Saturday, February 19, 2005

Fish in a barrel?

The Washington Post reports here that the Fairfax County electoral board has fired the registrar of voters.

Under Virginia law, the electoral board has to be made up of a majority of members of the Governor's party. When the Governor's office changes parties, so do the electoral boards. The new boards sometimes want to rid themselves of the registrar hired by the old boards.

Since the groundbreaking cases out of the W.D. Va. in the 1980s, when it was determined that registrars are not patronage employees, see McConnell v. Adams, 829 F.2d 1319 (4th Cir. 1987), every registrar who has ever been fired or denied reappointment following a realignment has sued the electoral board and won. The plaintiffs in the original W.D. Va. cases included Ms. Kilgore, the registrar in Scott County. She won her job back, and ever since, so have all the rest who wanted reinstatement, in every case with which I am familiar, from every corner of the Commonwealth.

Ed Stout and Gerald Gray beat me in one of those cases, and I appealed, and the Fourth Circuit argument was held in Baltimore, during baseball season. So, the night before the argument, the lawyers went (separately) to Camden Yards (for a few innings), and after the argument, we ate together overlooking the Harbor. I'm still mad about that case, but I can't complain about the trip to Baltimore.

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