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Moot: definition of the day

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Jul 172008

moot.jpeg Because Federal Courts only have constitutional authority to resolve actual disputes (see Case or Controversy) legal actions cannot be brought or continued after the matter at issue has been resolved, leaving no live dispute for a court to resolve. In such a case, the matter is said to be “moot”. For Supreme Court decisions focusing on mootness, see, e.g., Arizonans for Official English v. Arizona, 520 U.S. 43 (1997) and Hicklin v. Orbeck, 437 U.S. 518 (1978). See also Federal courts, Constitutional law

Our favorite quotes: Walter Bagehot

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Jul 162008

bagehot.jpegOur law very often reminds one of those outskirts of cities where you cannot for a long time tell how the streets come to wind about in so capricious and serpent-like a manner. At last it strikes you that they grew up, house by house, on the devious tracks of the old green lanes; and if you follow on to the existing fields, you may often find the change half complete.

Walter Bagehot (1826–1877), British economist, critic. The English Constitution, ch. 9 (1867).

Pew reports economic divide in internet growth

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Jul 152008

broadband.jpegA July 2008 study conducted by the Pew Internet and American Life Project found that some 55% of all adult Americans now have a high-speed internet connection at home — up from 47% in early 2007. And, nearly one-third of home broadband users have a premium broadband service that gives them a faster connection to the internet.

But poorer Americans saw no growth in broadband adoption in the past year. 25% of low-income Americans – those whose household incomes are $20,000 annually or less – reported having broadband at home in April 2008, which compares to the 28% figure reported in March 2007. African Americans showed slow growth as well, with 43% saying they had broadband at home in April 2008 versus 40% who said this in March 2007.

Bastille Day

off-with-his-head Comments Off on Bastille Day
Jul 142008

bastilleday.jpegThe storming of the Bastille has been commemorated in France for more than a century. Paris was in a state of high agitation in the early months of the French revolution. On the morning of July 14, 1789 a crowd broke into the Bastille and released the handful of prisoners held there. The anniversary of the storming of the Bastille is seen as a symbol of the uprising of the modern French nation, and of the reconciliation of all the French inside the constitutional monarchy which preceded the First Republic.

Now a national holiday, Bastille Day is celebrated with a mixture of solemn military parades and easygoing dancing and fireworks.

Collateral attack: definition of the day

watch-your-flank Comments Off on Collateral attack: definition of the day
Jul 112008

collateralattack2.jpegAlso known as an indirect attack. A collateral attack occurs when a prior judgment is used as the basis for a new claim or defense to a claim in a different court, and the opposing party argues that the prior judgment is invalid. Habeas corpus claims are a type of collateral attack. See e.g. Miller-El v. Dretke 545 U.S. 231 (2005).

LII does legal information in Philadelphia

on-the-streets Comments Off on LII does legal information in Philadelphia
Jul 092008

wmpenn.jpegTom, Sara and Deborah — half of the LII’s staff — made a day of it yesterday in the City of Brotherly Love. The Jenkins Law Library started off the festivities by hosting a meeting with its staff, the LII, and other area law librarians to talk about providing legal information to an increasingly diverse group of people in an ever-changing environment. Next on the itinerary was the monthly luncheon of the Philadelphia Association of Paralegals, where Tom was the keynote speaker; and, finally, a little gathering at Misconduct Tavern with some of the LII’s stalwart supporters. We all enjoy getting out now and then, right?

Our favorite quotes: Abraham Lincoln

under-promise-over-deliver Comments Off on Our favorite quotes: Abraham Lincoln
Jul 082008

lincoln.jpegIn law it is a good policy to never plead what you need not, lest you oblige yourself to prove what you can not.

Abraham Lincoln (1809–1865). Letter to Usher F. Linder, Feb. 20, 1848. Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, vol. 1, p. 453, Rutgers University Press (1953, 1990).

Our favorite quotes: Charles Macklin

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Jul 022008

lovealamode.jpegThe law is a sort of hocus-pocus science, that smiles in yer face while it picks yer pocket: and the glorious uncertainty of it is of more use to the professors than the justice of it.

Charles Macklin (1690–1797), Irish actor, dramatist. Sir Archy MacSarcasm, in Love à la Mode, act 2, sc. 1 (1759). (In 1735 Macklin quarrelled with a fellow actor named Hallam and accidentally killed the man by thrusting his cane through Hallam’s eye. He was tried for murder, conducted his own defense, and won an acquittal.)

Abuse of discretion: definition of the day

i-am-the-king-of-england! Comments Off on Abuse of discretion: definition of the day
Jul 012008

abusediscretion.jpegA standard of review used by appellate courts to review decisions of lower courts. A judgment will be termed an abuse of discretion if the adjudicator has failed to exercise sound, reasonable, and legal decision-making skills (something that never happens here the LII).

See, e.g. Wilton v. Seven Falls Co., 515 US 277 (1995) and General Electric Co. v. Joiner, 522 US 136 (1997).

Our favorite quotes: Raymond Chandler

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Jun 282008

longgoodbye.jpegThe law isn’t justice. It’s a very imperfect mechanism. If you press exactly the right buttons and are also lucky, justice may show up in the answer. A mechanism is all the law was ever intended to be.

Raymond Chandler (1888–1959). Sewell Endicott, in The Long Goodbye, ch. 8 (1953).