Amicus Briefs - News from the Alexander Campbell King Law Library  
February 2006

In This Issue

Black History Month

This historical figure is also one of the answers to the Black History Month Quiz!
Celebrate Black History Month: A Quiz
Professor Ann Puckett

Test your knowledge with this Black History Month quiz!

Answers provided at bottom of this newsletter.
  1. Who told the Senate Armed Services Community that he would urge black youths to resist the draft unless discrimination was banned?
  2. What was the only Southern state to permit slave enlistments in the military in 1780?
  3. What was the first Black-owned company to be traded on the New York Stock Exchange?
  4. What was the first all-Black religious denomination in the United States?
  5. Which European nation was the first to stop trading African slaves to the United States in 1794?
  6. Who was the only other black actress to win the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress Oscar since Hattie McDaniel in 1939?
  7. Who sang Martin Luther King, Jr.'s favorite gospel song, "Precious Lord, Take My Hand," after his funeral procession in 1968?
  8. By the eighteenth century, what colony was the leader in the slave trade?
  9. During the nineteenth century, how many states had lows prohibiting interracial marriage?
  10. Which state east of the Mississippi was the first to give African American women the right to vote, 1913?
  11. What was the nickname for the all-Black 332d Fighter Group of the U.S. Army Air Corps, which escorted Allied bombers through European airspace on 1,578 missions during World War II?
  12. The hymn, "Lift Every Voice and Sing," by James Weldon Johnson, was meant to celebrate whose birthday?
  13. A pitcher in the Negro Baseball League for 25 years, developer of the bat-badger, jumpball, and drooper, he was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1971 - name him.
  14. Having worked as an elevator operator for four dollars weekly, he achieved fame upon publication of Lyrics of Lowly Life in 1896.
  15. Who holds the record of 100 points scored in a single NBA game?
  16. Despite a 1792 discriminatory law against Blacks in the new U.S. military, which of the country's armed forces began to enlist free blacks in the 1790's?
  17. What tennis champion and golfer earned her place in the Black Hall of Fame in 1974?
  18. Who founded the first major African American nation union, the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters?
  19. Who founded the National Negro Business League?
  20. At age 76, this former slave and eminent scientist narrated a 1940 documentary dramatizing his struggles and successes to a young boy pondering the options for the future.


First Law Library Groundhog Day Chili Cook Off a Success
Lauren Knowlton

Several members of the Law Library Staff helped contribute to the chili cook off on February 2 in order to make it a great success. Mrs. Myrtle Miller, Circulation Manager, said of the event: "It was different -- it was an experience for the first time having anything like that." A diverse assortment of chili was available for tasting by student workers and staff members throughout the chilly afternoon. From James Donovan's "pot o' chili beef" to Beth Holmes' traditional family recipe to Pam Brannon's white seitan chili, there was something on hand for everyone's taste.

As everyone sampled the spread of vegetarian and meat chili, they had the opportunity to vote for their favorite top three. In the end, Professor Ann Puckett won first place with her popular ground turkey chili, Anne Burnet's vegetarian chili flavored with Tecate beer came in second, and Maureen Cahill's eggplant vegetable chili with definitely a bit of a kick came in third.

As David Rutland, Circulation Assistant, commented: "It was a great idea. Let's do it again!" -- hopefully the tradition of celebrating Groundhog Day with a bowl of hot, spicy chili will be carried on for years to come here at the Law Library.

New Database: U.S. Supreme Court Records and Briefs, 1832-1978
Sharon Bradley

One of our newest research databases is the U.S. Supreme Court Records and Briefs, 1832-1978, which features a fully searchable database of 350,000 separate documents representing approximately 150,000 Supreme Court cases. The search capabilities allow researchers to focus on full text, specific keywords or phrases, author (counsel or organization), case name, court term year and document filing date, or U.S. Reports citation number.

Why does this database stop at 1978 you might ask? Both Lexis and Westlaw provide access to the U.S. Supreme Court briefs after 1978. Lexis coverage begins January 1979 for all cases granted certiorari and the briefs are posted within 6 weeks of publication (Filename: BRIEFS). Westlaw coverage of merits briefs begins with the 1990-91 Term; coverage of amicus briefs begins with the 1995-96 Term (Database: SCT-BRIEF). Both services include some state supreme court briefs as well.

Briefs and records are probably one of the most under appreciated and under utilized of research resources. "Briefs and records can potentially provide attorneys who have a similar case with much of their research and a list of arguments that have or have not impressed an appellate court." J. Myron Jacobstein, et. al, Fundamentals of Legal Research 456 (1994). Briefs and records can fill in missing facts and essential background for researchers analyzing a court opinion. They may also suggest arguments you had not considered.

The database is very easy to search. You can browse alphabetical lists for known case names or authors. Use phrase searching by putting W1 between the search words. For example, "constitutional W1 limitations " means find constitutional "within 1 word of" limitations. It also tells the system that constitutional must proceed limitations. The Advanced Search lets you string together several phrases or combine keywords with authors. Try U.S. Supreme Court Records and Briefs for your next research project.

New Database: Public Documents Masterfile
Maureen Cahill

The Law Library has recently added Public Documents Masterfile to its collection of databases. This resource aims to be a comprehensive index of federal, state, local, and international public documents, spanning over 200 years of publication. It allows a user to search across millions of records using title, author, subject, publication date, index terms, Sudoc numbers, or Monthly Catalog entry numbers. Significantly, this database represents the first availability of electronic searching for the oldest U.S. federal documents.

Right now the index includes over 3,000,000 records, most of which represent U.S. federal government documents. During 2006, records will be added for individual U.S. state and Canadian province documents, and for British, German, U.N., Canadian, Italian, European Community, French, and Spanish documents. This resource promises to greatly simplify any research project involving public records.


Answers to Black History Month Quiz
  1. A. Philip Randolph
  2. Maryland
  3. BET Holdings
  4. The African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME)
  5. France
  6. Whoopie Goldberg
  7. Mahalia Jackson
  8. Rhode Island
  9. Thirty-eight
  10. Illinois
  11. The Tuskegee Airmen
  12. Abraham Lincoln
  13. Satchel Paige
  14. Paul Lawrence Dunbar
  15. Wilt Chamberlin
  16. U.S. Navy
  17. Althea Gibson
  18. A. Philip Randolph
  19. Booker T. Washington
  20. George Washington Carver (also the figure in the photo above!)