University of Michigan Law Students Protest Commencement Speaker

University of Michigan Law School students staged a silent  protest in response to Ohio Senator Rob Portman’s speech at graduation.  Students objected to Senator Portman’s opposition to gay adoption and marriage.  According to one report, close to 100 students quietly exited the commencement ceremony when Portman was introduced, and the majority of graduates wore rainbow buttons or ribbons. 

Would you like to explore the legal issues related to sexual orientation?  In addition to primary legal materials, some resources available to members of the GMUSL community include:

  • Westlaw:  Sexual orientation and the  Law (SEXORIENT)
  • Ebsco:  LGBT Life with Full Text
  • Library Catalog:  Search related subject headings such as:  Gay Rights, Same-sex marriage, or Gay couples–legal status


Law and the Death of Bin Laden

Attorney General Eric Holder told the Senate Judiciary Committee today that killing Bin Laden was “justified as an act of national self-defense.”   One more specific authorization cited by commentators is the 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force  (Pub. L. No. 107-40, 115 Stat. 224). This joint resolution (S.J. Res. 23), issued one week after the September 11 terrorist attacks, authorizes the President to “use all necessary and appropriate force against those . . . he determines planned, authorized, committed or aided” these attacks.  

To explore this issue, please consult the library’s research guides on Homeland Security and International Law.

World Intellectual Property Day

Since 2000, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) has designated April 26 as “World Intellectual Property Day.”  The WIPO is an agency of the United Nations focused on “developing a balanced and accessible international intellectual property (IP) system.”  It administers a number of international treaties focused on copyright and related rights.  World Intellectual Property Day was established to increase public awareness and understanding of the significant role of IP in fostering “music, arts and entertainments” and “all the products and technological innovations that help to shape our world.”

Resources on the WIPO website include an overview (including links to PDFs) of United States IP-related statutes and regulations, and WIPO-administered treaty membership.  Please consult the law library’s Intellectual Property Research Guide  to locate additional useful resources related to copyright, trademark, and patent law.

Go Ahead and Google it

Here’s one time when searching Google is not only a good option—it’s required.  Google has launched a Google a Day, a daily trivia game that tests your Google search skills.  To avoid game spoiling search results,  it is played using Deja Google—the Google search engine as it existed before the game began.  Answers will be printed weekdays in the New York Times, above the crossword puzzle, and on the “a Google a Day” site along with search tips.

How Would a Government Shutdown Impact Courts?

An announcement on the U.S. Courts website ( states that in the event of a shutdown, the Federal Judiciary would rely on “non-appropriated fees” to allow the courts to operate for “up to two weeks.”  However, if the shutdown continues beyond this period, the courts would need to eliminate any functions not “necessary and essential to continue the resolution of cases.”  Also payments to jurors, public defenders, and court-appointed attorneys would be deferred. 

Note that is a useful source of information about the operation of the federal court system, rules and procedures, and court careers.  There are also links to other related sites. 



Using the Library of Congress

GMU Libraries will be hosting workshops on using the resources and services at the Library of Congress.  The first session will be held on April 7, 2011, 3:00-4:00, Founders Hall, Room 332.  The following day, April 8, 2:00-3:00, there will be a tour of the Library of Congress. Registration for each program is required. 

To register for these workshops and to learn about additional information and technology training opportunities for students, faculty, and staff, see the GMU IT Training page.

Play Ball!

In honor of opening day, check out Oyez Baseball.  This game is an online adaptation of the “Law-Baseball Quiz” that ran in the New York Times beginning on April 4, 1979.  Like the quiz, Oyez Baseball tests both your baseball and Supreme Court knowledge by challenging you to compare players to justices.  The game was created by The Oyez Project, a useful source for Supreme Court information and argument recordings.

Reminder: April 1 deadline to Bridge the Gap (Legal Research Workshop)

The Law Librarians’ Society of DC and the Young Lawyers Section of the Bar Association of DC are co-hosting a legal research workshop to prepare students for summer work. The workshop will be held on Friday, April 8 at Georgetown Law Center. Registration is $30, including lunch. You must register by April 1, 2011. Details and registration are available here.