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Research & Litigation

Makeup Dupes: The Law of Cosmetics and Trademarks

In Custodia Legis - 7 hours 25 min ago

The following is a guest post by Hannah Sullivan, an intern with the Digital Resources Division of the Law Library of Congress. She is a current graduate student at the University of Rhode Island in the Master of Library and Information Studies (MLIS) program.

If you are anything like me, a big part of growing up revolved around makeup. With so many high-end makeup brands on the market, it gets increasingly difficult to keep up financially. Dupes, or “duplicates,” in the beauty world are considered a “cheaper alternative to higher-end products.” Store brand dupes, which have become a mainstream phenomenon, are starting to feel more high-end at a lower price point.

Washington, D.C. A demonstration of the correct procedure in applying street makeup in a home management class at Woodrow Wilson High School. Esther Bubley, photographer, 1943. Library of Congress, Prints and Photograph Division. //

Although I am a makeup consumer, I never spent much time thinking about what goes on behind the scenes of the beauty industry (other than becoming more aware of ethical and cruelty-free options) until recently. Dupes can appear in many forms such as primers, eye shadow colors, lipsticks and so on. As dupes have become more prevalent, a number of questions about them started coming to mind. Are makeup dupes legal? Is there any validity behind accusations made by one makeup brand about another when it comes to “stealing” packaging, colors, and advertising campaigns? How are brands protecting their products?

Since it is usually a good idea to start with the basics – what is makeup? According to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, section 201:

The term “cosmetic” means (1) articles intended to be rubbed, poured, sprinkled, or sprayed on, introduced into, or otherwise applied to the human body or any part thereof for cleansing, beautifying, promoting attractiveness, or altering the appearance, and (2) articles intended for use as a component of any such articles; except that such term shall not include soap.

For customer safety, makeup and cosmetics brands must provide a full list of ingredients and divulge any warnings on their labels. Comparing the ingredient lists of high-end makeup products with their store brand dupes can reveal significant differences among items, which presumably result in price differences. To prevent confusion across brands and their products, makeup companies can register a trademark.

This brings us to our second question – what is a trademark?

According to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO),

A trademark is a word, name, symbol, or device that is used in trade with goods to indicate the source of the goods and to distinguish them from the goods of others…. Trademark rights may be used to prevent others from using a confusingly similar mark, but not to prevent others from making the same goods or from selling the same goods or services under a clearly different mark. Trademarks allow makeup brands to have their own logos, packaging, and compact and applicator designs.

Companies with trademarked brands may litigate if they believe another brand is creating a product that is indistinguishable from theirs. However, courts have found dupes to be legally permissible under fair use principles because brands can sell similar products as long as there is no deliberate confusion to the customers purchasing them. For example, the U.S. Supreme Court in KP Permanent Makeup, Inc. v. Lasting Impression I, Inc. held that a plaintiff claiming infringement must show a likelihood of consumer confusion, while the defendant has no burden to negate the likelihood of confusion. In other words, the legal burden rests primarily with the trademark holder.

If you are interested in reading more about intellectual property law and makeup dupes, you may consider reviewing the following resources:

Categories: Research & Litigation

Introducing the New Multi-jurisdiction Service of Process Report

In Custodia Legis - Fri, 11/20/2020 - 9:00am

This is a guest post by Kayahan Cantekin, a foreign law specialist in the Global Legal Research Directorate of the Law Library of Congress. Kayahan previously blogged about Introducing the New Civil Education Models Report.

We’re proud to announce that our new multi-jurisdiction report on rules governing the service of process is now available on The report includes surveys of 18 non-U.S. jurisdictions and focuses on rules regarding two aspects of service of process, namely, whether or not service can be made via online means, and the methods for serving parties located abroad. The jurisdictions surveyed are Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, England and Wales, European Union, France, Germany, India, Israel, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Russian Federation, South Korea, and Turkey. The report includes civil law, common law, and mixed system jurisdictions, thus providing a valuable comparative look into how countries across different legal traditions adapt their civil procedure rules to developments in communication technology.

Rules Regarding Electronic Service of Process

“Service of process” is the first formal notification made to a party that a lawsuit has been filed against it. This first notification is critical for enabling a party to defend itself. The availability of more flexible means for effectuating service, however, may also have a great impact on the plaintiffs’ ability to access justice.

As a result, the availability of online technologies, such as e-mail, social media, and online messaging applications for service of process raises questions about the best ways to safeguard the preservation of due process rights of all litigants. Our new report demonstrates the types of protections that are employed in the civil procedure laws of the surveyed jurisdictions, and explore the trends in legislation and judicial practice regarding the use of electronic means of service.

Map created by Susan Taylor-Pikulsky.

Our report found that a majority of the surveyed jurisdictions that allow electronic service of process require the explicit or implicit consent of the recipient, if the recipient is not a public entity, for the service to be valid.

Jurisdictions appear to differ in their approaches to electronic service in accordance with their legal tradition: for example, in many of the surveyed jurisdictions belonging to the civil law tradition, electronic service is allowed only through regulated electronic transmission systems that are administered by public entities. On the other hand, in the majority of the common law jurisdictions that were surveyed, electronic service was allowed to be made by parties through regular electronic addresses, although generally not as primary method of service but under substituted service rules (rules under which documents can be served indirectly to a party by giving them to a pre-authorized person or dropping them at a certain location when the documents cannot be served directly).

Service via social media platforms is permitted in several of the surveyed jurisdictions as a method of substituted service. Also, in some jurisdictions, online messaging applications other than email appear to be allowed as alternative channels for electronic service. 

Rules Regarding International Service

The report also provides a comprehensive overview of the rules regarding international service of process in the surveyed jurisdictions. All jurisdictions covered in the report, with the exception of New Zealand, are party to the Hague Service Convention, but have specific rules governing the procedure by which service will be effectuated on a person located abroad.

We invite you to review our report. You can also browse the Current Legal Topics or Comprehensive Index of Legal Reports pages for additional reports from the Law Library. To receive alerts when new reports are published, you can subscribe to email updates and the RSS feed for Law Library Reports (click the “subscribe” button on the Law Library’s website).

Categories: Research & Litigation

Promoting the General Welfare: Frances Perkins

In Custodia Legis - Thu, 11/19/2020 - 9:30am

There are two good things to think about in 2020: if you needed them, you may have gotten unemployment checks, and you may have decided to get away from it all and visit a state or national park partially built by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). For both, you can thank Frances Perkins.

Frances Perkins was born a Boston Brahmin in April 1880. Her family took the unusual step of preparing her for secondary education, an opportunity few women of her era had. Her father began teaching her Greek at eight, and she attended the Worcester Classical High School. She went on to Mt. Holyoke for her undergraduate degree, where the students were exhorted to ‘do good [works]’. In her teens, reading Jacob Riis’ book How the Other Half Lives, “opened a ‘new world’ to her” of poverty and how the working classes lived (Downey, 10). After college, she taught school in Illinois; while there, she started working at Hull House on weekends and holidays.

   Frances Perkins, Secretary of Labor [photo by Harris & Ewing, 1905-1945. Library  of Congress Prints and Photographs, // ]

Perkins later moved to New York to earn a master’s degree in sociology and economics at Columbia University, and wrote her thesis on child malnutrition in Hell’s Kitchen. After graduation, she was offered a job running the New York office of the National Consumers League. During this period, she attended a tea party across the street from the Triangle Shirtwaist Company, which caught on fire just as she and her fellow guests were sitting down to tea. She rushed to the scene and saw workers leaping to their death from the windows. Witnessing this tragedy, coupled with her early social work experiences and the impression that Riis’ book made on her, drove her to work at her career so assiduously (Downey, 36).

Her earlier experiences led her to be hired by the Committee on Safety of the City of New York, where she was an investigator for New York’s Factory Investigating Commission, and she was instrumental in the passage of some of the first work safety laws in the U.S. Around this time she met and married her husband, Paul Wilson, in 1913. She raised eyebrows by keeping her maiden name to help her career, although she had discussed it with her husband in advance and it was politically expedient for his career also (Downey, 62). She intended to focus on raising her children and keeping the home when children arrived, and when her daughter Susanna was born in 1916, she did do that. However, her husband soon started exhibiting signs of mental illness, and had to be hospitalized. He was in treatment for most of his life and she found it necessary to work to support the family. Al Smith appointed Perkins a commissioner of the New York State Industrial Board, and she was named chair of the board in 1926.

Governor Franklin D. Roosevelt appointed her New York State Industrial Commissioner in 1929. His working relationship with her on these labor issues led him to offer her the job of secretary of the Department of Labor in February 1933 (Downey, 1). Perkins came to the meeting with the requirement that she be allowed to work on her list of items she wanted to accomplish: “a forty-hour workweek, a minimum wage, worker’s compensation, unemployment compensation, a federal law banning child labor, direct federal aid for unemployment relief, Social Security, a revitalized public employment service, and health insurance” (Downey, 1).

Roosevelt had an unprecedented 12 years in office, and Perkins was the longest serving member of his cabinet, with an astonishing list of accomplishments in her 12 years and three months as Secretary of Labor. She was able to achieve most of her goals: “…child labor was abolished, minimum wage and maximum-hour laws were enacted, and, through the National Labor Relations Act of 1935 (29 U.S.C. §§ 151-169), workers were guaranteed the right to organize and bargain collectively. She also chaired the Committee on Economic Security, established in 1934, which recommended the nationalization of unemployment and old-age insurance. Thanks to her committed pursuit of this ideal, the Social Security Act was signed into law in 1935.” She worked to get the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 passed, which allowed people to work an eight-hour workday instead of a twelve-hour one (among other features). She made major changes and improvements to the CCC, National Recovery Administration, Public Works Administration, Works Progress Administration. A writer quipped that Roosevelt’s New Deal was actually the Perkins New Deal; she achieved every action item on her 1933 list, with the exception of health care.

Almost from the beginning of her tenure, she labored to bring in refugees from Europe. She “use[d] her influence to assist German Jews fleeing Nazi persecution. She met formidable opposition from officials in the State Department, some of whom held antisemitic and xenophobic prejudices common in 1930s America. As one of Perkins’s staff reminded her, “The [State Department] consuls are not known for their sympathy towards immigrants, and particularly towards Jews.” She tried over and over to increase quotas for immigrants and particular German Jews; “…by 1937, Frances admitted 50,255 immigrants for permanent residency, including almost eleven thousand Germans, two-thirds of whom were Jews, and 231,884 foreign ‘visitors’ (Downey, 194). Her support of immigration led to significant trouble for her career; as a result, Roosevelt moved the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) from the Department of Labor to the Department of Justice to end the immigration controversies in 1940.

When the war started, Perkins worked to support Roosevelt and his initiatives, and to build up the Bureau of Labor Statistics. When he died in 1945, she resigned. President Truman appointed her to the U.S. Civil Service Commission. She wrote a bestselling book about Roosevelt and her time in his administration, the closest she would come to an autobiography. Her husband still required her care, so she was unable to take any positions farther away from home. In 1952, Paul Wilson died. She took on a job teaching at Cornell University’s new Industrial and Labor Relations School in 1955, where she enjoyed working with students and colleagues. She was still teaching at Cornell when she died at age 85. She led an astonishing life of firsts, motivated by her desire to “…do something about the unnecessary hazards to life, unnecessary poverty. It was sort of up to me.”

The Department of Labor building in Washington, D.C. is named for her.

Frances Perkins Building, U.S. Department of Labor, Washington, D.C. October 2020 [photo by J.Davis and Rebecca Raupach]


HD7123.A55 1935c United States. Committee on Economic Security. Report to the President of the Committee on Economic Security.

HD7123.A55 1935cb United States. Committee on Economic Security. Report to the President of the Committee on Economic Security.

E807.P4 2011 Perkins, Frances. The Roosevelt I Knew.

HD8073.P38 D69 2009 Downey, Kirstin. The Woman behind the New Deal : the life of Frances Perkins, FDR’s Secretary of Labor and his moral conscience.   

E806.A63 American Council on Public Affairs. The Federal government today: a survey of recent innovations and renovations.

HD8072.P36 Perkins, Frances. People at work.

HD8072.T87 Perkins, Frances and J. Paul St. Sure. Two views of American labor.

HD8053.N7 A5 1914 New York (State). Factory Investigating Commission. Third report of the Factory Investigating Commission, 1914. Transmitted to the Legislature February 14, 1914.

Social Security Act of 1935.

HV4046.N6 R58 2010 Riis, Jacob A. How the other half lives: authoritative text, contexts, criticism.

Categories: Research & Litigation

Legal Research Reports: Responses to COVID-19 in the United States

Law Library of Congress: Research Reports - Wed, 11/18/2020 - 1:21pm

The Law Library of Congress is proud to present the report, Responses to COVID-19 in the United States.

Read our updated report on U.S. federal, state, and local government responses to COVID-19. This report discusses the Congressional legislative response to the pandemic, a summary of responses by the executive branches of federal and state governments, and a summary of responses by local governments.

On November 19, starting at 2:00 PM EST, join Senior Foreign Law Specialist, Eduardo Soares, who will moderate a discussion alongside fellow foreign law specialists about several Law Library of Congress reports, including this one, for a new entry in the Foreign and Comparative Law Webinar Series titled: “Review of Recently Published Law Library Research Reports.” To register, please visit our Eventbrite page.

This report is one of many prepared by the Law Library of Congress. Visit the Comprehensive Index of Legal Reports page for a complete listing of reports and the Current Legal Topics page for our highlighted and newer reports. 


Categories: Research & Litigation

December 2020 US Law Webinars: These Are a Few of My Favorite Things

In Custodia Legis - Wed, 11/18/2020 - 12:44pm

Since February of this year, we have been offering U.S. Law webinars online. In December 2020, we will present two classes to round out the year. First up is our monthly Orientation to Law Library Collections then in our Orientation to Legal Research series we will be teaching about U.S. Statutory Law. We will still publish separate posts about other upcoming webinars. For example, in December, the Law Library’s Collection Services and Digital Resources divisions are hosting a webinar on navigating  our new Foreign Legal Gazettes Database.

I will be teaching both U.S. Law webinars in December and thought it might be fun to name some of my favorite print resources in the Law Library of Congress. Although I am able to access many of the resources I need for my work online, I miss the books in the Reading Room.

One of my favorite items is a 1909 multivolume publication, The Federal and State Constitutions, Colonial Charters, and Other Organic Laws of the states, territories, and colonies now or heretofore forming the United States of America. This publication is very helpful in locating the original colonial charters and state constitutions for all the states and territories in the country up to 1909. It is also available online but as it is seven volumes in length, I find flipping through the print edition to be easier than using the online version. One hint for online users, the table of contents only appears in volume 1.

Another favorite is Digested summary and alphabetical list of private claims which have been presented to the House of Representatives from the First to the Thirty-first Congress, exhibiting the action of Congress on each claim, with references to the journals, reports, bills, &c., elucidating its progress. This three volume publication is helpful in researching early private claims with Congress. We also use it in genealogical research with patrons.

Lest you think all my favorites are old historical texts, I also like the Gale Encyclopedia of American Law. Written for non-legal users, it is an extremely helpful resource for persons beginning legal research and includes articles on various legal topics, such as privacy laws, as well as essays on famous Supreme Court cases, justices, U.S. presidents and historic events. The encyclopedia is in its third edition and this and earlier editions can often be found in the main branch of a public library system as well as in county and state law libraries.

Law Library stacks / Photograph by Andrew Weber

Orientation to Legal Research: U.S. Statutory Law

Date: Thursday, December 10, 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. EST

Content: An overview of U.S. statutory and legislative research, including information about how to find and use the U.S. Code, the U.S. Statutes at Large, and U.S. federal bills and resolutions.

Registration: Please register online by clicking here.

Orientation to Law Library Collections

Date: Tuesday, December 15, 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. EST

Content: Introduces participants to information about the Law Library’s wide range of online resources, as well as our print collections.

Registration: Please register online by clicking here.

Both webinars in December will be taught by Margaret M. Wood, a senior legal reference librarian at the Law Library. Margaret holds a BA in history from Oberlin College and a Master of Science in Library Science from the Catholic University of America.

Categories: Research & Litigation

View Our New Web Resource: Indigenous Law Web Archive

In Custodia Legis - Wed, 11/18/2020 - 8:00am

The Law Library collects and preserves legal materials for American law, foreign law, and sovereign Indigenous nations. Many governments, including Indigenous national, tribal and community governments, are transitioning from print to solely digital formats for publishing their laws. The Law Library is working to collect and preserve these materials. To further these collection and preservation aims, the Library has created the Indigenous Law Web Archive, a collection of constitutions, codes, executive orders, and court forms and information of sovereign Indigenous governments and courts of 578 federally recognized nations, communities, and tribes in the United States, as well as some Indigenous legal information from Canada, published online. The Library attempts to acquire the most comprehensive collection possible. Collected resources are embargoed for a year prior to release, and so the collection was launched this summer. It’s a useful starting point for comparative research, and we hope that this tool will assist practitioners and scholars of Indigenous law in their work.

Screenshot of the Indigenous Law Web Archive [viewed November 17, 2020]

Categories: Research & Litigation

From the Serial Set: Ely S. Parker and the Tonawanda Seneca Nation

In Custodia Legis - Tue, 11/17/2020 - 8:00am

We’ve explored many types of documents in the Serial Set in our monthly series. Today, in honor of National Native American Heritage month, we will identify a Native American whose name appears throughout the Serial Set, and explore the legacy of his nation through the Law Library’s Indigenous Law Resources.

Ely S. Parker was born Hasanoanda, also known as Donehogawa. As a Tonawanda Seneca Native, he became the first Native American Commissioner of the Bureau of Indian Affairs. During treaty negotiations between the United States and Native American nations, Parker was responsible for interpreting on behalf of Native American leaders and certifying the signatures of Native leaders on official documents.

S. Doc. 273, 29th Cong., 1st Sess., at 6 (1846) reprinted in Serial Set vol. 474. Photo by Bailey DeSimone.

In 1846, Parker certified the petition of his tribe, the Tonawanda Band of Seneca Indians, which had demonstrated against land cession treaties – the Buffalo Creek Treaties of 1838 and 1842. The petition states the nation’s resistance to giving up the “peaceful possession of [their] lands” as “guarantied [sic] to us by the United States Government.” (S. Doc. 273, 29th Cong., 1st Sess., at 2 (1846) reprinted in Serial Set vol. 474.)

S. Doc. 273, 29th Cong., 1st Sess., at 1 (1846) reprinted in Serial Set vol. 474. Photo by Bailey DeSimone.

“If we leave Tonawanda we have no homes to go to…[t]he Cattaraugus reservation is small, and much of the land is hilly, and not capable of sustaining any families; [sic] and we believe that those already there can scarcely live.” The Tonawanda Seneca further justified their right to their lands and protested a fate of “famine and death” that forced relocation would bring, stating, “We cling to the land of our birth. We are linked together by the ties of brotherhood and consanguinity; [sic] and we must share a common destiny.” (S. Doc. 273, 29th Cong., 1st Sess., at 3 (1846) reprinted in Serial Set vol. 474.)

The Serial Set document tracking the schedule of treaties (H. Doc. 736 pt. 2, 56th Cong., 1st Sess., at 645 (1900) reprinted in Serial Set vol. 4015) is a part of the 18th annual report of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Bureau of American Ethnology. The Bureau reports on the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Buffalo Creek Treaties as follows:

“After the conclusion of the [2nd Buffalo Creek Treaty in] 1838, it was found that many of the Seneka [sic] were firm in their determination not to give up the reservations sold to Ogden and Fellows by that treaty. Accordingly a compromise was arranged which resulted in this treaty of 1842 whereby Ogden and Fellows agreed to permit the Seneka to retain the occupancy of the Carraraugas and Alleghany reserves, and the Seneka on their part agreed to give Ogden and Fellows immediate possession of the Buffalo Creek and Tonawanda reserves. This agreement was complied with so far as the Buffalo Creek reservation was concerned, but it became necessary in 1857 to negotiate another [Buffalo Creek treaty with the Tonawanda Seneka to adjust differences concerning the occupancy of that reserve.” (H. Doc. 736 pt. 2, 56th Cong., 1st Sess., at 777 (1900) reprinted in Serial Set vol. 4015.)

Using the Law Library’s Indigenous Resources portal, I located a map of New York that shows Native American land claimed by the United States. The Tonawanda Band’s land is the western part of what is now New York. Maps for further learning can be found here.

Royce, Charles C, and Cyrus Thomas. Indian land cessions in the United States. 1899. Image. Box for emphasis drawn on by Bailey DeSimone.

Ely S. Parker’s 1862 memorial to Congress, requesting a grant of United States citizenship, is also found in the Serial Set. However, the Committee of the Judiciary recommended that the request be rejected. The grounds for rejection stated that “[a] law providing for the naturalization of a single Indian of a particular tribe could not be deemed to prescribe a uniform rule of naturalization.” (H. Rpt. 84, 37th Cong., 2nd Sess., at 3 (1862) reprinted in Serial Set vol. 1144.)

S. Doc. 273, 29th Cong., 1st Sess., at 6 (1846) reprinted in Serial Set vol. 474. Photo by Bailey DeSimone.

This National Native American Heritage month, the Digital Resources Division is honored to recognize the Native American individuals and nations of America. We encourage you to browse the Indigenous Law Resources to learn more about their legal history as documented by Congress.

Categories: Research & Litigation

Join Us For A Webinar To Learn How To Explore Our Vast Collection of Foreign Legal Gazettes

In Custodia Legis - Mon, 11/16/2020 - 11:30am

On December 8th at 2pm ET, the Law Library of Congress will host a webinar to demonstrate how to use our new Foreign Legal Gazettes Database to explore the Law Library’s vast collection of foreign legal gazettes. The Law Library has been collecting foreign legal gazettes since the mid-19th century. We are one of the last libraries to still systematically acquire these publications from as many jurisdictions as possible. Presently, we collect gazettes from about 175 national jurisdictions and approximately 100 subnational jurisdictions.

Join us for the Foreign Legal Gazettes Database Webinar. Image by Susan Taylor-Pikulsky.

Our new database allows patrons to search our gazettes by jurisdiction (either via the facets or by clicking on a map), title, content and format. A mobile version has added functionality through sorting capabilities in the columns of the table.

This webinar will be presented by Chief of the Law Library Collection Services Division Kurt Carroll, Supervisor for the Law Library Collection Services Division Betty Lupinacci, Lead Technician for Law Library Legal Processing Workflow Resolution Ken Sigmund, and Law Library Technician Elina Lee. You can register here.

Categories: Research & Litigation

National Native Americans Veterans Memorial

In Custodia Legis - Fri, 11/13/2020 - 12:47pm

Not only is November Native American Heritage Month, but it is also the month when we honor our veterans. The intersection may be accidental, but it is apt. Native Americans, Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians volunteer to serve in the United States Armed Forces at a higher ratio than any other ethnic group, and their communities honor the service of their veterans. “War Department officials have stated that during WWII, if the entire population had enlisted at the same rate American Indians did, Selective Service would have been unnecessary. According to the Selective Service in 1942, at least 99 percent of all eligible Indians, healthy males aged 21 to 44, had registered for the draft.”

National Native Americans Veterans Memorial, Washington, D.C. [photo: J. Davis / Rebecca Raupach]

On Veterans Day, November 11, the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) unveiled its new monument, the National Native Americans Veterans Memorial. Plans for this memorial started in 1994. In 2013, Congress authorized the construction of this memorial. In every major conflict involving the United States, including World War I, World War II, the Korean and Vietnam wars, Grenada, Panama, Somalia, the Gulf War, Afghanistan, and Iraq, Native Americans showed their bravery and their love of their land. As we know, were it not for the Navajo code talkers in WWII, the United States would not have taken Iwo Jima; the code talkers’ work was critical to winning WWII. Over 20 Native Americans have won the Medal of Honor. The service record of Native Americans, Alaskan Natives, and Native Hawaiians is outstanding.

This is the Warriors Circle of Honor, National Native American Veterans Memorial, Washington, D.C., (sculpture designed by Harvey Pratt (Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma), a multimedia artist and Marine Corps Vietnam War veteran) [photo: J. Davis / Rebecca Raupach]

“The National Native American Veterans Memorial will serve as a reminder to the nation and the world of the service and sacrifice of Native American, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian veterans,” said Kevin Gover, director of the museum. “Native Americans have always answered the call to serve, and this memorial is a fitting tribute to their patriotism and deep commitment to this country.”


Native Americans in the First World War and the Fight For Citizenship.

Indian Citizenship Act, Today in History, June 2.

Act of June 2, 1924, Public Law 68-175, 43 STAT 253, to Authorize the Secretary of the Interior to Issue Certificates of Citizenship to Indians.

Indigenous Veterans interviews, Veterans History Project, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress.

Navajo Code Talkers Project, Veterans History Project, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress.


Categories: Research & Litigation

Legal Research Reports: Civic Space Legal Framework

Law Library of Congress: Research Reports - Fri, 11/13/2020 - 9:16am

ADDENDUM: This GovDelivery notice is a correction to the one sent prior which had an incorrect title and link. 

The Law Library of Congress is proud to present the report, Civic Space Legal Framework.

This report surveys the legal framework of civic space in Brazil, Finland, Morocco, and Tunisia. Civic space protections include the right to access government information, freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, freedom of association, the right to privacy and data protection, and freedom of the press. (Oct. 2020)

This report is one of many prepared by the Law Library of Congress. Visit the Comprehensive Index of Legal Reports page for a complete listing of reports and the Current Legal Topics page for our highlighted and newer reports. 

Categories: Research & Litigation

Join Us for our 2020 Human Rights Day Event: Contact Tracing and the Right of Privacy

In Custodia Legis - Thu, 11/12/2020 - 8:30am

This is a post by Jenny Gesley, senior foreign law specialist and Robert Brammer, chief of the Office of External Relations. 

The Law Library of Congress annually commemorates Human Rights Day with a special program that promotes understanding and recognition of a critical social, economic, or cultural human rights issue. This year, on December 10 at 3 p.m. EST, we invite you to join us for an online panel discussion titled, “Contact Tracing and the Right of Privacy.” Contact-tracing apps are one of the ways countries are trying to contain the spread of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases to safeguard public health. However, as these apps also raise privacy and data protection concerns, appropriate safeguards must be put in place to ensure that the measures do not infringe on privacy rights. The panel discussion will explore national and international perspectives on how that balance may be achieved.

Human Rights Day 2020 Flyer. Created by Susan Taylor-Pikulsky.

The panel will be moderated by Peter Roudik, the Assistant Law Librarian for Legal Research at the Law Library of Congress. The panel will consist of Law Library of Congress Senior Foreign Law Specialist Jenny Gesley, University of Minnesota Law School Associate Professor Alan Rozenshtein, and NASA Associate Chief Information Officer for Transformation and Data and Chief Data Officer Ronald Thompson.

To register, click here.

Categories: Research & Litigation

Legal Research Reports: Civil Space Legal Framework

Law Library of Congress: Research Reports - Wed, 11/11/2020 - 10:00am

The Law Library of Congress is proud to present the report, Civil Space Legal Framework.

This report surveys the legal framework of civic space in Brazil, Finland, Morocco, and Tunisia. Civic space protections include the right to access government information, freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, freedom of association, the right to privacy and data protection, and freedom of the press. (Oct. 2020)

This report is one of many prepared by the Law Library of Congress. Visit the Comprehensive Index of Legal Reports page for a complete listing of reports and the Current Legal Topics page for our highlighted and newer reports. 

Categories: Research & Litigation

“Old Soldiers Never Die…”

In Custodia Legis - Tue, 11/10/2020 - 1:51pm

View of National Building Museum, which was the Pension Bureau Building. Photo by Geraldine Davila Gonzalez, 2020.

Wednesday is Veterans Day in the United States, a day dedicated to remembering and honoring the men and women who have served in the nation’s uniformed services. The holiday was established by an act of Congress in 1954 and was selected to replace Armistice Day, which marked the anniversary of the day when the fighting ceased on the Western Front in World War I. Armistice Day had been established by an act of Congress in 1938, although the anniversary of the date had been commemorated each year by a presidential proclamation beginning in 1919.  Some of the nations which were part of the Entente Powers during World War I, such as the United Kingdom, and Canada, also mark the day as Remembrance Day.

Support for veterans has a long history in the United States, beginning with the veterans who served in the American War for Independence, many of whom received land grants for their service. The structure for administering pensions and bounties remained nascent until after the War of 1812, when the Pensions Bureau was organized and set up within the War Department. The bureau, which for most of its existence was part of the Department of the Interior as the Bureau of Pensions, would go through several organizational changes before being folded into the newly created Veterans Administration in 1930. The Veterans Administration itself would ultimately be raised to cabinet rank in 1989 by the Department of Veterans Affairs Act.

Until 1865, the number of actual veterans was relatively small. But with the conclusion of the Civil War, over one million men became veterans of the Union army and navy. Congress first awarded pensions to disabled veterans of the Union army and navy in 1862 ; later provisions would extend pensions to the aged. Widows and orphaned children also were included. Although Confederate veterans were not initially eligible for federal pensions, this policy was changed after the turn of the 20th century.

To administer this pension system, the Bureau of Pensions expanded until it became, for a time, one of the largest civilian agencies in the Federal government. To house the employees and the agency’s records congress authorized a modern, fire-proof building. The job of designing the building was given to Montgomery C. Meigs, the former Quartermaster General of the Union Army. During his army career, Meigs had been involved in supervising civil construction projects in the Washington area such as the Cabin John aqueduct. He also was instrumental in creating Arlington National Cemetery. Meigs’ design included innovations such as flow through ventilation, the use of ergonomically designed stairs, and the installation of dumbwaiters for moving boxes of records between floors. In the exterior design he provided for a frieze, created by Casper Buberl, that shows various aspects of Civil War military life. Meigs specifically required that one design depict freedmen teamsters as part of the army.

Frieze of the National Building Museum, showing Union troops. Photo by Geraldine Davila Gonzalez, 2020.

The building while innovative, was considered ugly. It was used for several decades by the Bureau of Pensions and other federal agencies, and gradually fell into disrepair. In the late 1960s, about a decade after the death of the last Union veteran, the building was listed on the National Register of Historical Places. It was refurbished and since the 1980s has been the home of the National Building Museum.

Today’s Department of Veterans Affairs is a descendent of the Bureau of Pensions and other federal agencies.


Categories: Research & Litigation New, Tip, and Top for November of 2020

In Custodia Legis - Mon, 11/09/2020 - 1:35pm

In the last release, Andrew shared that we added a video icon to search results for committee meetings that include a video, the Share/Save toolbar was updated, and a button was added to committee prints and committee transcripts pages to read the text from those collections to you.

In this release, we are excited to bring you the new Help Center. The Help pages on are now searchable.

You can search the Help Center on

Once you select an article from the Help Center, you will see that the articles contain a navigation box on the left-hand side of the article that allows you to continue to browse the Help Center.

The left-hand side navigation box in the Help Center.

The final enhancement in this release is the addition of the Bound Congressional Record for the 94th – 97th Congresses (1975-1982).


Enhancement – Help Center – Search

Enhancement – Help Center – Navigation

  • Help pages include navigation links on the left so you can move quickly to related resources.

Enhancement – Senate Executive Communications – Links

Enhancement – Bound Congressional Record

Enhancement – Alerts – Updated List

  • Inactive bill and nominations alerts from back Congresses are no longer visible on your Alerts list.
  • Bill and nomination alerts from the current Congress and the immediate prior Congress are still visible.
  • No change to your list of Saved Search, Congressional Record or Committee Schedule alerts.

Search Tip
Explore the latest updates to the Constitution Annotated on

Most-Viewed Bills
These are the most-viewed bills for the week of November 1, 2020.

1. H.R.8337 [116th] Continuing Appropriations Act, 2021 and Other Extensions Act 2. H.R.1 [115th] An Act to provide for reconciliation pursuant to titles II and V of the concurrent resolution on the budget for fiscal year 2018. 3. S.3548 [116th] CARES Act 4. S.534 [115th] Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse and Safe Sport Authorization Act of 2017 5. H.R.748 [116th] CARES Act 6. H.R.6201 [116th] Families First Coronavirus Response Act 7. S.3548 [116th] CARES Act 8. H.Res.109 [116th] Recognizing the duty of the Federal Government to create a Green New Deal. 9. H.R.6800 [116th] The Heroes Act 10. H.R.3355 [103rd] Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994
Categories: Research & Litigation

New Report Examines Civic Space Legal Framework in Select Countries

In Custodia Legis - Fri, 11/06/2020 - 9:00am

Yesterday, we published a list with the most viewed legal research reports of fiscal year 2020. Today, I bring you a new report that we recently published on our website: Civic Space Legal Framework in select countries.The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) defines civic space as the “set of legal, policy, institutional, and practical conditions necessary for non-governmental actors to access information, express themselves, associate, organize, and participate in public life.”

The newly published Law Library report examines the legal framework, that is the legally protected rights and freedoms that support civic space freedoms in Brazil, Finland, Morocco, and Tunisia. Specifically, these legally protected rights include constitutional freedoms such as:

  • the right to access government information,
  • freedom of expression,
  • freedom of assembly,
  • freedom of association,
  • the right to privacy and data protection, and
  • freedom of the press

In addition, the report describes internet access laws, and protections and guarantees against discrimination. All four countries surveyed for the report have laws in place that protect access to the internet. For example, Brazilian law recognizes that “internet access is essential to the exercise of citizenship.” Finland, in 2010, adopted a law which provides a legal right to broadband for all citizens, requiring that internet providers make internet available also in geographical areas where it would not be profitable to do so.

It appears that the issue of civic space is as current as ever. The report has already been updated to include reference to a recent Finnish Supreme Court order to dissolve a neo-Nazi organization that violated human rights.

The Law Library regularly publishes new reports online and our most current reports can be accessed here. A comprehensive list of all reports published online by the Law Library can be found here.

Additional Law Library resources can be found on this blog and in the Global Legal Monitor. You can subscribe to receive alerts when new blog posts, Global Legal Monitor articles, and reports are published by clicking the “Subscribe” button on the Law Library’s website.

We hope you find our reports interesting!

Categories: Research & Litigation

The Most Viewed Global Legal Monitor Articles and Legal Research Reports of Fiscal Year 2020

In Custodia Legis - Thu, 11/05/2020 - 8:30am

Earlier this week, Geraldine brought you the In Custodia Legis Greatest Hits: Fiscal Year 2020 Highlights detailing the most viewed blog post of fiscal year 2020 (FY2020). Today we are excited to bring you the most viewed Global Legal Monitor articles and legal reports of FY2020! The Global Legal Monitor is produced by the Law Library’s foreign legal specialists, who write about legal developments around the world. You can subscribe to the Global Legal Monitor free of charge, and you can also narrow your subscription to a particular topic or jurisdiction. Our legal research reports are also produced by our Global Research Directorate.

The Global Legal Monitor

Out of the 440 articles published in FY2020 (October 1, 2019, to September 30, 2020) these 10 were the most viewed, in ascending order:

10. Mexico: Supreme Court Declares Automatic Child Custody Provision Unconstitutional

9. Israel: Court Rejects Mother’s Request to Rename Child Against Father’s Will

8. Italy: New Legislation Guaranteeing Inclusive Education to Students with Disabilities Takes Effect

7. Saudi Arabia: Regulation Establishes New Type of Visa

6. Philippines: Supreme Court Rules on Same-Sex Marriage

5. South Africa: Directions for Court Operations During COVID-19 Lockdown Issued

4. Niger: ECOWAS Court of Justice Rejects Appeal of Former Niger Prime Minister and Presidential Candidate in Baby Trafficking Case

3. Qatar: Labor Minister Pledges Abolition of Kafala System and Establishment of New Minimum Wage System for Foreign Workers

2. Philippines: House Bill on Divorce Approved in Committee

1. Germany: New Immigration Acts to Attract and Retain Skilled Workers Published

Legal Research Reports

During FY2020, the Law Library published 15 new reports on its website. The most viewed report published in FY2020 was Points-Based and Family Immigration: Canada. You can view all our reports here.

The most viewed foreign law reports in FY2020 regardless of year of publication were, in ascending order:

10. Birthright Citizenship Around the World

9. Sentencing Guidelines: South Africa

8. National Parliaments: Nigeria

7. Nigeria: Election Laws

6. Firearms-Control Legislation and Policy: Canada

5. National Parliaments: India

4. State Anti-conversion Laws in India

3. Firearms-Control Legislation and Policy: South Africa

2. Prohibition of Interfaith Marriage

1. Regulation of Cryptocurrency Around the World

We hope one of these articles or reports piqued your interest! Access our most current reports here.

Categories: Research & Litigation

Legal Research Reports: Virtual Civil Trials

Law Library of Congress: Research Reports - Wed, 11/04/2020 - 9:40am

The Law Library of Congress is proud to present the report, Virtual Civil Trials.

This report surveys the law of 25 foreign jurisdictions on the availability and functioning of virtual civil hearings and/or trials, including the structure of civil court systems and arrangements made to ensure the continuation of hearings and proceedings during the COVID-19 pandemic. The report describes foreign court systems that have adopted a range of options and procedural conditions for virtual hearings and/or trials in noncriminal cases in each jurisdiction surveyed. 

This report is one of many prepared by the Law Library of Congress. Visit the Comprehensive Index of Legal Reports page for a complete listing of reports and the Current Legal Topics page for our highlighted and newer reports. 

Categories: Research & Litigation

The Constitutional Council and Judicial Review in France

In Custodia Legis - Wed, 11/04/2020 - 9:00am

The following is a guest post from Nicolas Boring, the foreign law specialist covering French-speaking jurisdictions at the Law Library of Congress. Nicolas has previously blogged about Telework and the French “Right to Disconnect”, Report on Right of Huguenots to French Citizenship, “Bastille Day” Is About More Than the Bastille, and others.

The U.S. Supreme Court is often in the news, and this seems even more true in the days since the recent passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Most people would agree that the Supreme Court is one of the most important government institutions of the United States, due to its power of judicial review rooted in the famous Marbury v. Madison case.

As a foreign law specialist for the Law Library of Congress, specializing in French law (though I cover other French-speaking countries as well), I find it interesting to compare U.S. laws and institutions with their counterparts in France. In this blog post, I will describe some aspects of judicial review in France, as well as the institution that is responsible for reviewing the constitutionality of French legislation, the Conseil Constitutionnel (Constitutional Council).

Courtyard of the Palais Royal where the Constitutional Council sits; Photo by Nicolas Boring

1. A Brief History of Judicial Review in France

For a long time, there simply was no judicial review of legislation in France. France, like many other countries of the Romano-Germanic legal tradition, adhered to a principle of parliamentary supremacy; the parliament, being the representation of the people’s will, could not be challenged. The Conseil d’Etat (Council of State), France’s highest jurisdiction in matters of administrative law, confirmed this principle in a 1936 decision in which it refused to even consider whether a piece of legislation was contrary to constitutional law. In fact, the Third Republic, which lasted from 1870 to 1940, did not have a supreme constitution by which other legislation could potentially be struck down. Rather, the three constitutional laws of 1875, which organized the government and political institutions, were themselves ordinary laws that could be amended or repealed by an ordinary piece of legislation. That is actually how the Third Republic ended: shortly after France’s defeat by Germany at the beginning of World War II, the French Parliament voted on the Constitutional Law of 10 July 1940, which gave full powers to Marshall Philippe Pétain and marked the beginning of the infamous Vichy Regime.

Only in the post-war years was the idea of subjecting legislation to some sort of constitutional review given some practical expression. The 1946 Constitution, which established the Fourth Republic, established a Constitutional Committee, which had the authority to declare a bill contrary to the Constitution. Its powers were extremely limited, though, as it could only invalidate a bill before it was signed into law. Perhaps more importantly, the Constitutional Committee could only intervene if it was appealed to by both the French president and a majority of the Council of the Republic (which was the name of the Senate under the Fourth Republic, although with very reduced powers compared to what it had under the Third and what it would have under the Fifth Republic). In practice, the Constitutional Committee was only convened a handful of times between 1946 and the end of the Fourth Republic in 1958.

The 1958 Constitution, which instituted the Fifth Republic and is France’s current constitution, established an institution that was similar to the Constitutional Committee, the Constitutional Council. The Constitutional Council was more powerful than its predecessor in the early years of the Fifth Republic, but not dramatically so. Under the original version of the 1958 Constitution, the Constitutional Council could review legislation under only two circumstances. First, the Constitutional Council automatically reviews bills for lois organiques before they can be signed into law. These are laws that have to do with the organization and functioning of government. They complement the Constitution and are situated between the Constitution and ordinary laws in the French hierarchy of norms. Secondly, the Constitutional Council can review bills for ordinary laws before they are signed into law, but only if it is asked to do so by either the President of the Republic, the Prime Minister, the President of the National Assembly, or the President of the Senate. This was expanded a bit in 1974 so that, in addition to the four officials listed previously, the Constitutional Council may also be asked to review a bill by a group of 60 members of the National Assembly or 60 senators. In neither case the Constitutional Council could strike down a law after it had been signed and promulgated. That is, until the constitutional reform of July 23, 2008, which introduced the “priority question of constitutionality” (question prioritaire de constitutionalité, often referred to under the acronym QPC).

It is worth noting, as a parenthesis, that French courts had cracked open – if only a little bit – the door of judicial review well before the 2008 constitutional reform. In a famous 1975 decision, the Cour de cassation, which is France’s highest jurisdiction in matters of civil and criminal law, ruled that it had the authority to overturn legislation based on article 55 of the Constitution, which states that international treaties have a higher authority than French laws. The Conseil d’Etat adopted a similar approach in a 1989 decision, although it limited its authority to overturning legislation that was adopted prior to the international treaty, and not after (the Cour de cassation found that it could overturn laws adopted both before and after a treaty). These decisions remain very important, especially because they allow French courts to strike legislation that is contrary to international and European agreements, such as the European Convention on Human Rights. With regard to constitutional review, however, these decisions are quite limited; neither the Cour de cassation, nor the Conseil d’Etat have the authority to invalidate a law on constitutional grounds other than through the aforementioned article 55.

The main street entrance to the Constitutional Council; photo by Nicolas Boring

2. The Question Prioritaire de Constitutionalité (QPC)

The QPC is a procedure by which a party to a lawsuit may challenge a law for violating a right or freedom guaranteed by the Constitution. The way it works is that, when a party argues that a law violates his/her constitutionally guaranteed rights or freedom, the court must immediately decide whether the question should be admitted. The criteria for a QPC to be admitted are that the challenged legislative provision must apply to the litigation, it must not have already been declared as constitutionally valid by the Constitutional Council, and the question must be novel but not frivolous. If the court admits the question, it then sends it to the supreme jurisdiction of its order. Administrative courts would therefore send a QPC to the Conseil d’Etat, and civil and criminal courts would send it to the Cour de cassation. If the supreme jurisdiction agrees that the QPC is admissible, it then sends it to the Constitutional Council. The Constitutional Council must render its decision within 3 months. During that time, the parties are invited to submit written arguments, and then to participate in oral arguments. If the Constitutional Council finds that the challenged provision is constitutional, the court where the question originated must proceed with its case and apply the legislation. If the Constitutional Council finds that the provision is unconstitutional, then it is struck and becomes inapplicable. However, the Constitutional Council may, if it deems it appropriate, delay the abrogation of the challenged provision to a later date, so as to give Parliament the opportunity to rectify the constitutional defect. For example, in a decision of October 2, 2020, the Constitutional Council found that article 144-1 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, which has to do with pretrial detention of suspects during investigations, was contrary to the Constitution. But striking this provision down immediately would create a legal void that would have problematic consequences, including possibly delaying the release of individuals whose detention was no longer necessary. The Council therefore ruled that article 144-1 would be abrogated on March 1, 2021, giving the legislature time to rectify the situation.

The QPC procedure was a significant innovation in French law, and its introduction greatly broadened the role of the Constitutional Council. As some commentators have observed, the introduction of the QPC procedure also increased the roles of the Conseil d’Etat and the Cour de cassation, which act as gate-keepers for questions of constitutionality.

3. The Composition of the Constitutional Council

The make-up of the Constitutional Council, and the manner in which its members are appointed, are significantly different from the U.S. Supreme Court. The Constitutional Council’s composition is governed by article 56 of the French Constitution, which sets the minimum number of judges to nine. Contrary to the justices of the U.S. Supreme Court, members of the Constitutional Council are not appointed for life (with an exception discussed below). They are appointed for terms of nine years, and to help ensure their independence, their terms are not renewable (except if they were initially nominated to replace a member who died before the end of his/her term, in which case the replacement may finish the decedent member’s term and then have a full term of his/her own).

The appointment of Council members is staggered, so that one third of the Council is replaced every three years. Three of the nine members are nominated by the President of the Republic, three are nominated by the President of the National Assembly, and the other three by the President of the Senate. In the past, these three officials could simply appoint their choices to the Council, but the 2008 constitutional reform, which introduced the QPC procedure, also gave the French Parliament the power to veto an appointment. Indeed, each nominee must now be reviewed and voted on by a permanent commission in the National Assembly and Senate. If the total number of votes against the nominee add up to three-fifths of the votes of both commissions combined, then the nominee must be withdrawn.

There is one exception to these rules on appointments and term limits; former presidents of the Republic have the right to sit on the Constitutional Council for life. That is why there are currently ten members on the Constitutional Council, one of them being Valérie Giscard d’Estaing, who was president of France from 1974 to 1981. He is currently the only former president sitting on the Constitutional Council. Nicolas Sarkozy, who was president from 2007 to 2012, only sat on the Council for about a year after the end of his presidential term, before resigning in 2013. François Hollande, who was president from 2012 to 2017, renounced his right to sit on the Council after the end of his presidential term.

Several possible reasons help explain this exception. Anecdotally, it may have been a way for General de Gaulle, who was the 1958 Constitution’s leading architect, to thank President René Coty, the last president of the Fourth Republic. Indeed, René Coty was the one who convinced Parliament to allow de Gaulle to return to power and design a new constitution. On a more general level, allowing former presidents to sit on the Constitutional Council may have also been a way to supplement their retirement income, thus ensuring that they had a comfortable life after leaving office. Finally, it may also have been another expression of the French president’s role as guarantor of the Constitution, as stated in article 5 of the Constitution. A seat on the Constitutional Council was seen as barely more than an honorific at the beginning of the Fifth Republic, so giving former presidents an automatic right to sit was not particularly controversial at first. As the institution has gained in power and prominence over the years, however, this rule has become increasingly criticized. In fact, a bill was submitted to the French Parliament in 2019 that, among other things, proposes to amend the Constitution to do away with this rule.



Categories: Research & Litigation

In Custodia Legis Greatest Hits: Fiscal Year 2020 Highlights

In Custodia Legis - Tue, 11/03/2020 - 9:30am

Our 2020 fiscal year came to a close on September 30. As we dive into fiscal year 2021, let’s take a moment to highlight our most popular blog posts published within our fiscal year 2020! In 2020, we published 238 blog posts. Here are some of our most-viewed blog posts published in the past year:

10. Book of Law Used in the State of Johor

Bahawa ini kitab undang-undang qanun yang dipakai dalam Negeri Johor, Singapore, 1837, illuminated title panel [photo by Geraldine Dávila González]

The Law Library holds a rare Malay law manuscript in Jawi script, hand copied by Munshi Abdullah in 1837. It was purchased for the United States and the Library by Alfred North during the United States Exploring Expedition. Dr. Joshua Kueh of Asian Division discovered this manuscript in the Law Library’s Rare Book Collection.

9. Anniversary of the 16th Amendment

Internal Revenue Service Christmas ornament featuring the original Form 1040 (1993), from the collection of Betty Lupinacci (photographer).

The 16th Amendment to the Constitution was ratified on February 3, 1913. This post was in celebration of the 107th anniversary of the ratification.

8. Liberia Government Measures to Contain the Spread of COVID-19

Ebola Recovery (United States Agency for International Development Flickr account, January 31, 2015). Used under Creative Commons License,

This post discusses a number of measures the Liberia government took to slow the spread of COVID-19 including: travel restrictions and border closures, a declaration of a national health emergency, declaration of a national state of emergency, and other restrictions and enforcement.

7. Past Bilateral Border Agreements between China and India and the June 15th Clash

Darjeeling, India – View towards the Himalaya Range. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division,

This was a guest post by Tariq Ahmad that provides an outline of past bilateral border agreements between China and India.

6. When a Former Enslaved Person Debated a Former Confederate in the House of Representatives

Hon. Josiah Thomas Walls of Florida. Photograph. Published between 1860-1875. Brady-Handy Photograph Collection. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

This post discusses the life of Josiah Walls, an African American Congressmen from the State of Florida.

5. Vigdís Finnbogadóttir: The World’s First Female Elected President

Photo of President Vigdis Finnbogadottir of Iceland with U.S. President Ronald Reagan during his trip to Iceland for the Reykjavik Summit, Oct. 10, 1986. Photo used under Ronald Regan Presidential Library Terms of Use.

This past August 1st marked the 40th anniversary of Vigdís Finnbogadottir’s inauguration as president of Iceland in 1980. She was the first woman to be democratically elected president in any nation on June 29, 1980.

4. FALQs: India’s Government Response to COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus)

Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 (NIH Image Gallery Feb. 21, 2020), used under Creative Commons license 1.0)

This post provides an overview of some of India’s responses to Covid-19 (or novel coronavirus) by the union (or central) government and at the state level.

3. Coronavirus Resource Guide

The Law Library’s resource guide on legislation, executive proclamations and secondary material related to the coronavirus pandemic.

2. FALQs: Article 370 and the Removal of Jammu and Kashmir’s Special Status

Kashmir region [Washington: Central Intelligence Agency, 2003]. Library of Congress Geography and Map Division,

This post explains some of the controversies surrounding the revocation of the special constitutional status of the state of Jammu and Kashmir under article 370 of India’s constitution, and the repeal of article 35A, which had allowed the state to define permanent residents of the state and certain special rights and privileges attached to such residency. It also includes a brief historical background of the dispute, the legal steps taken to revoke the special status, and legal challenges to that decision.

1. South Africa Government Measures to Contain the Spread of COVID-19 and Mitigate Damages

The government of South Africa government has issued regulations, directions, and guidelines to combat COVID-19 and mitigate damages from the pandemic, including: a national state of disaster, lockdown, a travel ban, ruled against price gouging, compensation for occupationally-acquired COVID-19, special unemployment insurance benefit, and others.

In Fiscal Year 2020 we also celebrated the 10th anniversary of In Custodia Legis. We would like to thank everyone who has kept up with our posts over the years. We will continue to produce great Law Library-related content for our readers for years to come!


Categories: Research & Litigation

Join Us on November 19th for a Foreign and Comparative Law Webinar – “Review of Recently Published Law Library Reports”

In Custodia Legis - Mon, 11/02/2020 - 8:30am

The upheavals of the year 2020 will leave an indelible mark on legal systems throughout the world. This year, much of the work of the Law Library of Congress focused on the changes imposed by the pandemic. As part of the Law Library’s Legal Research Institute’s Foreign and Comparative Law Webinar Series, on November 19, 2020, at 2 p.m. EST, we will present a webinar regarding some of the recently published Law Library research reports prepared during these challenging times, and discuss trends in foreign law developments identified in the reports.

Flyer announcing upcoming foreign law webinar on “Review of Recently Published Law Library Research Reports,” created by Susan Taylor-Pikulsky.

During the webinar, senior foreign law specialist Eduardo Soares will moderate a discussion with other foreign law specialists about several reports. Eduardo holds an LLM in International Legal Studies from the American University Washington College of Law and a JD from the Universidade Federal Fluminense in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Please click here to register.

Categories: Research & Litigation


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