Announcements • Et. Seq: The Harvard Law School Library Blog

Faculty Book Talk: Levinson and Balkin, Democracy and Dysfunction, Thursday, October 3rd at noon

The Harvard Law School Library staff invite you to attend a book talk and discussion in celebration of the recent publication of Democracy and Dysfunction by Sanford Levinson and Jack M. Balkin (Univ. Chicago Press, Apr. 2019).

Thursday, October 3, 2019, at noon
Harvard Law School Milstein East B
(Directions)
1585 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA
No RSVP required

The book talk discussion will include:

Sanford Levinson


Sanford Levinson
is Visiting Professor of Law at Harvard Law School and W. St. John Garwood and W. St. John Garwood, Jr. Centennial Chair in Law, University of Texas Law School.

Jack M. Balkin is the Knight Professor of Constitutional Law and the First Amendment, Yale Law School.

Commentators:

Jennifer L. Hochschild is the H.L. Jayne Professor of Government, Professor of African and African American Studies, and Harvard College Professor, Harvard University.

Steven Levitsky is Professor of Government, Harvard University.

About Democracy and Dysfunction

“It is no longer controversial that the American political system has become deeply dysfunctional. Today, only slightly more than a quarter of Americans believe the country is heading in the right direction, while sixty-three percent believe we are on a downward slope. The top twenty words used to describe the past year include “chaotic,” “turbulent,” and “disastrous.” Donald Trump’s improbable rise to power and his 2016 Electoral College victory placed America’s political dysfunction in an especially troubling light, but given the extreme polarization of contemporary politics, the outlook would have been grim even if Hillary Clinton had won. The greatest upset in American presidential history is only a symptom of deeper problems of political culture and constitutional design.

Democracy and Dysfunction brings together two of the leading constitutional law scholars of our time, Sanford Levinson and Jack M. Balkin, in an urgently needed conversation that seeks to uncover the underlying causes of our current crisis and their meaning for American democracy. In a series of letters exchanged over a period of two years, Levinson and Balkin travel—along with the rest of the country—through the convulsions of the 2016 election and Trump’s first year in office. They disagree about the scope of the crisis and the remedy required. Levinson believes that our Constitution is fundamentally defective and argues for a new constitutional convention, while Balkin, who believes we are suffering from constitutional rot, argues that there are less radical solutions. As it becomes dangerously clear that Americans—and the world—will be living with the consequences of this pivotal period for many years to come, it is imperative that we understand how we got here—and how we might forestall the next demagogue who will seek to beguile the American public.” — University of Chicago Press Books

New Exhibit, now open: Queering the Collection: LGBTQ+ History ca. 1600-1970

Many library collections contain rich stories of individuals across centuries who transgressed sexual and gender norms, as well as documentation of the people and systems against which they transgressed. These historical artifacts can help shape new narratives around queer history and identity, or enrich old ones. Coded language and oblique references may pose challenges to researchers, but there is a wealth of material to find on queer people throughout history.

Each case in the exhibit highlights a different approach to researching queer history: using known figures, embracing uncomfortable terms, being open to the unexpected, and using secondary sources. We explored a number of fascinating stories but our research barely scratched the surface. We encourage researchers to continue the exploration and hope this exhibit will give you some tools to get started.

The exhibit was curated by A.J. Blechner, Anna Martin, and Mary Person and will be on view daily, 9-5, in Harvard Law School Library’s Caspersen Room through February 14, 2020.

Check out a few highlights from the exhibit here: www.bit.ly/hlslqtc

Image credit: Mary Frith in detail from title page of: The Roaring Girle or Moll Cut-Purse, by Thomas Middleton and Thomas Dekker (London, 1611)

Faculty Book Talk: Lawrence Lessig, Fidelity & Constraint: How the Supreme Court Has Read the American Constitution, Wednesday, September 25th at noon

The Harvard Law School Library staff invite you to attend a book talk and discussion in celebration of the recent publication of Fidelity & Constraint: How the Supreme Court Has Read the American Constitution by Lawrence Lessig (Oxford Univ. Press, May 1, 2019).

Wednesday, September 25, 2019, at noon
Harvard Law School Milstein East B/C
(Directions)
1585 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA
No RSVP required

Poster Fidelity & Constraint

About Fidelity & Constraint: How the Supreme Court Has Read the American Constitution

“The fundamental fact about our Constitution is that it is old — the oldest written constitution in the world. The fundamental challenge for interpreters of the Constitution is how to read that old document over time.

In Fidelity & Constraint, legal scholar Lawrence Lessig explains that one of the most basic approaches to interpreting the constitution is the process of translation. Indeed, some of the most significant shifts in constitutional doctrine are products of the evolution of the translation process over time. In every new era, judges understand their translations as instances of “interpretive fidelity,” framed within each new temporal context.

Yet, as Lessig also argues, there is a repeatedly occurring countermove that upends the process of translation. Throughout American history, there has been a second fidelity in addition to interpretive fidelity: what Lessig calls “fidelity to role.” In each of the cycles of translation that he describes, the role of the judge — the ultimate translator — has evolved too. Old ways of interpreting the text now become illegitimate because they do not match up with the judge’s perceived role. And when that conflict occurs, the practice of judges within our tradition has been to follow the guidance of a fidelity to role. Ultimately, Lessig not only shows us how important the concept of translation is to constitutional interpretation, but also exposes the institutional limits on this practice.

The first work of both constitutional and foundational theory by one of America’s leading legal minds, Fidelity & Constraint maps strategies that both help judges understand the fundamental conflict at the heart of interpretation whenever it arises and work around the limits it inevitably creates.” — Oxford University Press

About Lawrence Lessig

Lawrence Lessig is the Roy L. Furman Professor of Law and Leadership at Harvard Law School.

Prior to rejoining the Harvard faculty, Lessig was a professor at Stanford Law School, where he founded the school’s Center for Internet and Society, and at the University of Chicago.

He clerked for Judge Richard Posner on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals and Justice Antonin Scalia on the United States Supreme Court. Lessig serves on the Board of the AXA Research Fund, and on the advisory boards of Creative Commons and the Sunlight Foundation.

He is a Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Philosophical Association, and has received numerous awards, including the Free Software Foundation’s Freedom Award, Fastcase 50 Award and being named one of Scientific American’s Top 50 Visionaries.

Lessig holds a BA in economics and a BS in management from the University of Pennsylvania, an MA in philosophy from Cambridge, and a JD from Yale.

Faculty Book Talk: Transparency in Health and Health Care in the United States: Law and Ethics, Monday, September 16th at noon

The Harvard Law School Library staff invite you to attend a book talk and discussion in celebration of the recent publication of Transparency in Health and Health Care in the United States: Law and Ethics edited by Holly Fernandez Lynch, I. Glenn Cohen, Carmel Shachar & Barbara J. Evans (Cambridge Univ. Press, Apr. 30, 2019).

Monday, September 16, 2019, at noon
Harvard Law School Milstein West A (Directions)
1585 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA
No RSVP required

Poster, Transparency in Health and Health Care

The book talk discussion will include:

Panelists:

I. Glenn Cohen, James A. Attwood and Leslie Williams Professor of Law and Faculty Director, Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law, Biotechnology & Bioethics, Harvard Law School.


Holly Fernandez Lynch, John Russell Dickson, MD Presidential Assistant Professor of Medical Ethics and Health Policy, Assistant Faculty Director of Online Education, and Senior Fellow, Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics, University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine.


Ameet Sarpatwari, Assistant Professor, Harvard Medical School; Associate Epidemiologist, Brigham & Women’s Hospital; and Assistant Director, Program On Regulation, Therapeutics, And Law (PORTAL), Division of Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacoeconomics, Brigham & Women’s Hospital.


Moderator:

Elena Fagotto, co-investigator, Project on Transparency and Technology for Better Health and former Director of Research, Transparency Policy Project, Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation, Harvard Kennedy School of Government.


This talk is co-sponsored by the Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics at Harvard Law School.

About Transparency in Health and Health Care in the United States: Law and Ethics

“Transparency is a concept that is becoming increasingly lauded as a solution to a host of problems in the American health care system. Transparency initiatives show great promise, including empowering patients and other stakeholders to make more efficient decisions, improve resource allocation, and better regulate the health care industry. Nevertheless, transparency is not a cure-all for the problems facing the modern health care system. The authors of this volume present a nuanced view of transparency, exploring ways in which transparency has succeeded and ways in which transparency initiatives have room for improvement. Working at the intersection of law, medicine, ethics, and business, the book goes beyond the buzzwords to the heart of transparency’s transformative potential, while interrogating its obstacles and downsides. It should be read by anyone looking for a better understanding of transparency in the health care context.” — Cambridge University Press

Read more…


New Research Guide: Critical Legal Studies

My new research guide on Critical Legal Studies was published today. It is available at
https://guides.library.harvard.edu/critical-legal-studies.

The guide features selected books and other resources, along with pre-populated HOLLIS library catalog searches using relevant subject and general keywords, for each of the following topics:

  • Critical Race Theory
  • Latina/o/x Critical Theory
  • Asian Critical Theory
  • Critical Indigenous Studies
  • Critical Whiteness Studies
  • Feminist Legal Theory
  • Queer Legal Theory
  • Critical Disability Theory
  • Intersectionality
  • Critical Discourse Analysis

I spent several months creating this guide, and it was an enlightening and worthwhile project. Of course, I learned a lot about critical legal studies itself, never having taken a class that falls under this discipline. However, perhaps more importantly, I also discovered much about my own biases and pre-conceptions. My work on this guide compelled me to think critically and carefully about the language we use to describe these concepts in law, and how that language, while it may be helpful in finding materials in a library catalog, might be offensive or othering to researchers.

I hope that people will find this guide to be a helpful introduction to research in this vitally important field of study. I also hope that it provides a useful gateway to the enormous amount of critical studies resources, including books, journals, articles, and other items, in the Harvard Law Library’s collection and those of the other libraries here at Harvard.

Final Days: HLS and the Bauhaus exhibit

Stop by the Harvard Law School Library to catch Creating Community: Harvard Law School and the Bauhaus before it closes! The exhibit is open weekdays 9 to 5 in Langdell Hall’s Caspersen Room through August 16, 2019.

Stay tuned for our next exhibit, Queering the Collection: LGBTQ+ History ca. 1600-1970, opening soon!

852 RARE: An Update on the Antonin Scalia Collection

Two years ago, the Harvard Law School Library received an extraordinary archival collection when the family of Justice Antonin Scalia decided to donate his papers here. As project archivist for the Scalia papers, I’ve been surveying and processing this remarkable collection, with the goal of identifying, processing, and making accessible those parts of the collection that will be open in 2020. To date, material that should be open next year includes:

  • Pre-Supreme Court files (1970-1986)
  • Correspondence (through 1989 only)
  • Speaking engagement and event files (through 1989 only)
  • Photographs (circa 1982-2016)
  • Miscellaneous files such as subject files and articles about Scalia (1986-2016)

I am currently working to process the more heavily restricted parts of the collection, which include records from Scalia’s time on the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (1982-1986) and the Supreme Court (1986-2016). Pending further review, a tentative estimate is that roughly half of the case files from Scalia’s four terms on the Court of Appeals may be opened at some point in 2020.

Scalia papers arriving at Harvard’s offsite storage, November 2017
Scalia papers arriving at Harvard’s offsite storage, November 2017

We will continue to post updates here as the project continues and welcome all inquiries. As is true for all archival collections at the Harvard Law School Library, the portion of the Scalia papers opening next year will be open to all. Historical & Special Collections’ Planning Your Visit page provides details on how to schedule an appointment and request material.

In Remembrance

At the conclusion of World War II, the Harvard Law School faculty determined to build a memorial to the men lost in both the First and Second World War, and to actively preserve and display the intellectual treasures lost to the ravages of war throughout Europe. Located at the south end of our reading room in Langdell Hall, the Treasure Room would honor the loss of our Harvard Law School students and graduates. In July, 1947 plans for the Law Library’s Treasure Room were complete, with construction set to begin in September of that year. “The Treasure Room [was] dedicated to the memory of the [193] students and graduates of the Harvard Law School who gave their lives in World War I and World War II.” Harvard Law School Bulletin, October 1948.As you approach what is now the Caspersen Room, you will find, carved in yellow marble, the names of those 193 graduates who died in the Great War and in World War II.

To our knowledge, 198 students or graduates of the Harvard Law School have died in World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam and Afghanistan, while serving in the United States Armed Forces.

Every time I visit the Caspersen Room, I pause in reflection of the sacrifice our students made to our country. And I wonder, who were they? What stories lie beneath this list of names?

I recently discovered the story of one of the graduates memorialized here in the Harvard Law School Library, and thought it fitting to share on this day of remembrance.

Edward L. Grant graduated from Harvard Law School in 1909 and played major league baseball both before and after he graduated. Known by his fellow players as “Harvard Eddie”, (he also graduated from the College in 1905), Eddie Grant made his major league debut on August 4, 1905 playing for the Cleveland Naps. In subsequent years, he played for the Philadelphia Phillies and ended his professional baseball career with the New York Giants. During his time in the majors, Eddie Grant played in 990 games, with 3385 at bats, 844 hits, 399 runs, 5 homeruns and 277 RBI. He appeared in two World Series games in 1913, playing for future Hall of Famer James McGraw. At the age of 32, on October 16, 1915, he played his last game with the New York Giant, retiring to devote more time to his law practice.

Two years after leaving baseball, Eddie Grant enlisted in the United States Army where he served as a captain in the 77th Infantry Division. Edward L. Grant died on October 5, 1918 while leading a unit of the 307th Infantry Regiment of the 77th Division to the aid of the “Lost Battalion” in the Argonne Forest. In 1921, a memorial plaque in his honor was erected in center field of the Polo Grounds. A replica of the plaque was installed at Oracle Park, home of the San Francisco Giants in 2006. The plaque reads, in part, “Soldier – Scholar – Athlete”.

Edward L. Grant is buried in Plot A, Row 02, Grave 24 at the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery in Lorraine, France.

His is but one of 198 stories depicted by a list of names on a wall in the Harvard Law School Library.  Today we honor all fallen soldiers, with particular sorrow for those of the Harvard Law School who made the ultimate sacrifice to their country. The next time you are in Cambridge, we invite you to visit the memorial dedicated to their memory.

On loan from the 1939 Baseball Centennial Collection of Stephen M. Kennedy. www.1939baseball.com

For more information on the creation of the Harvard Law School Treasure Room and memorial: https://iiif.lib.harvard.edu/manifests/view/drs:423365743$1i

https://iiif.lib.harvard.edu/manifests/view/drs:42973760$8i

For more information on Edward “Harvard Eddie” Grant:

https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/19858/edward-leslie-grant

https://www.baseball-reference.com/players/g/granted01.shtml

https://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/2018/10/05/major-league-baseball-player-died-battle-years-ago-today/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.6272d70db02b

Today at HLS: Prepare to Practice Conference – Keynote Speech by Professor Daniel Coquillette

Taking place at Harvard Law School today is the 2019 Inaugural Prepare to Practice Conference, a joint initiative between the HLS Library and four other local law schools (Boston College, Boston University, Northeastern, and Suffolk). This conference is designed to provide Boston-area law students with legal research instruction oriented toward their future roles as practicing attorneys.

The conference featured an excellent keynote speech by Professor Daniel Coquillette, the J. Donald Monan, S.J. University Professor at Boston College and the Charles Warren Visiting Professor of American Legal History at Harvard Law School. Professor Coquillette began his remarks by recognizing and thanking the law librarians who have helped him throughout his career as an attorney, law professor, and researcher. He characterized law librarians as “your very best friend and the ones who will see you through to the end.”

Professor Coquillette then provided a brief history of legal research, beginning with the observation that, since Gutenberg invented movable print in 1455, it has been possible to print absolutely accurate law books, which has transformed how law is studied and practiced. In particular, this facilitated several important developments in modern legal systems, primary among which is “precedent justice.”

He then noted that, until about 20 years ago, legal research happened exclusively in the law library, where all of the important primary and secondary legal sources lived and from which they could not be borrowed. Historically, law students wrote research notes by hand, and then, when he was a law student, using a portable typewriter. In addition, in order to find materials in the library, researchers had to use the card catalog, which featured an indexing system that many library users were unable to navigate and use without the help of a librarian.

All of this changed with the invention of online legal research. Today, he noted, Westlaw and Lexis provide essentially intuitive access to all of the primary and secondary sources that legal researchers would need, with automated, hyperlink-equipped citators that make the pain of having to use books to Shepardize cases a distant memory.

Professor Coquillete contended that, while on the surface this appears to have made legal research easier, it has also presented a new set of challenges. Today, if you want the legal information equivalent of a glass of water, you go to what is essentially a fire hydrant to fill that glass, and a lot of what is coming out of that fire hydrant lacks quality. Quality, of course, is expensive — ask any law librarian whose responsibilities include managing a library budget. Furthermore, information that has not been screened to determine its quality may, in fact, be as good as useless. This is a major problem of what he calls the modern “disinformation age,” and why the continued work of law libraries is so important to legal practice and scholarship.

According to Professor Coquillette, even if legal researchers have quality information, they also need two important skills to process it. The first is critical judgment, which is a skill that can be learned, both through experience and one-on-one mentorship. Without critical judgment, which allows a person to see the essence of a problem and craft a reasonable response to it, even quality information can be dangerous. The second is wisdom, which can also be characterized as perspective and seeing the big picture. This is stored in the culture of our systems of law and democracy, and is passed on through both people and books.

According to Professor Coquillette, it is easier than ever to lose sight of the big picture in our digital world of instant knowledge and instant gratification. One way in which people can regain it, however, is to read: not only legal materials, but also classic novels. As a conclusion to his remarks, Professor Coquillette recommended three books in particular that provide guidance on how we can critically view some of the largest problems of our time.

The first of these problems is climate. Professor Coquillette suggested reading Moby Dick by Herman Melville. In your reading, imagine that the ship (the Pequot) is human government and at the helm is Captain Ahab, a crazy megalomaniac who, despite all reasonable warnings not to, decides to take on the natural world as symbolized by a great white whale. Spoiler alert: the Pequot is destroyed, and Captain Ahab dies.

Racism is another great problem of our age, and Professor Coquillette recommended reading Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn to gain a bigger picture of that problem. The story presents, in code, a true picture of racism’s destructive impact on people and societies.

Problem number three is that of living and working in what he called “coercive environments.” This problem, in particular, comes with the territory in the legal profession. Professor Coquillette proposed reading Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison for guidance on contemplating this problem in a big-picture way. The theme of this book is that, if you get to the point where people see you for what they assume you should be, they see right through you and you become invisible and disappear, a phenomenon characterized by Professor Coquillette as a “moral sickness” of our age.

Professor Coquillette is a very engaging speaker, and his keynote was a perfect way to kick off this conference. Not only did it remind attendees of the value of law libraries and librarians as partners in the legal research process, but it also encouraged students to incorporate critical judgment as they work toward becoming attorneys who are charged with addressing and solving large- and small-scale societal problems.

Upcoming Event at the Harvard Law School Library: Prepare to Practice Inaugural Legal Research Conference 2019

We are looking forward to hosting our first Prepare to Practice Legal Research Conference for law students next Tuesday, May 21, 8:30am – 4:30pm. We are teaming up to four other Boston-area law schools (Boston College, Boston University, Northeastern and Suffolk) to offer this full-day event, which focuses on getting students up to speed on research methods for fact-finding, corporate law, immigration, and many other topics.

The conference will feature speakers from firms, courts, non-profits, and law schools. Student attendees will also also have the chance to speak with legal database providers about some of their latest and greatest services!

A complimentary continental breakfast and lunch will be provided. The conference will conclude with a networking reception in the ​Harvard Law School Library.

Are you a Boston-area law student who is interested in attending? Attendee spots are still available, and we would love to have you join us! To register, visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/prepare-to-practice-inaugural-legal-research-conference-2019-tickets-57800959225.

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