Category Archives: Current Awareness

Ballghazi and Sports Corruption around the World

Scandals in sports are about as unexpected as scandals in politics, right? But how often do the skies open and send us a scandal as entertaining as Deflategate? The ball jokes alone are enough to send those of us who have the maturity of a 12-year-old boy into giggles. While we may think that the NFL has a monopoly on bumbling incompetence in the form of Roger Goodell, who likes to hand out punishments that have no actual link to the severity of the crime committed, it turns out that Goodell is just following in the footsteps of his international compatriots. The NFL is no more corrupt than FIFA or the International Olympic Committee. Strong words, but true. Even though Tom Brady will be suspended for twice as long as Ray Rice, a man caught on video beating his then-girlfriend-now-wife, Goodell and co. at the NFL are only engaging in the time-honored tradition of citing to rules that they make difficult for others to find (seriously, stop by and try to find the rule book from which the Patriots violated the game; for bonus points, find the exact rule that was violated), and hiding behind the notion that while players may do egregious things off the field, the true crime is doing anything to ruin the sanctity and integrity of the game on the field. The Patriots, while certainly not saints in anyone’s imagination, are being punished because they’ve ruined the game on the field, instead of keeping their misbehaviors off the field like everyone else.

If you’d like to learn more about the wild world of Sports Law, take a look at our research guide on the Olympics and International Sports Law as well as our guide on U.S. Sports Law. Books like Fair Play: The Ethics of Sport are in their 4th edition for a reason.

Of course, it all boils down to one simple thought at the end of the day: if the Patriots hadn’t engaged in shady behavior, none of this would be happening. Enjoy the schadenfreude until it’s your team in the spotlight. *cough* Washington D.C. Professional Football Organization *cough*

Need a Study Break?

Have you checked out the Google Cultural Institute? Featuring art collections from around the globe and historic sites and moments, you could get lost browsing through art, planning your next vacation or learning about the history of Ford’s Theater.


It’s a welcome change from the world of law and everyone needs a little time away. For those art lovers, Georgetown Law even has an Art Law Research Guide. So browse through the murals of the 1984 Olympics in the Google Cultural Institute and enjoy the view!

Good luck on your exams!

Argument recordings posted in same-sex marriage case

The Supreme Court has posted the audio recordings of the two-part oral argument in Obergefell v. Hodges. The transcripts will be posted at the same links.

Part I (Does the 14th Amendment require a state to license a marriage between two people of the same sex?)

Part II (Does the 14th Amendment require a state to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out-of-state?)

Interactive Tools for Exam Preparation

With finals approaching, don’t forget that the Library offers several interactive tools that can provide a break from reading and outlining. CALI lessons also provide feedback so that you know how well you’ve mastered a topic.

CALI lessons are interactive, computer-based tutorials written by law professors and librarians.  CALI publishes over 800 CALI lessons in 33 different legal subject areas. With so many options, there is likely a CALI Lesson available for most of the topics and subjects you wish to study before exams. If you are registering a free account at for the first time, note that you must use our school’s authorization code to create a new account. Stop by the reference desk to pick up your authorization code.

AudioCaseFiles  is a collection of digitally recorded reported court decisions. This collection includes MP3 format recordings of cases in many law school casebooks. The media is in MP3 format and once downloaded, the audio can be played from a personal computer, burned to a CD for listening in the car or at home, or a portable player, such as an iPod.  The Law Library has arranged for access for Georgetown Law students. Follow the directions outlined here.


Sum & Substance is a series of lectures on fundamental legal topics, such as contracts or property, recorded in CD format. The lectures offer a condensed summary of each topic, and are delivered by prominent law professors. A list of CDs that Georgetown owns is available from the catalog.   Most Sum & Substance CDs are on reserve at the circulation desk.

The library has many other study aids available, including  Nutshells and Examples & Explanations.  Use the Treatise Finder to locate them by subject.

Denim Day

Denim Day

jeansFor several years, a day in April has been designated as “Denim Day” to promote awareness of sexual violence against women.

It began in 1999 in response to an Italian Supreme Court (Corte di Cassazione) decision that overturned a rape conviction. There was a dispute about consent. In overturning the decision on the consent issue, the court found that it is nearly impossible to slip off tight jeans even partly without the active collaboration of the person who is wearing them.  There is an interesting law review article about this case, Blue Jeans, Rape, and the De-Constitutive Power of Law, in 35 Law & Society Review 89 on HeinOnline.

There was a second, similar case in 2008 where the Supreme Court (Corte di Cassazione) reviewed a lower court decision with very similar reasoning.  This time the high court overturned the lower court and its own 1999 ruling.  This development has “closely aligned the Italian Supreme Court with the European Court of Human Rights’ dictates, and ultimately has marked a step forward towards gender equality and women’s right to sexual autonomy.”

Women continue to be victims of sexual violence around the world as seen in recent news reports.  Denim Day serves a reminder to combat such attitudes.
photo Attribution License by CananZembil

Who is that new member of Congress anyway?

The Government Publishing Office has released its New Member Pictorial Directory, so you can check out all of the new members of the 114th Congress. Each entry includes a picture, the member’s education and occupation.

We’ve also got a number of databases that you can use the follow the new Congress in January, including the Congressional Quarterly (CQ) Electronic Library and ProQuest Congressional.  Of course, and are the two official government websites which post bills, public laws, hearings and reports from Congress too.

Feel free to ask a librarian if you need assistance with any legislative question.

Law Genius – Crowd Commentary on Cases and Codes

If you’ve ever wanted a commentary on texts as diverse as Marbury v. Madison, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act or the iTunes terms of service, then there’s a perfect site for you:  Law Genius. Specifically, this is the Law branch of  This is a crowd-sourced annotation platform where anybody can add commentary, analysis and images to texts as diverse as music lyrics, cases and contracts.   They even offer selected essays such as Jay-Z’s 99 Problems, Verse 2: A Close Reading With Fourth Amendment Guidance for Cops and PerpsGeniusLogo

Started as Rap Genius, it now includes thirteen categories, including five musical genres.  Last month, they added the Law School Genius page, grouping cases into broad topics billed as ‘casebooks.’  Currently there are far more cases without annotations than with them, but this may change if crowds convene to comment.

If you’re looking for more traditional commentary and explanations of the law, look no further than our Treatise Finder collection. For this, Georgetown Law librarians selected and organized leading study aids and treatises in more than fifty subject areas.

If you prefer narrative case descriptions with historical context, consider books in the Law Stories series. Each title contains a set of essays on leading cases in subject areas ranging from evidence to environmental law.

LawStories-coversWhether or not Law Genius takes off, the broader site is a great place to explore the back story to lyrics from BeckBeyoncé or Garth Brooks.


The Evolving Congress


Congressional scholars, take note! The Congressional Research Service released an extensive history of the legislative branch yesterday. Known as  The Evolving Congress, it includes numerous articles written by CRS staff on the makeup of Congress and its evolution, the members of Congress, the Institutional Congress and Policymaking Case Studies.

Written as a tribute to its centennial year, this CRS work looks at the unchanging nature of Congressional elections and compares modern Congresses. If you’d like more information about CRS and access to more of its reports, see our Policy Research Guide.

SNL makes a funny about the legislative process

On Saturday night, the three people who still watch Saturday Night Live were treated to a delightful parody of the classic Schoolhouse Rock! “I’m just a Bill” cartoon. By Sunday afternoon, the rest of us had heard about it and had a chance to laugh along as well. In addition to sending up the 70s-era educational cartoon, the skit also skewered the President’s executive order on immigration. But what if you want to know more about the very real and serious processes that led to 3 minutes of chuckles? We’ve got you covered here at the law library.

For starters, we have a research guide on legislative history and a helpful chart of the various resources that comprise legislative histories and where they can be found. We also have a research guide on Presidential Documents with a section on executive orders. For databases in which to do legislative research, you cannot beat ProQuest Congressional, which you can access from the library website, under our list of Frequently Used Databases.

As to whether SNL got it right with their skit, that remains up for debate. However, SNL has us talking about the legislative process and that’s nothing to shake a stick at.

Are you listening to Serial?

Are you as obsessed with the Serial podcast as we are here at the Georgetown Law Library? Do you wonder if Adnan did it or not? What’s the deal with Jay and Jenn? Is the shrimp sale at the Crab Crib as delicious as it sounds? And why can’t that kid say “Mail Chimp?” If these questions mean nothing to you, you’re missing out on one of the most popular podcasts around as well as an intriguing legal mystery.

For those in the know, and perhaps looking to deepen their knowledge of Maryland law, we have a research guide for that! We also have a guide on criminal law and justice. Our treatise finder on criminal law and procedure can help you figure out what Adnan’s options are now as he works his way through the appeals process.