Category Archives: Washington Culture and News

Constitution Day is Coming — September 17

To commemorate the importance of the U.S. Constitution, P.L. 108-447 added “Constitution Day” to the law and mandated ” the civil and educational authorities of States, counties, cities, and towns are urged to make plans for the proper observance of Constitution Day and Citizenship Day and for the complete instruction of citizens in their responsibilities and opportunities as citizens of the United States and of the State and locality in which they reside.”

Learn more about the history of Constitution Day by reviewing our Research Guide and checking out the display in the Robert Oakley Reading Room.


You can also download an interactive Constitution app from the National Constitution Center.

2017 Inauguration – Library Hours

This year, Inauguration Day will take place on Friday, January 20th.  The Law Center — including the Law Library — will be closed.  The Law Library reference desks in Wolff and Williams will close at 5pm the day before (Thursday, January 19th).  Regular hours will resume Saturday, January 21st.

The details of the secure zone have not yet been released.  In previous years, the zone has covered about 1.5 miles from K Street and Massachusetts Avenue NW on the north to Independence Avenue NE & NW on the south, and 2nd Street NE on the east to 23rd Street NW on the west.  To be allowed into this area you must have and show current Law Center identification at security checkpoints.

For newcomers to DC, this Guide to the 2017 Presidential Inauguration provides some information about additional closures (e.g., Metro stations).  Many locals will be staying home to avoid the commotion, which is expected to continue at least until the next day when the Women’s March on Washington will take place.

What was Washington, D.C. like in the 1930s?

Historical newspapers offer a treasure trove of material on the social, political, intellectual and legal environment of a place. The library now offers access to The Evening Star a Washington, D.C. newspaper published from 1852 to 1981.

Background material on court cases, political appointees, legislation and more is searchable with this new database of PDF pages of the newspaper from the past couple of centuries.

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?)

Bone, Thugs, & Harmony?

Ever look at the Supreme Court and think – What a pack of mongrels? Well, now you really can think of them as a bunch of mutts thanks to John Oliver and the folks at Last Week Tonight. He’s given all of us Supreme Court groupies a way to get around that pesky prohibition they have against cameras in the courtroom. Now you can sync oral argument recordings to footage of a Supreme Court populated with dogs, a chicken court reporter, and a duck assistant. Animal Farm has never been so close to reality. Already, the internet, never one to miss out on a chance to exploit animals, has responded with videos of Supreme Court arguments as enacted by dogs. If you want to join the fun, you can obtain recordings of oral arguments dating back to 1955 from Chicago-Kent Law’s Oyez Project for dubbing.

If the SCOTUS dogs aren’t your cup of tea, have no fear. Georgetown Law Library has resources available to make your Supreme Court research easier. Did you know we have a research guide about the Supreme Court? We even have guides for researching court documents and the nomination process. Are you looking for briefs? Westlaw, Lexis, and Bloomberg Law can help with that, as can Landmark Briefs and Arguments of the Supreme Court of the United States, located in our print collection.

Whether you’re a serious researcher or just someone who enjoys great animal videos on Youtube, we have you covered here at the Georgetown Law Library. And as for us, we welcome our new doggy justices. After all, if it’s good enough for Notorious RBG, it’s good enough for us.

Fourth Circuit overturns Virginia same-sex marriage ban

The Fourth Circuit today announced its decision (2-1; Judge Floyd wrote the majority opinion) in Bostic v. Schaefer (No. 14-1167) affirming the district court for the Eastern District of Virginia in holding that Virginia’s ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional under the 14th Amendment. The Court did not stay its judgment. Judge Niemeyer wrote a dissent.

A copy of the opinion is available here.

USPTO invalidates trademark of Washington Redskins

The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board of the US Patent and Trademark Office today invalidated the trademark registration of the Washington Redskins on the grounds that the team name is “disparaging to Native Americans.”

The case is Blackhorse v. Pro-Football, Inc. (proceeding no. 92046185), and the ruling is available here.

For more information on how to research Intellectual Property issues and hearings, be sure to check our Trademark Law research guide, Patent Law research guide, and Copyright Law research guide. And be sure to read our Sports Law guide for all your football-related legal research.

Free Access to

The Washington PostEven though the website has instituted a paywall recently, members of the Georgetown Law community can set up free access by signing on with their .edu e-mail address. The Washington Post is offering educational access for all users with a .edu address.

You’ll want to register at this link for free digital access. This will provide you with access on campus, at home or on your mobile device.

Photo Attribution-NonCommercial License by maxmborge