From the abstract for The Monarchy of Fear: A Philosopher Looks at Our Political Crisis (Simon & Schuster, 2018):

For decades Martha C. Nussbaum has been an acclaimed scholar and humanist, earning dozens of honors for her books and essays. In The Monarchy of Fear she turns her attention to the current political crisis that has polarized American since the 2016 election.

Although today’s atmosphere is marked by partisanship, divisive rhetoric, and the inability of two halves of the country to communicate with one another, Nussbaum focuses on what so many pollsters and pundits have overlooked. She sees a simple truth at the heart of the problem: the political is always emotional. Globalization has produced feelings of powerlessness in millions of people in the West. That sense of powerlessness bubbles into resentment and blame. Blame of immigrants. Blame of Muslims. Blame of other races. Blame of cultural elites. While this politics of blame is exemplified by the election of Donald Trump and the vote for Brexit, Nussbaum argues it can be found on all sides of the political spectrum, left or right.

In Presidential Profiteering: Trump’s Conflicts Got Worse in Year Two, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics (CREW) estimates that President Trump had more than 1,400 conflicts of interests during his first two years in office with more than 900 interactions between the Trump administration and the Trump Organization last year.

Bob Ambrogi is reporting that Thomson Reuters has withdrawn as an ABA TECHSHOW exhibitor this year. Bob reports:

Michael Abbott, vice president of global thought leadership and of the Legal Executive Institute at Thomson Reuters, is the executive who was responsible for the company’s decision not to exhibit at TECHSHOW this year.

Over the past year, he said, TR has been re-evaluating all trade shows it attends to consider how best to engage with the customers who attend those shows. “As we start to think about how best can we engage with the customers, this is one where we thought we’d go in a different direction,” he said.

TR participates in a number of trade shows and spends a large number of dollars in doing so, he noted. It is rethinking its strategy with regard to all of those shows, he said.

Makes one wonder if TR is considering doing the same for AALL’s annual meeting.

From the blurb for Cailin O’Connor & James Owen Weatherall, The Misinformation Age: How False Beliefs Spread (Yale UP, Dec. 11, 2018):

Philosophers of science Cailin O’Connor and James Weatherall argue that social factors, rather than individual psychology, are what’s essential to understanding the spread and persistence of false beliefs. It might seem that there’s an obvious reason that true beliefs matter: false beliefs will hurt you. But if that’s right, then why is it (apparently) irrelevant to many people whether they believe true things or not?

The Misinformation Age, written for a political era riven by “fake news,” “alternative facts,” and disputes over the validity of everything from climate change to the size of inauguration crowds, shows convincingly that what you believe depends on who you know. If social forces explain the persistence of false belief, we must understand how those forces work in order to fight misinformation effectively.

From the abstract for Daniel L. Chen, Judicial Analytics and the Great Transformation of American Law, Journal of Artificial Intelligence and the Law, Forthcoming:

Predictive judicial analytics holds the promise of increasing efficiency and fairness of law. Judicial analytics can assess extra-legal factors that influence decisions. Behavioral anomalies in judicial decision-making offer an intuitive understanding of feature relevance, which can then be used for debiasing the law. A conceptual distinction between inter-judge disparities in predictions and inter- judge disparities in prediction accuracy suggests another normatively relevant criterion with regards to fairness. Predictive analytics can also be used in the first step of causal inference, where the features employed in the first step are exogenous to the case. Machine learning thus offers an approach to assess bias in the law and evaluate theories about the potential consequences of legal change.

H/T beSpacific.

The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) has published the ARL Statistics 2016–2017, ARL Academic Law Library Statistics 2016–2017, and ARL Academic Health Sciences Library Statistics 2016–2017. These three publications present information describing the collections, staffing, expenditures, and service activities of the Association’s 124 member libraries in fiscal year 2016–2017. Of these 124 members, 114 are university libraries (15 in Canada and 99 in the US); the remaining 10 are public, governmental, and nonprofit research libraries (1 in Canada, 9 in the US). The law and health sciences publications focus on the 72 law libraries and 58 medical libraries among the Association’s membership that completed the law and health sciences surveys. Unfortunately the reports are paywalled.

H/T Gary Price’s INFOdocket post.

Thirty-three states and the District of Columbia currently have passed laws broadly legalizing marijuana in some form. The District of Columbia and 10 states — Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont and Washington — have adopted the most expansive laws legalizing marijuana for recreational use. The National Cannabis Industry Association has produced a 50-state survey of marijuana policies current to Nov. 7, 2018. View the interactive map here.

From the abstract for Nicholas A. Mirkay & Palma Joy Strand, Disruptive Leadership in Legal Education (Jan. 2019):

Legal education is ripe for disruption because the legal profession and the law itself are ripe for disruption. In the last recession, demand for legal education dropped 40 percent, and only in the last year are we seeing increases in law school admissions. The recession illuminated an even bigger crisis for law and legal education—an increasing mismatch between the limited services that the law and lawyers provide and the vast and acute societal needs for legal services. A recent American Bar Association study estimated that 80 percent of the poor and those of moderate income lack meaningful access to our justice system and legal services.

Ample scholarship exists on how to restructure legal education to address this mismatch. However, this essay undertakes a new focus—the tough and potentially perilous road of attempting necessary change in a real-world law school setting. We impart our experiences as unwitting “disruptive leaders” prodding a small, private law school to meet the changing legal environment, and experiencing extreme blowback as result. We discuss characteristics of academia generally that contributed to this resistance—tenure, academic freedom, and the imperatives of university administration to raise funds and maintain tradition rather than respond innovatively to shifting economic and social dynamics. We also highlight characteristics of legal education that make disruptive leadership particularly unlikely to succeed: the ABA monopoly in legal regulation and the gendered nature of law and legal education.

This essay provides a narrative that will resonate with many in legal academia, as well as academia in general. The peer reviews we received also confirmed that this essay will jumpstart an important and necessary conversation on these issues.

From Solum’s legal theory lexicon entry for corpus linguistics:

How do we determine the meaning of legal texts? One possibility is that judges could consult their linguistic intuitions. Another possibility is the use of dictionaries. Recently, however, lawyers, judges, and legal scholars have discovered a data-driven approach to ascertaining the semantic meaning of disputed language. This technique, called “corpus linguistics,” has already been used by courts and plays an increasingly prominent role in legal scholarship. This entry in the Legal Theory Lexicon provides a basic introduction to corpus linguistics.

A federal judge in New York has ruled against the Trump administration’s decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census. U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman ordered the administration to stop its plans to include the controversial question on forms for the upcoming national head count “without curing the legal defects” the judge identified in his opinion released on Tuesday. Read the opinion here.

From Pew Research: “Figuring out which of the government’s data streams will continue to flow and which have been stoppered is complicated, not least because some agencies were fully funded before last month’s budget negotiations reached a stalemate, and thus have been able to keep operating. Here’s a look at what data are and are not available during the shutdown, from what we’ve been able to find out via agency release schedules and planning documents, third-party calendars, and our own reporting.”

H/T AALL eBriefing on the Impact of the Partial Federal Government Shutdown

In Barr memo suggests: To understand the Trump administration, read Hobbes, The Hill suggests that the Barr memo should be read in conjunction with the 2009 Minnesota Law Review article in which then-Judge Brett Kavanaugh argued that, because of the extreme demands of their position, presidents “should be excused from some of the burdens of ordinary citizenship while serving in office.” Read the June 8th Barr memo here.

Constitutional Law Prof Blog reports that Congressman Bobby Rush of Illinois District 1 has introduced a Resolution in the House of Representatives to censure Congressman Steve King of Iowa, listing specific incidents beginning in 2006 and ending with the January 10 remark by Steve King to the New York Times: “White nationalist, White supremacist, Western civilization—how did that language become offensive?”

According to multiple reports, President Trump may be contemplating declaring a national emergency in order to fund the construction of a physic al barrier along the southern border with Mexico. Can the Department of Defense Build the Border Wall? (LSB10242, Jan. 10, 2019) provides an overview of the NEA [National Emergencies Act]; the military construction authorities available in the event of a declared emergency that the Administration may rely upon to deploy border fencing; and other statutory authorities that may provide the DOD with the authority to engage in certain construction operations.

H/T beSpacific.

Federal Grand Jury Secrecy: Legal Principles and Implications for Congressional Oversight (R45456, Jan. 10, 2019) “begins with an overview of the standards governing—and exceptions applicable to—grand jury secrecy under Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 6(e). The report also addresses whether and how the rule of grand jury secrecy and its exceptions apply to Congress, including the circumstances under which Congress may obtain grand jury information and what restrictions apply to further disclosures. Concluding this report is a discussion of past legislative efforts to amend Rule 6(e) in order to provide congressional committees with access to grand jury materials.”