Extensive renovations of Brooklyn Law School Library began last month. Are you curious where the journals from the old Law Review Room ended up? Wondering about the décor of the new 3rd floor reading room? Watch and find out!
Brooklyn Law School Library’s New Books List for June contains 31 print titles and 11 eBook titles and ranges in subject matter from Abortion — Law and legislation; Sexual minorities — Legal status, laws, — United States; Sex discrimination against women — Law and legislation — United States – History; Genocide – History; Capital punishment – History; and Detention of persons — Cuba — Guantánamo Bay Naval Base.
The title that caught the attention of this reader was Baseball Meets the Law: A Chronology of Decisions, Statutes and Other Legal Events by Edmund P. Edmonds, Notre Dame Law School and Frank G. Houdek, Southern Illinois University School of Law (Call No. KF3989.2. E36 2017). It is a book that strives to cite the entire field of baseball’s intersection with law with nearly 400 individual accounts that, taken together, give a clear picture of the profound effect that law has had on baseball. The chapters include Baseball Origins and Club Teams, 1791-1865 — Professionalization and the Rise of Leagues, 1866-1902 — The National Commission Era, 1903-1920 — Landis in Charge, 1921-1944 — Owners on Top, 1945-1965 — MLBPA and the Rise of the Players, 1966-1995 — Selig, Steroids and Baseball Prosperity. Sweeping in scope, this book leaves no stone unturned about court cases and other legal aspects associated with the national pastime. The authors have taken great pains to produce a magisterially inclusive volume that features a chronological text and a huge bibliography. The book, with its list of cases and statutes , is one that every fan or researcher needs on the shelf to answer any legal question pertaining to baseball.
The book begins by recalling that in 1791, a Pittsfield, Massachusetts, ordinance prohibited ball playing near the town’s meeting house. Ball games on Sundays were barred by a Pennsylvania statute in 1794. It goes on to the story that in 2015, a federal court held that baseball’s exemption from antitrust laws applied to franchise relocations. Another court overturned the conviction of Barry Bonds for obstruction of justice. A third denied a request by rooftop entrepreneurs to enjoin the construction of a massive video screen at Wrigley Field. This exhaustive chronology traces the effects the law has had on the national pastime, both pro and con, on and off the field, from the use of copyright to protect not only equipment but also “Take Me Out to the Ball Game”. An original recording, featuring Edward Meeker and the Edison Orchestra was among the sound recordings selected for preservation by the Library of Congress in its National Recording Registry in 2010. See Baseball’s Greatest Hits: The Music of Our National Game for more on the song including “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” and Suffrage and Love Triangle on the Baseball Diamond.
Thousands of excited (often young) readers and accessible authors…literary cosplay…fans gathering to share their love of a series or genre—that’s BookCon, held at New York’s Javits Center this past weekend.
BookCon is many things. For one long line of enthusiastic fans, it is a chance to meet Nicola Yoon, author of the YA fav Everything, Everything (precis: “girl in the plastic bubble” meets her Mr. Darcy). For my husband Ken Davis, new author of Lifesavers (precis: lawyer caught in tragedy finds redemption through love), it is an opportunity to attend an IngramSpark showcase to help indie authors learn to effectively market their books. For me, it is a chance to discover some compelling titles about social issues in America.
At my first stop on the show floor, Workman Publishing was featuring Why We March, an evocative pictorial history of the January 21st Women’s March in Washington.
One of my favorite images in the book above is the girl from Austin, Texas proudly displaying her hand-colored poster proclaiming: Girls Just Wanna Have Fun-Damental RIGHTS. I bought this book when the exhibitors explained that the royalties from my purchase would be donated to Planned Parenthood.
Next I had the great pleasure of meeting Rosemary Vestal of the University of Nebraska Press. She brought to my attention the gem I’m currently reading: It’s My Country Too: Women’s Military Stories from the American Revolution to Afghanistan.
This anthology highlights the courage and sacrifices of women from Deborah Sampson Gannett (who donned a disguise and joined the Continental Army in 1782) to U.S. Army veteran Brooke King (who served as a mechanic, machine gunner and recovery specialist in Iraq beginning in 2006). Ms. King’s essay on her experiences in Iraq is riveting and haunting.
At the Hachette Books display, Joanna Pinsker piqued my interest in two forthcoming titles: Kennedy and King: The President, the Pastor, and the Battle over Civil Rights (available on June 6, 2017) and Unseen: Unpublished Black History from the New York Times Photo Archives (forthcoming in October 2017). I learned that Unseen will include a photo and story of the courageous and talented Arthur Ashe triumphing in a major tennis championship.
Shout out to the self-described “social justice/rights” author who exhibited on a corner of the “AM” section near the Family Headquarters–I wanted to visit your booth on Sunday afternoon but I had a program conflict. Please send me a link to your author’s page. I read indie books too!
I will end my reflections on my first Con by emphasizing the joy of the fans. I saw it in the face of the teen plucked from the waiting line to receive the last available seat at Margaret Atwood’s panel. (And if even one audience member who is moved by Hulu’s adaptation then chooses to read The Handmaid’s Tale, great!) I saw it in the thrilled reaction of a child who lost BOOM! Studios’ drawing for a two-pound gummy bear but gained a copy of the graphic novel: The Not-So-Secret Society. If you missed BookExpo/BookCon 2017, I hope to see you in my backyard at Brooklyn Book Festival (September 11-17, 2017).
On May 22nd, the United States Supreme Court, in Cooper v. Harris, No. 15-1262, struck down two North Carolina congressional districts holding that race played too large a factor in drawing the districts’ borders. Writing for the 5-3 majority, Justice Kagan said that a plaintiff challenging a voting district must prove that “race (not politics) was the ‘predominant consideration in deciding to place a significant number of voters within or without a particular district.’” If you are interested in learning more about the constitutionality and history of gerrymandering, the library has several resources that can help. Listed below are a few of the more current sources on the topic.
Radical redistricting plans, such as that pushed through by Texas governor Rick Perry in 2003, are frequently used for partisan purposes. Perry’s plan sent twenty-one Republicans (and only eleven Democrats) to Congress in the 2004 elections. Such heavy-handed tactics strike many as contrary to basic democratic principles. In Drawing the Lines, Nicholas R. Seabrook uses a combination of political science methods and legal studies insights to investigate the effects of redistricting on U.S. House elections. He concludes that partisan gerrymandering poses far less of a threat to democratic accountability than conventional wisdom would suggest.—From the publisher
This book considers the causes and consequences of partisan gerrymandering in the U.S. House. The Supreme Court’s decision in Vieth v. Jubelirer (2004) made challenging a district plan on ground of partisan gerrymandering practically impossible. Through a rigorous scientific analysis of US House district maps, the authors argue that partisan bias increased dramatically in the 2010 redistricting round after the Vieth decision, both at the national and state level. From a constitutional perspective, unrestrained partisan gerrymandering poses a critical threat to a central pillar of American democracy — popular sovereignty. State legislatures now effectively determine the political composition of the US House. The book answers the Court’s challenge to find a new standard for gerrymandering that is both constitutionally grounded and legally manageable. It argues that the scientifically rigorous partisan symmetry measure is an appropriate legal standard for partisan gerrymandering, as it is a necessary condition of individual equality and can be practically applied.—From the publisher
Race and Redistricting spotlights efforts to “racially engineer” voting districts in an effort to achieve fair representation. By examining one state’s efforts to confront such dilemmas, it helps readers better understand future disputes over race and politics, as well as the ongoing debates over our “color-blind” constitution.—From the publisher
This three-volume work includes chapters containing the text of primary sources, such as the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments of the Constitution, the Civil Rights Acts, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and legislative documents pertaining to the passage of those laws. Chapters also include scholarly commentary on Gerrymandering Hypocrisy: Supreme Court’s Double Standard, Making Sense Out of the Way We Should Vote, and the Case for Proportional Representation.
Memorial Day, May 29, 2017, was John F. Kennedy’s 100th birthday. We remember him as the man who was the first Irish-Catholic president, as a man with the sharp wit and a beautiful family, as a man with perfect class, so missing in Washington today. He was the man most responsible for putting Americans on the moon. He was the first president in the 20th century to stand up for civil rights, essentially giving his life to have those bills passed, exactly as he wrote them, by President Johnson in the years following his death. He was the man who faced nuclear Armageddon during the Cuban Missile Crisis and who signed the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, making the world a safer place. He worked at his office and managed to inspire young people.
Happy Birthday, Mr. President. You made a difference.
A recent article, The Myth of John F. Kennedy In Film and Television by Gregory Frame in 49 Film & History Issue 6, page 21 (Winter 2016) tells how President John F. Kennedy continues to cast an enormous shadow on U.S. politics, despite the relatively short duration of his tenure. His impact on American culture, history, and society is far from settled, with liberals wondering, for example, whether Kennedy would have withdrawn from Vietnam and would have sustained the cause of Civil Rights and with conservatives wondering how his personal character would have played out politically and whether his gun-shy approach to the military would have subverted American hegemony.
For a fascinating look at the legacy of President Kennedy, read the article by accessing it through the Brooklyn Law School Library’s OneSearch platform at this link. As the author concludes: “Holding on to the myth of Kennedy is like holding on to the myth of American exceptionalism, the eternally young nation, springing into the future with masculine vigor and promise and purpose. How much more desperate does a nation become for that myth after a financial crisis (2008) and extended wars (Iraq and Afghanistan), with little manifest appeal from its president (G.W. Bush) either to the intelligence of bookish academics or to the conscience of an international community? . . . . What yearning for the myth of JFK will emerge under Donald Trump? Or has reality television displaced myth as the paradigm for civic intelligence? Historians suggest that the presidency of John F. Kennedy might have been mediocre but that he nonetheless grasped the changing nature of politics in an image-dominated age; that he deserves credit for the skill with which he developed such an enduring image in the first place. And perhaps he does, for that image presides over the most powerful force in American culture: film and television.”
Also in OneSearch is a review by Iwan Morgan of The Cambridge Companion to John F. Kennedy by Andrew Hoberek available at this link. In the review, the author notes that “Modernity is the theme of many essays ranging from . . . exploration of Kennedy’s unprecedented and still unmatched capacity to project himself on television as the epitome of cool when alive to the significance of the Camelot legacy.” Kennedy’s modernity was more symbol than substance. His brief tenure has become an infinitely renewable resource of hope for anyone invested in the promise of the United States.
Library renovations have begun. To the left is a photo of the old Law Review Room. Once the renovations are finished in mid-August this room will contain offices for four reference librarians, and tables, chairs and soft seating for students. The room will have a mid-century decor.
This is the old Lexis lab on the second mezzanine looking into study room 206M. Both rooms were demolished this week to make space for the offices of the four BLS Journals which will occupy space on both the second floor and the second mezzanine.
While there is no longer printing on the 2nd mezzanine, release stations and printers are available on the second floor opposite the library elevator. A Lexis printer and the Bloomberg terminal have been relocated to the cellar.
We’ll keep you posted as renovations progress. In the meantime, enjoy your summer!
Thirty years ago, before a sparse audience scattered throughout a cavernous auditorium at Cornell University, a petite woman argued passionately about the meaning of the U.S. Constitution. As her fellow symposium panelists — Cornell professors of law, government, and history — debated the technicalities of the document, she pushed for broader questions to be asked on issues that the Constitution is silent on, including “affirmative rights” and “cultural and social guarantees.” ‘’ ‘Our Constitution is defective in that respect’ she said. ‘Why should the U.S. Constitution be a model for the world? Who needs freedom of speech when you have an empty belly?’ ” (Yaukey, Ithaca Journal, September 19, 1987, p. 4A)
Much has changed in the intervening years. That appellate judge and pioneering women’s rights advocate who couldn’t draw a decent-sized crowd at her own alma mater, is now a pop culture icon. Journalists breathlessly report on her fashion sensibilities (fishnet gloves anyone?) or when she is spotted carrying a tote bag with her own face on it. Kids dress up as her for Halloween and adore her coloring book.
One thing hasn’t changed though: Ruth Bader Ginsburg still has plenty to say about the Constitution.
A lot has also been said and written about Justice Ginsburg, who holds an honorary degree from BLS. The following are some relevant titles in the BLS Library collection to consider putting on your summer reading list:
Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg by Irin Carmon & Shana Knizhnik (2015). [Call number: KF8745.G56 C37 2015] The elevation of RBG to her current status as a cultural icon can be traced to the Notorious R.B.G. Tumblr created by Shana Knizhnik, one of the book’s co-authors, in 2013. This title is a colorful and entertaining look at Ginsburg’s life and career. We get plenty of juicy nuggets about her Brooklyn childhood and nickname (Kiki), her favorite bathroom at Cornell where she could get schoolwork done (in the architecture school), the time she couldn’t check a citation as a Harvard Law Review member (the volume was located in a men-only library reading room), and how her mentor Prof. Gerald Gunther had to “blackmail” federal judge Edmund Palmieri so she could secure a clerkship (Justice Frankfurter flatly said no; Judge Learned Hand refused to hire women as he was “potty-mouthed” and did not want to watch his language around women.) Notorious RBG remains accessible even when it starts covering the denser legal material from Ginsburg’s time as a law professor, at the ACLU Women’s Rights Project, and her judicial tenure. Excerpts from the brief she authored in Reed v. Reed (1971), her majority opinion in the VMI gender discrimination case, United States v. Virginia (1996), and the dissent she read from the bench in the equal pay case Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. (2007) (that helped spur passage of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009) are all meticulously annotated so as to be readily understood by the layperson. RBG’s loving marriage to Marty Ginsburg shines through: the last note he wrote to her before he died from cancer, reproduced in the original, is especially touching. Even if you don’t want to read all the material, skimming through the many photographs and illustrations in the volume can be a joy.
My Own Words by Ruth Bader Ginsburg, with Mary Hartnett and Wendy W. Williams (2016) [Call number: KF373.G565 G56 2016] My Own Words is a collection of Ginsburg’s writings and speeches which are given context by short introductory essays by her co-authors. Especially interesting are the early documents: a school newspaper editorial from June 1946 that champions the new United Nations Charter; “One People”, a 1946 article for the East Midwood Jewish Center Bulletin (religious school graduation issue) discussing post-war unity; and a 1953 letter to the editor published in the Cornell Daily Sun titled “Wiretapping: Cure worse than Disease?” We get some insight into Ginsburg’s love for opera, friendship with Justice Antonin Scalia, and why her given name Joan never stuck. Her family and marriage get some attention: husband Marty was a true partner, did all the cooking, and was the biggest champion of his wife — decades after the fact, he remained annoyed at Harvard Law School for not allowing RBG to be awarded a Harvard degree after completing her third year at Columbia. Yet My Own Words feels incomplete: despite the many speeches, law review articles, briefs, and judicial opinions contained in the volume, Ginsburg’s personality and character remain elusive. This is a function of the limited scope of the project: RBG’s co-authors Mary Hartnett and Wendy Williams are her official biographers, and one gets the sense that more personally revealing anecdotes and materials are being held back for the main publication that will follow.
The Legacy of Ruth Bader Ginsburg by Scott Dodson (ed.) (2015) [Call number: KF8745.G56 L4499 2015] This volume is a collection of 16 essays from legal luminaries that include Herma Hill Kay, Nina Totenberg, Lani Guinier, Tom Goldstein, and many more. Linda Kerber’s essay “Before Frontiero there was Reed” vividly traces the history of Reed v. Reed, the first case in which the Supreme Court held that arbitrary discrimination based on gender violated the Equal Protection clause. As Kerber writes, Ginsburg added the names of Pauli Murray and Dorothy Kenyon to her Reed brief; even though neither had written a word, RBG “understood more clearly than anyone of her time the debt that the women of her generation [ ] owed to those of preceding generations.” Many of the essays focus on doctrine — criminal procedure, jurisdiction, federalism — but the closing essays speak to her temperament and approach to life and the law. The closing essay “Fire and Ice: Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the Least Likely Firebrand” by Dahlia Lithwick is especially revealing. Lithwick describes how Ginsburg’s judicial voice grew exponentially after Justice O’Connor retired and RBG was left the only woman on the court. Faced with the male Justices’ insensitivities during oral argument in Safford Unified School District v. Redding (2009), a case in which school officials strip searched a teenaged female student, RBG took the unprecedented step of granting an interview while the decision was still pending. In the interview, Ginsburg told Joan Biskupic of USA Today (who was also Justice O’Connor’s biographer) that her colleagues “have never been a 13-year-old girl” and that more women were needed on the court. The student prevailed 8-1 in her claim against the school district. And perhaps it was no coincidence that just 3 weeks after the USA Today interview was published, President Obama nominated Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court.
Sisters in Law: How Sandra Day O’Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg went to the Supreme Court and changed the world by Linda Hirshman (2015). [Call number: KF8744 .H57 2015] Sisters in Law traces the background of two ostensibly very different women, one a Goldwater Girl, the other a card-carrying member of the ACLU, who ended up as pioneers on the Supreme Court. Justice O’Connor was known to be a centrist, a “justice-as-legislator” who believed in “playing defense” to protect hard-earned gains and who adhered to incrementalism. In contrast, Ginsburg with her litigation and advocacy background was used to “playing offense.” Nevertheless, once RBG reached the court, she quickly determined that of all the relationships she needed to develop, the most important was the one with O’Connor. Justice O’Connor, who had over the years been fed many of RBG’s clerks, reciprocated. Contrary to tradition, RBG’s first assigned majority opinion for the court was not a unanimous decision but rather a complex ERISA case on which the Justices had split 6-3. After Ginsburg had successfully navigated her way through this first challenge, O’Connor, who had dissented, sent her a note that read: “This is your first opinion for the Court, it is a fine one, I look forward to many more.” Hirshman also includes an anecdote about how RBG, as the first Jewish justice in a generation, helped change court practices. Upon joining the court, Ginsburg sent a letter to Chief Justice Rehnquist, siding with Orthodox Jewish lawyers who objected to the year on their certificates of admission being worded as “The Year of Our Lord.” She encountered resistance from an unnamed colleague (the author suspects Rehnquist or Blackmun) “Why are you making a fuss about this? It was good enough for Brandeis, it was good enough for Cardozo and Frankfurter.” RBG’s response? “It’s not good enough for Ginsburg.” The Court ultimately acquiesced. There is plenty in this book to chew on about both the differences and shared experiences of the first two female Supreme Court Justices, and how they have changed the dynamic of the Court forever.
The Library’s summer hours May 13th – August 20th are as follows:
Saturday & Sunday, May 13 & 14 (Writing Competition Weekend): 9am – 12am
May 15 – May 31:
Monday – Saturday: 9am-10pm; Sunday: 10am-10pm; Memorial Day, Monday, May 29: Closed.
June 1 – July 4:
Monday – Thursday: 9am-12am; Friday & Saturday: 9am-10pm; Sunday: 10am-10pm; Independence Day, Tuesday, July 4: 9am-5pm.
July 5 – July 24:
Monday – Saturday: 9am-12am; Sunday: 10am-12am.
July 25 – August 20:
Monday – Thursday: 9am-10pm; Friday & Saturday: 9am-5pm; Sunday: 10am-6pm.
What’s Going on Here?
The 3rd floor will be closed while the library administrative and technical services area, containing the offices of the Library Director, and the staff who orders, processes and catalogs all library materials, are moved temporarily into the Subin Reading Room. Their office space, as well as the law review room, pictured at left, and currently containing no law reviews, undergoes asbestos abatement and the installation of sprinklers. The 3rd floor computer lab will also be closed for the summer.
The law review room will then be transformed into office space for several reference librarians on one side of the room and study/lounge space on the other side for students. There will be new carpeting, tables, chairs, soft seating, etc. — all in a new mid-century decor.
The 2nd floor statutory collection and the 2nd mezzanine computer labs will become the offices of the Brooklyn Law Review, the Brooklyn Journal of International Law, the Journal of Law and Policy and the Brooklyn Journal of Corporate, Financial and Commercial Law. The computers and printers currently in the two labs will be relocated to other locations throughout the library.
All the renovations are scheduled to be completed by mid-August. Graduating students who will be studying for the bar exam over the summer may use another local law school library if they like since there will be some contraction of available study space during these renovations. The school will reimburse graduating students the fee they have to pay to use one other law school library. If there are questions about which law school libraries are available for bar exam study, please inquire at the reference desk.
The Brooklyn Law School Library May 1, 2017, New Book List is now online and has 52 print titles and 31 eBook titles. The subject areas consist of law, history and even fiction. Subjects are Executive orders — United States – Corporate governance — United States; Judicial power — United States; Solo law practice — United States; War crime trials — History — 20th century; Sexual rights — United States — History; Scalia, Antonin; Trial practice — United States. Like law school libraries throughout the country, the BLS Library has scholarly material subjects for legal researchers in its collection and on the New Book List.
Consider these new acquisitions:
Calling the Shots: The President, Executive Orders, and Public Policy (Call No. KF5053. G58 2017) by Daniel P. Gitterman, Professor of Public Policy at University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. This 288-page book explains how modern presidents have used the power as purchaser to require federal contractors to pay a minimum wage and to prohibit contracting with federal contractors that knowingly employ unauthorized alien workers. This book is very timely as that author believes that the current administration will likely use a mix of executive orders and memorandums. Unlike executive orders, memorandums aren’t thoroughly recorded by the government. He says that “Memorandums go below the radar much more and are harder for, I think, the news media and the public to track”
Dear Chairman: Boardroom Battles and the Rise of Shareholder Activism (Call No. HD2744. G73 2015) by Jeff Gramm, Adjunct Associate Professor of Finance and Economics at Columbia Business School. In 291 pages, the book gives a rich history of shareholder activism that has been described as “a grand story” and an “illuminating read” by the Wall Street Journal, “a revelation” by the Financial Times, and “an excellent read” by Andrew Ross Sorkin at the New York Times. Last month, the author presented a Book Talk sponsored by the Center for the Study of Business Law & Regulation at Brooklyn Law School. For details, see this link.
The Unexpected Scalia: A Conservative Justice’s Liberal Opinions (Call No. KF8745.S33 D67 2017) by David M. Dorsen, a Washington lawyer with Sedgwick, LLP. In 377 pages, the book by a close friend of Scalia describes the subject as a leader in opposing abortion, the right to die, affirmative action, and mandated equality for gays and lesbians, and was for virtually untrammeled gun rights, political expenditures, and the imposition of the death penalty. However, he usually followed where his doctrine would take him, leading him to write many liberal opinions.
Fiction is also on the New Book List. See, for example, The Advocate’s Daughter: A Thriller (Call No. PS3606.R4228 A67 2016) by Anthony J. Franze who tells a story of family, power, loss, and revenge set within the insular world of Washington, D.C. The story focuses on Sean Serrat, a Supreme Court lawyer on the short list to be nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court. His daughter, Abby, a talented and dedicated law student, goes missing and her lifeless body is found in the library of the Supreme Court. Her boyfriend, Malik Montgomery, a law clerk at the high court, is immediately arrested. The media frenzy leads to allegations that Malik’s arrest was racially motivated, sparking a national controversy. While the Serrat family works through their grief, Sean begins to suspect the authorities arrested the wrong person. Delving into the mysteries of his daughter’s last days, Sean stumbles over secrets within his own family as well as the lies of some of the most powerful people in the country. People will stop at nothing to ensure that Sean never exposes the truth.
With the summer quickly approaching, some of you may be thinking about your summer internships or associateships. Your summer positions will require you to practice and hone your lawyering skills, such as interviewing clients or preparing for trial or a negotiation. If you are looking for a space to practice these skills, look no further than Library room 111. Room 111, otherwise known as the TechCo (Technology Collaboration) Lab, is designed specifically for these types of simulations. In the Tech CoLab, students can connect a laptop to a projector system with a wall-mounted screen, allowing them to work together on online projects, Skype with people in other locations, and record their own presentations for later review. The lab is located on the first floor of the library by the copiers and scanners.
If you are interested in using the lab, you should email firstname.lastname@example.org. At the time of your reservation, ask someone at the circulation or reference desk for access to the room. (It needs to be unlocked for use.) An instruction sheet for using the equipment is available in the room.