Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Lessons from The Prince

Caricature of Niccolo Machiavelli from the cover page of the first publication of The Prince (1550). This image is in the public domain because its copyright has expired.
Each year, political science professors in undergraduate institutions across this country teach The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli. And each year, those same professors are given new examples of how this nation ignores Machiavelli's advice.

In Chapter 12, Machiavelli warns rulers to avoid mercenary armies. He states, "Mercenaries ... are useless and dangerous, and any ruler who relies on them to defend his state will be insecure and in peril; because they are disunited, ambitious, undisciplined, and disloyal; courageous when they are with their friends, cowardly in the presence of the enemy; they have no fear of God and don’t keep their promises." On Monday, April 13, 2015, the Honorable Royce C. Lamberth, a Senior United States District Judge in Washington, D.C., sentenced four Blackwater security contractors for a deadly 2007 shooting of fourteen unarmed Iraqi citizens in Baghdad. One of the defendants was given life in prison, while the remaining three received 30-year sentences.

This was a difficult prosecution that spanned eight years, and focused on whether individuals contracted by the State Department for security (i.e., mercenaries) are covered by federal criminal law while employed abroad. It is likely that the appeals process will continue for many more years. If only the federal government would pay more attention to books written in 1500's.

Spring in Kentucky...

...has sprung. Image credit: Ryan Valentin
Too bad scratch and sniff technology hasn't made greater gains in recent years. From the flowers to the trees, the sweet, sweet scent of blossoming flora is in the air all over the Commonwealth. As Daniel Boone is credited with saying, "Heaven must be a Kentucky kind of place."

Go ahead and get your fair share. All you have to do is step outside to open the mind and animate the body...any spirit, no matter how worn, will mend itself in a Kentucky springtime.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Know 'Em When You See 'Em

Symbols of the Commonwealth. Image credit: Ryan Valentin

Who cares about official state symbols? How about the Trader Joe's on Nicholasville Road! Featured on the sign posting store hours are a viceroy butterfly, cardinal, and gray squirrel.

Otherwise known to our Kentucky legal community as:

KRS 2.083 State butterfly
KRS 2.080 State bird

Monday, April 13, 2015

Golden Egg Found!

Golden Egg with contents. Image credit: Ryan Valentin

Congratulations to Nolan Jackson for finding the Golden Egg!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Wednesdays Around the World: International Law & the Rights of Women

Earlier this week, the International Law Prof Blog reported that a United Nations committee has called attention to the plight of widows in Tanzania. Under customary law in Tanzania, widows do not inherit property but must rely on their children for care, and the eviction of widows from property is not unheard of. However, these practices run afoul of international law, particularly the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, 1249 U.N.T.S. 20378 (1979), to which Tanzania is a party.

Of course, Tanzania is not the only place to have ever used a legal system that did not allow women to inherit property. In fact, the English Common Law (which America inherited) used to feature elements that prevented women from inheriting and holding property on their own, as fans of the novels (and movie adaptations) of Jane Austen are no doubt aware.

Study Aid Materials in the Law Library

It's that time of year again; we're into the second half the semester and finals are drawing ever-nearer.  Here is a reminder of some of the exam prep materials available to aid you in your studies:

Study Aids
  • Electronic: 
    • The Westlaw Study Aid Subscription offers study aid materials on a wide variety of legal topics and includes series such as the Acing Series, Gilbert Law Summaries, Nutshells, Black Letter Outlines, and many more.
    • The Understanding and Questions & Answers series of study aids are available in e-book form from the Law Library's subscription to the Lexis Digital Library.
  • Print:  The Law Library has a variety of study aids on the study aid spindle next to the circulation desk and case briefs behind the circulation desk.  All 1L course subjects are covered, as are a wide variety of upper class subjects.  The Academic Success office also provides print study aids that can be checked out.
  • Audio: Also available on the study aid spindle, all 1L course subjects have CD or MP3 study aids available, and many of the upper class subjects are covered as well.

Past Exams
Check out the Exam Archive for past or sample exams for your courses.  If you don't find any for your class, ask your professor if they have put print copies on reserve at the Law Library circulation desk or if they have posted some on the class TWEN page.

CALI Lessons
CALI provides online lessons and tutorials on a variety of legal topics that can be useful in class review and exam prep.  You'll need a UK student authorization code to access them, so please contact the circulation or reference desks for the code, or email me at

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

New Titles from March 2015

Check out our Featured Acquisitions page for March 2015 to see the new titles in the Law Library!

A few sample titles:

And new DVDs from last month:

A selection of our new titles can be found on our "New Books" display atop the reference section in the library lobby.  Enjoy your browsing!