Stacks Of Legal Trouble

Librarians beware. There is a fellow named Kevin J. Long out there and he's apparently got a penchant for causing trouble amid the stacks in theWilliam J. Campbell Law Library situated at the federal courthouse in downtown Chicago. According to the official record, and there is an official record here believe it or not, Long "had, on two separate occasions, approached female externs and asked them to model for him." Also, the record states, Long refused to print his name on a sheet upon entering the library and was found at least once in a section of the library marked for "Court Personnel Only." Finally, he "entered the library through secure doors by following employees who have access to those entrances."

In other words, Long was a giant and creepy pain in the butt to the folks who run the law library, which, by the way, are to regular libraries what churches are to nightclubs. So the folks who run the Campbell library did what any self-respecting librarians would have done: they kicked Long out. End of story, right? Wrong. Apparently Long hadn't just spent his time in the library making goo-goo eyes at the externs and being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Apparently, he learned enough about the law to challenge the librarians in court.

Long appealed his ban from the library to the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. And, yesterday, the federal appeals court issued its ruling. To no one's surprise, except perhaps Long's, the panel dismissed the appeal. Here is what the judges wrote: "the executive committee in excluding him was acting in a proprietary capacity, just like a restaurant that expels an unruly customer and forbids him to return. Such an action is not judicial and our jurisdiction is limited to review of judicial orders." Case dismissed, the judges said.

So it turns out that Long should have spent more time reading his law books and less time refusing to sign in at the front desk of the library. So far, there is no word on whether and to what extent Long is going to respond to this latest defeat. Hopefully, he has family and friends who will tell him that if he wants to hang out in a law library he needs to abide by the rules. And hopefully those folks will tell him that his case and his cause are hopeless. After my own humbling experiences in law libraries, I hate to come down on the side of librarians. But in this case, they had both law and sense on their side.

Andrew Cohen is Legal Analyst for CBS News.