Article on State Secrets Privilege Available through Law Library of Congress

July 30, 2008

The Law Library of Congress recently posted a new constitutional law item focusing on the State Secrets Privilege: “Secret Documents: Why Classify Legal Memos?“, by Louis Fisher, National Law Journal, July 14, 2008.

Here is the description of the article from the Law Library’s web site:

On March 31, 2008, the Bush administration declassified a legal memo issued five years earlier by John Yoo of the Justice Department. The memo is entitled “Military Interrogation of Alien Unlawful Combatants Held Outside the United States.” Although declassified, there is no explanation of when it was classified, why it was classified, and who classified it, all of which is required by Executive Order 12958. The memo consists purely of legal analysis without indicating any matter clearly sensitive and deserving of some level of classification. How can the rule of law be protected when policy is governed by secret legal memos?

[Posted by Emily Feldman]

New Paper on the Development of Congressional Committees

July 30, 2008

The Law Librarians’ Society of Washington, DC (LLSDC) recently released a new publication, “An Overview of the Development of U.S. Congressional Committees” by Michael Welsh, Senior Legislative Librarian at Pillsbury LLP in Washington, DC. First developed as a two-part article in LLSDC’s quarterly publication, “Law Library Lights,” in 2004, the paper includes information on the history of Congressional Committees from the earliest Congresses. The publication also includes a bibliography and a link to an alphabetical list of standing congressional committees. Be sure to check out this wonderful resource, available through LLSDC’s Legislative Source Book. Thanks to Rick McKinney, Assistant Law Librarian at the Federal Reserve Board Law Library, for the update.

[Posted by Emily Feldman]

Portland Wrap-Up and Back to the Blawg

July 24, 2008

After an exciting and busy 101st AALL Annual Meeting and Conference in Portland, we’re back in Washington, DC and I can once again turn my attention to the blog. Expect to see many more posts in the coming weeks!

The Portland meeting was the first AALL Annual Meeting I’ve attended, since I’ve been with AALL for less than a year. All I can say is: Wow! From the moment the pre-conference activities began on Saturday, July 12, I felt the energy of the law librarians gathering in the Oregon Convention Center. Our annual Advocacy Training on Saturday was extremely successful thanks to the participation of almost 40 AALL members. Advocacy Training participants had the opportunity to meet the Washington Affairs Office staff, network with each other, and hear from an excellent set of speakers. We are especially grateful to Christy Splitt, Legislative Aide to Oregon State Rep. Ben Cannon and Marjorie Taylor, Senior Policy Advisor for Oregon’s Department of Administrative Services for spending their Saturday morning with us. Their insight into the Oregon legislative process and tips for working with legislators were extremely valuable!

I hope that many of you were able to attend one or more of the Policy Track Programs held throughout the conference. We are grateful to the many speakers and participants that made these programs successful. One of the highlights was the presentation of the Public Access to Government Information (PAGI) Award to OMB Watch. During the Annual Legislative and Regulatory Update, 2007-2008 Government Relations Committee Chair Scott Matheson presented the PAGI Award to OMB Watch’s Executive Director Gary Bass. As our guest speaker, Bass rewarded us with a motivating address, encouraging attendees to start a dialogue about what they want for the future of public access.

We also celebrated the legacy of Bob Oakley during the Legislative and Regulatory Update by honoring him as the first recipient of the new AALL Member Advocacy Award. The new award, to be named the Robert L. Oakley Member Advocacy Award, will be given annually to one of our members who has been an outstanding advocate for law libraries and legal information at the federal, state or local level.

Look for further summaries of the Annual Meeting in the July Edition of the Washington E-Bulletin, available next week. To stay up-to-date on the activities of the Washington Affairs Office, you can sign up for the Washington Blawg’s RSS feed or to receive the Washington Blawg’s posts via email.

You can also sign up for the Advocacy Listserv to be among the first to receive informational updates and actions alerts from the Washington Affairs Office. Please note that the Advocacy Listserv allows members to post to the listserv as well as receive updates, so please post to the listserv when there is legislative news in your state. You are our best resource for keeping track of state legislative news!

As always, please feel free to contact me with questions, concerns, or ideas. It was wonderful to meet many of you in Portland and I look forward to seeing you next year in Washington, DC!

[Posted by Emily Feldman]

AALL Annual Meeting – See You in Portland!

July 9, 2008

Blogging for the next couple of weeks will be light because Mary Alice and I will be attending the 101st AALL Annual Meeting and Conference in Portland, Oregon. We hope to see many of you there!

For those attending the Annual Meeting, we encourage you to come to the Policy Track Programs, listed below. These meetings and programs will provide you with an inside look at AALL’s current policy issues.


Access to Electronic Legal Information and Citation Formats Committees (Outgoing and Incoming)
Sunday, July 13, 5:30 PM – 7:00 PM, OCC-C126

GRC Meeting (Outgoing and Incoming)
Monday, July 14, 12:00 PM – 1:15 PM, OCC-E147

Chapter Leadership Roundtable: Government Relations
Monday, July 14, 2008, 5:15 PM – 6:15 PM, OCC-D134

Copyright Committee Meeting (Outgoing and Incoming)
Monday, July 14, 5:30 PM – 6:30 PM, OCC-D139


Explore the Secret Workings of the FISA Court
Sunday, July 13, 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM OCC-F150/151

Official but Not Authentic: The Future of Electronic Legal Information
Sunday, July 13, 4:15 PM – 5:15 PM OCC-Portland Ballroom 252

An Exploration of the Role of Presidential Signing Statements in Legislative Histories: Analytical and Practical Considerations
Monday, July 14, 2008, 8:45 AM – 9:30 AM OCC-F150/151

Flashlights, FOIA and Advocacy: Tools for the Explorer in Search of Disappearing and Restricted Federal Documents
Monday, July 14, 10:45 AM – 11:45 AM OCC-F150/151

2008 Annual Legislative and Regulatory Update
Tuesday, July 15, 9:00 AM – 10:30 AM OCC-Portland Ballroom 252

Copyright Issues in the 110th Congress
Tuesday, July 15, 10:45 AM – 11:45 AM OCC-Portland Ballroom 253

[Posted by Emily Feldman]

June Edition of the Washington E-Bulletin

July 1, 2008

The June Edition of the Washington E-Bulletin is now available! Each month, we provide you with the latest action alerts, policy updates, news from our office, chapter news, and further reading for the information policy junkie!

Here is the Table of Contents from the June Edition


-Join Us in Portland!
-Strengthening Transparency and Accountability in Federal Spending Act of 2008 (S.3077)
-Federal Advisory Committee Act Amendments of 2008 (H.R. 5687)
-Improving Public Access to Documents Act of 2008 (H.R. 6193)
-Letter to Congress in Support of Whistleblower Protections
-FISA Bill Passes House, Awaits Senate Approval

-Chapters Show Support for Government Printing Office Appropriations

FREE TIME WELL SPENT: Further Reading for the Information Policy Junkie
-EPA’s National Dialogue Comes to a Close
-Web sites Offer Deeper Look into Congress
-Law Day, for Your Viewing Pleasure

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