Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Matthews, you jerk

Last night, Chris Matthews slipped a cog and blistered some mild-mannered Texan standing in for the Obama campaign about what legislation has Obama gotten passed, ever in his life.

One answer is that Obama, having been a legislator for several years longer than has Ms. Clinton, got his fair share of bills passed in the Illinois state legislature, during the period when he was in the majority party and during which time he enjoyed a favorable relationship with the Senate leader, Emil Jones - or so said that Obama book by David Mendell I read earlier in the month.

As it says here on the Waldo-styled GovTrack website, "Hillary Clinton has sponsored 354 bills since Jan 22, 2001, of which 307 haven't made it out of committee (Extremely Poor) and 2 were successfully enacted (Average, relative to peers)."

Of course, seniority and majority have more to do with the outcome of the "Dance of Legislation" than anything else, and so it is unsurprising that so few bills sponsored by Ms. Clinton have passed.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

On counting to 2

In U.S. v. Gardner, where the federal statute required 2 felony drug convictions for a life sentence, Chief Judge Jones counted only one, concluding among other things that the defendant's fake dope conviction did not count.

Don Shula's first coaching gig - 50 years ago in Charlottesville

Doug Doughty has this fun piece about the 50th anniversary of the employment of Don Shula as an assistant football coach at the University of Virginia in 1958, ten years before he went to the Super Bowl as coach of the Colts and fifteen years before his Miami team finished its undefeated season, about which team I have written here and elsewhere.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Should Virginia lawyers be subject to random audits of trust accounts?

This article in the Norfolk paper says that this year's VSB President Howard W. Martin, Jr., favors random audits of lawyer trust accounts in Virginia, as has been done in North Carolina for 23 years.

I'm in favor, on two conditions: (1) no dues increase, and (2) no discrimination against solos and very small firm lawyers (meaning firms smaller even than ours).

Lack of due diligence?

It has been reported here and elsewhere that Judge Kelley of the E.D. Va. is going to resign because: (1) federal judges spend much of their time dealing with icky criminal cases, and (2) partners in D.C. law firms get more money.

These obscure facts must have come as shocking revelations, whenever he discovered them during his brief tenure on the bench. I'm thinking Chief Justice Roberts should not have sent Kelley that copy of his year-end report.

More on the Exam Dream

Previously, I've written about The Exam Dream, my own personal version of which most commonly involves Lynda Butler, who at different points in her life taught first calculus and later the Rule Against Perpetuities, and such other and further details as Old Cabell Hall and no bluebook.

Now, she is the acting Dean of the Law School, as the result of the musical chairs since Gene Nichol quit. Whether this will have an effect on my subconscious, only time can tell.

The funny thing is, Professor Butler was not especially cruel or unusual way back when; in my last dealings with her, she liked my paper on impact fees, even though subsequent history has shown my "intermediate scrutiny" thesis based on Nollan v. California Coastal Commission to be mostly wrong, after the Supreme Court's 2005 decision in Lingle v. Chevron.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

A few I missed

Overlawyered had this post on the Virginia law of sangria, now subject to an amendment as part of a broader fix of the ABC laws (and which our own Del. Johnson voted against) and this post about a lawsuit against a golf course in Virginia Beach, brought by a passing driver struck by an errant shot - plus a link to this Novak story that says Obama will pick Edwards as AG.

This Professor Berman post discusses an article about how the brunt of the crack cocaine resentencings will fall on Virginia. Related to that topic, the W.D. Va. has a new set of guidelines for handing such matters.

Pleaded v. pled

Last month, David Lat had this post, on the topic of which is the more correct usage, pleaded vs. pled, as the past tense of the verb, "to plead."

On the state court side, Westlaw gives the impression that Chief Justice Hassell, Justice Kinser, Justice Lemons, Chief Judge Felton, Judge Kelsey, Judge Humphreys, Judge McClanahan, and Senior Judge Coleman prefer "pled," but Judge Elder has more frequently used "pleaded," as did former Chief Justice Carrico.

The U.S. Supreme Court prefers "pleaded." Brian Garner says "pleaded" is more common.

The other day I got an opinion from the W.D. Va. that used both, and determined that the same judge has used both in 24 different opinions, which leads me to conclude that he would say the point is pointless - and not the first from me.