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Category Archives: Legal Research

Trump Issues Order Giving Him More Leeway to Hire and Fire Federal Workers

The New York Times – “President Trump signed an executive order this week that could substantially expand his ability to hire and fire tens of thousands of federal workers during a second term, potentially allowing him to weed out what he sees as a “deep state” bureaucracy working to undermine him. The executive order, issued late Wednesday and described by one prominent federal union leader as “the most profound undermining of the Civil Service in our lifetimes,” would allow federal agencies to go through their employee rosters and reclassify certain workers in a way that would strip them of job protections that now cover most federal employees. The White House, in a statement that accompanied the executive order, said the new employee classification was justified because under current rules “removing poor performers, even from these critical positions, is time-consuming and difficult.” Currently, only about 4,000 of the more than 2 million federal employees are so-called political appointees, who are typically replaced with each presidential administration. They include senior agency officials who oversee the development of federal policies. The bulk of federal workers are considered career civil servants, who have certain protections both in the way they are hired — typically based on a point system that is supposed to make the hiring competitive — and a time-consuming, appeals-based process that must be used if an agency manager wants to dismiss someone…

Trump administration officials had been discussing for months how to purge “bad people” who are part of the “deep state,” Axios reported in February. The effort accelerated early this year after Mr. Trump hired a new head of the White House Office of Presidential Personnel, John McEntee, who served as a campaign aide to Mr. Trump in 2016. Federal agencies would have seven months to conduct a review of their work force to decide which existing employees could be reclassified into this new status, under the executive order. The reviews would then be redone annually. Because this would take place on an agency-by-agency basis, it is hard to predict how many employees could end up being reclassified, and any future president could revoke the order…”

The Media Manipulation Casebook

“Using the Life Cycle of Media Manipulation, each case study features a chronological description of a media manipulation event, which is filtered along specific variables such as tactics, targets, mitigation, outcomes, and keywords…Led by Joan Donovan, PhD, the Technology and Social Change project (TaSC) is a team of interdisciplinary researchers analyzing how contemporary technologies of… Continue Reading

United States of America, General Elections, 3 November 2020: Interim Report

Politico: “The first 2020 U.S. election report by international observers makes for sober reading, Ryan Heath emails us. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe — which has 47 member countries including the U.S. — has deployed 30 experts around the U.S. to monitor all aspects of the election through October. While that’s well… Continue Reading

ADL Launches Online Election Incident Reporting Tool in Response to Concerns of Extremist Interference

“In response to growing concerns that extremists could attempt to interfere at the polls in the next few weeks as Americans cast their ballots, ADL (the Anti-Defamation League) has established a new online incident reporting tool that will enable voters to flag any potential hate crimes or disruptions involving extremists. In addition to an online… Continue Reading

Pandemic Reality: Law Librarians Grapple With 24/7 Availability, Accelerated Digital Transition

Law.com – LegalTechNews [paywall] Pandemic Reality: Law Librarians Grapple With 24/7 Availability, Accelerated Digital Transition – “HBR Consulting revealed some early survey findings highlighting the impact COVID-19 has had on firms’ law librarians’ workload, print materials and innovation. In law firms’ “new normal,” lawyers may have to quarantine books for 72 hours before they’re placed… Continue Reading

Where to Find Public Records Online

Life Hacker – “You can use the internet to find almost anything: a good restaurant, a recording of a half-remembered old commercial, recommendations for a good book, a podcast about basically anything, and yes, even public records. While our most private information (usually) can’t be found online, you can track down items like birth certificates,… Continue Reading

Consumer Reports Study Finds Marketplace Demand for Privacy and Security

Consumer Reports – “American consumers are increasingly concerned about privacy and data security when purchasing new products and services, which may be a competitive advantage to companies that take action towards these consumer values, a new Consumer Reports study finds. The new study, “Privacy Front and Center” from CR’s Digital Lab with support from Omidyar… Continue Reading

How does Google’s monopoly hurt you? Try these searches.

Washington Post [paywall – Seattle Times no paywall] “Let’s Google together. Open a Web browser and search for T-shirts. I’ll wait. Is the first thing you see a search result? I’m not talking about the stuff labeled Ads or Maps. On my screen, the actual result is not in the first, second, third, fourth, fifth,… Continue Reading

COVID-19: Government Resources for Real-Time Economic Indicators

CRS Insight via LC – COVID-19: Government Resources for Real-Time Economic Indicators, October 21, 2020: “This CRS Insight presents select real-time economic indicators that attempt to measure the impact of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic on the U.S. economy. Created by select federal government agencies, these new or unique indicators attempt to measure the… Continue Reading

Copyright in Code: Supreme Court Hears Landmark Software Case in Google v. Oracle

CRS Legal Sidebar via LC – Copyright in Code: Supreme Court Hears Landmark Software Case in Google v. Oracle, October 21, 2020: “In what observers have hailed as the “copyright case of the century,” an eight-member Supreme Court heard arguments on October 7, 2020 ,in Google LLC v. Oracle America Inc., a long-running intellectual-property dispute… Continue Reading

USPS IG Report – Operational Changes to Mail Delivery

“This report responds to an August 7, 2020, congressional request regarding concerns that Postmaster General Louis DeJoy’s modifications to U.S. Postal Service staffing and policies had an adverse effect on Postal Service operations, leading to slower and less reliable mail delivery. This report also responds to a number of recent similar congressional requests. We are… Continue Reading