MSU College of Law News

NEWS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

July 27, 2007

CONTACT: KATIE GALLAGHER
517/432-6848, galla145@law.msu.edu

MICHIGAN SUPREME COURT DECISION CLASHES WITH MSU LAW PROFESSOR’S AMICUS BRIEF

Visiting Professor Strang Argued for Expanded Access to Public Libraries

EAST LANSING, MI – The Michigan Supreme Court ruled today to limit access to public libraries in the case Goldstone v. Bloomfield Township, despite the powerful dissenting argument put forth by MSU College of Law Visiting Professor Lee J. Strang in his amicus brief filed with the state’s Supreme Court.

The Attorney General’s Office had found Professor Strang’s brief persuasive, which resulted in their employing his argument in their own brief filed on behalf of Goldstone. The Court’s dissent also relied on the arguments put forward in Professor Strang’s amicus brief.

Professor Strang’s amicus brief supported Goldstone’s claim that denying library access to non-residents is unconstitutional. His argument cited Michigan’s unique constitutional provision that protects access to public libraries, found in Article VIII, Section 9 of the Michigan Constitution.

“The Court today failed to enforce the clear demand of the Michigan Constitution that all Michigan residents, regardless of where they live, have access to public libraries,” Professor Strang said, “and in doing so, the Court has limited public access to the knowledge libraries provide.”

Goldstone is a resident of the city of Bloomfield Hills, which does not have its own public library.  He sued the Bloomfield Township Public Library after they denied his efforts to obtain a non-resident library card or pay borrowing fees.

Professor Strang said he hoped today’s decision would still draw attention to Michigan’s constitutional protection of public library access.

“This case offered the [Michigan Supreme] Court another opportunity to lead other state supreme courts,” Professor Strang said.  “It may motivate other states to constitutionally protect the access of their citizens to their public libraries.”

An expert on the case, Professor Strang is available to explain the landmark importance of this decision. He can be reached at 734/277-0719 or lstrang@law.msu.edu .

MSU College of Law was in founded in 1891 and is a private institution of higher learning devoted exclusively to professional education in law. The Law College is one of only a few private law schools to be affiliated with a research university, enabling it to provide a comprehensive interdisciplinary legal education program. Classes offered in its state-of-the-art facilities provide students the benefits of a Big Ten campus while maintaining the small school culture. Its 2006 graduates achieved a 93 percent bar examination passage rate nationwide and the Law College’s Intellectual Property & Communications Law Program falls in the nation’s top-20 according to U.S. News & World Report. The Law College is one of the oldest continuously operating independent law colleges in the nation. For more information about the Law College, visit www.law.msu.edu.

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