“Why Do We Have Law Libraries Anymore”

If that’s a question that interests you, you’ll want to check out The Twenty-First Century Law Library [pdf], in the latest issue of Law Library Journal. The article is an edited version of a discussion that took place at the celebration of the renovation and expansion of Duke University’s Goodson Law Library in November 2008. Richard Danner of Duke, Blair Kauffman of Yale, and our own John Palfrey bring their different backgrounds together for a thoughtful exploration of questions about the concept and role of the law library as it continues to evolve to meet the needs of our users.

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Grading Obama Administration Transparency Efforts

The Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University School of Law has released their Report Card grading the Obama Administration’s transparency efforts at the 100 day mark. The full report is available online. At the 100 day mark, the report concludes that the Administration has made many positive strides in making government information more publicly available, but still has significant work to do to match policy efforts with rhetoric promising more openness by administration officials. In particular, the report takes a tough look at the Obama Administration’s continued use of the State Secrets Privilege, also the subject of an editorial in the New York Times (discussing a 9th Circuit Three Judge Panel Ruling).

Senator Russ Feingold (D) Wiconsin, has also issued a report entitled “Restoring the Rule of Law: A Report on the Obama Administration’s Efforts in the First 100 Days,” which also gives the President high marks for open government efforts, except in the category of “State Secrets”.

Open government advocates will continue to monitor the Administration’s transparency efforts. A good website to track government transparency efforts is maintained by Open the Government, a coalition of open government advocates.

Foreign Cultural Property Legislation in English

Several U.S. museums have recently returned priceless antiquities to European nations after suspicions were raised about possible looting. Foreign and international law are relevant to these situations and there is a new resource to track down foreign laws in English. The International Foundation for Art Research is providing translations of over 25 jurisdictions. Useful links to relevant U.S. statutes and case law are also available.