Wednesday, February 3, 2016

The Father of Black History

By David from Washington, DC (Carter G. Woodson  Uploaded by AlbertHerring) [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
While the history of black Americans certainly does not begin with Carter Godwin Woodson, its realized importance is in large part thanks to him.

Carter Woodson was a teacher and historian who was concerned about the preservation of his culture, and convinced that African American history, and the history of other cultures was either overlooked or misrepresented. In 1915 he founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (later the Association for the Study of African American Life and History). It was in 1926, that he and the Association for the Study of African American Life announced that the second week of February was Negro History Week (which, not so coincidentally, coincided with both Abraham Lincoln's and Frederick Douglass' birthdays) and would place emphasis on the education of African Americans contributions to history.

Negro History Week would eventually grow into Black History Month in 1970, but became officially recognized by the U.S. government in 1979, as part of the United States Bicentennial.

And thus concludes this very, very brief history lesson on the history of Black History Month. Stop by the Law Library to see our Black History Month display, and get some suggested readings on other notable people and moments in African American history.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016


Due to the blizzard conditions, the Law Library will be closing to the public at 1:00 p.m. on Tuesday, February 2.  Law students will continue to have 24/7 access using their University ID cards, but the Law Library staff will not be available.

We anticipate opening at 7:45 a.m. on Wednesday.  Stay warm and safe everyone!

Good News for those who Trust Groundhogs

Photo Courtesy ShannonPatrick17
Punxsutawney Phil did not see his shadow! An early spring is predicted amongst this terrible winter storm. This was independently verified by Shubenacadie Sam (Canada's foremost Groundhog weatherman) that it is indeed true - we can in fact expect an early spring. So enjoy this winter wonderland, it won't be long till we're hit with tornadoes and daffodils!

Monday, February 1, 2016


We're kickin' off February with blizzards! Aside from that though, February is a pretty big month, what with groundhogs, and love, and birthdays, and it's a leap year.

Be sure the check out this month's displays and learn some fun facts about our nation's leaders in this book, remember that Valentine's Day isn't always for lovers, and discover notable achievements by African American pioneers in history.

It's an exciting, albeit short month. Before you know it, SPRING BREAK!!!!!!!!!

Professor Simmons Reviews New Title: A Legal Theory for Autonomous Artificial Agents

Professor Tom Simmons is contributing to the collection development effort of the USD Law Library. Under this program, professors make recommendations for titles to be added to the Law Library's collection. Consistent with the Collection Development Policy of the Law Library, titles recommended for acquisition by the faculty are given priority consideration. Below Professor Simmons provides a review of a title acquired under the program. Thank you Professor Simmons!

Review of: Samir Chopra & Laurence F. White, A Legal Theory for Autonomous Artificial Agents (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2011)

Philosophy Professor Chopra and attorney White’s work synthesizes both the philosophical and legal dilemmas of emerging autonomous entities with some measure of artificial intelligence. They consider thinking robots in the context of contracts, agency, and tort. Their concluding chapter on the possibility of legal personhood contains their most stirring and creative propositions.

Noting that legal personhood does not necessarily signify moral personhood, the authors emphasize that when the law endows personhood on a non-human, it does so largely for functional and practical reasons: “The law might or might not require this change in status given the functionality and social role of artificial agents. But pragmatism can be wedded to normativity: the case for artificial agents’ legal personality can come to acquire the aura of an imperative depending on the nature of our relationships with them, and the roles they are asked to fulfill in our future social orderings.” (p. 154)

Legal personhood does not necessarily imply full personhood. Corporations are persons insofar as they can own property, contract, hire agents, sue and be used, and suffer prosecution for misdeeds. Yet corporations cannot adopt children. Nor may corporations be considered victims of assault and battery. The contours of personhood for non-humans are drawn according to social norms and functionality.

Chopra and White’s book explains how the capacity of autonomous entities for consciousness, awareness, or at least the ability to execute discretionary decisions will drive the recognition of personhood. The technological future of thinking robots will meet the law in recognizable and perhaps even predictable encounters.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Jurisprudential Love

Tulane University, Louisiana Research Collection Robert G. Polack Papers (New Orleans Lawyer)

Nice try Robert B. Polack, but that telegram is hardly legally binding! For us serious lovers seeking to secure a Valentine, has us covered. 

Friday, January 8, 2016

Welcome to Spring 2016!

Welcome back Law Scholars. Hopefully this semester finds you rested and ready to get back to the books. If you aren't quite excited to be lost in legalese . . .well. . . only 8 more weeks until Spring Break!

In any case, we're glad to have you back, and are ready to assist you with any reference needs.

New library news: we have changed our hours for faculty, staff, and students. In addition to 24/7 access to the library (even during holidays and breaks), we will be offering circulation and reference services Monday-Thursday until 9 p.m. and Sundays 12:30 - 9 p.m.

Again, welcome back, and good luck with the upcoming semester!