Tuesday, October 08, 2019

A New Year at the U.S. Supreme Court

The U.S. Supreme Court traditionally begins its year (or term) on the first Monday of October. This year promises to be full of « blockbuster » decisions - on gay rights, abortion, guns, the separation of church and state and, of course, presidential power. NPR’s legal affairs correspondent Nina Totenberg has this presentation. 4 min. 33 sec., transcript available.
Here is Totenberg's presentation of one of the first cases this term which examines whether the federal law that bars sex discrimination in employment applies to LGBTQ employees. 6 min. 52 sec.

Sunday, September 29, 2019


The Washington Post has a good, short (4 min. 32 sec. ) presentation, or road map, about impeachment under the U.S. constitution. No transcript, but subtitles, unfortunately a bit out of sync, can be put on.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Brexit at the UK Supreme Court

The announcement of results of the Supreme Court case can be found here. Parliament 1 - PM 0. 15 min., subtitles available (but problems with prorogue, prorogation, proroguing etc.). The written text of the summary read by Lady Hale can be found here.
And a video from the BBC with key moments after the decision :

Monday, September 23, 2019

The Opioid Epidemic in U.S. Courts

The opioid epidemic in the United States has given rise to much litigation. The manufacturer of the drug OxyContin, Purdue Pharma, declared bankruptcy recently because of lawsuits involving its civil liability. There is now a movement seeking to indict company executives on criminal charges. NPR's All Things Considered has a report here. 5 min. transcript available.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Multimedia American Constitutional Law

« Law students today learn differently than law students a generation ago » according to constitutional law professors Randy Barnett and Josh Blackman, so they have recently produced what has been described as a multimedia platform — An Introduction to Constitutional Law: 100 Supreme Court Cases Everyone Should Know — available in three versions: videos only, videos plus an e-book, or videos plus a paperback. You can find more about this innovative presentation of constitutional law on its website which also has a free, useful annotated constitution.

Brexit in the UK Supreme Court

At the start of the first day’s hearing, the Court's President, Lady Hale, presented the issue before the court in two appeals, one from Scotland (Cherry v Advocate General of Scotland) and the other from England (Miller v The Prime Minister) which addressed the same question: whether it was lawful for the Prime Minister to advise Her Majesty to authorise the prorogation of Parliament by Order in Council.
Since the answer to the question given by senior judges in Scotland was not the same as that given by those in England, the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom, sitting for this purpose in a formation of 11 of the 12 justices of the Court, must decide the question.
The Court makes available videos of hearings on its website. You can see Tuesday morning’s here, Tuesday afternoon’s here. Presumably, Wednesday’s will be posted soon. Livestreaming of Thursday’s session will be found here.
Although watching all three days proceedings (sometimes described as 'slow-moving') might be reserved for passionate students of the Brexit question, more casual observers can still enjoy listening to how the very best legal minds talk about the question.
The BBC's legal correspondent, Clive Coleman, has a simple presentation of the matter you can watch below.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Law School Is Starting Already in the U.S. ...

Many American students are beginning their first year of law school by now. The University of Virginia asked Virginia Solicitor General Toby Heytens, a professor there, to give a short (one hour) overview of the U.S. legal system and a description of how a typical case goes through the legal system. Unfortunately you can't see the slides illustrating the talk, but you can put on the subtitles on YouTube to help you follow along.
A related video presents a description of five first-year law school courses (tort, contract, criminal law, civil procedure and legal writing). 58 min., no transcript, but subtitles available.