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Library News: 
 

The Law Library will be
CLOSED
Monday, May 27
in observance of Memorial Day. 

The Library will be
OPEN 
Saturday, May 25
 normal hours from 10–4. 

Free MCLE Program May 21

Tuesday, May 21, Noon  to 1:30pm
Tips for Taking an Effective Deposition 
Presented by Richard Koskoff, Booth and Koskoff

ceb logoCo-sponsored with CEB
1.5 Hours 
free
 general participatory MCLE credit to those attending at the SF Law Library
***Download Flyer Here***
***Download Materials***

Watch the July 2018 Library Free Speech Special Event 

**Watch the Video Here**
Free Speech and the First Amendment:
Why do we give Nazis free speech
—and should we?

Presented by:
Erwin Chemerinsky, Dean and Jesse H. Choper Distinguished Professor of Law, Berkeley Law
Bernadette Meyler, Carla and Sheila Spaeth Professor of Law, Stanford Law
Justice Therese Stewart, California Court of Appeal, First Appellate District
Justice Jon Streeter, California Court of Appeal, First Appellate District
Moderator: Ben Feuer, Chairman, California Appellate Law Group LLP
Co-sponsored with The Bar Association of San Francisco

May Book Drive—Purchase a Book for the Library!

Books

Each month we will seek donors to purchase new titles for the Library. Here is the book Wish List for May:

Strategic Networking

 

Strategic Networking for Introverts, Extroverts, and Everyone in Between
Written by Carol Schiro Greenwald
$65.95, Paperback, 2019
ISBN: 978-1-64105-377-8

 

Untangling Fear in Lawyering

DONATED!

Untangling Fear in Lawyering: A Four-Step Journey Toward Powerful Advocacy
Written by Heidi K. Brown
$29.95, Paperback, 2019
ISBN: 978-1-64105-353-2

 

 

Sharia Law

 

Sharia (Islamic Law) in the Contemporary World: A Legal Research Guide
Written by Christopher Anglim
$79, Paperback, 2019
ISBN: 978-0-83774-005-8 

 

 

Thank you to James Michel for generously donating John Lennon vs. The USA: The Inside Story of the Most Bitterly Contested and Influential Deportation Case in United States History, part of our August 2018 Book Drive.

Thank you to Althea Kippes for generously donating both books from our February Book Drive—California Animal Laws Handbook, 2019 and The Art of Fact Investigation.

Thank you to Brenna Moorhead for generously donating Dred Scott v. Sandford:
Opinions and Contemporary Commentary
, from our May 2018 Book Drive. 

Please take a look at our Book Drive page to see Wish List items from prior months. We are still wishing for these books!

To donate, please contact sflawlibrary@sfgov.org or call (415) 554-1791. We appreciate your contribution!

 

 

Resources for California
Fire Victims

A compilation of resources to help those affected by the California wildfires.

 

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E-Update Newsletter

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Visit Our New Blog:

Visit our new "sflawlibraryblog." Our blog will highlight library news, resources, and events.

Law Library Book of the Month:
Closing the Courthouse Door: How Your Constitutional Rights Became Unenforceable
By Erwin Chemerinsky
Reviewed by Andrea Woods, Reference Librarian

Esteemed constitutional law scholar Erwin Chemerinsky wrote Closing the Courthouse Door: How Your Constitutional Rights Became Unenforceable after decades of mounting frustration over how Supreme Court jurisprudence has chipped away at the ability of the federal courts to perform their most important and basic task—to enforce the Constitution. He examines how the Court has limited the ability of a plaintiff to sue state and local governments for constitutional violations, expanded immunity protection for government officers, narrowed the instances where the court will find standing for injured parties, restricted access to habeas corpus, thwarted plaintiffs from suing in class actions, and increased abstention by finding more and more cases are nonjusticiable political questions. The result of the Court’s expansion of these procedural doctrines is that many citizens are left with no remedy when their constitutional rights are violated. Chemerinsky eloquently and passionately argues that the role of the Constitution is to hold the government and its officers accountable to those whose constitutional rights have been infringed upon, and if the federal courts are not able to enforce the Constitution, then it is as if those rights did not exist at all. 

Most disturbing in this snowballing trend is that the procedural doctrines the Court has expanded are entirely the Court’s own creation—they are not based on the Constitution, and they are not founded on federal statutes. For example, the defense of immunity for government officers is not found in the language of section 1983, which creates a private right of action against government officials who deprive a person of a constitutional right. Not only did the Court create this defense, but it found that some tasks warrant absolute immunity, even for the most egregious violations of a constitutional right, and even when officials act in a way that clearly exceeded their authority. Chemerinsky maintains that there is no need for absolute immunity at all because all officials have qualified immunity, but even here, the Court has made it increasingly difficult for plaintiffs to recover for their injuries by continually expanding the scope and availability of the defense. 

Throughout Closing the Courthouse Door, Chemerinsky cites example after heartbreaking example where a person was left with no recourse after their constitutional rights were trampled. Because of one procedural doctrine or another, the federal courts were left unable to enforce the Constitution. Chemerinsky notes that this should be a bipartisan issue, and in fact, he surmises that many conservatives should theoretically welcome the idea of holding the government accountable for its actions. He optimistically concludes each chapter with a suggested path forward, where either the Court itself or Congress could act to rectify these erroneous doctrines. In many cases, the changes he presses for would only restore the law to what it was several years ago, before more restrictive holdings were announced. Chemerinsky posits that the federal courts have been diminished as a co-equal branch of government as a result of abstaining from hearing many types of cases, and that we as a nation should want our courts to be able to ensure that constitutional wrongs can be righted.