Wednesday, October 25, 2006

The top ten non-policy reasons why I will vote for Senator Allen

Last year, I posted my ten non-policy reasons why I would vote for Jerry Kilgore.

Gerald Gray wrote back to me and said those reasons are all really bad.

Nevertheless, I am offering again this year the top ten non-policy reasons why I will vote for Senator Allen.

1. Allen was a Judge Williams clerk. And, he appointed Justice Kinser.
2. Allen has been giving pleasure to Hokie fans since his college days.
3. When he was a teenager, his family was tight with Nixon.
4. Susan Allen outrode the Tennessee governor’s wife on the Virginia Creeper Trail.
5. Like Elvis, Allen is of The Chosen Ones. (Isaiah 41:8-41:9.)
6. Allen was going to put Disney in Northern (and not Southwestern) Virginia.
7. Copenhagen, it makes me feel so good. (And, Fresh Cope it satisfies since 1822.)
8. His influences include “the cow boss that I buckarooed for on a ranch near Winnemucca, Nevada.”
9. He once told CNN the Southwest Virginia story “about a horse thief. And the jury goes through the whole case and they say not guilty, but you have to return the horse.” (I love that story.)
10. Gerald Gray isn’t running.

Another nephew football picture

I guess I'm among the very few who see a running back wearing No. 21 and think of Jim Kiick of the Miami Dolphins' Super Bowl teams.

NJ S.Ct. finds same-sex marriage ban violates equal protection guarantee of state constitution

In Lewis v. Harris, released this afternoon, the New Jersey Supreme Court held that the state's statutory ban on same-sex marriage did not violate the petitioners' fundamental rights, but that it was in violation of the guarantee of Equal Protection under the New Jersey constitution.

The opinion is written in such a way that it could never be followed in Virginia. The Court cites all the protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation written into the law of New Jersey. None of this background exists in Virginia law. I doubt that the analysis in this case would make it any more likely that some day the Virginia Supreme Court will find that the statutory ban on same-sex marriage violates the Virginia Constitution.

In the opinion, the Court noted: "The State rests its case on age-old traditions, beliefs, and laws, which have defined the essential nature of marriage to be the union of a man and a woman. The long-held historical view of marriage, according to the State, provides a sufficient basis to uphold the constitutionality of the marriage statutes. Any change to the bedrock principle that limits marriage to persons of the opposite sex, the State argues, must come from the democratic process."

On the first question, the Court agreed: "Despite the rich diversity of this State, the tolerance and goodness of its people, and the many recent advances made by gays and lesbians toward achieving social acceptance and equality under the law, we cannot find that a right to same-sex marriage is so deeply rooted in the traditions, history, and conscience of the people of this State that it ranks as a fundamental right. When looking for the source of our rights under the New Jersey Constitution, we need not look beyond our borders. Nevertheless, we do take note that no jurisdiction, not even Massachusetts, has declared that there is a fundamental right to same-sex marriage under the federal or its own constitution."

On the Equal Protection question, the Court observed initially that the rational basis test of federal constitutional analysis did not apply to equal protection under the New Jersey constitution, and proceeded to frame the issue in terms that make history and tradition irrelevant. "At this point, we do not consider whether committed same-sex couples should be allowed to marry, but only whether those couples are entitled to the same rights and benefits afforded to married heterosexual couples. Cast in that light, the issue is not about the transformation of the traditional definition of marriage, but about the unequal dispensation of benefits and privileges to one of two similarly situated classes of people." Citing the many protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation, the Court concluded that there was no public interest, at least not in New Jersey, to support this different treatment.

The opinion distinguishes New Jersey from other states that "have expressed open hostility toward legally recognizing committed same-sex relationships," and includes Virginia in that list, along with Alaska, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Texas, and Utah.

Excellent Chief Justice story

It says here that a couple of fellows from West Virginia walked up to the U.S. Supreme Court building and got in to see Chief Justice Roberts, with the aid of an old photograph: "Sporting a World War II veteran's cap and carrying an old picture of Roberts' father taken at a family reunion in Florida with nine of his aunts and uncles, DiBacco finagled his way into Roberts' office Sept. 26."

The story goes on: "Though it may have been some attorneys' dream, McCune said he had no interest of turning the conversation into a legal discussion. Instead, the three talked about their roots in West Virginia."

I didn't know the Chief Justice had roots in West Virginia.

The obligatory group photo is here.

Why not to nominate Engelbert Humperdinck in Virginia

As Election Law notes here, the AP is reporting that "U.S. Senate candidate James H. 'Jim' Webb has lost his last name on electronic ballots in three Virginia cities where election computers can't cope with long names."

As for Engelbert, you can go here and find out if he is still willing to sing you to sleep after the lovin' with a song he just wrote yesterday.

Now you can Broogle the courts of the Fourth Circuit (or some of them)

Here you can see how Brian Peterson has created a customized Google search, that includes opinions from the Fourth Circuit and some courts in the states that make up the Fourth Circuit, including the Virginia appellate courts and the Western District of Virginia.

I just made up the term "Broogle" in his honor. Well done, Brian.

(OK, there are a few other Broogle references out there.)

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

How many times have you wanted to do something like this?

According to this article in the Richmond paper, a prosecutor in the City of Danville has filed suit against a juvenile and domestic relations district judge to get her to rule in a case, and got the circuit court to so rule.

District judge still going at 92

In the Middle District of Pennsylvania, they have a judge named Malcolm Muir, who is still hearing cases at age 92.