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Law Library News for April 17, 2000

Mary Whisner, editor

Law Library News Archive


Pulitzer Prizes

This year's Pulitzer Prizes were announced on April 10. Did you miss the news? No problem: you can read about the winners at Perhaps it is not surprising that many of the winners in journalism reported on social issues that might be addressed by law - neglect in group homes for the mentally retarded; the shootings at Columbine High School; a massacre by American soldiers at the No Gun Ri Bridge during the Korean War; academic fraud in the men's basketball program at the University of Minnesota. The man who won for editorial writing wrote a series that actually led to changes in Florida's lending regulations.

The website does not just cover this year's winners. It also features a timeline where you can find who won the Pulitzer Prize in any year since 1917. For 1995-1999, there are also links to the full text of journalism winners. (There are links to some of the 2000 stories now - for instance, the No Gun Ri story is available on the AP's website. The others will be available sometime this summer.) Skimming the lists gives an interesting peak into important issues of the last 84 years. Notably, a number of the books that have won Pulitzer Prizes for history and general non-fiction over the years are on legal topics (and are available in the Law Library) - for example:

  • Origins of the Fifth Amendment, by Leonard W. Levy (1969). KD8386.L5 at Classified Stacks
  • The Dred Scott Case, by Don E. Fehrenbacher (1979). KF4545.S5F43 at Classified Stacks
  • Common Ground, by J. Anthony Lukas (1986) (school desegregation). F73.9.A1L85 1985 at Classified Stacks
  • The Fate of Liberty: Abraham Lincoln and Civil Liberties, by Mark E. Neely, Jr. (1992). E457.2.N46 1991 at Classified Stacks
  • Original Meanings: Politics and Ideas in the Making of the Constitution, by Jack N. Rakove (1997). KF4541.R35 1996 at Classified Stacks
  • Ashes to Ashes: America's Hundred-Year Cigarette War, the Public Health, and the Unabashed Triumph of Philip Morris, by Richard Kluger (1997). HV5760.K58 1997 at Classified Stacks)
  • Summer for the Gods: The Scopes Trial and America's Continuing Debate Over Science and Religion, by Edward J. Larson (1998). KF224.S3L37 1997 at Classified Stacks

One of the favorite works in law and literature courses is the 1961 winner for fiction: To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee (1961). PZ4.L4778 at Classified Stacks.

For other book reviews, visit the Book of the Week Archive.

Why Use a Citator?

Citators are research tools that enable you to start with one piece of information - the citation to a case, statute, or other document - and then find related information - citations to sources that cite your first source. Online citators include Shepard's on LEXIS-NEXIS and KeyCite on WESTLAW. There are also dozens of Shepard's citators in print - in fact, Shepard's in print set the standard for legal citators for over a century and the Law Library still subscribes to many sets. You will also sometimes use other specialized citators, for example, the citators that are part of the major tax looseleaf sets.

What do citators do for you?

  • They give you parallel citations - for instance, if you have a citation to a case in Wash. 2d and you want to find the P.2d citation.
  • They give you information about the direct history of the case you entered. Was this case appealed? If so, was it reversed or affirmed? Were there further published proceedings after remand?
  • They list other cases and secondary sources that cite your case (that is, the indirect history of your case). This is important in two ways:
    • If a later case overrules your case, then you can't rely on it.
    • If later cases criticize or distinguish your case, you need to analyze carefully how you can use your case and what weight it will have.
  • Cases and other sources that cite your case are likely to be relevant to the issue you are working on, citators can be a great research tool to help you find more material on your subject.

Sometimes a citator has thousands of entries for one famous case or statute. Both Shepard's (on LEXIS-NEXIS) and KeyCite (on WESTLAW) allow you to limit the display. For example, you can limit the display to only cases that cite headnote 3 of your case, that were decided in the Ninth Circuit, and that were decided after 1998. This feature can save you a lot of time and trouble.

Supreme Court on the Web

The United States Supreme Court has been comparatively slow to move onto the Internet, largely because of security concerns. However, it has announced that it will unveil its own website on Monday, April 17. Take a look: (Before April 17, only people with passwords have access to the site.)

For sites with information about the Supreme Court, including opinions, see our links on the Internet Legal Resources page.