Government Shutdown Resources: CRS Reports

The Congressional Research Service (CRS) is a non-partisan agency within the Library of Congress that provides confidential and authoritative analysis on policy issues for Members of Congress and their staff.  The CRS has a staff of about 600 employees including policy analysts, economists, scientists, lawyers, and librarians.  Following the passage of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018, CRS reports have been made publicly available. Currently, the official public website provides access to the in-depth “R-series” reports though the full inventory is not slated for full migration to the website until spring 2019, and there is no specified timeline for access to the agency’s shorter written products (Insight, In Focus, Legal Sidebar, etc.).  Some publications in the R-series, as well as in the other CRS product series, can also be found on non-official sites including Every CRS Report, and the Federation of American Scientists (FAS) CRS Portal.

crsreports.congress.gov

As the government shutdown continues to drag on, CRS reports can provide valuable analysis and insight. Some relevant reports include:

Economic Effects of the FY2019 Government Shutdown (January 2019) This CRS Insight, written by an Macroeconomic Policy Specialist,  provides a brief analysis of the potential economic effects of the current FY2019 shutdown.

How a Government Shutdown Affects Government Contracts (January 2019) Written by a legislative attorney, this CRS Legal Sidebar examines “possible effects that a government shutdown could have on new and existing federal contracts.”

Past Government Shutdowns: Key Resources (updated January 2019). The report provides an “annotated list of historical documents and other resources related to several past government shutdowns. Sources for these documents and resources include the Congressional Research Service (CRS), Government Accountability Office (GAO), House and Senate Committees, Office of Management and Budget (OMB), Office of Personnel Management (OPM), and Executive Office of the President.”

Shutdown of the Federal Government: Causes, Processes, and Effect  (updated December 2018) This in-depth report covers “causes of shutdowns, including the legal framework under which they may occur; processes related to how agencies may plan for the contingency of a shutdown; effects of shutdowns, focusing especially on federal personnel and government operations; and issues related to shutdowns that may be of interest to Congress.” In case you were wondering, because of their responsibilities under the Constitution and a permanent appropriation covering congressional pay, “Members of Congress are not subject to furlough.”

Federal Funding Gaps: A Brief Overview  (updated March 2018)  Provides an overview and analysis of federal funding gaps, which is not synonymous with a government shutdown. “The interval during the fiscal year when appropriations for a particular project or activity are not enacted into law, either in the form of a regular appropriations act or a continuing resolution (CR), is referred to as a funding gap. Although funding gaps may occur at the start of the fiscal year, they may also occur any time a CR expires and another CR (or the regular appropriations bill) is not enacted immediately thereafter. Multiple funding gaps may occur within a fiscal year.”

New Copier on Library 1st Floor

You asked, we listened!

A few months ago, the SBA told library representatives that students often encountered issues with the older copiers on the ground floor. Good news: the library now has a new copier that replaces the older equipment in the alcove near the reference desk.

The new copier copies, scans, prints, and you can readily email your scanned documents or save them to your USB device. Unlike its departed brethren, large stacks of paper will not derail it so copy and scan away! Thank you to the SBA for bringing this issue to our attention. Thanks also to Yves and Sunil, the library computer staff, who worked hard over the weekend to ensure everything is working properly.

By the way, we were thinking of naming the new copier. Any suggestions? For now, we’re calling it the anti-Bob Marley, since it’s not jamming.

The anti-Bob Marley

Welcome Back! A Few Resources to Help You This Spring

As you begin your Spring 2019 classes, keep in mind all of the resources available to you while you are a student at BLS:

Developing and Researching a Paper Topic:

Research Guides: If you are researching a particular subject area and don’t know where to start, or if you are trying to come up with a paper topic, check out the BLS Research Guides at http://guides.brooklaw.edu/. These guides cover a wide variety of topics such as EU Legal Research, Federal Securities Law, NY Civil Practice, and many others.

Finding Journal Articles and Cite Checking:

HeinOnline: Westlaw and Lexis have an excellent collection of journal articles. But especially if you are cite checking for a journal, you should also check out HeinOnline (https://www.heinonline.org/HOL/Welcome) which posts PDF versions of journal articles so you can view them exactly as they appear in the print copies.

Foreign and International Legal Resources:

HeinOnline: If you are researching foreign and international law, once again HeinOnline may be a great resource for you. HeinOnline has several databases devoted to foreign and international law including the Foreign and International Law Resources Database, United Nations Law Collection, and World Treaty Library.

Justis:  If you need to find caselaw or legislation from the UK, Ireland or EU, check out Justis, an online library of UK, Irish, EU, and international caselaw and legislation.

For more foreign and international legal resources check out the International and Foreign Law Databases in the A-Z database guide.

Corporate, Securities, Bankruptcy, Tax:

Bloomberg Law Practice Centers: Bloomberg Law is an excellent source for news and updates in specific practice areas such as corporate law, securities, tax, and bankruptcy. To access these resources, log into Bloomberg Law and click on the “Browse” icon on the upper left corner. Then click on “Practice Centers” on the left and choose the area of law you want to research.

If you don’t have a Bloomberg Law account, you can set one up by going to https://www.bloomberglaw.com/activate.

Westlaw and Lexis also have a wealth of information including cases, statutes, regulations, and secondary materials organized by practice area. On Westlaw, click on the “Practice Areas” tab on the homepage, and on Lexis, click on the “Practice Area or Industry” tab on the homepage. There you will find several areas of law such as Tax, Copyright, or Immigration which if you click on will bring you to primary and secondary source materials including statutes, regulations, caselaw, practice guides, and treatises for that topic.

And for your other research needs….

Check out the library’s A-Z Research Guide for a list of all of the databases available at BLS organized by subject area. And don’t forget about OneSearch (for searching articles and materials across all databases), SARA (for searching books & e-books), and Find A Source (for finding out whether BLS has access to specific journal titles).

Lastly, whenever you’re stuck, contact a librarian! Come find us at the reference desk or email askthelibrary@brooklaw.edu or use the “chat” feature on the library homepage.

Good luck!!!

Library Oodi

The model held in her hand a single red rose.  When the photographer was setting up between shots, she smiled awkwardly at the passersby.  But most people in the vicinity were too wrapped up in what they were doing to gawk.  Students stared blankly at their textbooks with their headphones on.  A couple chatted as they looked out the glass walls toward the Parliament House.  Two women lounged on a beanbag, playing with an infant.  Library staff flitted around in grey vests, shelving books and answering patron questions.  A young girl bounced in her comfortable chair as she flipped through a picture book. 

Many were visiting Oodi for the first time as Helsinki’s new central library had been open to the public for less than two weeks.  They admired the design features that made for a welcoming space: the sloping floor that allowed for intervisibility from end to end of the third floor, the variety of chairs and couches, the lighted bookshelves.  There was a constant flow of patrons up and down the spiral staircase featuring 381 painted words chosen from a selection suggested by the public (a criminal lawyer might appreciate syyttömille.) Nourishment was available at the first floor restaurant, and the café nestled among the books on the third floor was very popular as patrons warmed up with a cup of coffee on a cold December day.  If anyone had come to borrow power tools, it wasn’t apparent.

Study Room Reservations & Library Hours: Fall 2018 Reading/Exam Period

The Fall 2018 reading and exam period starts Thursday, December 6, 2018.  During this period, you must make a reservation to use a library study room. All of the study rooms will be locked; please go to the first floor circulation desk when your reservation time begins to charge out the key to the room. Kindly return the key to the circulation desk when your reservation expires, so the next student can charge out the key.

The link for study room reservations can be found on the library homepage under Related Links. (Please note that the slots for 12 am- 2 am appear on the next day’s calendar.)

Study Room Policies

  • 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 30-minute time slots; the time slots must be contiguous.
  • Students may book up to 8 contiguous time slots per day for a total of 4 hours per user per day.

Library Hours for the Reading/Exam Period 

December 6, 2018 (Thurs.) –  December 20, 2018 (Thurs): 8:00 AM to 2:00 AM

(Circulation Desk closes at 12 midnight on these dates.)

December 21, 2018 (Friday): 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Good luck with studying and on your exams!

Westlaw Edge Coming to BLS

As of January 1, 2019, BLS Students will have access to a new version of Westlaw – Westlaw Edge.  In addition to a new look, Westlaw Edge will offer users:

  • An enhanced, AI-powered version of the KeyCite citator providing new warnings about cases may no longer be good law.
  • WestSearch Plus, an AI-driven legal research tool designed to aid students in discovering answers to specific legal questions.
  • Integrated litigation analytics, providing detailed docket analytics covering judges, courts, attorneys and law firms, for both federal and state courts.
  • Statutes Compare, a tool that allows students to compare changes to statutes.

Stop by the reference desk and the reference librarians would be happy to give you a quick tutorial on how to use these new features on Westlaw Edge.

Thanksgiving Holiday Hours 2018

2018 Thanksgiving Holiday Schedule – Brooklyn Law School Library

Wednesday, November 21:                                9:00 am – 10:00 pm

Thursday, November 22:                                    CLOSED (Thanksgiving Day)

Friday, November 23:                                          9:00 am – 10:00 pm

Saturday, November 24:                                     9:00 am – 10:00 pm

Sunday, November 25:                                       10:00 am – 10:00 pm

We would like to wish everyone safe travels and a Happy Thanksgiving!

Rock the Vote! Resources on Election Law at the BLS Library

On the eve of the midterms, you might want to bone up on your knowledge of United States election law.  The Brooklyn Law School Library maintains a deep collection of election law titles that discuss and analyze a variety of issues from gerrymandering to campaign finance laws to the Voting Rights Act.  To see a full list of titles on the subject of election law, search the SARA catalog for the subject “election law”.  Some of our more recent titles are listed below.

U.S. Fed. Election Comm’n, Corporations & Labor Organizations (2018).

Jerry Goldfeder et al., Goldfeder’s Modern Election Law (2018).

Nicolas R. Seabrook, Drawing the Lines: Constraints on Partisan Gerrymandering in U.S. Politics (2017).

America Votes! Challenges to Modern Election Law & Voting Rights (Benjamin E. Griffith ed., 2016).

Happy Halloween!

Didn’t have time to put on your “Scary Executive Order” costume? You can still get into the spirit of Halloween by stopping by the BLS Library circulation and reference desks for a spooky treat! As an additional non-sugary treat, we have been listening to the Student Bar Association’s concerns.  Librarian Jean Davis reports: “The SBA asked, we listened! There are now staplers in the library’s 3rd floor/basement computer labs and by the printing stations.”

(Photos courtesy of Jean Davis)

Seventh Annual Databases Research Fair Recap

The library held its Seventh Annual Databases Research Fair on October 3, 2018, in the third floor Phyllis & Bernard Nash Reading Room.  Representatives from Bloomberg Law, EBSCO, Fastcase, Lexis, Westlaw, and Wolters Kluwer came to showcase their legal research platforms to students.  BLS librarians were also on hand to demonstrate HeinOnline and research tools available on the BLS Library website.

The mix of 1Ls and upperclass students enjoyed stopping by vendor tables, learning about the latest database features while picking up swag like portable wireless speakers, coffee mugs, tote bags, and pens.  Students who had visited at least 5 vendors also qualified to enter the raffle. For the prizes, BLS Library and the vendors contributed gift cards ranging from $10 to $100, with a total value of $385. Congratulations to the nine lucky students who won the raffle gift cards!

Finally, it must be noted that the research fair was organized, as always, by Associate Librarian Linda Holmes.  After 37 years with the library, Linda’s last day at BLS was today, October 5. We wish her a very happy retirement!  It speaks to the success of the event, and to Linda’s superb organization, that on the day of the research fair a 3L student told us “The day of the research fair is my favorite day of the school year.” And the next day, after she received an email from Linda notifying her that she had won a raffle prize: “I was so happy, I did a little dance.”