This Week in the Law Library …

This week in the Law Library, we look at five more resources to help you prepare for the Bar Exam, summer legal research tips on researching legislative history, and we continue exploring Disability Pride Month resources.

Bar Exam Preparation

The Bar Exam is not a sprint, it’s a marathon so pace yourself! You’re in the homestretch now. Check out this week’s Bar Exam Resource highlights below.

Hope and the Bar Exam, Bar Exam Mind

People who are “high hope” individuals tend to do better on tests, but people who are lower hope individuals can learn hopeful strategies in order to be more successful on the bar exam.

What to do with only 2 Weeks Left……, Law School Academic Support Blog (July 14, 2021)

What should you do 13-days before the bar exam.

The Week Before the Bar Exam: Do’s and Don’t, JD Advising

As the bar exam approaches and you reach the final week in your preparation, you’re probably wondering how to maximize the time you have left. You’ll want to take advantage of your last days of study time without stressing yourself out. With that in mind, JD Advising created this list of do’s and don’ts for the week before the bar exam.

The Week Before the Bar Exam: Top Tips, KaplanBar Review

General advice and tips for the 10-days before the bar exam.

Kerriann Stout, Don’t Forget To Do These 5 Things The Week Before The Bar Exam, Above the Law (Feb. 19, 2019)

Things to do in order to save yourself headache and stress.

Summer Legal Research Tips

Last week we looked at uniform laws. This week we’re going to take an initial look at legislative history research. If you have a statutory issue but no or very little case law interpreting the statute, you may need to look at legislative history. Legislative history research involves trying to establish legislative intent by looking into the documents produced as a law goes through the legislative process. The types of documents you might look at when doing legislative history research will include bill versions, amendments, committee reports, committee hearings, committee prints, and debates. The Plain Meaning Rule dictates whether or not you would want to do legislative history research. The Plain Meaning Rule states that if the language is plain on its face, you should not introduce evidence of legislative history. Do courts use legislative history? Despite many claims to the contrary, yes! See, for example, Abbe R. Gluck & Richard A. Posner, Statutory Interpretation on the Bench: A Survey of Forty-Two Judges on the Federal Courts of Appeals, 131 Harv. L. Rev. 1298 (2018).

Determine Which Law Added Your Language

The first step in doing legislative history research is to figure out which public law added the statutory language you need to interpret. Remember that statutes can be amended so if you are trying to determine what the legislature intended when they passed a law, you need to know which law incorporated your language. Your code should have a chronological list of the laws making up a code section and that list should be directly underneath the text of the statute. This is sometimes called the credit field. For Federal statutes, these are your public laws. Annotated codes will also have a history section where they summarize the changes that various laws made to the statute. Once you have determined which public law added your language, you will be ready to take the next step.

Look for a Compiled Legislative History

Unfortunately, legislative history research is often a lot of work with very little reward. Federal legislative history research is generally easier than state legislative history research. One way to make it easier on yourself is to take advantage of work that someone else has already done — look to see if someone has created a compiled legislative history. The following are excellent sources of compiled legislative histories:

ProQuest Legislative Insight

ProQuest legislative histories are comprised of fully searchable PDFs of full-text publications generated in the course of congressional lawmaking. Each history includes the full text of the public law itself, all versions of related bills, law-specific Congressional Record excerpts, committee hearings, reports, and prints. Also included are presidential signing statements, CRS reports, and miscellaneous congressional publications that provide background material.

HeinOnline US Federal Legislative History Library

In addition to the inclusion of comprehensive federal legislative histories published by the U.S. GPO and private publishers, this database also includes a unique finding aid based on Nancy Johnson’s award-winning work, Sources of Compiled Legislative Histories.

GAO Federal Legislative Histories on Westlaw

Comprehensive legislative histories for most U.S. Public Laws enacted from 1921 to 1995, and PL 104-191, as compiled by the U.S. Government Accountability Office, including the text of laws, bills, committee reports, Congressional Record documents, transcripts of hearings, and other documents in pdf format.

Arnold & Porter Legislative Histories on Westlaw

Very selective compilation of legislative histories available on Westlaw.

July Is Disability Pride Month!

Disability Pride Flag

Disability Pride Flag. A black flag with a lightning bolt of blue, yellow, white, red, and green. Source: Ann Magill/Public Domain

About Disability Pride Month

Disability Pride Month is an annual worldwide observance holiday during the month of July. It promotes awareness of disability as an identity, a community, a culture & the positive pride felt by disabled people. It directly challenges systematic ableism and discrimination.

5 More Resources on Accessibility & Disability Issues

Elizabeth Barnes, The Minority Body: A Theory of Disability (e-book, requires UC authentication)

Elizabeth Barnes argues that disability is primarily a social phenomenon- a way of being a minority, a way of facing social oppression, but not a way of being inherently or intrinsically worse off. This is how disability is understood in the Disability Rights and Disability Pride movements; but there is a massive disconnect with the way disability is typically viewed within analytic philosophy. The idea that disability is not inherently bad or sub-optimal is one that many philosophers treat with open skepticism, and sometimes even with scorn. The goal of this book is to articulate and defend a version of the view of disability that is common in the Disability Rights movement

James Charlton, Nothing about Us without Us: Disability Oppression and Empowerment (e-book, requires UC authentication)

This text provides a theoretical overview of disability oppression that shows its similarities to, and differences from, racism, sexism, and colonialism. Charlton’s analysis is illuminated by interviews he conducted over a ten-year period with disability rights activists throughout the Third World, Europe, and the United States. Nothing About Us Without Us expresses the conviction of people with disabilities that they know what is best for them.

The Disability Studies Reader (e-book, requires UC authentication)

The fifth edition of The Disability Studies Reader addresses the post-identity theoretical landscape by emphasizing questions of interdependency and independence, the human-animal relationship, and issues around the construction or materiality of gender, the body, and sexuality. Selections explore the underlying biases of medical and scientific experiments and explode the binary of the sound and the diseased mind. The collection addresses physical disabilities, but as always investigates issues around pain, mental disability, and invisible disabilities as well.

Inclusion, Disability and Culture: An Ethnographic Perspective Traversing Abilities and Challenges (e-book, requires UC authentication)

This book provides a global and social examination of how disabilities are played out and experienced around the world. It presents auto-ethnographic perspectives on disability across cultures, societies, and countries by documenting individuals’ personal narratives, thought processes and reflections. Chapter authors share cross-cultural perspectives within and across various countries, such as India, Australia, United States, Sri Lanka, United Kingdom, Croatia, Brazil, South Africa, and Qatar. Adopting a self-reflective stance following qualitative research methodology, the chapter authors discuss the current challenges in the field. Next, they deconstruct disability identities, explore the complexities of communication with differently abled persons, examine inclusive policies, practices and interventions and present insights from caregivers. The book concludes with critical reflections and a look to the future of global diversity and inclusion.

The Stigma of Disease and Disability: Understanding Causes and Overcoming Injustices(e-book, requires UC authentication)

Disease and disability strike with a double whammy: not only do they cause pain, distress, and loss, but they also trigger a social reaction, and the prejudice and discrimination that often accompany illness can be as limiting as the condition itself. Health care providers have made great strides in understanding and treating diseases, and social scientists have likewise made advances in explaining a frequent corollary of illness, stigma.Stigma robs people labeled “ill” of their right to equal opportunity with respect to jobs, housing, health care, relationships, faith-based communities, friends, communities, and legal protections. The purpose of this book is to advance our scientific knowledge and to further the advocates’ agenda.


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