Friday, November 03, 2006

On the Minors of Virginia

Here is the legislation that made my alleged ancestor Doodes Minor a citizen of Virginia, in 1673, as it says:

WHEREAS at a grand assembly holden at James Cittie the twentieth day of September, in the twenty-third year of the raigne of our Soveraigne Lord the King that now is, and in the yeare of our Lord 1671, it was enacted and ordained that any stranger desireing to make this country the place of their constant residence, might upon their petition to the grand assembly, and takeing the oaths of allegiance and supremacy be admitted to a naturalization. Whereupon John Peterson, Rowland Anderson, Michaell Vanlandigam, Minor Doodes, Doodes Minor, and Herman Kelderman, aliens, makeing humble suite as aforesaid, Bee it therefore enacted by the governour, councill and burgesses of this grand assembly and by the authority thereof, that the said John Peterson, Rowland Anderson, Michaell Vanlandigam, Minor Doodes, Doodes Minor, and Herman Kelderman, and every of them be and are by vertue hereof, and the afore recited lawe, whereon this is grounded capable of free traffique and tradeing of takeing up and purchaseing,

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

True Minor Wisdom

Ray says one space is enough.

I have said the same, here and here and here.

I look for such things, as noted here by Professor Bainbridge.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

More Mississippi reaction to ABA's unqualified rating of Michael Wallace

This article from the Sun Herald in Mississippi lays out the local reaction to the ABA's unanimous rating of Fifth Circuit nominee Mike Wallace as "unqualified."

Wallace's friends are guessing that the reasons for the rating are these: a dispute over the Legal Services Corp., which Wallace chaired in the late 1980s; Wallace served as counsel to then-Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott during the impeachment of President Clinton; his fierce opposition to the Voting Rights Act.

The article concludes:

"Others who grew up with Wallace see a different person. Walker Jones, the head of litigation at Baker, Donaldson in Jackson, hired Wallace in the 1980s and worked with him for 18 years at the Jackson firm of Phelps, Dunbar, where Wallace continues to practice.

"I just couldn't believe the criticisms," said Jones, who was not contacted by the ABA. "They had an axe to grind. Mike is a very intelligent guy who has respect for precedent. I just don't understand this vague category of judicial temperament."

"I know a lot of the judges on the 5th Circuit, and he's better than 95 percent of them, in my opinion."

Rusty Gill, a Biloxi lawyer, has known Wallace since they played peewee baseball when they were six years old. The two went to Biloxi High, where they both played football. "Everybody knew Mike was going to go far," said Gill. Told of the unanimous ABA finding against him, Gill said, "It's unanimously wrong."

"He'd be a great judge.""

First sign of annual shooting woes

It says here:

"Four-year-old Dasaun Taylor sank a greater percentage of baskets than UVa senior guard J.R. Reynolds, who was on hand Monday for Community Day at the child development center in Charlottesville."

Sunday, October 29, 2006

What he said

Like Norm Leahy, I'll vote no, the main reason being that the amendment is pointless legally and gay-baiting for votes strikes me as unacceptable.

Having said that, I think the amendment will pass by a wide margin, and that people who instigated the same-sex marriage through litigation campaign will see their efforts result in widespread "anti-equality" legislation for decades to come, and deservedly so in the sense that extreme action always leads to extreme counter-action and the courts should not be used as a substitute for the legislature in effecting social change on matters so controversial and incompatible with the normal mechanisms of judicial review.

Also, I think most of the claims of both the "yes" and "no" advocates in Virginia were completely bogus, and that many of the people engaged in such advocacy knew full well that were they were saying was bogus but said it anyway to try to get votes for their side.

On the New Jersey decision and the slippery slope

This Volokh post discusses the phenomenon in the New Jersey same-sex marriage case that a list of statutes were possibly misused unjustly.

"Consider how the decision relies on the enactment of past gay rights laws. The backers of such laws often argue that these laws do not create a slippery slope towards same-sex marriage or civil unions. Thus, for instance, an editorial in the Boston Globe, Oct. 15, 1989, at A30, said "[A proposed antidiscrimination law barring sexual orientation discrimination in credit, employment, insurance, public accommodation and housing] does not legalize 'gay marriage' or confer any right on homosexual, lesbian or unmarried heterosexual couples to 'domestic benefits.' Nor does passage of the bill put Massachusetts on a 'slippery slope' toward such rights." See also Phil Pitchford, Council Members Wary of Partner Registry, Riverside Press-Enterprise, Apr. 30, 1994, at B1, quoting Riverside Human Relations Commission member Kay Smith as saying that "[t]hose that truly have a problem with homosexuality will see [a domestic partnership proposal] as part of the 'slippery slope' [toward gay marriages] . . . . But, this legislation needs to be looked at on the face value of what it is, and it really does very little." And see the Editorial, A Vote Against Hate, Louisville Courier-J., Feb. 3, 1994, at 6A, rejecting as "arrant nonsense" the claim that a hate crime law "would lead to acceptance of gay marriages."

. . .

Now maybe this entire discussion, though detailed and prominently placed, is all makeweight; maybe the court would have reached the same result even if such laws hadn't been enacted, and would have found that something else besides those laws "provide[s] committed same-sex couples with a strong interest in equality of treatment relative to comparable heterosexual couples." But if we take the New Jersey Supreme Court at its word, it sounds like in New Jersey antidiscrimination laws, domestic partnership laws, and hate crime laws did indeed help bring about same-sex civil unions, just as they did in Vermont (PDF pages 59-61) and, as to same-sex marriage, in Massachusetts.

One can condemn this slippery-slope effect, or praise it. (I support same-sex marriages and civil unions as a policy matter (see PDF page 37), but I don't think that state courts should mandate them as a constitutional matter.) But I think that one can't dismiss the possibility that slippery slope effects, good or bad, are indeed present here, and can be present in similar contexts. And this is so even when, as a purely logical matter, the initial steps (employment discrimination bans, domestic partnership laws, hate crimes laws, and the like) are eminently distinguishable from the final step (same-sex civil unions)."

To apply this discussion to Virginia, I expect that from this day forward, any statute or other rule that implies protection against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation will be opposed, citing the New Jersey case, on the basis that some future court will cite the new rule in support of something else quite different.