Google in the Hot Seat

Today the Senate Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights, held a hearing titled: “The Power of Google: Serving Consumers or Threatening Competition?”  A webcast of the hearing, witness testimony, and member statements are available on the Senate Judicary Website.  In advance of the hearing, Google published a Guide to the Senate Judiciary Hearing.

“Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” Repealed

Pursuant to the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell Repeal Act, Public Law 111-321, DADT, 10 U.S.C. § 654, was repealed effective today. Dr. Clifford L. Stanley, Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, distributed a memorandum stating, in part, that “statements about sexual orientation or lawful acts of homosexual conduct will not be considered a bar to military service . . . .  The DOD has also made available a “Quick Reference Guide” addressing consequences of this repeal.

Learn more about  significant issues related to the United States Military on the Department of Defense website.  The site includes information about the DOD’s organizational structure and links to other DOD websites.

Guides on Current Legal Topics

The Law Library of Congress offers a series of guides on Current Legal Topics, both domestic and international.  These guides include commentary and recommended resources.  Most recently, the library has added a guide on the pending charges against former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, available here.

Tragedy in Norway and the Legal Process

The tragedy in Norway occurred just days after I was fortunate to visit Oslo—a normally peaceful city where one of the main attactions for visitors is City Hall, the site of the Nobel Peace Prize award ceremony. These horrific events have now brought Oslo and the Norwegian Legal Process into the forefront of international attention. 

According to an article in The Telegraph, admitted shooter and bomber Anders Behring will have a detention hearing before a District Court judge (held today, in closed session).  He will later be examined by doctors to assess his mental fitness to stand trial. The article cites unamed legal experts who say that a trial is likely to occur in about a year.

Behring has been charged under Norway’s anti-terriorism laws. Currently, Norwegian law provides for a maximum prison term of  21 years and there is no death penalty. However, according to a law professor at the University of Oslo, jail terms are renewable for 5 years if the court determines there is a risk of repeat offenses. The Norwegian Parliament has decided to raise the maximum prison term for terriorism to 30 years, but the law is not yet in effect.

The Norwegian courts have a useful website, available in English, that explains Norway’s judicial system. An unofficial English translation of the Norwegian Penal Code is available here.  Additional resources include the Law Library of Congress Norwegian Law research guide and the Foreign Law Guide database available to the GMUSL community.

Spring and Summer Reference Hours

There will be no Evening Reference Services Monday, May 16- Thursday, May 19.  Reference librarians will be available to help you Monday-Friday, 9:00 AM-5:00 PM.  Regular Evening Reference Hours (Monday-Thursday until 9:00 PM) will resume on Monday, May 23. 

There will be no Sunday References Services until classes resume in August.

University of Michigan Law Students Protest Commencement Speaker

University of Michigan Law School students staged a silent  protest in response to Ohio Senator Rob Portman’s speech at graduation.  Students objected to Senator Portman’s opposition to gay adoption and marriage.  According to one report, close to 100 students quietly exited the commencement ceremony when Portman was introduced, and the majority of graduates wore rainbow buttons or ribbons. 

Would you like to explore the legal issues related to sexual orientation?  In addition to primary legal materials, some resources available to members of the GMUSL community include:

  • Westlaw:  Sexual orientation and the  Law (SEXORIENT)
  • Ebsco:  LGBT Life with Full Text
  • Library Catalog:  Search related subject headings such as:  Gay Rights, Same-sex marriage, or Gay couples–legal status


Law and the Death of Bin Laden

Attorney General Eric Holder told the Senate Judiciary Committee today that killing Bin Laden was “justified as an act of national self-defense.”   One more specific authorization cited by commentators is the 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force  (Pub. L. No. 107-40, 115 Stat. 224). This joint resolution (S.J. Res. 23), issued one week after the September 11 terrorist attacks, authorizes the President to “use all necessary and appropriate force against those . . . he determines planned, authorized, committed or aided” these attacks.  

To explore this issue, please consult the library’s research guides on Homeland Security and International Law.

FBI Warning: Computer Virus

The FBI has issued a press release warning computer users not to open emails “that purport to show photos or videos of Usama bin Laden’s recent death.”  According to the FBI, these emails may contain a malicious computer virus (malware).

 Hat tip to  Barco 2.0:  Law Library Reference Blog.