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Law Library News

Law Library News Archive

April 24, 2006.
Kristy Moon, editor.

Citing Unpublished Opinions

--Mary Whisner

On April 12, 2006, the U.S. Supreme Court voted to adopt a rule that would allow citations to unpublished opinions in federal courts starting next year. Congress has until December 1 to block the rule change.

Many unpublished opinions are available on legal databases and currently, Second, Seventh, Ninth, and Federal Circuits ban citations to unpublished opinions while the remaining circuits discourage it. Under the new rule, circuits will not be able to prevent lawyers from citing unpublished opinions issued on or after January 1, 2007, but can still give varying precedential weight to them.

According to the April 13 article at, "unpublished opinions first came into vogue in the 1960s as a time-saving device for appellate judges." The article further notes that the change was proposed by the Advisory Committee on the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure, then chaired by Third Circuit Judge Samuel Alito and with D.C. Circuit Judge John Roberts on the CommitteeÖand so the "vote may have been unsurprising."

The new rule (or almost rule) is Fed. R. App. P. 32.1,

Other rules changed are: Appellate Rule 25; Bankruptcy Rules 1009, 5005, 7004; Civil Rules 5, 9, 14, 16, 24, 26, 33, 34, 37, 45, 50, and 65.1; new Civil Rule 5.1; Civil Form 35; and Supplemental Rules A, C, and E, and new Supplemental Rule G; Criminal Rules 5, 6, 32.1, 40, 41, and 58; and Evidence Rules 404, 408, 606, and 609. See

Try Casemaker & Loislaw

Will your employer provide you with Lexis or Westlaw this summer or after graduation? Do you want to know what other online legal research systems are out there? Bring your lunch and come to a workshop on Tuesday, May 2, 12:30-1:20 in Room 119. A reference librarian will demonstrate Casemaker and Loislaw and talk about low-cost alternatives to Lexis and Westlaw. See you there!

AccessLaw Improvement Coming Soon!

--Judy Davis

Do you know that AccessLaw allows you to simultaneously search the law library catalogs of Penn, Texas (at Austin), UC Berkeley, UW, and Yale?

Soon, youíll be able to request materials directly from these libraries with just your name and Husky card barcode. If you've used SUMMIT (which allows you to simultaneously search and request materials from 30+ academic libraries in the Pacific Northwest), you've experienced the convenience and timely delivery of this type of service.

AccessLaw promises to provide similar benefits even though your research materials may come from afar. To search AccessLaw or SUMMIT, go to the catalog page and look under "Other Library Catalogs." And be on the lookout for the new resource sharing capability coming soon to AccessLaw.

Book of the Week: Cohenís Handbook of Federal Indian Law

--Ann Hemmens

As you know, Professor Robert Anderson teaches property and Indian law courses at the UW School of Law. He also serves as the Director of the Native American Law Center at the Law School. He recently contributed to the scholarship of Indian law by serving as one of the executive editors for the 2005 edition of Cohenís Handbook of Federal Indian Law, the preeminent treatise on the topic.

This treatise was originally published in 1941 by Felix Cohen who served in various capacities in the federal government for fourteen years before returning to private law practice. According to the editors of the 2005 edition, the first edition was an:

American legal realist classic and played an important role in both the history of federal Indian law and the evolution of American jurisprudence. Before its publication, lawyers and courts regarded federal Indian law as a collection of loosely connected, tribally specific treaties, statutes, case decisions, and other sources. Felix Cohenís Handbook brought focus and coherence to this confusing welter of sources and, in effect, created the field of federal Indian law. (ix)

The work has had an interesting history. The first edition reflected Felix Cohenís belief in tribal sovereignty and the importance of preserving tribal cultures, resources, and land. However, by the 1950s, federal governmentís policy towards Indians changed and the Department of the Interior published a revised edition of the Handbook in 1958 with a focus on the federal governmentís power over tribes. Then Congress got involved in the fray when it mandated, via a provision in the Civil Rights Act of 1968, an update of the Handbook. This resulted in the 1982 edition with a returned focus on tribal sovereignty.

Another UW Law professor, in addition to Professor Anderson, contributed to this important treatise. Professor Ralph Johnson (1923-1999) provided assistance to the editors who drafted the 2005 edition. He was well known to Indian law scholars. A list of his publications was prepared by the Gallagher Law Library.

The field of Indian law has changed a great deal since the 1982 publication. Consequently you will find coverage of these new topics in the 2005 edition: cultural property; comparative and international law; Indian gaming; Indian child welfare; environmental regulation; tribal recognition; tribal-state cooperative agreements; and the legal regimes dealing with specific native groups such as Native Hawaiians, Alaska Natives, the Pueblos, Oklahoma tribes, and unrecognized or state-recognized tribes. This compact one-volume treatise will be updated on a biannual basis.

Chapters of Cohenís Handbook of Federal Indian Law:

  1. History & background of federal Indian policy
  2. Principles of interpretation
  3. Indian tribes, Indians, and Indian country
  4. Indian tribal governments
  5. Tribal/federal relationship
  6. Tribal/state relationship
  7. Civil jurisdiction
  8. Taxation
  9. Criminal jurisdiction
  10. Environmental regulation in Indian country
  11. Indian Child Welfare Act
  12. Indian gaming
  13. Federal Indian liquor laws
  14. Civil rights
  15. Tribal property
  16. Individual Indian property
  17. Natural resources
  18. Hunting, fishing, and gathering rights
  19. Water rights
  20. Tribal cultural resources
  21. Economic development
  22. Government services for Indians

Helpful finding aids include a Table of Cases, Table of Statutes (including USC, CFR, and state statutes), and an Index.

Whether you are studying Indian law because you plan to practice in the area or you are writing a seminar paper, remember to consult Cohenís Handbook of Federal Indian Law (2005) (KF8205.C6 2005 at Reference Area). For additional resources, see the Indian Law Research guide.