 F. App’x 798, 799 (4th Cir. 2006) (citing United States v. Eura, 440 F.3d 625 (4th Cir.2006)).

As enacted, the Guidelines were mandatory. In 2005, about three years before Kimbrough and a year before the Court of Appeals’ decision in the case, however, the Court decided United States v. Booker, 543 U.S. 220 (2005). Booker excised the provision of the Guidelines requiring sentencing courts to impose a sentence within the applicable Guidelines range and rendered the Guidelines “effectively advisory.” There remained some ambiguity as to whether the crack/powder disparity adopted in the Guidelines had been rendered advisory by Booker, ambiguity that created disagreement between various courts of appeals. The ambiguity was cleared up by Justice Ruth Bader-Ginsburg’s majority opinion in Kimbrough.

After reviewing the Government’s various arguments, Justice Ginsburg wrote that none of the arguments “persuades us to hold the crack/powder ratio untouchable by sentencing courts.” She observed that the sentencing judge properly calculated the sentence under the Guidelines and that the judge took note of the criticism by the U.S. Sentencing Commission of the 100-to-1 ratio. She also observed that the judge did not purport to establish a ratio of his own. Rather, the district court “appropriately framed its final determination in line with [a Guideline provision’s] overarching instruction to ‘impose a sentence sufficient, but not greater than necessary,’ to accomplish the sentencing goals . . . .”

Thus, the sentence was reasonable, the sentencing judge did not abuse his discretion, and the opinion of the Court of Appeals was reversed.

[1] https://www.oyez.org/cases/2007/06-6330

[2] https://www.oyez.org/cases/2007/06-6330

Ginsburg Dissent: Gonzales v. Carhart Case Summary

Ginsburg Dissent: Gonzales v. Carhart, 550 U.S. 129 (2007)

The Supreme Court’s position on abortion has evolved and led to different outcomes over the years. In 2007, the Court heard Gonzales v. Carhart, a clash of morality, medicine, privacy, and women’s rights in abortions. In this summary of the case, Franklin Fegurgur, a 2L, highlights Justice Ginsburg’s dissent in which she voiced her concern over the precedents already established in Roe and Casey in which the Court said that “liberty finds no refuge in the jurisprudence of doubt.” Listen to Justice Ginsburg announce her dissent at https://apps.oyez.org/player/#/roberts2/opinion_announcement_audio/22038.

Facts:

In Gonzales, the Court considers the validity of the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003. Plaintiffs included Dr. Leroy Carhart as well as other physicians who performed late-term abortions and wanted the Court to stop the Act from going into effect. In 2003, Congress passed the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act in response to the Stenberg v. Carhart decision where the Court held that the Nebraska’s partial birth abortion statute violated the Constitution in the aftermath of Planned Parenthood v. Casey and Roe v. Wade. As in earlier decisions, the Court discussed the abortion procedures as the Act sought to regulate a manner of terminating fetal life.

One method the Act sought to prohibit was an intact dilation and extraction (D&E), a common late-term abortion procedure. Congress viewed the procedure as gruesome and inhumane. A main provision of the Act was to prohibit “knowingly performing a partial-birth abortion … that is [not] necessary to save the life of a mother.” The Act would effectually ban most late-term abortions which would place an undue burden on the right to an abortion established in Parenthood v. Casey.

The District Court agreed with the Plaintiffs that the Act was unconstitutional as it lacked an exception allowing the procedure where it is necessary to protect the health of the mother. Furthermore, the Act was “deficient because it covered not merely intact D&E but also certain other D&Es.” The Court of the Appeals for the Eighth Circuit affirmed the District Court’s ruling noting that the Constitution requires the legislatures to include a health exception for the mothers.

Issue:

Whether the Partial Abortion Ban Act violates the right of personal liberty protected by the Fifth Amendment because the Act lacks an exception for the health of the mother.

Holding:

Reversed. In a 5-4 decision, the Court upheld the Act by holding that the partial-birth abortion was not unconstitutionally vague nor did it impose an undue burden on the right to an abortion. Writing for the majority, Justice Kennedy stated that the “undue burden” test established in Casey is applicable to the instant case. The phrase referred to measures meant to discourage abortions, and to what degree these measures would be considered overly restrictive. Plaintiffs argued that an intact D&E is the safest method of abortion. Banning this safest method of abortion would not only place an undue burden upon the mother, but possibly risk her life. However, Justice Kennedy noted that the Act “allows a commonly used and generally accepted method, so it does not construct a substantial obstacle to the abortion right.” Furthermore, the majority noted that because the Act applies to only a specific method of abortion (intact D&E) the ban was “not unconstitutionally vague, overbroad, or an undue burden on the decision to obtain an abortion.”

Dissent:

Justice Ginsburg sharply disagreed with the majority noting that “the Court’s hostility to the right Roe and Casey secured is not concealed.” She believed it was irrational for the State to further any legitimate interest in an equally gruesome procedure, which may be similarly characterized as brutal. In her view, “The law saves not a single fetus from destruction, for it targets only a method of performing abortion.” Furthermore, she believed that the Act would “chip away” a right that was declared by the Supreme Court as central to women’s lives. Although Gonzales did not discard previous cases such as Roe or Casey, it was inconsistent with the very principles of stare decisis. Instead of following clear prior holdings, the Court would take deference to this “legislative override of our Constitution-based rulings.”

Justice Ginsburg, true to her roots in litigation for gender equality said of the majority opinion when announcing her dissent, “Notably, the solution the Court approves is not to require doctors to inform women adequately of the different procedures they might choose and the risks each entails. Instead the Court shields the woman by denying her any choice in the matter and this way of protecting women recalls ancient notions about women’s place in society and under the constitution ideas that have long since been discredited.”