Friday, January 23, 2009

Our Fair City listed in the World's Top Seven

This article lists Bristol, with this entry -

"Bristol, Virginia, USA. As a first time honoree, Bristol made an impact after taking on incumbent telcos in court and the state legislature to win the right to deploy a fiber network called OptiNet. Conceived as a backbone serving government and schools, OptiNet has grown into a fiber-to-the-premises network for business and residents in Bristol and four neighboring counties. It has also attracted more than $50 million in private investment, including the region's first technology employers, and improved rural education and healthcare by connecting local providers to leading institutions."

Judge Wilkinson asks President Obama to go easy on the Fourth Circuit

I read this commentary by Judge Wilkinson, which may be the least comprehensible thing I ever read that he wrote. Who can tell me what he is saying?

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

For qualified immunity fans

Today, the Supreme Court zigged in another direction on an issue where it has both zigged and zagged, and that is the order of answering the two questions that make up the question of qualified immunity. One question is, does the plaintiff have a claim under the Constitution? The other question is, did the defendant violate the clearly-established constitutional rights of the plaintiff, of which a reasonable government official in his or her position should have known?

If the courts have to answer the merits question first, then a bunch of advisory opinions about constitutional issues get generated. If the courts can answer the "clearly-established" question first, then the law never gets any clearer, and more defendants win.

The conclusion in Pearson v. Callahan is that the courts can go whichever way works best.

You can click here to see some of what I have written in the past on qualified immunity - one of my favorite topics, and the subject of an article I wrote for the VADA some years ago.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Well done, guys

Lucas Hobbs and Jim Elliott from our firm were counsel for the successful appellant in the case of Virginia Highlands Airport Authority v. Singleton Auto Parts, where Justice Millette described the issue as this:

"We are presented with the novel issue whether the easement constitutes a taking of airspace requiring compensation when the property was already subject to preexisting restrictions on development imposed by the ordinance."