Defending the Judiciary: Judge Carlton Reeves ’89 Receives Jefferson Medal, Shares His Insights From the Bench


Jacob Jones ’21
Events Editor

Judge Carlton Reeves ’89 speaks to a full auditorium about maintaining the integrity of the judiciary. Photo credit Kolleen Gladden ’21.

Judge Carlton Reeves ’89 speaks to a full auditorium about maintaining the integrity of the judiciary. Photo credit Kolleen Gladden ’21.

This past Thursday, April 11, Judge Carlton Reeves ’89 received the Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medal in Law award. Even Dean Goluboff, as fast as she talks, took several minutes to introduce Judge Reeves because of his impressive list of accomplishments and contributions to both the nation and his community in Mississippi, where he is currently a U.S. District Court Judge.

 

Judge Reeves began by noting that Professor Armacost could take the seat in the front she had previously walked up to but then awkwardly decided not to sit in.[1] He then began his prepared remarks, entitled: “Defending the Judiciary: A Call for Justice, Truth, and Diversity on the Bench.” Judge Reeves launched into his speech by acknowledging the awkwardness of a black man being given an award bearing the name of a slaveholder, namely Thomas Jefferson. And not only did Jefferson own slaves, but he also hated the judiciary. One theme of Judge Reeves’s speech seemed to be that the mix of racism and hatred of the judiciary was not unique to Jefferson, but was something that had happened historically and continues today.

 

Another theme in Judge Reeves’s speech was how diversity promotes justice. He explained how justice requires that the truth be found. To get the truth, different perspectives are required. A lack of diverse experiences, he explained, was what led to the decision in Dred Scott. Focusing on his home state of Mississippi, Judge Reeves described the beginnings of inclusion in the Reconstruction Era, followed by backlash by white supremacists who used the courts to promote white supremacy and turn a blind eye to hate crimes. When the courts tried to incorporate black experiences again in Brown v. Board of Education, there was a second backlash against the judiciary. Each time more diverse perspectives were included, especially black perspectives, justice was promoted but there was a strong backlash.

 

Judge Reeves’s speech would have been in calm waters had he stuck to historical lessons, but I think Judge Reeves felt compelled to call out injustices of the current day, so he applied historical lessons to current day facts. For the courts to be a defender of justice, we must realize that attacks on the judiciary cannot be disentangled from the attacker’s views on race, and “we must defend against its poison when spewed today, by men of our time.” While he did not mention President Trump by name, he didn’t have to. Quoting the attacks on the judiciary by Trump was enough for a group of law students and scholars to recognize who he was talking about. Giving his perspective as a black judge who grew up in the newly desegregated South, he expressed how he heard the old calls of “a race-baiting politician, empowered by the falsehood of white supremacy, questioning the judicial temperament of a man solely because of the color of his skin.” There were no words minced.

 

Judge Reeves’s speech was a reminder that we cannot be complacent with the facts and circumstances of our times. We have just as much of a duty to fight injustice today as there was a duty to fight injustice in 1967.

                                                                                        

In addition to the speech given after receiving the award, the Law Weekly had the chance to sit down with Judge Reeves and a group of student leaders for lunch earlier that day. Before the group got food, Judge Reeves had each student introduce themselves, including sharing where they were from and what they hoped to do after graduation. He sought to make the conversation personal to allow for open dialogue between everyone.

 

Judge Reeves’s answers to questions throughout the lunch conveyed a real sense of hope and optimism for the judiciary system now and in the future. Julian Kritz ’20 asked if he was optimistic about America’s future; Reeves said yes. He articulated the importance of remaining optimistic; if we aren’t, then we can fall into satisfaction, and he stressed that we can’t be satisfied with where we are. Jake Rush ’20 followed up, asking Reeves what the role of hope, optimism, and empathy should have in sentencing decisions. Reeves responded, saying these things “should invade every judge’s decision.” He continued by discussing the importance of finding hope, optimism, and empathy in the state court system given how much those courts handle criminal matters. Reeves also stressed this point: “We need to see humanity in every person who comes before us. Treat them like the person you love the most.”

 

Manal Cheema ’20 asked Reeves his thoughts on the criticism he receives for writing his opinions “too simply.” Reeves responded, saying he wants even the youngest reader to be able to understand. In Reeves’s view, judges should make sure everyday people can have access to understand and appreciate the opinion. By staying away from legal jargon and unnecessary complexities, he gets closer to that end.

 

While several more questions about Reeves’s jurisprudence and opinions on serious matters were asked, 3L students Lindsay Fisher ’19 and Teddy Kristek ’19 questioned Reeves on his advice for graduating 3Ls and on what has changed at UVA since his time here as a student. Reeves’s advice to those nearing graduation: “Approach [the next chapter] with vigor.” He told the story of how he ended up going into private practice, which taught him to never say never to opportunity and to not burn bridges with the people you meet along the way. Regarding what has changed most at UVA, Reeves commended UVA’s leadership. Reeves discussed how favorably he viewed the leaders at the university, including Dean Goluboff, Dean Kendrick, President Ryan, and soon-to-be Provost Magill. Reeves described Dean Goluboff as the person able to bring the Law School into this century, and said the university is “being led by the appropriate people at this moment in time.”


[1] Judge Reeves and Professor Armacost both graduated from the law school in 1989, and are both Ritter Scholars. My impression was that they were old friends.

Appellate Litigation Clinic Update


Brian Diliberto ’19
Guest Writer

The Appellate Litigation Clinic has been one of the highlights of my law school career. Having the opportunity to work side-by-side with Professor Stephen Braga has been an incredibly rewarding experience. Working with the clinic to develop the legal strategies for a variety of federal appeals is something any aspiring attorney would be fortunate to experience as a student.

The clinic inherits a variety of cases at different stages of litigation and students get involved in all aspects of the appeals process. I am currently working on a direct criminal appeal in the Sixth Circuit involving a series of complicated financial transactions. However, at the end of the day the case boils down to what the fair administration of justice should look like, and in particular, what rights a criminal defendant arguing pro se is entitled to under the Sixth Amendment. The case involves an issue of first impression, and the thought that I could have an impact on how federal law is interpreted in the future is an exciting prospect. 

The clinic has taught me many practical lessons in the practice of law. In law school, we are typically given a manageable set of facts and law to work with, but the clinic is a nice reminder that practicing law in the real world is not so kind. Going through a lengthy trial court record and trying to figure out what went wrong and why requires a completely different approach that can only be understood through this type of experiential learning. The experience is heightened by the knowledge that the outcome of our case will have an enormous impact on our client’s life. It is this knowledge that keeps me motivated and which acts as a constant reminder of the important responsibility we have been given. It is an incredibly humbling experience to have as a law student and is the single most rewarding experience I have had at UVA Law.

I came to law school because I wanted to help people solve complex problems with innovative solutions. Having the opportunity to engage in developing and executing a legal strategy for a high stakes federal appeal has been a profoundly positive experience. By the end of the year, I will have co-authored two federal appeals briefs and argued on behalf of our client in the Sixth Circuit. The clinic has been an invaluable experience and I have no doubt that the many lessons I have learned will follow me throughout my career. It is difficult to overstate the unique academic and professional opportunity that the Appellate Litigation Clinic offers to students and I encourage anyone with an interest in appellate work to seriously consider participating.   


 Alicia Penn ’19
Guest Writer

On January 31, 2019, Marie Hanewinckel ’19 and I traveled to Richmond to argue in front of the Fourth Circuit for one of the appellate litigation clinic cases, Haynes v. Waste Connections. Marie, Thomas Howard ’19, and I all worked on the briefs filed in the case this fall. It’s a fact-intensive race discrimination case, but at the heart of the case is the fact that Mr. Haynes was fired for a minor infraction for which white employees had not been terminated. He brought his case pro se in the United States District Court for the District of South Carolina. But the District Court disposed of his case by granting summary judgment. We didn’t have to argue that Mr. Haynes would win on his claim; we just had to convince the court that there was enough evidence to survive summary judgment, that he deserved his day in court, which he did. The case is a pretty straightforward employment discrimination claim under the pretext framework. The courts have made it abundantly clear that the standard for plaintiffs is supposed to be an easy one to overcome, yet the District Court granted summary judgment in Mr. Haynes’s case when it shouldn’t have. An opinion on the case is expected this spring.

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bd3vp@virginia.edu
amp3qk@virginia

Lile Semifinals: Thornhill and Whisenhunt Will Face Dickman and Mers in Lile Final in September


Lena Welch ‘20
New Media Editor

Two teams of 2Ls squared off in the 2019 Lile Moot Court competition semifinal round Tuesday, April 2.  Abbey Thornhill ’20 and Katherine Whisenhunt ’20, who represented appellee Janet Davis, prevailed over Billy Hupp ’20 and Dana Raphael ’20, who argued for the federal government. In the other bracket, Henry Dickman ’20 and Megan Mers ’20, for appellee Davis, defeated Anna Bobrow ’20 and Jay McHugh ’20, who represented the appellant U.S. The winning teams, Thornhill and Whisenhunt and Dickman and Mers, advance to the Lile Moot Court final in the fall.

From left to right: Megan Mers ’20, Henry Dickman ’20, Abbey Thornhill ’20, and Katherine Whisenhunt ’20. Photo Courtesey of University of Virginia School of Law.

From left to right: Megan Mers ’20, Henry Dickman ’20, Abbey Thornhill ’20, and Katherine Whisenhunt ’20. Photo Courtesey of University of Virginia School of Law.

The four teams of competitors argued in front of a panel composed of Judge Vince Chhabria of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, Chief Judge Mark Hornack of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, and U.S. Deputy Solicitor General Ed Kneedler ’74.

The problem, Davis v. United States, posed two issues for the participants. Whisenhunt and Raphael in the first argument and Dickman and Bobrow in the second addressed the question of whether, without a warrant, a law enforcement officer with probable cause violates the Fourth Amendment by arresting a suspect with a verbal command across the threshold of the suspect’s home. Thornhill and Hupp as well as Mers and McHugh tackled whether “exceeds authorized access” in the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act statute at issue penalizes a person’s misuse of information that he or she could otherwise access lawfully.

In both arguments, the panel reversed the district court, ruling in favor of the appellee, Davis. The judges had high praise for the competitors across the board.

Chhabria and Hornack noted that they wished they had lawyers like the eight students appearing in their courts. The judges said they were impressed by the poise of the competitors, even under rapid-fire questioning from the bench. In particular, Chhabria remarked that he liked that the advocates were not afraid to say yes to the questions before pivoting to support their positions.

Hornack highlighted the highly-integrated thinking of the participants, which, he said, made clear that they had thought about the problem as a complete whole. He added that he hoped the students would keep the sharp edge and skills they have developed by finding opportunities to get in the courtroom after graduation. Kneedler focused on the importance of knowing the ins and outs of the logic and limits of the argument. He added that it is important to be prepared with the aspects of one’s argument that can be conceded and the legal rule that each side wants to be applied, because judges seek a rule to be applied across all cases. Additionally, each of the judges noted the importance of being yourself in an argument. A comfortable conversation, according to the judges, helps provide effective advocacy because it allows all sides to focus on the substance.

Darcy Whelan ’19, the person in charge of organizing the Lile Semi-Finals, commented to the Law Weekly about the success of the event: “The event went very well, with faculty including Dean Goluboff in attendance. All four teams did such an amazing job that I truly don’t envy the judges who had to pick the advancing teams. My advice to the current and future participants echoes something that Judge Chhabria said: hone your skill, but don’t feel like you need to change your entire presentation style to fit some mold. Express yourself how you do naturally, even as you work on things like enunciation, volume, and posture.”

Whisenhunt told the Law Weekly what she’s most looking forward to come the fall: “I’m looking forward to continuing to work with Abbey. Our success was truly a collaborative effort. While the competition has required many hours of work, it has been fun because I have such a great partner.” Dickman, in reflecting on his and Mers preparation for the semi-finals, told the Law Weekly about their approach. “We spent weeks trying to figure out what the judges would care about and what they’d skip over, and it was fun to dig into the arguments that they felt were at the heart of our case. Megan and I had fantastic mooting partners while we prepped for the quarters and semis, and I’m excited to practice with them all again in the fall.”

The finalists will argue a new problem, which is written by members of the Lile Moot Court Board, in the fall.  

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lw8vd@virginia.edu

Sunshine State Swamps UVA Softball


M. Eleanor Schmalzl ’20
Editor-in-Chief

As most UVA Law students have begun outlining for finals, drafting final papers, and preparing for busy summers, several of them also attended and participated in the 36th Annual UVA Law Softball Invitational held this past weekend. This year’s Tournament Directors, Ali Goldman ’19 and Janie O’Connor ’19, have been preparing all year for this big weekend, working to make the event incredible for the ninety-six teams that traveled to play softball and enjoy a fantastic weekend in Charlottesville. And this year, the tournament came at a particularly special time as the UVA men’s basketball team advanced to the final round of the NCAA tournament for the first time in the UVA’s history.

A group of students from the North Grounds Softball League along with Dean Risa Goluboff and Professor Rick Schragger presented a donation check to ReadyKids from the proceeds of the 36th Annual Softball Invitational. Photo credit Mary Wood Schmalzl.

A group of students from the North Grounds Softball League along with Dean Risa Goluboff and Professor Rick Schragger presented a donation check to ReadyKids from the proceeds of the 36th Annual Softball Invitational. Photo credit Mary Wood Schmalzl.

 

After a day of rain (as seems to be the norm this year for Fridays in Charlottesville), the tournament kicked off on a turf field Friday at 5 p.m. with two UVA teams facing each other in a first-round matchup that kicked off a wild first round. UVA Co-rec Beach Bums played UVA Denim. The two so-called “fun” squads played a raucous and tight game. By the bottom of the last inning, Denim led 8-5. Beach loaded the bases with nobody out, with team captain Charles Condro ’19 batting and representing the winning run. What followed next was a literal comedy of errors worthy of SportsCenter (or a Little League blooper reel): Condro hit a fly ball to right field that David Rubin ’19 caught (one out). Rubin, embarrassedly nursing a sore elbow resulting from normal physical activity, lofted a rainbow to Martin at first base. Martin stepped on first base to force out the runner, Clay Davis ’19, who had run off first before tagging up thanks to a derelict first base coach (two outs). Derek Keaton ’19, on third base when the pitch was thrown, also ran off the base without tagging up. When he tried to go back to third, he found his base occupied by a smiling John Hale ’19, who had properly tagged up from second base and advanced to third. Keaton was caught in a run-down between third and home in which he was eventually vanquished by Martin (three outs). That’s right, folks: The game ended with a triple play, noted 9-3 in the scorebook, showcasing the excitement to come later on in the weekend.

 

Saturday games kicked off at 8 a.m. and ran through 8 p.m., with up to ten games being played every hour. Throughout the day, spectators could feel the energy of the teams as they shouted for their teammates, sprinted around the bases, and chugged lots of (likely 100% non-alcoholic) liquids out of red Solo cups. Games were hosted at the Park down the hill from the Law School, Copeley Field, McIntire Park, and the Darden Towe sports complex, meaning the energy of the tournament was felt throughout the community. Goldman commented about the weekend’s energy, saying, “I loved seeing all the teams from the various law schools coming together and having a great time! It was so cool that we were able to arrange almost 1,000 law students from around the country to come to one place to play softball.” O’Connor agreed with Goldman, adding “People kept the energy up the whole time, from the 8 a.m. games through until the 8 p.m. games which makes everything so much fun. I feel like people tend to think of law schoolers as a little competitive, which certainly comes out on the field from time to time, but ultimately all the teams seem to have a great time and are supportive of each other.”

 

While all this fun and comradery is a wonderful thing in and of itself, the tournament does more than just provide a memorable weekend for law students around the country. At around 4:15 p.m. Saturday afternoon, a group of students presented a $20,000 check to ReadyKids, a local charity with a mission to improve children’s futures in the Charlottesville community. Dean Goluboff and Professor Schragger attended the check presentation, both supportive and happy that the tournament was able to raise so much money for a very worthy cause. On this donation, O’Connor told the Law Weekly, “Donating the money to ReadyKids, especially after getting to tour the facilities and meet some of the amazing people who work there, was definitely the highlight of the entire weekend. What they do is so important and valuable to this community, and I only wish we could do more!”

 

As the day wrapped up and pool play neared an end, UVA’s Co-Rec Blue, Co-Rec Gold, Men’s Blue, and Men’s Gold made it through bracket play undefeated. To prep for Sunday playoff games, several of those on the various teams found themselves cheering on the Hoos playing in Minnesota for the Final Four game against Auburn. After an exhilarating win to clinch a trip to the championship for the men’s basketball team, the UVA teams playing in the tournament hoped to find similar success. However, UVA teams faced a rough day as those from the Sunshine State rained on their parade.

 

Men’s Gold fell to Florida State, the ultimate victors of the regular division of the tournament, in the semi-finals. On the other side of the bracket, Men's Blue lost in the quarter-finals to the JAG squad that went on to be defeated by the UVA alumni team. The alumni faced Florida State in the final, finding themselves with the second-place trophy as they did in last year’s tournament. In the co-rec division, Co-Rec Blue lost in the quarter-finals to the team that would ultimately take home the trophy, Florida Law. After a tight semi-final game against Georgetown, Co-Rec Gold marched to the final before losing 11-6 to the Gators. The UVA teams were hopeful for a better day on the diamond but hopefully found some silver lining from having the opportunity to participate in such a great weekend. In the final game of the co-rec division, a Georgetown spectator commented on his regret in not coming to UVA Law. He remarked on how wonderful the tournament is every year and how he wished he had realized how big softball is to the UVA culture.

 

As teams have packed up and left Charlottesville, the North Grounds Softball League and dozens of student volunteers remember the weekend with lots of great memories and a lot to look forward to next year. UVA Law participants are hopeful that, despite an overall rough go in this year’s softball invitational, the UVA teams can follow the basketball Hoos in making history by winning it all during next year’s big tournament.

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mes5hf@virginia.edu

Parents of Salt in My Soul Author Visit UVA Law to Share Her Inspirational Story


Lena Welch ‘20
New Media Editor

The Jewish Law Students Association, Health Law Association, and SBA Health and Wellness Committee welcomed Diane Shader Smith and Mark Smith to UVA Tuesday, April 2 to discuss their daughter Mallory’s posthumous memoir, Salt in My Soul: An Unfinished Life. Salt in My Soul is already an Amazon, L.A. Times, and Publisher’s Weekly bestseller and has been reviewed by outlets such as Buzzfeed and Bustle. Diane and Mark are in the midst of a book tour, during which they aim to speak at sixty-five locations in honor of Mallory’s life with cystic fibrosis.

 

Lauren Lipsyc ’19 organized the Smith’s trip to Charlottesville, and she noted that Salt in My Soul is particularly important for law students and other folks who work exceptionally hard.

 

“The book is so important for remembering why we live life and what our motivations are for living life,” Lipsyc said after the event. “People need to remember to stop and take deep breaths and remember how they want to live their lives, so that their lives don’t just pass by.”

 

Diane spoke at length about Mallory’s life and focused on the lessons she and her family learned from her experience with a chronic illness that required frequent and extended hospital stays. Mallory was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis at age three. Early in Mallory’s childhood, Diane wrote a children’s book, Mallory’s 65 Roses, to not only remove any fear from the treatments Mallory needed, such as using a nebulizer and chest percussion, but to also explain Mallory’s illness to her friends and classmates. Early on, Diane and Mark realized the important role parents play in taking care of a child with a chronic illness.

 

At age twelve, Mallory learned she contracted an untreatable superbug, B. cepacia. The family and doctors knew there were three possible outcomes with this diagnosis: “[A] peaceful coexistence with the bacteria,” a quick death, or a steady ten-year decline to death.

 

“I adopted a mantra, ‘no pity party,’” Diane said. “My goal was to find joy for Mallory in every day.”

 

Mallory adopted “live happy” as her own mantra. And Mallory seemed happy. She was described by her doctors as the perfect patient, with a special talent for describing her symptoms. However, Salt in My Soul reveals that behind her happy façade, Mallory struggled with anger, anxiety, and fear.

 

As Mallory grew older, when and how to reveal her invisible illness became more complicated. Mallory left home in Southern California to attend Stanford, where she graduated Phi Beta Kappa. She struggled with not wanting to burden her friends and loved ones with her illness, and it was especially challenging when she met “her real-life Prince Charming,” Jack. But she also had to tell employers that she had cystic fibrosis. On one occasion, she was offered a writing job, but after disclosing her diagnosis, the employer determined that it would not be a good fit, even though Mallory had already written a book.

 

In addition to Mallory’s personal challenges, the Smiths faced difficult situations with their insurance, recalling that it took a miracle―in the form of a family connection―to turn a ‘no’ into a ‘yes’ when it came time for Mallory to get a double lung transplant. University of Pittsburgh Medical Center was the only hospital willing to perform the transplant given Mallory’s infection, and ultimately the insurance company agreed to pay for the out-of-network surgery. Mallory detailed the battles with the insurance company, battles led by her Harvard Law graduate father, in Salt in My Soul.

 

“Insurance companies are inflicting needless additional suffering on patients in crisis, and it’s outrageous and incomprehensible,” Diane said.

 

On September 11, 2017, Mallory underwent a double lung transplant, after a few dry runs, in which either the lungs were not viable or Mallory was the backup candidate. However, Mallory caught pneumonia a few months later and passed away on November 15, 2017. 

 

Mallory began journaling on her laptop at age fifteen, and her journal entries provided the basis for Salt in My Soul, chronicling her life and leaving behind her legacy. Her parents’ lives were also transformed by Mallory’s life. Diane said she wants to share her lessons learned as a health care advocate, especially the insurance challenges and the difficulties in getting Mallory’s pain fully addressed. Mark has been instrumental in increasing the viability of phage therapy as a treatment for children with cystic fibrosis.

 

All profits from Salt in My Soul are going toward phage therapy research. Phage therapy has proven successful in treating post-operative patients with hospital-acquired infections and that has increased in popularity after Mallory’s highly publicized case. For those interested in learning more about Mallory’s incredible life in her own words, Salt in My Soul is available for purchase online.

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lw8vd@virginia.edu

Libel Loses Theme, Gains Laughs


Jacob Jones’ 21
Event Editor

Ah, Libel show. A time to cast aside the serious, somber nature of law school in favor of the silly and the sarcastic. I was excited to watch this performance of a real-life meme, or as some people call it, “The Theatre.”[1] I went into the show with high expectations, and they were surpassed. It was surprising and inspiring to see how talented some of my classmates are. From outstanding writing that managed to navigate serious issues while remaining funny, to the amazing dancers and band that were essential to every musical performance, to the stage help and lighting experts, and of course the singers and actors, each did their part to make the sum greater than the whole of its parts.

In this Dora-themed sketch, Libel-goers learned that the way to get rid of a gunner is to shout, “Gunner, no gunning!” From left to right: Jessie Conover ‘20, Sarah Ingles ‘19, Emily Chandler Walpole ‘20. Photo credit Kolleen Gladden ‘21.

In this Dora-themed sketch, Libel-goers learned that the way to get rid of a gunner is to shout, “Gunner, no gunning!” From left to right: Jessie Conover ‘20, Sarah Ingles ‘19, Emily Chandler Walpole ‘20. Photo credit Kolleen Gladden ‘21.

While every performance and every video were great, several of them stand out to me in my somewhat hazy memory of the Libel Show. For example, I recall The BlueBook[2] sketch, which made fun of the unnecessary Latin phrases we’ve come to know and love to the tune of Dora the Explorer. I’d rave about how great this skit was, but I think the thing speaks for itself. Another sketch––a mock news segment featuring a stressed out 1L––felt a little too real for me, but that’s showbiz baby. I would much rather have been the carefree 3L, at least until he gets hit in the head by the bar. [3] Other sketches that felt far too real included the 1L who went around begging for outlines, even for LRW, and being a Band 3 for dating. I can’t wait until I become a summer associate and can relate to all those problems.

Plenty of jokes were made at the expense of faculty and professors as well. Sitting directly behind the Real Jennifer Hulvey made me somewhat uncomfortable about hearing her exaggerated Southern drawl say things like UVA being “better than a barn-tootin racoon on a midnight train to Dixie,”[4] but J-Hulv seemed to find the portrayal funnier than I did.[5] I think I’ll base my selection of classes next semester exclusively on “Professor Dungeons and Dragons,” which means taking Professor Coughlin’s class for sure.

The skit that had the simplest premise, a grumpy old donor groaning about changes in the law school, turned out to be one of the funniest. I have no idea why I cried laughing at this, but I did, and it was great. The old man’s makeup was just another one of the small touches that made the show great.

The last song titled “Under the Curve,” set to the theme of “Under the Sea,” gave great advice to us rudderless students who sometimes find ourselves drowning under the waves made by our gunner peers. After that, the show was dismissed, and the dancing lobsters were brought out. After the show, we all went to Bilt to prove our stereotype as a party school as true. You might have ideas about what skits were good and bad that differ from mine, but that’s showbiz baby.


M. Eleanor Schmalzl ‘20
Editor-in-Chief

As a 1L, I was absolutely blown away by the Libel show and the talent of all my classmates. Their ability not only to perform, but also to produce such an amazing show really made me question why some of my classmates were here instead of auditioning on Broadway or trying to make it big in Hollywood. This year, I was able to view the show from a 2L’s viewpoint, one with high expectations of the content and low expectations regarding the alcohol that was served. I found myself pleasantly surprised overall, but left with a few critiques for the show next year.

First, and most important, the beer: 10/10 better than last year. I know several classmates didn’t buy drinking tickets because of last year’s less than ideal[6] beer selection. This year, I heard several upperclassmen wishing they had purchased drinking tickets to enjoy the IPA and PBR being served by the Libel crew. The only caveat: I didn’t have time to drink what my ticket allowed because of the “No alcohol in the auditorium” rule. Yes, the rule makes sense and wasn’t up to the Libel crew, blah blah blah, but I’m an economics gal. If I get four beers, I want my four beers (and don’t want to have to chug it like that one guy did on stage). Next year, Libel should definitely continue on this “good beer” trend and maybe advertise what beer will be provided so students can make informed decisions about what ticket to purchase. They should also try to start serving earlier before the show so I can drink in peace instead of having to #chug before the show and at intermission.

William Kelly ‘21 and Caroline Kessler ‘19 sing about the relative merits of careers in Big Law and public interest in the song “Big Law Til’ I Die.” Photo credit Kolleen Gladden ‘21.

William Kelly ‘21 and Caroline Kessler ‘19 sing about the relative merits of careers in Big Law and public interest in the song “Big Law Til’ I Die.” Photo credit Kolleen Gladden ‘21.

Next, the performance of the show: incredible. The live numbers were so well performed and the people who participated should be really proud of their hard work because it showed. My only critique is a desire to have screens of the lyrics on both sides of the stage so people can view it from multiple angles. I had to miss some of the incredible dancing because I was trying to see the words on the far screen, and was sad I didn’t get to fully take in all the wonderful choreography that the show had to offer. Overall, the live numbers were fantastic and far surpassed the memories I have of my 1L show.

Finally, the content: overall extremely strong. Several of the sketches had me #ROTFL,[7] especially the portrayal of Professor Kordana, but a few parts seemed like unnecessary cracks that pushed a little too far. Namely, the portrayal of Justice Thomas was inappropriate and left a bad taste in my mouth. I’m all for making fun of the most prominent figures in the legal profession, but think we should spread the love a little and not unevenly make fun of those more conservative among us. Sorry, but portraying Justice Ginsburg as old and fragile doesn’t equalize to the three scenes dissing Justice Kavanaugh, in addition to shots at Justice Gorsuch and having Justice Thomas only speak in grunts. Overall minor critique, but I felt I couldn’t give a review of the show without mentioning this, in my eyes, big shortfall. Overall, the show has a lot to be proud of content wise––“Post my grades” was my favorite song and Old Man Wilikers had to be the best sketch of the night. This will be a tough show to beat next year, and I can’t wait to see what next year’s cast comes up with.


 Daniel Grill ’19
Staff Editor

Each year, Libel showcases the wide-ranging talents of the Law School student body, and this year was no exception. Over the show’s sixteen skits, the cast’s singing, dancing, acting, and writing abilities were on full display. The writers did a particularly good job of including new and timely material, like the Kavanaugh hearings, along with classic jokes on topics like the curve and professor impressions.

David Gremling ‘19 and Kat Collins ‘19 as Professors Paul and Julia Mahoney prepare to give each other a fair shake in the competition. Photo credit Kolleen Gladden ‘21.

David Gremling ‘19 and Kat Collins ‘19 as Professors Paul and Julia Mahoney prepare to give each other a fair shake in the competition. Photo credit Kolleen Gladden ‘21.

I particularly enjoyed the “Weakest Spouse,” in which a gameshow host decided which member of professor couples could continue to teach at the Law School. This was a funny way to talk about the seemingly high number of professor couples, and it is the first time Libel has touched on it in the last three shows. I can never go back to studying in the Gambini Room, but it was a great way to put an end to the classic Goluboff v. Schragger debate.

Jenny Lewis ‘20 and Blake Steinberg ‘20 as Vice Dean Leslie Kendrick and Professor Micah Schwartzman in the “Weakest Spouse” sketch. Photo credit Kolleen Gladden ‘21.

Jenny Lewis ‘20 and Blake Steinberg ‘20 as Vice Dean Leslie Kendrick and Professor Micah Schwartzman in the “Weakest Spouse” sketch. Photo credit Kolleen Gladden ‘21.

I also enjoyed “Butts R Us,” in which an attorney assigns a summer associate a big project that he is not equipped for. In the video, the summer associate seeks help from other summer associates and attorneys, who provide little help. The summer associate ultimately completes the assignments to realize that the attorney no longer needs the report. This caricature of life as a summer associate was funny and addressed fears that many hold before working for a big firm. The video also included great music and slo-mo effects.

The professors’ three-song response was also very impressive. While “We Will Stump You,” sung to to the tune of We Will Rock You, brought back repressed memories of 1L cold calls, the professors finished with their own version of Bohemian Rhapsody, with harmonization that would put Freddie Mercury to shame. The professors seemed to enjoy poking fun at the student body and the audience appreciated their funny outfits and air guitars. It will be a tough act to follow next year!

This year’s Libel Show was certainly a success. It was funny and well executed. It also felt a little shorter than last year’s which seemed to run a little long. I enjoyed watching such a talented cast put on a great show!

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jmj3vq@virginia.edu
mes5hf@virginia.edu
dkg5rd@virignia.edu


[1] Pronounced “Th-ee-ayy-ter.”

[2] A uniform system of citation.

[3] By bar I do not mean Bilt.

[4] I made this up but you get the idea.

[5] She even wrote into Libel to congratulate them on a job well done!

[6] Read: pretty dang awful.

[7] I like to pretend that adding a “#” before things makes me sound cool.

Law Weekly Exclusive Interview with Senator Sheldon Whitehouse '82


Anand Jani ‘20
Special Projects Editor

In what is certain to be a relief for those students who find themselves academically in the middle of the pack at the Virginia School of Law, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse ’82 was never on the Dean’s List or a candidate for a Supreme Court clerkship. By his own account, the Senator’s law school career was “relatively undistinguished.” Justice Richard Neely of the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia once quipped, on a visit to UVA Law during Whitehouse’s 3L year, “I sometimes find it difficult to be always serious about the law and that is reflected in the fact that my law clerk next year is Sheldon Whitehouse.”

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse ‘82 discussed his career and his time at Virginia Law with the Law Weekly. Photo credit UVA Law.

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse ‘82 discussed his career and his time at Virginia Law with the Law Weekly. Photo credit UVA Law.

Nevertheless, through his own dedication to the pursuit of public service, Senator Whitehouse now finds himself as one of UVA Law’s most venerable alumni. Serving as the junior United States Senator from the State of Rhode Island, Senator Whitehouse’s accession to the office shows us that success is not determined solely by grades and accolades but rather by one’s undaunted passion and willingness to commit.

In February of this year, Senator Whitehouse graciously spoke the Virginia Law Weekly about his journey through the public sector and reminded us that it is not about where one begins their path but where they end it––and the journey along the way. The Law Weekly is pleased to share his insights with this article.

In the most extraordinary admission throughout our interview, Senator Whitehouse revealed that one of his favorite courses at UVA Law was Civil Procedure. Taught by former Virginia Law Professor Stephen Saltzburg, Senator Whitehouse confessed that he found the class, which is a bane to most first-year students, “interesting and even fun.” As a show of good faith that Senator Whitehouse has not lost touch with the common law student, he vigorously conceded that this was an “astonishing” thought.  Although Senator Whitehouse was a law student without a clear career path or particular academic bent, there was no question about whether he would enter private practice or public service. As the son, grandson, and nephew of Foreign Service Officers, the sense of duty to serve one’s country was inculcated in Senator Whitehouse from a young age. Raised outside of the traditional champagne circuit of politics, his childhood consisted of rural communities, powdered milk, and non-potable water. Places where, although resources were sparse, the people were cheerful and buoyed by a sense of generosity that looked beyond their own personal comfort. Having grown up around Americans who eschewed the safety and comforts available to them at home, Senator Whitehouse developed a sense of civic pride that was baked into his personal code of ethics before he ever reached the halls of UVA Law.

On Senator Whitehouse’s desk sits a collection of quotations that he compiled and published in 2012. The book started as a reference for the Senator to easily access quotes whose broadness made reattribution impossible without hours of research; it grew into a selection of timeless insights and inspiration that outline America’s core values. In typical Lawhoo fashion, Senator Whitehouse turned during the Law Weekly’s interview with him to a quotation from Thomas Jefferson that reads, “That our creator made the earth for the use of the living and not of the dead; that those who exist not, can have no use nor right in it, no authority or power over it; that one generation of men cannot foreclose or burthen its use to another . . . these are axioms so self-evident that no explanation can make them plainer.”

Reflecting upon how his training as a lawyer influenced his philosophy on legislating, Whitehouse stressed the importance of understanding how to distinguish between issues on which one has no choice but to go to battle and those that present an opportunity for a collegial resolution. He also stressed the importance of a good reputation and the confidence of one’s colleagues that you can be a person of your word. Comparing the “class” of one hundred in the United States Senate and his own Law School class of roughly the same size, Senator Whitehouse expounded upon not only the virtue, but also the necessity, of treating others fairly and establishing friendships regardless of ideology or party. He pushed back on the notion that the U.S. Senate has become less stable or less collaborative, but he did allow that so-called “titans” of the Senate (e.g., Senators Ted Kennedy, John McCain, Robert Byrd, and Joe Biden) no longer prevailed within the chamber. The lack of these personal gravitational centers, Whitehouse believes, has changed the personality of the legislative body, as individual lawmakers are less likely to stand out against the greater party structure that splits the upper house of Congress. 

When asked for advice for UVA Law students, especially those hoping to enter public service, Senator Whitehouse stated clearly and emphatically, “Dive in! Do not be picky! Work really hard! Try to be helpful! And trust that your behavior in that fashion will attract the attention of people who will want you to come work for them.” Even the most verbose Law Weekly editor cannot make this advice any plainer.

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse’s rise from an average law student who started his legal career in the Public Utilities Regulatory Office of the State’s Attorney General’s Department (at a pay scale that, when measured against hours worked, came out to less than minimum wage) to a U.S. Attorney, a State Attorney General, and finally a United States Senator demonstrates that when the flame burns a bit brighter, you go a bit further. An inspired effort and a relentless drive are the true indicators of success.

To borrow from another’s words, “A man’s reach should exceed his grasp, or what’s a heaven for?” If we can learn one thing from Senator Sheldon Whitehouse ’82, regardless of where we are from, where we are now, or where we will be, we can all reach just a little bit higher.

The Virginia Law Weekly thanks Senator Whitehouse and his deputy press secretary Richard Davidson for their time and efforts in making this interview possible.

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ahj3ez@virginia.edu

Holocaust Survivor Allan Hall Shares His Story and Insights with the Law School


Raphael Cho ‘21
Staff Editor

            In the shadow of the 2017 white nationalist rally, Allan Hall, a law professor, engineer, and Holocaust survivor, spoke to the UVA Law community about his harrowing experiences under Nazi occupation and the role of lawyers in fighting extremist ideologies. Hall began the talk by describing his shock and consternation at the 2017 white nationalist rally as his motivation for hosting the talk in UVA. He felt that it was important for students to hear about his experiences and be vigilant in stopping extremism. As a prelude to his story, he posed two questions that nestled into the minds of the attendees: “Can it happen to you? Can it happen now?”

Allan Hall speaking to an audience in Caplin Pavilion last week about his experiences in Nazi-occupied Germany and the importance of civic engagement and the rule of law in combatting extremism. Photo credit Kolleen Gladden ‘21.

Allan Hall speaking to an audience in Caplin Pavilion last week about his experiences in Nazi-occupied Germany and the importance of civic engagement and the rule of law in combatting extremism. Photo credit Kolleen Gladden ‘21.

            Hall was only four years old when Nazi Germany occupied his childhood home of Krakow. Throughout the war his family fled from one city to another, narrowly avoiding capture at each turn. In the early years of the war, his father attempted to avoid capture by bleaching his hair and obtaining a rhinoplasty, which he described as a home surgery in the dead of night, with nothing but “vodka anesthetic.” Later, his family was identified by the Nazis and moved to the Jewish ghettos where he was taken to a holding camp along with hundreds of other children. Although his father was ultimately able to free him, he vividly remembers, to this day, the faces of the children he left behind. Hall’s family then obtained false IDs and posed as Christians but were taken to the Gestapo headquarters after a neighbor informed the Gestapo of her suspicions. Hall narrowly escaped being sent to Treblinka at the age of eight, after the train he was boarding was delayed due to the Nazis’ fears that the corpses would infect their soldiers. Although he was subsequently separated from his family and sent to an orphanage, Hall reflected fondly on his time there as it returned some semblance of normalcy to his life. He was eventually reunited with his mother and hid in an office storage closet during which time his younger brother, Andrew, was born. Following Germany’s surrender, Hall and his family lived under Soviet occupation. Hall and his father were sent to Siberia despite the fact that there were “never formal charges,” but were eventually reunited with their family in France. In 1947, his family immigrated to the U.S. where he and his brother studied law. However, the scars of the war remained with him throughout his life. He stated, “everyone faces depression at one time or another,” and thanked his mental health workers for enabling him to share his story so that others may learn from it.

            Despite all that he endured, Hall remained thankful to those that helped him and maintained a sense of humor throughout the talk. He spoke with deep gratitude about the man who assisted in reuniting him with his family. He wished he could thank the man for risking his life to help his family, but knew nothing about him. Hall emphasized that even in the darkest times, “there are people with an extraordinary moral compass.” He also described his brother’s birth and joked that we shouldn’t criticize Pepsi too much as his brother survived off sugar water despite being only two pounds at birth. Although there was an ocean of sorrow in his story, Hall felt it was important for the younger generations to hear it and remember that it was not so far removed from our current realities. In fact, Hall took the effort to shake the hands of everyone in attendance so that if anyone encountered a Holocaust denier, we could say that we shook the hand of someone who lived through it.

            In his opening remarks, Hall asked if what he lived through as a child could happen to us today. His answer was an unequivocal yes. He stated that the rhetoric he hears today is horrifyingly similar to the rhetoric heard under Nazi occupation. Hall went on to explain that “when the Nazis took control of Germany, they only represented six percent of Germans,” and that a similar comparison could be made to “all the other extremists” in the U.S. today. And he stressed that “every time you don’t register to vote…you are trusting your lives and the lives of your children to precisely the people you do not want.” When one student asked how we, as future lawyers, could prevent this from happening again, Hall was visibly pleased by the question. As lawyers, he explained, “we are the first line of defense,” and our primary goal is to serve our society. As long as lawyers ensure the rule of law exists, we ensure our societies are protected from discrimination and tyranny. He emphasized that this holds true in both private and public sector practices in that part of a lawyer’s job is to “say no” to any practice that would weaken the rule of law. He stated in simple terms, “when you see something, say something and do something.” While this may sound cliché, Hall reminded all the attendees in the realest terms that, “the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for the good men to do nothing.”

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ic7sa@virginia.edu

Sprouting Dynasty: International Tax Moot Court Team Wins Back-to-Back Gold Medals in Brussels


Jansen VanderMeulen ‘19
Editor'-in-Chief Emeritus

The UVA Law team romped to victory once again in this year’s International and European Tax Moot Court in Brussels, Belgium, defeating sixteen other teams—and heavyweight Vienna University of Economics and Business in the final round—to follow up on its surprise triumph last year. Team participants were Ben Kramer ’19, Elizabeth Donald ’19, Colin Cox ’19, and Griffin Peeples ’18. David Rubin ’19, one of last year’s victorious competitors, served as the team’s coach, while Professor Ruth Mason was its faculty advisor.

Greatest of all Tax Students (aka “GOATS”) featured left to right: Elizabeth Donald ‘19, David Rubin ‘19, Ben Kramer ‘19, Griffin Peebles ‘20, and Colin Cox ‘19. Photo Courtesy David Rubin.

Greatest of all Tax Students (aka “GOATS”) featured left to right: Elizabeth Donald ‘19, David Rubin ‘19, Ben Kramer ‘19, Griffin Peebles ‘20, and Colin Cox ‘19. Photo Courtesy David Rubin.

 

Last year, Rubin and a group of dearly departed 3Ls under Mason’s supervision became the first American team to win the fifteen-year-old tax competition, defeating Ukraine’s National University of Kyiv-Mohyla. This year’s competition began in October of 2018. Each participating team received the text of an international tax problem with instructions to submit two briefs over winter break, one for each the applicant taxpayer and the defendant tax authority. Out of twenty-four teams submitting briefs, including teams from Northwestern University and the University of Miami, UVA was among the sixteen schools—and the only one from the U.S.—selected on the basis of the briefs to argue in Brussels. The Vienna team won the competition in 2015, 2016, and 2017, and was, according to Professor Mason, considered “the team to beat.”

 

The problem was concerned with the interpretation of an international tax treaty, specifically provisions of the UN and Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD, a grouping of industrialized nations) model tax treaties involving fees for technical services and an anti-abuse rule—provisions that the U.S. never includes in its own treaties, Professor Mason told the paper. “That meant that the team members had no familiarity with those articles from the doctrinal tax treaties course they took with me,” she added.

 

“[W]e split up the issues amongst ourselves so we could each become knowledgeable on specific subject areas,” Donald told the Law Weekly. Each participant researched particular areas of law and helped draft the brief. “I focused on the taxation of royalties, tax treaty interpretation, and a concept concerning beneficial ownership, which seeks to prevent treaty abuse,” Donald said. She and Cox prepared the case from the perspective of the defendant, while Kramer and Peeples wrote for the “applicant,” or taxpayer.

 

Arriving in Belgium, the UVA team was pitted against the host school, the Catholic University of Leuven, and the University of Düsseldorf in the round of sixteen, and then universities from Luxembourg and Brazil in the six-team semifinals. Kramer, Donald, Peeples, and Cox all argued in both of the preliminary rounds.

 

While the first two rounds were argued on the brief that the competitors had been working on for months, the final round was based on an entirely new, forty-five-page brief, one the participants had just twenty-four hours to write. Cox and Peeples argued the final round for the taxpayer. Cox said he was initially “extremely nervous” arguing as the applicant because he had always been in the position of the defendant up to that point, but he and Peeples excelled in the final: “Griffin and Colin killed it in the oral arguments,” Donald said, “They spoke eloquently and were able to cite directly to obscure provisions in the treaty commentary when confronted with difficult questions.” The final round of the competition was argued in front of Judge Peter Cools of the Supreme Court of the Netherlands, Judge Guy Brannan of the UK Upper Tribunal (Tax and Chancery Chamber), and Professor Gerard Meussen of Radboud University in the Netherlands. Peeples won the competition’s overall best oralist on the applicant side, and Peeples and Kramer won best team oralists for the applicant.

 

Mason was very proud of all the student competitors. “What impressed me most about this team was their dedication and preparation from the beginning of fall all the way through the final round of competition,” she said, “I would receive a modest text from the team saying that they thought they had done well in a round. Soon thereafter, I would receive an email from a professor in Europe who had had a chance to watch the round telling me in glowing terms how impressive my students were, how well prepared, and how powerful their arguments had been.” In news sure to please Professors Buck, Ware, and Fore, Professor Mason commented glowingly about the students’ writing skills: “Their legal writing professors will be glad to know that by the time they turned in their final draft briefs, they had expunged all use of the passive voice!”

 

The trip wasn’t all business; while making the finals meant the UVA team had less opportunity to socialize than they would have otherwise, several competitors told us of the fun they had in Brussels. Peeples, a famed C’ville dancer, called the Europeans “super fun”—high praise indeed from the Whirling Arkansan.

 

Rubin, the wistful and grizzled veteran, reflected on his Brussels glory days with typical tact and grace: “I think former NBA coach Pat Riley said it better than I ever could: ‘Coaches who let a championship team back off from becoming a dynasty are cowards.’” Coach Rubin, clearly no coward. Donald waxed poetic about the competition, calling it her “favorite experience in all of law school” and expressing her gratitude to Professor Mason for helping advance the students’ careers.

 

Now, the task is to keep the UVA dynasty alive. Peeples takes the helm as coach for next year’s team, eager to protect UVA’s crown. If his team leadership is anything like his dance-floor presence, next year’s coaching will be vigorous, surprising, and will likely end up with him on top of the presenters’ table in Brussels.

 

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jmv5af@virginia.edu

“Where’s the Line?”: JLSA Talks Criticism of Israel and Anti-Semitism


Jansen VanderMeulen ‘19
Editor-in-Chief Emeritus

As the American political spectrum has revealed itself to be increasingly tolerant of criticism of Israel since the election of President Donald Trump, members of UVA Law’s Jewish community have reacted with concern and introspection about what exactly constitutes anti-Semitism.

 

For decades, support for Israel has been a more-or-less bipartisan proposition. Republican and Democratic presidents alike have supported Israel with military and economic aid and taken Israel’s side in its myriad disputes with its Arab neighbors and the Palestinian peoples of the disputed territories of Gaza and the West Bank. While the United States has sometimes acted as an arbitrator, as it did in encouraging and facilitating the peace treaty between Israel and Egypt, more often it has stood firmly behind Israel whether governed by a liberal or a conservative.

 

President Trump has amplified U.S. support for Israel, standing firmly behind right-wing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, moving the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to the disputed city of Jerusalem, and recently recognizing the Golan Heights—which Israel seized from Syria in the 1967 Six-Day War—as Israeli territory. But according to his critics (some of them in Withers-Brown Hall last Thursday), he has also equivocated in his condemnations of right-wing anti-Semites, most notoriously declaring there were “fine people” on both sides of the white nationalist rallies in Charlottesville in August 2017. Trump’s full-throated support for Israel has opened up space on the left wing of the Democratic Party for something rarely seen in American politics: harsh, unmitigated criticism of the Israeli position from national elected officials, most notably Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.).

 

It is that criticism, and especially Omar’s, that attracted the attention of UVA Law’s Jewish Law Student Association (JLSA). Omar drew the ire of many supporters of Israel by calling lawmakers’ support for Israel “all about the Benjamins” and calling other lawmakers’ support for Israel “allegiance to a foreign country.” Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), the Chairman of the House Foreign Relations Committee, called the latter comment “a vile, anti-Semitic slur,” and the House of Representatives passed a resolution condemning anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry, including Islamophobia, a short time later. JLSA leaders decided to host a conversation about when legitimate criticisms of Israel stray into anti-Semitic territory.

 

That conversation, held last Thursday at the Law School, featured voices from across the political spectrum, both Jewish and non-Jewish, and with various levels of familiarity with Israel’s history and politics. One Jewish student described his frustration with non-Jewish friends who simply didn’t understand the significance of the world’s only Jewish state to Jews everywhere. Another student echoed that complaint: Despite his secular attitudes, he felt that Israel’s unique history merited special consideration.

 

That issue—the unique position of Israel—came up repeatedly. Julian Kritz ’20, JLSA’s outgoing president, explained to participants the Obama-era State Department’s “Three D’s” of Anti-Semitism: “Demonize Israel,” “Double Standard for Israel,” and “Delegitimize Israel.” The conversation proceeded with those principles at its center. Participants in the discussion aired grievances with Israel; one participant, a Jewish liberal, said she “hate[d] Netanyahu almost as much as Trump.” But participants expressed frustration and offense at what they perceived as Israel citics’ targeting of the Jewish state. One student said he found it insulting and conspicuous that critics of Israel, including left-wing critics, seemed to focus so much ire on Israel and leave unmentioned the much-worse human rights abuses of other nations, including other American allies.

 

The participants also discussed the use of anti-Semitic tropes. Several attendees considered Omar’s “Benjamins” and “allegiance” comments to carry historical anti-Semitic implications. Anti-Semites have often alleged Jewish conspiracies, especially connected to banking and media, as justification for anti-Semitic policy, and Jews before the establishment of Israel in 1948 were often accused of lacking sufficient loyalty to their respective nations. Many participants in Thursday’s event saw Omar’s comments as a continuation of that historical anti-Semitism. Some considered the House’s change from a resolution condemning Omar’s comments to one condemning bigotry writ large a “watering down.” One student compared it to answering “all lives matter” to a claim of “black lives matter.”

 

While this event evinced a growing Jewish awareness of left-wing anti-Semitism, attendees were careful not to let the right off the hook. There was little love lost between most attendees and Trump’s administration. Several students brought up Trump’s “both sides” comments as evidence that Trump has empowered right-wing “alt-right” anti-Semites. And even while many students were critical of Omar and what they saw as growing tolerance of anti-Semitic rhetoric in the Democratic Party, they were cautious, too. None imputed Omar’s comments to other Democrats, and no one volunteered a willingness to punish Democrats electorally for their tolerance of Omar’s and Tlaib’s outspoken criticism of Israel.

 

Daniel Grill ’19, who spoke with Kritz about organizing the event, said the event was “a great opportunity to discuss current events as they pertain to anti-Semitism.” Acknowledging that the line between legitimate criticism of Israeli policy was “particularly challenging” because of its necessary intersection “between political and religious identities,” Grill expressed hope that discussions like these can help everyone have a more productive debate about Israel and anti-Semitism more broadly.

 

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jmv5af@virginia.edu

New Police Chief Shares his Vision with the Law Weekly


Taylor Elicegui ‘20
Features Editor

On Tuesday, March 19, Tommye Sutton, Chief of Police for the University of Virginia, hosted a breakfast meet and greet for the Law School community. Chief Sutton is new to UVA—he joined the UVA Police Department on August 1, after six years at the University of Chicago and Northwestern University. He succeeded Mike Gibson, who retired after leading the Department for approximately thirteen years. Before becoming a police officer, Chief Sutton attended the University of Southern Mississippi, where he received a Bachelor of Arts in English. Chief Sutton also has a Masters in Criminal Justice from the University of Tennessee.

UVA Chief of Police Tommy Sutton stopped by Grounds last week. Photo Credit Kolleen Gladden ‘21.

UVA Chief of Police Tommy Sutton stopped by Grounds last week. Photo Credit Kolleen Gladden ‘21.

Chief Sutton went around the room and introduced himself to the students, faculty, and staff. I was very impressed; Chief Sutton was attentive and friendly to everyone, asking questions and genuinely getting to know people. Students came and went, partially attracted by the impressive breakfast spread at the event (Bodo’s, yogurt, bananas, and coffee galore). Chief Sutton was nice enough to sit down with me for a few minutes and discuss his plans for the University’s Police Department and his past experiences.

Chief Sutton wants the Police Department to have a clear identity and be known for collaboration with the community, excellence in service delivery, and community engagement. The nature of policing, Chief Sutton explained, inherently gives the police power. That power, though, comes from the citizens and they can it take back if they don’t trust the police. Chief Sutton raised the Department’s required qualifications for officer hiring. The Department now requires either a bachelor’s degree, four years of military service with honorable discharge, or four years of law enforcement experience. These requirements ensure that the officers will have had exposure to different types of people, cultures, opinions, and experience working in teams. The Department can teach officers the necessary police skills, but they can’t teach empathy or compassion. The new standards are meant to ensure the Department hires officers with the required people skills.

By improving relationships with the community, Chief Sutton hopes to reduce crime and improve safety. Chief Sutton wants UVA students to know members of the Police Department and be able to recognize them on sight. That way, if a student ever ends up in an emergency situation and needs help from the police, the student will already know the officer helping them. Chief Sutton thinks this increased familiarity will reduce, to a degree, the trauma inherent in any emergency situation.

The Department has several specific plans in place for emergency situations and practices those plans often. Chief Sutton told me that the Department has an active shooter plan that they practice every summer with the members of other law enforcement officers in the area. The Department wants to educate the community more about what to do in an emergency. If an emergency situation should occur, the Department intends to execute the plan as practiced. That way, citizens will have a better idea of what to expect and the officers will know how to respond. Additionally, at large events like football games and concerts, the Department sets up the same command post as it would during an emergency situation. By doing so, all of the law enforcement officers get to know each other and get used to working together—allowing them to work more effectively in an emergency situation.

Overall, I was very impressed with Chief Sutton and appreciated the opportunity to get to know him. Chief Sutton’s approach to policing—collaboration, service delivery, and community engagement—and his underlying values of empathy and compassion will serve the UVA community well.


Relevance and Recognition: Perspectives on Black Queerness


Grace Tang ‘21
Lifestyle Editor

On Monday evening, students from across UVA Law piled into Purcell Reading Room (perhaps lured by the smell of Wayside) for an informative, interactive, and timely panel presentation co-hosted by Lambda and BLSA following Black History Month in February.

“It’s important to have these open discussions about black queerness, and bring ideas to the forefront. We want this event to be a conversation starter which addresses tough issues from different angles,” said Jameil Brown ’21, one of the event’s co-hosts. “The event highlights the role that queer black individuals have played in law, politics, history of civil rights, and other movements. There are individuals in this school who may not always be heard, supported and empowered; and we hope to change this through intersectionality activism in the community across disciplines.”

Michele St. Julien, the moderator and other co-host, is this year’s Swanson Award Recipient. She was joined by Professor Kevin Gaines, professor of civil rights and social justice at Main Grounds, Professor Dayna Matthews, professor of human rights and public health at the Law School, and Toccara Nelson ’19, recipient of the inaugural Swanson Award at UVA.

The event kicked off with a recent video narrated by Patrisse Cullors, one of the co-founders of the Black Lives Matter movement and a queer black woman. “Blackness is everything,” said Cullors. “I am black. I am queer. It’s shaped my reality. It’s shaped my world.”

“The struggle for visibility and recognition within public culture of black freedom is part of a long history and persists to this day,” said Professor Gaines. “There has been a challenging history of dismissal and erasure. Black queer people throughout history have been fighting for everyone else.”

Professor Matthews recalls growing up in the New York at the tail end of the civil rights movement and recounts when LGBT groups were not included as part of important conversations when community organizations were invited to share their ideas. Drawing upon an essay called “Privilege,” Professor Matthews discusses shifting the concept of discrimination to broaden and encompass more individuals and the idea that every one of us has a responsibility to make change. When considering avenues where assistance is truly needed, Professor Matthews encourages students to look at who is left behind in the public healthcare system as the clear gap in care provided indicates a legal need. “In black queer legal activism, we should identify those groups and move towards them. Write briefs, get involved.”

Nelson began her discussion with a provoking quote from “Double Consciousness” by W. E. B. Du Bois: “One ever feels his two-ness, an American, a Negro; two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body, whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder.” “Nobody in this nation should feel like they can’t be the person they were meant to be,” said Nelson. She points out that artists not known for being a part of the LGBT community, such as Baldwin, have created universal experiences for everyone else. “It is not easy when black queers are pulled from different sides and dismissed from different sides of the equation.”

For those like myself who are interested in learning more and want to engage further, the panelists suggested several media and literature options. Moonlight (movie), Pariah (movie), documentaries on the Stonewall riots, Brother Outsider (documentary), literature by James Baldwin and Audre Lorde are all excellent choices. Additionally, UVA Law students and faculty are encouraged to join the allyship listserv at socialaction@uvablsa.org.

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gt5qy@virginia.edu

The Old Queen is Dead; Long Live the Queen


New and old SBA officers gathered at the Bebedero for a celebratory meal. L-R: Frances Fuqua ’19, MacLane Taggart ’19, Jasmine Lee ’20, Julia Wahl ’19, Rachel Staub ’20, Trevor Quick ’20, Katherine Janes ’21. Photo courtesy F. Fuqua.

New and old SBA officers gathered at the Bebedero for a celebratory meal. L-R: Frances Fuqua ’19, MacLane Taggart ’19, Jasmine Lee ’20, Julia Wahl ’19, Rachel Staub ’20, Trevor Quick ’20, Katherine Janes ’21. Photo courtesy F. Fuqua.

By Sam Pickett ’21  News Editor 

New SBA Leadership Seeks Transparency, Diversity, and Community 

I must admit that the first fifteen minutes of writing this article were spent looking up funny quotes about democracy. I wanted to seem witty, like my esteemed colleague Jacob Jones ’21 in his coverage of Barrister’s, but I couldn’t find the right quote. They were all cynical, and that simply isn’t my personality, especially given the fact that I just won an uncontested election to be the News Editor for the Law Weekly. As I followed the SBA candidates along the campaign trail, I have come to feel a certain pride in the direction the organization seems to be heading and the priorities its members seem to embody. As we look forward to a new year of socials, bar reviews, and other events, I hope to show the UVA Law community what we can expect. 

Big Themes 

Transparency: It is only right to begin with the initiative that dominated the election cycle. Newly elected SBA President Jasmine Lee ’21 has cited transparency as her primary initiative, emphasizing the need to make SBA more accessible to the student body, and for students to “know that SBA wants to hear from them.” While meetings are open to the general public and minutes are posted online, President Lee hopes to continue conversations with the new student government to make sure that students feel their government represents their interests. Most of the new 2L Senators share Lee’s goals; four of them mentioned the need for transparency in their candidate statements. 2L Senator Christina Luk is pushing for SBA to more regularly update its website1 with its initiatives and to possibly send out a “State of the SBA” summary each semester. Senator Luk’s new colleagues Eli Jones, Savanna Williams, and Page Garbee, all class of 2021, made transparency a similarly important part of their campaign platforms by emphasizing that SBA should not be operating behind closed doors and should be talking to the student body to identify certain goals and priorities.  

This need for transparency includes the organization’s finances; newly elected Treasurer Trevor Quick hopes to make the budget available for student viewing as an important measure of accountability and student involvement. 

Diversity: A number of SBA’s newest officers chose to focus on diversity. In one of the most illuminating presentations given at the debate, new Honor Committee Representative Stephen Paul ’21 brought attention to international students under the honor system. He called for more direct engagement between “Honor” and international students, such as intermediaries for students who may not feel comfortable approaching their professors and TAs. New 2L Senator Will Hinton also hopes to use his role to promote diversity, emphasizing the need to make students who belong to historically marginalized backgrounds comfortable voicing their concerns. Senator Luk plans to meet with leaders from affinity groups around North Grounds to identify areas where SBA can offer support. In fact, a large part of why Senator Luk ran for office was because of this year’s Diversity fair, saying: 

At the event, the diversity tables had been set up outside in Spies Garden while SBA hosted its own social inside ScoCo. The setup was unfortunate, because SBA had effectively barricaded half the doors leading out to Spies Garden with its own food tables. Given the relative darkness and chill of late evening, attendance at the Fair was predictably low. One memorable guy did make it out to the APALSA table––he came to grab a plate because SBA had run out. Standing out in the cold with the other affinity and diversity groups, I felt a great impatience for change. I think that SBA lacks awareness of the struggles that diverse students face on campus. 

SBA as an Intermediary: Another commonality among SBA’s new officers is an understanding of the organization as an intermediary between the Law School and the student body. President Lee specifically defines the SBA as “the body that can be an intermediary and speak with administration on an issue, work to address student complaints, and have a voice with Main Grounds.” As the former Secretary of SBA and FYC representative during her 1L year, President Lee has had the opportunity to speak with a great number of students and faculty—a characteristic I believe will make her an excellent ambassador for students’ concerns. 2L Senator Colin Lee (no relation to Her Majesty––the President) sees SBA similarly, in that it “facilitates a balanced dialogue between different interest groups in the school” and “brings [SBA] members together in order to address any concerns that are brought to the organization’s attention.” Senator Lee also wants to make SBA an intermediary between the Law School and the community by reaching out to charities and organizations in the larger Charlottesville community. 

3L Senator Read Mills also sees SBA as an intermediary, but on a more practical level. He wants to help student organizations turn their ideas into actions by applying for funding and connecting with other organizations seeking to plan similar events. Mills has been an important contributor to the SBA’s social planning, along with “all-stars” Sara Phipps’20, Tazewell (“Taz”) Jones ’20, Jasmine Lee ’20, Ryan Poche ’19, and Ben Elron ’20, which has given him considerable experience in pulling the Law School together around the joys of food and drank [I know this is a serious article, but I just love phrasing it as drank.] 

The Law Weekly looks forward to seeing this group of leaders push for transparency, diversity, and accessibility to the student body. And, most importantly, I look forward to seeing how many free meals SBA provides in the coming year. 

 

Bonus Quiz: Match the SBA Officer to their Bodo’s Order 

A) Read Mills  

B) Jasmine Lee  

C) Collin Lee  

D) Christina Luk  

 

1. Plain bagel, egg, and cheddar cheese 

2. Garlic bagel with herb cream cheese 

3. Toasted onion bagel with scrambled egg, cheddar cheese, and “crisp bacon” 

4. Everything bagel with lox and cream cheese 

Answers: A(4) ; B(1) ; C(3) ; D(2) 

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shp8dz@virginia.edu

#MeToo in the Federal Judiciary

By Sarah-Jane Lorenzo ’21   Staff Editor

As the #MeToo movement continues to inspire critical consideration of sexual harassment, Dean Risa Goluboff introduced Monday’s panel, “#MeToo and the Federal Judiciary,” as a chapter of an ongoing conversation.  

Panelists Dahlia Lithwick and Pamela Harris emphasized the particular need to address the issues of power that surface throughout the frequently isolating experience of working in the judicial system. Harris, a United States Circuit Judge of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, called this conversation long overdue, especially since abuse in the judiciary is difficult to report.  

As issues of workplace abuse continue to impede women’s full access to the legal profession, Lithwick, a journalist at Slate and a contributing editor at Newsweek, noted that data on the pervasiveness of abuse in the judiciary is very limited. Many complaints within the federal judiciary are never remediated: the judge may resign, or the complaints just disappear. While we do not know the nature of all of the complaints and some, she said, may be trivial, it is very possible that there are serious allegations going unaddressed.   

Both panelists said that while the majority of clerkship experiences are positive, and most judges are good employers, that is not enough. “Inevitably, there are always bad actors,” Harris said. “It feels like a closed system, even from the inside.” Harris noted that both physical and cultural isolation contribute to that closed system, because judges have complete control over their staffs. “There is no accountability and there is no transparency.” 

For example, Harris said that “one of the most haunting things” she felt was revealed by the sexual assault hearings following accusations of former Ninth Circuit court Judge Alex Kozinski was that, prior to Kozinski’s confirmation, a former employee described him as an abusive boss. Yet that description, she said, didn’t matter. “There’s no signaling that that’s an important part of the role.” 

Lithwick said these issues are power problems in a closed system in which coming forward can lead to lasting personal harm. Power, she said, determines who can come forward and still salvage their career, and that limitation deters many victims from speaking up. She emphasized that law students, and especially women in law school, should never feel forced to endure anything in order to attain opportunities.  

In sharp contrast to those abuses of power, Harris said she believes a central role of a judge and of the rule of law is to protect against abuse of power and to hold power accountable. “I think that raises very interesting questions about whether there’s room in the system for judges who don’t know how to do that and who are themselves abusing power,” she said. 

Yet Harris said she is hopeful that the system is moving forward. For example, she believes changes to the Rules for Judicial Conduct Proceedings that outline and forbid abusive behavior are a crucial type of effective signaling. “Writing it down is at least a first step,” she said. She noted that the federal judiciary has also hired its first judicial integrity officer, and that in the Fourth Circuit, clerks are now trained on how to report issues of abuse. While she recognized that changes will likely be gradual, she believes there are many judges who are very committed to addressing issues of abuse, and who are equally committed to making changes.  

Ultimately, Lithwick said, one of the most important remedies to abuse within the federal judiciary will be keeping it in our focus. “The problem isn’t over when somebody steps forward,” she said, “and the system isn’t fixed when one person steps down.” 

Federalist Society Hosts Originalism Symposium


By Colin Snider ’19   Guest Contributor

In recent years, no theory of judicial interpretation has been as widely praised, criticized, and debated as originalism. While originalism itself is a simple concept—that judges should interpret the Constitution according to the understanding of those who ratified it—originalism raises interesting questions about whether it accomplishes its objectives and how it should be applied. What should a judge do when the meaning of the Constitution is unclear or nonexistent? How should judges react to subsequent developments in caselaw and practice? Does originalism actually constrain judges or is it a tool for judicial activism? 

Last Thursday, the Federalist Society at UVA played host to constitutional law scholars, practitioners, and judges who grappled with these and other questions. Building off their fall “Originalism 101” seminar, hosted by Professors Caleb Nelson and Saikrishna Prakash, the Federalist Society sought to confront some of the critiques of originalism and explore disagreements among originalists themselves. As expressed by the symposium’s keynote speaker, Judge Thomas Griffith ’85 of the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, the symposium served as an opportunity for originalists to “recalibrate” and “reconsider” originalism’s fundamentals. 

Original Understanding and Substantive Rights 

The day kicked off with Judge Diane Sykes of the Seventh Circuit moderating a panel on originalism and the Due Process Clause. Professors John Harrison of UVA Law and Randy Barnett of Georgetown Law began by reiterating that due process, as originally understood, was more of a procedural guarantee than a way for courts to substantively review the content of laws passed by Congress. It could be thought of as a separation of powers requirement that Congress not exercise judicial power and that courts bind themselves to the rule of law. Substantive review of laws passed by legislatures, argued Harrison and Barnett, comes from other sources like the Bill of Rights, the Commerce Clause, and limits on police power.  

However, fealty to the original meaning of the Due Process Clause leaves originalists in somewhat of a bind. What do they do with the fact that substantive protections in the Constitution, such as the Commerce Clause and Privileges and Immunities Clause, have lost their strength? Scott Ballenger, Partner at Latham and Watkins and Professor at UVA, suggested that despite its more limited original meaning, substantive due process is the “tool at hand” courts have to protect fundamental rights left unprotected by changes in Supreme Court doctrine. As an example, Ballenger cited his work in Abigail Alliance, in which he argued that the individual right to self-defense included the right to purchase experimental drugs to fight cancer. Even though the Founders would have seen the right to self-defense as one of the first fundamental rights of nature, the D.C. Circuit declined to use substantive due process in the case. On a similar note, Professor Julia Mahony suggested substantive due process could be used to tackle unique twenty-first century problems such as civil asset forfeiture, crony capitalism, and administrative state overreach. 

When the Text Runs Out 

What should originalists do when the text of the Constitution is unclear? After a wonderful lunch debate on judicial restraint between Clark Neily of the Cato Institute and Mark Pulliam of Law & Liberty, the symposium took up the issue of what to do when the text of the Constitution is ambiguous or does not answer the question before a court. Panelists Joel Alicea from Cooper & Kirt, Professor Stephen Sachs from Duke Law, and Professor Lawrence Solum from Georgetown Law discussed this issue. 

To begin, each panelist discussed what motivates originalism. Professor Sachs observed that originalists are faithful to the original meaning of the Constitution not necessarily because the Founders got it right, but because originalists believe that original meaning is the law. Constitutional changes should take place by amendment, not by judges. Alicea commented that a judge’s approach to constitutional interpretation depends on their personal political theory and how they see the role of judges. Finally, Sollum noted that it makes sense for originalists to examine the philosophy of language and history, just as some judges defer to economics or science in their opinions. Originalism is, after all, like any scholarly discipline. 

When asked by Judge John K. Bush of the Sixth Circuit, the moderator, about what advice they would give judges about what to do when the text is indeterminate, Professor Sachs suggested judges look to background principles of law, such as the legal maxim that “no man can profit from his own wrong,” which the court relied on in Riggs v. Palmer. Alicea suggested that canons of construction, history, and precedent [if consistent with original public meaning] can take judges quite far in discovering the mean of the Constitution. Finally, Sollum argued that if ambiguity persists, judges might look to the objective purpose of a provision of the Constitution or, if all else fails, defer to the political branches. 

Conclusion 

Overall, the panelists at the symposium raised excellent arguments, both for and against originalism. They grappled with the difficulties originalists face when they confront longstanding changes in original meaning, such as the Due Process Clause. Panelists made strong arguments for why originalism should or should not constrain judges. They also addressed what originalists should do when their methodology leads them to an inconclusive result. The day concluded with a re-argument of The Slaughterhouse Cases by Dominic Draye, Solicitor General of Arizona and Elbert Lin, Former Solicitor General of Wester Virginia. Judges Griffith, Sykes, and Bush did their best to re-create the atmosphere of the original argument. It was a fantastic to see the distinguished advocates and judges recreate one of the Supreme Court’s most infamous cases. It was a fitting end to the symposium. 

 

 

 

ISSA Injustice: Plight of British-born Rapper Representative of Contradictions of American Immigration System


Julie Dostal ‘19
Staff Editor


On January 29, 2019, rapper 21 Savage (Shéyaa Bin Abraham-Joseph) performed his single “A Lot” on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. In place of J. Cole’s feature, 21 Savage inserted a new verse. The verse included the following lyric: “been through some things, but I couldn’t imagine my kids stuck at the border. People was innocent couldn’t get lawyers.”[1] On February 4, 2019, U.S. Immigration Customs and Enforcement arrested Mr. Abraham-Joseph after a “targeted operation with federal and local law enforcement.”[2] ICE spokesperson, Bryan Cox, delivered a statement identifying Abraham-Joseph as an unlawfully present United Kingdom national.[3] Mr. Abraham-Joseph legally arrived with his mother on an H-4 Visa in 2005. His visa expired in 2006. At age 12, through no fault of his own, Mr. Abraham-Joseph’s presence in the United States became illegal.[4]

 

Photo courtesy of Photo 11: Roy Rochlin, Getty Images

Photo courtesy of Photo 11: Roy Rochlin, Getty Images

In addition to the identification of Mr. Abraham-Joseph as an illegal United Kingdom national, ICE also effectively labeled the rapper a fraud, discrediting his public persona as an Atlanta rapper and portraying him as a nefarious felon. An ICE spokesperson commented the following to CNN: “his entire public persona is false.”[5] Prior to his arrest by ICE, 21 Savage’s Wikipedia page stated he was born in Atlanta, Georgia. In an interview with XXL Magazine in 2016, the rapper stated he was “from Decatur, Georgia,” located in the Atlanta Metropolitan Area.[6] The public also interpreted the rapper’s reverent loyalty and common mention of the city of Atlanta as indicative of his birthplace.

           

Fans may not have been aware of where 21 Savage was born, but the U.S. government most definitely was. The ICE statement is clear. Mr. Abraham-Joseph's “public persona is false.” The intention is also clear. ICE intended to capitalize on the rapper’s alleged deception with regards to his citizenship to manipulate the public into disclaiming 21 Savage. The agency attempted to sever the rapper’s fourteen-year ties to the city where his brother died, where his three children now live, and where he started charity programs to help children in his neighborhood with financial literacy and school supplies.[7] ICE then labeled Mr. Abraham-Joseph a felon. Mr. Abraham-Joseph was convicted of felony drug charges in 2014.[8] The penalty was later expunged. The agency failed to mention the expungement in its official statement. Instead, ICE identified Mr. Abraham-Savage as a felon and a foreigner. The agency’s garnered its intended response from the American public.

 

“Immediately following news of the detainment, narratives echoing ICE’s language proliferated online. These quips relied on the dangerous logic of ICE’s statement: the implication that Abraham Joseph’s newly revealed immigration status renders him a fraudulent cultural interloper.”[9]

 

Public commentary demonstrated a marked lack of engagement with the life of 21 Savage. Further, the public’s embrace of ICE’s depiction of 21 Savage as a fraud and a felon demonstrates a “an unfamiliarity with the agency’s wide-ranging tactics to discredit its detainees, and the broader systems that contribute to that targeting.”[10] In May of 2018, a U.S. District Court held that ICE falsely claimed that detainees were affiliated with street gangs in order to successfully deport the individuals.[11] ICE failed to include relevant information regarding Mr. Abraham-Joseph’s arrest record. The agency also actively worked to discredit an individual who has tirelessly represented Atlanta and actively serves the community through philanthropy and taxes. It is essential that the public sensibly engage with the facts surrounding the arrest and deportation proceedings of
21 Savage.

 

On February 13, 2019, 21 Savage was released from ICE custody.[12] He paid $100,000 to be released on bond. A statement by the rapper’s lawyers revealed the U.S. government was already aware of 21 Savage’s immigration status. The rapper’s U visa application has been pending for over a year. A U visa is available to those who have been victims of a crime in the United States, have suffered physical or mental injury as a result of that crime, and who are helpful to law enforcement or government officials in an investigation or criminal prosecution.[13] 21 Savage’s U visa application likely relates to injuries he suffered after being shot six times by rival gang members. The rapper’s lawyers noted his visa application. The statement read in part:

 

“Mr. Abraham-Joseph has never hid his immigration status from the US government. The Department of Homeland Security has known his address and his history since his filing for the U visa in 2017, yet they took no action against him until this past weekend.”[14]

           

Despite the government’s previous awareness of the rapper’s residence, 21 Savage was arrested while driving with his cousins in Atlanta. Mr. Abraham-Joseph recalls he looked up from his steering wheel to see flashing blue lights and guns. A helicopter was also present during his arrest.[15] He was then put into the back of a car without further explanation. He told reporters that his only understanding of his arrest came from overhearing an officer state, “we got Savage.”[16] The rapper now sees himself as an important advocate for poor black Americans and poor black immigrants whose interactions with immigration authorities and law enforcement may not receive mainstream media attention.

 

21 Savage remains determined to stay in the United States. Fellow rapper and mogul Jay-Z is helping to pay for 21 Savage’s legal representation during his deportation proceedings. The arrest of 21 Savage and the subsequent media efforts by ICE to manipulate the public’s opinion of the artist should concern Americans. The pointed attempts to de-othorize 21 Savage are troubling, if not explicitly racist in their attempts to preserve an image of what it means to be American. Mr. Abraham-Joseph’s story is not unique. His presence in this country, like many DREAMers, was not the result of his own actions. His constant fear of deportation shaped his everyday life and public persona. His heavy-handed treatment by ICE is representative of similar experiences of other detainees. But other detainees rarely have access to the resources and representation which he has. Hopefully, his case serves to inspire empathy and further thought on how our government treats detainees.

 

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Jpd5pd@virginia.edu

 


[1] https://hypebeast.com/2019/1/21-savage-a-lot-the-tonight-show-starring-jimmy-fallon.

[2] https://www.washingtonpost.com/arts-entertainment/2019/02/03/rapper-savage-arrested-by-ice-agents-who-say-hes-united-kingdom-not-atlanta/?utm_term=.ff056cff611d.

[3] https://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2019/02/21-savages-ice-detention-false-promise-black-citizenship/582013/.

[4] https://www.washingtonpost.com/arts-entertainment/2019/02/03/rapper-savage-arrested-by-ice-agents-who-say-hes-united-kingdom-not-atlanta/?utm_term=.ff056cff611d.

[5] https://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2019/02/21-savages-ice-detention-false-promise-black-citizenship/582013/.

[6] https://www.interviewmagazine.com/music/21-savage-seth-rogen-interview.

[7] See the ISSA Bank Account and ISSA School Drive programs in East Atlanta. https://www.billboard.com/articles/columns/hip-hop/8467380/21-savage-hosting-issa-back-to-school-drive-third-year.

[8] https://www.nbcboston.com/entertainment/entertainment-news/21-Savage-ICE-UK-505280672.html

[9] https://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2019/02/21-savages-ice-detention-false-promise-black-citizenship/582013/.

[10] Id.

[11] https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2018/05/federal-judge-accused-ice-of-making-up-evidence-to-prove-that-dreamer-was-gang-affiliated.html.

[12] https://www.cnn.com/2019/02/13/us/21-savage-rapper-release-ice/index.html.

[13] Id.

[14] https://www.washingtonpost.com/arts-entertainment/2019/02/03/rapper-savage-arrested-by-ice-agents-who-say-hes-united-kingdom-not-atlanta/?utm_term=.ff056cff611d.

[15] https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/rapper-21-savage-describes-arrest-ice-we-got-savage-n971951.

[16] Id.

Editor's Farewell

Jansen VanderMeulen ‘19
Editor-in-Chief Emeritus

It is now a year since I took over as editor-in-chief of the Virginia Law Weekly, and two-and-a-half years since I first straggled into the Law Weekly’s tucked-away office in Slaughter looking for free pizza. Like the remnants of a gallon of wholesome, two-percent milk approaching its eleventh day in the refrigerator, my time has come; this is my final edition as editor-in-chief.

I could wax poetic about the last three-ish years of newspaper editing. About long Monday nights spent with colored pens alongside good friends and sometime-nemeses (lookin’ at you, Anand). About returning the Law Weekly to some of its former glory with two ABA “Best Law School Newspaper” wins in a row. About covering endless talks and symposia and Law School events.

But to be honest, I was never really that into the Law Weekly for the whole journalist thing. Yes, despite what our critics say, the Law Weekly isn’t just goofy thumbs-ups and reviews of various C’ville high- (and low-) lights. In the last year or so alone, we’ve broken numerous important stories, from the Virginia Law Review’s new membership policy[1] to the Copy Center’s move away from free printing[2] and security flaws in the University’s new dual-authentication mechanism.[3] Our coverage of the events of August 2017 were reproduced by the National Lawyers Guild,[4] and our piece on Judge Amul Thapar’s visit to the Law School made it onto SCOTUSblog’s feature on Thapar’s jurisprudence.[5] These pieces and others helped secure our paper the aforementioned ABA awards.

But that’s not what kept me at the Law School until ungodly hours eating more Domino’s in two and a half years than any human should in a lifetime. I stayed for the Law Weekly’s documentation of life at the Law School. For pieces like the one that gave advice on how to survive bear encounters (“The Bear Necessities,” 9 Sept. 2017) and profiles on Law School badasses like Chinny Sharma ’19.[6] For origin stories, like the one about Professor Mitchell’s redhead obsession,[7] and final chapters, like our in memoriam for Professor and former Law Weekly EIC J. Gordon Hylton ’77, who passed away last spring.[8] The way I see it, people can get their news from anywhere. People don’t pick up the Law Weekly for our hot takes on current events or our news about Supreme Court opinions. The paper continues to grow and thrive because we offer something no one else can: stories about life at the Law School from the perspective of students.

And make no mistake: The Law Weekly is thriving. When I got to Charlottesville as a 1L, the paper was just beginning to recover from a low point in its history. Our predecessors in the mid-teens had run the paper into the ground with juvenile garbage. Pot shots, mean jokes, even gross racial stuff. A look at the Law Weekly’s 2013 or 2014 pages is a look at a dying newspaper sadly fallen from its glory days. The editor-in-chief when I was a 1L was Alex Haden ’17, who had joined during what he called “the bad years.” Under the leadership of Alex and then Jenna Goldman ’18, the Law Weekly turned around. Professors emailed me telling me the paper had “come a long way.” Faculty members who had hated the paper’s mean streak and disliked the paper generally started contributing to its pages. One night, I stopped to talk to Frank, the nighttime security guard, and told him I was with the paper. “It’s gotten a lot better these last few years,” he told me. “Way more thumbs ups, not so many thumbs downs.” Our improvement showed: After years in the wilderness, the Law Weekly has won the ABA’s Best Law School Newspaper award each of the last two years.

I could go on about increased circulation and growing classes of 1Ls on the paper’s staff, but you get the point. To all of you loyal readers, thank you for picking the paper up off the stands and for telling me you’re not sure if ANG is a man or a woman. To Professor Doran, sorry for putting your quotes in the Faculty Quotes section even though you told me not to, and p.s. it’s pronounced “broach.” I am glad to say that as the Law Weekly begins its seventy-second year, the paper is as strong as ever and poised to continue to provide readers with the things they love about it—yes, even you, people who complain when we replace the sudoku with a cool crossword. I’m proud to have been a part of this fine old Law School tradition, and it is with confidence that I hand off the reins to a new group of leaders.

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jmv5af@virginia.edu

[1] https://www.lawweekly.org/front-page/2018/11/28/law-review-to-vote-friday-on-selection-overhaul.

[2] https://www.lawweekly.org/col/2018/11/14/changes-coming-to-printing-policy-the-law-weekly-investigates.

[3] https://www.lawweekly.org/features/2018/3/28/do-the-login-two-step-but-read-the-fine-print.

[4] https://www.nlg.org/guild-notes/article/a-view-from-august-12th-legal-observers-in-charlottesville/.

[5] https://www.scotusblog.com/2018/07/potential-nominee-profile-amul-thapar/.

[6] https://www.lawweekly.org/features/2019/2/1/hot-bench-chinny-sharma-19.

[7] https://www.lawweekly.org/features/2018/9/11/lunch-with-professor-mitchell-it-all-started-with-a-redhead.

[8] https://www.lawweekly.org/features/2018/5/2/in-memoriam-an-interview-with-professor-j-gordon-hylton.

Ballers at Barristers: Three Perspectives on the Night


Daniel Grill ‘19
Staff Editor

As a 3L, I was very excited for my last Barrister’s Ball. Previous Barrister’s Balls were very fun, but each had their own shortcomings from the line at the bar to the music. This year’s event included key improvements that contributed to a fun night for all.

              Upon entering the event, I was hounded by the Law Weekly paparazzi (S/O Kolleen/Pittsburg State Gorillaz). While I was not prepared to answer “who I was wearing,” the makeshift light stand and backdrop created the red-carpet environment Barrister’s has needed. The pictures turned out very nice and were a fun way to remember a great night.

Daniel Natal ’19, Gabriela Wolk ‘19, Maggie Echols ’19, and Alyssa Daniels ‘19 pose for the Law Weekly’s camera with their very cool props. Photo Credit Koleen Gladden ‘21.

Daniel Natal ’19, Gabriela Wolk ‘19, Maggie Echols ’19, and Alyssa Daniels ‘19 pose for the Law Weekly’s camera with their very cool props. Photo Credit Koleen Gladden ‘21.

              As I proceeded into the main room, I was surprised to see long lines at each of the bars. In light of President Fuqua’s day-before email, I expected short lines. Luckily, the lines moved very quickly and my flashbacks to the lines at last year’s Barrister’s subsided. This was a major improvement from last year when I felt like I was waiting in line for much of the night. The lines may have moved faster because of the separate water and soda-only stations.

              With a corn-syrup-free Bud Light in hand, I decided to explore the food options in the back corner of the venue. Expecting the chicken tenders and sliders of years’ past, I was disappointed with the food options. The first hour of Barrister’s was limited to tortilla chips with salsa and queso, which were not particularly good. I even overheard one 3L, who asked to remain anonymous, say, “This queso is hot trash. We have far better queso where I grew up in Houston. This is nothing compared to the queso in Nashville, where I attended college. I bet I can make better queso at my home on Alderman Road.” Needless to say, the chips, salsa, and queso did not meet expectations. At around 10:30, pizza was served. They served plain, pepperoni, and vegetable pizza. For journalistic purposes, I tried all three and none were very good. I would have preferred pizza from Christian’s or any other local establishment. The food was certainly the low point of the evening.

              Food and drink aside, the music and dancing are undoubtedly the most important part of Barrister’s. Throughout the night, the DJ played great music and it seemed like everyone was enjoying themselves. The dance floor was packed for the majority of the night, which is the true mark of a great Barrister’s.

              As Barrister’s wound down, the Gunners ‘n Roses after-party was just beginning at Rapture. Typical of Gunners ‘n Roses concerts, an eager crowd quickly filled the bar. The band matched the crowd’s energy with a brand-new set list including crowd favorites like Tongue Tied and The Middle ft. Chris Martin ’19. GNR truly brought the heat on Saturday night and set the tone for another semester of great performances.

              In conclusion, Barrister’s was an excellent event. While the food was limited, the lines at the bar were far shorter than last year and the music at the Omni and Rapture was great. It was clear that SBA improved upon the issues we experienced last year.


Taylor Elicegui ‘20
Features Editor

This year’s James Bond-themed Barrister’s Ball was a smashing success. In keeping with the theme, red, black and metallic long dresses appeared to be the most popular fashion choices of the night. The music choices were great and the dance floor overflowing. Who knew law students could get down so well, particularly to the YMCA?[1] I did see a few too many dance floor makeouts, though—we don’t party in the basement of fraternities anymore, people, and it is officially time to leave the DFMO where it rightfully belongs (with the undergrads). The Law Weekly photo booth was a nice touch and the line wasn’t too long (at least when I was there). Shout out to Kolleen Gladden for her fantastic photography skills. And it was quite exciting when my pictures arrived so quickly.

            The food and drinks were good and plentiful. I heard a lot of rave reviews about the pizza and nachos, and the different table options were a nice touch (both high tops and regular seating). The high tops made a particularly good place to hide your high heels when your feet started to hurt too much, not that I’m speaking from personal experience here. Obviously, the bar lines were a little too long, but I’m not sure that is a problem that can ever be solved without raising the ticket prices to absurd levels.

Eric Hall ‘18, former production editor of the Virginia Law Weekly, with the amazing and incomparable Trina Rizzo ‘19. Photo Credit Koleen Gladden ‘21

Eric Hall ‘18, former production editor of the Virginia Law Weekly, with the amazing and incomparable Trina Rizzo ‘19. Photo Credit Koleen Gladden ‘21

            As a dedicated GNR groupie, I left the Omni on the earlier side to migrate to Rapture, so I got in without any problem. I did hear grumblings about people not being able to get in later, which is unfortunate, but I believe these ever-resourceful students found their way to another bar without too much trouble. GNR crushed the show and lead singer Trina Rizzo gave a great performance. I particularly liked the addition of “Shout” to the set. I love any excuse to kick my feet and dance like a fool. Unfortunately, I missed my favorite, “Toxic,” fighting to get to the bar, which was a struggle all night, but I heard it was great.

            All in all, 2L Barrister’s was a blast. SBA did a great job organizing and seeing people all dressed up is always fun. I love getting to see friends I don’t see every day, and it’s always nice to have an excuse to buy a new dress. I can’t wait for next year!





[1] At least, UVA Law students can tear up the dance floor. I can’t speak for any of our peer institutions, but I would imagine they are not ~quite~ as fun.


Jacob Jones ‘21
Events Editor

Last semester at PILA, I said to my wise PA that the event felt surprisingly like prom. She replied, “Oh no there’s an actual law school prom in the spring. We call it Barrister’s Ball.” Not knowing what a barrister is or what he does with balls, I played it cool and pretended to know what those words meant just like I always do when encountering other made up law school words. And so, I waited, dreaming about a barrister who was some kind of law school Santa/genie who would give me a clue about fee simples.

I needed to do everything I could to prepare so I didn’t mess things up like my real prom. It’s been awhile since I had done this, so I had to refresh myself on the basics. I watched the SpongeBob episode where he takes Pearl to prom, but that didn’t help too much.  WikiHow gave me some underwhelming advice, including “Make sure your cell phone is fully charged” and “Enjoy your prom!” One wikiHow article had a picture of wine with a crossed-out circle over someone drinking wine, and so I decided the internet was an unreliable source of information for this task.[1] With my go-to sources of advice exhausted, I decided I was going to have to wing it.

First, I needed a date. I don’t remember where I left the megaphone that I used to ask my high school date to prom with, so this time I settled for a simple unilateral contract. Next, I needed to scrounge up $50 for a ticket.[2] Girl Scout cookies were off the table this time around, so I sold some of my highlighter collection and traded up from there.  Then, I needed a pre-prom gathering. My section had a vote on whether to buy Raising Cane’s and pregame with ourselves or mix with a different section, and naturally we went with the chicken. Finally, I needed a limo to show up in style. That was out of the budget, but our Uber driver, Sharadkumar, had a 4.97 rating and offered mints, so I’ll let you be the judge of whether a limo would have been better.[3]

We stepped out of our Uber, and I expected to be greeted by the Barrister. Unfortunately, I saw no one dressed in red, handing out presents, or looking like they came of the 19th century English legal system. I didn’t even see any balls. The man at the coat check seemed confused when I asked. Being an easily deterred person, I abandoned my search for the Barrister and decided to search for a deeper meaning to the night.

So, we stepped onto the dance floor to make the most of the night. I realized that the 3Ls had nothing to lose at this point in their law school experience, and my fellow 1Ls were a bit too comfortable around each other by this point, leading to a lot of DFMOs.[4] Social norms were abandoned in favor of recklessness, and I was a fan.

They say that this is law school prom, but really it was a timeless event. The songs were most of the ones I have been hearing since middle school activity centers,[5] while the open bar reminded me that, shockingly, we’re old enough to be trusted with drinking responsibly. I was having these deep thoughts when someone pointed out there was toilet paper stuck to my shoe. It was actually a napkin, but the damage to my ego was done, and my dance moves were much less wild for the rest of the night.

The legendary Jacob Jones ‘21 strikes a pose with Meg McKinley ’21 at the Barrister’s Ball. Their love was blinding. Photo Credit Koleen Gladden ‘21.

The legendary Jacob Jones ‘21 strikes a pose with Meg McKinley ’21 at the Barrister’s Ball. Their love was blinding. Photo Credit Koleen Gladden ‘21.

The theme of the night was 007, I think. The photo booth props were my biggest clue and maybe the only one.[6] Students seemed to have a lot of fun. Eliza Schultz ’21 said that “it was like the bat mitzvah I wish I’d had,” despite her bartender not knowing what a seltzer was. There were no tables where you could bid $50 to hang with someone else’s dog like you could at PILA so that was a bummer. This was somewhat counterbalanced by seeing law boyz dress up in silly tuxedos.

We were then uplifted to Rapture, where Gunners n’ Roses was doing their first performance of their Farewell Tour. Despite being packed in like sardines in a barrel, law students seemed to have plenty of fun. The band also played some of the songs I loved in middle school, and still do, but this time it was way better.

The next morning I woke and I realized that for one magical night, we had all forgotten about all the stresses of law school for a night. Through friendship, we had transcended themes, legal concepts, and time to let loose on the dance floor and beyond. And maybe that’s what a Barrister is. Friendship.[7]


[1] There are 40 results when you search wikiHow for prom. There are dozens of wikiHow articles about prom. My theory is that a middle-aged woman in the Midwest named Betty has written all of them, and her husband, Bill, edits.

[2] Many people have remarked about the high price, especially in comparison to PILA. I talked to an inside source on SBA, and while I don’t remember exactly what he said it made me feel better about paying that much.

[3] But if you judge against Sharadkumar you are WRONG.

[4] I recently learned this means “Dance Floor Make-Out” and I’m excited to use this hip new lingo.

[5] In retrospect, it was weird they were playing “Get Low” and “Hot in Herre” at dances back then. We were like 12.

[6] Many thanks to Kolleen Gladden ’21 for running this!

[7] Still no clue what the ball is though.

The Shape of Justice: Krasner Keynotes PILA, LPS Event


Michael Schmid ‘21
Staff Editor

The third annual Shaping Justice conference took place February 8 and 9 at the Law School, featuring a variety of panel discussions, workshops, and a keynote address by Larry Krasner, District Attorney for the City of Philadelphia. The event was sponsored by the Public Interest Law Association, the Program in Law and Public Service, and the Mortimer Caplin Public Service Center. Panel topics included gun violence, alternatives to incarceration, the affordable housing crisis, and the opioid epidemic.

Philadelphia DA Larry Krasner keynotes the Shaping Justice Conference. Photo courtesy Rachel Davidson Raycraft.

Philadelphia DA Larry Krasner keynotes the Shaping Justice Conference. Photo courtesy Rachel Davidson Raycraft.

The opioid epidemic was a focal point of Krasner’s opening remarks. Addressing the tsunami of prescription and illicit opioids that has flooded Philadelphia just as it has regions around the country, Krasner argued that the choices law enforcement officials face in combatting that issue are indicative of the overarching issue facing the criminal justice system today. Krasner shuns what he calls “antiquated notions of right and wrong” with its focus on retribution, harsh penalties, and hyper-criminalization, in favor of a “harm reduction” approach focusing on public health and prevention. When localities fail to treat the opioid epidemic as a public health issue, Krasner argues, it leads people to hide their disease, which results in people “dying from stigma.” Krasner sees the harm-reduction model as the solution to the opioid crisis, as well as a variety of other criminal justice issues, pointing to the success Vancouver, British Columbia has had with their supervised injection sites in drastically reducing the incidences of overdoses and opioid-related fatalities.

Unabashed in his outsider approach to prosecution, Krasner also appreciates the role of pragmatism in effecting change. Reflecting that sometimes people have to put themselves in situations that might make them uncomfortable in order to achieve the policy goals they desire, Krasner stated, “Virtue is nice. Victory is even better.” Krasner pulled no punches in criticizing some elected officials who he believes have neglected the issue of criminal justice reform over the years. “The civil rights issue of our day is criminal justice reform,” he remarked. “Our resources have been hijacked by politicians who have built prisons to get votes.” He believes that voters’ dissatisfaction with past approaches partially fueled his victory and the election of other “progressive prosecutors” across the country. When change is not occurring on the national or state level, Krasner argues that through “progressive federalism” municipalities can be a source of sensible solutions to criminal justice and public health concerns.

Known for his fiery and iconoclastic rhetoric, Krasner has courted criticism by some for his approach to his role as district attorney. However, a little over a year after taking office, Krasner listed a few of what he sees as some of his biggest accomplishments. In part because of his decision to decline to recommend cash bail for twenty-five offenses his office has labeled as innocuous and non-dangerous, Krasner pointed to the significant decrease in incarcerated individuals in Philadelphia: down from 6,500 to 4,700. Crime has remained flat, while violent crime has decreased during Krasner’s tenure, despite opponents’ charges that his policies would have the opposite effect. When reflecting on how some of his detractors might respond to the downward trend in crime in the city, Krasner quipped, “They’re opposed to crime, but they’re very much opposed to me.”

In the Alternatives to Incarceration panel, Angel Harris, Assistant Counsel for the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, emphasized the importance of “directly impacted individuals” having a voice in addressing criminal justice issues. The intersection of mental health and the criminal justice system was topic addressed in-depth during the panel session. Judge Robert H. Downer ’76 of Charlottesville’s general district court noted the successes of the “therapeutic docket” in Charlottesville, a targeted and individualized program which seeks to divert those with mental health issues from incarceration and into treatment programs. “We harm people a great deal when we incarcerate people with mental health issues,” the judge remarked. He also commented that integrating and welcoming formerly incarcerated individuals back into society and giving people a chance at a fresh start is critical to keeping people out of the criminal justice system and reducing recidivism rates. “How we treat those who are released [from prison] is important,” said Judge Downer. This was echoed by Herb Dickerson, outreach coordinator and shift supervisor at The Haven, who said that the criminal justice system should do a better job of dealing with the underlying issues that lead people into crime in the first place. Dickerson hopes that those involved in the criminal justice system “deal with the individual and not the stigma.”

The next morning, students, faculty, and community members packed WB 101 for the Confronting Racism panel, sponsored by the Minority Rights Coalition and the Black Law Students Association. Meredith Horton ’07, Associate Legal Director for the Southern Poverty Law Center, spoke about her work challenging felon disenfranchisement laws through impact litigation. For example, in Mississippi, felons are banned from voting for life. The only ways for a released felon to have their voting rights restored are through (1) a gubernatorial pardon, (2) an executive order, or (3) a state legislator personally sponsoring the person who has completed his felony sentence and submitting legislation to restore his voting rights. This bill must pass with a two-thirds vote and be signed by the governor. Unsurprisingly, said Horton, very few people are successful with this laborious process. Michael Herring ’90, the Commonwealth’s Attorney for Richmond, noted that while most criminal defendants he sees in the courtroom are people of color, the judges, prosecutors, police officers, and defense attorneys are disproportionately white. This imbalance can lead to prosecutors having a skewed perspective on the criminally accused they see in court on their worst day and in their worst form.

Following the last panel session, attendees could choose from a trio of concurrent workshops, titled: Trauma-Informed Care, Strategies for Nonprofit Litigation, and Tools for Legislative Advocacy. The conference concluded with an award ceremony honoring Chinh Q. Le ’00 and Julia Pierce ’98 with the Shaping Justice Awards for Extraordinary Achievement and Michelle Harrison ’12 with the Shaping Justice Rising Star award.

During his keynote address, Krasner said he appreciated the real change to the criminal justice system that is happening in Philadelphia and across the country, but noted how much more work he feels is still left. He urged others to get involved, calling on those in attendance to “be part of history.” As Dean Goluboff noted in her introduction of Krasner, “It is not automatic that change happens. The arc of justice does not bend without people who bend it.”

Judge Reeves Headlines Sexual Harassment Panel


Lena Welch ‘20
New Media Editor

Judge Pamela Reeves of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee discussed the development of sexual harassment law Friday at the Law School in an event sponsored by ACS, DVP, VELLA, and VLW. Judge Reeves chronicled her career and how her early foray into sexual harassment law guided her professional development.

“I was excited to invite Judge Reeves to speak because her career is one of firsts, both for her as a female judge in the Eastern District of Tennessee and being on the frontier of sexual harassment law,” ACS Secretary Anna Rennich ’20 said. “I knew that it would be interesting to students both from an employment law perspective, but also as sort of an inspirational story for those of us interested in working on either side of tough issues.”

Judge Reeves did not set out to be a pioneer in sexual harassment law; rather, as Professor Anne Coughlin stated in her introduction, “Those were the problems that needed to be solved.”

As a young lawyer, Judge Reeves had never even heard of sexual harassment.

“I had just taken the bar exam, I had just taken Employment Discrimination Law in my 3L year, and I had no earthly clue what sexual harassment was,” Judge Reeves said.

When she began researching the topic, just two or three cases allowed women to proceed on the theory of sexual harassment. There were no federal court of appeals cases, and it was years before the Supreme Court addressed sexual harassment. But she also quickly learned that companies did not want to be the test case for what they believed to be “boys being boys.”

One of her earliest cases was against the TVA, a political powerhouse and major employer in Knoxville. She came to a resolution that satisfied her clients, and because it kept the allegations from becoming public knowledge TVA was happy. TVA agreed to adopt new policies and procedures as well as training.

“You can make a lot of money off of guys because sometimes, no offense, you guys, they do really dumb things,” Reeves told the group.

So, Judge Reeves set out to become the “sex expert” in Knoxville. But, in sexual harassment cases, it is sometimes hard to know who is telling the truth. Sexual harassment cases typically do not happen out in the open with witnesses.

“People don’t, as a rule, harass strong, confident women. They look for the people who are vulnerable. They look for the people who are not going to push back. And they look for the people who need that job . . . . They know how to manipulate the system.”

After a while, Judge Reeves was not only hired by plaintiffs but by employers. She was able to learn a lot through her opportunities to look at sexual harassment claims from both perspectives. Employers were interested in trainings to help prevent sexual harassment from happening. When Judge Reeves first began training employers, she used faxes and emails. Now, texts and Snapchat screenshots are the exhibits of sexual harassment, she noted.

One of Judge Reeves’s key takeaways from her career is that there is always job security in this area of the law because “humans function as a result of hormones as opposed to common sense.”

Judge Reeves even shared a few “war stories.” In 1987, she began working for the Tennessee Municipal League, traveling across the state to provide defense to small governmental entities and officials.

“You have never seen stupid until you start to represent elected officials in small towns all over the state of Tennessee,” Reeves chuckled.

During her time at TML, Judge Reeves expanded her duties to filing responses to EEOC complaints to avoid the mistakes or inaccurate statements that would cause trouble when TML came in at the trial stage. She also convinced TML to allow her to write amicus briefs as the case law was developing in Tennessee.

Her duties at TML also changed as the league adopted mediation because it was an inexpensive way to resolve cases. Judge Reeves utilized her federal court experience, contacts across the state, as well as her experience as a woman—most victims are female—to develop a huge mediation practice across the state. Mediation provided a good alternative for cases that people did not want to go to trial, whether because of a police chief who could not watch his mouth or because of a big company that didn’t want to risk bad outcomes.

Between 2002 and when she was appointed to the bench in 2014, Judge Reeves also served as an independent investigator. She even pointed out the benefits of the “dumbass defense.”

Judge Reeves shared a story about one of the first cases she worked on after graduating law school. It was a sexual discrimination case that she co-counseled with her first husband. During the closing argument, Judge Robert Love Taylor balked at the idea that Judge Reeves chose not to take her husband’s last name.

“So, I remain convinced that the day Judge Taylor found out that I was replacing his seat ultimately on the bench that he was probably just rolling over and over in his grave.”

Judge Reeves noted that this is an area of the law that is still developing, both in terms of retaliation claims or protecting LGBT folks. She also commented on the interesting developments happening within the judiciary to protect law clerks and clarify their obligations under ethics rules, as well as the importance of educating judges about sexual harassment.

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lw8vd@virginia.edu