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Category Archives: Legal Research

ABA issues ethical guidance on when judges should use the internet for independent factual research

“The American Bar Association Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility has issued Formal Opinion 478  that provides the nation’s judicial branch guidance related to the ethical boundaries of independent factual research on the internet. The guidance is consistent with the ABA Model Code of Judicial Conduct, but notes that judicial notice is governed by the law of evidence in each jurisdiction. The opinion draws a bright-line distinction between independent investigation of “adjudicative facts” and research of “legislative facts” of law and policy. Formal Opinion 478 also provides guidance on internet research by judges of the lawyers and the parties involved in the case. “Stated simply, a judge should not gather adjudicative facts from any source on the Internet unless the information is subject to proper judicial notice,” Formal Opinion 478 said. “Further … judges should not use the Internet for independent fact-gathering related to a pending or impending matter where the parties can easily be asked to research or provide the information. The same is true of the activities or characteristics of the litigants or other participants in the matter.” The opinion provides five hypothetical situations, and provides an analysis of each and how they might be handled by a judge. The ABA Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility periodically issues ethics opinions to advise lawyers, courts and the public in interpreting and applying ABA model ethics rules to specific issues of legal practice, client-lawyer relationships and judicial behavior. Formal Opinion 478 and previous ABA ethics opinions are available on the ABA Center for Professional Responsibility website under “Latest Ethics Opinions.” Go to www.abalegalfactcheck.com for the ABA’s new feature that cites case and statutory law and other legal precedents to distinguish legal fact from fiction.”

Crowdsourcing Accurately and Robustly Predicts Supreme Court Decisions

Crowdsourcing Accurately and Robustly Predicts Supreme Court Decisions — By Daniel Martin Katz, Michael Bommarito, Josh Blackman – via SSRN “ABSTRACT:  Scholars have increasingly investigated “crowdsourcing” as an alternative to expert-based judgment or purely data-driven approaches to predicting the future. Under certain conditions, scholars have found that crowd-sourcing can outperform these other approaches. However, despite… Continue Reading

Interview – The U.S. Has Way Too Many Secrets

The U.S. Has Way Too Many Secrets, December 11, 2017 by The Archive. This article originally appeared in Bloomberg. “A Q&A with Tom Blanton, director of the National Security Archive, on the historical value of Hillary Clinton’s emails, the sins of Julian Assange, and what national secrets are really worth keeping. How much does it… Continue Reading

MIT Technology Review – Victims of Sexual Harassment Have a New Resource: AI

MIT Technology Review – The Download: “If you have ever dealt with sexual harassment in the workplace, there is now a private online place for you to go for help. Botler AI, a startup based in Montreal, on Wednesday launched a system that provides free information and guidance to those who have been sexually harassed… Continue Reading

The New Rules of Dog Ownership – A codified set of behaviors for dog owners in public places

Wes Silver – Outside: “Human society is made possible by rules, both written and unwritten. Yet there’s no such series of concrete, accepted rules for dog owners, and that’s becoming a problem. Take my experience this past weekend. In need of a quick getaway, my girlfriend and I booked a room at the Kimpton Goodland, in… Continue Reading

Video: How the Court System Is Abused to Chill Activist Speech

EFF: “One of the most pernicious forms of censorship in modern America is the abuse of the court system by corporations and wealthy individuals to harass, intimidate, and silence their critics. We use the term “Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation,” more commonly known as a “SLAPP,” to describe this phenomenon. With a SLAPP, a malicious… Continue Reading

CRS – Retirement Benefits for Members of Congress

Retirement Benefits for Members of Congress, Katelin P. Isaacs, Specialist in Income Security. December 5, 2017: “…Under both Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) and Federal Employees’Retirement System (FERS)., Members of Congress are eligible for a pension at the age of 62 if they have completed at least five years of service. Members are eligible for… Continue Reading

American Bar Association focus of attacks in efforts to approve unqualified judges

Politico: “Senate Republicans have declared war on the American Bar Association. Since 1953, the venerable legal organization has played a critical, behind-the-scenes role in assessing judicial nominees and their fitness to serve on the bench.But with the ABA emerging as a major stumbling block in President Donald Trump’s effort to transform the courts, the GOP… Continue Reading

OpenCorporates ingesting registered trademarks from multiple sources and reconciling them to companies

“Here at OpenCorporates, our core mission has always been about making official public data about companies more widely available, more usable and more useful. Much of this comes from one of the 120+ company registers we use as a primary source, but an increasing amount comes from other public sources, which now includes US and… Continue Reading

Iraq Study Group Papers of former U.S. Rep. Lee Hamilton are now available in digital format

Indiana University Bloomington: “The Iraq Study Group Papers of former U.S. Rep. Lee Hamilton are now available in digital format from Indiana University Libraries, providing researchers and the public with a behind-the-scenes look at a bipartisan panel that influenced U.S. policy in Iraq. Hamilton, now a distinguished scholar in the IU School of Global and International Studies… Continue Reading

Federal Weapons Prosecutions Rise for Third Consecutive Year

TRAC: “The latest case-by-case records from the Justice Department covering all of FY 2017 indicate that federal criminal prosecutions for weapons offenses grew by 10.8 percent over the levels seen during FY 2016. This is the third year in a row to see an increase in federal weapons prosecutions. Prosecutions during FY 2016 had risen… Continue Reading

Stark Partisan Divisions Over Russia Probe, Including Its Importance to the Nation

“A majority of Americans say they think senior members of Donald Trump’s administration definitely or probably had improper contacts with Russia during last year’s presidential campaign. And most are at least somewhat confident that special counsel Robert Mueller will conduct a fair investigation into the matter. Republicans and Democrats are deeply divided in views of… Continue Reading