Library 4th Floor Now Open

Dean Keene just announced that the Library’s 4th floor is now open for students and faculty to use. The 4th floor offers five study rooms for students’ use (check out at the Circulation Desk), several study tables, and a few soft chairs. You can access the 4th floor from the Library’s elevator or the Library’s stairwell. Please keep your voices low while studying on the 4th floor; noise will travel to the 3rd floor. As in other places in the Library: food is not allowed, and drinks must be in a container with a lid. This summer, books will be moved up to the 4th floor shelves. Enjoy this lovely, sunny, new study space. If you have any feedback, feel free to email Dean Keene at

Celebrating African American History Month

As each president has since 1996, President Obama proclaimed February as National African American History Month.  This year’s theme is “Black Women in American Culture and History.”  In honor of this celebration, below are the names of a few of the African American women who have been pioneers in the legal profession:

Viloette M. Anderson First African American woman lawyer to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court (1926)
Jane M. Bolin FirstAfrican American graduate of Yale Law School (1931) and the first to become a judge (1939)
Lani Guinier First tenured African American woman professor at Harvard Law School (1998)
Amalya Kearse First African American woman appointed to a United States Court of Appeals (1979)
Constance B. Motley First African American woman appointed to the Federal Judiciary (1966)
Charlotte E. Ray First African American woman to become an attorney (1872)

To learn more about National African American History Month, please visit the Library of Congress website here.

Westlaw v. WestlawNext – the Showdown

Rob Willey and Melanie Oberlin are recruiting GMU law students to participate in our study comparing Westlaw and WestlawNext. If you complete our study in which you answer 10 questions using Westlaw and 10 using WestlawNext, we will give you a $5 gift card to Starbucks and enter you in a drawing to win a Kindle Fire E-reader. The study will take about 1 hour to complete. Our next sessions are at the following times:

  • Wednesday, February 22 at Noon in Computer Lab 342.
  • Wednesday, March 7 at Noon in Computer Lab 342.
  • Thursday, March 8 at 5:00 in Computer Lab 342.

If you’re interested in completing the study but you prefer to do it on your own time, please contact Melanie or Rob for more information.

Happy Monday Holiday

George Washington’s Birthday?  President’s Day? In Virginia, the third Monday in February is officially designated as “George Washington Day.”  VA. CODE ANN § 2.2-3300 (2011).

But no rest for weary law students.  Classes are in session, and the law library will operate with regular hours.

Where to Find the President’s Fiscal 2013 Budget

The President’s Budget is made available to the public by the Government Printing Office (GPO). The National Journal has photos of GPO employees producing these documents in print—each set reportedly weighing about 10 pounds.

Online, the Budget is available in PDF format on FDsys.  For the first time, the documents are also available from GPO as an app, available here or by scanning a QR code.

Another place to find the Budget is the White House Website, on the Office of Management and Budget page.

In addition, the law library has the budget available on CD-ROM.

Love and the Constitution

Forty-five years ago, the Supreme Court struck down state prohibition of interracial marriage. At the time, 16 states had laws outlawing marriage between a man and a woman of different races (many more had prohibited interracial marriage at some period before repealing these statues).

In Loving v. Virginia, 388 U.S.1, 12 (1967), the Court unanimously held Virginia’s anti-miscegenation statute unconstitutional:

Marriage is one of the “basic civil rights of man,” fundamental to our very existence and survival. . . . To deny this fundamental freedom on so unsupportable a basis as the racial classifications embodied in these statutes, classifications so directly subversive of the principle of equality at the heart of the Fourteenth Amendment, is surely to deprive all the State’s citizens of liberty without due process of law. The Fourteenth Amendment requires that the freedom of choice to marry not be restricted by invidious racial discriminations. Under our Constitution, the freedom to marry, or not marry, a person of another race resides with the individual, and cannot be infringed by the State.

As reported in the ABA Journal, a new documentary about the Loving case, The Loving Story, will premier on HBO today.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Lexis Advance Launch

Lexis Advance has announced special programs for GMUSL Students next week:

ID Registration: Receive a $5 Starbucks gift card for registering your Lexis Advance ID

Lexis Advance Table Day 2/14

o Stop by to register your ID, pick up your $5 Starbucks gift card, and enjoy some snacks!

Lexis Advance Classes with pizza and Camelbak water bottles!

o Wednesday, 2/15 at 11:45 in room 332

o Wednesday, 2/15 at 5:00 PM in room 221

o Thursday, 2/16 at 11:45 in room 332

o Thursday, 2/16 at 5:00 PM in room 332

o Pizza will only be ordered for those who register. To register, go to, click the My School tab, and then select the session that works best for you.

· Lexis Advance Raffle

o By registering your Lexis Advance ID and attending a Lexis Advance class, you will be entered into a raffle for a $150 Amazon gift card!

“Take nothing on its looks; take everything on evidence”*

Today marks the 200th anniversary of Charles Dickens’ birth. Dickens, of course, was a prolific chronicler of English law and legal institutions—-warts and all. Dickens’ descriptions of the law and lawyers often did not paint a rosy picture.  See this recent New York Times Op-ed piece.

But two centuries later, Dickens remains an influential voice in the legal world.  His books are referenced in hundreds of law review articles.  Last Term, Chef Justice Roberts began an opinion quoting Bleak House.  Stern v. Marshall, 564 U.S. _, 131 S. Ct. 2594, 2600 (2011).

Happy Bicentennial Charles Dickens!

*Great Expectations

Harvard Law School Event on the Impact of Citizens United

At a recent event sponsored by the Harvard Law School American Constitution Society, HLS Professor Lawrence Lessig, author of Republic Lost:  How Money Corrupts Congress and a Plan to Stop It and Jeff Clements, author of  Corporations Are Not People shared their views on the the aftermath of Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission.  A video of this discussion is available here.