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Law Library News

Yankee Doodle Encounters Magna Carta

Posted by Jean Stephens on July 12, 2018

“Picture the scene. John Adams sits alone, his fellow committee members James Bowdoin and Samuel Adams having decamped to a local tavern. Spread out on the table before Adams are an assortment of sources–Magna Carta, the English Bill of Rights, Locke’s Second Treatise, Mason’s Declaration of Rights, and other tomes . . .”

IMG_1564Thus goes the process of funneling the rights and principles valued by constitutional thinkers circa 1780 into the Massachusetts Declaration of Rights, and ultimately into the US Constitution, according to A. E. Dick Howard in his essay Magna Carta’s American Journey which appears in Magna Carta, Muse and Mentor available in the Law Library.

Those with an eye for lexicographic oddities may find in the same volume essayist Bryan A. Garner’s use of the word “macaronic” to describe the plural form Magna Chartaes favored by the 1989 OED. Not familiar with the term macaronic? Think macaronicus–the Latinization of vernacular, often indulged as a verbal amusement around the time that Yankee Doodle stuck a feather in his hat.

BTW, I got interested in the Magna Carta on a rainy day in London a few weeks ago, when one of those famous double-decker buses dropped me off at the British Library which houses one of the four copies still extant of the original sheepskin signed by King John in 1215. It’s a daunting treasure trove . . . and it’s right across the street from Platform 9 3/4 where Harry Potter caught the Hogwarts Express.

For a modern English translation of Magna Carta from the original Latin, go to:

www.bl.uk/magna-carta/articles/magna-carta-english-translation.

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Maryland’s 2018 Primary Election

Posted by Joan Bellistri on July 9, 2018

ballot-1294935_960_720From the number of candidates I saw in Annapolis’ 4th of July Parade, it looks like the winners of the primary are gearing up for the General Election in November.

Find out who the candidates will be in the General Election by reviewing the results of the Primary Election here.

The General Election will be held November 6, 2018, 7 am until 8 pm. Early Voting starts Thursday, October 25, 2018 and goes through Thursday, November 1, 2018 from 10 am until 8 pm.

For more information on elections in Maryland visit the website of the Maryland State Board of Elections.

 

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Ask a Lawyer in the Library: June Wrap-Up

Posted by Joan Bellistri on July 5, 2018

Thanks to our volunteer attorneys who assisted 20 people with issues such as contracts, deeds, estate planning, deeds, emancipation, zoning and debt collection. The program is on the summer schedule in Glen Burnie and will resume there in August.  Eastport will resume in July after having to cancel due to the 2018 Primary Election since that library was also a polling place

The Ask a Lawyer In the Library program is a civil, non-family law, self-help program sponsored by The Anne Arundel Bar Association and the Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service. Every Wednesday, from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., you can talk with a volunteer attorney for up to 20 minutes. No appointment is necessary, but sign-up is required at the law library’s information desk. Sign-up begins at 10:45 a.m., and time slots are determined by a lottery. In addition to the weekly program, the Ask A Lawyer In The Library program is held monthly at two Anne Arundel County Public Library branches: Glen Burnie Regional Library on the 3rd Wednesday (except in June and July) and Eastport-Annapolis Neck Community Library on the last Tuesday. For more information, please see http://circuitcourt.org/legal-help/lawyer-in-the-library.

 

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Court Holiday – Independence Day, the 4th of July

Posted by Joan Bellistri on July 4, 2018

fireworksThe Law Library is closed today, July 4, 2018, for the 4th of July holiday.  The Law Library will reopen tomorrow, Thursday, July 5, 2018.  A list of Court Holidays is available on the Circuit Court’s website at https://mdcourts.gov/administration/holidays Except on Court Holidays, the Library is open Monday through Friday, from 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.

Independence Day commemorates the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. A federal holiday since 1941, Independence Day, also referred to as the Fourth of July, has been celebrated in the United States since 1776.  If you are interested in learning more about Independence Day and the events leading up to the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, check out these sites.

 

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Ask a Lawyer in the Library: May Wrap-Up

Posted by Joan Bellistri on June 15, 2018

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The Ask a Lawyer In the Library program is a civil, non-family law, self-help program sponsored by The Anne Arundel Bar Association and the Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service. Every Wednesday, from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., you can talk with a volunteer attorney for up to 20 minutes. No appointment is necessary, but sign-up is required at the law library’s information desk. Sign-up begins at 10:45 a.m., and time slots are determined by a lottery. In addition to the weekly program, the Ask A Lawyer In The Library program is held monthly at two Anne Arundel County Public Library branches: Glen Burnie Regional Library on the 3rd Wednesday and Eastport-Annapolis Neck Community Library on the last Tuesday. For more information, please see http://circuitcourt.org/legal-help/lawyer-in-the-library.

Please note that the Glen Burnie program is not held in June or July and the Eastport program will not be held in June.

 

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Law Library and Court Closed for the Memorial Day Holiday

Posted by Joan Bellistri on May 28, 2018

The Law Library is closed today, May 28, 2018 for the Memorial Day  holiday.  The Law Library will reopen tomorrow, Tuesday, May 29, 2018  A list of Court Holidays is available on the Circuit Court’s website’s list of Court Holidays. Except on Court Holidays, the Library is open Monday through Friday, from 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.

Interested in the history of this holiday? Please see the following provided by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs: https://www.va.gov/opa/speceven/memday/

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Security Planner for Online Safety

Posted by Joan Bellistri on May 24, 2018

computerSecurity Planner by Citizen Lab is an online tool that provides information on improving online security.  It is described on the site’s “about” page like this:

Security Planner is an easy-to-use guide with expert-reviewed advice for staying safer online. It provides recommendations on implementing basic online practices, like enabling two-factor authentication on important accounts, making sure software stays updated, and using encrypted chats to protect private communications. More advanced users can receive advice on where to go for more help.

Security Planner is a project of the Citizen Lab, an interdisciplinary group based at the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto. It was incubated by Jigsaw (then known as Google Ideas) and handed off to the Citizen Lab in December 2015.

Security Planner recommendations are made by a committee of experts in digital security and have gone through a rigorous peer review evaluation, led by the Citizen Lab. We’re supported by a community of organizations, including non-profits, educational institutions, and foundations, and never accept funds or services in exchange for making a recommendation.

The Law Librarians Working Group of the Self Represented Litigation Network recently had the opportunity to hear about this service on a recent conference call meeting.  As a result we will be doing what we can to get the word out about this tool.  Please share with those who might benefit.

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New Laws in Maryland – The 90 Day Report: A Review of the 2018 Legislative Session

Posted by Joan Bellistri on May 11, 2018

The 90 Day Report is published each year at the conclusion of the legislative session. The 2018 report was issued on April 13, 2018, less than a week after the last day of the session.  Seems pretty amazing since the report is more than 400 pages. It begins with a list of the major issues and where to find the information in the report. The major issues are identified as budget, business, education, consumer protection, health, public safety (which includes the courts), state government and transportation.

The bulk of the report is divided into 12 parts labeled A through L with a Part M being a list of bills.  Issues of interest to the legal community can be found in Part E “Crimes, Corrections, and Public Safety” and Part F “Courts and Civil Proceedings.”

Future blog posts will dig deeper into the 2018 Session by reviewing this report.

 

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United States Code and editorial changes to the SCRA

Posted by Joan Bellistri on May 4, 2018

I recently had an attorney looking for a section of the Service Members Civil Relief Act in the United States Code on Westlaw.  The citation was for 50 U.S.C. App. §521 and the results indicated that the section had a new spot in the U.S.C. at 50 U.S.C. 3931.  When this change took place is not included in the history of the section, but there is a note indicating that the “section was formerly classified to section 521 of the Appendix to Title 50.”

The Justice Department sheds some light on the date of the change on their information page on the Service Members Civil Relief Act:

The location of the SCRA within the United States Code changed in late 2015.  Previously found at (codified and cited as) 50 U.S.C. App. §§ 501-597b, there was an editorial reclassification of the SCRA by the Office of the Law Revision Counsel of the United States House of Representatives that became effective on December 1, 2015.  The SCRA is now found at (codified as) 50 U.S.C. §§ 3901-4043.

The Office of the Law Revision Counsel’s page on Editorial Reclassification explains the process of reclassification:

In order to maintain and improve the United States Code, the Office of the Law Revision Counsel must occasionally undertake editorial reclassification projects to reorganize areas of law that have outgrown their original boundaries, or to eliminate organizational units that are no longer efficient. No statutory text is altered by such editorial reclassification projects, other than necessary updates to references to reflect the reorganization. Relevant provisions are merely transferred from one place to another in the Code.

This page includes links to information about recent editorial reclassification projects. The link to Title 50 Appendix indicates that  “the reorganization occurred on December 1, 2015, after which the new Code citations were effective.” 

These reclassifications only move the sections and do not result in changes to the law other than references to the revised sections.  Still, it is nice to know when the change took place.

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Law Day 2018

Posted by Joan Bellistri on May 1, 2018

law-day-2018-300-by-300-transparent-rgbOn May 1st, we celebrate the rule of law and the role of the law and legal processes, including the court system, in promoting democracy and freedom through our celebration of Law Day. First envisioned by the American Bar Association’s then-president, Charles S. Rhyne, in 1957, National Law Day was established as a day of national dedication to the principles of government under law by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1958, and May 1st was designated as the official date of celebration by a joint resolution of Congress in 1961.

This year marks the 60th anniversary with the theme, Separation of Powers: Framework for Freedom. The ABA’s explanation follows:

The U.S. Constitution sets out a system of government with distinct and independent branches—Congress, the Presidency, and a Supreme Court. It also defines legislative, executive, and judicial powers and outlines how they interact. These three separate branches share power, and each branch serves as a check on the power of the others. “Ambition must be made to counteract ambition,” James Madison explained in Federalist 51. Why? Madison believed that the Constitution’s principles of separation of powers and checks and balances preserve political liberty. They provide a framework for freedom. Yet, this framework is not self-executing. We the people must continually act to ensure that our constitutional democracy endures, preserving our liberties and advancing our rights. The Law Day 2018 theme enables us to reflect on the separation of powers as fundamental to our constitutional purpose and to consider how our governmental system is working for ourselves and our posterity.

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