Thursday, February 08, 2007

Dog update

Hey, fifty days after December 20, we got another dog today, via Petfinder from the Johnson County, Tennessee Humane Society in Mountain City. So far, so good.

If I haven't said it before, let me say special thanks to all of our friends who read this blog and sent me a card or a note or just put up with my telling about the last days of Chrissy. It would be a long list of people, and your kindness will not be forgotten.

Split decision on taking custody from DSS of child subject to foster care plan

In Lynchburg Division of Social Services v. Cook, the Virginia Court of Appeals in an opinion by Judge Humphreys joined by Judge Petty with Judge McClanahan dissenting reversed a circuit court order transferring custody of a child in foster care from Social Services to the child's grandparents, concluding that the circuit court was required to make specific findings about whether the circumstances of abuse that led to the taking of custody had been substantially corrected.

The opinion is interesting on the back and forth about statutory construction.

The question I have is why such an interesting opinion and perhaps even important opinion was not published.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Take the Orange Line to Wytheville

This image of the U.S. interstate highway system in the style of a subway map is pretty neat except for the bad spelling of the Southwest Virginia town where Interstates 77 and 81 meet.

On mandatory HPV vaccine

The Instapundit links here to this "Jane Galt" post and this Volokh post, both with many interesting comments, on the question of whether the new vaccine for human papillomavirus should be made mandatory.

More broadly, the Philadelphia Inquirer has this commentary on vaccines, and how the talk of a link between vaccination and autism is likely an urban myth.

On the other side, the Roanoke Times has this editorial, suggesting the HPV vaccine is mostly about corporate greed ("State legislators should not ignore that Merck stands to make billions in sales if Gardasil becomes mandatory across the country.").

They made this vaccine mandatory in Texas (by executive order that might get reversed by the legislature) and it is the subject of HB 2035, which passed the House 80-17 and as amended includes an opt-out provision, and SB 1230, which passed the Senate 40-0.

The language from the House amendment says: "After having reviewed materials describing the link between the human papillomavirus and cervical cancer approved for such use by the Board, a parent or guardian may elect, on an appropriate form prescribed by the Board, for his child not to receive the human papillomavirus vaccine."

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Brief in every sense

From the Buchmeyer blog, here's the whole thing:

Brief in Opposition to Plaintiff's
Motion for Reinstatement
Plaintiff has got to be kidding.

Respectfully submitted,
Simpson & Moran
By Donald A. Van Sullehem
Attorneys for Defendant
Birmingham, Mich.

On the need for national broadband strategy

I meant to link before now to this article by Jim Baller on the need for a national broadband strategy.

What he says makes sense, but I just wish the Comcast "broadband" at my house worked at 4 MB, much less 70 MB. The night of the Super Bowl, it measured at 4K, which reminds that when I started at as a lawyer, our Westlaw connection was 2400.

Strange job interview with legislator for would-be judge

The Norfolk paper reports here on the strange report given by a lawyer who wanted to become a juvenile and domestic relations district court judge in Norfolk with a Republican member of the House of Delegates whom she says asked her questions about religion, abortion, politics, and feminism.

Evidently, the really important questions were omitted, like who's better, Cowboys or Redskins, Army or Navy, Beatles or Rolling Stones, and if she was a cup of gelato, what flavor would she be, and whether she planned to wear racing stripes on her robe like the late Chief Justice Rehnquist.

UPDATE: No, it was a senator, not a member of the House.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Two new vacancies in the Eastern District

Senator Warner has written to The Virginia Bar Association (and presumably other bar groups) that Judge Payne and Judge Ellis have written to President Bush expressing their intention to take senior status in April and May of this year, and so the Senator wanted "to advise you of these upcoming vacancies and to offer your
organization the opportunity to make suggestions of candidates for these important
positions" in Richmond and Alexandria.

The VBA has committees for the very purpose of thinking about candidates for the federal judiciary. The thing to do if you are such a candidate is to forward (hopefully by electronic means) such material about yourself as you would like for the VBA committe to consider to the Executive Director, Guy Tower, whose e-mail address is guytower(at)

Sunday, February 04, 2007

On the administration of the death penalty in Tennessee and elsewhere

This JURIST post has links to the executive order from Tennessee's Governor Bredesen postponing any Tennessee executions at least until May while a study is made of how the death penalty is administered.

On Friday, the Washington Post had this article, with comments from Governor Kaine questioning the need for new Virginia laws expanding the crimes for which the penalty of death may be sought. The article by Michael Shear begins: "Virginia Gov. Timothy M. Kaine, who ran for office pledging to enforce the death penalty despite his personal opposition, said he has strong reservations about efforts by the General Assembly to expand the crimes that are eligible for capital punishment."

Professor Berman has this interesting post on "the federalization of the death penalty."

On jurors asking questions

Like Ernie says, read the comments to this WSJ law blog post on juror questions.

Allowing jurors to ask questions is one of the recommendations of the Virginia jury task force.

Our peers in the East

Check out Peninsula Virginia Law blog; well done.