The Massachusetts Constitution is the world’s oldest continuously-operative constitution, having been approved in 1780 (9 years before the U.S. Constitution). Its principal author was John Adams, who insisted the state be referred to as a ‘commonwealth’. It was also the … Continue reading
Ratified in 1961, the Twenty-Third Amendment grants the District of Columbia electors in the Electoral College, so that residents of D.C. may vote in the presidential and vice-presidential elections. The Amendment grants D.C. the equivalent number of electors it would have were it a state, but no more than that … Continue reading
Distressingly, there is no official “Lawyer’s Day” in the U.S.–despite the fact that nearly half of the members of Congress are lawyers.The second Tuesday in April is, however, informally known as “International Be Kind to Lawyers Day” and has its own … Continue reading
A recent study has shown that jurors who are shown surveillance video, in slow motion, of criminal acts committed by defendants often suffer from ‘intentionality bias’. Even when reminded that the footage was artificially slowed down, unanimous juries were four times … Continue reading
Currently six states have ‘Good Samaritan hot car laws’, which protect people from liability for breaking into a locked car to rescue a pet that was left unattended. Typically these laws require a good faith belief that the animal was in danger, … Continue reading
The Twenty-fifth Amendment was adopted in 1967 and establishes that the Vice President succeeds the President in the result of the President’s death, resignation or incapacity, and also establishes a process for filling a vacancy in the office of the Vice … Continue reading
In U.S. tax law there is a distinction between gifts and windfalls. A windfall — historically referring to fruit or trees blown down by the wind which then become public property — now refers to any sudden, unearned gain such finding money on the … Continue reading
The Twenty-Fourth Amendment restricts the federal government and the states from requiring a poll or other tax in order to vote in federal elections. It was approved by Congress in August of 1962, and ratified by the states in January … Continue reading
The expression ‘on the lam’, meaning to be a fugitive from the law, has a murky past. It is often thought to be urban slang from the 1920s used by members of the criminal underworld. The Random House Historical Dictionary of American Slang traces it back … Continue reading
In honor of the President’s Day holiday: William Howard Taft, the 27th President of the United States (1909-1913), remains the only president to also serve on the Supreme Court. He lectured in legal ethics at BU Law from 1918-1921, and then served as the … Continue reading
Only two states automatically try 16 year-olds as adults in the criminal justice system — New York and North Carolina — while seven states automatically try 17 year-olds as adults.
Until 1828 in the U.K., a wife killing her husband committed ‘petty’ or ‘petit’ treason, not murder, as the law deemed this a crime against the social order. The penalty was burning at the stake, until replaced by hanging in 1790.