Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Wednesdays Around the World: Costa Rica leads the Americas in the struggle against Racism

The International Law Prof Blog reports that earlier this week Costa Rica became the first state to ratify the Inter-American Convention Against Racism. Treaties such as this one attempt to use the frameworks of international organizations (here the Organization of American States, or OAS) and international law to hold member states responsible for working to solve humans rights problems that might otherwise be labeled as internal, domestic affairs.

While Costa Rica became the first OAS member to ratify the convention, they are also one of only a handful to even sign it. Interestingly, the United States has not signed this particular convention. As various current events have made clear, the U.S. still has a long way to go in the struggle against racism. Perhaps we should consider getting with the program provided by our OAS colleagues.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Welcome 1Ls!

Welcome to the UK College of Law!  The law librarians are thrilled to have all of you join our community this year.  As Professor Landenberger mentioned to you during immersion days, the Law Library will be your home away from home for many of you this year, and the librarians are happy to help with any questions you may have, even if it is not research related. If we don't know the answer, we'll direct you to the person that does, so step on up and find us at the Circulation and Reference desks.

To anticipate a few of your questions:

If you have any TWEN, Canvas, Westlaw, or Lexis questions, please direct them to Professor Brooks at room 122 in the Law Library, or via email to

For information on student printing, see the law school's intranet page on that topic.

For information about study aids available through the Law Library, please see our Study Aids, CALI lessons, and Exam Prep page.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Wednesdays Around the World: Democracy (mostly) Triumphs

In the past few weeks certain parties in various jurisdictions around the globe have taken actions to try to set aside, wholly or in part, the logical results of democratic processes, but in each case the attempts failed.

We will begin our tour in the U.K., where in the wake of the Brexit vote, Prime Minister David Cameron announced his intention to resign. In parliamentary systems, losing a major vote is often viewed as a constructive vote of no confidence, so Cameron's announcement was not a surprise. What was a surprise was how Justice Secretary Michael Gove stabbed Boris Johnson, who was the face of the Leave campaign and who probably rightly expected to benefit from the leave vote, in the back. Gove, who had previously told Johnson that he would help line up MP votes on Johnson's behalf, instead entered the race himself and made comments tantamount to a political character assassination, thereby destroying Johnson's shot at 10 Downing Street. However, no one likes a snake, and so Gove was subsequently thrashed in the party election. Furthermore, upon becoming Prime Minister, Theresa May promptly sacked Gove from the Government and announced that she would follow the results of the Brexit vote despite having campaigned for Remain. So, democracy in the U.K. won, mostly. (Note that in Britain if a PM steps down as head of his party, the person who wins the subsequent party election becomes PM without an actual general election.)

From the U.K., let us turn our attention to Turkey, where an actual coup attempt occurred last Friday and Saturday. Elements in the Turkish military, which has a history of intervening in Turkish politics, attempted to overthrow the democratically-elected President, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Much of the Turkish military remained loyal to the government, and so the coup was put down, and democracy once again triumphed, albeit not without cost. (Also, reports seem to indicate that Erdoğan may be reacting to the uprising by purging the military and other segments of government to strengthen his own position, which may be problematic for democracy down the road...)

Finally, we turn our attention to Cleveland, Ohio, where the G.O.P. has been convening to nominate a candidate to run for President of the United States. As the convention opened, a not-insignificant camp of delegates attempted to change the rules to thwart the nomination of Donald Trump, despite Trump having actually won enough delegates through the democratic primary process to clinch the nomination. The agitators were not successful, and so the will of the Republican people was followed as the G.O.P. officially nominated Trump yesterday. (Of course, some of the convention's rhetoric may not have been totally in line with democratic principles as one of the speakers may have told a bunch of donors that they were going to change the laws so they could fire everybody hired during the Obama administration, and then the same speaker employed a rhetorical approach that led the audience to chant for the imprisonment of the opposition candidate. However, while neither practice is really viewed as democratic, it should be pointed out that both purging government employees and imprisoning presidential candidates have already actually occurred at various points in our democracy's history.)

Thus, in the past few weeks democracy has (mostly) triumphed over challenges to the Will of the People in the U.K., Turkey, and the U.S.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Wednesdays Around the World: More Trouble in the South China Sea

Yesterday, a tribunal of the Permanent Court of Arbitration issued an award in favor of the Philippines over China in regards to Chinese actions in the South China Sea. China claims historical dominion over large swathes of the South China Sea and has been building artificial islands in portions of the sea that are recognized as part of the "exclusive economic zone" of the Philippines under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). China is a party to UNCLOS but has nonetheless indicated that it will not acknowledge any claim brought on the arbitration award.

Ironically, the United States seems to be willing to help assert the rights to the claim of its ally (and former colony) the Philippines, despite the fact that the United States is not a party to UNCLOS due to lack of ratification.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Wednesdays Around the World: U.N. Pushes for a Systematic Approach to Suppressing Global Terror

Last week, the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution calling for all member states and regional organizations to implement an integrated plan to combat global terrorism. The resolution followed last week's bombings at the Istanbul airport, and was issued shortly before further terror attacks in Bangladesh and Saudi Arabia.

The counter-terrorism plan referenced by the resolution was actually adopted a decade ago, but implementation has been less than complete. While some see a coordinated terror campaign by the Islamic State as a sign of weakness, it does seem that current efforts to prevent terrorism have been only partially-effective at best. Perhaps calling for implementation and calling for state responsibility for said implementation will have a greater effect.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Wednesdays Around the World: England Crashes Out of Europe in More Ways than One

Last week, voters in England and Wales carried the Leave campaign to victory in the "Brexit" referendum on whether the United Kingdom should remain in the European Union. As predicted, the decision to cut ties with Europe led to negative financial consequences, political chaos for both the ruling Tories and opposition Labour Party, and renewed calls for both Scottish independence, and Irish reunification. (Both Scotland and Northern Island voted overwhelmingly to remain in the United Kingdom, though the regions possess only a fraction of the population that England does.)

In other news, the English national team, which hails from the country that purports to have invented the sport (or at least codified it), was eliminated from the Euro Cup soccer tournament by Iceland, a country with a total population of about the size of Lexington. While Wales, which like England voted to leave the EU, remains alive in the tournament, the Welsh play Belgium on Friday in a game that has taken on new significance, what with most central E.U. bodies residing in Brussels.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Wednesdays Around the World: Are the British Isles Part of Europe?

Are the British Isles part of Europe? That is the question that will be partially answered by tomorrow's "Brexit" vote in a popular referendum on continued E.U. membership. I say partially answered because the Republic of Ireland is also an E.U. member state. Furthermore, there has been some talk that Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland (and maybe even the City of London) would possibly choose staying in the E.U. over staying in the U.K.

Polls show that the referendum is remarkably close. Both sides have their share of British celebrity support, and both sides were recently able to field their own fleets. Given that an English-angst-fueled Brexit would have dire consequences for the global economy, the eyes of the world will be on the British polls tomorrow.