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 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 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.

Ian’s Legal Fact of the Week 11/9/15: The Longest Period Between Constitutional Amendments

The longest period in U.S. history during which there were no amendments to the Constitution was the 61 year gap between the ratification of the 12th Amendment modifying the Electoral College (in 1804), and the ratification of the 13th Amendment abolishing slavery (in 1865).

Ian’s Legal Fact of the Week 11/2/15: Which Day is the Deadliest?

While Mondays might be the most unpopular, statistics over the past decade show that homicides are much more likely to occur on Thursdays than any other day of the week; Tuesdays are the “safest” with the lowest rate of homicides.

Ian’s Legal Fact of the Week 10/19/15: The Origins of Tort Law

Under ancient Anglo-Saxon law a plaintiff who suffered injuries was allowed to seek personal revenge, known as a “blood feud”. This eventually was replaced by payments referred to as “blood fines”. As tort law developed, these payments were divided into … Continue reading

Ian’s Legal Fact of the Week 10/12/15: Citizen’s Arrest

A citizen’s arrest — an arrest by a non-law enforcement officer — is statutorily provided for in 49 states (North Carolina is the exception) where a citizen observes a felony being committed, or when a citizen is asked by a … Continue reading

Ian’s Legal Fact of the Week 10/5/15: Show Me the Money!

Only two justices of the Supreme Court have appeared on U.S. Currency. John Marshall, the fourth Chief Justice, appeared on the $500 bill; while Salmon P. Chase (the sixth Chief Justice) appeared on the $10,000 bill. Neither denomination is still in circulation.

Ian’s Legal Fact of the Week 8/31/15: The Origins of “Arrest”

The word “arrest” is Anglo-Norman in origin, related to the French word “arrêt” meaning “to stop” or “to stay”. In the U.S., the most common slang expression to signify arrest is “collared” (similar to the French slang, incidentally!), while in … Continue reading

Ian’s Legal Fact of the Week 8/17/15: Legal Fictions

A legal fiction is a fact that is assumed or created by courts in order to apply a legal rule. Most often a feature of common law systems, perhaps the best-known (and one of the most controversial) such fictions in the … Continue reading

Ian’s Legal Fact of the Week 11/24/14: Presidents of the U.S.

While George Washington is known as the first president of the U.S., there were 8 “presidents of the United States in Congress Assembled” appointed under the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union, between 1781-1789. The name of only one of these is … Continue reading

Ian’s Legal Fact of the Week 11/25/13: Suing Satan!

In 1971 a plaintiff filed a pauper’s suit in U.S. District Court, on behalf of himself and all other similarly situated, against Satan and his servants. Plaintiff alleged that Satan had “threatened him, caused him misery, impeded his course in … Continue reading