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Moritz Law  /  Law Library  /  Opinio Juris  /  March 2006

Opinio Juris - March 2006

Scroll down to learn about Freedom of Information Act Reading Rooms, Congressional Hearings Online, new Library DVDs, Ohio Capital Connection, the Washington & Lee Journal Database, the Supreme Court Term in a Nutshell, Liberals and Conservatives in Congress, Searching for Podcasts, and Irish-American Facts. For more information about other legal research topics, please visit the Library's blog.

Freedom of Information Act Reading Rooms

This week (March 12-18) is Sunshine Week, which celebrates the importance of open government and free access to information. The 1996 amendments to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) require federal departments and agencies to establish publicly accessible "electronic reading rooms" containing FOIA response materials and other public information.

These web sites contain valuable information about the operation of the federal government and many collect frequently requested records. Some FOIA reading rooms include:

Congressional Hearings Online

If you are looking for the official record of a hearing in Congress, don't forget to check the Congressional Hearings: Main Page from GPO Access. C-Span should be your first stop if you're looking for video of Congressional Hearings such as the recent hearings on foreign control of US ports.

You can browse recent hearings from the 109th Congress, or search for video in the gray box right in the middle of the C-Span home page. If you'd like to keep up to date on C-Span programming, including congressional hearings, subscribe to C-Span alert and each day you will receive an email summarizing upcoming C-Span television and radio programming.

New DVDs Available at the Library

The Library's collection of law-related DVDs continues to grow. We have recently added several titles, including: Up for Grabs, The Exorcism of Emily Rose, Is Wal-Mart Good for America, and The O.J. Simpson Verdict.

Up for Grabs is a documentary about the legal fight that occurred over the baseball Barry Bonds hit into the stands for his record-breaking 73rd home run in 2001.

Ohio Capital Connection

Ohio Capital Connection is a database that allows users to search for a whole variety of Ohio legislative information. It contains important legislative history information as well as information about pending and recently enacted bills.

Users also have access to the Hannah Report, a daily summary of Ohio government activity. You can read the latest report or search the archives. This database is available on-campus and off-campus by authentication.

Washington & Lee Journal Database

The valuable Washington & Lee - Most Cited Legal Periodicals Database, administered by John Doyle, has moved. The database has been moved to a new location and has a new URL (http://lawlib.wlu.edu/LJ/).

According to the editor, "[t]he emphasis of the page has changed, with a de-emphasis on rankings, and more emphasis placed on the function of assisting authors with journal selection and article submission." Due to this new emphasis, the name of the web page has been changed to "Law Journal Submission Information." Read more about the database changes.

U.S. Supreme Court Term in a Nutshell

2005-2006 ALR United States Supreme Court Update: Part I is available. From West elert:

The staff of the American Law Reports (ALR) has compiled summaries of major decisions from the 2005 fall term in one document, the 2005-2006 ALR United States Supreme Court Update: Part I. (The update for the second half of the 2005-2006 term will be available in August 2006.) In addition to actual opinions, the update also summarizes orders granting or denying certiorari. The update is organized alphabetically by topic, beginning with Civil Rights and ending with War and National Emergency. Each summary includes the title and citation of the opinion or order, a summary of the facts, the Court's disposition, and the title and citation of a corresponding ALR article.

Who's Liberal or Conservative in Congress?

How conservative or liberal is your Senator or House Representative? National Journal has released its 2005 Congressional Vote Ratings. According to the web site:

Since 1981, National Journal's annual vote ratings have defined where members of Congress have stood ideologically in each chamber. The ratings rank lawmakers on how they vote relative to each other on a conservative-to-liberal scale in both the Senate and the House. The scores are based on the members' votes in three areas: economic issues, social issues, and foreign policy.

The ratings can be browsed or searched in a variety of ways.

Searching for Podcasts

A podcast is a web feed of audio or video files placed on the Internet for people to subscribe to or download. Sounds neat, but how do you find a podcast that you might want to listen to or watch? Podzinger is a search engine that allows you to search for podcasts by typing terms into a "Google-type" interface. It is a great way to find podcasts that might be of interest to you.

Irish-American Facts

The U.S. Census Bureau has compiled its Facts for Features: Irish-American Heritage Month and St. Patrick's Day. These facts and statistics include such topics as population distribution of Irish-Americans, immigration, and trade. Lá Fhéile Pádraig Sona Daoibh!