Saturday, May 22, 2004

On hunting and zoning

The Daily Press has this wild article about an interesting zoning case involving a "hunt club," where the landowner is relying in part on Virginia's constitutional protection for hunting.

Lawyers among the soldiers in the War on Poverty in Appalachia

This AP article contains a series of profiles of people who came to Appalachia in the 1960s to fight the war on poverty, including a lawyer named John Rosenberg from Kentucky, whom it is my privilege to have met a time or two.

Another profile on John Rosenberg is here.

You take your inspiration where you can find it, and he is an inspirational guy.

Mention of U.Va. president in AJC article on Jim Crow laws

The Atlanta paper (registration required) has this piece on Jim Crow laws, which includes the following:

"De jure segregation largely emerged in tandem with the move to disenfranchise blacks. Proponents of disenfranchisement made a starkly cynical pitch: White competition for black votes was fueling the violence and fraud that made Southern politics so chaotic. So, they asserted, taking the vote away from black citizens would actually restore honesty and rationality to the system. University of Virginia President Edwin A. Alderma[n] hailed disenfranchisement as one of the 'most constructive acts of Southern history.'"

The kind of story that makes Roy Jessee laugh out loud

This morning, I'm watching the Golf Channel. I see what appears to be a worthwhile swing tip, grab the putter that lives up here, take a few swings, and suddenly smash the ceiling light fixture directly over me, causing glass to land first on my head and then all over the room.

Was there a failure to warn, do not try this at home in a room with a low-flying light fixture? Who is liable? How can I get service on the Golf Channel? Aw, heck, I love the Golf Channel. This week is the Colonial, which means it is Ben Hogan week, and at this very minute the GC gang is interviewing the author of Afternoons with Mr. Hogan, which I just read a few weeks ago.

As for the goofiness, the first story of this kind known to Roy Jessee is of the time he watched me trying to parallel park in front of Bill Bradshaw's office in Big Stone Gap.

WV Senators name their choice to succeed U.S. District Judge Haden

The Bluefield paper reports here ("McDowell native nominated for seat on federal bench," 5/20/04) that the two U.S. Senators from West Virginia, Byrd and Rockefeller, have named Irene Berger of the Kanawha County circuit court as their choice for the federal judgeship vacated by the death of Judge Charles Haden.

More on the press and the Virginia anti-same sex partnership law

This article is a bit more focused as it says there are two constructions of the anti-gay partnership statute:

"Rebecca Glenberg, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union in Virginia, believes the law can be interpreted in two ways. If it's read to protect exclusive rights accorded to married couples, such as filing joint federal income tax returns or immunity from testifying against a spouse, gays and lesbians would largely be unaffected because they don't have these rights now. However, Glenberg said a broader interpretation could include any legal arrangment that married couples are allowed to enter into, such as powers of attorney, property arrangments, wills and medical directives."

The articles I have read about this law in the last day or two are mostly lousy. I don't know what other people mean by the term "media bias," but the stories on this topic seem to be planted by interest groups and emphasize unlikely interpretations of the new law, when the real story, I think, is whether the law is unconstitutional even if it is construed no more broadly than in the manner first indicated by the ACLU lawyer, the same manner as what Delegate Marshall intended.

More on the Holbrook case

The Kingsport paper has this report ("Appeals court side with prosecutors in broken plea bargain," 5/22/04) on the Fourth Circuit's decision to uphold Chief Judge Jones' rulings in the Holbrook murder case.

Nonsense on anti-civil union law from the Norfolk paper

This article from the Norfolk paper targets the new anti-same sex partnership statute in Virginia, with the suggestion that it would "invalidate . . . insurance benefits" for some people in Virginia effective July 1.

Opposite the comments of Delegate Marshall who supported the new law, the article juxtaposes the views of a law professor inaptly-named Pagan, who had nothing good to say about the statute, and predicted mayhem in the personal lives of some people until it is thrown out.

This article strikes me as bad reporting, more sensational than substantive. This statute will have real effects on real people, and it will be challenged in court, but I'm not sure that this article gets to the heart of the matter. On health insurance, for example, as Professor Pagan notes, "[s]tate law already blocks insurance companies licensed to do business in Virginia from covering same-sex partners or their children." Has there been a constitutional challenge to the existing law? If there are employers with self-insurance schemes that work around the existing law to provide same-sex benefits, who would have standing to complain about the legality of these benefits under the new law, and wouldn't the issue be the enforceability of the contract between employer and employee, not any kind of same-sex union contract? I don't see how the application of the new law to health benefits is ever going to be an issue that will get to court.

What I would be interested to know is how will the legal challenges to the statute be litigated. As Professor Pagan indicates, there probably cannot be any constitutional challenges brought in federal court until some state actor does something bad to somebody. A equal protection claim brought today in federal court would likely be dismissed for lack of standing or lack of ripeness or something like that.

Ex-supervisor gets 30 days, $15,000 fine in false highway papers case

The Roanoke paper reports here ("Kirby Richardson gets jail sentence,keeps quiet about reason for scam," 5/23/04) on the sentence handed down in the criminal case a former member of the Bedford County Board of Supervisors:

"The owner of a Rocky Mount steel fabricating company had faced 82 felony charges for his role in the scam to falsify Virginia Department of Transportation forms in November 2002. The falsified forms were comment sheets that favored a $1.1 million upgrade of turn lanes at the rural intersection of Virginia 608 and Virginia 626 in Bedford County's White House area. The forms in part influenced a majority of supervisors to approve the project."

On Lexington

The Baltimore Sun has this somewhat ambiguous travel article ("Sweet home Lexington," 5/23/04) on Lexington, Virginia, which sort of glosses over what I would think are the best parts.

Quesadillas at the Southern Inn? I've not been there in a while. In fact, my wife won't go back, she rates the last time she was there as one of the worst dining experiences of her life, against which few bad meals have compared in our 15 years together.

Friday, May 21, 2004

More on the possibility of e-filing in Virginia state court

The Norfolk paper has this article ("Va. reviews possibility of electronic court filings," 5/21/04) on the prospects for electronic filing in the state courts of Virginia, as 11 bidders are seeking to be the vendor for the project.

EEOC too slow?

The Washington Post reports here ("Bias Probes Drag On Too Long, EEOC Say," 5/21/04) that the EEOC is not meeting its deadlines for investigating charges of employment discrimination.

More on the Crooked Trail

The Roanoke paper has this article ("Tourists can strum along Crooked Road," 5/20/04) about the new music trail in Southwest Virginia.

Thursday, May 20, 2004

Old list of graduation speeches

This is still one of my favorite posts, listing graduation speeches you can read online. Some of the links have gone bad, but hey, it's still all free stuff.

Right issue, wrong case, what happens?

In a footnote in Boyd v. People, Inc., the Virginia Court of Appeals explained that an issue was properly raised before the Worker's Comp commission, even though the case cited in support was not on point, citing Lash v. County of Henrico, 14 Va. App. 926, 929, 421 S.E.2d 851, 853 (1992) (en banc) (holding that, as long as litigant preserves issue in trial court, Rule 5A:18 does not prevent appellate court "from relying on . . . authority that was not presented to the trial court or referred to in [the parties'] briefs").

Rehearing denied by 8-1 vote in gas pipeline case

In this published order, the Fourth Circuit denied rehearing in the case of East Tennessee Natural Gas Co. v. Sage, on appeal from the W.D. Va., with only Judge Widener voting in favor of rehearing, 8 judges voting against, and 4 not voting.

Dismissal of dec action reversed despite pendency of underlying proceeding in state court

In Penn-America Insurance Co. v. Coffey, the Fourth Circuit in an opinion by Judge Niemeyer, joined by Judge Michael and Senior Judge Hamilton, reversed the dismissal by Judge Smith of the E.D. Va. of a declaratory judgment action brought by an insurer seeking a determination of its duty to defend the defendant in a case pending in state court. The appeals court emphasized that the two cases involve different issues, as the duty to defend will depend not on the actual facts, but on the allegations made in the claimagainst the insured.

Federal conviction affirmed in Holbrook case from Wise County

In U.S. v. Holbrook, the Fourth Circuit in an opinion by Judge Williams, joined by Judge Duncan with Judge King dissenting, affirmed the conviction of the defendant Agnes Holbrook at a trial following her breach of an earlier plea bargain. Holbrook's counsel argued that this remedy for breach of a plea agreement violated her due process rights and was barred by the Double Jeopardy clause.

Judge King concluded that the government should have been limited to enforcement of the plea agreement. He begins his dissent with these words: "Because the decision of the panel majority disregards precedent and will undermine the fair administration of justice in this Circuit, I write separately to explain my profound disagreement."

Judge King didn't carry the majority of the panel's votes, but he did make history with his phraseology. He declares, with regard to the plea agreement, it is impossible to "construct a silk purse from a sow's ear." Later, he concludes that a prosecutor under the rule espoused by the majority could "have his cake and eat it too." A quick search on WL shows 1244 "cake" opinions, and 136 opinions with silk purses not made into sow's ears, but not one previously with both the cake and the silk purse.

Employee on the road not acting within scope of employment, issue of fact on punitives

In Muri v. Killeen, Judge Wilson ruled, among other things, that an employee was not acting within the scope of his employment for the co-defendant employer, when he was in an automobile accident driving after a dinner party related to his work, and also denied the individual defendant's motion for summary judgment on punitive damages, concluding there was enough evidence to create a jury issue under the Booth case.

Checking your neighbor's campaign contributions

The NY Times has this article about how some people are surprised to find out about, which names names and numbers about campaign contributions.

In Virginia, we have VPAP, which does something similar, if only for the state races. In fact, one of the links on the VPAP index page is "Who's Giving in Your Neighborhood?"

What I am waiting to see here in Bristol, and there was a little bit of it today, is an official list online or in the newspaper with all 1,900+ who signed the recall petition for the city councilmen on the Tennessee side. I've been expecting the Bristol paper to publish all the names in a big chart.

More on the David Stanley lawsuit

The Coalfield Progres has this update ("Kennedy seeks dismissal; Stanley returns to California," 5/20/04) on the federal court suit, now transferred to the W.D. Va., brought by a former fugitive against the circuit judge, the circuit court clerk, and others.

From underground miner to Fredericksburg lawyer

Via VLW, the Fredericksburg paper has this profile ("Coal miner made great leap to the law," 5/20/04) of a man from Buchanan County who went from working underground for Island Creek Coal to becoming a Virginia lawyer.

Whoops, there it is - surprise surplus in Virginia

The Washington Post reports here ("Surprise Jump In Va. Revenue Yields Surplus," 5/20/04) that increased government revenues in Virginia have opponents of tax hikes saying, "I told you so."

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

$1.4 million awarded for death from pain medication

This AP report describes a $1,4 million jury award in a wrongful death case tried in Spotsylvania County, where the plaintiff dies as the result of pain medication.

Dismissal of claims under Virginia securities act reversed

In Dunn v. Borta, the Fourth Circuit in an opinion by Judge King, joined by Judge Duncan with Judge Niemeyer dissenting, reversed the dismissal of plaintiff's claims under the Virginia Securities Act, Va. Code 13.1-502 and 13.2-522.

Chief Judge Jones suppresses statement under Miranda

In U.S. v. Lovell, Chief Judge Jones of the W.D. Va. granted in part the defendant's motion to suppress based on Miranda violations.

The horse race for LG nomination in 2005

The Richmond paper has this article on the politicians trying to drum up interest in their candidacies for the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor in 2005. The article says that Senator Puckett is among those out on the stump:

Puckett, a teacher-turned-insurance agent first elected to the state Senate in 1997, envisions himself as a moderate-to-conservative counterweight to the Democrats' presumed gubernatorial nominee, Lt. Gov. Timothy M. Kaine, who forged more liberal credentials as Richmond mayor.

Puckett said his resistance to gun control and abortion - he describes himself as a "pro-life Democrat" - are likely to trouble partisans for whom abortion rights and firearms restrictions are articles of faith.

"But I hope that might be a plus somewhere across the commonwealth for me," he said, appearing to refer to the rural Southwest Virginia base he shares with the likely Republican nominee for governor, Attorney General Jerry W. Kilgore, a native of Scott County.

Puckett said the issues he intends to spotlight include transportation, and the need to raise new cash for the state road system. That, he said, might mean higher fuel taxes and additional levies on motor vehicle titles.

Puckett said rural voters generally favor the $1.4 billion tax package passed during the marathon session of the 2004 legislature because it provides much-needed funds for public education, law and order and social services.

Don't most school districts do something like this?

The Virginia Gazette has this story ("Idea for private meetings stirs opposition," 5/19/04) about public opposition to the superintendent of schools have regular meetings with one or two meetings of the school board at a time to talk about what's going on.

Nominee for Norfolk judgeship among those advanced by Senate-White House deal

Via VLW, the AP has this report that includes Walter Kelley, named to the E.D. Va., among the non-controversial judicial nominees covered by the deal between the Senate and the White House that will allow the process to advance for some 25 new judges.

On-stage nudity may cost theater its share of Virginia tobacco money

This story ("Barter Theatre director: The play's not the thing," 5/19/04) says that Richard Rose, the director of the Barter Theatre, was dismayed to learn that Virginia public officials who control the tobacco money for public projects don't regard on-stage nudity as a plus.

The Barter wants the tobacco money in support of its plan to pave over the Barter Green, a project I view as a greater menace to society than on-stage nudity.

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Profile of a capital defender in Virginia

This article ("Standing for justice without 'vengeance,'" 5/18/04) from the Norfolk paper profiles a public defender in capital cases in southeastern Virginia.

Fourth Circuit rejects Pittston's constitutional attack on the Coal Act

In The Pittston Co. v. U.S., the Fourth Circuit in an opinion by Judge Niemeyer joined by Judge Traxler, with Chief Judge Wilkins concurring in part and dssenting in party, affirmed the dismissal of Pittston's constitutional challenge to the Coal Act. The Coal Act was the legislative bail-out at the end of the 1988 National Bituminous Coal Wage Agreement to fund health benefits of the UMWA Funds beneficiaries. Its somewhat controversial feature is the reachback mechanism, to find employers to pay for benefits. The reachback was ruled to be unconstitutional in the extreme circumstances of the Eastern Enterprises case, but none of the many subsequent constitutional challenges to the Act have succeeded.

Chief Judge Wilkins concurred on the constitutional issues, but would have held that the reassignment of some retirees to Pittston was improper under the Act. (So, the outcome wasn't really 2-1, it was more like 2.9-0.1.)

Wade Massie from Abingdon argued for Pittston in the case.

Governor Warner comes to Clintwood for bill signing with Ralph Stanley

The Coalfield Progress has this article ("Governor to visit Clintwood on Wednesday," 5/18/04) on the ceremony to be held tomorrow for the sining of HB 909, which establishes the heritage music trail through Southwest Virginia.

In particular, HB 909 says:

The following route is hereby designated "Virginia's Heritage Music Trail: The Crooked Road": Beginning at the Blue Ridge Folklife Museum in Ferrum, thence west on U.S. Route 40 to Shooting Creek Road, thence along Shooting Creek Road to its intersection with U.S. Route 221, thence along U.S. 221 through the Town of Floyd and west on U.S. Route 221 to its intersection with U.S. Route 58 in the Town of Hillsville, thence west on U.S. 58/221 to the Town of Independence, thence west on U.S. Route 58 through the Town of Damascus to its intersection with U.S. Route 11, thence southeast on U.S. 11 through the Town of Abingdon where U.S. 11 joins with U.S. Route 19 to Interstate Route 81 (Exit 5) in the City of Bristol, thence west on U.S. 58 and Interstate Route 81 to the intersection of U.S. Route 421 (Exit 1), thence west on U.S. 58/421 to its intersection with U.S. Route 23 in the Town of Weber City, thence west and north on U.S. Route 23/58/421 to the Town of Duffield, thence north on U.S. Route 23 through the Town of Big Stone Gap and the City of Norton to the intersection of U.S. Route 23 (business) south of the Town of Pound, thence north on U.S. 23 (business) into the Town of Pound to the intersection of Virginia Route 83, thence east on Virginia Route 83 to the Town of Clintwood.

More on Iraq and Fourth Circuit nominee Haynes

This article ("Democrats Ask to Recall Haynes," 5/18/04) has more on opposition to the nomination to the Fourth Circuit nominee William J. Haynes II based on his role in defining policies for the handling of the war in Iraq.

Plans for new natural gas power plant in Southwest Virginia abandoned

According to this report in the Roanoke paper, Duke Power has called off plans to build a natural-gas power plant that would have been located in Wythe County, citing among other things the rising cost of natural gas.

Southwest Virginia company officials plead guilty to selling contaminated fabric to the Army

The Roanoke paper reports here ("Bondcote officials plead guilty," 5/18/04) on the guilty pleas of a Pulaski County company and one of its officials for lying about fabric sold to the Army.

Richmond fundraiser brings in $625,000 for AG Kilgore

The Washington Post reports here that 700 people turned out for a Jerry Kilgore fundraiser lunch in Richmond yesterday, at which he and Senator George Allen spoke.

Monday, May 17, 2004

Racing team awarded $7.5 million under business conspiracy act in Fairfax County

Rob Hagy's Sports and the Law Report has this post about a $7.5 million award in Fairfax County in a case under the business conspiracy statutes, which provides for treble damages.

Rob sent me a note and says he is of Southwest Virginia origin.

Arizona man wants back Virginia dog after three years

The Norfolk paper has this article about a man in Arizona who wants back the dog he left with his parents three years ago, which dog has since been adopted in Virginia. One person commenting in the article notes that "that under Virginia law, a person who feeds and shelters a dog for more than five days is the dog’s owner."

Perhaps this is a reference to Va. Code 3.1-796.66, which defines "abandon" an animal as "to desert, forsake, or absolutely give up an animal without having secured another owner or custodian for the animal or by failing to provide the elements of basic care . . . for a period of five consecutive days."

Post decries victimization of illegals following new license law in Virginia

The Washington Post has this commentary which concludes that the Virginia General Assembly ought to rethink its legislation barring driver's licenses to undocumented aliens, which has spawned a black market trade in forged and phony licenses.

JAG officers say Haynes and others ignored them on prison conditions

This story ("JAG Lawyers: Prisoner Warnings Ignored, 5/16/04) from says some JAG lawyers are complaining that their warnings about the treatment of prisoners were "marginalized" by political appointees in the Defense Department, including Fourth Circuit nominee William J. Haynes, II, who was general counsel for the Department.

Bush antagonizes tobacco growers

The Washington Post reports here ("Tobacco States Fume Over Bush Remarks, 5/16/04) that President Bush has stepped in it with his stated opposition to a federal buyout for tobacco growers. The article quotes Virginia Congressman Virgil Goode, who said "I've heard from any number of good Republicans who said they'll either stay home or vote Democrat in the fall if the White House doesn't change its position."

Boucher nominated, Puckett ponders lieutenant governor bid

The Roanoke Times has this report ("Boucher outlines goals upon accepting nomination," 5/16/04) on this past weekend's Ninth District convention that nominated Congressman Rick Boucher to run again, and it also mentions that state Senator Phillip Puckett is considering a run for lieutenant governor in 2005.

Roanoke lawyer files class-action against eye-care company

This article ("Class-action suit sought against eye-care company," 5/15/04) describes a federal class-action suit brought against a company for misleading advertisements related to discounted eyeglasses.

Virginia Republicans as trend-setters in raising taxes

USAToday has this story titled "Look who's raising taxes: Republican-run states."

Sunday, May 16, 2004

Excerpts from Virginia cases dealing with desegregation

On running and capping by NAACP lawyers:

"[T]he NAACP, its Virginia Conference, its branches and the Fund are engaged in the unlawful solicitation of legal business for their attorneys. . . ." National Ass'n for Advancement of Colored People v. Harrison, 202 Va. 142, 154, 116 S.E.2d 55, 65 (1960).

"[T]he activities of the NAACP, its affiliates and legal staff shown on this record are modes of expression and association protected by the First and Fourteenth Amendments which Virginia may not prohibit, under its power to regulate the legal profession, as improper solicitation of legal business." National Ass'n for Advancement of Colored People v. Button, 371 U.S. 415, 428-429 (1963).

"The Committee was initially established in 1956. At the same time the state laws on champerty, maintenance, barratry, running and capping were revised and the definitions of these offenses enlarged to cover the activities of these civil rights organizations. The Committee was authorized to investigate the manner in which the laws of the Commonwealth relating to the administration of justice were being observed and particularly those relating to the statutorily redefined offenses of champerty, maintenance, etc., and to report to the 1958 Legislature with recommendations. In 1958, the Committee was made permanent and its area of special attention enlarged to include the Virginia common law offenses of champerty, barratry, etc., an obvious attempt to escape the attack then being made on the constitutionality of the statutory definitions. The Legislature's original attempts in 1956 to enlarge the common law definitions of champerty and barratry have practically all been declared unconstitutional since that date. Judge Soper in N.A.A.C.P. v. Patty, 159 F.Supp. 503, 511 (D.C.E.D.Va.1958) (a three judge court), reviewed the history of these statutes and others passed at the 1956 extra session, and found that they were expressly passed for the purpose of impeding the integration of the races in the public schools of Virginia. There can be no doubt that this Committee and its predecessor were originally created as part of this plan, notwithstanding counsel's present assertions that it is now concerned with other areas of activity including legal ethics, communist infiltration, the unauthorized practice of law, etc." Jordan v. Hutcheson, 323 F.2d 597, 602-03 (4th Cir. 1963).

On the role of local officials:

"The Board of Supervisors, the governing body of Prince Edward county, has since the school year 1958-59 refused to make appropriation of these necessary funds. It cannot be compelled to do so by the General Assembly, by this court, or by any authority except its own people." County School Bd. of Prince Edward County v. Griffin, 204 Va. 650, 665, 133 S.E.2d 565, 576 (1963).

"[W]e cannot accept the Virginia court's further holding, based largely on the Court of Appeals' opinion in this case, 322 F.2d 332, that closing the county's public schools under the circumstances of the case did not deny the colored school children of Prince Edward County equal protection of the laws guaranteed by the Federal Constitution." Griffin v. County School Bd. of Prince Edward County, 377 U.S. 218, 230 (1964).

"Only when it became clear--15 years after our decision in Brown v. Board of Education, 347 U.S. 483--that segregation in the county system was finally to be abolished, did Emporia attempt to take its children out of the county system. Under these circumstances, the power of the District Court to enjoin Emporia's withdrawal from that system need not rest upon an independent constitutional violation." Wright v. Council of City of Emporia, 407 U.S. 451, 459 (1972).

"The elective system continued in Arlington County until 1956, when the County school board agreed to desegregate its school system in compliance with Brown v. Board of Education, 347 U.S. 483 (1954). The state legislature, in an effort "to impede Arlington's ability to comply with court-ordered desegregation," Irby, 693 F.Supp. at 433, repealed the 1947 law that had allowed elected school boards. The new law proclaimed that 'no school board shall be elected by popular vote in and for any county or city.'" Irby v. Virginia State Bd. of Elections, 889 F.2d 1352, 1354 (4th Cir. 1989).

"Until 1969, the Board approved private tuition grants for white parents so that their children could attend private school. Such grants often paid tuition to the all-white Brunswick Academy, a private school founded when federal law required school desegregation." Smith v. Board of Sup'rs of Brunswick County, 801 F. Supp. 1513, 1517 (E.D. Va. 1992).

On the timing of desegregation:

"It had been two years since the first decision of the Supreme Court in Brown v. Board of Education and, despite repeated demands upon them, the boards of education had taken no steps towards removing the requirement of segregation in the schools which the Supreme Court had held violative of the constitutional rights of the plaintiffs. This was not 'deliberate speed' in complying with the law as laid down by the Supreme Court but was clear manifestation of an attitude of intransigence . . . ." School Bd. of City of Charlottesville, Va. v. Allen, 240 F.2d 59, 64 (4th Cir. 1957).

"[T]he School Board of Arlington County has since 1956 been under injunctive orders approved by this court, prohibiting racial segregation in the Arlington public schools." Wanner v. County School Bd. of Arlington County, Va., 357 F.2d 452, 453 (4th Cir. 1966).

"[T]he 'grade-a-year' plan, promulgated by the Lynchburg School Board, for initial implementation eight years after the first Brown decision, cannot now be sustained." Jackson v. School Bd. of City of Lynchburg, Va., 321 F.2d 230, 233 (4th Cir. 1963).

"Delays in desegregating school systems are no longer tolerable." Bradley v. School Bd., City of Richmond, Va., 382 U.S. 103, 105 (1965).

"[W]e think any subsequent order, in light of the appellants' complaints should incorporate some minimal, objective time table." Bowman v. County School Bd. of Charles City County, Va., 382 F.2d 326, 329 (4th Cir. 1967).

"The burden on a school board today is to come forward with a plan that promises realistically to work, and promises realistically to work now." Green v. County School Bd. of New Kent County, Va., 391 U.S. 430, 439 (1968).

"[I]t is virtually conceded and established beyond question that, albeit belatedly, Richmond has at this juncture done all it can do to disestablish to the maximum extent possible the formerly state-imposed dual school system within its municipal boundary." Bradley v. School Bd. of City of Richmond, Va., 462 F.2d 1058, 1061 (4th Cir. 1972).

"In the light of the history of state-enforced segregation in the Danville schools, the marked residual disparity in the racial balance of the schools under the plan of the District Court strongly suggests that the plan is ineffective to attain an acceptable degree of realistic desegregation." Medley v. School Bd. of City of Danville, Va., 482 F.2d 1061, 1063 (4th Cir. 1973).

"In 1975, the district court in Beckett found that the Norfolk school system had "satisfied its affirmative duty to desegregate, that racial discrimination through official action [had] been eliminated from the system and that the Norfolk School System [was] 'unitary'." That holding marked the culmination of almost two decades of desegregation litigation in Norfolk." Riddick by Riddick v. School Bd. of City of Norfolk, 784 F.2d 521, 529-30 (4th Cir. 1986).

On the employment of teachers here in Washington County:

"The Washington County school system was desegregated in 1963. At that time there were six black elementary teachers. There remained six black elementary teachers and no black high school teachers until 1981 when Dennis Hill, following an EEOC complaint, was hired as a physical education teacher and coach for one of the high schools. He remained the only black high school teacher in the county schools. Apart from Hill, no black teacher was hired from 1975 until 1988, after this action was filed. In 1988, the superintendent, having learned that an elderly black teacher was retiring, requested Hill to recruit another black teacher. Wittingly or unwittingly, the Board has limited black teachers over the years to a rather rigid quota." Thomas v. Washington County School Bd., 915 F.2d 922, 924-25 (4th Cir. 1990).

Beyond desegregation:

"A state-mandated dual school system admittedly infects society as a whole. It inflicts poverty and many other ills on the students who receive an inferior education, and its effects last at least through those students' lifetimes. But a school desegregation plan cannot remedy these general societal ills, even when they indirectly affect current students." School Bd. of the City of Richmond, Va. v. Baliles, 829 F.2d 1308, 1314 (4th Cir. 1987).

"Our earlier involvement concerned the desegregation of the Arlington County school system. This preceding chapter was brought to a close in Hart v. County School Bd. of Arlington County, Virginia, where we affirmed the remedial policy of the Arlington County School Board ("School Board") to achieve a unitary school district. 459 F.2d 981, 982 (4th Cir. 1972). The current chapter brings us full circle. In the present case, we examine the admissions policy ("Policy") of the Arlington Traditional School ("ATS"), whose goal was not to remedy past discrimination, but rather to promote racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic diversity." Tuttle v. Arlington Cty. School Bd., 195 F.3d 698, 700 (4th Cir. 1999).

Recollections of the desegregation of Roanoke schools

According to this report ("Brown's work not complete, Roanoke board appointee says," 5/16/04) in the Roanoke paper, the City of Roanoke did not complete its desegregation plan until it was ordered to do so by Judge Dalton of the W.D. Va. in 1970.

Recollections of the desegregation of Staunton schools

The Staunton paper has this report ("Change slow reaching Valley," 5/16/04) on the desegregation of public schools in the Staunton area, which includes the following regarding the schools in Augusta County:

In all, it took a decade before local school systems were challenged to comply with Brown and subsequent court rulings.

In April 1964, 36 residents petitioned the Augusta County School Board to end segregation in county schools. Only in February 1966, after a federal court order, did the school board close the black schools.

"It was not until they knew there was no choice," that school systems fully integrated, said Thelma Newman, vice president of the NAACP's Staunton branch.

Recollections of the desegregation of Lynchburg schools

The Lynchburg paper has this article ("All deliberate speed," 5/16/04) on the desegregation of the public schools in the Lynchburg area. The article indicates that the first black students were admitted to E.C. Glass High School in 1962, as the result of a lawsuit against the City filed in the W.D. Va., and the various subsequent rulings of Judge Merhige from Richmond, who came west to inspect the schools in Lynchburg and neighboring counties.

The article includes this recollection of the role of Judge Merhige:

"He went to (Central) [in Amherst County]," Mangum said, "and found that some of the doors were locked. When he demanded that they be opened, he found that the ceilings were caving in. In the typing room, all but one of the typewriters were manual."

After Merhige toured the comparatively luxurious (and white) Amherst County High School, Mangum recalled, "he went into the superintendent's office, lit up a cigar, and said: 'I’m not waiting until I get back to Richmond to make my decision.' Then, he read them the riot act."

Merhige (who, Mangum said, always traveled with two federal marshals) was more perplexed by the situation in Lynchburg. After ordering busing to achieve racial balance in 1970, he learned that the Lynchburg School District had no buses. Students either walked to city schools or used public transit.

"I can’t order them to buy buses," he said.

Nevertheless, by 1971, the City of Lynchburg had gone from 31 schools to 19 and from zero buses to 300.

"All deliberate speed" had finally gained momentum.

More fun on a budget

Jeff Schapiro of the Richmond paper offers this list of the winners and losers under the Commonwealth's new budget.

His column says, among other things: "Full funding of $50,000 is restored to the Coalfield Regional Tourism Authority. There are also bucks for Breaks Interstate Park. No doubt both are favorites of Sen. William C. Wampler Jr., R-Bristol. Wampler, also angling for a new prison in his district, is fast becoming the Virginia Senate's answer to U.S. Sen. Robert C. Byrd, D-W.Va., a big believer in jump-starting ailing regional economies with taxpayer dollars from other areas of the state."

Senator Wampler probably laughed aloud when he read that.

Defense leaders come to Western Virginia

The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, General Richard Myers, and the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Senator John Warner, both were in Western Virginia yesterday to deliver commencement addresses at VMI and Emory & Henry College, respectively, as reported here and here by the AP.

Also, the Roanoke paper had this account ("VMI graduate accepts charge to serve," 5/16/04) of General Myers' speech at VMI, and this account ("Sen. Warner vows to find Iraq abusers," 5/16/04)of Senator Warner's remarks at Emory & Henry, while the Richmond paper had this story ("Joint Chiefs leader tells VMI grads that 'there's never been a more important time to serve'," 5/16/04)on General Myers and this story ("War and honor greet Va. graduates," 5/16/04)on Senator Warner.

Recollections of the desegregation of Kingsport schools

Today's Kingsport paper (registration required) has this interesting article ("Blacks describe difficult first years of desegregation," 5/16/04) with first-person recollections of the desegregation of the public schools there in the 1960s. The first black students entered Dobyns-Bennett High School in 1965 - 11 years after the Supreme Court's decision in Brown v. Board of Education.