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Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966)

June 9, 2014

On June 13, 1966, in an opinion written by Chief Justice Earl Warren, the Supreme Court answered the question of whether statements made by a suspect during custodial interrogations are admissible against him in a criminal trial.  The opinion also answered whether procedural safeguards must be in place to ensure that the defendant is afforded protections guaranteed by the Fifth Amendment.

Miranda consolidated several cases, each involving interrogation of a suspect.  Each suspect made statements that were admitted at trial and each was convicted.

The Court held that suspects in custodial custody “must be warned prior to any questioning that he has the right to remain silent, that anything he says can be used against him in a court of law, that he has the right to the presence of an attorney, and that if he cannot afford an attorney one will be appointed for him prior to any questioning if he so desires.”

Over the years, the Court has refined its opinion in Miranda.  However, it’s importance over the past decades is evident in common recognition of a suspect being read his or her Miranda rights.



Freedom of Information Day and Sunshine Week 2014

March 17, 2014

Freedom of Information Day on March 16 promotes public access to government information and the public’s right to know.  Held during Sunshine Week, the day also celebrates the birth of  our fourth President, James Madison (1751-1836).  Madison is recognized as the primary drafter of the Constitution, the author of the Bill of Rights and a voice for open government.

Read more about James Madison’s views in The Federalist.  For a discussion of his views, see To Secure the Liberty of the People:  James Madison’s Bill of Rights and the Supreme Court’s Interpretations, by Eric T. Kasper.

The National Security Archives, located at The George Washington University, has information about freedom of information and FOIA.

Sunshine Week, March 16 – 22, highlights  the importance of open access to government activities and records.  It is organized by the American Society of Newspaper Editors.

Marbury v. Madison

February 21, 2014

Chief Justice John Marshall, appointed to the Supreme Court and as Secretary of State by President John Adams, established the basis for judicial review in Marbury v. Madison, 5 U.S. 137 (1803).  The conflict began in 1803 when Marshall, in his concurrent role as Secretary of State, left commission papers for John Marbury, appointed by President Adams as a justice of the peace for the District of Columbia.  Marshall briefly continued his tenure as Secretary of State under President Thomas Jefferson, until the appointment of James Madison as Secretary of State.  Of the opposing party, Madison refused to surrender the commission papers to Marbury;  Marbury sued for a writ of mandamus to compel Madison to act.

In his decision, Marshall ruled that the Supreme Court could not compel Madison to turn over the commission.  Notably, Marshall ruled that a section of the Judiciary Act of 1789 that permitted Marbury to bring his suit was beyond those powers granted in Article and so was in conflict with the Constitution and, as such, void.  Nothing in the Constitution specifically grants review power to the judicial branch.  By reviewing the actions of Adams along with the legislation, Marshall established the judiciary branch as equal to the executive and legislative branches.

Read more about Marshall and Marbury v. Madison:

Winner of Our Lawlapalooza 2014 Kindle Drawing

February 7, 2014


We’re pleased to announce that Shirley Qin, J.D. Class of 2016 and a member of the Jackson Inn of Court, is the winner of our 2014 Lawlapalooza drawing for a Kindle Fire.  Leslie Lee, Assistant Director for Administrative Services, presented Shirley with the device.  Find more information about Lawlapalooza 2014.

The Morris L. Cohen Student Essay Competition

February 4, 2014

Cohen Flyer Feb 14

Discover PLI’s Discover Plus

January 30, 2014

What is Discover PLUS, you ask?  It’s PLI’s eBook library, which contains all of PLI’s treatises, answer books, course handbooks, program transcripts, and legal forms.  We’ve recently subscribed to Practising Law Institute’s Discover PLUS platform and are excited to introduce it to our GW Law students and faculty.

Search the platform or browse an alphabetical title list for content that spans practice areas including environmental law, intellectual property, international law, professional skills, and more.

Come to Lawlapalooza—Feb. 5, 11:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m., Stockton Hall lounges—to meet our PLI representative to learn more about how you can use this important new resource.

GW Law Students and Faculty – You’re Invited to Our 5th Annual Lawlapalooza Research Fair

January 29, 2014
Wish you were more informed about library services and resources or knew how to research better?  Come to Lawlapalooza, a research fair hosted by the Jacob Burns Law Library.
Date: Wednesday, February 5, 2014
Time: 11am– 3:30pm
Location: Stockton Hall Lounges
GW Law students may earn pizza and enter a drawing for a Kindle by chatting with representatives from vendors who provide the Library with products and electronic resources and viewing a librarian-created Information Blast to learn more about Library services available to help you succeed.
See our online research guide to learn more!

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