A federal judge in San Francisco issued a preliminary injunction on Monday afternoon blocking the Trump administration from forcing asylum seekers to wait in Mexico until their cases have been finalized starting this weekend. Read the order granting motion for preliminary injunction.
From Secrecy Blog: “The number of leaks of classified information reported as potential crimes by federal agencies reached record high levels during the first two years of the Trump Administration, according to data released by the Justice Department last week.
“But the data as released leave several questions unanswered. They do not reveal how many of the referrals actually triggered an FBI investigation. They do not indicate whether the leaks are evenly distributed across the national security bureaucracy or concentrated in one or more “problem” agencies (or congressional committees). And they do not distinguish between leaks that simply “hurt our country,” as the Attorney General put it, and those that are complicated by a significant public interest in the information that was disclosed.”
From the LJ article, Deal or No Deal: Periodicals Price Survey 2019: “For the past decade, libraries have battled declining university budgets and increasing serials expenditures. With each Big Deal package renewal or cancellation, librarians and publishers have asked themselves: Did I make the best deal? Did I make the right deal? Recent developments in open access (OA) promise to bring major reform to academic publishing and, with that, new challenges and opportunities to the way that librarians and publishers choose to deal.”
The price survey indications that law periodicals increased 7% over last year’s pricing.
On April 8 ALA released The State of America’s Libraries 2019, an annual summary of library trends that outlines statistics and issues affecting all types of American libraries.
The LexisNexis tying controversy was on the agenda for our association’s Spring executive board meeting. It appears on the April 5 agenda as one of six items listed under the heading “informal considerations.” See the Spring 2019 Meeting Board Book. The agenda indicates that AALL President Femi Cadmus gave an “update on current LexisNexis Practices.” There was no action item associated with the tying controversy agenda item. Hopefully AALL will communicate the substance of this update to the rank-and-file membership in the near future.
From the blurb for Neal Devins & Lawrence Baum, The Company They Keep: How Partisan Divisions Came to the Supreme Court (Oxford UP, 2019):
As the eminent law and politics scholars Neal Devins and Lawrence Baum show in The Company They Keep, justices today are reacting far more to subtle social forces in their own elite legal world than to pressure from the other branches of government or mass public opinion. In particular, the authors draw from social psychology research to show why Justices are apt to follow the lead of the elite social networks that they are a part of. The evidence is strong: Justices take cues primarily from the people who are closest to them and whose approval they care most about: political, social, and professional elites. In an era of strong partisan polarization, elite social networks are largely bifurcated by partisan and ideological loyalties, and the Justices reflect that division. The result is a Court in which the Justices’ ideological stances reflect the dominant views in the appointing president’s party. Justices such as Clarence Thomas and Ruth Bader Ginsburg live largely in a milieu populated by like-minded elites. Today’s partisanship on the Court also stems from the emergence of conservative legal networks such as the Federalist Society, that reinforce the conservative leanings of Republican appointees. For the Warren and Burger Courts, elite social networks were dominated by liberal elites and not divided by political party or ideology. A fascinating examination of the factors that shape decision-making, The Company They Keep will reshape our understanding of how political polarization occurs on the contemporary Supreme Court.
From the abstract for Rebecca Giblin, et al., Available – But not Accessible? Investigating Publisher e-lending Licensing Practices, Forthcoming, Information Research (expected June 2019):
Introduction: We report our mixed-methods investigation of publishers’ licensing practices, which affect the books public libraries can offer for e-lending.
Method: We created unique datasets recording pricing, availability and licence terms for sampled titles offered by e-book aggregators to public libraries across Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the United States and United Kingdom. A third dataset records dates of availability for recent bestsellers. We conducted follow-up interviews with representatives of 5 e-book aggregators.
Analysis: We quantitatively analysed availability, licence terms and price across all aggregators in Australia, snapshotting the competitive playing field in a single jurisdiction. We also compared availability and terms for the same titles from one aggregator across five jurisdictions, and measured how long it took for a sample of recent bestsellers to become available for e-lending. We used data from the aggregator interviews to explain the quantitative findings.
Results: Contrary to aggregator expectations, we found considerable intra-jurisdictional price and licence differences. We also found numerous differences across jurisdictions.
Conclusions: While availability was better than anticipated, licensing practices make it infeasible for libraries to purchase certain kinds of e-book (particularly older titles). Confidentiality requirements make it difficult for libraries to shop (and aggregators to compete) on price and terms.
Kirstjen Nielsen, the homeland security secretary, resigned on Sunday after meeting with President Trump. Here’s the resignation letter.
Michael Cohen’s legal team has released a 12-page memo it provided to House Democrats Thursday. The memo outlines evidence of what his team describes as “Trump’s involvement in a conspiracy to collude with Russian government intervention in his favor during the 2016 presidential campaign” and “other felony crimes committed by Trump before and after he became president.” Here’s the memo.
Harvard’s Library Innovation Lab has launched CAP search, a new interface to search data made available as part of the Caselaw Access Project API. The CAP search’s interface facilitates searching and viewing all official US court cases published in books from 1658 to 2018. The collection includes over six million cases scanned from the Harvard Law Library shelves. Details here.
From the abstract for Lee J. Strang, The Declaration of Independence: No Special Role In Constitutional Interpretation (Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, Vol. 42, No. 1, 2018):
The Declaration of Independence is a beautifully written document; it is a potent symbol of our nation’s birth and founding principles; but it does not and should not play a unique role in constitutional interpretation. Instead, the Declaration is one source, among many, of the Constitution’s original meaning. I make three arguments to support this thesis.
First and theoretically, I argue that mainline originalist theory has no analytical space within it for the Declaration to play a special role in constitutional interpretation. To illustrate this, I describe the most prominent conception of originalism—public meaning originalism. Then, I show that public meaning originalism’s process to ascertain the Constitution’s original meaning treats the Declaration as one source of original meaning, and that its importance as a source therefore depends on the empirical-historical question of whether the original meaning in fact did privilege it.
This leads me to my second main argument, based on history. I make three moves to show that the Declaration did not play a unique interpretive role. First, I describe how the Framers and Ratifiers did not use the Declaration as the unique interpretive key to constitutional interpretation. Second, I show that, because the Declaration was inconsistent with the Constitution’s text, it cannot be the interpretive key to the Constitution. Third, I explain that it was only after the Founding, during times of moral crisis, that Americans in various social movements turned to the Declaration to support their out-of-the-mainstream constitutional interpretations. This phenomenon shows that appeals to the Declaration are motived by a desire for political and social change extrinsic to the Constitution.
Third and jurisprudentially, I show that our current constitutional practice does not recognize the Declaration as playing a unique role in constitutional interpretation. I focus on the Constitution’s text, current legal practice, and Supreme Court practice.
From the blurb for Tom Wheeler, From Gutenberg to Google: The History of Our Future (Brookings Institution, 2019):
In this fascinating book, former FCC chairman Tom Wheeler brings to life the two great network revolutions of the past and uses them to help put in perspective the confusion, uncertainty, and even excitement most people face today. The first big network revolution was the invention of movable-type printing in the fifteenth century. This book, its millions of predecessors, and even such broad trends as the Reformation, the Renaissance, and the multiple scientific revolutions of the past 500 years would not have been possible without that one invention. The second revolution came with the invention of the telegraph early in the nineteenth century. Never before had people been able to communicate over long distances faster than a horse could travel. Along with the development of the world’s first high-speed network—the railroad—the telegraph upended centuries of stability and literally redrew the map of the world.
Wheeler puts these past revolutions into the perspective of today, when rapid-fire changes in networking are upending the nature of work, personal privacy, education, the media, and nearly every other aspect of modern life. But he doesn’t leave it there. Outlining “What’s Next,” he describes how artificial intelligence, virtual reality, blockchain, and the need for cybersecurity are laying the foundation for a third network revolution.
From the summary for Temporary Protected Status: Overview and Current Issues (RS20844, Mar. 29, 2019):
Provisions exist in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) to offer temporary protected status (TPS) and other forms of relief from removal under specified circumstances. The Secretary of Homeland Security has the discretion to designate a country for TPS for periods of 6 to 18 months and can extend these periods if the country continues to meet the conditions for designation. Congress has also provided TPS legislatively.
In Academic Reputation Scores for Law Schools Stagnate in 2018 and Rise Modestly in 2019 Robert L. Jones summarizes the results of the U.S. News & World Report rankings published in 2018 and 2019 with respect to the academic reputation scores of law schools. In addition to analyzing the most recent results for the U.S. News rankings, the essay supplements the more extensive longitudinal study published by this author in 2013. The article also includes updated appendices from the prior study that catalog the U.S. News academic reputation scores for every law school between 1998 and 2019.
Margaret Hagan, Jameson Dempsey & Jorge Gabriel Jiménez propose to build a “Legal Data Commons” to harness available data from legal aid organizations, courts, legal technology companies, and others to enable research and development that promotes access to justice. “We believe that a legal data commons -— built with privacy and accountability ‘by design’ — could solve the data issue and advance research and innovation objectives while addressing legitimate confidentiality concerns.” Here’s the first part in their forthcoming three part series of articles on their proposal.
A new film written and directed by Emilio Estevez explores the complicated relationship between libraries and the homeless community. “The Public” centers around the Cincinnati Public Library. As the city experiences a bitter arctic chill homeless library patrons refuse to leave the library at closing time. The story follows the role of the police in negotiations with the homeless, the state prosecutor working in tandem with the police and the news media as they cover the events. The film opens in theaters nationwide on April 5. Here’s an interview with Estevez about the film.
From the press release: “[T]he Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press filed a request in the federal district court for the District of Columbia for an order that would authorize the public release of grand jury material that is “cited, quoted, or referenced” in the report submitted to Attorney General William Barr by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.” Read the application here.
A whistleblower working inside the White House has told a House committee that senior Trump administration officials granted security clearances to at least 25 individuals whose applications had been denied by career employees for “disqualifying issues” that could put national security at risk, the committee’s Democratic staff said Monday. Read the staff summary.
From the abstract for Michelle M. Wu, Shared Collection Development, Digitization, and Owned Digital Collections (Feb. 14, 2019):
While library models already exist for sharing physical materials and joint licensing, this paper envisions an aspect of future collections involving a national digital collection owned, not licensed, by libraries. Collaborative collection development, digitization, and digital object management of owned collections can benefit societies in multiple ways, from expanding access to users otherwise unable to reach these materials, to preserving content even when disaster strikes, to reducing duplication of effort and expense in collection or digitization. This article will explore both the benefits of and the challenges to this type of collaboration.
From the summary of Congressional Subpoenas: Enforcing Executive Branch Compliance (R45653, Mar. 27, 2019):
Congress currently employs an ad hoc combination of methods to combat non-compliance with subpoenas. The two predominant methods rely on the authority and participation of another branch of government. First, the criminal contempt statute permits a single house of Congress to certify a contempt citation to the executive branch for the criminal prosecution of an individual who has willfully refused to comply with a committee subpoena. Once the contempt citation is received, any prosecution lies within the control of the executive branch. Second, Congress may try to enforce a subpoena by seeking a civil judgment declaring that the recipient is legally obligated to comply. This process of civil enforcement relies on the help of the courts to enforce congressional demands.