Tuesday, June 11, 2019

On waiver of the Eleventh Amendment

In Pense v. Maryland Department of Public Safety, the Fourth Circuit in an opinion by Judge King joined by Judges Motz and Wynn held that the District Court's ruling that the State of Maryland had waived its Eleventh Amendment protection from being subject to suit in federal court under Maryland's Fair Employment Practice Act was immediately appealable and also wrong.

I was thinking about this kind of issue recently in connection with "local" school boards in Virginia, and why are they not protected by the Eleventh Amendment as in some other states.

What's wrong with juvenile court, anyway

I've written a few posts about withdrawal of appeals from the Juvenile Courts, and also the amendments to Va. Code 20-79(c), and I think that there is an increasing bias in some circles that I wouldn't have known about if I hadn't taken an interest against the Juvenile Courts.

The reason for this bias among the family law practitioners is because when both parties have retained counsel a dispute over custody or child support is better addressed in the Circuit Court.

I'm on the board of Southwest Virginia Legal Aid. At our last retreat back whenever it was last fall in Blacksburg, John Litchfield from Blue Ridge Legal Aid gave a powerful presentation about how the paradigm of litigants with retained counsel is the reality in less than one out of ten civil cases.

The slides from his presentation about the Justice Gap can be seen here.

When the odds are that one side or both sides have no lawyer, they need to be in Juvenile Court, not Circuit Court.