Saturday, October 01, 2005

Federal prosecution becomes too much work

Here Professor Berman ruminates on the thesis that the Supreme Court's sentencing decisions in Blakely and Booker have chilled the number of federal prosecutions.

What to bring to my next oral argument

Here Ray expands on the "pitcher and pie" theory of clarity of expression.

The odds on Judge Karen Williams as the second nominee

Ex parte reports here that Judge Karen Williams of the Fourth Circuit is at the moment the betting favorite on Tradesports to be picked by President Bush as his next nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Right now the top prices there are these: Fourth Circuit Judge Williams, 13.0; Third Circuit Judge Alito, 9.0; AG Gonzalez, 8.0; Michigan Supreme Court's Corrigan, 6.3; Larry Thompson, 6.0; Ninth Circuit Judge Callahan, 5.4; Fifth Circuit Judge Clement, 5.0; D.C. Circuit Judge Janice Rogers Brown, 5.0.

But could there be a Chav Dotson?

Here Mike at C&F and here PG at Crescat elaborate on their discovery of the word "chav," citing this NYT article, which says in part:

"Chavs, whether rich or poor, tend to favor gaudy jewelry and expensive-but-tacky clothes with big logos and to behave in a way that others find coarse or obnoxious.

Male chavs wear tracksuits and baseball caps; female chavs pull their hair tightly back in buns or ponytails, a style known as a 'council house facelift,' from the term for public housing."

Friday, September 30, 2005

New judge nominated for Southern District of West Virginia

The Gazette reports here that President Bush earlier this week nominated Thomas E. Johnston, age 38, the U.S. attorney for the Northern District of West Virginia, to succeed the late Judge Haden on the bench in the Southern District.

The article notes that among those who were said to be candidates for the job were two lawyers within the sphere of my acquaintance, broadly construed, and they are Mark Sadd from Charleston who was at U.Va. (and an editor of the University Journal) in my day and John Shott, a good man from Bluefield.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

The view from the Great Lakes state

Someone writing in The Michigan Review says: "In the Old Dominion state, it looks that Democrat Lt. Governor Tim Kaine will be denied his bid for a promotion. Republican State Attorney General Jerry Kilgore has been running ahead of Kaine in nearly every poll since the primaries last spring. While it is true that the most recent Rasmussen Reports poll shows him in a statistical tie of 43% versus 40%, this is more likely to be statistical noise than a swell in support for Kaine. Virginia has been drifting steadily from the leaning- to safe-Republican column in recent years, and unless Gov. Warner provides Kaine with a crucial boost, the Governor's mansion will return to Republican hands on November 8th."

Best sports stories of the week

The President's Cup was exciting, and so was last night's UT comeback, but I like this one as the weekend's best sports story, about the Notre Dame coach and a kid named Montana.

While we're at it, here is another example of why I've linked to every Rayna DuBose story I've seen in these past three years.

Three and one-third Caption Contest wins

Chad gives us one-third of this week's trophy, to go along with the others.

Ben Affleck as rumored opponent for Sen. Allen

Here in the WP's Style section (so you know it's a joke) it is said that some Virginia Democrats are talking up Ben Affleck as a Senate candidate.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

One great footnote

In Kondaurov v. Kerdasha, the Virginia Supreme Court in an opinion by Senior Justice Russell reversed the $300,000 verdict for the plaintiff, where it appeared the verdict may have been based in part on her emotional distress caused by the brief disappearance of her dog, Sushi.

In footnote 2, the Court noted:

"Sushi attended the trial. Plaintiff’s counsel represented that she was a 'service dog' as defined in Code § 51.5-44(E), and that the plaintiff relied on her for assistance. The court entered an order, to which the defense agreed, permitting her to accompany the plaintiff on condition that there would be 'no growling or hostility toward the defense counsel.'"

Use that fiber

Figuring out how to avoid using the roads, it says here: "Since 2001, the Virginia Department of Transportation has saved nearly $11.3 million in avoided travel and time costs for meetings by conducting them via videoconference instead of in person."

On race unity days

Here I read this:

"It was in a small town in Appalachia, Jonesville in Lee County, Va., where I first saw such an event: people of different races and cultures coming together in an organized manner.

'We bring people together of diverse cultures and just fellowship together,'' I remember Jill Carson of Pennington Gap, Va., telling me that particular Sunday afternoon in 1999. 'We hold it every year in Jonesville, and we have approximately 400-500 people attend this.

'It's a day of fellowship ? we share stories, we share music, we share love, we share friendship and it's very successful. Every year, we do it on the second Sunday in June, and this is the seventh consecutive year that we've had it.'

They called it Race Unity Day in that small mountain town located about two hours northeast of Knoxville, and it was a way to improve race relations in the area."

Judge McElyea appoints Tim McAfee to the Appalachia voting case

Laurence Hammack of the Roanoke paper reports here on the appointment of the special prosecutor in the vote-buying case from the Town of Appalachia.

On Katrina and poverty awareness

This AP story says in part:

"In Appalachia, a region where poverty is so entrenched, so intractable and so pervasive it is almost a cliche, many residents still live in century-old coal camp box houses, built to be temporary out of flimsy boards and battens.
The poverty in this region has been 'discovered' again and again, and promises to pull residents out of poverty have been made for more than a century. During the Civil War, when thousands of Appalachians were driven from their homes in the mountains, President Lincoln promised he would come to their aid.
'The folks we work with don't really see they have a future, and as a consequence they live day by day,' said John David, who directs the Southern Appalachia Labor School in Kincaid, W.Va.
Some Appalachian residents have continuous yard sales, their only hope of making money lies in selling one of their possessions. Many more spend the entire year paying off their winter heating bills, which top $500 a month because their homes lack insulation."

I never heard of the Southern Appalachian Labor School.

Circuit court judge marries well

Here the Washington Post describes in the Style section how billionaire Sheila Johnson came to marry the Virginia judge who presided over her divorce case.

The wedding couple looked great.

Richmond lawyer makes the cable channels wearing flip-flops

Mark Holmgren has this column on Chris Collins, the Richmond lawyer, who has been on cable TV lately because he represents a "person of interest" in relation to the case of the missing VCU student.

The missing student, by the way, was a blogger, according to this Washington Times report.

Community internet map

Via this Slashdot post, here is a map of the existing and pending community internet systems across the U.S., including Bristol Virginia and Bristol Tennessee.

Still fighting the elections of 2000 and 2004

In this editorial, the Roanoke Times says that (even though he won the election) President Bush should (act like he didn't and) not appoint a conservative to the U.S. Supreme Court, because doing so would not be fair to the people who didn't vote for him.