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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

“WWNS?” or How Would Nina Totenberg Write an Answer to a Law Exam Question?

Jessica R. Alexander, J.D., M.L.S., Reference Librarian

I have been listening to Nina Totenberg’s National Public Radio analysis of Supreme Court arguments and outcomes for many years. I still remember exactly where I was when she broke the news on the Justice Clarence Thomas/Anita Hill controversey.  I marvel at how she has developed the extraordinary analytical skills applied to her broadcast segments and written analysis of complex issues before the Supreme Court. Law students preparing for exams might ask themselves the question? “WWNS?” Let’s examine her analysis over the years of cases before the Supreme Court involving first year and second year courses – family, constitutional, contracts, civil and criminal procedure, property, and torts. In order to research the cases to choose from, I utilized our Bloomberg database, BNA's US Law Week.  For in-depth analysis of lower federal courts and the Supreme Court, US Law Week is the go-to source. US Law Week is also a source for analysis and briefing of cases and issues that come before the lower federal courts as well as the Supreme Court. (While Bloomberg is available only to students, faculty and staff, access to United States Law Week is available to visitors.)

For examples, listen to these segments:
Civil Procedureprevious hitAT&T Mobility LLC v. Concepcion,584 F.3d 849(2011 “Supreme Court Imposes Limits on Class Actions” Broadcast April 28, 2011 http://www.npr.org/2011/04/28/135785797/supreme-court-imposes-limits-on-class-actions

Constitutional  – Arizona v. United States, 641 F.3d 249, 79 USLW 4279 (2012)
“Controversial Arizona Law Reaches Supreme Court,” Broadcast April 15, 2012 http://www.npr.org/2012/04/25/151281643/controversial-arizona-law-reaches-supreme-court
Case Opinion at Supreme Court - http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/11pdf/11-182.pdf
ContractsGeneral Dynamics Corp. v. United States567 F. 3d 1340 (2011)
“Supreme Court Weighs Military Contract Dispute,” – Broadcast January 19, 2011
http://www.npr.org/2011/01/19/133035027/supreme-court-weighs-military-contract-dispute
Case Opinion at Supreme Court website: - http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/10pdf/09-1298.pdf

Criminal Law and  Procedure Missouri v. Frye, 133 S.Ct. 1399 (2012) “Supreme Court Rules on Plea Bargain Rights,” Broadcast March 22, 2012 http://www.npr.org/2012/03/22/149126033/supreme-court-rules-on-plea-bargain-rights
Case Opinion at Supreme Court http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/11pdf/10-444.pdf

this case was just decided by the Supreme Court April 18y: Missouri v. McNeely, summary of opinion by Nina Totenberg Broadcast April 13, 2013 http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2013/04/17/177666177/supreme-court-backs-warrants-for-blood-tests-in-dui-cases "Can Police Force Drunken Driving Suspects to Take Blood Test?” transcript January 9, 2013
Case Opinion at Supreme Court http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/12pdf/11-1425_cb8e.pdf
written analysis of case during oral arbuments at
http://www.kpbs.org/news/2013/jan/09/can-police-force-drunken-driving-suspects-take-blo/
FamilyAdoptive Couple v. Baby Girl, No. 12-399, “Emotions Run High as Supreme Court Hears Adoption Case,” Broadcast April 16, 2013http://www.npr.org/2013/04/16/177507503/supreme-court-case-tests-indian-child-welfare-act
Supreme Court docket, etc. at http://www.supremecourt.gov/Search.aspx?FileName=/docketfiles/12-399.htm

TortsMillbrook v. United States, No. 10362, 477 Fed. Appx. 4‘Prisoner's Handwritten Petition Prompts Justices to Weigh Government Immunity,” Broadcast, February 19, 2013http://www.npr.org/2013/02/19/172103940/prisoners-handwritten-petition-prompts-justices-to-weigh-government-immunity
Case Opinion at Supreme Court http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/12pdf/11-10362_2d9g.pdf

 PropertyLozeman v. City of  Riviera Beach, Florida, No. 11-626 “Supreme Court: Floating Home Still A Man's Castle,” Broadcast January 15, 2013
http://www.npr.org/2013/01/15/169452244/supreme-court-rules-that-houseboats-are-houses-not-boats
Case Opinion at Supreme Court http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/12pdf/11-626_p8k0.pdf