Friday, July 27, 2007

More on Michael Vick

This piece looks at Michael Vick's lawyers, including Billy Martin and Daniel Meachum.

This interesting commentary from Congressman Bob Barr points out that the Interstate Commerce clause is what put Vick's case in federal court.

This Sports Illustrated piece addresses Vick's case and the impact on the image of Virginia Tech. (The author is that same guy who said Al Groh is the worst.) I prefer the view of Bob Griese, one of my all-time favorites, who said Tech is one of the best this year. I don't think Vick's legal troubles reflect poorly on Tech any more than Ralph Sampson's legal troubles reflect poorly on Virginia.

On the bad driver fees

This AP story and this Richmond paper article (by Bill McElway, so you know it's good) say that a judge in Henrico County will soon rule on the constitutionality of the new bad driver fees that were part of this year's road funding bill.

This Roanoke Times article mocks Delegates Griffith and Kilgore for getting speeding tickets on the interstate between here and Richmond.

On court-packing

There is an opinion piece in the NY Times, making the rounds, which seems to advocate changing the number of justices on the U.S. Supreme Court to get around the conservative rulings of the current Court.

It says in part:

"If the current five-man majority persists in thumbing its nose at popular values, the election of a Democratic president and Congress could provide a corrective. It requires only a majority vote in both houses to add a justice or two. Chief Justice John Roberts and his conservative colleagues might do well to bear in mind that the roll call of presidents who have used this option includes not just Roosevelt but also Adams, Jefferson, Jackson, Lincoln and Grant."

This post says yeah, but look what happened to them.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

On the demise of LEO 1829

Jeff Shapiro of the Richmond paper reports here on the decision by the VSB to take a pass on LEO 1829.

It is a funny sort of contradiction. When the Rules replaced the Code in Virginia, the proscription against the appearance of impropriety was taken out, because it was thought to be too vague, yet under the Code, this vague language led to a nevertheless "bright line" rule, which LEO 1829 would have eliminated.

UPDATE: The Shapiro story contains one misleading point, with regard to the position of the LGA, or so I'm told, who in their comment to the VSB said, among other things: "There was also consensus that our members would prefer a return to the appearance of impropriety standard contained in the former Code of Professional Responsibility."

That's what I think, and a lot of Virginia lawyers think.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

What some elected judges think

"As long as I am allowed to redistribute wealth from out-of-state companies to injured in-state plaintiffs, I shall continue to do so. Not only is my sleep enhanced when I give someone else's money away, but so is my job security, because the in-state plaintiffs, their families and their friends will re-elect me."

Richard Neely of the West Virginia Supreme Court, quoted on

Another interesting Virginia lawyer profiled

Here is a profile of Eleanor Weston Brown, Newport News lawyer and Regent law professor, and owner of two houses and a hybrid car, among other things.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Jim Webb and Lebanon in Rolling Stone

Some government employee sent me the word about this excerpt from the Jim Webb profile in Rolling Stone magazine, which is largely about Southwest Virginia.

It begins:

"As night settles between the mountain ridges that rise on either side of Lebanon, Virginia, a rough little strip of a town in the state's southwestern corner, Sen. James Webb's people assemble in the Russell County Courthouse. They're coal miners and miners' wives, a third of them in the camouflage strike gear of the United Mine Workers, many of them wearing ball caps declaring them veterans of Korea, Vietnam or Iraq. A leather-skinned veteran named Eldridge tells me in a raspy whisper that he voted for Webb because Webb, a novelist and historian, had gotten these people, mountain people, right in his most recent book, a best-selling history of the Scots-Irish in America called Born Fighting. "We've got our own ghosts and goblins," Eldridge says, and he thinks Webb sees them. "He has the Second Sight.""

Another item I missed

VLW Blog posted here that Judge James Benton of the Virginia Court of Appeals has announced his retirement.

National media came to town for the OxyContin sentencing

I was at the Homestead on Friday, but the New York Times and Time magazine were in Abingdon to see the protesters and the proceedings before Chief Judge Jones in the criminal case.

On Judge Widener and senior status

On Friday, the Washington Post had this short article about Judge Widener. It says in part:

"The nation's longest-serving federal appellate judge has stepped down as an active member of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit, leaving it with five vacancies.

Judge H. Emory Widener Jr. took senior status Tuesday, his secretary, Peg Bishop, confirmed yesterday."

On Judge Conrad

The Charlotte paper had this article on the announcement that President Bush would nominate Chief Judge Robert Conrad, Jr., of the W.D.N.C. to the long-vacant position on the Fourth Circuit formerly held by Judge Phillips, and to which Judge Boyle was nominated at different times.

Here is a friendly profile of Chief Judge Conrad.

On the flip side, ACS had this negative post about Chief Judge Conrad.

Commentary on AT&T Wireless

This article links the sole service provider for Apple's new iPhone with terrorism surveillance.

It begins:

"If you didn’t manage to snag an iPhone yet, it might not be the worst thing in the world. In addition to saving some money to pay off those pesky student loans, you also might be successfully avoiding wiretaps from the National Security Agency."