Resource Review: Homeland Security Digital Library

by guest author Dan Brackmann

Sent in an email to all current law faculty on February 18, 2020.


This month’s issue highlights the Homeland Security Digital Library, a joint project of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s National Preparedness Directorate, FEMA, and the Naval Postgraduate School Center for Homeland Defense and Security. The HSDL contains over 180,000 items to assist academics of all disciplines in homeland defense and security related research. UofSC has access to the full collection except for the Restricted Collection which is only available to U.S. government officals and active military members.

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The HSDL pulls material from different sources, including:

  • Federal, state, and local governments
  • International governments and institutions
  • Nonprofit organizations and private sector entities
  • Think tanks, research centers, colleges, and universities

The site also has featured topic groups such as cyber policy, cybersecurity, active shooters and school violence, infrastructure interoperability, gangs, terrorism, piracy, and pandemics to name several.

The URL for the site is: https://www.hsdl.org

You can find a flyer with more information here:
https://www.chds.us/c/resources/uploads/2018/03/chds_2017_hsdl_fact_sheet_022018.pdf

If you have questions or ideas for future Resource Reviews, please email Dan Brackmann.

Register to Vote

by guest author Melanie Griffin

Make sure you can vote this year by keeping up with registration details and deadlines. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  •  To vote in South Carolina, you need to register at least thirty days before the election in which you want to participate. For example, the Democratic Presidential Preference Primary is on February 29 in SC this year, so to vote in that, you’ll need to be registered by January 30. To vote in the general presidential election, get registered by October 4.
  • South Carolina has open primaries, which means anyone registered to vote can vote in either party’s primary without officially declaring themselves a member of that party.
  • If you’re registering to vote in SC for the first time, you’ll need a South Carolina driver’s license or photo ID from an SC DMV.
  • If you’ve moved since the last time you voted in SC, make sure your address is updated (especially if you’ve switched counties). You can change your address on the DMV’s website in about five minutes at no cost. Your address must be up to date with the DMV before you can update it for your voter registration.
  • Students can register to vote “where they reside while attending college,” according to the South Carolina State Election Commission. They interpret this as either the address you live at while attending your classes, like your dorm or off-campus apartment, or the address you go to when you’re not in classes, such as your parent’s house, so you can register with either. Check the South Carolina Code of Laws section 7-1-25 for state election residency laws.
  • There’s also a national voter registration application for students who want to register for home addresses that are outside South Carolina. The U.S. Vote Foundation website lets you search for other states’ deadlines if you are planning on registering elsewhere; they’re not all on the same schedule.
  • If you won’t physically be in the place where you’re registered to vote on election day, apply for an absentee ballot. You can do that in person until 5 p.m. the day before the election. You can also apply for an absentee ballot over the internet or mail, and this requires you to complete and send in your absentee application by 5 p.m. four days prior to the election. You’re required to cast your absentee ballot by 7 p.m. the day of the election.

Find more details about voting in SC on the South Carolina Election Commission’s website.

Resource Review: HeinOnline’s Presidential Impeachment Library

by guest author Dan Brackmann

In a timely move, HeinOnline has debuted its Presidential Impeachment Library. “The library collects resources related to all four U.S. presidents who have faced impeachment. Organized by the four affected presidents, this collection brings together a variety of documents both contemporaneous and asynchronous to each president’s impeachment, presenting both a snapshot of the political climate as each impeachment played out and the long view history has taken of each proceeding.”

screenshotThe library also includes relevant Congressional Research Service reports as well as a curated list of scholarly articles, external links, and a bibliography, providing avenues for further resarch on this topic. One of these is the ever-growing Whistleblower Complaint on Ukraine, compiled by Kelly Smith at UC San Diego, which brings together offical documents related to the whistleblower complaint and impeachment inquiry of Donald Trump. Hein plans to continue expanding its collection with new material, particularly as it becomes available for the current investigation into Donald Trump.

Find HeinOnline from the main library page:screenshot

If you have questions or ideas for future Resource Reviews, please email Dan Brackmann.

Resource Review: FRASER

by guest author Dan Brackmann

Sent in an email to all current law faculty on December 13, 2019.


This holiday issue is about the Federal Reserve Archival System for Economic Research or “FRASER.” FRASER is a free public database from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. FRASER holds a digital library of U.S. economic, financial, and banking history—particularly the history of the Federal Reserve System.

FRASER - Explore Access Learn

FRASER collects raw economic data from the Federal Reserve plus aggregated material from other outside sources. It includes job and salary data, economic reports, monetary policy documents, manufacturing statistics, historical sources, and personal papers. FRASER can be searched in a number of ways, such as for data, for federal reserve material, or for archival material.

map of 1914 Federal Reserve Districts
1914 map of the Federal Reserve Districts

FRASER also has an active blog and Twitter feed to highlight new and interesting material from the database, such as an economic report on Christmas spending from 1953, the records of the Freedman’s Savings and Trust Company, an institution founded in 1865 to provide deposit banking services to African-Americans freed with the Thirteenth Amendment, and a 1914 map of the Federal Reserve Districts.

FRASER offers a tutorial for new users here: https://fraser.stlouisfed.org/howto/

Law School Building Use: Final Exams Fall 2019

by guest author Andy Kretschmar

Sent in an email to all current law students on November 26, 2019.


The Law School is taking the following steps to regulate undergraduate and public use of the Law School building during final exams (Sunday, December 1st to Friday, December 13th):

Restricting access to non-law visitors

As a part of the USC campus, the building is open to the public until 9pm, but we will be taking the following steps to restrict access:

The Student Commons will be accessible only to USC School of Law students. Remember to have your Carolina Card on you, as you’ll need it to enter the Commons. This will be in effect 24/7 during the exam period.

Classrooms will lock 30 minutes after the final exam of the day. After they lock, only law students will be able to enter using their Carolina Card.

The building doors lock at the following times:

Senate Street: 9:00 PM

Gervais Street: 6:00 PM

Remember! The doors to the building lock to ensure that you have a safe and reliably quiet place to study. Please do not prop open doors or allow anyone that you do not recognize to access a locked part of the building.

Study rooms

Signage will be posted on all group study rooms stating that they are for the sole use of law students during final exams.

If you’d like to book a room, please do so at libcal.law.sc.edu. Law library staff scrutinize each and every booking request submitted to ensure that policies are being followed and that only those requests submitted by law students are approved.

General signage

Signage will be displayed outside of the library outlining our Code of Conduct and expectations for all users.

This will also be displayed on the digital displays visible throughout the building. Please familiarize yourself with our Code of Conduct, and do not hesitate to report any infractions or concerns to law school staff.

Reporting

Please report any disruptive behavior as soon as possible. If you are in the library and would like to make a noise complaint, simply visit the library website where you’ll find the option to report a noise issue.

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Please be aware that outside of M-F 8am-5pm, staffing is limited, and library staff will not be able to physically respond to issues outside of the library.

If you encounter an issue that requires immediate attention, please do not hesitate to call the USC Police non-emergency line at 803-777-4215. For emergencies, call 803-777-9111.

Remember, we can’t enforce these expectations and policies without your help!

Thank you, and best of luck on your final exams.

Things that Go Bump

by guest author Rebekah Maxwell

The Old Hall, Fairies by Moonlight; Spectres & Shades, Brownies and Banshees – by John Anster Fitzgerald, via Wikimedia Commons

Haunted house law is trickier (or treatier?) than you might expect.

For instance, while a broker has no duty to disclose that a house is reputed to be haunted, once an owner has reported hauntings of the property in the public media, she is estopped from denying that the ghosts exist, and a buyer may be able to rescind the contract. Stambovsky v. Ackley, 572 N.Y.S.2d 672 (1991).

And yet, a deed obtained through misrepresentation that a house is haunted might be allowed to stand. Souza v. Soares, 22 Haw. 17 (1914).

Also, the fact that you believe a house to be haunted doesn’t give you a pass for vandalizing it. Hayward v. Carraway, 180 So.2d 758 (1965). Ghosts have feelings, too.

Guest Post: Forbidden Libraries

The guest post below is by 2L Jeff Harris. If you’ve visited an amazing library that you’d like to guest-blog about, let Professor Ross know.

Sometimes the coolest places you go are the places you aren’t supposed to.

Back in 2012 I studied abroad throughout the British Isles with Furman University’s theatre program.  Naturally, the program involves gaining a deep understanding of culture in the Isles, so everywhere we went we visited museums and cultural exhibits: traditional performances like the York Mystery Cycle and the Scottish Military tattoo, culturally significant museums such as the British Museum in London and the Titanic museums in both Belfast and Cork, and regional landmarks and heritage sites like Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh and the Blarney Stone at Blarney Castle in Blarney, Ireland.  Most of these visits went as planned, and as scheduled; some did not.

By Diliff – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=42693401

One such visit was to the library at Trinity College Dublin.  We came to see the Book of Kells, an illuminated manuscript gospel book, containing the four gospels of the new testament.  Created in Ireland circa 800 AD, the manuscript is a collective work of Columban monks throughout the Isles.  It is lavishly decorated, detailed, and vibrant; its insular style of art combines traditional Christian imagery with Celtic knots, tying together the then young religion with the ancient cultures of the Isles.  It is exactly the thing we came to see at the library; on our way out of the exhibit, however, my friend Madilene struck up friendly conversation with a security guard.

By Superchilum – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=28165952

The guard spoke of his enthusiasm for a new exhibit opening soon:  Dr. Ernest Walton’s Nobel Prize in Physics, earned for first splitting the nucleus of an atom.  Madilene expressed her disappointment that we would already have left Dublin by the time the exhibit opened, and the guard, either charmed by the friendly, bubbly American girl, or too devoted a historian to let the enthusiasm of others be quashed by disappointment and poor timing, held a finger to his lips and raised his keys.

Photo: Maranda Marie Debusk

The exhibit was located in Trinity College’s famous Long Room Library, in which are housed Trinity College’s most ancient tomes.  Aesthetically, the Long Room is the stuff of fiction, movies and imagination.  As we emerged from the staircase in the center of the room, we were immediately enveloped in an aura of tradition and knowledge; deep, dark wood encased the library, rows of book cases reach from the floor to the balcony, from the balcony to the arching ceiling.  Each bookcase is accompanied by an antique wooden ladder which soars across the aged volumes on rails to help researchers find the wisdom they seek.  Ornate, wrought iron, spiral staircases twist their way up to the balcony level.

Photo: Maranda Marie Debusk

The prize itself was located at the end of the room, arranged with many of Dr. Walton’s papers in a glass display case.  The prestige of the prize, and the power of its world-altering accomplishment, was only amplified by the old-world aura of the Long Room.  Its shelves stand frozen in time, accessible only by meticulous and cautious researchers clad in white gloves, almost more concerned about preserving the books as with learning their contents.  It is a place that demands respect and reverence, and projects that demand onto its displays.

The Long Room is the most breathtaking library I’ve ever visited; its age, prestige, and accumulated wisdom hang in the air, and its sheer physical beauty has few peers.  So, if you ever find yourself in Dublin, don’t forget to put down that Guinness and head to the library; you won’t regret it.

-Jeff Harris

From a Book’s Perspective

by guest author Aaron Glenn

With the library move underway, have you wondered what the experience is like for our books? We invite you to follow our intrepid action camera and ride along as The Library (a book from our collection) travels from 701 Main Street to its new home at 1525 Senate Street. It’s the library move from a book’s perspective!

The Library: A World History is one of many wonderful books that can be found on the shelves of our new library and includes stunning full-color images of libraries, both current and historic, from all over the world.

Please join us on May 30 as we re-open at our new location at 1525 Senate Street!

Sympathy for the Vampires

by guest author Rebekah Maxwell

Bela Lugosi as Dracula

As if being Undead isn’t complicated enough, vampires also seem to suffer from (or cause) a variety of legal problems. Did you know that you can jeopardize your visitation rights for letting vampires babysit your children? Ditto moving in with a vampire. Bass v. Weaver, 101 Ark. App. 367, 278 S.W.3d 127 (2008).

A Michigan carjacker explained his car theft spree as an attempt to “escape from flesh-eating bats and vampires.” People v. Morgan, No. 284986, 2009 WL 1397132 (Mich. App., May 19, 2009). An Arizona defendant testified to stealing an ambulance and running it into a building in order to break a vampire curse. State v. Ward, 2015 WL 1516506, (Ariz. App., April 2, 2015).

A Massachusetts defendant testified to believing that he had been a vampire for years. Com. v. Riva, 18 Mass. App. Ct. 713, 469 N.E.2d 1307 (1984). A judge’s noting on the record that a defendant had been a practicing vampire since the age of 13 does not denote bias that would warrant the judge’s recusal. U.S. v. Lawrence, 88 F. App’x 913 (6th Cir. 2004).

What does this mean for you? Well, for starters, if you come across a despondent vampire this Halloween, be kind. S/he may have had a bad day in court.