Ian’s Legal Fact of the Week 4/18/16: Taxes!

The Sixteenth Amendment, passed in 1913, is probably one of the least well-known and yet most unpopular amendments, as it grants Congress the ability to levy a federal income tax. While the first federal income tax was levied during the Civil War as … Continue reading

Ian’s Legal Fact of the Week 4/11/16: Be Kind to Lawyers Day!

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. In fact, a member of Congress in 2015 was 66x more likely to be a lawyer than the average … Continue reading

Ian’s Legal Fact of the Week 4/4/16: The Convention on the Rights of the Child

Of the 197 members of the United Nations, only the U.S. has failed to ratify the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). Adopted by the U.N. General Assembly in 1989, the CRC is now the most widely ratified … Continue reading

Ian’s Legal Fact of the Week 3/28/16: The 28th Amendment

The proposed amendment currently closest to ratification is the “Lawyers’ Rights Amendment” (LRA), which if ratified would become the 28th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The LRA would make lawyers a protected class, and treat “comments, jokes and statements that … Continue reading

Ian’s Legal Fact of the Week 3/21/16: Reading the Riot Act

‘To read the riot act’– meaning to warn someone that their current actions will not be tolerated — has its origins in an actual legislative enactment. Formally entitled An Act for preventing Tumults and riotous Assemblies, and for the more speedy and effectual punishing the Rioters … Continue reading

Ian’s Legal Fact of the Week 2/29/16: Leap Year!

While technically there is no legal issue with respect to having a leap year birthday, people born on February 29th (often called “leapers”) may face some problems, particularly with regard to medical or government records. Some computer systems do not accept February 29th as a valid date, or … Continue reading

Ian’s Legal Fact of the Week 2/15/16: ‘Ladies Nights’ as Discrimination

The practice of holding a “ladies’ night’‘ as a promotional event at bars and nightclubs has been often challenged on state and federal grounds. While challenges under the Equal Protection Clause and the Civil Rights Act of 1871 have failed, four … Continue reading

Ian’s Legal Fact of the Week 2/8/16: Jury Sequestration in New York

For more than a century New York state required that juries be sequestered during the deliberation phase of all trials for violent felonies. This extremely unpopular law was repealed in 2001. Missouri still makes jury sequestration mandatory in trials involving a charge … Continue reading

Ian’s Legal Fact of the Week 1/18/16: The Admission of Ohio into the Union

President Thomas Jefferson signed an Act of Congress approving Ohio’s statehood in 1803, making it the 17th state. Congress had never passed a resolution formally admitting it as a state, however. While this has no real constitutional significance, this oversight was … Continue reading

Ian’s Legal Fact of the Week 1/4/16: Presidents Who Served on the Supreme Court

William Howard Taft, the 27th President of the United States (1909-1913), remains the only president to also serve on the Supreme Court.  He served as the tenth Chief Justice, from 1921-1930.

Ian’s Legal Fact of the Week 11/30/15: The Only Crime Defined in the Constitution

The only crime defined in the Constitution is ‘treason‘, which is found in Article III s. 3. A response to the misuse of this crime by the British Crown, it was limited to waging war against the U.S. or giving … Continue reading

Ian’s Legal Fact of the Week 11/16/15: Law Library to the World

The Law Library of Congress is the world’s largest law library, with nearly 3 million books, including one of the world’s foremost rare law book collections and the most complete collection of foreign legal periodicals in the United States.