Featured collection (election special): The Center for a New Democracy collection

The Center for a New Democracy, a project of the Tides Foundation, was established in 1991 to promote democratic reform through research, public education, litigation, and community organizing and training. A particular focus was on public financing of elections and fair voting reforms. The CND existed until 1996, and Donna Edwards served as its director from 1994-1996.

The collection (NEJL 064) was donated to the NEJL in 1996, and it includes case files and other materials related to state ballot initiatives in favor of campaign finance reform in the mid 1990s: Missouri Proposition A (Carver v. Nixon and Shrink v. Maupin); Minnesota (Day v. Holahan); California (Pro-Life Council PAC v. Jan Scully); Colorado (Colorado Right to LIfe Committee v. Victoria Buckley, Secretary of State); Montana (Right to Life Ass., et al. v. Robert Eddleman, County Attorney); Maine (Maine Right to Life Committee v. Federal Election Comm.); Oregon (Center to Protect Free Speech, Inc. v. Oregon); Washington, D.C. (National Black Police Assn. et.al. v. DC Board of Elections and Ethics).

In addition, the collection includes a range of reports, pamphlets, and articles (gray literature) on campaign finances in various states and in the U.S., including statewide surveys of “American Attitudes Toward Money in Politics” conducted by Bannon Research on behalf of the Center for a New Democracy in Massachusetts; Montana, Maine, Oregon, Colorado, and California.

Of particular local interest are the materials related to Initiative 41, a 1992 ballot initiative in Washington, D.C. that limited contributions to $100 for the election cycle for district-wide races and $50 per cycle for Ward races. The Center for a New Democracy and the DC community group DC ACORN, a principal supporter of the initiative, undertook a study to analyze the early impact of Initiative 41 on elections in the District. The collection also includes case files from National Black Police Association v. District of Columbia, 108 F.3d 346, 348-49 (D.C.Cir.1997). The case challenged the constitutionality of the new D.C. law as imposing “unprecedented limitations on the right of individuals and groups to contribute, and of political candidates to accept, contributions in support of campaigns for elected public office.”

A collection inventory exists, and the collection can be accessed at Georgetown Law Library’s Special Collections reading room.

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Law Library Response to 2016 Student Survey

Each spring, the Law Library conducts a survey of our students.  In 2016, 245 students responded to our survey, and we published summary charts of the responses back in April. Now we’re publishing a survey response, to show examples of changes to library facilities, content and services guided by the useful student input.

Monthly Table DaysWe have published the 2016 Law Library Survey Response, where you can see highlights of new hydration stations, new shelf guides for locating materials within the stacks, as well as the introduction of the OneSearch tool for discovering articles, books, databases, and other resources from many places.

We appreciate student input. Throughout the year, you are encouraged to send comments and suggestions through our suggestion page, and please keep an eye out for our next annual survey in spring of 2017.

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Need Help with your Studies? Try our Study Aids!

Study aids can clarify confusing concepts and even provide practice questions for your review. A variety of study aids are available and the best one to use depends on your course and individual study habits. Most of these books can be found in the Williams Reading Room Reserve, with older editions in the stacks available for checkout.

Examples & Explanations (practice questions and answers)
Nutshells (a broad overview of a subject)
Hornbooks (in-depth treatment with extensive citations)
Understanding Series (“concise, yet comprehensive”)
Concepts and Insights (provides a basic theoretical foundation)
Turning Point (a broad overview similar to Nutshells)

CALI lessons are another useful exam review option. Over 800 interactive lessons prepared by law professors and librarians cover over 30 practice areas of law. Georgetown students can register for immediate online access.

Good luck with your studies!

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Banned Books Week

The end of September brings us Banned Books week, dedicated to celebrating the freedom to read and the importance of free speech.   To learn more about this topic, visit the American Library Association’s online resources on banned and challenged books.

The most frequently banned books are works of fiction. While the Georgetown University Law Center’s two library locations are mostly dedicated to nonfiction, we do have a small collection of popular reading materials, located on your right as you walk from the Reading Room to the Loewinger Lounge in the Williams Library. If you are in need of some pleasure reading, feel free to check it out.

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Need a Congressional Document or Legislative History?

While most students thinks they can find any legal document on Lexis or Westlaw, we have a specialized database for Congressional material, called ProQuest Congressional. Whether you are looking for a House Report from the 1930s or a legislative history for a 1960 law, you will find it on ProQuest Congressional.

Be sure to make use of the Search by Number feature if you have the complete citation to a report or congressional publication. It’s the easiest way to retrieve the single document you are looking for.

We have tutorials on finding a bill, reports or legislative histories on ProQuest Congressional and the reference librarians will be glad to assist you with this wonderful  resource.


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Library Training for Faculty Research Assistants

Library Training for Faculty Research Assistants

The library will be holding two orientation training sessions for new faculty research assistants this spring.  In this training, RAs will learn about library services and policies and will gain an introduction to our databases and to best research practices.

The sessions will be:

  • Thursday, September 29th, 12:00pm-1:00pm
  • Wednesday, October 5th, 3:30pm-4:30pm

All sessions will be held in the Computer Learning Center (CLC) in the Williams Law Library.

To attend this training, please RSVP here.  Any questions can be sent to Jeremy McCabe, Research Services Librarian, jjm323@law.georgetown.edu, 202-662-9145.

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France and the Burkini-Ban Debate

France has always prided itself on its secularism, referred to as laïcité in French. This is one of the core concepts within its constitution and it has been used as a reason in recent years to ban religious clothing – notably the burqa. In 2010, France became the first European country to pose an outright ban on the burqa, which is the full-face veil worn by some Muslim women. The niqab and hijab, by contrast, only cover parts of the face or hair. These fell under a 2004 French law that prohibited religious wear such as headscarves in public schools. To find these laws, one of the best places to look is Legifrance. We also have French laws in our print collection; our research guide on French law may be useful for identifying which code to search. For assistance with the print, please feel free to seek out assistance at the international law reference desk.

One might wonder why the French would target one religion when they seemingly don’t care about the Catholics or Jews or other religious types who might walk among them in various forms of religious dress. After all, no one seems to be asking nuns to remove their habits in the classroom. Or the beach, for that matter.


The argument behind such laws has been that Muslim standards for feminine modesty are overly restrictive and impede on the rights of women, thus infringing on the French rights of liberty, equality, and fraternity.

Enter the burkini in the post-Nice-attack atmosphere. Suddenly, this item of clothing, which Muslim women can choose to wear if they want to go to the beach, was another example of the enslavement of women by Islam. Worse than that, in the words of presidential hopeful, Nicolas Sarkozy, it was a provocation. Nice outlawed the burkini because it “overtly manifests adherence to a religion at a time when France and places of worship are the target of terrorist attacks.” Several cities followed suit.

The world did not react with warmth and joy. When the following picture made the rounds, people were upset because this image doesn’t look like the image of a woman provoking others with her dress. It doesn’t look like the image of a woman terrorizing others. Instead it looks like the image of a woman being policed for no good reason and being asked to remove clothing against her own wishes, surrounded by armed men.


On Friday, August 26, the Conseil d’Etat, France’s highest administrative court, overturned the burkini-ban that had been instituted by 26 coastal towns. The decision can be read here. It can also be found, eventually, on Legifrance. The judges refute that the burkini is a symbol of terror or inequality, stating:

« l’arrêté litigieux a ainsi porté une atteinte grave et manifestement illégale aux libertés fondamentales que sont la liberté d’aller et venir, la liberté de conscience et la liberté personnelle. »

Basically, that the ban is manifestly illegal because it deprives people of fundamental liberties, such as the liberty to come and go, the liberty of conscience, and personal liberty.

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Happy National Aviation Day!

According to 36 U.S.C. 118, August 19 is designated as National Aviation Day. First recognized in 1939 by Franklin D. Roosevelt on the anniversary of Orville Wright’s birthday, it was codified in Title 36 with other days of patriotic and national observance. You can see resources about Aviation Law on the library’s Aviation Law Research Guide.


Feel free to ask a librarian if you have any questions about the resources.

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New Resource – Law.com

The library now offers Law.com to all members of the Georgetown Law community. Law.com features legal news and analysis from the American Lawyer and National Law Journal, including the infamous rankings of the legal industry, the AmLaw 100 and the NLJ250. ALM Intelligence provides industry analysis such as best law firms to work for, best places for lawyers to live and more.

Law.com is a valuable site for anyone investigating the legal industry and law firms in general. Check it out!

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