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Akron Law Café

Does the Law and Economics Movement Have a Conscience?

By Stefan Published: April 30, 2011

One possible answer here.

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Evaluating Websites - new Library Guide

By Lynn Published: April 29, 2011

Caveat lector: Let the reader beware!

The information literate person is able to critically evaluate information found on the web.   The purpose for a website is not always apparent.   Web pages pretending to be objective may really have a hidden agenda.  Some sites are neglected and have outdated information but still turn up in Google searches.  On the web, inaccurate information gets cross posted, passed around and hyperlinked so much, that after reading the same information in several places, the unwary researcher can easily assume the false information is true.   This new library guide gives you some evaluation tools and techniques to apply when using information from the web.

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Is Nothing Sacred? Is There No-one We Can Trust?

By Wilson Huhn Published: April 29, 2011

The law-related story of the decade comes from Stafford, Virginia: Man in cow suit robs Walmart of 26 gallons of milk.

David Pierce of has posted Stafford investigates udderly shocking shoplifting.  The 18-year-old bovine impersonator apparantly crawled out of the store on all fours and gave the milk to passers-by outside.  Left unanswered - did he do this 26 times?

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Australian Scientists Find Substantial Increase in Global Wind Speed

By Wilson Huhn Published: April 28, 2011

Using satellite data, a team of Australian scientists have found that average global wind speed increased between 5 and 10 percent over the last two decades.

On March 25 Professors Ian Young, Alex Barbanin and Stefan Zieger of Swiburne University of Technology published an article in Science entitled Global Trends in Wind Speed and Wave Height (available to subscribers here).  The abstract of the article states:

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Did Prop 8 Judge Have an Ethical Duty to Disclose His Relationship?

By Wilson Huhn Published: April 26, 2011

Attorneys for supporters of Prop 8, the California same-sex marriage ban, have filed a motion asserting that the presiding judge, Vaughn Walker, should have disclosed that he was in a gay relationship - and the fact that he did not reveal this means that his decision striking down Prop 8 should be overturned.

Earlier this morning Lisa Leff of the AP posted Judge's Relationship at Issue in Gay Marriage Case in which she reports that attorneys opposing same-sex marriage are challenging the judge's ruling on the ground that he was biased - that he stood to personally gain from a decision striking down the law.  According to Leff they have been careful to assert that the judge should be disqualified not because of his sexual orientation, but rather because of his long-term committed relationship with another man and his failure to disclose it before ruling on the case.

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Civil War (4): Why the South Lost

By Wilson Huhn Published: April 25, 2011

In a word: slavery.

Two outstanding books review the myriad reasons that the North won and the South lost the Civil War: David Herbert Donald Why the North Won the Civil War (1996) (including essays by Donald, Henry Steele Commager, Richard N. Current, T. Harry Williams, Norman A. Graebner, and David M. Potter); and Gabor Borritt Why the Confederacy Lost (1992) (with essays by James M. McPherson, Archer Jones, Gary W. Gallagher, Reid Mitchell, and Joseph T. Glatthaar).   The contributors detail the military, political, economic, and moral factors that determined the outcome of the war.  Ultimately, however, each of these factors may be traced to the fact that the Confederacy was a slave society.

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Easter Thoughts

By Wilson Huhn Published: April 24, 2011

Some Easter reflections on the pagan and religious origins of the holiday, American traditions, Irving Berlin, ï»¿Abraham Lincoln, and family.

Easter, the holiest day in the Christian calendar, is pregnant with meaning.  The English name for the holiday is derived from the Anglo-Saxon deityEostre, who is variously mentioned as a goddess of the dawn, fertility, and spring - hence the cultural traditions of the Easter rabbit and Easter eggs.  Among Christians, of course, the holiday celebrates the resurrection of Jesus and the promise of everlasting life.  Another name for Easter - Pascha - is derived directly from the Jewish holiday of Passover.

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Support for Same-Sex Marriage Increasing in New York State

By Wilson Huhn Published: April 23, 2011

Michael Gormley of the Associated Press in an article Renewed fight for gay marriage in NY hits suburbs cites polls that support the current effort in New York State to enact legislation recognizing equal marriage rights for gays and lesbians.

Gormley reports that advocates for same-sex marriage are mounting a grassroots campaign to persuade legislators to adopt a statute granting gays and lesbians the right to marry.  The advocates' hopes are buoyed by two polls showing that support for their cause has increased sharply in recent years.  A Sienna College Poll released April 11, 2011, found that New Yorkers approve this legislation by a margin of 58% to 36%, while a Quinnipiac Poll of New Yorkers revealed approval by a margin of 56% to 38%.  The Quinnipiac Poll issued April 14 showed fairly steady gains in support for same-sex marriage since 2004, when this became a national issue:

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Senate Releases Financial Crisis Report

By Lynn Published: April 22, 2011

Senate Investigations Subcommittee Releases Levin-Coburn Report On the Financial Crisis

'Our investigation found a financial snake pit rife with greed, conflicts of interest, and wrongdoing,' said Levin.   Read how investment banks took actions to actually profit from the decline of the mortgage market at the expense of their clients!  This is quite an expose'.

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Civil War (3): Ten Days in August, 1864 - Lincoln at a Crossroads

By Wilson Huhn Published: April 21, 2011

Between August 16 and August 25, 1864, President Abraham Lincoln had to face down his fears - his fear that he would not be reelected, his fear that the war would be lost, and his fear that slavery would not be abolished.  He chose to remain steadfast.

The war was not going well for the Union armies during the summer of 1864.  After fighting a series of bloody battles including the disastrous "Battle of the Crater" on July 30 Grant and the Army of the Potomac were stalled before Petersburg.  Sherman, likewise, was locked before the gates of Atlanta, which was protected by Hood's Army of Tennessee.   Sheridan was unable to take control of the Shenandoah Valley, and seemed just as powerless against Jubal Early as earlier Union generals had been against Stonewall Jackson.  Earlier that summer the Red River campaign in Louisiana under the incompetent General Banks had ended in disaster.  Northern newspapers were pleading for peace, the "War Democrats" and moderate Republicans were wavering, and Lincoln's prospects for reelection - and African-Americans' prospects for freedom - seemed bleak.

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Trump and the Right to Privacy

By Wilson Huhn Published: April 21, 2011

Donald Trump is being  mocked left and right because he stated that he believes that there is a constitutional right to privacy but that he does not think that it includes the right of a woman to terminate a pregnancy.  Trump is not being inconsistent.

Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo carries the story under the banner So Much Hilarity to Come, and compares Trump's statement to Sarah Palin's infamous remark "In what respect, Charlie?"  Marshall reports that Savannah Guthrie of MSNBC asked Trump whether the Constitution protects the right to privacy.  Trump responded:

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Gay Marriage and the First Amendment

By Diana Published: April 18, 2011

Professor Will Huhn is quoted in a Westlaw News and Insight story on gay marriage and the First Amendment. Read the story here .

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The Civil War (2): Atlanta

By Wilson Huhn Published: April 18, 2011

Marc Wortman's book The Bonfire: The Siege and Burning of Atlanta (2009) is more than a story of the battle for that  city - it is a  morality tale and a microcosm of the Civil War.

Wortman's book begins with the Indian wars in northwest Georgia - the driving out of the Creeks and Cherokees - the settlement of Atlanta - its rapid growth as a rail center - the secession crisis, with Atlanta a home of unionist sentiment as the state eventually votes to join the Confederacy - the rapid growth of the city as a manufacturing center and roundtable of the Confederacy - its jubilation over southern military victories in 1861, 1862, and early 1863 - and the newfound wealth of Atlanta manufacturers, shippers, and speculators.

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A Mere 150 Years Ago: Civil War in the United States

By Stefan Published: April 17, 2011

A relevant quote and link here.

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Ninth Circuit Affirms Lower Court Decision Striking Down Key Portions of S.B. 1070, Arizona Immigration Law

By Wilson Huhn Published: April 17, 2011

On Monday April 11 in the case of United States v. Arizona the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the decision of a federal district court that had declared four provisions of S.B. 1070, the Arizona immigration statute, unconstitutional.

This decision of the Court of Appeals should not have come as a surprise.  Any statute that is popularly referred to as a "state immigration law" is in trouble.  Several provisions of the Constitution withdraw power from the states over anything having to do with foreign countries.  The Constitution gives the federal government exclusive power to enter into treaties, receive ambassadors, and wage war.  Article I, Section 3 grants Congress the power to "regulate commerce with foreign nations," and Article I, Section 4 grants Congress the power to "establish an uniform law of naturalization."  Nevertheless, Arizona adopted this law and defended it in this legislation. 

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Supreme Court on your smart phone

By Lynn Published: April 16, 2011

Follow the U.S. Supreme Court on your smart phone

OyezToday is a new free app.  'Users can now tap, listen, and share U.S. Supreme Court information via this free app,' which was recently released by the Oyez Project.  Users can read today's opinion, listen to oral arguments within hours of their release by the court, or share their impressions on Facebook or Twitter. 

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What the judge ate for breakfast

By Brant Published: April 13, 2011

This chart shows your chances of parole plotted against  the time of day, with the circles representing the judges starting up after a break. As you can see, your chances drop dramatically as the judge gets hungrier. This is from an article by Ed Yong describing research by Shai Danziger, who looked at 1,112 parole decisions over a ten-month period in Israel. Get your parole hearing scheduled early!

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French Ban on Face Veils Takes Effect Today

By Wilson Huhn Published: April 11, 2011

A new law takes effect in France today prohibiting women from wearing face veils in public.

Camille Rusticci of AP in France bans face-covering Islamic veil reports about the national law prohibiting the wearing of full-face veils in public that went into effect in France today.  She  also describes a demonstration that was conducted in front of Notre Dame Cathedral protesting the ban.  She states:

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Civil War (1): Christian Slavery

By Wilson Huhn Published: April 11, 2011

Between now and 2015 during the sesquicentennial of the Civil War I will post essays calling attention to various aspects of the war and the thoughts of noted historians.  Today's selection is based on Eugene D. Genovese's 1998 book, "A Consuming Fire: The Fall of the Confederacy in the Mind of the White Christian South."  The principal theme that Genovese explores is the concept of "Christian slavery."

Genovese begins his analysis with the unremarkable observation that

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Net Neutrality Update

By Wilson Huhn Published: April 10, 2011

The Republican-dominated House of Representatives voted Friday to repeal the FCC's "Net Neutrality" regulations.  Democrats vow to retain the rules.  Both sides accuse the other of being "anti-innovation".

Jim Abrams of the AP reports House votes to repeal regs on internet access.   Last December the FCC adopted regulations prohibiting internet service providers from "unreasonably" discriminating against users based on content or bandwidth.  The FCC acted because Comcast and other ISPs had blocked transmission of data on Skype and Netflix so that they could promote their own communication or filesharing products.  Here is Abrams' description of the rules that the FCC put in place:

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Obama, Boehner Reach Agreement on Budget, Avoid Government Shutdown

By Wilson Huhn Published: April 9, 2011

They agree to dramatic cuts in domestic spending but drop the "social policy" cuts that would have targeted Planned Parenthood, the EPA, and health care reform.

Politico: 'Long dance' that ended in a deal to avoid a government shutdown

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Annual Oldham Lecture in IP Law to be Held April 7

By Diana Published: April 5, 2011

Akron Law's Annual Albert and Vern Oldham Intellectual Property Law Series will be held Thursday, April 7 at 5 p.m. Michael R. Klipper of Meyer, Klipper & Mohr, PLLC will give a lecture titled 'The Intersection of Copyright Law and the Constitution.' For more than 20 years Klipper has worked on a number of issues in which the usually separate and distinct practice areas of constitutional law and copyright have intersected.  He will describe both specific instances in which these two subject areas have collided in Congress and the Courts and some of the legal and policy issues implicated therein.   Klipper's presentation is especially timely given that on March 7, 2011, the United States Supreme Court granted certiorari in Golan v. Holder where an act of Congress is challenged as unconstitutional because it exceeds Congress's authority under the Copyright Clause and violates the First Amendment's free speech protections.  Among other things, that case may provide some insights into the scope and nature of the public domain. For more information visit here . A reception will immediately follow the lecture.

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Bob Dole Praises Veterans Health Administration as Model for Health Care Reform

By Wilson Huhn Published: April 5, 2011

Former Senator Bob Dole has written an editorial for The Politico entitled VA holds lessons for health care.

Dole has been active in health care reform for decades.  Almost thirty years ago he proposed a plan for universal coverage that was similar to that adopted by Congress last year - all employers would be required to provide health insurance, all other persons would be required to maintain health insurance, and the government would provide subsidies to enable small employers and individuals to purchase it.

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Voter Photo ID Laws a Good Idea ... If Every Citizen Gets One

By Wilson Huhn Published: April 4, 2011

Voter photo ID laws are being adopted by Republican legislatures across the country.  I have no problem with this so long as they make sure that every American citizen gets one.

The Republican Party in Ohio and many other states are considering requiring photo identification for voters - see these news stories by Jim Siegel of the Columbus Dispatch, Ohio House moving fast on voter photo-ID bill; Caitlin Hill of the OSU Lantern, House Bill looks to address voter ID issue; and Ryan J. Reilly of TPM, As Voter ID Laws Spread Across Statehouses, House GOP Telegraphs Anti-Voter Fraud Bill

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Crisis? What crisis?

By Stefan Published: April 3, 2011

Ohio S.B. 5: Opening the door to a corporate plutocracy?

By Stefan Published: April 2, 2011

A possible answer here.

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