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November Book of the Month: Separate

SeparateSeparate: The Story of Plessy v. Ferguson, and America’s Journey from Slavery to Segregation
By Steve Luxenberg

Reviewed by Aaron Parsons, Reference Librarian


In Separate, author Steve Luxenberg examines the social and historical upheaval that encompassed the antebellum, Civil War, and Reconstruction-era United States and that culminated in the ignominious 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson decision, which upheld the constitutionality of racial segregation. Luxenberg begins by tracing the history of the separate but equal doctrine from the northern railroads where Jim Crow laws took hold before the Civil War—dispelling the myth that they originated in the post-war south. He goes on to recount the lives of several of the era’s important figures, including plaintiff Homer Plessy, Justice John Marshall Harlan (the lone dissenter in Plessy), Henry Billings Brown (the opinion’s author), Albion W. Tourgée (Plessy’s lawyer), and Frederick Douglass, leading to their fateful intersection in the Plessy case. The abomination of the Jim Crow laws persisted unabated until 1954’s Brown v. Board of Education, though they were continually challenged by abolitionists such as Tourgée and the wider Civil Rights movement. Separate helps the reader understand the lives and motivations that shaped both sides of the racial and equality struggles during a dark chapter of our nation’s history—struggles that continue to shape our striving “to form a more perfect union.”


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Impeachment Resources at the SF Law Library

With Congress taking the rare step of opening a formal impeachment inquiry, look to the San Francisco Law Library for resources and books to help you understand more about what impeachment is, how it has worked in history, and how the process might unfold today.

Here at the Law Library, you can read scholarly interpretations of the impeachment clause, and it’s history, as reviewed by The Library’s reference team members:

Impeachment

 

 

Impeachment: A Citizen’s Guide
By Cass Sunstein

 

 

 

End Presidency

 

 

To End a Presidency
By Laurence A. Tribe & Joshua Matz 

 

 

 

Limits_of_Presidential_Power_cover-375x561

 

 

The Limits of Presidential Power
By Lisa Manheim & Kathryn Watts

 

 

 

You can also read about reporting and analysis of impeachments since the republic’s founding, including transcripts from the Nixon Impeachment. The San Francisco Law Library has many impeachment resources to explore.

nixon

 

 

 

The Nixon Impeachment Collection

 

 

 

We also recommend these additional resources on impeachment:

A short introduction to impeachment on Findlaw:

https://litigation.findlaw.com/legal-system/presidential-impeachment-the-legal-standard-and-procedure.html

The Library of Congress has a Research Guide and Bibliography of resources on Impeachment. Many are law reviews that are available at the San Francisco Law Library:

https://memory.loc.gov/ammem/amlaw/Impeachment-Guide.html

The University of Washington also has a research guide on impeachment, including images from the Constitution with the impeachment sections highlighted, and links to more information about specific impeachments from history:

http://guides.lib.uw.edu/research/govpubs-quick-links/us-impeach


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September Book of the Month: The President’s House

President's HouseThe President’s House
By William Seale

Reviewed by Tony Pelczynski, Reference Assistant


The President’s House, by independent historian William Seale, is an engaging—if initially imposing—two-volume history of the White House. Running chronologically through America’s Presidential line, from George Washington (who commissioned the construction of the White House, but never actually lived in it) to George H.W. Bush, the book covers the gamut of White House history in entertaining detail. Housed in a sturdy and handsome slipcase, and running to just over 1200 pages, Seale has written an enlightening history of what just might be the most recognizable residence in the world.

Seale, editor of the journal White House History, is eminently qualified to take on the topic: in addition to researching and writing about historic buildings, he restores them. Seale is clearly interested in the White House from (quite literally) the ground up. And while the subject matter and length of the book may seem off-putting to those outside the presumably limited circle of hardcore White House history buffs, Seale’s lively prose and storytelling keep the reader absorbed. While the focus is on the structure itself, the book’s scope necessarily expands beyond (or, more to the point, into) the White House’s walls, taking into account the lives of the men and women who have lived and worked under the White House’s roof: the Presidents and their families, of course, but also the gardeners, cooks, maintenance workers, and others who have historically kept the place running, day-to-day.

As both residence and locus of Presidential power, the White House has always stood alone, symbolically: while the U.S. Capitol and the Supreme Court building may arguably be equally recognizable structures, they both represent collective democratic institutions. The White House is, uniquely, the home of a single (albeit enormously important) individual and his family. Seale’s expansive history continually reminds the reader that the White House is, first and foremost, just that: an actual American home, filled with the messiness and unpredictability of human life that term implies. Over the years, the building has hosted births, deaths, weddings, funerals, and any number of other milestones of human happiness and suffering, to say nothing of the physical upheavals that the structure itself has endured over the years.

At the same time, the White House has always functioned as something of a national museum and political stage. Even those who have never set foot inside the building can conjure a mental image of the Oval Office, or (as is more likely) one of its many cinematic or television iterations. Perhaps because of the White House’s fixity in the American imagination, various presidents and their spouses have, to varying degrees, attempted to stamp the abode with their own personalities and identities, frequently to less than unanimous critical acclaim (recall here Melania Trump’s much-derided minimalist Christmas displays). Seale does a fine job of surveying the various changes the White House and its décor have undergone over the years, none more extensive than President Truman’s “down to the studs” renovations.

Seale ends The President’s House at the George H.W. Bush administration, although he does include a too-brief epilogue touching on the Bill Clinton and George W. Bush years. At 80 years old, Seale may be done writing on the topic, but his book leaves the reader hoping for at least one more update covering the last two Presidential administrations. While its current occupant has reportedly proclaimed the White House to be “a real dump,” given the care and attention to detail that Seale has so clearly poured into his book, one gets the impression that the author feels very, very differently on the subject. Update or no, The President’s House will likely remain the definitive history of this most symbolic of American residences for years to come.


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September Book of the Month: The Oxford Handbook of U.S. Judicial Behavior

Oxford Handbook of U.S. Judicial BehaviorThe Oxford Handbook of U.S. Judicial Behavior
Edited by Lee Epstein and Stefanie S. Lindquist

Reviewed by Ruth Geos, Reference Librarian


Attorneys use their skills and experience to focus on advocacy of their claims or defenses: briefing the law and the facts of the case to the court in the most advantageous way, arguing the merits and demonstrating how both precedent and public policy goals support their position. The Oxford Handbook of U.S. Judicial Behavior offers another perspective, using social science empirical analysis to look at the dynamics of judicial decision-making beyond the law of the case. In asking other kinds of questions, these studies see the process of judicial decision-making as taking place with a larger institutional, social, and constitutional construct, subject to internal and external influences. Over a wide range of inquiries, the authors assess studies that measure the personal, psychological, financial, institutional, historical, and political influences that impact judicial behavior and ultimately, judicial decision-making.

By poking behind the curtain of the law in this way, a very different look at the courts is presented: how the courts function both as gatekeepers and reciprocal partners in public policy, with hints for the rest of us to glean along the way as to what might strengthen a case, settlement, an oral argument, or a petition for certiorari.

Some of the statistical rigor presented can be dense, but there is much to appreciate in the methodology, especially in the narratives that are caught in the same sociological net. One fascinating example of a study protocol is the use of plagiarism detection software to evaluate how much content of a lower court opinion or content from amicus briefs are included in Supreme Court opinions as a means of tracking influence from these sources. Meta-analysis from another study shows that ideology is a better predictor of votes at the Supreme Court level than at either the District Court or Circuit Court level. Descriptions about the workings of the courts, and particularly the U.S. Supreme Court, offer compelling inside-views, such as the expanded role of Supreme Court law clerks (who have their own law clerk dining room), describing the “cert pool,” established in the 1970s, by which petitions for certiorari are reviewed initially not by the Justices themselves but by a shared pool of law clerks for six of the eight justices (Justices Alito and Gorsuch currently opting out of the pool). Another chapter considers the influences that may have come to bear on Chief Justice Roberts when he shifted his initial position with the conservatives on the court, to join in the vote to uphold the Affordable Care Act. And a made-for-movie story is that of Chief Justice Burger wanting his childhood friend, Harry Blackmun, on the court, which didn’t turn out well for them, but opened a study into the significance of common social backgrounds.

The Oxford Handbook of U.S. Judicial Behavior is perhaps not the kind of book to read cover-to-cover, but it has treasures to ponder, along with an introduction to a new way of thinking about our court system—and the litigation we lay at its door.


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August Book of the Month: Untangling Fear in Lawyering

Untangling Fear in LawyeringUntangling Fear in Lawyering: A Four-Step Journey Toward Powerful Advocacy
By Heidi K. Brown

Reviewed by Andrea Woods, Reference Librarian


This refreshing new book from Heidi K. Brown—litigator, author, professor, and Law Library MCLE presenter on August 9th—soundly dispenses with the tired conventional wisdom surrounding how to handle fear, and instead invites lawyers to distill and untangle their fear. When a new attorney feels daunted at the prospect of facing a cantankerous judge or a 1L worries about an intimidating professor’s use of the Socratic method, the typical advice is to simply “push through” fears, or “fake it till you make it.” But in Untangling Fear in Lawyering: A Four-Step Journey Toward Powerful Advocacy, Brown challenges this approach as being at best, phenomenally unhelpful, and at worst, highly destructive to a lawyer’s on-the-job performance and mental health. Fear is not a weakness, and it is not a motivator. Rather than downplay fear, Brown acknowledges that fear in lawyering is very real and very legitimate—lawyers face stressful situations marked by emotional clients, tight deadlines, and enormous consequences for even a small mistake. In fact, the entire legal profession is a culture built around fear, and lawyers adopt these rights-of-passage as a badge of honor. Brown sees how the culture of fear leads to anxiety, depression, and burnout, and can drive excellent lawyers away from the profession. She posits that legal education and practice can be improved by radically changing how we approach fear.

Brown proposes that we try to understand fear, to tease apart the perceived threats from reality. With self-awareness, we can use specific strategies to manage fear, rather than simply attempting to squelch it with pithy sayings that only wind up amplifying it. She explores the science of fight-or-flight as well as the tangled knot of emotions—shame, rejection, unworthiness, or the false bravado that hides a scarcity mindset—so that we can start to unpack fear’s grip and develop confidence. Next, Brown delves into how other professions approach fear, citing that medical and journalism curricula actively teach students what to do when they make a mistake in their future vocation. Similarly, in the realm of professional sports, the mental and emotional training that athletes receive is instructive on how to stop the onslaught of negative, destructive thought patterns. Brown follows with a four-step program that will cultivate true strength and courage in lawyering, in which we untangle fear, mentally reboot, channel our inner athlete, and build a culture of fortitude. She includes exercises to guide us through this process of learning how to stop repressing fear, and instead, to grow in spite of it. Finally, appendices set forth checklists, teaching strategies for educators, and ideas for law firm managers, and a comprehensive bibliography lists suggested further reading on numerous related topics.

Not only is Untangling Fear essential reading for a lawyer’s own personal growth, but it is also an important assessment of the dysfunctional culture for which the entire legal profession is renowned. As the legal industry continues to study the mental health and substance abuse problems that are all too common among lawyers, Brown makes clear that understanding fear and the emotions that surround it is critical to improving the overall health and culture of the profession.


Untangling Fear in Lawyering was generously donated to the Law Library by author Heidi K. Brown during our May Book Drive. Ms. Brown will be presenting The Introverted Lawyer MCLE program on Friday, August 9th from 12–1 as part of the Library’s Lunchtime Speaker Series.


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Yosemite Reading for Summer

Yosemite

  • Carleton Watkins in Yosemite, Weston Naef
  • Carleton Watkins: The Complete Mammoth Photographs, Weston Naef and Christine Hult-Lewis
  • Carleton Watkins: Making the West American, Tyler Green

For those of us without a reservation at the Ahwanhee (now called The Majestic Yosemite Hotel), these Carleton Watkins books are for you—a ravishing wilderness, page by page, on a scale that is truly majestic, and which, nose to our work, we can forget is only 200 miles east from downtown San Francisco. Here’s dreaming without the crowds—three books for the cool of a San Francisco July to kindle a sense of awe through magisterial pictography and the story of a pioneering artist—one of the first photographers of Yosemite in post-Civil War America.

The first book, Carleton Watkins in Yosemite, features 49 reproductions of Yosemite landscapes taken between 1861 and 1880. They are referred to as his mammoth-plate photographs because they required large, heavy glass plate negatives about 18 x 22 inches in size. These photographs were shown to President Lincoln, who was impressed enough to declare the Yosemite Valley within the public domain to protect its beauty for all.  It is also these photographs that may prompt your own recall of the very first time you arrived in Yosemite and tried to take it all in. The book itself is just the size to fit into a daypack for a day’s wandering.

The second book presents a fuller catalog. Carleton Watkins: The Complete Mammoth Photographs is a dense and completely extraordinary gift of images and history extending far beyond Yosemite—10 pounds of reproductions and cataloging notes of Watkins’ 1,273 known mammoth-plate photographs. This is likely one of the heaviest books in the San Francisco Law Library collection, but only a feather compared to the 2,000 pounds of photography-making equipment, which included a specially-made oversized-camera, the glass plates, chemistry equipment, and a dark-room tent—all of which Watkins hauled with wagon and mule to every precipice and every spot on the valley floor for each Yosemite expedition and to many other places. Organized into 10 chapters, this catalog includes not only the complete Yosemite images, but also Watkin’s lesser-known work, such as his mining photographs, the San Francisco pictures (taken when Twin Peaks was uninhabited and the Cliff House newly built), a Pacific Coast series that includes Mendocino, Oregon, other coastal areas, and other Bay Area landscapes like San Mateo and Santa Clara, a series on the Franciscan Missions, a few portraits, and even some court-evidence photography made for boundary disputes. All of which to say, it is still hard to beat Plate 1—an image of The Grizzly Giant, a giant sequoia in Yosemite’s Mariposa Grove standing 210 feet tall, with a cluster of tiny people pictured at its base like carved wooden toys, or Plate 38 of North Dome. You will find your own favorite—or many. The plates are completely absorbing: water, stone, trees, sky, dimensions, space, and history.

Finally, Carleton Watkins: Making the West American offers a broader view. It contains not just the images, but a different perspective across the grain of art, culture, and history—what the author calls a horizontal history: “…the impact artists have outside art, such as on their world and on events that continue after their careers and lives…an artist’s impact on a nation.” It’s just the kind of book that requires a hammock—a well-written narrative, illustrated along the way, that shows how Watkins’ work embodied not only beauty, but also power and import, and become a prime influence on making the West as important as the East. This is the story of how Watkins and his art saw the West and gave it to the nation.

In 1906, the San Francisco earthquake and fire destroyed a vast amount of Carleton Watkin’s negatives and archives. These books survive to collect what’s left and offer these images for fresh appreciation and delight.

All three Carleton Watkins book are available at the San Francisco Law Library.


If you are still unsure where to start, start here:

Peaks & Perils: the Life of Carleton Watkins, a four-minute animated biography of the artist and his work, from the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, which has 25 Carleton Watkins photographs  in their collection, but none currently on view.

A podcast with the author, Tyler Green, about his work, Carleton Watkins: Making the West American is available at: https://manpodcast.com/portfolio/no-364-tyler-green-on-carleton-watkins/.

Images from the Getty Collection of Carleton Watkins photographs can be viewed on a smaller scale on their website, and downloaded, with some restrictions.


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New Titles: Important Topics

New Titles September 2018

As the law rises to meet the heightened social and political challenges of our times, our collection expands. Newly added to our print collection are three new titles in immigration law: the Law of Asylum in the United States, Immigration Trial Handbook, and Immigration Pleading & Practice Manual. Other titles include Hate Crimes Law, Lentz on School Security, the impressive Information Security & Privacy: A Guide to Federal and State Law and Compliance, and False Claims Act: Fraud Against the Government.  Ask the Reference Team for these and related titles.

Immigration:

Law of AsylumLaw of Asylum in the United States 2018 edition by Deborah E. Anker

Updated overview of legal protections to refugees under domestic and international law, with an analysis of types of persecution recognized as entitled to protection, including new categories such as environmentally displaced refugees fleeing the effects of climate change, along with rights and benefits of asylees. Appendix includes an outline of procedures for withholding and deferral of removal,  components of the asylum interview, and post-hearing remedies.

 

Immigration Trial HandbookImmigration Trial Handbook 2017-2018 edition, Maria Baldini-Potermin

A practical overview of grounds and procedures to challenge inadmissibility and deportability, including preparation for hearings, custody and bond proceedings, evidence and objections, BIA appeals including filing petitions for review and emergency motions for stays of removal, along with a discussion of ethics issues. Appendix includes executive orders, memorandum, and practice advisories issued under the Trump administration, lists of resources, and other current analyses.

 

Immigration P&PImmigration Pleading & Practice Manual 2017-2018 edition, Thomas Hutchins

Model pleadings paired with practitioner notes, including sample letters and pleadings before the BIA, federal district court, and federal courts of appeal, including model motions, petitions, habeas challenges, and briefs. Appendices include flow charts of where to file documents in removal proceedings, immigration court deadlines, citation guidelines, sample subpoenas, and other very useful resources.

 


Hate Crimes

Hate CrimesHate Crimes Law 2018 edition, Zachary W. Wolfe [also available on Westlaw]

Excellent discussion of federal and state protections against hate crimes, including criminal and civil rights statutes, prosecution policies, and legal theories under federal law, and provisions under state hate crime statutes, including protections against bias-motivated violence and intimidation, along with an analysis of private causes of action. Extensive appendices collect federal and state hate crime statutes, statistics, and related resources.

 


School Security

School SecurityLentz School Security 2017-2018 edition, Mary A. Lentz

As incidents of violence and aggression in the school setting, from elementary to higher grade levels, have increased, this 2-volume set offers a formidable analysis of the many kinds of safety concerns faced by school authorities, including an overview of national and state laws, and a discussion of issues such as school law enforcement partnership, criminal behavior, threat response, student conflict resolution and intervention, safety preparedness, bullying and other forms of harassment, negligence and liability, and the concerns of special needs children. Also included are useful forms, checklists, and guidelines for protocols to develop for the school community.


Privacy

Info SecurityInformation Security & Privacy: A Guide to Federal and State Law and Compliance 2018 edition, Andrew B. Serwin

In two volumes and 40 chapters, an impressive assessment of federal and state privacy protections, each chapter providing an overview of the privacy topic followed by specific state provisions on that topic. Topics include internet and social media privacy, Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, computer crimes, restrictions on phones and credit cards, employee privacy, identity theft, insurance and financial privacy, health and genetic privacy, and many other developing areas of privacy concerns. Also included are issues to consider for company protocols, forms of policies and notifications, such as records management and retention policy and sample notification breach letter.


False Claims & Qui Tam Actions

False Claims ActFalse Claims Act: Fraud against the Government, 3rd edition, with 2018 supplement [also available on Westlaw]

Fascinating and in-depth discussion of the legal framework and goals of the False Claims Act, the history of American qui tam actions against fraud, stemming from Civil War days, with a definition of threshold requirements, procedure, role of relator, and available remedies (including triple damages, penalties, and prohibitions against retaliation).  Also included are discussions of state and local False Claims Act, including California provisions for False Claims Acts, California Government Code §12650-12656.