Thursday, July 30, 2015

Job Opening in the Law Library for Fall 2015

The Law Library is seeking to hire law students in Fall 2015 for our circulation desk attendant position.  We will have eight to ten openings. 

Primary main functions include assisting patrons with basic library questions, checking books in and out, and occasionally helping with library projects.  Some students open and/or close the library based upon the shifts they work. 

This job requires federal work-study funding.  Contact the Federal Work-Study office at 257-3172 to check your work-study status.  Contact the Circulation Manager, Michel Thompson, by email at for more information on how to apply.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Wednesdays Around the World: Let's Make a Deal

In the past week, separate teams of negotiators reached two major deals on the international stage. First, Greece and the E.U. reached a deal to keep the Greek economy afloat in exchange for the enactment of further austerity measures. Second, Iran came to an agreement with the P5+1 (U.S., U.K. France, Russia, China, and Germany) to limit its nuclear programs in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions. Interestingly, both deals are subject to further approval.

In Greece, the Parliament needs to enact the austerity measures called for by the deal brokered by the Prime Minister. Also, the IMF has issued a statement that the deal does not do enough and that Europe should give more debt relief in exchange for the austerity measures. In fact, the IMF refuses to provide more funds until the E.U. agrees to further debt restructuring.

As for the Iranian deal, the U.S. Congress will have a chance to weigh in before sanctions are lifted, though the nature of the deal should allow President Obama to veto any substantial legislative interference. The U.N. Security Council must also vote to lift international sanctions, but since the P5 were all party to the agreement, that likely won't be an issue.

Still, the two incidences highlight the tricky nature of diplomacy, in which one must account for both domestic law and international law.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Explore Kentucky: Fort Boonesborough

This past weekend I visited Fort Boonesborough. It was a great experience and I highly recommend it. Much like Shaker Village, Fort Boonesborough has folks dressed in period costumes who are very knowledgable about the history of the area. Go early in the morning to avoid the crowds and the heat. You can continue your history education at Hall's on the River by having a tasty lunch!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Wednesdays Around the World: Russian Veto

Recently, the United Nations Security Council tried to pass a resolution describing a massacre that occurred in Bosnia in the 90s as a "genocide." Russia, long a friend to the Serbs who objected to the description, exercised its veto as a permanent member of the Security Council as provided for by Article 27 of the U.N. Charter.

The fact that the U.N. Charter provides veto power for the permanent members without opportunity for override is one of the main complaints of critics hoping for Security Council reform. It does sometimes hamper the Security Council's ability to deal with conflicts, as seen during the Kosovo crisis that followed the chaos surrounding the breakup of Yugoslavia in the 1990s. At that time, Russia prevented Security Council measures authorizing force against the Serbs (Russia allowed a resolution expressing "grave concerns" but not one with the "all necessary measures" language that traditionally accompanies a Security Council authorization of the use of armed force under Chapter VII of the Charter). Being thus unable to use the apparatus created to maintain international peace and security, NATO acted unilaterally instead. Unilateral action generally decreases rather than increases international peace and security.

Security Council reform may help, but good luck getting the permanent members all to agree to it.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Obergefell v. Hodges

Grooms. Image credit: Ryan Valentin

576 U.S. ____ (2015)

"The Constitution promises liberty to all within its reach, a liberty that includes certain specific rights that allow persons, within a lawful realm, to define and express their identity."

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Wednesdays Around the World: How to Put Out a Greece Fire

The dumpster fire that is the Greek Debt Crisis reached new heights this week. First, talks between the leftist Greek government and Greece's creditors (namely, the rest of Europe) broke down when Greek Prime Minister Alex Tsipras sprang a surprise referendum on the European negotiators in which the Greek people will vote as to whether they will accept the austerity measures that the European Central Bank (ECB) insists on before it will float Greece more emergency bailout funds. European leaders were not amused.

Tsipras's hardball tactics backfired as the ECB decided to cut-off emergency relief, and Greece defaulted on a payment owed to the IMF (for an earlier bailout). Much as one puts out a grease fire by depriving of it of oxygen, Europe seems to be attempting to put out the Greece fire by depriving it of liquidity rather than let the debt-ridden country drag down the entire Euro zone. It does seem like the European actions have had an effect, though the end result remains to be seen.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Wednesdays Around the World: Low Countries and Rising Seas

As the BBC reports, a Dutch court in The Hague has ordered the government of the Netherlands to cut greenhouse gas emissions for the country by at least a quarter by 2020. The order is a result of a suit brought by the activist group Urgenda, which alleged that the Netherlands was obligated by international human rights law to care for its citizens and to improve the environment. A large percentage of the Netherlands' land area is made up of reclaimed land known as "polders" created by pumping ocean water out and retaining it behind dikes. The Dutch are understandably concerned, as are a number of other low-lying countries, that if sea levels rise as global warming melts the polar ice-caps, then their country will flood. Now, they have a court ruling to point to establishing that the government has a duty under international human rights law to take steps to try to avoid such an occurrence.