Category Archives: Books

A Book of Legal Lists: The Best and Worst in American Law with 100 Court and Judge Trivia Questions

By Eric Taylor, Evening Reference Librarian

For ages, people have been putting together books of lists.  Librarians love to catalog books making lists.  Merchant marines make manifests.  In fact, there is probably a list for everything.  In the present book, A Book of Legal Lists (1997), the author Bernard Schwartz tackles the law.  Here there is a list for the “Ten Greatest Supreme Court Justices” and a list for the “Ten Worst Supreme Court Justices.”

It stands to reason then there’d be lists for the “Ten Greatest Supreme Court Decisions” and “Worst Supreme Court Decisions,” as well as, one for the “Ten Greatest Dissenting Opinions.”  While Mr. Schwartz would be the first to admit these lists stem from his personal choices, it is also true each entry is followed by a brief essay explaining how these “are reasoned selections derived from a lifetime’s work in law and legal history.”

It is these little essays that make this a wonderful little history book.  One will also find lists for the “Ten Greatest Non-Supreme Court Judges” and “Ten Greatest Non-Supreme Court Decisions.”  And more lists for the “Ten Greatest Law Books,” lawyers, trials, and legal motion pictures.  All the while there is a bit of history sprinkled in for the reader to take away.

Where it really gets fun is when we play Trivia!  Dealer shuffles the questions.  You have to answer, if you can!  (An answer key follows below, but give it your best bet first.)

Let’s get started:

Q1: Who is the first Justice to hire a law clerk?

Q2: What Justice enjoyed a reputation as a minor poet?

Q3: What Justice was known for playing Trivial Pursuit on the bench?

Q4: What Justice wrote the most opinions while on the Court?

Q5: Who wrote the most opinions of the Court?

Q6: What Justice signed the Declaration of Independence?*

Q7: What Justices served on the Confederate side in the Civil War?

Q8: Where did the Court sit after the British burned Washington in 1814?

Q9: Who was the first former law clerk to become a Justice?

Q10: What Justice was an all-American football player?

Answer Key –

A1: Justice Horace Gray began the practice of employing a young law school graduate to aid him.  At first, he paid the expense of this himself until, in 1886, Congress provided $2000 a year for the purpose.

A2: Justice Joseph Story.  While studying law, he composed a lengthy poem “The Power of Solitude.”  He published it with other poems in 1804.  According to his son’s biography, Justice Story later bought up and burned all copies of the work he could find.

A3: Justice William H. Rehnquist.  When the Burger Court sat, one of Rehnquist’s clerks would every now and then pass notes to the Justice.  These were not legal memos but Trivail Pursuit-style questions.  Justice Rehnquist would answer them and then hand them to Justice Blackmun for that Justice to try his hand.

A4: Justice William O. Douglas authored 1,164 opinions (of these 486 were dissenting opinions).  He also holds the record among Justices for having the most wives (four) and the most divorces (three) while on the bench.

A5: Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, who authored 873 opinions of the Court.

A6: Justice Samuel Chase.  He is also the only Justice to be impeached.  The U.S. Senate acquitted him on all counts.  *Upon further research, it has come to light that Justice James Wilson signed the Declaration of Independence as well.

A7: Justices Lucius Q. C. Lamar, Horace Lurton, and Chief Justice Edward D. White.

A8: The burning of the Capitol left the Court without its basement chamber.  During the next two years the Court held its sessions in the house of Elias Boudinot Caldwell, its clerk, on Capitol Hill.

A9: Justice Byron R. White, who had been a law clerk to Chief Justice Fred M. Vinson in 1946.

A10: Justice Byron R. White, popularly known as “Whizzer” White, was an all-star back at the University of Colorado in 1937.  He was also later named to the National Football League Hall of Fame.  Justice White’s Wikipedia entry adds: He was selected in the first round of the 1938 NFL Draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates (now Steelers) and led the National Football League in rushing yards in his rookie season.

A print copy of A Book of Legal Lists is available for your inspection and retrospection in the UW Law Library Reference Collection at: Ref KF387 S39 1997.

This article was inspired by Michael Widener, Rare Book Librarian, at the Yale Law School Lillian Goldman Law Library.  His recent article Legal Literature’s Greatest Hits got the ball rolling in a big way!

Book Review- Table for 9: Supreme Court Food Traditions & Recipes

Brand new for your reading leisure!  This delightful book takes you way behind the scenes of the Supreme Court, and spotlights the culinary traditions that have been a part of the institution since its first session in 1790.

From cover to cover readers will be rewarded with recipes, wonderful photos, and stories brimming with history.  The author Clare Cushman, who is the Supreme Court Historical Society’s publication director, chronicles a very human side of the Justices.  Admittedly, not all their recipes or dietary habits are exactly appetizing, but there’s no accounting for taste.  The First Chief Justice, John Jay (1789-1795), liked oysters for breakfast, and there’s a recipe for scrambled eggs and oysters if that’s your thing (p.97).  Associate Justice Robert H. Jackson (1941-1954) enjoyed cowslip sandwiches for lunch (p.124).  Who knew?  Now you do.

Many of the Justices brought their lunches to work.  For Samuel A. Alito Jr. (2006-) it’s leftovers from home.  Word has it his wife is a wonderful cook.  Benjamin Cardozo (1932-1938) brought a slice of cake every day for lunch, but the other Justices teased him and he stopped bringing it (p.16).

This next one is sure to bring a laugh.  There was a time in the late nineteenth century when oral arguments were heard five days a week from noon to 4:00 p.m.  With no break for lunch, it was not uncommon for one or two of the Justices to leave their seats and slip behind the bench to take a bite.  The audience could not see them, but they could distinctly hear “the rattle of knives and forks.”  One day an advocate complained to Chief Justice Melville W. Fuller (1888-1910) that there was no quorum present.  The Chief Justice reassured him: “Although you may not see them…there are two Justices present who can hear the argument, and you may proceed.”  After many complaints, a formal lunch break was instituted from 2:00-2:30 p.m. (pp.13-15).

And how about this “A dietitian, Maryan Stevens has been credited with her husband John Paul Stevens’ longevity on the bench: he sat from 1975-2010 and was the third-longest serving Justice in history when he retired at age 90” (p.106).  His preferred lunch happens to be a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with the crusts cut off (p.16).

There’s an entire chapter on Birthday Traditions, and does that pineapple coconut cake ever look good!  This would be Bill’s Birthday Cake by Natalie “Nan” Cornell Rehnquist (pp.54-55).  Another delightful chapter features Justices in the Kitchen.  Thurgood Marshall’s (1967-1991) grandmother taught him to cook although he tended not to follow recipes.  Sandra Day O’Connor (1981-2006) loved to cook and entertain.  She worked hard to revive the tradition of the Justices eating lunch together which had waned over the years.

There is so much to appreciate about this book, but you must really see it for yourself to take in its full impact.  Many of the photographs look good enough to eat, while others present the Justices as regular people enjoying the company of good food and friends.  The stories and captions that go along with them make for a wonderful hearty stew.  Bon Appétit!

This book is located in our library stacks, call number KF8742. C875 2017.

This post was written by our Evening Reference Librarian, Eric Taylor.

The Indigo Book – a Free Legal Citation Guide Based on the Bluebook

A free alternative to The Bluebook legal citation guide is now available.  The Indigo Book, formerly called “Baby Blue,” is available online without charge in PDF or HTML.

indigo

To make legal citation more accessible, the team behind The Indigo Book, led by Carl Malamud of Public.Resource.Org, separated the widely used system of citation codified in The Bluebook from its particularized expression thus avoiding infringement of that work’s copyright.

The blog, Citing Legally explains:

Working under the guidance of NYU copyright expert, Professor Christopher Sprigman, a team of students spent over a year meticulously separating the “system of citation” reflected in The Bluebook from that manual’s expressive content – its language, examples, and organization.  The Indigo Book is the result . . .

As the work’s forward explains, providing “pro se litigants, prisoners, and others seeking justice but … lack[ing] resources … effective access to the system lawyers use to cite to the law” was, for its creators, an important goal.

Article: High Court Won’t Hear Copyright Challenge to Google Books

According to the Wall Street Journal Law Blog, the Supreme Court has denied cert to Authors Guild, et al. v. Google, Inc., in which the Authors Guild and individual writers argued that Google engaged in copyright infringement “on an epic scale” by digitizing, indexing, and displaying snippets of print books in internet search results.

From the article:

The last major development came in October when a federal appeals court in New York ruled for Google….

The dispute involves the boundaries of “fair use,” the legal doctrine that permits unauthorized copying in certain, limited circumstances. The Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals concluded in October that Google’s scanning millions of copyrighted books wasn’t infringement because what the company makes viewable online is so limited.

New Publication: Lawyers Who Shaped Dane County: The History of the Practice of Law in the Madison Area

The Dane County Bar Association has announced publication of its book, “Lawyers Who Shaped Dane County: The History of the Practice of Law in the Madison Area.”
From the DCBA website:

This 140 page hardcover book sketches the development of Dane County and the significant changes in the practice of law here, from Madison’s first lawyers in the mid-1800s all the way to the mid-1980s. The book profiles the lawyers who became leaders in legal practice and in the community, leaving their imprint on our area and their names on streets, parks and buildings.

The book is available for $39.95 with a 20% discount to Bar Association members who buy through the DCBA. It will also be available at the UW Law Library.

Foundations in Wisconsin Online

From Bev Butula’s Wisconsin Law Journal blog:

The Milwaukee Public Library announced today that they now provide an online version of “Foundations in Wisconsin.” Many attorneys who work with nonprofits are very familiar with this directory published by Marquette University. Information available includes details on officers and directors of the foundation, number and amounts of grants, application information, limitations, and the purpose of the foundation. The database is only available at City of Milwaukee Libraries, there is no remote access.
However, firms can also obtain an online version directly from Marquette University’s Funding Information Center. Their website clearly lists pricing for the online or standard print version. The Funding Information Center also provides some additional resources that may be useful. The Center’s staff has compiled some great research guides that may be of assistance when conducting this type of research.

There are lots of other databases available from the Milwaukee Public Library, many of which may be accessed remotely with a library card.

Dickens & the Bookaneers: 19th Century Copyright Law

NPR has a very interesting interview with Matthew Pearl, author of The Last Dickens.
The story centers around the 19th century U.S. copyright laws which did not protect foreign authors, such as Charles Dickens. As a result, literary thieves called “bookaneers” would wait at the docks for new manuscripts to arrive from overseas, “ready to pilfer whatever they could get their hands on.” (read more at the Bookreporter.com)