Author Archives: Jennifer Davitt

Legal Eats: Grand Opening Today at 11 AM

Join us today at 11 a.m. for the Grand Opening of Legal Eats – the new unattended micromarket by Avenue C.

Legal Eats is on the first floor of the E.B. Williams Library in the former canteen space.

Reach the cafe from the journals’ entrance or from within the library (take the elevator to the first floor, and the entrance to the cafe will be by the water fountain at the bottom of the stairs).

After the grand opening, the cafe will be open to students 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  If you want to get something to eat when the library is closed, use the journals’ entrance to access the cafe using your GoCard.

Find more information about setting up an account with Avenue C and other payment options here.

Coming Soon: New Self-Service Cafe in Williams … And Canteen Closed October 21-25

We are excited to announce that Legal Eats – an unattended micromarket by Avenue C – will be opening on the First Floor of the E.B. Williams Library on October 26.

Legal Eats will feature fresh sandwiches, salads, and a wide variety of snacks and beverages.  You will be able to select what you want from coolers and displays and then use a self-checkout machine to pay.

Starting on the 26th, you will be able to reach Legal Eats from within the library space: just take the elevator to the first floor, and the entrance to the market will be by the water fountain at the bottom of the stairs.

Legal Eats will be installed by Avenue C in the current canteen space this week, and so the canteen will be closed to students from October 21 through October 25.

We look forward to seeing you at the grand opening of Legal Eats on October 26!

Research Assistant Training

The Library will be holding two RA orientation training sessions.  In the orientation, 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 May 28, 2009 from 11 am to noon; and
  • Thursday, June 4, 2009 from 4-5 pm.

Both sessions will be held in EB Williams Room 420.

Please RSVP to Thanh Nguyen (nguyent2@law.georgetown.edu) with which session you plan to attend.

The Library also encourages RAs to make individual appointments with Faculty Services to discuss resources and strategies relevant to their specific summer projects and assignments. Please email Thanh (nguyent2@law.georgetown.edu) if you would like to set up an appointment.

Summer 2008 Research Assistant Training

The library will be holding a series of RA training sessions over the course of the summer. The classes will cover topics such as social science and statistics research, advanced Lexis and Westlaw techniques and international and foreign law research.

RAs may also schedule individual research consultations with Jen Davitt (jnl8@law.georgetown.edu) or with Thanh Nguyen (nguyent2@law.georgetown.edu).

In addition, we will be providing an orientation to the library’s services and policies for all new RAs over lunch on May 22, 2008.

Sign up for classes and the orientation lunch here.

3 Georgetown Law Professors’ Articles Published in the Latest Issue of the Stanford Law Review

The February 2008 issue of the Stanford Law Review contains the following articles by Georgetown Law Professors Sasha Volokh, Randy Barnett and Neal Katyal (writing with Richard Caplan):

  • Randy E. Barnett, Kurt Lash’s Majoritarian Difficulty: A Response to A Textual-Historical Theory of the Ninth Amendment, 60 Stan. L. Rev. 937 (2008).

    Kurt Lash believes that, in addition to individual natural rights, the Ninth Amendment protects collective or majoritarian rights as well. In this essay I explain why his majoritarian vision is contrary to the antimajoritarianism of the man who devised the Ninth Amendment, James Madison, and those who wrote the Constitution. Not coincidentally, it is contrary to the individualism of the other amendments in the Bill of Rights, and to the public meaning of the Ninth Amendment as it was received during its ratification. It is also contrary to the individualist conception of popular sovereignty adopted in the text of the Constitution as interpreted by a four-to-one majority of the Supreme Court in its first major constitutional decision. And it is contrary to the individualist interpretation of the Ninth Amendment by the one source he cites who actually uses the word “collective”: St. George Tucker. In sum, the collectivist interpretation of the phrase “others retained by the people” is anachronistic–a projection of contemporary majoritarianism onto a text that is and was most naturally read as referring to the natural rights retained by all individuals, and to these rights alone.

  • Neal Katyal & Richard Caplan, The Suprisingly Stronger Case for the Legality of the NSA Surveillance Program: The FDR Precedent, 60 Stan. L. Rev. 1023 (2008).

    This Article explains why the legal case for the recently disclosed National Security Agency surveillance program turns out to be stronger than what the Administration has advanced. In defending its action, the Administration overlooked the details surrounding one of the most important periods of presidentially imposed surveillance in wartime – President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s wiretapping and his secret end-run around both the wiretapping prohibition enacted by Congress and decisions of the United States Supreme Court. As explored through primary source material, President Roosevelt acted against the interpretations of, among others, his Attorney General and the Supreme Court regarding a law passed by Congress, deciding, in secret, that wiretapping was essentially his prerogative. That Attorney General, Robert Jackson, later remarked that it was “[t]he only case that I recall in which [FDR] declined to abide by a decision of the Supreme Court.”

    The FDR precedent provides some justification for what is known about President Bush’s wiretapping program – more, it would seem, than what has been put forward by the Administration itself. By outlining some of the general conditions under which Executive Branch precedent may justify contemporary national security decisions, we develop a framework for Executive Branch stare decisis and ultimately conclude that the FDR precedent should not be followed today. We recognize, however, that our conclusion is debatable, and believe that the FDR precedent deserves widespread debate, instead of the inattention it has received thus far. We further explain why the past history and present experience with wiretapping reveals the relative frailty of both courts and Congress in national security disputes, and highlights the need to lace the concept of separation of powers into the Executive Branch.

  • Alexander Volokh, Privatization and the Law and Economics of Political Advocacy, 60 Stan. L. Rev. 1197 (2008).

    A common argument against privatization is that private providers will self-interestedly lobby to increase the size of their market. In this Article, I evaluate this argument, using, as a case study, the argument against prison privatization based on the possibility that the private prison industry will distort the criminal law by advocating for incarceration.

    I conclude that there is at present no particular reason to credit this argument. Even without privatization, government agents already lobby for changes in substantive law – in the prison context, for example, public corrections officer unions are active advocates of pro-incarceration policy. Against this background, adding the extra voice of the private sector will not necessarily increase either the amount of industry-increasing advocacy or its effectiveness. In fact, privatization may well reduce the industry’s political power: Because advocacy is a public good for the industry, as the number of independent actors increases, the largest actor’s advocacy decreases (since it no longer captures the full benefit of its advocacy) and the smaller actors free-ride off the largest actor’s contribution. Under some plausible assumptions, therefore, privatization may actually decrease advocacy, and under different plausible assumptions, the net effect of privatization on advocacy is ambiguous.

    The argument that privatization distorts policy by encouraging lobbying is thus unconvincing without a fuller explanation of the mechanics of advocacy.


Professor Luban’s Newest Book: Legal Ethics and Human Dignity

Legal Ethics and Human Dignity, Professor David Luban’s newest book, has recently been published by the Cambridge University Press.

From the Cambridge University Press description: “In this collection of his most significant papers from the past twenty-five years, he ranges over such topics as the moral psychology of organisational evil, the strengths and weaknesses of the adversary system, and jurisprudence from the lawyer’s point of view. His discussion combines philosophical argument, legal analysis and many cases drawn from actual law practice, and he defends a theory of legal ethics that focuses on lawyers’ role in enhancing human dignity and human rights. In addition to an analytical introduction, the volume includes two major previously unpublished papers, including a detailed critique of the US government lawyers who produced the notorious ‘torture memos’. It will be of interest to a wide range of readers in both philosophy and law.”

New Stanford Law Review Article by Professor Neal Katyal and ’07 Grad Richard Caplan

The Surprisingly Stronger Case for the Legality of the NSA Surveillance Program: The FDR Precedent, an article written by Neal Katyal and Richard Caplan and soon to be published in an upcoming issue of the Stanford Law Review, has just been posted to SSRN and BePress.

Abstract:

This Article explains why the legal case for the recently disclosed National Security Agency surveillance program turns out to be stronger than what the Administration has advanced. In defending its action, the Administration overlooked the details surrounding one of the most important periods of presidentially imposed surveillance in wartime: President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s wiretapping and his secret end-run around both the wiretapping prohibition enacted by Congress and decisions of the United States Supreme Court. As explored through primary source material, President Roosevelt acted against the interpretations of, among others, his Attorney General and the Supreme Court regarding a law passed by Congress, deciding, in secret, that wiretapping was essentially his prerogative. That Attorney General, Robert Jackson, later remarked that it was “[t]he only case that I recall in which [FDR] declined to abide by a decision of the Supreme Court.”

The FDR precedent provides some justification for what is known about President Bush’s wiretapping program — more, it would seem, than what has been put forward by the Administration itself. By outlining some of the general conditions under which Executive Branch precedent may justify contemporary national security decisions, we develop a framework for Executive Branch stare decisis and ultimately conclude that the FDR precedent should not be followed today. We recognize, however, that our conclusion is debatable, and believe that the FDR precedent deserves widespread debate, instead of the inattention it has received thus far. We further explain why the past history and present experience with wiretapping reveals the relative frailty of both courts and Congress in national security disputes, and highlights the need to lace the concept of “separation of powers” into the Executive Branch.

New Book by Professor Steven Goldberg

Bleached Faith: The Tragic Cost When Religion is Forced Into the Public Square, Professor Steven Goldberg’s newest book, has recently been published by the Stanford University Press.

Professor Goldberg “argues that victory is worse than defeat when people of faith seek to force religion into the public square. The Ten Commandments lose their meaning. Frosty the Snowman has to stand guard when the creche is displayed. And intelligent design reduces God to a second-rate engineer. People on both sides of church-state issues should consider that the gravest threat to real faith comes from those who would water down religion in order to win the dubious honor of forcing it into public buildings and classrooms. The values embodied in the Non-Establishment and Free Exercise Clauses are undermined when religion is distorted in these endless confrontations.”