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Research & Litigation

The American Battle Monuments Commission and the Commemoration of America’s D-Day Fallen

In Custodia Legis - Thu, 06/06/2019 - 11:08am

French Coast dead ahead–helmeted Yankee soldiers crouch, tightly packed, behind bulwarks of a Coast Guard landing barge in the historic sweep across the English Channel to the shores of Normandy (U.S. Coats Guard, 1944). Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division. //

Today is the 75th anniversary of the invasion of Normandy by Allied forces during World War II, usually referred to as D-Day.  The amphibious and airborne invasions secured a beachhead in northwestern France, which allowed for the rapid build up of forces needed to secure France’s liberation.

The invasion was part of an overall strategic plan, Operation Overlord, which had the goal of bringing American, British, Canadian, and allied ground forces into battle against the German army in western Europe.  Almost 11 months later, after much hard fighting and continued advancements on other fronts by Soviet and allied forces, the German armed forces surrendered unconditionally.

The opening and closing scenes of Saving Private Ryan were filmed in Normandy, specifically at the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial in Colleville-sur-Mer, a community adjacent to Omaha Beach, one of the invasion beaches in the American sector.  Most historians agree that the fighting at Omaha Beach was the most intense on D-Day.  The cemetery is a component of the American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC), a government agency which administers U.S. military cemeteries and memorials throughout the world.

The ABMC was established by law in 1923.  The bill establishing the Commission was introduced by Representative Stephen Porter of Pennsylvania, who was chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.  The legislation was endorsed by President Harding, who submitted letters of support from Secretary of War John W. Weeks, which explained the need for a unified approach in giving proper and respectful remembrance to the actions of all U.S. forces.  Bureau of the Budget Director Charles G. Dawes reiterated most of the points outlined by Weeks and also provided estimates on the amount of funds needed to create monuments for the sties and operate the agency for the first few years. The Commission was also tasked to consult with the United States Commission of Fine Arts for the approval of the designs and materials of proposed monuments.

Originally, sites were acquired in France and Belgium.  After World War II new sites were acquired across the world, including locations in the United States that memorialize American service personnel and merchant sailors who lost their lives in combat or are missing in action.  Some locations, such as the cemetery in Mexico City, were established before the creation of the Commission, but now fall under its jurisdiction.


Categories: Research & Litigation

Introducing Spanish Legal Documents (15th – 19th Centuries): Opinions and Judgments

In Custodia Legis - Wed, 06/05/2019 - 4:44pm

The following is a guest post by Stephen Mayeaux, Legal Information Specialist in the Digital Resources Division at the Law Library of Congress. 

Sentence of December 31, 1862 issued by the Second Criminal Chamber of the Royal Audiencia of the city of Barcelona, concerning criminal charges against Claudio Feliú Fontanills for impersonating a deceased person known as Claudio Fontanellas Sala.

The Law Library of Congress is proud to share the first of six subsections that comprise our Spanish Legal Documents collection (also known as the “Hispanic Legal Documents” collection, and often discussed alongside our “Miscellaneous Hispanic Documents” collections. For more information of the different formats and origins of these related collections, see our most recent post on this topic.

Purchased by the Library in 1941, the Spanish Legal Documents were primarily issued in individual sections, which varied from one to six folios. The majority of the documents were printed using handset type on handmade paper, which is in exceptionally good condition, and a small portion of the collection consists of manuscripts. The purchase order was described as “a collection of covenants of judicial contests between people, noble men and civil and religious institutions in Spain – Reales Cédulas –Pragmáticas Reales of the XVIIth and XVIIIth centuries.”

The legal documents remained in the Law Library for over 40 years after purchase before the funds were made available to organize, index, and microfilm them in 1983 and 1984. At that time, the documents were divided into six categories:
• Briefs
• Canon Law
• Notarial Instruments
Opinions & Judgments
• Laws & Statutes
• Miscellaneous

The microfilmed documents were digitized in 2017, and much of the post-digitization work has involved assigning specific metadata elements, such as language, region, and subject headings to almost 2,500 unique items.

While the remaining five subsections are still awaiting final cataloging updates, we wanted to begin sharing the collection as each part becomes available online, with the goal of displaying the full collection in the very near future.

Which brings us to our first published subsection: Opinions & Judgments. These are comprised of decisions rendered by the king’s courts, opinions by the attorneys of the king, as well as local courts’ judgments concerning a variety of cases and subjects. Most prominent are inheritance and estate, dowry, and titles of nobility cases. Other cases offer a little more to satisfy our taste for 18th century palace intrigue and scandal. European historians familiar with the Távora affair might recognize the case described in the manuscript below, in which the 8th Duke of Aveiro was stripped of his title, convicted, and executed for his role in an assassination attempt against King Joseph I of Portugal.

Resolution by the Royal Council sentencing José Mascareñas, Duke of Abeyro [Aveiro], and others for their conspiracy to assassinate the King of Portugal. [January 12, 1759].

Stay tuned for additional updates as we make more subsections available online, and in the meantime, please take a look at previous blog posts by the many interns, junior fellows, and staff members who have helped bring these unique and rare collections to life.

Categories: Research & Litigation

Constitution Day and Election Day in Denmark

In Custodia Legis - Wed, 06/05/2019 - 4:11pm

On this day 170 years ago, the Danish King Frederik VII signed the Danish Constitution of 1849, creating a constitutional monarchy. Thus, today marks Grundlovsdagen (Constitution Day). Although a national and bank holiday, the day is not such a grand affair as Constitution Day of Norway.

This year may be different, though, as Denmark holds its national elections for the Danish Parliament today, June 5. It is the first time ever that Denmark will hold a general national election on its Constitution Day.

Danish Election (Bain News Service, publisher , between ca. 1915 and ca.1920). Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division. //

When is the Danish Parliamentary Election?

Unlike neighbor countries Norway and Sweden, which both must hold elections in September every four years by constitutional mandate, Denmark has floating elections, meaning that it allows the government to announce the next election, provided it does so prior to the end of the current four-year term. (§ 32 Danish Constitution).

The Danish Constitution mandates that elections to the Folketinget (Danish Parliament) are conducted through general, direct, and secret elections. (§ 31 Constitution.) Members of Parliament serve for a four-year term. (§ 32 Constitution.)

How Long is the Campaign Period?

The campaign period starts after the sitting Prime Minister of Denmark announces a national election. The campaign period is thereby limited and only allows for campaigning within this set period. On May 7, 2019, Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen announced that the 2019 election would be held on June 5, 2019, meaning that the campaign period would be less than a month.

Who Can Stand for Election?

Anyone who is a Danish citizen and has a right to vote may stand for election, unless that person is convicted of certain crimes. (§ 4 Parliamentary Elections Act)

To stand for election, a person must be a member of a party. There are currently 13 political parties represented in the Danish Parliament. Parties that hold a seat in Parliament automatically have a right to be on the ballot in the next election. (§ 11 Parliamentary Elections Act.) In addition, parties that have received signatures from 1/175 of the valid votes cast (about 20,000 signatures) in the last election and that register with the Ministry for Economic Affairs and the Interior no less than 15 days before the election date are also eligible. (§ 12 Parliamentary Elections Act.)

Who Can Vote? 

Danish citizens aged 18 years and older who permanently reside in Denmark are eligible to vote. (§ 1 Parliamentary Elections Act.) Typically, Danes living abroad are not allowed to vote. Certain expats who are stationed abroad are eligible, however (§ 2 Parliamentary Elections Act.) Technically, the Danish Queen Margrethe meets all the legal requirements to vote, but the royal family does not vote.

When are the Results Posted?

The results must be posted as soon as possible.  The Ministry for Economic Affairs and the Interior posts it in the Statstidende (Danish government gazette).

Danish election returns, by Bain News Service, publisher. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division. //

Voter Participation

Voter participation in the national parliamentary elections is generally high in Denmark (85.89% in 2015). However, participation is lower in Greenland (49% in 2015), and the Faroe Islands (66.2% in 2015). The figures for these two Danish territories are similar to the Danish voter participation in the EU elections: 66.1% in 2019 and 56.3% in 2014.

How Many Members are there in the Danish Parliament?

There are 179 members of Parliament, of which two represent Greenland and two represent the Faroe Islands.

When Does Parliament Convene?

Following the election, the parliament meets on the twelfth weekday (includes Saturdays) following the election day (this year, June 20) at 12pm, unless the Prime Minister has called for a meeting prior to that. (§ 35. Stk. 1. Danish Constitution.)

In non-election years, the Parliamentary year starts on the first Tuesday of October and ends the same Tuesday the following year. (§ 36. Stk. 1 Danish Constitution.) The Parliament convenes at 12 pm on the first day of the parliamentary year. (§ 36. Stk. 2.)

Prohibition on Political Campaigning on TV & Limits on Size of Political Posters

An interesting fact about Denmark, which Americans may find interesting, is the prohibition against political campaigning on TV. (§ 76 stk 3 Danish Radio and Television Act). In fact, all the Nordic countries have this prohibition.

In addition, Danish law sets limits on how large a political poster may be without first applying for a permit from the Danish-Transport authorities: 0.8 square meters. Such banners may only be placed on public roads four weeks prior to the election and must be removed eight days after the election. (§ 84 Public Roads Act.)

Law Library Resources on Elections Around the Globe:

Legal Reports on Elections and Campaign Financing

FALQs: Saudi Arabia Municipal Elections – Women Participate for the First Time

Israel’s 2013 Elections: The Making of a Coalition Government

Women in History: Voting Rights

Family Voting as a Solution to Low Fertility? Experiences from France and Germany

And many more

Resources on Denmark:

Guide to Law Online: Denmark

Guide to Law Online: Greenland (part of the Kingdom of Denmark)

60 Years of Lego Building Blocks and Danish Patent Law

Danish Law – Global Collection Highlights

The Making of a Legal Cinnamon Bun

And many more

Global Legal Monitor articles:



Faroe Islands

Categories: Research & Litigation

The Centennial Celebration of Woman’s Suffrage Begins

In Custodia Legis - Tue, 06/04/2019 - 8:00am

The following is a guest post by Colleen Shogan, the Assistant Deputy Librarian of Collections and Services at the Library of Congress. She is also the Library’s designee on the Woman’s Suffrage Centennial Commission. The Library of Congress opens its newest exhibition, Shall Not Be Denied: Women Fight for the Vote, on Tuesday, June 4, 2019. This exhibition will tell the story of the long campaign for women’s suffrage–considered the largest reform movement in American history–which lasted more than seven decades.


WOMAN SUFFRAGE PICKET PARADE, by Harris & Ewing, photographer. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

One hundred years ago today, the nineteenth amendment to the United States Constitution, which removed legal barriers for women exercising the right to vote, received the required two-thirds vote in Congress to advance the proposed language to the state ratification stage. The political path to congressional passage was protracted and circuitous. The longest-lasting social movement in the United States, the woman’s suffrage movement spanned eight decades of American history. How did suffragists finally achieve a pivotal milestone on June 4, 1919?

Congress first considered the notion of female suffrage on January 23, 1866, when James Brooks (D-NY) asked why women had been excluded from the Fourteenth Amendment. After Brooks’ arguments failed to gain robust congressional support, the word “male” was inserted into the text of the amendment as a requirement for citizenship. Elizabeth Cady Stanton remarked that once the word “male” appeared in the Constitution, “it will take us a century at least to get it out.”

Although women’s voting rights were conferred earlier than Stanton’s prediction, her larger point held true. In 1872, Virginia Minor attempted to register to vote in the presidential election in St. Louis. When she was prevented from doing so, Minor and her husband sued the local registrar of voters. In Minor v. Happersett (1875), the Supreme Court unanimously rejected the claim that the Fourteenth Amendment prohibited the disenfranchisement of women as citizens of the United States. After the high court’s decision, the judicial avenue for securing women the right to vote disintegrated. The path ahead became clear: the suffrage movement needed to secure legislative support to change the legal conclusion that citizenship did not confer upon women the right to vote.

The two existing suffrage organizations adopted divergent strategies to achieve this goal. The American Woman Suffrage Association (AWSA) utilized a state-by-state approach while the National Woman Suffrage Association (NSWA) focused on changing federal law. Senator Aaron Sargent (R-CA) introduced a woman’s suffrage amendment in 1878, but at the time, there was little political momentum or support for the measure.

In 1890, AWSA and NSWA merged to create the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA). At this point in American history, women began to join volunteer associations at higher rates. Female community participation proved beneficial for the suffrage movement, as women transferred their energies and organizing skills from local civic groups to NAWSA.

Initially, the movement continued to focus on gaining suffrage at the state level, with some significant success, particularly in the American West. However, in 1914, Lucy Burns and Alice Paul formed the Congressional Union (CU) for Woman Suffrage, an organization wholly dedicated to securing a federal amendment. The Congressional Union eventually became the National Woman’s Party (NWP), which employed more militant tactics (such as organized mass marches) than NAWSA or predecessor American suffragist groups. In 1917, the NWP organized the first picket of the White House, seeking to draw President Woodrow Wilson into the suffrage fight. This led to arrests and eventually the imprisonment of suffragists in a nearby workhouse.

The same year, Jeannette Rankin (R-MT) became the first woman to serve in Congress. Representative John Raker (D-CA) proposed a new committee to consider the woman’s suffrage amendment. President Wilson endorsed the Raker proposal, which passed the House of Representatives later that year. After hearings in early 1918, the amendment came to the floor, with Congresswoman Rankin beginning the debate. The night before, Wilson announced support for the amendment. On January 10, 1918, the woman’s suffrage amendment received its first favorable vote in Congress, with the slimmest possible margin in the House, 274-136. However, the amendment failed to receive the required votes in the Senate during the sixty-fifth Congress, even after the President delivered a speech in the chamber on September 30, imploring the body to approve the amendment.

The following year, the House once again passed the amendment on May 21, 1919.  In the meantime, suffragists had focused their time and attention on securing Senate approval. Using an innovative lobbying method utilizing index cards, Maud Younger led an organized effort to change the hearts and minds of senators. After two days of debate, the upper chamber finally approved the amendment with no extra votes to spare (56-25) on June 4, 1919. Ratification by the states began only six days later, with Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin leading the way.

Categories: Research & Litigation

A Follow-up Interview with Elin Hofverberg, Foreign Law Specialist

In Custodia Legis - Mon, 06/03/2019 - 4:37pm

Our interview series on In Custodia Legis started almost nine years ago with an interview of the then-Law Librarian of Congress, Roberta Shaffer.  We are now approaching 300 interviews.  Today’s interview with Elin marks a first: it is the first time we have completed a follow-up interview.  Elin was originally interviewed in 2011 when she was an intern at the Law Library of Congress.

Describe your current position.

I work as a foreign law specialist, meaning I conduct research on and monitor foreign and international law. My primary jurisdictions are the Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden), which also naturally includes researching European Union (EU) law as Denmark, Sweden, and Finland are members of the EU. In addition to responding to requests from Congress and executive agencies, as well as research requests from the public, I also maintain and update the law collection for these jurisdictions.

Elin Hofverberg / Photo by Donna Sokol

What project are you most proud of that you have worked on at the Law Library of Congress?

The most rewarding part of my job is the joy of providing information that our patrons cannot find anywhere else; for example, locating an old law from a foreign jurisdiction, or writing an analysis of a recent foreign legal developments not covered by the US media. Work at the Law Library of Congress is always very varied. Our director, Peter Roudik, often says, “what’s in the news is on our desks.”

I have written reports on topics as diverse as cryptocurrencies, foreign aid, and the slaughter of animals. I have also written “lighter” pieces, such as my blog pieces on Lego and Danish Patent Law, and the Making of a Legal Cinnamon Bun.

Law is all around us.

What is the most interesting thing you have discovered from working with the Law Library’s print and electronic collections?

How fascinating its collections are. The legal collections for the Nordic countries are extensive. Every time I work with older material I feel as If I’ve stepped into a time machine. For example, the Law Library has an original Icelandic law book from 1637.

What is your favorite Law Library of Congress website and why?

Aside from this blog, I really enjoy reading my colleagues contributions to the Global Legal Monitor (GLM). As a lawyer specializing in international and comparative law, I find it interesting to learn how other countries deal with legal issues.  In 2013, I wrote a GLM article on a decision by the Norwegian Tax Authority with regard to cryptocurrencies that later resulted in a multinational cryptocurrency report. That report has since been updated numerous times.

When you learn how one country responds to a particular legal issue you become curious to find out how other countries have approached it. We at the Global Legal Research Directorate are in a unique position to be able to satisfy that curiosity.

What is the most interesting fact you have learned about the Library of Congress?

When I first joined the Library, I was impressed by the Jefferson collection (especially his law collection). Today, I am impressed that we are such a living library. The Law Library alone has collected more than 2,954,200 volumes (the most in the world), and just in the 2018 fiscal year we prepared 1,665 legal research reports, special studies and memoranda sent across three branches of government, and answered 3,680 Ask-a Librarian requests.

The troves of knowledge contained within the Library’s walls is amazing to me.

What is your favorite legal novel and/or movie?

It’s hard to pick an absolute favorite, but one of the movies with a legal theme that I’ve seen numerous times is The Pelican Brief. With time, I have come to accept the discrepancies from the original book by John Grisham.

Another movie that I have seen more than once is 12 Angry Men, which is part of the National Film Registry. Although, I find that one is less about law and more about psychology.

I keep abreast of Nordic crime shows, such as The Bridge, just to know what my colleagues are talking about. My favorite Danish show is Borgen, which can be described as a Danish West Wing.

Categories: Research & Litigation

Dr. Raphael Lemkin, the Totally Unofficial Man

In Custodia Legis - Fri, 05/31/2019 - 10:37am

Raphael Lemkin, a Polish Jewish international law jurist who lived and taught law in the United States at the end of his life, is famous for coining the word “genocide”. He also worked to make the act of genocide a crime in international law. As a child in rural Poland, Lemkin was fascinated by historical atrocities and was particularly struck by the story of Nero feeding Christians to the lions in Quo Vadis (Lemkin, Totally Unofficial, p. 1).  The story of the Armenian genocide also captivated Lemkin. In a sad twist of fate, the man who was so interested in the tragedies of other cultural groups experienced the horrible loss of his own family and people in the Holocaust.

After he finished his doctorate of law at Lwow University, he started writing law books, working as Warsaw’s deputy public prosecutor, and teaching law at university. One of the books he wrote during this time he coauthored with Duke University professor Malcolm McDermott— a contact who would later save his life (Lemkin, 21). Lemkin also wrote an influential article that argued for laws outlawing acts of barbarity and vandalism (Lemkin, 23).

Raphael Lemkin, 1900-1959, undated photo [American Jewish Historical Society,]

At the start of World War II, Lemkin fled Poland when the German army invaded. He first fled to Stockholm, where he taught at the university. In Stockholm, he collected all the national official gazettes and Third Reich gazettes he could find to research the aims of Hitler and the Nazis, concluding that their policies of mass murder had the intention to wholly obliterate other peoples (Lemkin, 102). Lemkin’s conclusion from these studies was that “genocide is a premeditated crime with clearly defined goals, rather than just an aberration.

With the help of his colleague Dr. McDermott, Lemkin was able to take a teaching job at Duke University in 1941. He and his brother Elias were the only members of Lemkin’s family to escape; 49 members of his family died in the Holocaust.  During the early 1940s he wrote, traveled, taught, and lectured. Lemkin met John Vance, Law Librarian of Congress and began translating and analyzing Nazi decrees. Lemkin wrote:

I wanted to secure a regular flow of such decrees from occupied Europe and suggested in a letter to Vance that he might get them through book dealers in neutral countries– Portugal, Switzerland, or Sweden. In this way I hoped to build up in the Library of Congress a center of documentation that would be helpful in explaining the “war on the peoples” behind the current European “war on the armies” (Lemkin, 109).

This work was the basis for his later (and arguably most important) book, Axis Rule in Occupied Europe. In this text he introduced the term “genocide,” which is a combination of the Greek “genos” (race, tribe) and the Latin “-cide” (killing) (Lemkin, Axis, p. 79). The name was important; Churchill had called the acts of the Holocaust “the crime without a name.” Lemkin’s concept of genocide as an international crime, formulated at this time, provided one of the legal bases for the Nuremburg Trials.

However, at the Nuremburg Trials, the charge of genocide was thrown out. The Statute of the International Military Tribunal, which did not include a charge of genocide, bound the Nuremburg Tribunal. This defeat bolstered Lemkin’s resolve and although his health continued to decline, he tirelessly worked to establish genocide as an international crime. Throughout the late 1940s, Lemkin traveled throughout Europe and the States to talk to every diplomat, legal academic, politician and statesman he could about the legal concept of genocide, working to get allies to advocate for the Genocide Convention.

On December 9, 1948, the United Nations approved the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide. Raphael Lemkin spent the rest of his life working to get nations to pass laws against genocide, teaching, and writing articles as well as his autobiography, though he died before he could complete it. The tentative title was “Totally Unofficial” from a 1957 New York Times editorial describing him as, “…that exceedingly patient and totally unofficial man, Prof. Raphael Lemkin” (Lemkin, xxv). His patience and single-minded pursuit of his goal was best explained in a speech he gave in Durham:

“If women, children, and old people would be murdered a hundred miles from here, wouldn’t you run to help? Then why do you stop this decision of your heart when the distance is five thousand miles instead of a hundred?” (Lemkin, 103).


Following is a list of resources available in the Law Library; a few of these are found in the Library’s general collection.


Categories: Research & Litigation

On This Day: Everglades National Park Established

In Custodia Legis - Thu, 05/30/2019 - 1:15pm

Eighty-five years ago today, May 30, 1934, Congress established Everglades National Park.

Image of Statutes at Large pages establishing Everglades National Park, Congress 73, Session 2, Chapter 371, available at

The park is one of the most unique national parks in the country. It is 1.5 million acres of what is commonly referred to as “swampland,” but actually contains at least eight different ecosystems, including freshwater sloughs, marl prairies, hardwood hammocks, pinelands, cypress, mangrove, coastal lowlands, and estuarine. These ecosystems and habitats support a collection of species not found elsewhere in the world.

Everglades National Park is designated as an International Biosephere Reserve, a Wetland of International Importance, a World Heritage Site, and is an area protected under the Cartagena Protocol. It has been affected greatly by population growth in South Florida and serves as a place of study and warning for issues such as climate change, threatened and endangered species, drainage and disturbed lands, and invasive and nonnative species of plants and animals.

Photo by National Park Service. The CFR regulation is available at .

The iconic king of the Everglades is, of course, the alligator, but many other plants and animals abound. A variety of snakes, mammals (including the severely endangered Florida panther), amphibians, reptiles, fish, and insects can be found year-round. Birding is also quite popular, especially during the winter months. My favorite iconic Florida birds are the roseate spoonbill, wood stork, and osprey. Interestingly, despite being associated with Florida and tourism, flamingos were considered nonnative and invasive for a long time. However, a recent study has questioned that designation and they may be native to Florida after all.

Interested in learning more about the establishment of national parks? The Law Library of Congress now has all public laws available by chapter from 1789-1950. You can browse by congress or use the search and facets function to narrow your desired law by subject. This search will allow you to see the 113 statutes tagged with “national parks.” We are still working towards completing this historical collection and adding more functionality in the future!

Categories: Research & Litigation

An Interview with Rose Tempowski, Scholar-in-Residence at the Law Library of Congress

In Custodia Legis - Wed, 05/29/2019 - 10:53am

Law Library Scholar-in-Residence Rose Tempowski. Photo by Kelly McKenna.

Describe your background.

I’m from a small village in Derbyshire, a county in the East Midlands of England, and don’t live far from the house I grew up in. My parents are both from Birmingham, but moved to Derbyshire just before they had me. I lived in the northern city of Sheffield as an undergraduate, and in Phoenix, Arizona, in 2017. Other than that, I have not moved around much.  I’m lucky to live somewhere so well connected by main roads, but also with such easy access to the countryside.

 What is your academic/professional history?

I studied law for an undergraduate degree at the University of Sheffield, but upon graduation I pursued a career in teaching. I knew that I would return to the law at some point, so I decided to get admitted to the bar in New York whilst studying at the University of Derby for my Postgraduate Certificate in Primary Education with a specialization in science.  I taught in a variety of schools, including the school I attended myself as a child and a small village school in the Peaks which had years 2, 3 and 4 in the same classroom. In 2016, I reduced my teaching to part-time and enrolled at Nottingham Trent University to pursue an LLM in Human Rights and Justice.

Nottingham Law School has a very active pro bono community and I became heavily involved in this. I represented clients at social security tribunals, advised on housing and employment issues, investigated a case as part of the Miscarriages of Justice Project and ran classes at local high schools on the legal ramifications of cyberbullying and sexting. Through this community at NLS, I interacted with the Amicus charity, which sends volunteers to assist capital defense lawyers across the US. It was thanks to Amicus that I spent the majority of 2017 gaining valuable experience at a capital defense office in Arizona.

I am now at Birmingham City University where I am in the second year of my doctorate studies and also teach criminal law.

How would you describe your job (or research project) to other people?

There is now an established body of science which acknowledges that human brains continue to develop and restructure throughout adolescence and into the third decade of life. The region responsible for decision-making develops last and is the area which differs the most with age. Therefore, questions can be asked about what this means for the criminal culpability of young people. My research aims to discover whether this brain science is playing any role in US state legislation which is regulating young people’s contact with the adult criminal justice system. Specifically, my research investigates two areas of law: bright-line age limits for juvenile court jurisdiction and state transfer or waiver laws which permit a juvenile to be tried in an adult court.

 Why did you want to work at the Law Library?

My Ph.D. supervisor, Dr. Sarah Cooper, and my colleague, Amelia Shooter, had both previously studied at the Law Library and spoken incredibly highly of their experiences. They impressed upon me how generous the librarians and staff at the Library are and how spending time here would make me a better researcher. Not only does the Library have an unprecedented catalog, but it is a unique legal environment with experts from around the globe. In addition to this, as an almost life-long student, I was really looking forward to studying in such a scholarly environment amongst like-minded individuals.

What is the most interesting fact you’ve learned about the Law Library of Congress?

How available it is to the public! I’m really impressed by the accessibility of the Library. I love how any member of the public can phone up and speak to a law librarian and receive a detailed response to their inquiry.

What’s something most of your colleagues do not know about you?

Most people don’t realise that I rely pretty heavily on lip reading because I’m hearing impaired. This can make group settings, like networking events, really challenging and I think people are surprised that I seem so reserved in these environments when I’m usually so chatty. I also have a qualification in British Sign Language, but I don’t use it in day-to-day life.

Categories: Research & Litigation New, Tip and Top for May 2019, Part 2

In Custodia Legis - Tue, 05/28/2019 - 1:03pm

Earlier this month, Andrew shared the update to our committee schedule page, which launched in January 2019.

With this month’s second release, we have enhanced the navigation of member profile pages.  When viewing a bill or resolution on a member profile page, you can use the navigation arrows to move from the next or previous item in the list without having to return to the profile page.

Previous and next navigation buttons added to Member Profile pages

New Enhancements for May 2019, Part 2

Please find the full list of enhancements below.

Enhancement – Member Profile Pages – Results Navigation

  • When viewing a bill or other item listed on a member profile page, you can use the navigation arrows to move to the next or previous item in the list without needing to return to the profile page.

Enhancement – Committee Reports – Errata Display

  • Committee Report errata text displays as a tab on the committee report detail page.

Search Tip

The Search Tip for this release is a reminder of how to edit highlighting in Search Results:

How to Remove Highlighting from a Search Result

When viewing search results on, highlighted search terms can be very helpful in understanding why a particular item was retrieved.  But what if you need a clean copy without the  highlighting?  Simply edit the URL to remove the search portion and the highlighting will be gone. Look for ?q and delete it along with all characters that follow.

Most-Viewed Bills

Below are the most-viewed bills on for the week of May 18, 2019.

1. H.R.5 [116th] Equality Act 2. H.R.1044 [116th] Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act of 2019 3. H.R.2527 [116th] Vaccinate All Children Act of 2019 4. S.386 [116th] Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act of 2019 5. H.Res.109 [116th] Recognizing the duty of the Federal Government to create a Green New Deal. 6. H.R.987 [116th] MORE Health Education Act 7. H.R.5428 [115th] Stand with UK against Russia Violations Act 8. H.R.299 [116th] Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019 9. H.R.1 [116th] For the People Act of 2019 10. S.447 [115th] Justice for Uncompensated Survivors Today (JUST) Act of 2017

Please share any comments below or submit your feedback on

Categories: Research & Litigation


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