In observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the Law Library will closed on Monday, January 21.
The MLK holiday became federal law fifteen years after Martin Luther King, Jr.’s death. The holiday was first observed in 1986, but it took another 17 years for nationwide recognition. In 1994, the holiday was designated a day of service under the direction of the Corporation for National and Community Service. For resources about the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., visit the King Center Website.
Benjamin Franklin was born on January 17, 1706. One of his many claims to fame was his participation in the Constitutional Convention at age 81. The highly quoted Franklin said this (as transcribed by James Madison, September 17, 1787) about his support for the intensely debated Constitution:
I doubt too whether any other Convention we can obtain, may be able to make a better Constitution: For when you assemble a Number of Men to have the Advantage of their joint Wisdom, you inevitably assemble with those Men all their Prejudices, their Passions, their Errors of Opinion, their local Interests, and their selfish Views. From such an Assembly can a perfect Production be expected? It therefore astonishes me, Sir, to find this System approaching so near to Perfection as it does; and I think it will astonish our Enemies, who are waiting with Confidence to hear that our Councils are confounded, like those of the Builders of Babel, and that our States are on the Point of Separation, only to meet hereafter for the Purpose of cutting one another’s throats. Thus I consent, Sir, to this Constitution because I expect no better, and because I am not sure that it is not the best.
Justice Sonia Sotomayor has written a new autobiography, My Beloved World. She discussed her life in a Sixty Minutes interview aired Sunday, available here. Also recommended is a 2009 interview with Justice Sotomayor that is part of C-Span’s excellent series: Justices in Their Own Words.
Last month’s issue of the ABA Journal includes the sixth annual list of the top 100 blawgs as well as an “Inaugural Blawg 100 Hall of Fame.”
The newly inducted members of the Hall of Fame are:
And, after online voting for favorites from the top 100, here are the winners in their respective categories:
This month marks the 150th Anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation. Signed by President Lincoln on January 1, 1863, the document states, in part:
. . . [O]n the first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, all persons held as slaves within any State or designated part of a State, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States, shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free; and the Executive Government of the United States, including the military and naval authority thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of such persons, and will do no act or acts to repress such persons, or any of them, in any efforts they may make for their actual freedom . . . .
Lincoln invoked his constitutional authority as Commander-in-Chief to institute a necessary war measure against the rebellion of southern states. The “military necessity” was to deprive the rebelling states of labor resources thereby weakening the Confederate Army. (See Act of Justice: Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation and the Law of War, by Burrus M. Carnahan, for a detailed discussion of Lincoln’s legal theory).
Some interesting resources about Lincoln and the Emancipation Proclamation include:
Westlaw is hosting a “Welcome Back” table tomorrow, January 8, 11:30 am -1:00 pm. Students can stop by for sweets and Westlaw goodies — and those who show a document on WestlawNext will receive 100 points and entered to win a pack of four top law movies. Questions? Contact our Thompson Reuters Account Manager, Annemarie Milton.
Thursday, January 3 – Saturday, January 5
- Thursday & Friday 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM
- Saturday 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Reference Hours: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM, Thursday – Friday
The law library will be closed Friday, December 21 – Wednesday, January 2.
Please note that the Reference Office will be closing at 5:00 PM on December 19 & 20.
Joe L. Allbritton made his fortune in media and banking, including ownership of eight television stations, the Washington Star Newspaper, and Riggs Bank. He also played a significant role in the founding of George Mason School of Law.
Allbritton was a board member of the International School of Law (ILS), which became GMUSL when it merged with the university in 1979. In the mid 1970s, the Kann’s Department Store in Arlington became available for purchase when the business closed. Allbritton signed a personal promissory note to secure a $3 million dollar loan to purchase the building and adjoining 14 acres.
Here is a 1979 photo of then law school Dean Ralph N. Norvell standing in front of the first law school building:
George Mason University , “George Mason University School of Law Dean, Ralph N. Norvell in front of the School of Law building ,” A History of George Mason University, accessed December 13, 2012, http://ahistoryofmason.gmu.edu/items/show/192.
Today the Supreme Court granted certiorari in two gay marriage cases:
United States v. Windsor, Edith S., et. al. (12-307)
Question Presented: ”Does Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act, 1 U.S.C. § 7, which defines the term “marriage” for all purposes under federal law as “only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife,” deprive same-sex couples who are lawfully married under the laws of their states (such as New York) of the equal protection of the laws, as guaranteed by the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States?”
Order: ”The petition for a writ of certiorari is granted. In addition to the question presented by the petition, the parties are directed to brief and argue the following questions: Whether the Executive Branch’s agreement with the court below that DOMA is unconstitutional deprives this Court of jurisdiction to decide this case; and whether the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group of the United States House of Representatives has Article III standing in this case.”
Hollingsworth, Dennis, et. al v. Perry, Kristin M., et. al.(12-144)
Question Presented: “Whether the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment prohibits the State of California from defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman.”
Order: “The petition for a writ of certiorari is granted. In addition to the question presented by the petition, the parties are directed to brief and argue the following question: Whether petitioners have standing under Article III, §2 of the Constitution in this case.”