23 December 2010

The House Over Time

Just to follow-up on yesterday's post. The Washington Post has a really interesting interactive map showing how the composition of the House of Representatives has changed over the past 100 years. Choose a year. Then move your cursor over a given state. It will show you how many representatives that state had during the period you have chosen. It will also show you how many people each member of the House represented in a given period. Looks like the average number of people per member of Congress was about 290,000 in 1910. Today it is over 700,000 people per representative!

22 December 2010

Census Numbers Are In

In each of my courses, at some point or another, we touch upon how the membership of House of Representative is apportioned, and reapportioned every ten years. As students in my courses this semester have heard me say a number of times, this year reapportionment will once again take place because the United States just completed its census. Well, the numbers are in. Politico has more about which states were the winners and which the losers when it comes to membership in the House.

21 December 2010

Tweeting from the Jury Box

Reuters recently had an interesting article on the impact social media is having on juries. The article begins:
The explosion of blogging, tweeting and other online diversions has reached into U.S. jury boxes, raising serious questions about juror impartiality and the ability of judges to control courtrooms.
The article not only explains how this new media is threatening fairness in jury trials, but also provides numerous examples of instances where a judge ordered a NEW TRIAL because of a juror's online conduct during the trial.

18 December 2010

Advise and Obstruct

The New York Times recently ran an editorial with the same caption as my post here, which is clearly a play on the "advise and consent" language in the U.S. Constitution. As students will recall, while the President has the power to nominate federal judges, he must also obtain the consent of the U.S. Senate. As I mentioned in class, this process has become increasingly political to the point where the federal judiciary's ability to efficiently function is being threatened. Or at least so argues the New York Times.