Serial Killers, Book Deals, and Legal Research

Current Events, Searching
Shannon Sabo

This month marks the 40th anniversary of the arrest of serial killer David Berkowitz, more famously known as “Son of Sam” or the “.44 caliber killer.” In addition to wreaking havoc in New York City by killing six people and wounding seven others, Berkowitz’s notoriety led to the creation of and subsequent controversy surrounding “Son of Sam laws.” Research these laws, related constitutional issues, and Supreme Court cases on this killer topic in HeinOnline.

Berkowitz’s Crimes and Capture

  • On July 29, 1976 Berkowitz shot two teenage women: Donna Lauria and Jody Valenti…

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Presidential Pardoning Power

Current Events, Law Journal Library
Shannon Sabo

Recently, the Law Librarian Blog posted this short piece on whether or not a president can pardon himself. According to the Yale Law Journal note by Brian Kalt titled Pardon Me?: The Constitutional Case Against Presidential Self-Pardons referenced in the post, the answer is no. If a researcher would like to dig a bit deeper into this complicated topic, HeinOnline has a new beta tool which provides users with the ability to quickly and easily retrieve similar articles.

HeinOnline’s “More Like This” tool looks at interesting words found in a journal article and locates other articles which have similar interesting words…

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A Brief and Reptilian History of Gerrymandering

Current Events, Fastcase, Law Journal Library
Shannon Sabo

Gerrymandering has been around since the election of the first U.S. Congress. The concept has received more attention recently, as the unexpected results of the 2016 election have placed a spotlight on the U.S. government and the processes of democracy generally.

What’s gerrymandering? Was there really a Gerry Mander?

Gerrymandering is the process of manipulating election district boundaries to favor one political party over another, often leading to underrepresentation of the actual majority of constituents.

Gerrymandering is problematic for several reasons:

  • It undermines the principle of “one person, one vote.”
  • It contributes to “safe seats,” where voters end up deciding which party wins but not who their representative actually is…

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Marijuana Legalization

Current Events, Government Documents, National Survey of State Laws, Navigating
Bonnie Hein

This past November, the controversial topic of the legalization of Marijuana was on the ballot in nine states. Arkansas, Florida, Montana, and North Dakota voters decided on medical marijuana initiatives, while voters in Arizona, California, Maine, Massachusetts, and Nevada decided on recreational marijuana.

Adults 21 years and older in California, Maine, Massachusetts, and Nevada can now consume marijuana for recreational purposes.  Arkansas, Florida, Montana, and North Dakota have all approved marijuana for medical use. Overall, cannabis usage was approved in 8 out of the 9 states in which it was up for a vote, with only Arizona rejecting the recreational usage.

Find more in HeinOnline’s National Survey of State Laws

The recently released Winter 2017 update of the National Survey of State Laws database includes several important updates…

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HeinOnline: Where Books Rule

Current Events, Exploring HeinOnline, Libraries
Shannon Sabo

HeinOnline has comprehensive coverage of journals, treaties, constitutions from every country in the world, databases of bibliographic entries on multiple topics (many of which link to full-text content), and government documents. One component of HeinOnline that doesn’t receive as much attention is its impressive collection of books. It’s National Library Week and there’s nothing better than a good book, so be sure to take a closer look at the books available with your subscription.

Exploring the Database

There are more than 42,000 books* in HeinOnline, including legal and historical treatises, dictionaries, subject-specific texts, and current titles from the University of North Carolina Press

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Research Spotlight: Justices Sandra Day O’Connor and Earl Warren

Current Events, Exploring HeinOnline, History of Supreme Court Nominations, U.S. Supreme Court
Bonnie Hein

The month of March marks the birthdays of former Chief Justice Earl Warren and retired Associate Justice Sandra Day O’Connor of the Supreme Court of the United States, both of whom substantially impacted the United States Supreme Court and the American legal system.

Retired Associate Justice Sandra Day O’Connor

Born on March 26, 1930 in El Paso, Texas, Sandra Day O’Connor spent much of her childhood on her family’s ranch in Arizona. She would grow up to be a pioneer for women, eventually serving as the first female Justice on the United States Supreme Court, for which she was unanimously approved by the Senate. While she is best known for this historical role…

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Michael Flynn and The Logan Act

Current Events, Exploring HeinOnline, Government Documents
Bonnie Hein

After less than one month of service, retired U.S. Army lieutenant general Michael T. Flynn resigned as United States national security advisor on February 13, 2017 after a controversy arose about his prior conversations with Sergey Kislyak, the Russian ambassador to the United States.

Leading up to Flynn’s official resignation were allegations of inappropriate telephone discussions with Kislyak regarding the Obama administration’s expulsion of Russian diplomats and sanctions against Russia during the transition period prior to the inauguration of President Trump. He  subsequently misled Vice President Pence regarding these conversations.

Press coverage about the phone calls and presidential transition discussed the possibility of Mike Flynn potentially being subject to further punishment other than his resigning…

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Women’s History Month

Current Events, Searching, Women and the Law
Bonnie Hein

Origins of Women’s History Month

Originally, Women’s History Week was designated the week beginning March 7, 1982 under Public Law 97-28 (95 Stat. 148) and announced with Presidential Proclamation 4903 by President Ronald Reagan:

“American women of every race, creed and ethnic background helped found and build our Nation in countless recorded and unrecorded ways. As pioneers, teachers, mothers, homemakers, soldiers, nurses and laborers, women played and continue to play a vital role in American economic, cultural and social life. In science, business, medicine, law, the arts and the home, women have made significant contributions to the growth and development of our land. Their diverse service is among America’s most precious gifts….”

After being petitioned by the National Women’s History Project…

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Celebrating Presidents' Day with Abraham Lincoln and George Washington

Current Events, Exploring HeinOnline, Law Journal Library, Searching, Slavery in America and the World, U.S. Congressional Documents, U.S. Presidential Library
Bonnie Hein


Washington's Birthday or Presidents' Day?

The American holiday of Presidents' Day was originally established in 1885 in recognition of the first President of the United States, George Washington. It was officially called Washington's Birthday and observed as a federal holiday on February 22nd, Washington's actual day of birth. Washington's Birthday was the first federal holiday celebrating the life of an individual American, joining only four national bank holidays – Christmas Day, New Year's Day, Independence Day, and Thanksgiving.

It became popularly known as Presidents' Day after it was moved by the 1971 Uniform Monday Holiday Act (82 Stat. 250) in order to create more three day weekends for American workers and increase retail and tourism revenue

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U.S. Supreme Court Nominee Neil Gorsuch

Author Profile Pages, Case Law, Current Events, Exploring HeinOnline, Fastcase, Hein Blog, History of Supreme Court Nominations, Law Journal Library, U.S. Supreme Court
Bonnie Hein


On January 31, 2017 Judge Neil Gorsuch of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit was officially nominated by President Donald J. Trump to fill the U.S. Supreme Court vacancy.  The vacancy was created by the passing of Justice Antonin Scalia last year on February 13, 2016.

Born in Denver, Colorado, he moved to Washington, D.C. when his mother, Anne Gorsuch Burford, was appointed as the first female head of the United States Environmental Protection Agency. He went on to graduate from Columbia University with honors and earn his Juris Doctor degree from Harvard Law School, where he received a Truman Scholarship. As a Marshall Scholar…

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