Saturday, September 24, 2005

Friday night fight

I have been watching the replay of the moot court argument of Rumsfeld v. Fair on C-SPAN, recorded earlier tonight in the moot court room at my alma mater, with Rodney Smolla arguing for the government and Beth Brinkman and Walter Dellinger arguing for the law schools and a group of professors. As I listened to the arguments, the thought struck me that the respondent's position is unspeakably lame, then the panel of six Supreme Court correspondents (David Savage, Joan Biskupic, Linda Greenhouse, Stuart Taylor, Dahlia Lithwick, Charles Lane) and two professors (Gerhardt and Van Alstyne) came out and voted 8-0 to reverse.

Also, I was entertained by the setting, since I've been in that room and I recognized a few people in the audience, including William Hurd and Judge Felton, with President Nichol there, big as a moose.

It was almost as much fun as a replay of Ali-Frazier.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Looking for a few good waters

The Roanoke paper reports here that Deer Park water is looking for a place to bottle water in Southwest Virginia. Here is the Deer Park story.

Employees of attorney general's office and comp commission to make presentations to Court of Appeals meeting

The Richmond paper reports here that the members of the Virginia Court of Appeals will hear presentations from officials from the Office of the Attorney General and the Virginia Workers Compensation Commission on the topic of "the state's troubled birth-injury program" at their annual retreat.

The article quotes a lawyer who bucks head with the AG's office in these neurological birth-related injury cases as saying that she is "flabbergasted" and this news "raises more questions than answers in my mind." The article goes on to say, however, that "in almost every case reaching the appeals court, the infant has prevailed." Maybe the judges will tell the presenters to straighten up their acts.

Now it can be told

It says here that the way the law school people got the late Chief Justice Rehnquist to come to William & Mary from time to time was to promise that he would get to see the Tribe play football.

Dirtier day's work

In this MSNBC column, the author points out that Roe is not threatened while Justice Stevens is on the bench, and goes on to describe some of the bad endings for Supreme Court associate justices in the past.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Getting ready for Charlie Brown's Halloween?

CNN reports here that two freight trains collided in Southeastern Virginia this morning, and that "[t]he trains were believed to be carrying rocks."

There is no humor in the fact of an accident, but the bit about the rocks caught my eye.

From the archives - the swearing-in of Judge Kirksey

Looking for something else on the server this afternoon, I came across the speech that was given on the occasion of the investiture of Judge Larry Kirksey, which reminded me that just last week I went to sort of a cocktail party and someone there told me that he liked that speech, so here is the brunt of it:

"It was Judge Kirksey’s decision that this event would be held here in Bristol, and in this courtroom, and he made the right choice. In this room, you can see the portraits of some of the men who have served as judges of first the corporation court and now the circuit court of the City of Bristol. In 114 years, nine men have served as the Bristol judge, the six you see hanging on the wall, two more for whom we have no portraits, and the last one – Judge Flannagan - who says if anyone wants to know what he looked like, you can come and see him directly. Judge Flannagan he would tell you that the history of Bristol can be told in the history of its judges. Earlier this week I talked about this history with Judge Kirksey, and about the length of these earlier judgeships. Averaging out the job tenure of his predecessors, it appears to me the General Assembly has sentenced him to at least 12 years of hard labor.

Judge Kirksey has lived in Bristol all his life; he was born in Bristol, went to school in Bristol, Tennessee, and worked in his Bristol throughout his career. In 25 years of private law practice, he worked for 20 of those years with the firm of Woodward Miles & Flannagan, then with the Penn Stuart firm, and then in his own firm. He did mostly insurance defense work, and he also did court-appointed criminal defense work. Let me stop here and recollect that when Jim Jones was sworn in as federal court judge Abingdon, Judge Williams pointed out that now Judge Jones would get an introduction to “the dark side” of the docket. Well, Judge Kirksey in his private practice did some work on both kinds of cases, the paying kind and the non-paying kind.

Back when he was a young man, Judge Kirksey was named the Outstanding Young Man of Bristol and made a list of the Ten Outstanding Young Virginians. When he became older and wiser, he was invited to join the mostly old and wise men who are mediators with the McGammon Group, the statewide dispute-resolution firm. He also served on the Disciplinary Board of the Virginia State Bar. The lawyers in the room know that there is no more important and more thankless work than dealing with the discipline of other lawyers.

Judge Kirksey also served a memorable term as president of the Bristol Bar. That year we had a quite well-attended lawyer golf tournament and a bench-bar dinner at the Bristol Country Club, and at the dinner, Judge Kirksey gave an interesting if somewhat rambling speech, which he concluded by saying, “Can’t we all just get along?” I never knew any lawyer who couldn’t get along with Larry Kirksey.

Beyond his life as a lawyer, Judge Kirksey has made a second career of working to make Bristol a better place. Over the years, he has taken on a succession of the kind of public service positions that are really at odds with making a living, the kind of public service work that eats up all your time working to help solve other people’s problems. Judge Kirksey told me that he most enjoyed his time boards of the Bristol Department of Social Services, and the Board of the Children’s Advocacy Center, and the Advisory Board of the Bristol Office on Youth. In 1990, he took the bold step running for City Council, got elected and served 4 years on the council. In 2001, he took the bolder step of running for Commonwealth’s attorney, the position he held until the end of March. I know that his only regret about being Commonwealth’s attorney was that he didn’t get to stay there longer.

On March 10, the General Assembly voted to appoint Larry Kirksey to an eight-year term as judge of the 28th Circuit, beginning April 1, to succeed Judge Flannagan. When I asked Judge Flannagan to comment on his successor, he said: “this is the second time in 22 years that I’ve been able to turn over every one of my files to him.” The lawyers in Bristol are also glad that the files of this Court are being turned over to Larry Kirksey. Thank you all again for coming, and congratulations Judge Kirksey."

Wise County Commonwealth's attorney conflicted out of Appalachia town election case

The Coalfield Progress is reporting here that because our man Chad Dotson is employed by the Town of Appalachia to prosecute its criminal cases, he cannot be the prosecutor on the Town of Appalachia council election case, according to some kind of advisory opinion from somebody at the state bar.

My favorite hit of the day

Someone from came googling my way this morning with the query "'karen williams' 4th circuit."

This post about Judge K. Williams talks about her opinion in Dickerson, the Miranda-rights case, with which the U.S. Supreme Court disagreed, with the majority opinion by Chief Justice Rehnquist.

Something else that would attract attention I'm sure was her opinion in the Fourth Circuit's Pledge of Allegiance case - in line with the Chief Justice's concurrence in the Newdow case.

Independent candidate for Commonwealth's attorney in Lee County

Sue Ella Kobak is running for Commonwealth's attorney in Lee County and, taking a cue from Chad Dotson (I'm sure), she has a campaign website.

Still got his fast ball?

A3G linked here to this photo of Chicago's own Justice John Paul Stevens throwing out the first pitch at Wrigley Field earlier this month.

The new dean at ASL

The most impressive fact about the new dean of the Appalachian School of Law may be found here: "Professor Kinsler sat for and passed both the Virginia and Tennessee bar exams in February 2004."

Now, that's above and beyond the call.

Steve Dillard cites a reliable source that says Judge Karen Williams is near the top of the list

Here Feddie at Southern Appeal says this:

"An extremely reliable source informs me that President Bush is seriously considering Judge Karen Williams of the Fourth Circuit to replace Justice O'Connor on the SCOTUS."

In the comments, Feddie acknowledge that his record of prognostication is, well, not much better than that of Robert Novak.

Back in July, William at Southern Appeal had this post on Judge Williams and I wrote this fun post when I first heard her name was being bandied about.

Judicial conference oks expanded citation to unpublished opinions

According to this article by Tony Mauro: "The policy-making body of the federal judiciary on Tuesday endorsed a sweeping rule change that will allow lawyers to cite unpublished opinions in federal appeals courts nationwide beginning in 2007."

The article does not discuss whether it was the comments from Roy Jessee and me that put them over the edge.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

All the PACER accounts in all the towns in all the world

Sabrina Pacifici reports: Pacer Surpasses Half Million User Accounts.

On Friday's Virginia Supreme Court ruling on a disputed easement

Here is the Washington Post's take on the decision of the Virginia Supreme Court in Virginia Electric and Power Company, d/b/a Dominion Virginia Power v. Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority. The gist is the park authority won and the power company lost, which is not good for the power company's transferee, making heavy use of the easement.

Sample of Richmond lawyers says - Roberts 1, Senators 0

In this story, an unscientific sampling of Richmond lawyers told the Richmond paper what they thought about the confirmation hearings of Supreme Court nominee Judge John Roberts.

On reading the law

This AP article by Rebecca Carroll is about those who read for the law, to become licensed lawyers without going to law school. It says in part:

"California, Vermont, Virginia and Washington allow law readers to take bar exams after three or four years in apprenticeships registered with the state. Three other states - New York, Maine and Wyoming - let non-law school graduates take bar exams if they have a combination of office study and law school experience."

U.Va.'s Belanger wins grant as MacArthur Fellow

It says here that U.Va. Professor Terry Belanger has won a $500,000 prize from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

The article does not say whether the professor is related to the former Orioles Golden Glove-winning shortstop, Mark Belanger.

Monday, September 19, 2005

A mellow, chill kind of guy

Via this Wonkette post, I was delighted by this interview with a grand-daughter of the late Chief Justice Rehnquist.

Another Virginia prosecutor's blog

It's true, I just now discovered Seeking Justice.

The Richmond paper looks at Gene Nichol

Here is the latest article from the Richmond paper on Gene Nichol, the new president of the College of William & Mary, a few weeks into his first semester.

I thought perhaps his wife would rejoin the law school faculty, but I don't see her name on the list.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

The first Virginia Anarchist Gathering

It says here that Virginia anarchists will meet in Harrisonburg beginning October 20, or wherever and whenever they darn well feel like it.

On the likeness between the Commonwealth and Imperial Rome

This CrimLaw post made me laugh. Render unto Caesar, etc.

Where's the pork?

Here Instapundit challenges bloggers to call their local legislators about "local pork" and suggest that the money should go instead to Katrina relief.

I'm not sure whether this $600,000 item from Congressman Boucher's website (which caught the attention even of the NY Times) can be considered "pork" when it involves principally horseflesh.

Having just read Senator Byrd's autobiography, I am given to understand however that there is no such thing as pork, or so he says. It's all "infrastructure."

Still proud to be a Harvest Moonie

Here is David Giacolone's 2005 list of Harvest Moon haiku dedications, and he included this blog in one of last year's lists with this:

tonight's moon--
how many mountains resemble
the ones back home?

On the Supreme Court emanations

Earlier, my wife asked me about the "emanations" for the Emmy awards. There could be a few auras coming off the winners, I suppose, but I don't expect to see them. (She said no, she meant the nominations - it isn't easy hanging out a sarcastic lawyer all the time.)

I did however see this post from Southern Appeal about the emanations observed by Justice Douglas.