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The Federal Link to our Hometown Libraries

While visiting family recently in Scranton, Pennsylvania, I paid a visit to the Albright Memorial Library in the city’s downtown.  The high-pitched roof and gray limestone of this building bring back memories of the seemingly countless hours I spent studying during high school, when, sadly we did not even have dial up internet.  It is […]

Unusual Laws: The Tudor Vermin Acts

Continuing with our unusual laws series, we turn to Tudor Vermin Acts. These acts allowed officials to hinder the growth of vermin by placing a bounty on nuisance animals, creating an incentive for private citizens to take it upon themselves to eradicate what were believed to be agricultural pests. Since the United States inherited its common […]

Executive Orders: A Beginner’s Guide

Although they are not specifically mentioned in the U.S. Constitution, Executive Orders have been considered one of the President’s powers since George Washington’s administration.  Executive Orders are exactly what they sound like—orders produced by the President, as head of the executive branch, that are “generally directed to, and govern actions by, Government officials and agencies.”[1]  […]

The Electoral College – What Is It and How Does It Function?

The following is a guest post by Barbara Bavis and Robert Brammer, both legal reference librarians in the Public Services Division of the Law Library of Congress. The 2012 Presidential election is projected to be close, and attention has turned to whether the Electoral College may diverge from the popular vote in shaping the outcome […]

The State of What?? U.S. States that Never Made the Cut

New Jersey was once “the Two Jerseys” (East and West). Kentucky started out as Virginia’s backyard.  Connecticut once harbored imperial dreams—claiming a Western Reserve that stretched all the way to the banks of the Mississippi. The shapes of our States have a complex and unexpected history.  It’s easy to forget that history owes a debt to […]

Recap of Presentation – Jews on Trial: The Papal Inquisition in Modena, 1598-1638

The following is a guest post by Dante Figueroa, Senior Legal Information Analyst at the Law Library of Congress. On Wednesday, March 21, 2012, I had the opportunity and pleasure to introduce Professor Katherine Aron-Beller at the presentation of her new book, Jews on Trial: The Papal Inquisition in Modena, 1598-1638. As previously posted on […]

State of the Union Addresses

The annual State of the Union address by the President of the United States to a joint session of the U.S. Congress has become a modern ritual that generates considerable discussion among newspaper and broadcast commentators, bloggers, and the Twitterverse.  This commentary covers a broad array of topics, including political analysis, comments on special guests, […]