Happy Independence Day!

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 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 July 4th in observance of Independence Day.  Enjoy the fireworks!

Happy Anniversary Miranda v. Arizona

Today is the 45th Anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision in Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966). On June 13, 1966, in a 5-4 decision written by Chief Justice Warren, the Court held:

[T]he prosecution may not use statements, whether exculpatory or inculpatory, stemming from custodial interrogation of the defendant unless it demonstrates the use of procedural safeguards effective to secure the privilege against self-incrimination. . . .   As for the procedural safeguards to be employed, unless other fully effective means are devised to inform accused persons of their right of silence and to assure a continuous opportunity to exercise it, the following measures are required. Prior to any questioning, the person must be warned that he has a right to remain silent, that any statement he does make may be used as evidence against him, and that he has a right to the presence of an attorney, either retained or appointed. . . .

384 U.S. at 444.

Should We Fear Google?

Does that seem like a strange question?  Not according to University of Virginia Law Professor Siva Vaidhyanathan.  In his newest book,  The Googlization of Everything: (and why we should worry), he examines Google’s impact on our lives, especially its dominant role in controlling information access in much of the world.  This book is an important reminder to everyone, especially researchers, to evaluate Google’s search results with a critical eye.   

To learn more about this book please see my review in the AALL Spectrum Blog and also check out Siva’s Blog.

Dos and Don’ts for Summer Associates

PrawfsBlawg has offered some Advice to the New Summer Associate in Big Law.  While most of these recommendations and admonitions are (hopefully!) common sense, they still may serve as a useful reminder.  Good counsel here includes: 

  • Make sure you walk away from an assignment meeting with all the information you need; don’t be afraid to ask questions  
  • Proofread
  • Quality of work is more important than quantity