Ian’s Legal Fact of the Week 10/16/17: Chief Justice as Chancellor of the Smithsonian

In 1846 Congress established the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., eleven years after receiving a bequest from Englishman James Smithson. The charter established a seventeen-member board with representatives from all three branches (the Chief Justice, the Vice President, and six members … Continue reading

Ian’s Legal Fact of the Week 10/10/17: Constitutional Amendments

Since 1789 there have been more than 11,600 proposed amendments introduced to Congress. Of those, 33 were approved and sent to the states for ratification, resulting in the 27 amendments to the Constitution. The 27th Amendment was added in 1992 although originally … Continue reading

Ian’s Legal Fact of the Week 10/2/17: Delinquent Jurors

MA claims to have the most comprehensive anti-juror delinquency program in the U.S., having established the Delinquent Juror Prosecution Program (DJPP) in 1996 to address issues with non-representative juries. Jurors who fail to appear are sent a Failure to Appear mailing; if … Continue reading

Ian’s Legal Fact of the Week 9/25/17: First Country to Recognize the U.S.

The first country to formally recognize the United States was Morocco in 1777. The treaty between these two countries, known as the Moroccan-American Treaty of Friendship, was signed in 1786 and ratified in 1787 by the Confederation Congress. It remains the longest unbroken … Continue reading

Ian’s Legal Fact of the Week 9/18/17: English-Only Laws

The 1923 landmark case of Meyer v. Nebraska applied the 14th Amendment’s Due Process Clause to a law passed in Nebraska that prohibited foreign-language instruction in any school up to eighth grade. In a 7-2 decision, the Court struck down the … Continue reading

Acts of the “Most Sanguinary Rage”: Spousal Murder in Montreal, 1825-1850

This study examines the 11 cases of wife murder (uxoricide) and 3 cases of husband murder (mariticide) identified in the judicial district of Montreal between 1825-1850, a period of considerable social flux.Through examination of judicial archives and primary sources, supplemented … Continue reading

Ian’s Legal Fact of the Week 9/11/17: Can Members of Congress Be Impeached?

Under Article II Section 4 of the Constitution, “The President, Vice President, and all civil Officers of the United States shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other High Crimes and Misdemeanors.” The … Continue reading

Ian’s Legal Fact of the Week 9/5/17: The End of Miscegenation

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 did not address marriage equality; as such, laws against miscegenation (interracial marriage) remained on the books until struck down by the Supreme Court in Loving v. Virginia (1967). The Court ruled that anti-miscegenation laws … Continue reading

Ian’s Legal Fact of the Week 1/23/17: The Stupid Motorist Law

Arizona has a law popularly referred to as the “Stupid Motorist Law“, which renders motorists liable for the cost of their rescue. A response to the flash floods common in the Southwestern U.S., the law states that if a motorist ignores barricades … Continue reading

Ian’s Legal Fact of the Week 12/5/16: The Original Proposed 13th Amendment

While the Thirteenth Amendment outlawed slavery, the original proposed Thirteenth Amendment was altogether different. Approved by Congress in 1810, the Titles of Nobility Amendment was designed to strip U.S. citizenship from any citizen who accepted an aristocratic title from a … Continue reading

Ian’s Legal Fact of the Week 11/28/16: The Third Amendment

The Third Amendment states that “No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.”  The British practice of … Continue reading

Ian’s Legal Fact of the Week 11/21/16: Thanksgiving as a Federal Holiday

A proclamation by President George Washington and a congressional resolution established the first national Thanksgiving Day on November 26, 1789. The holiday was intended to give thanks for the new government formed under the Constitution. It became an official federal holiday … Continue reading