Author Archives: Hastings Law Library

The Federal Digital System is Now Online

Today the Government Printing Office released the beta model of its new Federal Digital System (FDsys). This currently holds Congressional and Presidential documents:
* Compilation of Presidential Documents (1993 to Present)
* Congressional Bills (103rd Congress to Present)
* Congressional Documents (104th Congress to Present)
* Congressional Hearings (105th Congress to Present)
* Congressional Record (1994 to Present)
* Congressional Reports (104th Congress to Present)
* Federal Register (1994 to Present)
* Public and Private Laws (104th Congress to Present)
By mid-2009, documents from all three branches will be available. FDsys will contain information gathered through files submitted by Congress and Federal agencies; information gathered from Federal agencies’ web sites; and digital files created by scanning previously printed publications.
The search interface is quite easy to use, and results are displayed to scroll through, or clustered by type and date on a side bar. Try it; it is very easy to use.

Committee Caller

Have you ever wanted to call the member of a congressional committee to let them know your views on a piece of pending legislation? If so, then you know it can be daunting to find out the composition of the committee, and the correct contact information for each member. But all that has changed, thanks to the web site, Committee Caller. The site has been set up using an open source Asterisk PBX system to connect you to every senator or house member on a particular committee.
Just go to the website, select a committee or subcommittee, enter your phone number and click “Put me in touch with democracy!” You’ll be called by their system and sequentially patched through to the front office of each member on that committee. If you want to add to the web site’s informational database on accountability, you can even rate how each call went.

Citation Rules Online

For an online version of citation manuals, visit The Introduction to Basic Legal Citation (LII 2007 ed.), by Peter W. Martin. It was revised in May 2007 to reflect changes appearing in the third edition of the ALWD Citation Manual, published in 2006. It is also keyed to the current (18th) edition of The Bluebook, published in 2005. Each topic covered includes references to both The Bluebook and the ALWD Citation Manual. Since this pubication is more concerned with the forms of citation used in processional practice, the niceties of typeface styles for law review articles is not the focus of this edition.

The Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006 mandated a user-friendly, searchable database of most federal spending , and the result,, went live today. The White House budget office is responsible for publishing the web site, which shows taxpayers where their dollars go and which legislators, contractors and regions get the most.
The Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006 was sponsored by Senators Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and Tom Coburn (R-Okla.). The site was created by Robert Shea, associate director of the Office of Management and Budget. It was modeled on a site pioneered by Gary Bass, director of OMB Watch, which has been a harsh critic of the budget office. You can search the site by contracts and grants, contractor names, congressional districts and lawmakers. It is easy to download data, and there are charts and rankings show who gets the most money. The site will be updated every two weeks even though the law only requires updating every month.

New Report on the Cost of the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan

There is a recently published report by the Joint Economic Committee Majority Staff, titled War at Any Price: The Total Economic Costs of the War Beyond the Federal Budget. The press release about the report, dated November 13, 2007, states:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) will join Joint Economic Committee (JEC) Chairman Charles E. Schumer (D-NY), and JEC Vice Chair Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) [today [and release ] a new report exposing the hidden costs of the war in Iraq. The Joint Economic Committee report investigates the costs of the war in Iraq that are not included in direct budgetary appropriations, including long term veteran’s health care, foregone investment, oil market disruptions and interest payments on borrowed war funding. The JEC estimates these costs could total in the trillions of dollars.

There were some errors in the report that were “quietly corrected”, a Republican press report noted.
Here are some of the individual charts on the costs:
The American Family Will Bear Heavy Burden to Pay for Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan
With No Change in Course, Total Costs Incurred per Family Reach Almost $50,000 by 2017
The Projected Interest Costs of Iraq War Alone are Higher than
the Cost of Children’s Health Program and Health Research and Training

Taxpayer Spending on Iraq War vs. Federal Spending on Other Priorities

Terrorism Report Released

Are you interested in the types of terrorist activitites that have taken place in the United States? The FBI just released the latest edition of its report summarizing terrorist activities in the US, titled “Terrorism 2002-2005.”
The report “provides an overview of the terrorist incidents and preventions designated by the FBI as having taken place in the United States and its territories during the years 2002 through 2005 and that are matters of public record. This publication does not include those incidents which the Bureau classifies under criminal rather than terrorism investigations. In addition, the report discusses major FBI investigations overseas and identifies significant events-including legislative actions, prosecutorial updates, and program developments-relevant to U.S. counterterrorism efforts.”
The report includes a chart of “casualties of terrorism 1980-2005” and a chronological summary of the terrorist incidents in the US between 1980-2005.

Noise & Food in the Library and Gold Reading Room

There have been repeated complaints about the noise level in the Law Library and Gold Reading Room. As we head toward the exam period, please be considerate of others and keep conversations to a minimum.
Additionally, there has been a problem with food, drink, and related waste being brought into the library and not properly discarded. Food is prohibited in the library. You may bring bottled water and other covered drinks into the library (but not into the computer lab).
Thanks for your cooperation.