Independence Day marks the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. But what exactly is this document? It is printed in Statutes at Large. It is included in the United States Code as one of “The Organic Laws of the United States of America.” It has been mentioned periodically in Supreme Court decisions. Not surprisingly, the relevance of this document has been the subject of some debate in the legal academy. “Declaration of Independence” as a title search in HeinOnline will yield several articles.
Visit the National Archives website to view images of the Declaration of Independence and to read a brief history of this document. The original is housed in the Rotunda for the Charters of Freedom. You can also view a 1998 video of then members of the Supreme Court reading the complete text.
The law library will be closed on Wednesday, July 4 in observance of Independence Day. Enjoy the fireworks!
The Supreme Court has issued its decision in National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius reviewing the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Public Law 111-148, 124 Stat. 119 (2010). The Court upheld the “individual mandate” as constitutional under the Congress’ power to tax under Article 1, Section 8, Clause 1. Chief Justice Roberts wrote the opinion for the majority, in which Justices Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan joined.
The Supreme Court has issued its decision in Arizona v. United States. The Court invalidated three sections of SB 1070 (Sections 3, 5 (C), and 6) holding that they are preempted by Federal Law. The Court found it could not determine if Section 2(B), which requires police to check the immigration status of individuals detained, was preempted as it had not been yet been construed by the Arizona state courts.
The majority opinion was written by Justice Kennedy, joined by Chief Justice Roberts, and Justices Ginsburg, Breyer, and Sotomayor. Former Solicitor General, Justice Kagan, did not participate in the decision.
Scotus Blog is a excellent resource for detailed analysis of this decision.
Under Article VII of the U.S. Constitution: “The Ratification of the Conventions of nine States, shall be sufficient for the Establishment of this Constitution between the States so ratifying the Same.” On June 21, 1788, New Hampshire became the ninth state to ratify the U.S. Constitution, allowing it to become the nation’s governing document.
Want to learn more about Constitutional History? Two sources for GMUSL patrons to explore are:
HeinOnline’s Legal Classics Library: Includes more than 2,700 works “from some of the greatest legal minds in history.” The collection focuses on constitutional law, comparative law, and political science. Browse by title, name, author, or subject.
The Making of Modern Law Primary Sources, 1620-1926: Searchable digital archive that includes published records of the American colonies and state constitutional conventions.
GMUSL Students: If you have library fines above $25.00, a hold will be placed on your account and you will not be able to register for classes. Registration begins tomorrow, so please stop by the library and pay by check or cash (exact change, no credit cards). Questions? Call the Circulation Desk 703.993.8120.
An article posted on WorldWideLearn lists law professors who “dominate the Twitter-verse, either through the wit, volume or audience.” Inclusion on the list was based on “the quality of the tweets, the number of followers and the most active users.” Check out the list of prolific tweeters here.
Flag Day marks the adoption of the Stars and Stripes by the Continental Congress on June 14, 1777. As explained in President Obama’s Proclamation of Flag Day and National Flag Week:
To commemorate the adoption of our flag, the Congress, by joint resolution approved August 3, 1949, as amended (63 Stat. 492), designated June 14 of each year as “Flag Day” and requested that the President issue an annual proclamation calling for its observance and for the display of the flag of the United States on all Federal Government buildings. The Congress also requested, by joint resolution approved June 9, 1966, as amended (80 Stat. 194), that the President annually issue a proclamation designating the week in which June 14 occurs as “National Flag Week” and call upon citizens of the United States to display the flag during that week.
The entire presidential proclamation is available on the White White House website, here.
The National Women’s Law Center is offering a training program in Washington, D.C. on June 15, from 9:00am – 5:00pm, titled: Reproductive Law and Policy 101. The program is free, breakfast and lunch will be provided, and is available to currently enrolled law students. The program includes a career panel on “Jobs in Reproductive Law and Policy.” Register here.
Citation analysis is one measure of an article’s influence in the legal community. The Michigan Law Review has published an article, written by two librarians, titled: The Most-Cited Law Review Articles of All Time. The data collected includes the 100 most-cited legal articles. Here’s the top 10 list:
- R.H. Coase, The Problem of Social Cost, 3 J.L. & Econ. 1 (1960).
- Samuel D. Warren & Louis D. Brandeis, The Right to Privacy, 4 Harv. L. Rev.
- O.W. Holmes, The Path of the Law, 10 Harv. L. Rev. 457 (1897).
- Gerald Gunther, The Supreme Court, 1971 Term—Foreword: In Search of Evolving Doctrine on a Changing Court: A Model for a Newer Equal Protection, 86 Harv. L. Rev. 1 (1972).
- Herbert Wechsler, Toward Neutral Principles of Constitutional Law, 73 Harv. L.
Rev. 1 (1959).
- Guido Calabresi & A. Douglas Melamed, Property Rules, Liability Rules, and
Inalienability: One View of the Cathedral, 85 Harv. L. Rev. 1089 (1972).
- Charles A. Reich, The New Property, 73 Yale L.J . 733 (1964).
- Charles R. Lawrence III, The Id, the Ego, and Equal Protection: Reckoning with
Unconscious Racism, 39 Stan. L. Rev. 317 (1987).
- William J. Brennan, Jr., State Constitutions and the Protection of Individual
Rights, 90 Harv. L. Rev. 489 (1977).
- Robert H. Bork, Neutral Principles and Some First Amendment Problems, 47 Ind. L.J. 1 (1971).