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February 28, 2012

Latest UW Law School Faculty Scholarship

Here is the latest faculty scholarship from the UW Law School Legal Studies Research Paper Series via SSRN.

February 10, 2012

New Database for Federal Legislative History Research - ProQuest Legislative Insight

The Law Library is pleased to announce that we have recently subscribed to a wonderful new database for federal legislative history research called ProQuest Legislative Insight. It is available to UW Madison students, faculty and staff, or to anyone who visits a campus library.

Legislative Insight contains PDFs of numerous publications generated in the course of congressional lawmaking, including the public law, all bill versions, floor debate from the Congressional Record, committee reports, conference committee reports, hearings, and prints. Also included are Presidential signing statements, CRS reports, and other miscellaneous congressional publications.

Legislative Insight covers enacted laws from 1929 to the present. However, note that the database is still in development and there are some gaps. For material not covered by Legislative Insight (un-enacted legislation, pre 1929 laws, or post 1929 laws falling in the gap), see our guide to Federal Legislative History. (If it's Wisconsin that you're interested in, see our guide to Wisconsin Legislative History.)

Legislative Insight offers powerful search features. You can search by popular name, citation or keyword. Once you select the appropriate law, you can also keyword search the full text of all the documents to narrow down a large legislative history to just the relevant text.

Search results can be displayed by publication type or forward or reverse chronological. Or, with the Legislative Process outline, you can choose just those documents created during a given phase of the legislative process. See the image below.

February 6, 2012

Marc Galanter's New Book: Lawtalk: the Unknown Stories Behind Familiar Legal Expressions

UW Law Prof. Marc Galanter has a new book out called "Lawtalk: the Unknown Stories Behind Familiar Legal Expressions."

Like Galanter's last book entitled "Lowering the Bar: Lawyer Jokes and Legal Culture," this book looks like a lot of fun. WI State Journal columnist, Doug Moe, recently profiled Galanter and the new book. He writes:

The new book explains how words and phrases such as "shyster," "jailbait," "green card," "rainmaker" and "indict a ham sandwich" came into everyday language.

One of my favorites is "rap sheet" -- an individual's criminal record -- which dates to 1947 but jumped in popularity in 1954 when a self-promoting crook named Blackie Audett wrote a colorful but factually challenged autobiography titled "Rap Sheet." One reviewer suggested Blackie's biggest crime was writing "Rap Sheet."

Incidentally, the green card -- which documents a noncitizen's right to live and work in the United States -- hasn't been green since 1964.

The phrase "indict a ham sandwich" -- which speaks to how prosecutors can easily manipulate grand juries -- was popularized by a Jewish judge who later said he wished he had made the sandwich corned beef.

For more, read the full article.