From the blurb for Marco Machado, The Rebirth of the Philosopher King: Trump’s Campaign and the Leadership of the Information Age (2018):
The Information Age prompts the occurrence of binary mindsets. These mindsets simplify life and establish an expectation: people want leaders that are a direct reflection of (extremely hopeful) simplifications. Even though historically the masses have been looking for a savior, with the normalization of binary mindsets online, people manage to express their inner selves and simultaneously expect the emergence of a new sort of leadership. Such leaders, like the Information Age, must have powerful intangible traits. Approaching this recent phenomenon, “The Rebirth of the Philosopher King” takes a fresh look at the power scheme behind the emergence of leaderships in the Information Age.
Democracies have been in disarray. The election of Donald Trump has raised doubts about any romantic portrait of the democratic process. The challenges are many, and much has been said about this topic. Populism, inequality and alienation are some of the words that are often heard (and thrown around) in any analysis of Trump’s campaign. Unlike these common approaches, Marco Machado argues Donald Trump’s campaign relied on an ancient archetype. This archetype often manifests itself as a search after the wise leader, the old master. In the case of Trump, his campaign relied on the archetype of the philosopher king. Immersed in the Information Age, this archetype acquired an unpredictable amount of energy. With an original approach, the rise of Trump is described. In the end, a question comes into being: what sort of leadership do we want to have in the upcoming Information Age?
The Foreign Law Web Archive is a collection of foreign legal materials, including gazettes and judicial sites. Many foreign legal materials are now posted online, with some jurisdictions dispensing with a print publication entirely. Certain jurisdictions’ legal materials are challenging to acquire or considered at-risk of disappearing from the web. The Law Library of Congress is now archiving the legal materials of selected jurisdictions to ensure we can continue to provide comprehensive and timely access to foreign legal materials to researchers from across the world.
For an excellent analysis of Bloomberg BNA recent and unusual price hikes and equally unusual aggressive negotiations strategy, see Michael Feit’s opinion piece, Inside Bloomberg BNA’s Fall Pricing Surprise (“How far can BBNA push the market and their prices before people walk away?”)
H/T to beSpacific.
For American Libraries, Anne Ford’s national roundup of library referenda, tax levies, and bond measures decided by voters in the November election looks comprehensive. Library measures voted on earlier in the year are included.
Here’s an excerpt from today’s statement from President Donald J. Trump on the Jamal Khashoggi murder:
Representatives of Saudi Arabia say that Jamal Khashoggi was an “enemy of the state” and a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, but my decision is in no way based on that – this is an unacceptable and horrible crime. King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman vigorously deny any knowledge of the planning or execution of the murder of Mr. Khashoggi. Our intelligence agencies continue to assess all information, but it could very well be that the Crown Prince had knowledge of this tragic event – maybe he did and maybe he didn’t!
That being said, we may never know all of the facts surrounding the murder of Mr. Jamal Khashoggi. In any case, our relationship is with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. They have been a great ally in our very important fight against Iran. The United States intends to remain a steadfast partner of Saudi Arabia to ensure the interests of our country, Israel and all other partners in the region. It is our paramount goal to fully eliminate the threat of terrorism throughout the world!
This 50-state survey of U.S. e-cigarette regulation was prepared by the Tobacco Control Legal Consortium at the Public Health Law Center at Mitchell Hamline School of Law, and the Public Health and Tobacco Policy Center. The information is based on a survey of current state statutes (plus Washington, D.C.) pertaining to e-cigarettes in the following areas: definition of “tobacco product,” taxation, product packaging, youth access/other retail restrictions, and smoke-free air legislation. Some links go to legislative websites because the laws have not yet been codified or are not otherwise available. The survey is current to Sept. 15, 2018.
From the blurb for Pedro Domingos, The Master Algorithm: How the Quest for the Ultimate Learning Machine Will Remake Our World (Basic Books, 2018):
In the world’s top research labs and universities, the race is on to invent the ultimate learning algorithm: one capable of discovering any knowledge from data, and doing anything we want, before we even ask. In The Master Algorithm, Pedro Domingos lifts the veil to give us a peek inside the learning machines that power Google, Amazon, and your smartphone. He assembles a blueprint for the future universal learner–the Master Algorithm–and discusses what it will mean for business, science, and society. If data-ism is today’s philosophy, this book is its bible.
In a ruling late Monday, Jon S. Tigar of the U.S. District Court in San Francisco issued a temporary nationwide restraining order barring enforcement of the policy. President Trump’s action was announced on Nov. 9, 2018. The judge’s order remains in effect until Dec. 19, at which point the court will consider arguments for a permanent order. Here’s a copy of the court’s order granting temporary restraining order against Trump administration asylum policy.
Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) and Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on Monday, claiming that Trump violated the Appointments Clause of the Constitution by choosing Whitaker for a Cabinet-level position even though Whitaker has never been Senate confirmed for a position. The complaint seeks to block Whitaker from serving in the role, which includes overseeing special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election.
Here’s the abstract for Michael A. Livingston, The Other F-Word: Fascism, The ‘Rule of Law,’ and the Trump Era (Oct. 24, 2018): “This essay considers books that have suggested parallels between 1930s-style fascism and present day politics, especially that of the Trump Administration. The essay concludes that these parallels are generally unconvincing and that, however well-intentioned, they distract attention from needed political reforms.”
From Public Attitudes Toward Computer Algorithms (Nov. 16, 2018): “Pew Research Center survey of U.S. adults finds that the public is frequently skeptical of these tools when used in various real-life situations. … This skepticism spans several dimensions. At a broad level, 58% of Americans feel that computer programs will always reflect some level of human bias – although 40% think these programs can be designed in a way that is bias-free. And in various contexts, the public worries that these tools might violate privacy, fail to capture the nuance of complex situations, or simply put the people they are evaluating in an unfair situation. Public perceptions of algorithmic decision-making are also often highly contextual. The survey shows that otherwise similar technologies can be viewed with support or suspicion depending on the circumstances or on the tasks they are assigned to do.”
From the Summary of Introduction to the Legislative Process in the U.S. Congress (R42843, Nov. 15, 2018):
This report introduces the main steps through which a bill (or other item of business) may travel in the legislative process -— from introduction to committee and floor consideration to possible presidential consideration. However, the process by which a bill can become law is rarely predictable and can vary significantly from bill to bill. In fact, for many bills, the process will not follow the sequence of congressional stages that are often understood to make up the legislative process. This report presents a look at each of the common stages through which a bill may move, but complications and variations abound in practice.
Thomson Reuters is reporting that more than 1,500 legal organizations have already purchased Westlaw Edge and that milestone was reached in Westlaw Edge’s first 15 weeks on the market. The company also reports that all law students will have Westlaw Edge beginning in January 2019.
Groups such as the Southern Poverty Law Center maintain databases that track hate groups but the Center focuses on the big picture. First Vigil digs into the detail the Center leaves out by tracking white nationalist court cases. For background on First Vigil’s creator, see The Data Scientist Tracking America’s White Supremacists, Motherboard, Nov. 14, 2018.
H/T to Legal Skills Prof Blog for calling attention to Nikos Harris, The Risks of Technology in the Law Classroom: Why the Next Great Development In Legal Education Might Be Going Low-Tech, 51 UBC L REV 773 (2018). Here’s the abstract:
It is often assumed that technology improves every facet of our lives, including learning in the university classroom. However, there is mounting evidence that traditional lecturing and note-taking techniques may provide the optimal learning environment. Student use of laptops, and professor use of electronic course slides, may actually impair learning in a manner which has particular significance for legal education. This emerging evidence suggests that law professors can make a justifiable decision to bring about a “low tech revolution” in their classrooms. Achieving that revolution is more complicated when it comes to student use of laptops, but there are a number of techniques which can be used to encourage students to consider dusting off a pen and pad of paper.
From the blurb for Proof of Collusion: How Trump Betrayed America (Simon & Schuster, Nov. 13, 2018) by Seth Abramson:
In Proof of Collusion, Seth Abramson “finally gives us a record of the unthinkable—a president compromising American foreign policy in exchange for financial gain and covert election assistance. The attorney, professor, and former criminal investigator has used his exacting legal mind and forensic acumen to compile, organize, and analyze every piece of the Trump-Russia story. His conclusion is clear: the case for collusion is staring us in the face. Drawing from American and European news outlets, he takes readers through the Trump-Russia scandal chronologically, putting the developments in context and showing how they connect.”
It would appear that SCOTUS clerk bonuses draw many more clerks to private practice than in past decades. Law.com’s Tony Mauro is reporting that the prevailing hiring bonus for Supreme Court clerks is $400,000—up from $300,000 in 2015. And that does not include salaries. If the trend continues, the clerk bonus will soon approach twice the annual salary of the justices they work for.
From the blurb for Jonathan Gienapp, The Second Creation: Fixing the American Constitution in the Founding Era (Belknap Press, Oct. 2018):
Americans widely believe that the United States Constitution was created when it was drafted in 1787 and ratified in 1788. But in a shrewd rereading of the founding era, Jonathan Gienapp upends this long-held assumption, recovering the unknown story of American constitutional creation in the decade after its adoption—a story with explosive implications for current debates over constitutional originalism and interpretation.
When the Constitution first appeared, it was shrouded in uncertainty. Not only was its meaning unclear, but so too was its essential nature. Was the American Constitution a written text, or something else? Was it a legal text? Was it finished or unfinished? What rules would guide its interpretation? Who would adjudicate competing readings? As political leaders put the Constitution to work, none of these questions had answers. Through vigorous debates they confronted the document’s uncertainty, and—over time—how these leaders imagined the Constitution radically changed. They had begun trying to fix, or resolve, an imperfect document, but they ended up fixing, or cementing, a very particular notion of the Constitution as a distinctively textual and historical artifact circumscribed in space and time. This means that some of the Constitution’s most definitive characteristics, ones which are often treated as innate, were only added later and were thus contingent and optional.
An investigation by The New York Times revealed how Facebook fought back against its critics of the Company’s response to the election crisis with delays, denials and a full-bore campaign in Washington. See also How Facebook Wrestled With Scandal: 6 Key Takeaways From The Times’s Investigation.
The Washington Post is reporting that “President Trump threw his support Wednesday behind legislation that would loosen some mandatory minimum sentencing laws — a measure backed by powerful Senate Republicans and Democrats, but which could run into opposition from some tough-on-crime conservatives.” The New York Times opines “And now that Mr. Sessions is gone, a bipartisan collection of senators is pushing a plan that addresses some of the core shortcomings of an earlier House version of the legislation that was supported by the White House. The hope is to move the bill during the lame duck session, before the chaos of the new Congress, with its newly Democratic House majority, takes hold in January.”