Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Why I'm voting for Brownlee

Why I'm going to Richmond this weekend to vote at the Republican convention for John Brownlee:

1. He was the U.S. Attorney for the W.D. Va., the head lawyer for the United States of America in (the better) half of Virginia. That's more like being Attorney General than about any other law job there is. If you look'em up on Westlaw, Mr. Brownlee's name is on Westlaw hundreds of times, just like the Attorney General's name is on every case the Commonwealth appeals or defends in federal court.

2. In the Purdue Pharma case, the Pocahontas murder cases, the Bedford fundraiser case, the Dr. Knox case, among others, that office made some gutsy calls, I think - not all of them right necessarily but none based on expediency. The buck stops with the boss when decisions about high-profile cases are made - fairly or not.

3. We've debated before whether prosecutorial experience is better than not for an Attorney General. It is. It might even be better than patent litigation experience or antitrust litigation experience.

4. The newspapers were usually on his case. The newspapers are usually wrong.

5. I first met Brownlee in federal court in Big Stone Gap in 1995 - he's lived all over Virginia, as a student in Fairfax County and Lexington and Williamsburg, as a law clerk and lawyer in Abingdon and Roanoke and Northern Virginia. I doubt that Southwest Virginia will ever be much of a priority for the other fellows.

6. His wife and the girls - lovely. He must be doing something right. And - she is on a first-name basis with Johnny Wood, from her time on TV here in Bristol.

7. He is a veteran of the military, and clerking for Judge Wilson, and working for Woods Rogers, and which of these was the more demanding I couldn't say - probably clerking for Judge Wilson. I'd vote for anybody who clerked for Judge Wilson, as those ex-clerks feel the influence of their old judges, always. The Woods Rogers litigators (including alumni) I've known all share a high level of diligence and competence, and you want them with you rather than against you.

8. He's a conservative but a free thinker, with a sense of humor. I've spent a little bit of time with him, as he came to our blogger meeting in Martinsville and one of our bar meetings in Bristol when I was running those and more recently we've met at campaign events, and he speaks well and laughs easily. I rate him as a good guy, besides everything else.

9. OK, I'll add this one - he supported the effort of my client Buchanan County to get $1 million in forfeiture money from the Big Coon Dog case remitted from the United States Department of Justice.