Free Public Access to Federal Materials on “Guide to Law Online” (WOW x 1,000!)

“Free Public Access to Federal Materials on Guide to Law Online
October 14, 2014 by Donna Sokol
This is a guest post by Ann Hemmens, legal reference librarian at the Law Library of Congress.

Through an agreement with the Library of Congress, the publisher William S. Hein & Co., Inc. has generously allowed the Law Library of Congress to offer free online access to historical U.S. legal materials from HeinOnline. These titles are available through the Library’s web portal, Guide to Law Online: U.S. Federal, and include ….” [Link to blog post and guide.]

This is more amazing than you might imagine. Access include the following!

United States Code 1925-1988 (includes content up to 1993)

United States Reports v. 1-542 (1754-2004)

Code of Federal Regulations (1938-1995)

Federal Register v. 1-58 (1936-1993)

Thank you, thank you, thank you to HeinOnline AND the Law Library of Congress!!

Free Federal Tax Law Research: Legalbitstream and More

About once a quarter we’re asked about where to find IRS Private Letter Rulings and other IRS documents that used to be tough to find outside a law library that subscribed to expensive tax databases and treatises.

You can still find these documents in the usual fee-based resources, Lexis, Westlaw, and (maybe) Bloomberg (we don’t subscribe to Bloomberg, so I don’t know).

But there are also some free sources. One of those is Legalbitstream: “Your Source for Free Federal Tax Law Research, Comprehensive and timely updated databases.”

You can find other sources for IRS Private Letter Rulings, and other IRS documents, from InfoPro Zimmerman’s Research Guide, Internal Revenue Service. (For more legal research tips, visit Zimmerman’s Research Guide Homepage.)

Legislative Words: What are Congressional “Terms,” “Sessions,” “Adjournment,” and “Recesses”?

The dance of legislation has more steps and rules (and foot and toe stomping opportunities) than a few words defined, but learning the Language of Congress is a good place to start:

Sessions, Adjournments, and Recesses of Congress, by Richard S. Beth, Specialist on Congress and the Legislative Process, and Jessica Tollestrup, Analyst on Congress and the Legislative Process, February 27, 2013:

“The House and Senate use the terms session, adjournment, and recess in both informal and more formal ways, but the concepts apply in parallel ways to both the daily and the annual activities of Congress. A session begins when the chamber convenes and ends when it adjourns. A recess, by contrast, does not terminate a session, but only suspends it temporarily…. [Link to full CRS Report

A regular annual session of Congress begins when the two chambers convene in January, pursuant to the Constitution (or to law). An annual session ends with an adjournment sine die. Until the next annual session convenes, Congress is then in a period of sine die adjournment (or “intersession recess”). If the President were to call an additional, “extraordinary” session, it would be procedurally similar to a regular annual session. …[Link to full CRS report.]

New 2014 Edition: Universal Citation Guide

From HeinOnline:The Universal Citation Guide, 3rd ed. recognizes the current practices of legal researchers who often consult an electronic research tool without ever seeing a print volume of a reporter or code sitting on a library shelf.”

…. As states publish primary documents on their own web sites and researchers utilize a wide variety of options to access legal materials, it is necessary to have a universal system of citation that helps users locate information across all formats, platforms, and publishers….” [Link to HeinOnline blog post and order information.]

PACER Update: How to Find Federal Court Documents Removed by the U.S. Administrative Office of the Courts

The University of North Carolina Law Library has developed a guide on:

Accessing Docket Information Directly from the Courts Affected by the Removal of Information.

Previous OLR blog posts on the most recent removal of PACER documents:

Updates (and venting) on PACER and AOC Removal of Court Documents
It’s not all online, folks: PACER Removes Many Federal Court Documents

Intellectual Property Casebook: Free Creative Commons Download

From beSpacific: “Open Intellectual Property Casebook“:

Duke’s Center for the Study of the Public Domain is announcing the publication of Intellectual Property: Law & the Information Society—Cases and Materials by James Boyle and Jennifer Jenkins. This book, the first in a series of Duke Open Coursebooks, is available for free download under a Creative Commons license. It can also be purchased in a glossy paperback print edition for $29.99, $130 cheaper than other intellectual property casebooks. This book is an introduction to intellectual property law, the set of private legal rights that allows individuals and corporations to control intangible creations and marks—from logos to novels to drug formulae—and the exceptions and limitations that define those rights. It focuses on the three main forms of US federal intellectual property—trademark, copyright and patent—but many of the ideas discussed here apply far beyond those legal areas and far beyond the law of the United States….” [Link to beSpacific post.]

‘All jokes aside, when and why does a person “Take the fifth”?’

The Martindale dot com Legal Library is a source of many types of legal documents, including articles like this one:

“Taking the Fifth – A quick reference,” by Charles M. Farano, attorney.

Excerpt: “All jokes aside, when and why does a person ‘Take the fifth’?

We make jokes about it at parties and with our friends when we are confronted with uncomfortable situations, comments or questions, but it can be a serious consideration when you find yourself on the edge of a criminal investigation. Under what circumstances should a person actually consult a lawyer regarding something we joke about despite its importance?

Basic Right Stated

The Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution says that no person can be compelled in a criminal proceeding to testify against him or herself. This right can be asserted in any proceeding, civil or criminal, administrative or judicial, investigatory or adjudicatory, and it protects against any disclosures that a person reasonably believes could be used in a criminal prosecution or that could lead to evidence that might be used in or might lead to the filing of an indictment . The United States Supreme Court has been zealous to safeguard the values of that underlying the privilege. It can be asserted in any proceeding in which the witness reasonably believes that information or testimony sought, could be used in a subsequent state or federal criminal proceeding….” [Link to full Martindale dot com article.]