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Congress.gov New, Tip, and Top for March 2019, Part 2

In Custodia Legis - 8 hours 32 min ago

Earlier this month, Robert shared the update that included the addition of a link to Bills to be Considered on the House Floor to the House of Representatives section of Current Legislative Activities on the Congress.gov homepage.

With the release we also added a subcommittee filter on the committee profile pages when you select a Congress.  What are the enhancements for this month?

New subcommittee filter appears when you limit to a single Congress on a committee profile

New Enhancements for March 2019

Enhancement – Committee Profiles – Subcommittee Filter

  • You can filter by subcommittee when you limit your research or results to a single Congress on a committee profile.

Enhancement – Legislation Text – Bill Type Filter

  • When you search from the Legislation Text form, you can filter your search results by Bill Text Versions.

Enhancement – Committee Schedule – Meeting Updates

  • Rescheduled and postponed meetings are clearly indicated on the weekly and daily views of the committee schedule.

Search Tip

Earlier this year, Robert shared this tip on how to receive an email when a Member of Congress has a new remark printed in the Congressional Record:

Congress.gov alerts are emails sent to you when a measure (bill or resolution), nomination, or member profile has been updated with new information. You can also receive an email after a Member has new remarks printed in the Congressional Record. Here are instructions on how to get an email after a Member has new remarks printed in the Congressional Record.

  1. Log in to your Congress.gov account. If you do not have an account, you can create one by clicking “sign in.”
  2. Scroll down and select a member profile page.
  3. On the right hand side, click “See this member’s remarks in the Congressional Record.”
  4. At the top left, click “Save this Search,” then give it any title you like, click save, and finally click “get alerts.”

Most-Viewed Bills

Here are are the Most-Viewed Bills for the week of March 17, 2019.  All of the legislation this week is from the current Congress.

1. H.R.1 For the People Act of 2019 2. H.R.1044 Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act of 2019 3. H.J.Res.46 Relating to a national emergency declared by the President on February 15, 2019. 4. S.47 John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act 5. H.Res.109 Recognizing the duty of the Federal Government to create a Green New Deal. 6. S.386 Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act of 2019 7. H.R.8 Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019 8. S.J.Res.7 A joint resolution to direct the removal of United States Armed Forces from hostilities in the Republic of Yemen that have not been authorized by Congress. 9. H.R.6 American Dream and Promise Act of 2019 10. H.J.Res.31 Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2019

Please share any Congress.gov feedback that you have on the form or leave a comment below.

Categories: Research & Litigation

Daylight Saving Time No More?

In Custodia Legis - Thu, 03/21/2019 - 11:10am

On Sunday March 10, 2019, most states in the United States “sprang forward,” meaning the clocks were set one hour forward. Most of us have by now more or less adjusted to the time change. The reason that we adjust our clocks twice a year (“springing forward” and “falling back”) in the United States can be traced back to the year 1918 with the enactment of the Standard Time Act. The Standard Time Act vested responsibility for establishing boundaries between the standard time zones in the Interstate Commerce Commission, which was later transferred to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). However, it is rumored that Benjamin Franklin had previously proposed the basic idea of daylight saving time in 1784.  The Uniform Time Act of 1966 established a system of uniform daylight saving time throughout the United States and its possessions. However, daylight saving time is not observed in HawaiiAmerican SamoaGuamPuerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and most of Arizona.

The DOT lists the reasons for why we observe daylight saving time on its website:

It saves energy. During Daylight Saving Time, the sun sets one hour later in the evenings, so the need to use electricity for household lighting and appliances is reduced. People tend to spend more time outside in the evenings during Daylight Saving Time, which reduces the need to use electricity in the home. Also, because the sunrise is very early in the morning during the summer months, most people will awake after the sun has already risen, which means they turn on fewer lights in their homes.

It saves lives and prevents traffic injuries. During Daylight Saving Time, more people travel to and from school and work and complete errands during the daylight.

It reduces crime. During Daylight Saving Time, more people are out conducting their affairs during the daylight rather than at night, when more crime occurs.

However, according to a survey conducted in 2013, “[o]nly 37% [of Americans] think DST is worth the hassle.”

Senate Sergeant at Arms Charles Higgins turns forward the Ohio Clock for the first Daylight Saving Time, while Senators William Calder (NY), William Saulsbury, Jr. (DE), and Joseph T. Robinson (AR) look on, 1918. U.S. Capitol building, Washington, D.C., Harris & Ewing, photographer, between 1910 and 1920. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division. http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/hec.13949.

The situation in the European Union (EU) is similar to the United States. Most European countries will this year start daylight saving time on Sunday, March 31, 2019. However, this time change could be one of the last times that the clocks are changed in the EU as the original reasons for the introduction of daylight saving time are increasingly being questioned. On March 3, 2019, the EU’s Transport and Tourism Committee voted in favor of a European Commission proposal to end the biannual clock changes. If passed by the full European Parliament and the Council of the European Union, 2021 would be the last year in which EU Member States change their clocks. Member States remain free to decide whether they want to permanently keep summer time or winter time (standard time).

Legislation on daylight saving time in the EU was first passed in 1980 to harmonize the different summer time arrangements in the Member States. Since 2001, the relevant law has been Directive 2000/84/EC, which provides that all Member States must switch to summer time on the last Sunday of March and switch back to their standard time (winter time) on the last Sunday of October. (Directive 2000/84/EC, arts. 2 & 3.) In February 2018, the European Parliament called on the Commission ”to conduct a thorough assessment of the current summer-time arrangements directive and, if necessary, come up with a proposal for its revision.” Among the reasons, it cited numerous scientific studies that have indicated the existence of negative effects on human health, a number of citizens’ initiatives that have highlighted citizens’ concerns about the biannual clock change, and its own previously-voiced concerns over the negative impact of summer time arrangements. The European Commission therefore conducted a public consultation from July 4, 2018 to August 16, 2018. It received 4.6 million responses, including 4.5 million from individual citizens, of which 84% were in favor of discontinuing daylight saving time. Together with the results of the public consultation, the Commission presented a legislative proposal to end the seasonal time change by the year 2019. As mentioned, that proposal was voted on by the EU’s Transport and Tourism Committee, which extended the time frame to 2021.

Member States are now discussing whether they want to permanently keep summer time or winter time. A recent survey conducted in France, for example, found that 83.71% are in favor of ending the biannual time change and that 59.17% are in favor of choosing summer time as the permanent standard.

Other European countries are also closely watching the EU. Swiss citizens as early as 1978 voted against a law that would have introduced daylight saving time. However, in 1981, the Swiss Federal Council—the Swiss government—nonetheless introduced the Time Act (which was later repealed and replaced by the Messgesetz), which authorized the Federal Council to introduce summer time in order to achieve consistency with arrangements in other European countries. (Messgesetz, art. 15, para. 2.) In 1984, the Swiss parliament enacted the Summer Time Ordinance (Sommerzeitverordung), which stated that Switzerland would follow the same summer time change arrangements as the EU. The Swiss Federal Council argued that Switzerland would otherwise become a “time island”, which would negatively affect the Swiss economy in several areas. As it seems likely that the EU will eliminate daylight saving time in 2021, Switzerland will follow the developments in its neighboring countries and decide whether it is in its interests to follow suit.

Categories: Research & Litigation

An Interview with Franck Debié, Acting Director of the European Parliament Library

In Custodia Legis - Wed, 03/20/2019 - 11:59am

Last month, a memorandum of understanding was signed at the Library of Congress by Law Librarian of Congress and Acting Deputy Librarian for Library Collections and Services Jane Sánchez and Secretary General of the European Parliament Klaus Welle. The agreement provides valuable insight into services, collections, and cataloging at the two Libraries. The following is an interview with Franck Debié, Acting Director of the European Parliament Library.

Klaus Welle of the European Parliament (seated, right) and Jane Sánchez of the Law Library of Congress were joined by staff from both institutions after they signed a memorandum agreeing to share information between their two libraries. Photo by Shawn Miller.

How can the European Parliament Library and the Law Library of Congress benefit from sharing best practices?

The sharing of best practices can be carried out in many ways, including staff exchanges. The new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between the two organisations is an excellent basis for cooperation. It is the first such agreement signed by the European Parliament with a library outside of the European Union. For the European Parliament, it is part of an ambitious strategy to build strong links with leading research libraries in Europe and around the world. The objective is for the two libraries to exchange information and to serve their users better. It establishes a framework for sharing of best practice on activities ranging from research and reference services, to collection development, cataloguing, and training on classification and subject headings. The MoU also envisages the possibility of sending members of the Law Library of Congress staff to visit and observe the operations of the European Parliament Library, and vice-versa. The MoU is the basis for all of this.

What are the goals of the European Parliamentary Research Service and the European Parliament Library?

The European Parliament’s Directorate-General for Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS) was established in November 2013, in order to provide Members of the European Parliament, and where appropriate, parliamentary committees, with independent, objective and authoritative analysis of, and research on, policy issues relating to the European Union, and so assist them in their parliamentary work. DG EPRS aims to provide a comprehensive range of products and services, backed by specialist internal expertise and knowledge sources in all policy fields, so empowering Members and committees through knowledge and contributing to the Parliament’s effectiveness and influence as an institution.

The European Parliament Library specifically provides a wide range of services to Members individually and to the Parliament as a whole. It operates the Library Reading Rooms in Brussels, Strasbourg, and Luxembourg, housing the Parliament’s extensive physical and digital collection of books and journals, which it acquires and manages. It provides online access to subscription-based publications for the Parliament as a whole.

How does the European Parliament Library serve its members?

The Library serves Members in a wide variety of ways. In fact, the Library takes the lead in providing access to knowledge sources for the parliamentary community as a whole with Members being the primary clients. The Library provides physical and online access for Members and staff to books, journals, databases, and news and information sources, whilst also providing training in the use of such sources. The Reading Rooms hold the Parliament’s collection of over 80,000 books (and 40,000 e-books), as well as 1,000 newspapers and journals. Regular events – including conferences, book launches and EPRS policy roundtables, often with expert speakers from think tanks and academia – are held in the principal Library Reading Room in Brussels.

The Comparative Law Library (part of the Library Directorate) of the European Parliament serves as a centre of knowledge and expertise on the law of the European Union, its member states, and comparable democratic jurisdictions. It is responsible for building and maintaining an extensive reference collection of legislation, case law, and legal doctrine, as well as engaging in research and analysis in the field of comparative law. It organises conferences on comparative law issues and works closely with other such libraries to increase EP access to relevant material.

What do the Law Library of Congress and the European Parliament Library have in common?

Although clearly on different scales, the European Parliament and the Law Library of Congress aim to serve Members. The common transatlantic ties and values that underpin all our work mean that both libraries are working with the same goals in mind. Libraries need to come to terms with a whole range of new challenges in the digital world. Working together, exchanging experience and learning from each other can equip us for this task. They both grapple with delivering their services based on greater digitisation, stronger emphasis on support for (internal and external) researchers, intensified and more comprehensive provision of sources and databases including cloud technologies.

What is your academic/professional history?

In addition to my European Parliament activities, I am Acting Director of the department of geography and geopolitics at the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris. I also headed the European programme at the HEC business school. I became the policy director of the European Idea network of think tanks and foundations working with the European People’s Party Group in the European Parliament (2009-2010). I have led the team of the Secretary General of the European Parliament Klaus Welle on long term trends, dealing with foresight and strategic planning at administrative level.  In addition to my role as Acting Director of the Library, I am currently Deputy Head of Cabinet of the European Parliament’ Secretary-General. In Paris, I take an active role in building a new academic department at the Ecole Normale Supérieure which brings together geography, geopolitics, area, and urban studies.

What aspects of parliamentary research have you found most interesting and/or most challenging?

Personally, I have worked on peace processes (UN peace operations, peace building in the Balkans and the Middle East) before turning to European affairs. The convergence provided by the EU remains the best chance for peace in the European continent and the Mediterranean.

More widely, I find the concept of parliamentary research serving as a hub of knowledge for Members and the wider parliamentary community throughout the policy cycle as an interesting and stimulating model.

There are huge challenges facing all libraries globally not least caused by the challenge of digitisation of readership. The European Parliament’s library is working on greater digitisation, stronger emphasis on support for (internal and external) researchers, intensified and more comprehensive provision of sources and databases, and the gradual opening of some library services to the public.

 

Categories: Research & Litigation

The Experimental Congress.gov Browser Extension has been Updated

In Custodia Legis - Mon, 03/18/2019 - 12:00pm

The experimental Congress.gov browser extension created by Syed Tanveer has been updated so the current legislation feature now defaults to the 116th Congress. Also, the drop-down menu can now search for text that you highlight in CRS Reports, the U.S. Code, and the eCFR.

The browser extension does two things. First, if you highlight a citation to a bill on a webpage (ex. H.R.1), the browser extension will redirect you to the bill with that citation, in the current Congress, on Congress.gov.

In addition, you can use the extension to highlight text on a webpage and search for that text in Congress.gov.  Just highlight some text, click the dome button in the top-right hand corner of your browser, and you can use the drop-down menu to search for that text in Congress.gov or in CRS Reports (a collection that now includes new content), the U.S. Code, or the eCFR.  For example, you might highlight “John McCain” on a webpage, click on the dome icon, and then choose “members” in the drop-down menu to search for Senator John McCain’s member profile page in Congress.gov.

Using the Congress.gov browser extension to search for John McCain in the member profile collection in Congress.gov. First highlight the text, then click on the dome icon, then choose a collection to search from the menu. 

To install the extension, follow these steps:
1. Download this zip file and open it.
2. In Chrome, enter chrome://extensions into the search bar.
3. Turn on developer mode.
4. Click ‘Load unpacked extension’.
5.  Select the folder created when you opened the zip file.
6. If downloaded successfully, you’ll see a dome icon appear in the tray next to your browser search bar.

We need your feedback!

The Law Library continues to need your feedback on this project. We would like to know whether this makes accessing primary source legislative data more convenient for you, and which features you would like to see added to the extension in the future. We also need feedback on bugs you encounter. Please be as specific as possible with your bug reports so they can be replicated. Please provide feedback to drd@loc.gov.

Categories: Research & Litigation

The Appointment of the New Chief Justice of New Zealand

In Custodia Legis - Thu, 03/14/2019 - 10:00am

On March 14, 2019, New Zealand‘s new chief justice, The Right Honourable Chief Justice Dame Helen Winkelmann GNZM, was sworn in at the Supreme Court in Wellington. She replaces Dame Sian Elias, who retired on March 13, 2019, from the role to which she was appointed in 1999. Since that time, the Supreme Court of New Zealand was established in 2004, replacing the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in the United Kingdom as the highest court in the New Zealand court hierarchy.

New Zealand’s prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, announced Winkelmann’s appointment in December 2018. There were no hearings in Parliament, and no votes were conducted. Given the vast differences in the appointment process compared to the US (and other countries), I thought it was an opportune time to take a look at the rules and practices that apply in New Zealand when it comes to judicial appointments, and the appointment of the chief justice in particular. (I guess this post also fits with Women’s History Month, since the current New Zealand prime minister, the governor-general, and both the new and previous chief justices are all women!)

Supreme Court building, Wellington, New Zealand (taken on January 18, 2010, the date of its opening). Photo by Flickr user Lance Andrewes, used under Creative Commons License 2.0.

Higher Court Judicial Appointments Generally

Judicial appointments to the High Court, Court of Appeal, and Supreme Court are made under the Senior Courts Act 2016 (which repealed and replaced the Supreme Court Act 2003 and most of the Judicature Act 1908). Appointments to all positions other than chief justice are made by the governor-general on the advice of the attorney-general. The chief justice is appointed by the governor-general on the advice of the prime minister (section 100).

The Act requires that the attorney-general “publish information explaining his or her process for—(a) seeking expressions of interest for the appointment of Judges and Associate Judges; and (b) recommending persons for appointment as a Judge or an Associate Judge” (section 93). The Judicial Appointments Protocol, last updated in 2014, is available on the Crown Law Office website. It includes criteria for appointment and lists the steps in the process, including seeking expressions of interest, review and consultation processes conducted by the solicitor-general, a rating process carried out by the most senior judges, and the presentation of a long-list of candidates to the attorney-general, which is then utilized to create a short-list when a vacancy arises.

The Courts of New Zealand website explains that

[a]lthough judicial appointments are made by the Executive, it is a strong constitutional convention in New Zealand that, in deciding who is to be appointed, the Attorney-General acts independently of party political considerations. Judges are appointed according to their qualifications, personal qualities, and relevant experience.

Successive Attorneys-General have announced new systems designed to widen the search for potential candidates and increase the opportunity for input. Within the past 10 years the systems adopted by Attorneys-General have resulted in a more diversified judiciary. Judges have been appointed whose career paths have not been those of the conventional court advocate.

The following provision on eligibility applies to all judicial appointments:

A person may only be appointed a Judge or an Associate Judge if—

(a) that person has, for at least 7 years, held a New Zealand practising certificate as a barrister or as a barrister and solicitor; or

(b) that person—

(i) holds a degree in law granted or issued by any university within New Zealand; and

(ii) has been admitted as a barrister and solicitor of the High Court; and

(iii) has held a practising certificate in a jurisdiction specified by Order in Council—

(A) for at least 7 years; or

(B) for a lesser number of years, but, when that number of years is added to the number of years that the person has held a New Zealand practising certificate, the total number of years is at least 7 years.

However, as noted on the Courts of New Zealand website,

[t]his is the bare minimum for appointment as a High Court judge. Judges also require much more than just experience in practice. They must be of good character, have a sound knowledge of the law and of its practice, and have a real sense of what justice means and requires in present-day New Zealand. They must have the discipline, capacity and insight to act impartially, independently and fairly.

Appointment of the Chief Justice

Under the Senior Courts Act, the chief justice is the head of the New Zealand judiciary (section 89). He or she is also “the head of the Supreme Court and is responsible for ensuring the orderly and efficient conduct of the Supreme Court’s business” (section 90), among other functions, including acting as the administrator of government in the absence of incapacity of the governor-general.

As noted above, the prime minister is responsible for advising the governor-general on the appointment of a new chief justice. A person may only be appointed chief justice if he or she is a High Court judge or is appointed as a High Court judge at the same time as being appointed chief justice (section 89).

Although not required by statute, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern published a summary of the process for the appointment of the new chief justice in November 2018, when she announced that the process was underway. This included a list of criteria for the appointment, which “were developed by the Solicitor-General, modelled on the criteria for the appointment of the Lord Chief Justice of the United Kingdom and agreed by the Prime Minister.”

The criteria stated that the chief justice must be “an outstanding judge and leader” who demonstrates various competencies, including, for example, “[a]n understanding of the diversity of the communities, an insight into their differing requirements and an appreciation of the impact of law on society”; having, or having the ability to develop, “mana [prestige/status] within, and the confidence of, the judiciary and the legal profession, and the ability to develop the same in the wider public sphere”; “a deep appreciation and understanding of constitutional principle, including an understanding of the role of the Treaty of Waitangi in the law of New Zealand”; and “[r]esilience, stamina and firmness of purpose under pressure.”

In terms of the process itself, the announcement listed the following steps:

  • The Solicitor-General will consult, on a confidential basis, with a range of people experienced in the law as to who should be considered against the criteria for appointment.
  • The Solicitor-General will form a panel to review the resulting longlist, and to produce a shortlist according to the criteria.
  • The shortlist will be provided to the Prime Minister for her to consider. 
  • The Prime Minister, after conducting soundings with Ministerial colleagues, will determine whether she accepts the shortlist.
  • If so, the Solicitor-General will confirm those shortlisted candidates’ willingness to be appointed and confirm with candidates that there are no conflict issues or other matters that would render them unable to accept appointment.
  • The Prime Minister will consult with the outgoing Chief Justice.
  • The Prime Minister will then make her recommendation for appointment to the Governor-General.

The prime minister’s statement announcing the appointment of the new chief justice included some additional details on the process, including those who were consulted — the then-current chief justice, retired senior court judges, the New Zealand Law Society, the New Zealand Bar Association, and Te Hunga Roia Māori o Aoteroa (the Māori Law Society) — and the composition of the panel that considered the consultation feedback.

When the process started, a spokeswoman for the then-shadow attorney-general (the member of the opposition party with responsibility for covering that Cabinet portfolio) stated that he was “really comfortable” with the process and was confident he would be properly consulted. The leader of the opposition offered his congratulations to Winkelmann when her appointment was announced in December, stating that “New Zealanders can have confidence that Justice Winkelmann will continue the fine tradition of Chief Justices in New Zealand upholding the rule of law and ensuring due process.”

Retirement Age

Under section 133 of the Senior Courts Act 2016, all judges in New Zealand, including the chief justice and other Supreme Court justices, must retire at the age of seventy years. Retired judges can be appointed as acting judges.

Dame Sian Elias, the former chief justice, turned seventy on March 13, 2019.

Titles and Honors

You may have noticed a fairly lengthy title above for the new chief justice. Under her previous role on the Court of Appeal she was more simply “Justice Helen Winkelmann.” In early March 2019, she was appointed as a “Dame Grand Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit” (GNZM). This gives her the “Dame” title before her name, and the “GNZM” letters after her name. The New Zealand Order of Merit is the highest level component of the New Zealand Royal Honours system. In announcing Dame Helen’s appointment, the prime minister noted that “[a]ppointment as a GNZM is limited to 30 ordinary members. Additional appointments over this limit may be made to commemorate important Royal, State or national occasions. This is an additional appointment.”

The Right Honourable” (commonly abbreviated to “The Rt Hon”) part of the new chief justice’s title is also part of the Royal Honours system. The rules for the grant, use, and retention of this title specify that it “is granted to and may be used and retained for life by those persons who currently hold, and those persons who after the date of the signing of these rules are appointed to, the following offices”:

  1. The Governor-General
  2. The Prime Minister
  3. The Speaker of the House of Representatives
  4. The Chief Justice
Categories: Research & Litigation

On This Date – Establishment of the Bureau of Indian Affairs

In Custodia Legis - Mon, 03/11/2019 - 12:56pm

John C. Calhoun / painted by T. Hicks ; likeness from a dage. by Brady ; engraved by A.H. Ritchie, c. 1852. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division

The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) was created by then Secretary of War John C. Calhoun on this day, March 11, in 1824.

After Congress abolished government-run trading houses in 1822 (3 Stat. 679, chap 54 (1822)), Calhoun appointed Thomas L. McKenney as the first commissioner of Indian affairs in 1824, to fill the void left by the end of this trade system with the country’s Native American population. Congress did not enact the statutory authority for the Bureau until eight years later (4 Stat. 564, chap. 174 (1832).)

The BIA’s mission today is to “enhance the quality of life, to promote economic opportunity, and to carry out the responsibility to protect and improve the trust assets of American Indians, Indian tribes and Alaska Natives.”

If you are interested in learning more about laws related to American Indians, the Law Library of Congress has an extensive online collection of primary source material, including constitutions and charters of various Indian nations.  These items are available through our catalog or on the Law Library’s website, where you’ll find an interactive map of various geographic regions through which these digital files can be accessed.

Categories: Research & Litigation

Celebrating International Women’s Day and Averil Deverell, Ireland’s First Female Barrister

In Custodia Legis - Fri, 03/08/2019 - 11:37am

In 2015, Kelly Buchanan compiled a series of posts to celebrate Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day with contributions from foreign law specialists, analysts, and interns at the Law Library of Congress. The final post in the series, Women and History: Lawyers and Judges, features the stories of the first women lawyers and judges from 19 different countries. While reading this post, I realized that March is also Irish Heritage Month. To commemorate both International Women’s Day and Irish Heritage Month this year, I would like to share the story of Averil Deverell, the first woman to practice as a barrister in Ireland.

Born in Dublin in 1893, Averil Katherine Statter Deverell attended the French School, Bray, Co. Wicklow, where she performed in many of their dramatic productions. While attending Trinity College, she continued to act and even appeared in a suffragette play. In 1915, she received a law degree and became one of the first female graduates of Trinity College. After the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act was passed in 1919, Averil joined Frances Kyle as one of the first two female students at King’s Inn. In November 1921, alongside her twin brother, Averil was called to the Bar in Dublin. Just a few months later, in January 1922, Averil broke through gender traditions once again when she entered the all-male cohort of the Law Library at the Four Courts.

Serving as a pioneer for women in the previously male-only law profession is impressive on its own. Yet when I take a step back and consider that many of Averil’s accomplishments were achieved throughout the turmoil of World War I, I am truly in awe of her persistence. After graduating from Trinity College, Averil worked as a VAD Nursing Sister at both Trinity and in her hometown of Wicklow, where she served for hundreds of hours. With this experience, she convinced authorities to permit her to drive an ambulance in France until she began serving with the French Red Cross in 1918. It was shortly after her service in France that she began to train as a barrister at the King’s Inn.

For many who are not familiar with Irish history, it may be assumed that Averil escaped the perils of war when she finally joined the Law Library at the Four Courts. Yet the outcome of the Irish War of Independence had a great impact on her work at the Four Courts. After the creation of the independent Irish Free State in 1922, anti-Treaty forces set fire to the Four Courts in addition to the nearby Public Record Office. The fire destroyed most of the Law Library’s collection, including the personal belongings and correspondence of the barristers. Averil worked alongside her male colleagues to construct a temporary library in St. Patrick’s Hall of Dublin Castle, where the Law Library was housed until 1931.

Ireland. Dublin Castle, Chapel Royal. [Between 1908 and 1919] [Photograph] Retrieved from Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

Since many records were destroyed in the fire at the Four Courts, it was quite significant when a trove containing the personal objects and documents of Averil Deverell was discovered just two years ago. Retired English Judge Liz Goldthorpe found the collection while researching early women lawyers in the UK. The collection contains ephemera and other documents that add important context to the story of Averil Deverell that we know today.

As I have learned more about Irish women’s suffrage while researching for this post, it has been fascinating to consider what was happening concurrently in the United States. During the same year that the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act was passed and enabled Averil Deverell to train as a barrister, Congress approved the 19th amendment in 1919, which granted women the right to vote. This women’s suffrage amendment was later ratified by the states in 1920. As we approach the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th amendment, the Library of Congress is preparing to install a new exhibition, “Shall Not Be Denied: Women Fight for the Vote,” which opens on June 4th. The exhibition will draw from the Library’s collections of personal papers to tell the story of the campaign for women’s suffrage.

 

Categories: Research & Litigation

Congress.gov New, Tip, and Top for March of 2019

In Custodia Legis - Tue, 03/05/2019 - 8:37am

In February, Andrew announced that the Chamber of Origin filter on search results has been moved higher on the page and is now open by default so you can quickly limit your results to measures from one chamber. So, what is new for March?

New Enhancements for March 2019

Enhancement – House Bills to be Considered – Link from Homepage

Bills to be Considered on Congress.gov.

Search Tip

Adrienne brings us the latest search tip on the new Congress.gov Committee Schedule.

See Congress.gov’s Committee Schedule to view all pending House and Senate committee meetings and hearings scheduled for a given week or day.

  • Find the link to the Committee Schedule on the Congress.gov homepage, under Recent.
  • View the schedule by week or day.
  • Click Meeting Details to open an event page.
  • Event pages display the date and location of an event, and the name of the related committee and its website. If available, event pages display witness lists, video of proceedings and links to supporting documentation.

The Congress.gov Committee Schedule.

Most-Viewed Bills

For the week of February 24, 2019, the Most-Viewed Bills on Congress.gov included the following. All bills are from the 116th Congress.

1. H.Res.109 Recognizing the duty of the Federal Government to create a Green New Deal. 2. H.R.1044 Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act of 2019 3. H.J.Res.31 Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2019 4. H.R.8 Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019 5. H.R.420 Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act 6. S.482 A bill to strengthen the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, to combat international cybercrime, and to impose additional sanctions with respect to the Russian Federation, and for other purposes. 7. S.311 Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act 8. H.R.1 For the People Act of 2019 9. H.R.1263 To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to subject to the requirements of the National Firearms Act any semiautomatic rifle that has the capacity to accept a detachable magazine. 10. S.47 Natural Resources Management Act

 

Categories: Research & Litigation

115 Years of Legal Education in Iceland

In Custodia Legis - Mon, 03/04/2019 - 3:48pm

The following is a guest post by Elin Hofverberg, a foreign law expert at the Law Library of Congress. Elin is a prolific blogger and has contributed numerous posts for In Custodia Legis on a variety of legal topics, including Raoul Wallenberg – Swedish-American Collaboration in Protection of Hungarian Jews On the Shelf – Finnish Forest and Forestry Laws, Swedish Law – Global Legal Collection HighlightsFALQs: The Swedish Budget Process60 Years of Lego Building Blocks and Danish Patent Law, Alfred Nobel’s Will: A Legal Document that Might Have Changed the World and a Man’s Legacy, The Making of a Legal Cinnamon Bun, and many more.

One hundred and fifteen years ago today, on March 4, 1904, the Danish King Christian IX (the “parent-in-law of Europe”) signed a law to establish an Icelandic Law School in Reykjavik.

The Law on Establishment of a Law School in Iceland (Lov om Oprettelse af en Lovskole i Island) (Nr. 6 Lov af 4de Marts 1904). Photo by Donna Sokol.

The law was signed after Iceland gained home rule in 1904 and before it gained its independence in 1944 and can be seen as a step towards independence from Denmark.

The formal title of the law is Lov om Oprettelse af en Lovskole i Island [The Law on Establishment of a Law School in Iceland] (Nr. 6 Lov af 4de Marts 1904).

 Although the law was fairly brief, it did make a number of stipulations:

  • It provided that the Law School should be established in Reykjavik (§ 1)
  • That the king could appoint one permanent professor and that he should be paid DKK 4,000 annually. The Landsoverretten’s [Icelandic High Court] Deputy Judge should also teach at the school with an annual salary of DKK 500 (in addition to his salary at the Icelandic High Court). A further DKK 2,500 was provided to be used for “additional teaching ”
  • The Icelandic Minister (at that time Hannes Hafstein) was made responsible for establishing the rules for the school (§ 3).
  • Through the law the King also established a legal monopoly by requiring that all persons who wanted to practice law in Iceland must have completed a degree from the Icelandic law school (§ 4).

Althingi [Icelandic Parliament] Building Photo by Kurt Carroll.

Seeing that the law school was not yet established at the time the law entered into force, the law included an exception to the legal monopoly. This exception allowed persons who had completed their legal studies at the University of Copenhagen (“absolveret juridisk Attestats ved Kobehavns Universitet”) no less than three years prior to the opening of the law school to practice law in Iceland.

Under the 1904 law, the school could not start operating until money for that purpose had been allocated through the Finanslov [Government Spending Act] (§ 5 Lov om Oprettelse af en Lovskole i Island).

The University of Iceland was formally established in 1911 on the centennial of Jón Sigurðsson’s (leader of the movement for Icelandic independence) birth. Upon its establishment the law school (Lagaskólinn) became part of the university. The University of Iceland met in the Althing building from 1911 to 1940.

Today there are two law schools in Iceland: University of Iceland School of Law and University of Reyjavik School of Law.

If you are interested in learning more about Iceland or Denmark please visit the Global Legal Monitor for Danish and Icelandic legal developments, or check out our Danish and  Icelandic  collections, or our other posts on Denmark and Iceland.

 

Categories: Research & Litigation

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