U.S. Law

Happy Repeal Day!

Bock Beer

A Karl Llewellyn favorite beer

Rejoice, wine and beer lovers!  On this day, December 5, in 1933, Congress ended the nation’s dry spell.  Senate Joint Resolution 211 proposing a 21st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution to repeal the 18th Amendment, was enacted, thus setting a nation of drinkers free from Prohibition.  And making the Law School Wine Mess possible!

Selected Resources on Beer and Wine Law

New online legal history resource

Researchers campus wide can now access the Oxford International Encyclopedia of Legal History online via the D’Angelo Law Library. Here’s a description of the print version (xxK50.O94 2009):

The Encyclopedia is a six-volume illustrated (B&W photos) interdisciplinary reference work with about 1000 articles on these and many other history of law topics. Picture of 6 volumes of the Oxford International Encyclopedia of Legal HistoryThe Encyclopedia specifically covers eight areas of scholarly research interest:  ancient Greek law; ancient Roman law; Chinese law; English common law; Islamic law; medieval and post-medieval Roman law; South Asian, African, and Latin American law; and United States law. And, within each area, these major categories of law–contracts, torts, civil procedure, criminal law, administrative law, and constitutional law. Contributors included internationally-renowned legal historians such as Law School Professor Richard H. Helmholz who authored the articles on:  Compurgation; Ecclesiastical Law in English Common Law; and Marriage: English Common Law.

Each Encyclopedia article includes cross-references to related articles and a bibliography of additional readings. The Encyclopedia has a Topical Outline of Contents (arranged by the eight areas listed above), a Directory of Contributors, an Index of Legal Cases, and an extensive 260-page subject index.


Announcing PLI’s Discover Plus


PLI Discover Plus


The Library is pleased to offer access to a new e-book library,  PLI Discover Plus.  

The Practising Law Institute is a non-profit continuing legal education organization which offers continuing education programming and publications written by general practitioners. 

Discover Plus vast library includes:

    • books (authoritative treatises,  Answer Books,  course handbooks),
    • legal forms, and 
    • transcripts from CLE programs

Practice areas covered include: 

PLI Practice Areas

 Examples of popular PLI titles/series:  

To get a sense of the breadth of Discover Plus, take a look at their 2012 catalog. Please let us know if you have any questions about this new resource.

Women and the law

March 8 is International Women’s Day.  To celebrate, here are some key resources on women and the law worldwide:

  • Gender Jurisprudence Collections (GJC)(database of the War Crimes Research Office (WCRO) and Women in International Law Program (WILP)  of the American University Washington College of Law; international criminal tribunal cases on sexual and gender-based violence)
  • Gender Law Library (World Bank; legislation on women’s economic status in 183 economies; constitutional provisions, statutes, decrees and regulations, treaties on gender equality, family and inheritance law, labor law, and restrictions on women in countries worldwide; including WBL (women, business and the law) indicators)

Gender Law Library screen capture

Screenshot of OECDiLibrary's GI-DB (gender institutions database)



Lorraine Hansberry: Her Chicago law story

 What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun…
Or does it explode? —Langston Hughes

Lorraine Hansberry photoKrik?  Krak!  In honor of Black History Month, I decided to tell Lorraine Hansberry’s story, but February fled and we’re in March, so I am celebrating Women’s History Month with a post about Ms. Hansberry and the U.S. Supreme Court case of Hansberry v. Lee.  “A Raisin in the Sun,” a play about a Black family who purchase a home in a white neighborhood, made Ms. Hansberry famous.  When she was 29, Ms. Hansberry “became the youngest playwright, the fifth woman, and the first black dramatist to win the most prestigious award [the New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award].” (Cheney 26).  She based the plot of Raisin on her real family life.   

Lorraine Vivian Hansberry was born in Chicago on May 19, 1930, the youngest of four children born to Carl Augustus Hansberry, a prominent real estate broker, and his wife, Nannie Louise Hansberry, a schoolteacher and ward committeewoman.  Lorraine’s uncle, William Leo Hansberry, taught African history at Howard University.  On May 26, 1937, Carl Hansberry moved the family to Woodlawn (map), an all-white neighborhood near the University of Chicago.  The Hansberry family home (6140 S. Rhodes Ave.) was declared an historic landmark by the Chicago City Council on February 10, 2010.


Anna M. Lee and others brought an action in the Circuit Court of Cook County to enforce a restrictive covenant, and enjoin the Hansberrys from occupying their home.  Under the “restrictive agreement”, about 500 Chicago property owners agreed that no part of the real estate should be “sold, leased to, or permitted to be occupied by any person of the colored race”.  The restrictive covenant covered blocks between 60th and 63d streets, and between Cottage Grove and South Park avenues [now Martin Luther King Drive] in Chicago.  The trial court held that Burke v. Kleiman (1934), in which the parties stipulated to the validity of the covenant, bound Mr. Hansberry even though he was not a party to that litigation.  In Lee v. Hansberry (1939), the Supreme Court of Illinois affirmed the trial court’s judgment.

Ms. Hansberry’s father and mother, represented by Earl B. Dickerson, J.D. `20 and several other members of an NAACP litigation team, appealed the decision to the U.S.  Supreme Court.  In Hansberry v. Lee, 311 U.S. 32 (1940), Justice Stone, writing for the majority, reversed the Illinois Supreme Court decision on the basis that neither party to the Burke litigation represented Mr. Hansberry’s interests.  Works on class action and civil procedure often cite the Hansberry case for the fundamental due process principle that “a ruling cannot bind absent class members if the representatives are inadequate.” (Klonoff, at 57).  Despite the Supreme Court victory, Lorraine Hansberry believed her father never recovered from his struggle against racial segregation.  Mr. Hansberry passed away from a cerebral hemorrhage on March 7, 1946, at the age of 50, while visiting Mexico. He’d planned to move the family there.

Lorraine Hansberry attended kindergarten on Chicago’s South Side.  “The kids beat me up; and I think it was from that moment I became a rebel.”  When Lorraine was 8, a “howling” mob attacked her family’s home.  A brick hurled through the window narrowly missed Lorraine’s head.  As a child, Lorraine met Paul Robeson, Langston Hughes, W.E.B. Du Bois, and other civil rights activists who frequently visited her family.   Lorraine went to Betsy Ross Elementary School and graduated from Englewood High School in 1948.  Lorraine was politically active and worked for social justice throughout her brief adult life.  She was an associate editor for Paul Robeson’s progressive Freedom newspaper.  She participated in the civil rights movement in the South as a field organizer for CORE (the Congress of Racial Equality).  She supported the fledgling American lesbian liberation movement.  Lorraine Hansberry died of pancreatic cancer on January 12, 1965 at the age of 34.  But Ms. Hansberry’s story is not over.  It continues in her writings:

“I think, then, that Negroes must concern themselves with every single means of struggle: legal, illegal, passive, active, violent and non-violent. That they must harass, debate, petition, give money to court struggles, sit-in, lie-down, strike, boycott, sing hymns, pray on steps, and shoot from their windows when the racists come cruising through their communities. The acceptance of our present condition is the only form of extremism which discredits us before our children.” (To Be Young, Gifted and Black, at 214).

Below are resources for researching Ms. Hansberry’s Chicago law story:


Lee v. Hansberry, 372 Ill. 369, 24 N.E. 2d 37 (Ill., 1939).

Hansberry et al.  v. Lee et al., 311 U.S. 32 (1940)(via HeinOnline U.S. Supreme Court Library). 

Briefs (via Gale/Cengage U.S. Supreme Court Briefs).  Attorneys for Petitioners:  Earl B. Dickerson, Truman K. Gibson, Jr., C. Francis Stradford, Loring B. Moore, and Irvin C. Mollison.  Attorneys for Respondents:  Angus Roy Shannon, McKenzie Shannon, William C. Graves, Preston B. Kavanagh, and Randolph Thornton.

Books, Articles, & Videos

Carter, Steven R.  Hansberry’s Drama:  Commitment and Complexity (Urbana:  University of Illinois Press, 1991).  Regenstein Bookstacks, PS3515.​A595Z8C25 1991.

Cheney, Anne. Lorraine Hansberry (Boston: Twayne, 1984).  Regenstein Bookstacks, PS3515.​A595Z8C51.

Domina, Lynn. Understanding A Raisin in the Sun: A Student Casebook to Issues, Sources, and Historical Documents (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood, 1998).

The Electronic Encyclopedia of Chicago (Chicago Historical Society, 2005; Chicago History Museum, Newberry Library, and Northwestern University; Janice L. Reiff, Anne Durkin Keating, and James R. Grossman eds.). 

Entries for:  “Washington Park Subdivision”, “Restritive Covenants”, “National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)”, “Open Housing”.

Graettinger, Robert.  “A Raisin in the Sun As Commentary on Hansberry v. Lee,” 17 CBA Record, June-July 2003, at 30.

Hansberry, Lorraine. A Raisin in the Sun: A Drama in Three Acts (New York: Random House, 1959).   Regenstein Bookstacks, PS3515.A595R3 1959.

Kamp, Allen R. (J.D. ’69)  “The History Behind Hansberry v. Lee,” 20 U.C. Davis Law Review 481-499 (1987).

Keppel, Ben.  The Work of Democracy: Ralph Bunche, Kenneth B. Clark, Lorraine Hansberry, and the Politics of Race (Cambridge, Mass.:  Harvard University Press, 1995).  Regenstein Bookstacks, E185.​61.​K390 1995.

Includes chapters on “The Political Education of Lorraine Hansberry” and “The Dialectical Imagination of Lorraine Hansberry”. 

Long, Herman H. & Charles S. Johnson. People vs. Property: Race Restrictive Covenants in Housing (Nashville: Fisk University Press, 1947).  D’Angelo Law, North Annex, KB3188.L38P4 1947.

“Lorraine Hansberry,” Gay & Lesbian Biography 216-218 (Michael J. Tyrkus ed., Detroit:  St. James Press, 1997).  Regenstein, General Reference, HQ75.2.G39 1996.

McKissack, Patricia C. & Fredrick McKissack.  Young, Black, and Determined: A Biography of Lorraine Hansberry (Holiday House, 1997).

Metzger, Linda (ed.).  “Lorraine Hansberry,” Black Writers 146-147 (Detroit: Gale Research, 1989).  2d ed.:  Regenstein Bookstacks, E185.96.B545 1994.

A Raisin in the Sun movie cover

A Raisin in the Sun (1961).  D’Angelo Law Reserve Room, DVD PN1997.Z9R36 1999.

“Film of the award-winning play about a struggling black family living on Chicago’s South Side and the impact of an unexpected insurance bequest. Each family member sees the bequest as the means of realizing dreams and of escape from grinding frustrations.” Starring Sidney Poitier, Claudia McNeil, Ruby Dee.  Produced by David Susskind & Philip Rose.  Directed by Daniel Petrie.  Screenplay by Lorraine Hansberry.

Sharadha, Y. S. Black Women’s Writing: Quest for Identity in the Plays of Lorraine Hansberry and Ntozake Shange (New Delhi: Prestige Books, 1998).  Regenstein Bookstacks, PS3515.​A515Z86 1998.

To Be Young, Gifted and Black: Lorraine Hansberry in Her Own Words (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1969).  Regenstein Bookstacks, PS3515.A595Z8N4.

Adapted by Robert Nemiroff.  With original drawings and art by Miss Hansberry.  And an introduction by James Baldwin.

To Be Young, Gifted and Black (PBS TV, 1972).  1998 VHS video available via Amazon.

Use of Class Actions in Restrictive Covenant Cases,” 7 University of Chicago Law Review 563-567 (1940).  About Lee v. Hansberry, 24 N.E.2d 37 (Ill., 1939).

Vose, Clement E.  Caucasians Only:  The Supreme Court, the NAACP, and the Restrictive Covenant Cases (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1959).  D’Angelo Law, North Annex, KB6247.V6C3 1959 c.1a.

Wilkerson, Margaret B.  “Hansberry, Lorraine Vivian (1930-1965),” 1 Black Women in America:  A Historical Encyclopedia 524-529. (Darlene Clark Hine ed.,  Brooklyn, NY: Carlson Publishing, 1993).  Online via the Black Women Writers:  African, African American, and Diaspora database.

Celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr’s legal legacy

This year, the United States celebrates Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service on January 21. You can attend special events commemorating the legacy of Dr. King around the University beginning on January 9, 2013. On January 11 and January 18, the University will screen and hold a discussion sponsored by the Law School’s Black Law Students Association (BLSA) concerning Eyes on the Prize:  America’s Civil Rights Movement, an Academy Award-nominated, 14-hour PBS documentary film series. Photo of Judy RichardsonOn January 17 at 6PM at Rockefeller Memorial Chapel, the University will host a conversation with University of Chicago Professor Charles Payne and Judy Richardson. Ms. Richardson, associate producer and education director of Eyes on the Prize, is a civil rights activist, author, and early staff worker with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC).  

You can also visit an MLK-related exhibit at Regenstein Library, on the 2nd floor reading room just outside the main elevator area.  The display features materials about the SNCC, women in the civil rights movement, and items to which Judy Richardson has contributed. Besides attending the University’s MLK Commemoration Celebration events and volunteering for community service, you can also check out library resources on Martin Luther King, Jr.’s national and international legal legacy, including his Nobel Peace Prize

You can also read about the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Chicago legacy. He gave three speeches on campus between 1956 and 1966, and he worked on the Chicago-wide struggle for housing equality. Dr. King and a Chicago activist, Al Raby, jointly led a campaign for decent and integrated housing in Chicago called the Chicago Freedom Movement or the Chicago Open Housing Movement. Dr. King and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) announced plans for the Chicago Freedom Movement on January 7, 1966. Later that month, Dr. King began his “Northern Crusade” by moving with his family into a slum apartment on Chicago’s West Side. He placed demands (PDF) for nondiscriminatory housing practices and rehabilitated public housing on the door of Chicago City Hall on July 10, 1966.

During his stay, Dr. King staged protest marches around Chicago [video]. His open housing campaign was met with hostility and violence. Some Chicagoans stoned Dr. King on August 5, 1966 during a march through Marquette Park. ‘‘I have to do this – to expose myself – to bring this hate into the open. I have seen many demonstrations in the south but I have never seen anything so hostile and so hateful as I’ve seen here today.’’ (‘‘Dr. King Is Felled by Rock,’’ Chicago Tribune, August 6, 1966, via ProQuest Historical Newspapers database). Dr. King’s stay in Chicago led to an agreement with the Chicago Real Estate Board that the Board would stop opposing open-housing laws in exchange for an end to the protest marches (Chicago Tribune). 

Dr. King’s “Chicago Crusade” to root out housing discrimination and other forms of racial injustice is briefly described in Chicago Campaign (1966) (Stanford MLK Encyclopedia), David B. Oppenheimer, “Dr. King’s Legal Legacy:  A Critical Analysis,” 33 DAVJ Newsl. 29 (2008), Chicago Freedom Movement (Wikipedia), and Power, Politics, & Pride:  Dr. King’s Chicago Crusade (WTTW). For a more detailed treatment, read James R. Ralph, Jr.’s book, Northern Protest:  Martin Luther King, Jr., Chicago, and the Civil Rights Movement (Harvard University Press, 1993) and Chicago 1966:  Open Housing Marches, Summit Negotiations, and Operation Breadbasket (David J. Garrow ed., 1989).

November is National American Indian Heritage Month

Since 1990, with the passage of P.L. 101-343, the U.S. has celebrated the contributions of Native Americans during the entire month of November.  The Law Library of Congress has published a blog post with links to related federal laws and information.  The D’Angelo Law Library also has several useful databases.  The  American Indian Law Collection (via HeinOnline) includes tribal constitutions, acts, by-laws, decisions, reports, treaties, and journal articles.  It also links to external resources such as the National Indian Law Library and its Tribal Law Gateway, Native American Rights Fund cases, and tribal law (PDF) and Federal Indian Law  (PDF) research guides.  The Law Library also provides access to the LexisNexis Native American Law Library and the LLMC Digital Native American Collection (click on “Multi-Jurisdiction Subject Collections”).

The Salem Witch Trials: A legal bibliography

The Salem Martyr by NobleIn a six-month period starting in January 1692 authorities in Salem, Massachusetts, accused over 100 men and women of witchcraft.  Nineteen were convicted and hung at Gallows Hill, and one, Giles Corey, was pressed to death under a pile of stones. Five women accused Mr. Corey of witchcraft in April 1692. He either did not enter a plea or pleaded “not guilty,” but he never agreed to submit to a trial, to “put himself on the country.” No court convicted him of witchcraft, but because he did not submit to a trial, the court sentenced him to peine forte et dure, and crushed him to death in September 1692.   His wife, Mary, submitted to trial, which resulted in her hanging.

The law of the Salem Witch Trials is a fascinating mix of biblical passages and colonial statutes.  According to Mark Podvia (see Timeline, PDF), the General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony adopted the following statute in 1641:  “If any man or woman be a WITCH, that is, hath or consulteth with a familiar spirit, they shall be put to death.  Exod. 22. 18.  Levit. 20. 27.  Deut. 18. 10. 11.”  The statute encompasses passages from the Bible written circa 700 B.C.  Exodus states:  “Thou shall not suffer a witch to live.”  Leviticus prescribes the punishment.  Witches and wizards “shall surely be put to death:  they shall stone them with stones:   their blood shall be upon them.”  And Deuteronomy states:  “There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch.  Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer.”

In Salem, the accusers and alleged victims came from a small group of girls aged nine to 19, including Betty Parris and Abigail Williams.  In January 1692, Betty and Abigail had strange fits. Rumors spread through the village attributing the fits to the devil and the work of his evil hands.  The accusers claimed the witchcraft came mostly from women, with the notable exception of four-year old Dorcas Good.

The colony created the Court of Oyer and Terminer especially for the witchcraft trials.  The law did not then use the principle of “innocent until proven guilty” – if you made it to trial, the law presumed guilt.  If the colony imprisoned you, you had to pay for your stay.  Courts relied on three kinds of evidence:  1) confession, 2) testimony of two eyewitnesses to acts of witchcraft, or  3) spectral evidence (when the afflicted girls were having their fits, they would interact with an unseen assailant – the apparition of the witch tormenting them).  According to Wendel Craker, no court ever convicted an accused of witchcraft on the basis of spectral evidence alone, but other forms of evidence were needed to corroborate the charge of witchcraft. Courts allowed “causal relationship” evidence, for example, to prove that the accused possessed or controlled an afflicted girl.  Prior conflicts, bad acts by the accused, possession of materials used in spells, greater than average strength, and witch’s marks also counted as evidence of witchcraft.  If the accused was female, a jury of women examined her body for “witch’s marks” which supposedly showed that a familiar had bitten or fed on the accused.  Other evidence included the “touching test” (afficted girls tortured by fits became calm after touching the accused).  Courts could not base convictions on confessions obtained through torture unless the accused reaffirmed the confession afterward, but if the accused recanted the confession, authorities usually tortured the accused further to obtain the confession again.  If you recited the Lord’s Prayer, you were not a witch.   The colony did not burn witches, it hanged them.

The Salem Witch Trials divided the community.  Neighbor testified against neighbor.  Children against parents.  Husband against wife.  Children died in prisons.  Familes were destroyed.  Churches removed from their congregations some of the persons accused of witchcraft.  After the Court of Oyer and Terminer was dissolved, the Superior Court of Judicature took over the witchcraft cases.  They disallowed spectral evidence.  Most accusations of witchcraft then resulted in acquittals.  An essay by Increase Mather, a prominent minister, may have helped stop the witch trials craze in Salem.

Researching the Salem Witch Trials is easier than it used to be.  Most of the primary source materials (statutes, transcripts of court records, contemporary accounts) are available electronically.  Useful databases include HeinOnline Legal Classics Library (see Trials for Witchcraft before the Special Court of Oyer and Terminer, Salem, Massachusetts, 1692;  The Salem Witchcraft (Clair, Henry St., 1840); and “Witch Trials,”  1 Curious Cases and Amusing Actions at Law including Some Trials of Witches in the Seventeenth Century (1916) ), HeinOnline World Trials Library, HeinOnline Law Journal Library (also JSTOR, America:  History & Life, Google Scholar, and the LexisNexis and Westlaw journal databases), Gale Encyclopedia of American Law (“Salem Witch Trials“), Google Books, Hathi Trust, and the Internet Archive.  For books and articles on the Salem Witch Trials and witchcraft and the law generally, Library of Congress subject headings include:

  • Trials (Witchcraft) — History
  • Trials (Witchcraft) — Massachusetts — Salem
  • Witch hunting — Massachusetts — Salem
  • Witchcraft — Massachusetts — Salem — History — 17th century
  • Witchcraft — New England
  • Witches — Crimes against

Matteson - witch marks



Adams, Gretchen A.  The Specter of Salem:  Remembering the Witch Trials in Nineteenth-Century America (University of Chicago Press, BF1576.A33 2008).

Boyer, Paul & Stephen Nissenbaum, eds.  The Salem Witchcraft Papers:  Verbatim Transcripts of the Legal Documents of the Salem Witchcraft Outbreak of 1692 (Da Capo Press, XXKFM2478.8.W5S240 1977)(digital edition, revised and augmented, 2011).  3v.

___________________________.   Salem Possessed:  The Social Origins of Witchcraft (Harvard University Press, BF1576.B79 1974).  See especially pages 1-59.

___________________________, eds.  Salem Village Witchcraft:  A Documentary Record of Local Conflict in Colonial New England (Wadsworth Pub. Co., KA653.B75 1972 LawAnxS).

Brown, David C.  “The Case of Giles Corey.” EIHC (Essex Institute Historical Collections, F72.E7E81) 121 (1985): 282-299.

___________.  “The Forfeitures of Salem, 1692.” The William and Mary Quarterly 50 (1993): 85-111.

Burns, William E.  Witch Hunts in Europe and America:  An Encyclopedia (Greenwood Press, BF1584.E9B87 2003).  Includes a Chronology (1307-1793), “Salem Witch Trials” at pages 257-261, and a bibliography at pages 333-347.

Burr, George Lincoln.  Narratives of the Witchcraft Cases, 1648-1706 (Barnes & Noble,   BF1573.B6901 1963).

Calef, Robert.  More Wonders of the Invisible World (1700).

Craker, Wendel D.  “Spectral Evidence, Non-Spectral Acts of Witchcraft, and Confession at Salem in 1692. ” Historical Journal 40 (1997):  331-358.

Demos, John.  Entertaining Satan:  Witchcraft and the Culture of Early New England (Oxford University Press, BF1576.D38 1982).

Francis, Richard.  Judge Sewall’s Apology:  The Salem Witch Trials and the Forming of the American Conscience (Fourth Estate, F67.S525 2005).

Godbeer, Richard.  The Salem Witch Hunt:  A Brief History with Documents (Bedford/St. Martin’s, XXKFM2478.8.W5G63 2011).

Hansen, Chadwick.  Witchcraft at Salem (G. Braziller, BF1576.H25 1969).

Hill, Frances.  The Salem Witch Trials Reader (Da Capo Press, BF1576.H55 2000).

Hoffer, Peter Charles.  The Salem Witchcraft Trials:  A Legal History (University Press of Kansas, XXKFM2478.8.W5H645 1997)(Landmark Law Cases & American Society).

______________.  The Devil’s Disciples:  Makers of the Salem Witchcraft Trials (Johns Hopkins University Press, XXKFM2478.8.W5H646 1996).

Karlsen, Carol F.  The Devil in the Shape of a Woman:  Witchcraft in Colonial New England (Norton, BF1576.K370 1987).

Le Beau, Bryan F.  The Story of the Salem Witch Trials:  “We Walked in Clouds and We Could Not See Our Way” (Prentice Hall, 2d ed., XXKFM2478.8.W5L43 2010)(DLL has 1998).

Levin, David.  What Happened in Salem? (2d ed.  Harcourt, Brace & Co.  BF1575.L40 1960) (Documents Pertaining to the Seventeenth-Century Witchcraft Trials).  Compiles trial evidence documents, contemporary comments, and legal redress.

Mather, Cotton.  The Wonders of the Invisible World:  Being an Account of the Tryals of Several Witches Lately Executed in New England, and Of Several Remarkable Curiosities Therein Occurring (1693) .

Mather, Increase.  Cases of Conscience Concerning Evil Spirits Personating Men, Witchcrafts, Infallible Proofs of Guilt in Such As Are Accused with That Crime (1693).

Nevins, Winfield S.  Witchcraft in Salem Village in 1692 (North Shore Pub. Co., BF1576.N5 1892).

Norton, Mary Beth.  In the Devil’s Snare:  The Salem Witchcraft Crisis of 1692 (BF1575.N67 2002)(legal analysis, with appendixes).

Powers, Edwin.  Crime and Punishment in Early Massachusetts, 1620-1692  A Documentary History (Beacon Press, KB4537.P39C8 1966 LawAnxN).

Rosenthal, Bernard ed.  Records of the Salem Witch-Hunt (Cambridge University Press, XXKFM2478.8.W5R43 2009)(includes Richard B. Trask, “Legal Procedures Used During the Salem Witch Trials and a Brief History of the Published Versions of the Records” at pages 44-63).

Ross, Lawrence J., Mark W. Podvia, & Karen Wahl.  The Law of the Salem Witch Trials.  American Association of Law Library, Annual Meeting, Boston, Massachusetts, July 23, 2012 (AALL2go – password needed to access .mp3 and program handout).

Starkey, Marion.  The Devil in Massachusetts:  A Modern Inquiry into the Salem Witch Trials (A.A. Knopf, XXKFM2478.8.W5S73 1949).

Upham, Charles W.  Salem Witchcraft:  with an Account of Salem Village and a History of Witchcraft and Opinions on Kindred Subjects (Wiggin & Lunt, 1867).  2v.

Weisman, Richard.  Witchcraft, Magic, and Religion in 17th-Century Massachusetts (The University of Massachusetts Press, XXKFM2478.8.W5W4440 1984).  Includes a chapter on “The Crime of Witchcraft in Massachusetts Bay  Historical Background and Pattern of Prosecution.”  Appendixes includes lists of legal actions against witchcraft prior to the Salem prosecutions, Massachusetts Bay witchcraft defamation suits, persons accused of witchcraft in Salem, confessors, allegations of ordinary witchcrafts by case, afflicted persons.

Young, Martha M.  “The Salem Witch Trials 300 Years Later:  How Far Has the American Legal System Come?  How Much Further Does It Need to Go?”  Tulane Law Review 64 (1989): 235-258.

General Resources

Mackay, Christopher S., trans. & ed.  The Hammer of Witches:  A Complete Translation of the Malleus Maleficarum (authored by Heinrich Institoris & Jacobus Sprenger in 1487 – Dominican friars, who were both Inquistors and professors of theology at the University of Cologne)(Cambridge University Press, BF1569.M33 2009).  This medieval text (Der Hexenhammer in German) prescribes judicial procedures in cases of alleged witchcraft.  In question-and-answer format.  The judge should appoint as an advocate for the accused “an upright person who is not suspected of being fussy about legal niceties” as opposed to appointing “a litigious, evil-spirited person who could easily be corrupted by money” (p. 530).

“Judgment of a Witch.” The Fugger News-Letters 259-262 (The Bodley Head, Ltd., 1924).  Also reprinted in The Portable Renaissance Reader.

Pagel, Scott B.  The Literature of Witchcraft Trials:  Books & Manuscripts from the Jacob Burns Law Library (University of Texas at Austin, BF1566.P243 2008) (Tarlton Law Library, Legal History Series, No. 9).

Witchcraft and the Law:  A Selected Bibliography of Recent Publications (Christine Corcos, LSU Law)(includes mostly pre-2000 works).

Supreme Court 2012 Term

Today is the start of the Supreme Court’s October 2012 term. The Court is expected to rule on affirmative action, in a case involving admissions at the University of Texas; same-sex marriage, in challenges to the Defense of Marriage Act and California’s Proposition 8; and the Voting Rights Act’s continuing restraints on southern state governments. Check out our Supreme Court Research Guide for sources of news and analysis, briefs, and calendars and transcripts of oral arguments. 

Follow the Supreme Court hearings on health care reform

On Monday the Supreme Court begins hearings on three cases that challenge the constitutionality of the Affordable Health Care Act. The cases are Dept. of Health and Human Services v. Florida (11-398); National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius (11-393); and Florida v. Dept. of H&HS (11-400), Twenty-six states have challenged provisions of the Act, and issues before the court include the “individual mandate,” severability of the challenged provisions, and coercing state compliance by threatening to withhold Medicaid funds. Complete audio recordings of the arguments will be posted in the evening after each day’s arguments, along with transcripts. Bloomberg Law will live blog the hearings. For more sources of news and documents, check our Supreme Court Research Guide.