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Category Archives: Courts

The Case for Writing International Law into the U.S. Code

Coyle, John F., The Case for Writing International Law into the U.S. Code (September 19, 2014). Boston College Law Review, Forthcoming. Available for download at SSRN:

In recent years, the U.S. judiciary has taken steps to limit the role played by international law in the U.S. legal system. This Article seeks to explain this retreat and to identify ways by which it may be reversed. It argues first that the present judicial retreat from international law is attributable to two causes — judicial attitudes and judicial inexperience. Many judges have expressed some degree of ambivalence — occasionally rising to the level of hostility — about relying upon international law to provide a rule of decision. At the same time, many judges are largely unfamiliar with an ever-expanding array of international legal sources and methods. The result of this combination of attitudes and inexperience, the Article contends, is a reluctance among U.S. judges to give effect to international law directly. To date, international legal scholars have generally responded to these developments by attempting to persuade the judiciary to rethink this retreat from international law. This Article argues that a more promising approach would be to seek to persuade Congress to enact domestic statutes that incorporate various international law rules. Such statutory enactments would, among other things, enable the courts to ignore many of the doctrinal impediments that currently make it difficult for individuals to rely directly on international law as a source of rights. They would have a positive impact on the attitudes of skeptical judges. And they would help to alleviate the problem of judicial inexperience. With these insights in mind, the Article looks to past legislative practice to develop a typology of statutes that incorporate international law in some way. It then draws upon this typology to offer a number of practical suggestions as to how to draft such statutes.”

Social Security Reform: Legal Analysis of Social Security Benefit Entitlement Issues

CRS – Social Security Reform: Legal Analysis of Social Security Benefit Entitlement Issues. Emily M. Lanz, Legislative Attorney; Thomas J. Nicola, Legislative Attorney. September 17, 2014 “Calculations indicating that the Social Security program will not be financially sustainable in the long run under the present statutory scheme have fueled the current debate regarding Social Security reform. This report addresses selectedContinue Reading

Libraries may digitize books without permission, EU top court rules

Loek Essers - PC World: “European libraries may digitize books and make them available at electronic reading points without first gaining consent of the copyright holder, the highest European Union court ruled Thursday. The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) ruled in a case in which the Technical University of Darmstadt digitized a book published byContinue Reading

EPIC, Legal Scholars, Technical Experts Urge Federal Appeals Court to Safeguard Telephone “Metadata”

“EPIC has filed an amicus curiae brief, joined by 33 technical experts and legal scholars, in support of a challenge to the NSA telephone record collection program. The case, Smith v. Obama will be heard by the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit this fall. Earlier this year, a lower court ruled that the Fourth Amendment does not protectContinue Reading

Violence Policy Center – When Men Murder Women

When Men Murder Women, An Analysis of 2012 Homicide Data. September 2014. “Intimate partner violence against women is all too common and takes many forms. The most serious is homicide by an intimate partner. Guns can easily turn domestic violence into domestic homicide. One federal study on homicide among intimate partners found that female intimate partners areContinue Reading

International Law and Secret Surveillance: Binding Restrictions upon State Monitoring of Telephone and Internet Activity

CDT: “In the year that has followed Edward Snowden’s first disclosures concerning secret US and UK surveillance practices, many governments, human-rights groups, and UN bodies have debated—and at times disagreed sharply—about whether the Internet and telephone surveillance practices that governments employ today are consistent with international law. With a view to informing these discussions, thisContinue Reading

New on LLRX – Will Lawyers Embrace Wearable Tech, And The Future?

Via - Will Lawyers Embrace Wearable Tech, And The Future? Nicole Black predicts that smartwatches will soon be very popular with lawyers as they offer an easy and unobtrusive way to filter only the most important information received on your smartphone. So if you’re expecting a priority email or phone call, you can program your phone toContinue Reading

Regulating Law Enforcement’s Use of Drone: The Need for State Legislation

Smith, Michael L., Regulating Law Enforcement’s Use of Drone: The Need for State Legislation (September 5, 2014). Available for download at SSRN: “The recent rise of domestic drone technology has prompted privacy advocates and members of the public to call for the regulation of the use of drones by law enforcement officers. Numerous states haveContinue Reading

Eight Traits of Great Trial Lawyers

Bennett, Mark W., Eight Traits of Great Trial Lawyers: A Federal Judge’s View on How to Shed the Moniker ‘I Am a Litigator’ (May 1, 2014). Review of Litigation, Vol. 33, No. 1, 2014. Available for download at SSRN: “A federal district court judge shares his 25 years of trial court expereince about the eightContinue Reading

Immigration Court Backlog Nears 400,000

“The number of cases awaiting resolution in the Immigration Courts had grown to 396,552 by the end of July 2014. This backlog increased by nearly 75,000 cases, or 22 percent, since the start of fiscal year 2013, according to very timely government enforcement data obtained by the Transactional Access Records Clearinghouse (TRAC) at Syracuse University. TheContinue Reading

Ruling on the 2010 Gulf of Mexico Oil Well Blowout

New York Times: “A federal judge ruled on Thursday that BP was grossly negligent in the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil well blowout that killed 11 workers, spilled millions of barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico and soiled hundreds of miles of beaches. “BP’s conduct was reckless,” United States District Court Judge Carl J.Continue Reading

Implementing Juvenile Justice Reform: The Federal Role

“In the past decade, a number of state, local, and tribal jurisdictions have begun to take significant steps to overhaul their juvenile justice systems – for example, reducing the use of juvenile detention and out-of-home placement, bringing greater attention to racial and ethnic disparities, looking for ways to engage affected families in the process, andContinue Reading