Thursday, March 12, 2015

He said it

"[F]ormal rulemaking is the Yeti of administrative law."

Thomas, J., concurring, in Perez v. Mortgage Bankers Association, No. 13-1041, slip op. at 18 n.5 (U.S. March 9, 2015).

Artificial insemination performed at home

I listened to the argument just now by my friend Monica Monday and others in a case before the Court of Appeals, where the issue is whether artificial insemination performed at home using kitchen utensils meets the statutory definition for "assisted conception," which under Va. Code § 20-156 "means a pregnancy resulting from any intervening medical technology, whether in vivo or in vitro, which completely or partially replaces sexual intercourse as the means of conception. Such intervening medical technology includes, but is not limited to, conventional medical and surgical treatment as well as noncoital reproductive technology such as artificial insemination by donor, cryopreservation of gametes and embryos, in vitro fertilization, uterine embryo lavage, embryo transfer, gamete intrafallopian tube transfer, and low tubal ovum transfer." The panel seemed to be skeptical about whether the home procedure qualified as "intervening medical technology."

Thinking about the case, I was reminded of the wisdom of my friend Fred Rowlett, who explained to me some years ago that every stage of the human experience passes through the Virginia Court of Appeals.

Monday, March 09, 2015

On raising the mandatory retirement age for state court judges in Virginia

The General Assembly has passed legislation that would raise the retirement age for Virginia judges from 70 to 73. It applies to "justices of the Supreme Court of Virginia and judges of the Court of Appeals of Virginia effective July 1, 2015," and "those judges of the circuit, general district, and juvenile and domestic relations district courts who are elected or appointed to an original or subsequent term commencing on or after July 1, 2015."

In the past, I always wondered whether at the back of such legislation were old lawyers who wanted to finish their careers as judges, but I have not heard anyone say that in a while.

Locally, the federal Judges Dalton, Widener, Turk, Williams, and Michael all kept working long past the age of 73, and the current order for the division of cases in W.D. Va. shows that the three W.D. Va. judges over the age of 73 (who shall remain nameless) are still taking all the cases from the Abingdon, Big Stone Gap, Lynchburg, and Danville divisions, and some of the Roanoke and Charlottesville cases.