Crowds Pleased at Wine and Cheese Event

Taylor Elicegui ‘20
Features Editor

Donna Faye Imadi ‘22
Guest Writer

 On Thursday, September 12, Virginia Law Women (“VLW”) held its annual Wine and Cheese Student/Faculty Cocktail Party. The annual event, obviously featuring wine and cheese, aims to give both new and old students alike a chance to get to know their professors outside of the classroom. Past VLW Presidents confirm the event is long-running—Wine and Cheese was already an established tradition when Stephanie Bedard ’16 began in Fall 2013. Wine and Cheese also functions as a fun way to welcome new professors and students to the UVA Law community. Nikki Wolfrey ’21, VLW’s Events Co-Chair, took the lead on organizing the event with support from the rest of the VLW Executive Board.

Students stand in classy circles at VL'W’s wine and cheese night. Photo Credit Kolleen Gladden ‘21.

Students stand in classy circles at VL'W’s wine and cheese night. Photo Credit Kolleen Gladden ‘21.

VLW President Manal Cheema ’20 said, “The Faculty-Student Wine and Cheese Night is one of the flagship events for VLW. Nikki did a fantastic job organizing this event and working with the VLW board, Student Affairs, and facilities to put this on. It requires a great deal of attention to detail and planning and the VLW Board worked extremely hard to support her vision.” When asked what preparation was required for the event, Cheema told the Law Weekly, “Among other endeavors, VLW board members took the UVA Alcohol Risk Management training in advance to serve attendees, picked up decorations and food from Wegman’s, selected an assortment of wines from Trader Joe’s, wrangled the paper cutter at the Copy Center to create the drinking tickets, did an emergency run to Harris Teeter for crackers, and came early to set up and left late to clean up Caplin Pavilion.” Cheema, reflecting on the event, said she was “grateful that we were able to put on an elegant and well-attended event together and looking forward to the rest of this year’s VLW events.”

Several faculty members came to this year’s event, including Dean Goluboff and Professors Darryl Brown, George Cohen, Kevin Cope, Cale Jaffe, Kevin Kordana, Julia Mahoney, Dayna Matthew, Nelson Camilo Sanchez-Leon, Fredrick Schauer, Crystal Shin, and Rip Verkerke. Wolfrey worked with Kate Duvall to distribute the invitation to the entire faculty. She also advertised the event on popular listservs, chalked classrooms, and put up posters.

Roughly 100 students filtered through the event at different points in the evening. Most of the students were 1Ls, although a fair number of upperclassmen came as well, probably lured by the wine and cheese. Lauren Burns ’22 said, “I felt really welcomed as a 1L, and I had a great time. The cheese was GREEEAT.” I have to disagree slightly, because I learned from former VLW President Casey Trombley-Shapiro Jonas ’17 that baked brie used to be prominently featured at Wine and Cheese. Although the event would benefit from bringing back the traditional baked brie (really, what event wouldn’t?), the conversations and laughter made up for the lack of baked cheese delicacies.

Students and faculty mingle at VLW’s wine and cheese night in Caplin Pavilion. Photo Credit Kolleen Gladden ‘21.

Students and faculty mingle at VLW’s wine and cheese night in Caplin Pavilion. Photo Credit Kolleen Gladden ‘21.

The evening was a success, filled with conversation, laughs, and refreshments. And, in accordance with new University policy, VLW distributed drink tickets to students. This was my first event with drink tickets, and I was skeptical at first. But I didn’t really notice a difference at all, other than the slight inconvenience of having to keep track of the ticket.

Wolfrey said, “I think the event went well. It got pretty crowded and it seemed as if people were intermingling and meeting new professors.”  Franny Skardon ’22 enjoyed the distribution between the male and female professors. “It was impressive to see the number of male professors, and nice to see the supportive community.”

The event encourages students to get to know their professors and hopefully feel more comfortable in class, encouraging participation by women and academic success. Wolfrey described her goal for the event as “establishing relationships in the Law School between primarily 1L female students and professors. This would ideally foster a stronger sense of community and belonging for female students, reminding them that they are valued and respected members of this community.” Bedard also identified encouraging students to go to office hours as an additional goal of the event. If students know their professors personally, it can make it easier to seek help to clear up any potential confusions.

The event also provided students with an opportunity to meet their peers. Wolfrey noted, “I enjoyed getting to meet some of the 1Ls that I haven’t had the opportunity to meet, and getting to see them enjoying an event that is largely intended to welcome them to the Law School.” Trombley-Shapiro Jonas confirmed the event has functioned similarly in years past: “I loved the event and loved that it was very early in the fall semester and open to all. It was a great way to show that VLW is a powerhouse organization at the school, and as a 1L I know I really appreciated getting a chance so early on to meet my professors in a more casual setting. It was definitely one of the very first chances to do so. Each year after that was just a fun opportunity to hang out with VLW, friends, and professors I liked. It was also a great way to get those interested in being more involved with VLW hooked.”

The University of Chicago Law School and other peer institutions have conducted studies on gender disparities in the classroom. Women’s Advocacy Project, Speak Now: Women, Education, and Achievement at The University of Chicago Law School, (May 2018). In 2018, UChicago found that women were less likely to voluntarily participate in class, particularly at the beginning of the term.(INSERT) Women were also significantly less likely to volunteer in a class session when the first speaker was a male. Id. Wine and Cheese, falling at the beginning of the semester, can hopefully encourage female students to feel more comfortable in class. It is hoped that Wine and Cheese, as an event early in the semester, can serve as one opportunity to combat these phenomena in UVA Law classrooms.



Jeff Flake Speaks at Rotunda Room

Michael Schmid ‘21
Production Editor

“Assume the best, look for the good.” That was the phrase written on a three-by-five notecard and hung on the fridge in the childhood home of retired Arizona Senator Jeff Flake. It was a mantra the former senator, who began his career in Washington as a congressman, said that his mother lived by. And it is a mantra that he says he has carried with him throughout his life and his career. Senator Flake believes that such an outlook is lacking in Washington and is symptomatic of the broader issue of incivility in public discourse.

Retired Senator Jeff Flake delivers his lecture on civility in public discourse in the Rotunda Dome Room. Photo Credit Michael Schmid ‘21.

Retired Senator Jeff Flake delivers his lecture on civility in public discourse in the Rotunda Dome Room. Photo Credit Michael Schmid ‘21.

Senator Flake was invited to speak this past Friday at the Rotunda Dome Room on Main Grounds for the Joseph Smith Lecture on Religious Liberty sponsored by the Department of Religious Studies. His lecture was titled “Searching for the Better Angels of Our Nature,” referencing a line from Abraham Lincoln’s inaugural address in which our sixteenth president called for civility. Senator Flake wondered whether the country is as divided as it has been since the onset of the Civil War, and he worries that at times it appears that our nation has “sidelined our better angels for good.”

Kathleen Flake, a professor of Mormon Studies at UVA and a distant relative of the invited speaker, provided introductory remarks before the senator was formally introduced by D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Thomas B. Griffith ’85. Professor Flake introduced her second cousin once removed as “the man in the much-maligned middle,” as the retired politician has attracted enmity from both sides of the aisle at different times during his political career. Senator Flake has rankled conservatives at times who perceive him as falling out of line; he has also drawn the ire of liberals when they believe he acts in contradiction to his image as a bipartisan politician. Perhaps this was never more clearly on display than during the contentious confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, when Senator Flake managed to incur animosity from both groups at various stages of the confirmation process.

The former senator noted that he received a flurry of angry responses when he tweeted kind words about Senator Tim Kaine after the Virginian was selected as Hillary Clinton’s running mate in the 2016 Presidential election. Similarly, Flake caused a stir among some conservatives when he crossed the aisle during President Obama’s 2012 State of the Union address to sit with Democratic Representative Gabby Giffords from Arizona. Representative Giffords was recovering from serious injuries after being shot the previous year, and Flake assisted her as she stood to applaud. Senator Flake stated that many Republicans perceived him to be supporting President Obama as he was often the only Republican standing during the Democratic applause lines. Conversely, he incurred a negative reaction after he tweeted that he did not agree with Representative Rashida Tlaib’s blunt remarks on impeachment proceedings, which included an obscenity directed at President Trump.

Flake 3.jpg

Senator Flake pointed to changes during his time on Capitol Hill that he sees as indicative of a decline in civility. One such example was the rapid decline of “pairing votes,” in which a Senator or member of Congress will abstain from voting on a matter because a counterpart across the aisle, who would have voted contrarily, was unable to be present for the vote. Senator Flake recalled that Chris Coons, a Democratic senator from Delaware, abstained from voting on advancing the nomination of Mike Pompeo for Secretary of State to the full Senate floor out of deference to Republican senator Johnny Isakson who was unable to be present for the vote.

According to Flake, the only alternative to getting along is being alone. A vivid example of solitude he had experienced was his trip to the remote Marshall Islands where he stayed for a week by himself with only survivalist tools at his disposal. He returned to the Islands approximately five years ago with Senator Martin Heinrich, a Democrat from New Mexico, with similarly austere accoutrements. He stated that whenever he finds it difficult to be civil and he feels he is ignoring the better angels, he thinks of the alternative.

When asked by an audience member about factors he believes have led to a decline in civility, Senator Flake placed blame with, among other things, current campaign finance rules, the twenty-four-hour news cycle, and the drawn-out election periods. As far as particular solutions, Senator Flake stated his opposition to eliminating the filibuster, crediting the Senate rule for being the “only mechanism” that forces parties to come together to produce thought-out, enduring legislation. Furthermore, he declined to fault the two-party system for creating an inherently antagonistic clash between two camps that leads to tribalism. Rather, he generally prefers the two-party system, but believes that it has worked in the past because when the political pendulum swung too far in one direction, if one party became too far outside the mainstream, the pendulum would swing back. Now, he questions whether our current political culture has reduced that elasticity which he believes once provided balance.

Yet largely absent from the retired senator’s lecture were policies in which he believed there was hope for compromise. At times, the unspoken assumption behind Senator Flake’s words were that if one says and believes the right things, current political divides can break down. When asked where one finds the hope that the country will rediscover its better angels, Senator Flake pointed to our nation’s history of overcoming fractious times in the past, as well as a realization that there are decent people in Washington attempting to do good work. After quoting a story from the Book of Mormon, which emphasized that incivility should be returned with comity and compassion, he quipped that if harsh words were exchanged between Senators Chuck Schumer and Mitch McConnel, few in the audience would believe that the two of them could set aside the uncivil words exchanged and hash out a compromise immigration bill. Yet such a framing belies the depth of the ideological rift between the two men. Beyond coarse words and occasional insults, a massive philosophical and political chasm remains on the issue.

As the senator noted, issues did not fall neatly along party lines when he began his political career. Today, sharp tones are accompanied by even sharper disagreements over fundamental issues that are deeply held among politicians and members of the public. The divide, it seems, goes deeper than uncivil rhetoric and extends to diametrically opposed views on key issues with little apparent room for compromise. Nonetheless, the vast majority of the senator’s anecdotes focused on symbolic gestures and kind words rather than on how to address finding legitimate agreement on deeply contested policy points. Throughout the night, he returned to his support for lifting the travel ban with Cuba that was largely unpopular within his own party as the evidence of his substantive bipartisanship. Overall, however, the senator appeared to be focused on the singular ability of unifying rhetoric to snap back to a more civil time and bring together those with ideologically opposed views.

Senator Flake expressed a hope that the country will return to its “old ways” where compromise is essential and people operate on “shared facts and shared values.” His optimism reflects the adage that adorned the refrigerator in his childhood home. For Senator Flake, to “assume the best” means, perhaps, believing that an increase in comity is the path to finding the better angels of our nature.


Section Pride Displayed at Dandelion

Jacob Jones ‘21
Events Editor

Last Saturday, the 1Ls and LLMs gathered at The Park on North Grounds for the event known as Dandelion. The event, which started in 1984 as a calm and respectable parade, has now turned into an amateur rendition of “So You Think You Can Dance” that makes you question whether we really go to a top ten law school. With perfect weather,[1] high spirits, and just the right amount of pizza and beer in their stomachs,[2] the class of 2022 began their attempt to see if they had any hopes for a fallback music career in case any of this “law” stuff doesn’t work out.

Section A (plus) set the standard for the rest of the sections that followed.[3] Their dance, set to the tune of “YMCA,” had a lot of high-energy pointing and other classic dance moves that don’t require a lot of practice beforehand. Section A got plus points for having matching T-shirts, but they really upped their game by bringing a live baby into the dance. While they didn’t win, Section A had the most energy and enthusiasm of any section, and could be seen dancing in a circle well after the competition had ended.

Section B was up next, and they brought a lot of low-energy hand clapping. It looked like they forgot what their routine was for a minute, but towards the end they rallied and managed some coordinated dance moves. There was also a cardboard sign about debt, but I still had no idea what was going on. Like most exams that end up as a B, confusion prevailed throughout, but there was enough tying it together that kept this performance in someone’s good graces. At least they played High School Musical.

Next was Section C, and did they ever “C-eaze”[4] the moment with their spectacular performance. In the middle of their poppin’ and “tightly choreographed” dance performance, there were some attempted cheerleader lifts[5] and attempted bribing of the judges with candy. But where they really shined was the all-male dance to “Laffy Taffy,” which the judges would later say “emanated sex.” Section C clearly came prepared and it showed.

Next, Section D had an interpretive performance of a meme that played out surprisingly well. The interpretation of “What X thinks I do” for 1Ls showed how friends view them as rich, professors view 1Ls as worshipping them, and 2Ls and 3Ls think they make a lot of Spongebob References.[6]  After getting knocked down, they got back up again, and then got knocked down, and so on until they laid crying on the floor. Such is 1L.

Section E, not wanting to be outdone by Section A, doubled the number of babies they brought. With a concept that might have been about relationships in law school, they linked arms and danced in circles to Taylor Swift, and had another great dance set to “All the Single Ladies.” Section E had a great performance that will set the standard for the number of babies that should be in performances for years to come.

Section F stood out for having the only copy of Black’s Law Dictionary that I’ve ever actually seen in person. With their snazzy coordinated outfits, IRS jokes, worm dances, and giant “F” flag, Section F gets an honorable mention. Alas, the competition was just too tough, but in an average year they would have placed in at least the top 3.

Section G, probably following the advice their PAs gave them, made their skit about the different parts of law school. Their Disney-themed performance was a standout. First, orientation welcomed the 1L class to “A Whole New World.” Then, after realistic portrayals of 1L professors and networking opportunities set to “I Just Can’t Wait to be King,” the 1Ls defeated existential despair by drinking a beer. Section G gave another great performance that didn’t place solely because of the tough competition.

Section H featured two guys dancing semi-shirtless in front of their section-mates.  “And that was it. The whole thing,” reported one witness who preferred to not be named.

Section I pulled out all the stops. And by stops, I mean every generic dance they could think of in the five minutes they spent preparing their dance routine. They did the vintage “step side-to-side and clap,” the classic “hold your nose and pretend to snorkel,” and who could forget the Conga line. I haven’t seen this much enthusiasm for generic dances since white people discovered the Macarena in the 1990s.[7]  

Section J, not wanting to be outdone by Section I in the creative dance department, invented a whole new dance where they held out one arm and flipped their palms up and down. Unfortunately, Section J committed the classic Dandelion error of thinking that someone could hear them. I think they were trying to make up their own words to a song, so points for creativity, but then they didn’t even memorize the words and read off pieces of paper, so they broke even. Really, the blunder is the fault of Section J’s PAs for not letting them know ahead of time how this would work. To their credit, they managed to smile through it all.

LLMs take home bronze to international acclaim. Photo Credit Kolleen Gladden ’21.

LLMs take home bronze to international acclaim. Photo Credit Kolleen Gladden ’21.

Last, and certainly not least, came the international superstars, UVA’s very own LLMs. With the most choreographed performance that was set to the same High School Musical song, the LLMs knocked it out of the park. Their pom-poms, which were occasionally dropped, contributed to a performance that will cement this incoming LLM class as the coolest in the history of LLM classes, maybe ever.

In the end, the LLMs placed third, Section D second, and whether through bribery, seduction, or both, Section C took home the gold. While some continued to dance, Section C began the inaugural softball game against the stacked NGSL team, because remember, this whole thing is all about softball. While Section C lost eighteen to two—because that’s the whole point—there was a short movement where Section C was beating the competition one to zero. A moment where a bunch of scrappy underdogs in boat shoes, flip flops, and even a barefoot guy came together and were beating the most stacked team all of UVA Law could put together. And while they didn’t win, they showed a lot of heart and teamwork, which will serve them well in the year to come. The same can be said of all the other sections that performed this year.


[1] Back in my day (2018), we had to walk a mile in the rain from Ivy, and then dance in the same downpour just so we could be booed by 2Ls and 3Ls. Apparently, this was the first Dandelion in three years where it didn’t rain.

[2] Thanks, North Grounds Softball League!

[3] Eds. Note: the author is biased, given his position as a boyfriend for a PA for Section A. Take his opinions with a grain of salt.

[4] Get it? Seize? It’s not as bad of a joke as Carpe Donut, ok? They based a whole business around that pun.

[5] It’s a good thing these were only attempted, because 1Ls, beer, and cheerleader stunts on asphalt do not go well together.

[6] “Can I be excused for the rest of my life?”


Law School Hosts Symposium on Uses of Force

Maria Luevano ‘21
Staff Editor

This past Friday, UVA Law Faculty sponsored the Use of Force Symposium centered around the 2017 case of a Minneapolis police officer convicted of murder for shooting a 911 caller. The event was presented by the two attorneys who prosecuted the case—Assistant Hennepin County Attorneys Amy Sweasy and Patrick Lofton. Timothy Longo, former Charlottesville Police Chief and Adjunct Professor at the Law School, was also present. Longo was a key advisor to the prosecutors when they were deciding whether or not to prosecute the officer. The case was highly complex and unprecedented for the city of Minneapolis. It raised issues including the rigor and quality of investigations of officer-involved shootings by an outside agency, police training, the use of body-worn cameras, race and immigration, and the challenges of trying a case in an international spotlight. The prosecutors opened by discussing their reasons for making the details of the investigation and trial as public as possible. Their office, with the support of the victim’s family, hopes that this transparency will contribute to the national conversation around police use of force and shootings in a meaningful way and induce change in the way these investigations are conducted.

The Facts

              Sweasy and Lofton highlighted a number of facts about this case that made it different from many police shootings that make news headlines. Notably, the victim, Justine Ruszczyk, was a white woman who had moved to Minneapolis from Australia. Ruszczyk called the police around 11:30 p.m. to report sounds of a woman in danger. Police officer Noor and his partner responded to the scene and did not find anything amiss in the quiet, affluent neighborhood. They parked briefly before leaving the area, when an unknown silhouette appeared next to their car, scaring the two officers. They couldn’t tell that the stranger was Justine, who had placed the 911 call. While Noor’s partner reached for his gun, Noor fired out of the car window and struck Justine, who died on scene. The two officers then turned on their body cameras and called for assistance. What happened following the shooting and the way the officers handled the situation was the subject of investigation by both Prosecutors Sweasy and Lofton, as well as the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA).

The Investigation

The prosecutors walked through what their investigation found, despite the lack of cooperation from both the Minneapolis Police Department and numerous missteps in the BCA’s own inquiry. Body camera footage from officers on scene proved inconsistencies in witness testimony about whether Noor was interviewed following the shooting and what his partner saw. The BCA did not follow up on these inconsistencies and discounted information that the prosecutors thought may be relevant, such as the fact that one of the victim’s neighbors also called 911 that night to report sounds of a woman screaming. Sweasy and Lofton wonder if this was a missed opportunity to find a possible witness to the shooting, or a way to find the original potential victim that Justine had called 911 about. The BCA also did not thoroughly collect and maintain evidence, including the officer’s squad car, which was washed and returned to service before the prosecutors could collect evidence. This was the type of practice that led Sweasy and Lofton to work on making changes to the way investigations into police use of force are conducted in the county. They believe that many of the Bureau’s lapses were informed by efforts to continue the status quo and assumptions that were made in favor of the police officers, instead of following potentially inconsistent evidence. Sweasy and Lofton hope to change the attitude around these investigations, and they maintain that just because something has been conducted a certain way for years does not mean it has to continue. 

The Trial

In addition to the high-profile nature of the case, the trial was complicated by a number of factors. The prosecutors opined that many cases involving police shootings do not go to trial, resulting in a lack of case law on the issue. This meant that the question of whether the officer’s actions were “objectively reasonable at the time of the shooting” was challenging to answer. They were also challenged by Minnesota statutes that made it difficult to determine the appropriate charge in this type of case. They ultimately decided on third degree murder, which uses a “reckless indifference” standard.  In the prosecutor’s favor, they also took this opportunity to address the case as if it “had no limits” and admit any evidence they could. The prosecutors explained how their expert witnesses were not only crucial at trial, but also served as their teachers. Expert witnesses, including then-Chief Longo, helped the prosecutors better understand the issue of police use of force. In the end, Noor was convicted of third-degree murder and received a 150-month sentence. His lawyer has released a statement outlining plans to appeal.

Lessons Learned

Sweasy and Lofton ended their presentation with a discussion of what they have reflected on and learned from their experiences investigating and trying this case. Ultimately, transparency around this issue has been liberating for them. It has been important for their office, as well as the victim’s family, that everything possible is made public. They also celebrate that the case has contributed to a noticeable shift in the way that Minnesota conducts investigations into police use of force. In answering a question, Longo emphasized how it has never been more important to conduct these types of investigations regardless of the victim’s identity. He advised that communities need to demand this type of action, for the better of the law enforcement profession. 


Recap of Supreme Court Recap Event

M. Eleanor Schmalzl ‘20

This past Monday, Professors Julia Mahoney and Michael Gilbert sat in a panel alongside Ms. Elizabeth Slattery of the Heritage Foundation to discuss influential opinions from the Supreme Court’s latest term.


Slattery opened the panel, discussing general observations about the last term. She noted that last term will likely be remembered more for Justice Kavanaugh’s hearing and confirmation than any of cases decided. She also noted that twenty-one cases, 29%, were decided five to four, the highest percentage of five-four decisions in a term since 2012. Slattery focused on cases that she deemed “missed opportunities” for conservatives and how they, in her eyes, may negatively impact the country in the future.


First, American Legion v. American Humanist Assn., was an Establishment Clause case about a forty-foot cross in Maryland. While the cross was originally built on private land, the government purchased this land in the 1960s and, in recent years, citizens protested for its removal. In a seven to two decision, the Supreme Court upheld the cross’s constitutionality. The big debate was about the continuing validity of the Lemon test and what test should be used to decide whether structures like this should be allowed to stay standing on public land. No majority was reached, and instead a plurality with five concurrences resulted. Justices Ginsburg and Sotomayor dissented, suggesting that the cross could be relocated instead of torn down.


Slattery also discussed Kiser v. Wilkie and Gundy v. United States, two administrative law cases with big implications for the field. In Kiser, a veteran sought retroactive post-combat benefits after being initially denied but then later approved for these benefits. The Court refused to overturn Auer v. Seminole Rock, a divisive case in administrative law. Auer stands for the notion that courts should defer to an agency’s reasonable interpretation of its own ambiguous regulations unless clearly erroneous. While the precedent is highly criticized, Justice Kagan wrote for the five-person majority, reinforcing the decision on stare decisis grounds.


Gundy, questioning Congress’s ability to delegate its legislative power to other branches of government so long as an “intelligible principle” is stated by Congress to guide those receiving the power, was decided before Justice Kavanaugh was confirmed. The Court split five to three affirming that Congress could delegate power to the U.S. Attorney General to decide whether to apply a statute retroactively. Slattery found this decision rocky but expects that the non-delegation doctrine will be questioned again soon once the newly confirmed justices are more established in their roles on the Court.


Professor Gilbert spoke next about districting cases the Court heard this past term, namely Virginia House of Delegates v. Bethune-Hill and Rucho v. Common Cause. The Bethune-Hill case dealt with the Virginia legislature redrawing district lines, which were allegedly drawn in pursuit of unconstitutional racial gerrymandering. The lower courts struck down these districts as unconstitutional, and the Virginia Attorney General eventually stopped appealing the decision. Instead, the Virginia House of Delegates picked up the fight, and the Court addressed the question if this new group of plaintiffs had standing. The majority, in a five to four decision, said no. Ginsburg, writing for the majority, says that the Virginia House of Delegates’ argument for why they were harmed and therefore had standing was not sufficient. The group claimed that, if new lines were drawn, certain people already in office would not be reelected, harming the House of Delegates in being able to push forward with their duties. In dissent, Alito found this argument persuasive, but this was not enough to convince a majority of the Court to join in favor of the plaintiffs.


Rucho concerned partisan gerrymandering, where redistricting is aimed at weakening one political party’s chances of winning and strengthening another. Cases from Maryland and North Carolina were merged together in this single case, where the redistricting was challenged all the way up to the Supreme Court. The Court reached another five-four decision, with Chief Justice Roberts writing in the majority and finding that the case was nonjusticiable. Roberts found that judicially manageable standards weren’t feasible here and, as a result, the Court could not decide on challenges to these types of gerrymandering cases. Kagan dissented, believing that we are better off having the Court pursue an imperfect attempt to resolve the issue than not giving any attempt at all.


Professor Mahoney concluded the panel with a discussion of cases involving government interests in private property. While her time was limited, she focused her discussion on Knick v. Township of Scott, Pennsylvania. Knick involved an aggrieved property owner who was upset about the township signing an ordinance saying she had to provide access for the public to a small graveyard contained within her property. A major issue in the case involved whether the property owner could file in federal court––two prior cases, working in conjunction, seemed to bar her from doing so. These prior cases established that 1) a state court must deny a private property owner’s compensation of a government taking before the owner can come to federal court and 2) if the property owner goes to state court and loses, then the federal claim will be barred in federal court because of the Full Faith and Credit Clause (which respects a state court final decision and bars a federal court to redecide on the same issue). Roberts, for the majority, overturned this precedent, deeming it similar to a catch-22 and felt this was an appropriate time to overrule these past decisions.


All the panelists showed an extreme depth of knowledge that I unfortunately can’t articulate as well here as they did on Monday, but their insights into the Court showed that there is a lot of excitement to come and a lot of close decisions to continue to be made.


Gunners Collide at J.D./M.D. Mixer

Jacob Jones ‘21
Events Editor

Last Saturday, August 31, two opposite worlds collided. One side brought words and books and papers. The other side brought like, numbers and facts or whatever. Each side also brought a lot of spunk.

Ben Hawkins ‘20, Read Mills ;20, Katharine Janes ‘21, and Ben Lucy ‘20 gunning hard at Crozet. Photo Credit Kolleen Gladden ‘21

Ben Hawkins ‘20, Read Mills ;20, Katharine Janes ‘21, and Ben Lucy ‘20 gunning hard at Crozet. Photo Credit Kolleen Gladden ‘21

The concerts were located at Crozet pizza. Unlike the Biltmore, the usual stomping ground of rowdy law students, Crozet is smaller and feels pretty cramped. But it also gave people the opportunity to feel like they were truly partying by standing on tables, benches, and railings, so it all balances out in the end. For a place like Crozet that advertises itself as a Buddhist Biker Bar, I did not see anyone who was clearly either. But really, a Buddhist biker could be dressed like anything, so there could have been dozens of them and I would have had no clue.

The med school band was pretty rockin’, or at least I assume they were. “Med Zepplin” is not as clever of a name as either of the law school bands, but as law students we are blessed with a way with words so I can’t fault the med students for that. Had I been there for their performance, I assume they would have played hits like Bad Case of Loving You (Doctor Doctor), a certain Marvin Gaye song, and the latest Doctor Dr. Dre hit.[1]

When I interviewed two very handsome med students to get their thoughts about the performance of the law school band onstage, Gunners, the students were less than generous with their review than their good looks would imply. This led to a classic tit-for-tat escalation, wherein I told them that I was just as qualified to be a doctor because I have watched Scrubs, and they said they were basically lawyers because they watched Suits. I replied using the same tactic I had used at first-year oral arguments: a discrete “nuh-uh.” Then I told them Dr. Pepper was more of a doctor than they were, and thus our interview ended precipitously. Other med students seemed to really enjoy the Gunners however. At the end of the day it’s really hard to tell the difference between a 1L, a med student, and an undergrad when its 12 a.m. at Crozet.[2] The important thing is that everybody seemed to be having fun.

The night also presented an excellent opportunity for public-interest minded lawyers to mingle with future rich doctors. Those among us who plan on staying true to their law school personal statements when they said they wanted to “help people” and “save the orcas” had the chance to actually follow through on that without living on ramen noodles in a basement, by meeting an aforementioned future rich doctor. For those of you 1Ls who missed out on this opportunity, OGI has a way of creeping into your schedule. K-Don is just so persuasive.[3]

A recent shakeup due to former 3Ls joining the real world has caused a reformation of the band formerly known as Gunners n’ Roses. While remaining equally as beautiful and thorny, the band has added a new singer, and the trumpet and jazz adds a new layer of jazziness and snazziness. While some of the hits they played remained the same, the new songs were well-chosen. The hard work the band must have put into rehearsing their new hits really shined through. Most importantly, there was a Shrek reference.[4] The fastest way to make someone a fan of your band, or really anything, is to associate yourself with Shrek.[5] After that, my love of the Gunners was anything but accidental.

Alas, towards the end, the jello shots had gotten to too many people and the crowd started to thin out before the performance was finished. But the spirit of the night will live on, and many more law school band performances will be had.[6] Hopefully some of our talented 1Ls and LLMs will start one of their own![7]


[1] Even though Dre’s doctorate is probably in street law.

[2] A med student and a law student walk into a bar. Both fail the character and fitness portion of the exam.

[3] Corporations are just groups of people who have banded together to make lots of money, so you’d still technically be helping someone, right?

[4] Law school bands are like onions. They either make you cry, or you leave em out in the sun, they get all brown, start sproutin’ little white hairs.

[5] Or what about cake? Everybody likes cake!

[6] Including our other talented law school band, Panic! At the District Court.

[7] Editor’s note: Please do not start ANOTHER law school band. There’s enough drama between these two already.

Migrant Farmworker Project Returns to the Law School

Sam Pickett ‘21
News Editor

            For law students, especially 1Ls, pro bono opportunities present an important opportunity to escape the “Law School bubble” and the doldrums of black letter law in order to interact with the Charlottesville community at large. One of the best, most hands-on projects presented to students this year is the Migrant Farmworker Project (MFP). Students who participate will work with Legal Aid Justice Center (LAJC) attorneys to perform outreach to farmworker camps and speak to workers about their legal rights. While the program had to cease operations indefinitely last year, it is back this year under the guidance of 3L Miranda Russell (’20) and her co-director 2L Gia Nyhuis (’21),[1] who hope to make it a triumphant and impactful return to UVA Law.

            Prior to law school, Russell worked with Student Action with Farmworkers as a part of South Carolina Legal Service’s efforts to conduct outreach to farmworker camps across South Carolina. Her experiences speaking to migrant farmworkers about their legal rights and looking for issues such as wage theft, inadequate housing conditions, and pesticide waiting times motivated her to continue her work at UVA’s MFP as a 1L trip leader and summer intern. During her experience as a summer intern, Russell had the opportunity to see different types of communities across the entire state, ranging from southwest Virginia, where farmworkers farm tobacco, to the Eastern Shore, where farmworkers cultivate tomato and potato crops.

            Along with an important lesson in Virginia’s diverse agricultural elements, however, Russell emphasized that the MFP presents students with a completely hands-on pro bono opportunity, where you get to actually use the legal skills you learn in class and work with LAJC attorneys doing interesting, substantive, and meaningful work. For Spanish-speaking law students, it is an opportunity to practice not only your Spanish, but your legal Spanish (although speaking Spanish is NOT mandatory to join the organization). In her work with the MFP, Russell has found all that and more, remarking that the experience has given her the skills to make her a better lawyer:

            “The project helped me become comfortable translating legal language into everyday vocabulary. Because we speak Spanish on outreach, I had to train my brain to translate a legal concept from ‘legalese’ to plain English language then finally to Spanish. I realized that I had to fully understand something to successfully explain it in my second language. This has been a really useful skill as a future attorney, because if I can’t explain something in plain language, then I probably don’t understand the issue.”

            MFP also taught Russell to approach problems with a whole-picture perspective; the LAJC emphasizes “incorporating the practice of law with other strategies for social change, such as community organizing.” Regardless of whether students hope to enter the public or private sector, the lessons learned from an organization such as the MFP are invaluable and can introduce students to the types of pro bono work they may want to incorporate into their future practice.

            Perhaps the most important lesson that shined through my conversation with Russell was a greater recognition of the community around her. She reminded me of the power and privilege we have simply by being UVA law students and how important it is to seek out opportunities to better the world around us. “Farmworkers feed the world,” Russell remarked, “we all deserve a just agricultural system.”

            On a personal level, I am very excited for the return of MFP, because it was one of the pro bono opportunities I most wanted to be a part of last year. I knew the chance to perform substantive legal work in Spanish would push me to be a better lawyer and a better person. I also find the program’s return to be particularly important given the United States recent (let’s be frank here, it’s not exactly recent) hostility towards immigrants. For law students who often feel stuck in the classroom, unable to make a difference in the world around them, the MFP can provide a meaningful way to help those who are particularly vulnerable to having their rights stripped away.

            While the organization has already had its mandatory training session, I encourage everyone to keep an eye out for other information about the program. If you’re interested, please reach out to Russell and Nyhuis as they continue to build the organization and help members of the Law School community leave their comfort zones in order to make a difference in the lives of others.


[1] Sadly I procrastinated on this assignment and did not get the opportunity to interview Nyhuis, but can assure you that she is a similarly remarkable individual committed to the service of the greater Charlottesville community.

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.


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.  


Sunshine State Swamps UVA Softball

M. Eleanor Schmalzl ’20

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.


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.


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

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!


[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.


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.”


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.



“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.



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


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)