European Union Developments : Javier Solana to Step Down as Lisbon Treaty Enters Force : British Catherine Ashton to Become EU Foreign Minister

Javier Solana is going into retirement on the day, December 1, 2009, that the Lisbon Treaty is to go into forcee and the British Catherine Ashton will become the “first” EU Foreign Minister.

See the article by Andrew Rettman:
EUobserver / EU's quiet diplomat steps aside after 10 years

The European Union EU Lisbon Treaty enters into force December 1, 2009

The European Union EU Lisbon Treaty enters into force December 1, 2009.

See e.g.

Privacy Law and Social Networking : Mind Your Tweets: The CIA Social Networking Surveillance System

Mind Your Tweets: The CIA Social Networking Surveillance System

“a ubiquitous surveillance infrastructure”

Why Big Media’s Anti-Google Counter-Revolution Will Fail – Umair Haque –

Seth’s Blog: How to lose an argument online

Law and Robots : Personal Robotics : Stanford University Experts Consider the Legal Challenges to Torts and Criminal and Civil Rights

Adam Gorlick has a Stanford University News report dated November 23, 2009 and titled

As robots become more common, Stanford experts consider the legal challenges

in which the abstract writes:

Stanford scholars are among the first in the country to ponder the potential legal questions facing the emerging field of personal robotics. The issues go beyond claims of personal injury and property damage, touching on criminal and civil rights laws as well.

Court Libraries Closing : Law Technology News

Court libraries are closing.

See Law Technology News

Happy Thanksgiving ! THANKSGIVING IS …

Rulings Address Defamation on Interactive Sites, in E-Mail

The ALM Law Technology News Launches Upgrade

The ALM Law Technology News Launches Upgrade:

NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–ALM’s Law Technology News today introduced its new Web site at The comprehensive site now offers expanded coverage of the legal technology industry, including news, reviews and analysis of the products, services, and vendors who serve the legal profession, as well as video, white papers, downloadable software and links to blogs, Web sites, surveys and other resources. The site merges content formerly hosted on’s Legal Technology site with Law Technology News’ award-winning coverage, offering a wide variety of expert advice on topics ranging from e-discovery and litigation technology, to practice management, security and social media tools.

Official Google Blog: Finding the laws that govern us

Official Google Blog: Finding the laws that govern us:

11/17/2009 09:05:00 AM

“Starting today [November 17], we’re enabling people everywhere to find and read full text legal opinions from U.S. federal and state district, appellate and supreme courts using Google Scholar.

Tech Tidbits: Copyright Matters – The Hill’s Hillicon Valley

Tech Tidbits: Copyright Matters – The Hill’s Hillicon Valley by Kim Hart currently notes the Google settlement with Authors Guild and the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement.

Global Warming and the Real Truth : Did Scientists Doctor the Data and Silence and Discredit Critics?

We have posted at length previously about the slipshod manner in which evidence is handled in the mainstream arts and sciences. See also Man’s History is a question of EVIDENCE: Where was Troy? Where did Paris take Helen of Troy? Greece & the Origins of Writing in Western Civilization

We now have a scandal in climate research.

What the Global Warming Emails Reveal –

[S]cientists appear to urge each other to present a “unified” view on the theory of man-made climate change while discussing the importance of the “common cause”; to advise each other on how to smooth over data so as not to compromise the favored hypothesis; to discuss ways to keep opposing views out of leading journals; and to give tips on how to “hide the decline” of temperature in certain inconvenient data….

[W]e do now have hundreds of emails that give every appearance of testifying to concerted and coordinated efforts by leading climatologists to fit the data to their conclusions while attempting to silence and discredit their critics. In the department of inconvenient truths, this one surely deserves a closer look by the media, the U.S. Congress and other investigative bodies.“

Read the rest here.

The Criminal Justice Leviathan : Who Should be in Jails and Prisons and Why? Right and Left Join to Take On U.S. Over Criminal Justice –

The United States has the largest population of imprisoned citizens among the civilized nations of the world.

But for what reason?

As my first mentor at Stanford Law School, Herbert Packer, cogently explained in his book The Limits of the Criminal Sanction, there are many undesirable things in society which are simply not rightly subjects for the criminal justice system, and yet, as Adam Liptak observes in his November 23, 2009 New York Times article,
Right and Left Join to Take On U.S. Over Criminal Justice
there are, by count of the Heritage Foundation,
currently over 4400 criminal offenses in the U.S. federal code.

When I taught Anglo-American law in the FFA program at the University of Trier Law School in Germany, I delighted each semester in asking my fledgling first-year students, who were also in the process of taking their first course in German Criminal Law [German Strafrecht], what the purpose of the criminal law was, and the almost unanimous answer given was that the purpose of the criminal law was to PUNISH offenders of the law.

And that is the view of the criminal law held by many people of many nations, also in the United States – a view which is as good as totally erroneous.

As I explained to my students, the PRINCIPAL PURPOSE of the criminal law is of course to PREVENT criminality, and not merely to punish people after the harm has already been done. Criminal sanctions are legislated in order to define and establish what kinds of human behaviour are legally undesirable in civilized society and to set penalties as high as possible to serve as barriers to the commission of legal wrongs. The more heinous a forbidden legal action, the higher the penalty which the law threatens. In legal terms, this is called DETERRENCE.

We have criminal laws because we hope thereby to deter the commission of crimes. The infliction of punishment is a necessary result of the breaking of those laws. However, the pure infliction of punishment is contrary to contemporary Western norms. Our modern Western Civilization is not a barbaric system of retribution but is rather based on the rule of law, which forbids the kind of blood revenge common in primitive cultures and backward religions. Indeed, the more significant the punishment component in law, the more primitive the society which imposes that punishment.

At Stanford, I helped John Kaplan, who became my mentor after Herbert Packer’s tragic and untimely passing, write and edit his still extant textbook, Criminal Justice. One of his key lines of thinking about criminal law was the understanding that law is a reflection of the society or non-society out of which it emerges. Societal rules on the high seas are not the same as those in suburbia. Ultimately, whether a society is enlightened and civilized or is a barbarian collection of near savages is something which we can easily judge from their criminal justice system.

Read Liptak’s article for potential forthcoming changes in the American criminal justice system.

The Wall Street Journal Has The Richest Readership Among Print Publications


The Wall Street Journal has the wealthiest readership among print readers according to a new survey from Mediamark Research & Intelligence, by way of BtoB Online.

See how others rank, here.