History and Future of NAFTA

The history of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) began in 1980 when candidate Ronald Reagan proposed a North American common market in his presidential campaign. The first move in creating NAFTA came when President Reagan made good on his campaign pledge and declared a North American common market as a future goal. During the early 1980s, with Mexico remaining aloof, Canada and the US signed a series of agreements that culminated in the Canada-US Free Trade Agreement in 1988. At this crucial juncture, Mexico signaled its willingness to join the negotiations and NAFTA talks began. On August 12, 1992, before the summer GOP convention, President George H.W. Bush initialed the deal. After losing the general election to William J. Clinton, Bush formally signed the treaty on December 17, 1992, saying during his Remarks on Signing the North American Free Trade Agreement “I’ve been privileged as Vice President and President over the past 12 years to be here on quite a few occasions, and I am so thrilled that this, the final one, is to sign the NAFTA agreement.”

As negotiated, the agreement was signed by the US, Canada, and Mexico, aiming to eliminate trade barriers among the three nations. Essentially, NAFTA was an extension of the Free Trade Agreement between Canada and the United States. Several other considerations beyond free trade under the scope of the NAFTA include intellectual property, telecommunications, and environmental protection. The treaty was to take effect on January 1, 1994, but ratification faced obstacles in the US Congress, especially from members of the Democratic Party. At the time of its ratification in Congress, more Republicans than Democrats supported NAFTA. With strong opposition by labor unions, a key ally for President Clinton was then-House Minority Whip (and later House Speaker) Newt Gingrich (R-Ga). Since NAFTA went into effect, bilateral trade between the US and Mexico amounts to more than $500 billion per year. The US is Mexico’s largest trading partner in merchandise (about 80% of its goods exports go to the US) while Mexico is America’s third-largest trading partner (after Canada and China).

NAFTA at 20Readers interested in learning more about NAFTA can review the Brooklyn Law School Library volume NAFTA at 20: The North American Free Trade Agreement’s Achievements and Challenges edited by Michael J. Boskin (Call No. HF1746 .N3326 2014), a Professor of Economics and senior fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. As chairman of the president’s council of economic advisers from 1989 to 1993, he helped initiate NAFTA. He writes that NAFTA was bold and controversial from the start. When first conceived, it was far from obvious that it would be possible given the circumstances of the times. Drawing from a December 2013 Hoover Institution conference on “NAFTA at 20,” his book brings together distinguished academics who have studied the effects of NAFTA with high-level policy makers to present a comprehensive view of the North American Free Trade Agreement. It looks at the conception, creation, outcomes so far, and the future of NAFTA from the perspective of economists, historians, and the policy makers in the words of those who participated in the negotiations and research. In the context of the fundamental economic and political transformation of North America, they discuss the trade, real wage, and welfare gains that NAFTA has produced for the United States, Mexico, and Canada, along with a review of the major energy markets within and among the three countries. The book has lessons from NAFTA for the future, both for NAFTA itself (if there is one) and for other trade agreements. The author stresses the importance of political leadership and providing information on the benefits of trade liberalization to voters and ill-informed politicians who cater to the fears of free trade opponents.

NAFTAThe BLS Library  has in its collection a related title, an e-book NAFTA and Sustainable Development: History, Experience, and Prospects for Reform (Treaty Implementation for Sustainable Development), edited by Hoi L. Kong and L. Kinvin Wroth. On the twentieth anniversary of NAFTA’s ratification, the book outlines the scope of NAFTA and its impact on environmental issues and paths to reform. Analyzing the impact of the NAFTA on bio-engineered crops in Mexico, marine environmental effects, climate change, and indigenous rights, the book is an important contribution to the global conversation on international trade agreements and sustainable development.

Study Room Reservations & Library Hours: April 28 – May 12

During the reading and exam period students must make a reservation to use a library study room.  Mandatory room reservations begin on Friday, April 28th at 8:00am; at that time, all study rooms will be locked and students must go to the first-floor circulation desk to charge out the key to the room at the time of their reservation.  The link to the study room reservations is available here.

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 time slots of 60 minutes.
  • Students may book up to 4 time slots per day.

 Hours for the Reading & Exam Period:

  • Friday, April 28th – Thursday, May 11th:  8:00am – 2:00am
  • The circulation desk will close at 12:00am: April 28 – May 11
  • Friday, May 12:  8:00am – 10:00pm

Good Luck on Your Exams!

Summer and Graduate Access to Bloomberg, Lexis & Westlaw

The three legal research databases:  Bloomberg Law, Lexis Advance, and WestlawNext are available to Brooklyn Law School students this summer.  May 2017 graduates will also have access to these databases for six months after graduation.  See the details below:

Bloomberg Law:  Provides unlimited and unrestricted access over the summer.  Student accounts will remain active and available all summer.  Graduating students have continued access for six months after graduation.

For questions, contact Maxwell Sivin, Client Success Manager, msivin@bna.com, 646-494-5244.

Lexis Advance:  Students will have continuing access during the summer for all legal and news content on LexisNexis.  During the summer months of May, June and July, the permissible uses of your LexisNexis educational ID are expanded to include use at any law firm, government agency, court, or other legal position, internship, externship or clerkship.

May 2017 graduates have continuing access to Lexis for six months after graduation to study for the bar exam, prepare for employment, improve research skills, etc.   No extra steps needed.

Graduates engaged in public service work may be eligible for the Lexis ASPIRE program which provides twelve months of free access to Lexis resources for those working at non-profit organizations.  To apply for an ASPIRE ID, use the form at:  http://lexisnexis.com/grad-access

For questions, contact Mary Beth Drain, LexisNexis Account Executive, marybeth.drain@lexisnexis.com, 845-598-3203.

WestlawNext:  Students can use Westlaw during the summer for non-commercial research.  Students do not have to do anything to access Westlaw over the summer.  Access to Westlaw will automatically continue; no registration needed.  Examples of permissible uses for the student academic password include the following:

  • Summer coursework
  • Research assistant assignments
  • Law Review or Journal research
  • Moot Court research
  • Non-profit work
  • Clinical work
  • Externship sponsored by the school

Students have access to Westlaw for six months after graduation.  The “Grad Elite” access gives students 60 hours of usage per month on Westlaw to build research skills.  In addition, students get access to job searching databases on Westlaw and TWEN for 18 months after graduation for one hour per month.

Access:  A pop-up will appear when you log into www.lawschool.westlaw.com starting three months before the students’ set graduation date.  Students can extend access by logging into www.lawschool.westlaw.com.

For questions, contact Stefanie Efrati, Thomson Reuters Academic Account Manager, stefanie.efrati@thomsonreuters.com, 212-548-7432.

 


CRS Reports on the Supreme Court Appointment Process

Judge Neil Gorsuch was sworn in today as the Supreme Court’s 113th justice.  If you are interested in learning more about the Supreme Court appointment process, the Congressional Research Service (CRS) has several good reports.  A recent report, Supreme Court Appointment Process: President’s Selection of a Nominee, includes information on the criteria for selecting a nominee, the advice and consent role of the Senate, the political aspects of the process, and the use of recess appointments to temporarily bypass Senate confirmation.  For a more detailed account of the Senate’s role, the following CRS reports may also be of interest:

For more information on finding CRS reports online, see this blog post from the University of Houston’s O’Quinn Law Library.

Equal Pay

On April 4, 2017, as part of the Legal Lunches series, BLS professors Liz Schneider and Susan Hazeldean led a lively townhall discussion on the impact of the Trump administration on women’s rights, reproductive rights, and LGBTQ rights.  

President Kennedy signs Equal Pay Act into law in 1963

One of the topics discussed was equal pay. When the Equal Pay Act was signed into law in 1963, women received 59 cents for every dollar earned by a man. Despite progress over the years, women who work full-time currently earn only about 80% of what their male counterparts earn. Among other efforts, President Obama had issued Executive Order 13673 (Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces) on July 31, 2014, which was aimed, in part, at narrowing that gap.

Trump’s revocation of the Obama executive order on March 27, 2017 nullifies rules that required paycheck transparency, and that barred federal contractors from imposing mandatory arbitration when their workers raised claims of sexual assault or sexual harassment.  The revocation is particularly harmful to women workers. Prof. Schneider also pointed out that the Trump administration has deleted the White House webpage on equal pay. Where the Obama White House once had information about the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and the Equal Pay Pledge, all that remains is a landing page with the terse “Thank you for your interest in this subject. Stay tuned as we continue to update whitehouse.gov

April 4, 2017 also happened to be Equal Pay Day.  This is the day that symbolizes how far into the next year a woman has to work, in order to earn what a man did during the preceding year. Equal Pay Day is always commemorated on a Tuesday, to further represent how far into the following work week women have to work, to reach the level earned by men the previous week.

BLS Library has various print and digital resources on the subject of equal pay.  Our collection includes the following:

Omilian & Kamp, Sex-Based Employment Discrimination

Susan Omilian & Jean Kamp, Sex-Based Employment Discrimination (updated through Sept 2016)This treatise is available electronically through Westlaw. It includes comprehensive treatment of claims brought under the Equal Pay Act, including making a prima facie case, defenses, enforcement, and remedies. Citations are kept current, with the most recent update in September 2016. The library also has the looseleaf version of the title in print, updated through June 2014.

Nyla Jo Hubbard, The rape of the American working woman: How the law and attitude violate your paycheck (2016).   Hubbard, a non-lawyer, combines anecdotes from her personal experience with analysis of how women are placed at a systematic disadvantage under our laws. She discusses a wide range of laws and policies, ranging from Social Security, to healthcare, to childcare subsidies, in order to explain the causes of pay inequality. This title is available as an e-book through ProQuest.  

Susan Bisom-Rapp & Malcolm Sargeant. Lifetime disadvantage, discrimination, and the gendered workforce (2016).  The authors, who are law professors in the U.S. and U.K. respectively, examine the disadvantages faced by women at work, including equal pay issues, in light of inadequacies in the law in both countries. They contend that the piecemeal, incremental approaches built into the legal systems of the U.S. and U.K. do not work and that a more holistic solution is required. This title is available as an e-book through ProQuest.

Christianne Corbett & Catherine Hill, Graduating to a pay gap: The earnings of women and men one year after college graduation (2012). The American Association of University Women (AAUW) has long been engaged in studying, analyzing, and providing policy direction on equal pay issues. In this publication, they explain how pay inequality among college graduates begins immediately after graduation. While discrimination is an important factor, the AAUW study recognizes that gender differences in willingness and ability to negotiate salary contribute to the pay gap, recommending that this issue also be addressed.

Chen, Compliance and Compromise

Cher Weixia Chen, Compliance and compromise: The jurisprudence of gender pay equity (2011).  In this book, Chen, a legally-trained professor of international studies, approaches the topic of pay equality from an international law perspective. She focuses in particular on International Labour Organization (ILO) Convention No. 100 on Equal Remuneration, and how ratifying states have complied or failed to comply with its mandate. This is an interesting read on pay equality laws in countries other than the U.S.: while 173 of the 187 ILO members have ratified ILO Convention No. 100 to date, the U.S. is not one of them.

New Book List: Working Class Whites

Brooklyn Law School Library’s April 2017 New Book List is now available at this link. There are 65 new entries, 45 print titles and 20 eBook titles. The subject areas cover a broad range of topics including both law, history and social aspects of American life, e.g., Women lawyers — United States – Biography; Law clerks — United States; Criminal procedure (International law); Extradition; Solitary confinement — United States; Trial practice — United States; Drone aircraft — Law and legislation — United States; Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.) – History; Law teachers — United States; Law reviews — Competitions — United States; Commercial crimes; Global Financial Crisis, 2008-2009; Police shootings — United States; Self-defense (Law) — Social aspects — United States. Among the titles related to law and legal education are the following:

White TrashThe BLS Library collection includes titles related to social aspects of American life. One such title from the New Book List that stands out is White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America by Nancy Isenberg (Call No. HN90.S6 I84 2016). The author, an American historian and Professor of History at Louisiana State University, tells a rarely recounted story about a race, namely so-called “white trash”, a derogatory American English racial slur referring to poor white people, especially in the rural southern United States. The 460-page book has twelve chapters divided into three parts: Part I – To Begin the World Anew; Part II – Degeneration of the American Breed; and Part III – The White Trash Makeover.  The chapters in Part I include Taking out the Trash: Waste People in the New World; Benjamin Franklin’s American Breed: The Demographics of Mediocrity; Thomas Jefferson’s Rubbish: A Curious topography of Class; and Andrew Jackson’s Cracker Country: The Squatter as Common Man. Later chapters include Pedigree and Poor White Trash: Bad Blood, Half-Breeds and Clay-Eaters;  Cowards, Poltroons, and Mudsills: Civil War as Class Warfare; Thoroughbreds and Scalawags: Bloodlines and Bastard Stock in the Age of Eugenics; Forgotten Men and Poor Folk: Downward Mobility and the Great Depression; The Cult of the Country Boy: Elvis Presley, Andy Griffith, and LBJ’s Great Society; Redneck Roots: Deliverance, Billy Beer, and Tammy Faye; Outing Rednecks: Slumming, Slick Willie, and Sarah Palin; and lastly, America’s Strange Breed: The Long Legacy of White Trash.

HillbillyThe BLS Library has ordered for its collection a related title, Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis (Call No. HD8073.V37 A3 2016) by J. D. Vance, a graduate of Yale Law School who grew up in the Rust Belt and the Appalachian town of Jackson, Kentucky. Vance offers a look at the struggles of America’s white working class and tells his own story of upward mobility with a discussion about the loss of the American dream for a large segment of the country. The books by Isenberg and Vance are reviewed in Fanfares for the Common Man by Phil Christman, Volume 19, Issue 1 of The Hedgehog Review. 19.1 (Spring 2017 available via OneSearch to the BLS community.

The Patient Protection and the Affordable Care Act: The Debate Rages On

With the debate over the repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act raging, you might be interested in researching the act.  The library has 36 titles that are tagged with the subject, United States and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.  Listed below are a few of those titles.

Purva H. Rawal, The Affordable Care Act: Examining the Facts (2016).

This is the first reference book to provide a detailed assessment of the Affordable Care Act, explaining the realities and myths surrounding one of the most divisive political struggles in recent U.S. history.  This is an e-book.  If you are off campus, you will need to implement the proxy instructions in a web browser.

Steven Brill, America’s bitter pill: Money, Politics, Backroom Deals, and the Fight to Fix our Broken Healthcare System (2015).

This book details how the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, was written, how it is being implemented, and, most important, how it is changing—and failing to change—the rampant abuses in the healthcare industry. It’s a fly-on-the-wall account of the titanic fight to pass a 961-page law aimed at fixing America’s largest, most dysfunctional industry.

Josh Blackman, Unraveled: Obamacare, Religious Liberty, and Executive Power (2016).

Six years after its enactment, this book provides the definitive account of the battle to stop Obamacare from being ‘woven into the fabric of America’. Unraveled is essential reading to understand the future of the Affordable Care Act in America’s gridlocked government in 2016, and beyond. This is an e-book.  If you are off campus, you will need to implement the proxy instructions in a web browser.

Josh Blackman, Unprecedented: The Constitutional Challenge to Obamacare (2013).

This inside story of the legal challenge to Obamacare from a conservative constitutional lawyer involved in the movement is a mixture of legal, political, and media intrigue capped by a truly consequential Supreme Court decision.

Episode 100 – Conversation with BLS Prof David Reiss

Episode 100 – Conversation with BLS Professor David Reiss.mp3

This conversation with Brooklyn Law School Professor David Reiss focuses on his recent article Gorsuch, CFPB and Future of the Administrative State. Prof. Reiss talks about the impact that U.S. Supreme Court nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch would have on the future of administrative law and, in particular, on federal consumer protection enforcement if he is confirmed. Prof. Reiss reviews the case PHH v. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau which the United States Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit decided last year. It is likely the case will be appealed to the Supreme Court. If so, Justice Gorsuch may vote to curtail the independence of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and limit its enforcement powers. More generally, Prof. Reiss believes that, given previous rulings by Judge Gorsuch in cases dealing with administrative law, a Justice Gorsuch will be a skeptic of agency action and will support greater judicial review of agency actions.

Spring Break & Third Floor Shifting

With a winter blizzard expected on Tuesday, March 14th and the school planning to close in anticipation of this event — on the  BLS academic calendar it is actually “Spring Recess.”  Listed below are our library hours for the remainder of, as I like to call it, “Spring Break”  — the word “recess” reminds me of elementary school!

Wednesday, March 15th (weather permitting):  9:00am – 10:00pm

Thursday – Saturday, March 16th – 18th:  9:00am – 10:00pm

Sunday, March 19th:  10:00am – 12Midnight

For library hours anytime, you can always check out our daily calendar which can be found on the library homepage, in the lower right corner.

Last week and during this week’s break from classes, much movement is going on on the third floor of the library, as you may have noticed.  We are consolidating our law review collection in the Subin Room and making way for exciting changes to come in the third floor Law Review Room over the summer.  We will keep you posted with more details to follow soon.

Enjoy your break — whether you are in New York in the snow or you traveled to somewhere warm and sunny!

Celebrate Women’s History Month By Checking Out HeinOnline’s Women and the Law Collection

In honor of Women’s History Month this March, head over to HeinOnline to see its Women and the Law collection.  This Hein collection brings together books, biographies, and periodicals exploring the role of women in society and the law.  Scholars use this platform to  research the progression of women’s roles and rights in society over the past 200 years.  In addition to a wealth of historical works, the collection also features more than 70 contemporary feminist sources archived from Emory University Law School’s Feminism and Legal Theory Project.