Just because you don’t see a librarian sitting at the reference desk, does not mean we are not there to help. The library has many virtual reference tools to help you with your research. For example, you can always email the library at email@example.com. You can also look through our extensive FAQ list to see if your question has previously been answered. You can find our FAQs at askthelibrary.brooklaw.edu. You can also browse through our research guides to see if we have created one to address the issue you are researching. You can access a list of the library’s research guides at guides.brooklaw.edu.
If we are not sitting at the reference desk, but you see the chat symbol on BLSConnect or the Library’s webpage, click on it to contact a reference librarian for help. You can also text us at 718-734-2432. And of course, often times, we are only a phone call away at 718-780-7567. If a librarian is not available to help at that time, one will get back to you as soon as she is available. Reference librarians generally answer reference questions, Monday – Thursday from 9 am-8 pm and on Saturday from 12 pm – 5 pm.
An article in a recent issue of The New Yorker features Brooklyn Law School alum Carrie Goldberg, Class of 2007, as a leader in the crusade against non-consensual pornography, also called “revenge porn.” A founder of the Brooklyn firm C.A. Goldberg, PLLC, she is at the forefront of a movement to use both new and existing laws to penalize individuals who share compromising photos and videos of others without their consent. From her practice not far from the Law School, Goldberg assists clients like Norma, whose story of harassment by a former partner who shared explicit photos of her on the internet is chronicled in the article. Author Margaret Talbot calls Goldberg “a new kind of privacy champion,” detailing Goldberg’s many accomplishments in this new field, from successful prosecutions of revenge porn perpetrators to a major role in an activist campaign to get social media platforms and search engines to ban revenge porn. The article notes Goldberg’s recent hire of a fellow Brooklyn Law School graduate, Lindsay Lieberman, Class of 2011. Earlier this year, Goldberg spoke at the White House to members of the Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault about sexual assault in k-12 with the crew at SurvJustice, a national not-for-profit organization that increases the prospect of justice for survivors by holding both perpetrators and enablers of sexual violence accountable.
The Brooklyn Law School Library collection included Hate Crimes in Cyberspace by Danielle Keats Citron (Call No. HV6773.15.C92 C57 2014). The book covers the subject of trolling or aggressive, foul-mouthed posts designed to elicit angry responses in a site’s comments. The author exposes the startling extent of personal cyber-attacks and proposes practical, lawful ways to prevent and punish online harassment. Persistent online attacks disproportionately target women and frequently include detailed fantasies of rape as well as reputation-ruining lies and sexually explicit photographs. And if dealing with a single attacker’s “revenge porn” were not enough, harassing posts that make their way onto social media sites often feed on one another, turning lone instigators into cyber-mobs. The book rejects the view of the Internet as an anarchic Wild West, where those who venture online must be thick-skinned enough to endure all manner of verbal assault in the name of free speech protection, no matter how distasteful or abusive. Cyber-harassment is a matter of civil rights law, Citron contends, and legal precedents as well as social norms of decency and civility must be leveraged to stop it.
Library hours for the reading and exam period, Thursday, December 8th – Thursday, December 22th, are 8:00am – 2:00am.
The circulation desk will close at 12:00am every night during this period.
On Friday, December 23rd we will be open from 9:00am – 5:00pm.
During the reading and exam period study room reservations are mandatory. All study rooms will be locked beginning at 8:00am on Thursday, December 8th and students must go to the circulation desk at the time of their reservation to obtain the key to the room. Please remember the following about the use of the study rooms during the reading/exam period:
- Study rooms are for the use of groups of two or more students.
- Study rooms may be reserved for the current day and three days ahead.
- Study room reservations may be made in time slots of 60 minutes.
- Students may book up to 4 time slots per day.
- The link to the study room reservations is on the library web page under “Related Links.”
The BLS Library 2016 Thanksgiving Schedule
Wednesday 11/23 9:00 am – 10:00 pm
Thursday Thanksgiving CLOSED
Friday 11/25 9:00 am – 10:00 pm
Saturday 11/26 9:00 am – 10:00 pm
Sunday 11/27 10:00 am – Midnight
Election Day 2016 is not the first where a candidate for president won the most electoral votes, thus winning the presidency, but failed to win the popular vote. The unique American system provides no direct election of President and Vice-President. Since 1789, Electors chose successful candidates for those seats. The process is directed by the legislature of each state, either by popular vote or some other selection process. On the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December (which occurs this year on December 19, 2016), the electors meet in their respective States to cast their votes for President and Vice President of the United States. Article II, Section 1, clause 2 reads: “Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress”.
The Electoral College decides how the nation’s Chief Executive is chosen. It dates back to the Federalist Papers. See Federalist 68, The Mode of Electing the President by Alexander Hamilton dated March 14, 1788. The pro-slavery influences of the electoral college surrounded the debate on the mode of electing the president. James Wilson proposed to a direct election by the people, but gained no support and it was decided the president was to be elected by Congress. When the constitution was considered, Gouverneur Morris brought the debate back up and decided he too wanted the people to choose the president. James Madison agreed that election of the people at large is the best way to go about electing the president, but knew that the slave states would not be influential with such a system, and so he backed the electoral college.
Instances in the nation’s history when popular vote totals for president differed from the elector count are:
- The 1824 election was a four-man race. The top two candidates were Andrew Jackson and John Quincy Adams who won despite losing both the popular vote and the electoral vote. Andrew Jackson won 151,271 popular votes (41.4%) to Adams’ 113,122 votes (30.9%), roughly 38,000 fewer popular votes than Jackson who also defeated Adams in the electoral vote by 99 to 84. Neither candidate reached the majority 131 electoral votes so the House of Representatives met to select Adams.
- The highly contentious 1876 election showed Democratic New York governor Samuel Tilden winning the popular vote over Republican Ohio governor Rutherford B. Hayes with 4,284,020 (51%) to Hayes’s 4,036,572 (48%), a margin of less than 250,000. The electoral vote was Tilden 184 (one short of a majority) and Hayes 165 (20 ballots short). The remaining electoral votes were in dispute over voter fraud, mostly in three Southern states with Reconstruction governments: Florida, Louisiana, and South Carolina. Congress set up a special electoral 15-member commission of congressmen and Supreme Court justices. Two days before inauguration, on an 8-7 party line vote, the commission gave the disputed electoral votes to Hayes, who won by one electoral vote.
- In 1888, Benjamin Harrison won the presidency with 233 electoral votes to Grover Cleveland’s 168. Harrison lost the popular vote by more than 90,000 votes winning 5,443,892 (47.8%). Cleveland’s vote total was 5,534,488 (48.6%).
- The 2000 contest between the Republican George W. Bush and the Democrat Al Gore saw the popular vote winner lose because of the electoral vote count. Gore got 50,999,897 (48.4%) compared to Bush who had 50,456,002 votes (47.9%). The election hinged on the close vote in Florida, which prompted a mandatory recount. Litigation reached the US Supreme Court which ruled on December 12, 2000 in the 5–4 decision Bush v. Gore, ending the recounts, effectively awarding Florida’s votes to Bush. Bush won the electoral vote, 271 to 266.
- The 1800 election had no records of popular votes as electors were chosen by state legislatures. Thomas Jefferson won 73 electoral votes to John Adams who won 69. Jefferson’s margin of victory came from electoral votes created by counting slaves for purposes of representation, which led to a greater number of electors for each state. States that Jefferson carried had fewer voters. If the election were decided by popular votes, Adams would have won.
Calls for reform of electoral reform are likely after this election as they were in earlier ones. See in the Brooklyn Law School Library, Electoral College Reform: Challenges and Possibilities by Gary Bugh who says the Electoral College system was last updated by the Twelfth Amendment in 1804, despite public opinion polls showing a majority of Americans are in favor of changing or outright abolishing it. The book has essays examining all aspects of the debate, including the reasons for reform, the issues surrounding a constitutional amendment, the effect of the Electoral College on political campaigns and the possibilities for extra-constitutional avenues to change. The authors consider both the Federalists’ vision of balanced representation and a more democratic and equality-based ideal. The volume explores the potential for changing a system that many contend is long overdue. After the 2000 election, Professor Paul Finkelman’s article The Proslavery Origins of the Electoral College was published at 23 Cardozo Law Review 1145 (2002). Another article worth reading is by S.M. Sheppard titled A Case for the Electoral College and for Its Faithless Elector, published in the 2015 Wisconsin Law Review Online.
To learn about the Reform the Electoral College movement so the electoral vote reflects the nationwide popular vote for President, see the website of the National Popular Vote.
If you are someone who likes to stay up on the latest and greatest, you might be interested in monitoring the Library’s New Book List. Each month the library publishes a list with its most recent acquisitions. To access the list, go to the SARA catalog and select the New Book List Tab. These titles are not yet on the shelf. If you would like to check one out, you can stop by the reference desk or email Spencer Province (firstname.lastname@example.org). He will place it on the circulation hold desk for you to check out.
A few of the latest titles for the month of November include:
Denise A. Hannigan, “Guns Don’t Kill People, People Kill People”: And Other Myths About Guns and Gun Control” (2016).
Jill Norgen, Belva Lockwood: The Woman Who Would be President (2016).
Heather Ann Thompson, Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and its Legacy (2016).
Jordan Fisher Smith, Engineering Eden: The True Story of a Violent Death, a Trial, and the Fight over Controlling Nature (2016).
Laura Weinrib, The Taming of Free Speech: America’s Civil Liberties Compromise (2016).
On Monday, October 31, the Supreme Court will hear oral argument in Fry v. Napoleon Community Schools, an appeal by a 12-year-old Michigan girl with cerebral palsy who was not allowed to bring her service dog to school. The Court will consider whether Ehlena Fry’s family can sue the school district for violations of federal disability laws. Fry’s family obtained a goldendoodle, Wonder, to help her open doors and retrieve items. Her school district initially refused to allow Wonder at school. Officials relented a bit in 2010, but they placed many restrictions on Wonder. Ehlena and her dog later transferred to another school.
The family sued the school district in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan for violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Rehabilitation Act. In January 2014, the court in EF ex rel. Fry v. Napoleon Community Schools, 2014 WL 106624 (subscription required) granted the defendant’s motion to dismiss the complaint ruling that the plaintiffs first had to seek an administrative hearing. In June 2015, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in Fry v. Napoleon Community Schools, 788 F. 3d 622 upheld that decision 2-1. The American Civil Liberties Union is representing the family. School districts around the country have repeatedly denied children with disabilities their right to bring service dogs to school often claiming the service animals are not necessary and that the schools can help the children through other means. The ACLU wants the justices to declare that children prevented from using service animals at school can proceed directly to court without having to go through administrative hearings that can be costly, time consuming and burdensome. The ACLU Petition for Certiorari is available here. See also Ehlena and Wonder the Service Dog’s Incredible Journey to the Supreme Court and the video that the ACLU posted about her.
The school argues that exhausting administrative remedies encourages parents and schools to work together to determine the best plan for each child and are a cheaper way to resolve educational disputes. The Obama administration has backed the Fry family, saying the appeals court’s decision was wrong and “leads to unsound results.” The government said when the lawsuit was filed, Ehlena had already moved to a new school district and there was no ongoing dispute to compromise. Requiring her to go through administrative proceedings “would waste time and resources without offering any chance of resolving their actual dispute,” the Justice Department said in a brief to the court.
On the subject of service pets, SARA, the Brooklyn Law School Library catalog links to an online resource by the Office of the New York State Attorney General Civil Rights Bureau titled Freedom on Four Legs: Service Animals, Individuals with Disabilities, and the Law.
The BLS Library is offering a webinar and a live training session to introduce students & faculty to the LexisNexis Digital Library. As described in Reference Librarian Rosemary Campagna’s blog of October 15, 2016, the Library recently acquired a subscription to the LexisNexis Digital Library which gives students access to treatises, practice guides, and study aids in eBook format.
In order to formally introduce students and faculty to this important new resource, the Library is offering both a webinar and a live training session for the LexisNexis Digital Library. Both sessions will cover the following topics:
- How to access (both on-campus and off-campus)
- Our library’s collection
- Tools and functionality
- Locating a title/volumes
- Borrowing volumes
- Linking on-line research with “print” research
- Recent and forthcoming enhancements
These sixty minute sessions will be offered on the following dates/times:
UPDATE: THE PREVIOUSLY SCHEDULED WEBINAR FOR THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 3rd WILL BE REPLACED BY A LIVE TRAINING SESSION ON THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 10, 2016, 11AM-12NOON IN LIBRARY ROOM 113M. SPACE IS LIMITED. EMAIL to: email@example.com, if you would like to attend.
WEBINAR: Monday, November 7, 2016, 4:00PM-5:00PM.
The instructor for both training sessions is Damian A. Burns, LexisNexis Digital & Print Sales Engineer, Damian.A.Burns@LexisNexis.com
Please follow this link at the time of the November 7th webinar to participate:
Current law students and faculty can access the Law Library’s new subscription to the LexisNexis Digital Library. This new subscription gives provides access to primary law, code books, treatises as well as study aids, such as the Understanding and Questions and Answers series. Just sign in with your BLS user name and password for access.
The LexisNexis Digital Library provides eBook lending capabilities, much like lending a physical book. The books are accessible via computer, smartphone and tablets. They are compatible with all major devices (Apple® products, Android, Amazon® Kindle®, etc.). You can access them 24/7.
Borrowing times vary depending on the format, ranging from 7 days for a study aid and 30 days for a treatise. We also have multiple copies of titles, so several users may access them at once.
Check out the Lexis/Nexis Digital Library and see what it has to offer.