Law Weekly Faculty Lunch Series: Kim Forde-Mazrui

Christina Luk ’21

Executive Editor

There are many things you wouldn’t know about Professor Kim Forde-Mazrui just from meeting him. For instance, contrary to popular belief, “Forde-Mazrui” is not a hyphenation of his parents’ last names but of his wife’s last name “Forde” and his own last name “Mazrui.” They decided to hyphenate when they adopted their son. For thirty years, there have been just three Forde-Mazruis in the world, but there might soon be a fourth! Professor KFM’s son recently got married and his husband is thinking of changing his name.

So, because Professor KFM is a mystery and because he is amazing, I made it my mission to grab lunch with him. I flexed my underutilized advocacy skills and invited him to lunch with myself, Grace Tang ’21, and Nate Wunderli ’22 as part of Law Weekly’s faculty lunch series. As we sat down to eat, it became readily apparent that Professor KFM was a fan of the paper and he had come prepared. While I scrambled to come up with questions he hadn’t anticipated, we dove into his life at the Law School.

Here at the University of Virginia, Professor KFM is the Mortimer M. Caplin Professor of Law and the Director of the Center for the Study of Race and Law. Professor KFM joined the faculty in 1996. When we asked what’s changed over the last two decades, Professor KFM cited both the building and the role of technology. The Law School used to be just Withers-Brown Hall, but when the Business School “built that palace up the road,” the Law School bought what is now Slaughter Hall and effectively doubled its size.

Luckily for all of us, when the school underwent construction to merge the two halls, they also revamped the classrooms. Withers-Brown actually used to be called “Withers High” on account of its tacky, plastic school desks. And in true modern fashion, the school had also installed phone jacks next to every seat so people could connect to the internet via dial up. (Footnote: The sound of dozens of computers simultaneously connecting to CompuServe haunts me.)

Professor KFM’s scholarship is primarily race-related and he’s written about child placement, affirmative action, policing, and jury selection. When we asked how his legal interests have evolved over time, he told us that, actually, “I found discussions of race frustrating in law school. I remember, when I joined law review, and my friend asked me what I wanted to write about, I said, ‘Anything but race!’” 

Looking back, Professor KFM attributes his early frustration to the fact that he “didn’t fully agree with either side.” Instead, he felt that he had an “outsider’s perspective, despite growing up here.” He conjectured that perhaps, as an immigrant, he was “less saddled by America’s racial history,” and therefore more inclined to take competing perspectives seriously.

Professor KFM also felt that his upbringing and background had a big impact on his approach to race. Professor KFM’s father was Kenyan, black, and Muslim; his mother is British, white, and raised Christian. For the first few years of his life, Professor KFM lived in Uganda while his father taught political science at Makerere University. In 1971, however, Dictator Idi Amin came to power, and Professor KFM’s father, an outspoken opponent of the dictatorship, came under pressure from the university to relocate. The family moved to Palo Alto, California, where Professor KFM’s father taught at Stanford for a couple of years, before joining the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.  

There, Professor KFM joked, he spent grades 1-19 in “Ann Arbor public schools,” meaning his K-12 education, plus undergrad and law school at the University of Michigan. After law school, Professor KFM clerked for Judge Cornelia G. Kennedy of the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, but he loved Ann Arbor so much he opted to carpool an hour every day instead of moving to Detroit. When we asked if he’d ever move back to Ann Arbor, Professor KFM assured us that he loves his UVA students too much to go. He’s been here twenty-three years and he plans to leave “in a pine box.”[1] 

Lightning Round:  

What’s your favorite food?

Kuku Wa Kupaka , a Swahili dish much like a coconut flavored chicken curry. My mom makes it.   

Favorite restaurant?

Bamboo House.  

Pet peeve?

When people won’t tell me how they want to be addressed when they have a name that can be shortened.  

Favorite show?

Roots, the original 1977 series.

Favorite word?


What’s a hobby of yours?

Ping-pong. I play every day with my wife in our driveway. I’m actually very good despite having very poor eyesight. It’s because my vision is very bad in the center, but my peripheral vision is actually okay.

Has your eyesight always been bad?

Well, I became legally blind when I was ten. It’s genetic, but it was triggered by chickenpox. It’s affected both my older brothers as well as they got older.  

As a scholar, how do you deal with being legally blind?

Technology helps. While I was in law school, I would listen to my textbooks on audio cassette through headphones. My classmates would ask, wow, how do you have time to listen to music, and I would say, music? I’m listening to contracts! Nowadays, I use a talking computer and phone.

What’s your least favorite sound?

A loud lawnmower while I’m playing ping-pong.

What’s your favorite song and why?

“Let It Be” by The Beatles. It helps me feel at peace.

What is a hill you would die on?

Olives are the worst and so are IPAs. They’re bitter!

What do you do for fun?

Watch Sci-fi. I’ve seen every Star Trek series. I also love The Twilight Zone.


[1] But maybe Dean Goluboff should give him a raise juuuust to be sure. 

Terror Behind the Walls

Stan Birch ’22
Staff Editor

As I approached the 30-foot-high stone walls of the world’s first penitentiary, I heard the first scream. There was no narration by Morgan Freeman, no accusations of murder, but I was marched through processing just the same. The guards sorted us into two groups: the ones who were likely to break the first night and those who thought they were tough. Without any input from me, my cellmate dragged me into the latter group, where I was marked with a glowing neck restraint and a splatter of blood on my face. As soon my processing was finished, it became clear what being tagged meant: the inmates and guards could do as they wished, including physical contact, to try to break me.

 Ushered off the bus by a guard succumbing to his infection, I was forced into the first cellblock where the inmates had taken over. The guards and inmates had all been infected with the zombie virus and were out for blood. As we ran through the traps and open wings together, the infected tackled each other and fought to escape their restraints and cells. Those who broke their containment trapped us. My cellmate tried to cling to my arm as we tossed down slides that spilled into body parts, pushed through claustrophobic tunnels closing in, and dragged through a colorful 4-D trap where walls grabbed you and dragged you apart. As we entered the Blood Yard, where the few that had avoided the infection had created a recreation yard that cannibals dream of, the inmates sensed our fear and dragged us apart. Chainsawing my cellmate multiple times in front of me, I managed to find what was left of her later in the Infirmary.

After breaking out of the last wing and stumbling into the misting rain, I channeled Andy Dufresne while raising my hands to the sky. Truly, the Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site’s event lives up to its name every year. I went twelve years ago and was still fearful of what would happen when I finished inmate processing. Every year, the conservation society manages to create: Terror Behind the Walls.[1]



Law Weekly Staff Shares Fall Break Stories

Taylor Elicegui ’20
Features Editor

As a nostalgic 3L, I spent Fall Break soaking up the sights of Charlottesville. My personal favorite was a Fall Baby Goat Cuddle Session at Seven Corners Farm (an animal experience available through Air BnB). The farm is on Ivy Road, approximately a fifteen-minute drive from school. The goats are, amazingly, very much lap animals and I spent an hour getting to pet and play with many of the twelve or so goats in the barn. There are also two miniature pigs, although they are not as “lap-friendly” and very hard to catch. For anyone looking for a fun brain break or an activity to do with visitors, I would highly recommend! Maybe, if we’re lucky, Student Affairs can be the G.O.A.T. and bring the goats to school for a little pre-finals de-stress.

I spent the rest of break, in classic Charlottesville style, sampling many of the adult beverages around town. I went to some classics: Three Notch’d, Veritas, Carter Mountain, and Blue Mountain Brewery. I also checked out some new (or new to me) places, that I would highly recommend: Grace Estates, Blenheim Vineyards, and my current obsession, the Brewing Tree. The Brewing Tree has cornhole, hammocks, a fire pit, and axe-throwing on Saturdays. There’s a beautiful meadow, so you can take your drinks and snacks from their food truck down and enjoy next to a little creek. I could not think of a better way to enjoy my last Fall Break! 

Will McDermott ’22

Staff Editor

I scanned my ticket, walked through the metal detector, and immediately felt the stadium rumble from the screaming “bleacher creatures” stationed above Gate 8. Playoff baseball at Yankee Stadium is legendary; fans travel across the country for an opportunity to watch their team advance one step further toward the World Series. I, however, didn’t have to do much extra traveling to watch Game Three of the American League Championship Series since I live about forty-five minutes from the Bronx, and the game conveniently took place over fall break (Tuesday, October 15, 2019).

Game Three was the first home game of the series. Even though it was a 4 p.m. Tuesday game, grown men and women were drunker and rowdier than the undergrad crowd funneling out of Virg at 1:55 a.m. on a Saturday. Before the end of the first inning, I saw NYPD eject a row of people. Surprisingly, though, the energy didn’t last very long. The Yanks were scoreless for seven innings and down four runs to the Astros. The electric New York crowd wasn’t there for long. At points, the crowd booed several of their own players and threw beer cans onto the field. The Yankees were not meeting their fans’ expectations—but on the other hand, the fans were not meeting the Yankees’ expectations. If you want an accurate representation of the fans after the third inning, check out Barstoolsports’s Instagram post from October 16 captioned “The only guy that showed up to try to beat the Astros last night.” The Yankees went on the lose the series four games to two. Who knows what difference it could’ve practically made, but for Game Three, the crowd that the Yankees needed did not attend.

Maria Luevano ’21

Staff Editor 

Having visited New York City a handful of times before, I thought I had seen most of the major tourist spots. This trip taught me some important lessons about visiting the city that never sleeps though: there are always tourist things to do and the best way to see them is through an inside (i.e., free) connection. Luckily, it turned out my boyfriend has a friend with a flashy new job at NBC and an ID card that gave us access to basically anywhere in their 30 Rock studios. I was pretty impressed that we were able to freely explore the SNL, Late Night with Seth Meyers, and the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon studios (although we did get yelled at for trying to take pictures). The studios were very quiet during the day and a lot smaller than I was expecting. In contrast, the news show offices were all very busy and many of them were filming as we walked around! Because our tour guide was pretty new to his job, we were all basically wandering around starstruck which made it even more surprising that no one stopped us to ask what we were doing there. It was a great way to get an inside look at the studios and see a different side to a big New York City attraction!



How to Become More Cultured on a Law School Budget: Arts and Drama Performances in C’ville for Free!

Grace Tang ‘21
Lifestyle Editor

As the last Sunset Series draws to an end and October rolls into Charlottesville, you may be wondering what to do with all that free time at your disposal other than chilling at wineries all weekend. As law students, we have limited cash flow at our disposal.[1] Therefore, attending cool events around the city should not break the bank. After months[2] of dedicated research, I have found a variety of art performances throughout the fall and spring with huge discounts available to law students. By attending the events below, not only do you get to indulge in fantastic performances, but you also get an amazing opportunity to support arts and music in Charlottesville.[3]


Virginia Film Festival (October 23-27)

            Now in its 32nd year, the Virginia Film Festival is among the nation’s most acclaimed regional film festivals and one of the most highly anticipated cultural events in the region. With over 150 films and special guests spread out across five days, viewers can watch everything from Just Mercy, adapted from Brian Stevenson’s book about the country’s system of incarceration, to foreign films from around the world, LGBTQIA+, dramas of all kinds. Attending the festival is also a great opportunity to experience the different theatres Charlottesville has to offer. Many locations are at the Downtown Mall or on campus.


UVA Drama Performances (Fall and Spring)

            The UVA Drama program has produced some fantastic actors such as Sarah Drew ’02 and Tina Fey ’92. Maybe you’ll see the next Tina Fey when you attend a UVA Drama performance on campus and watch the drama students perform. The fall and spring seasons of the UVA Drama program include performances of plays, musicals, and dance recitals. With intriguing titles like “Lung,” “She kills monsters,”[4] and “Once Upon a Mattress,”[5] the drama program has some great shows in the works. Free parking provided.


UVA Concert Series (Fall and Spring)

            The UVA music program has a fantastic array of musical performances. These are definitely worth attending, especially because so many extremely talented specialist groups and artists come through Charlottesville. Unlike the drama program, concert performances only have one show or two shows at a specific day for a specific time. Some of the remaining shows in Charlottesville for the upcoming fall season include a jazz ensemble, Romantic Titans— Mendelsohn and Strauss, The Magid Chronicles performed by the Zlezmer ensemble, and UVA Chamber Singers. This is a great chance to see some beautiful performance halls and build up your tastes in different styles of music.  



            At first, I thought it was a steal to purchase discounted student tickets for performances, as student tickets generally cost $10-12 compared to much higher prices the public pays (e.g. most musical performances cost $50 for the public).

However, I soon discovered the open secret that students can actually get into all of the events mentioned above for FREE through the ART$ program on campus. As law students, we are eligible to attend every event for free (if shows are not sold out).[6] Each student is limited to one ticket per event, however, you can get free tickets for multiple events in the same category. If you wanted to see six films at the Virginia Film festival or three plays this semester, you are welcome to do so.

To obtain free tickets, access and on the webpage, click on the top right blue box that says “Free UVA Student Tickets” for access to the events calendar and reservation of free tickets. I hope to see more UVA Law students at arts performances this year!


[1] My short course on finance and public equity is clearly paying off. Also, jealous if you are not part of the “we” mentioned above and you can jet off to Ibiza on the weekends (if so please take me in your suitcase).

[2] In dog years.

[3] What I call a win-win situation.

[4] The play is about dungeons and dragons (Professor Setear should check this one out) .

[5] A reimagined retelling of the classic fairy tale Princess and the Pea.

[6] Generally, 90% of shows will have availability for free tickets, especially if booked in advance.

Comic Relief? The Supreme Court Decision that Saved Political Satire

Raphael Cho ‘21

On September 20, the self-proclaimed Patron Saint of Political Cartoons, Roslyn Mazer, and the Dean of Vice, Leslie Kendrick, (their words not mine) hosted a discussion on Hustler Magazine, Inc. v. Falwell. Mazer was counsel to the American Association of Editorial Cartoonists during the case and served as the FTC Inspector General from 2015 to 2018. Patrick Oliphant, a Pulitzer Prize winning editorial cartoonist, was also in attendence because the event celebrated the donation of his archives to UVA’s Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library. While the attendees ate their grilled salmon and tofu salads, Mazer and Dean Kendrick discussed the hilarious history and significance of the Hustler Magazine, Inc. v. Falwell case.


The story of Hustler Magazine, Inc. v. Falwell began in 1983 with a parodical advertisement for Campari in Hustler Magazine. The original Campari ad featured interviews with public figures describing their “first time” drinking Campari. The Hustler parody used the same format but included a satirical interview with Jerry Falwell, a prominent Southern Baptist pastor and televangelist. In the “interview,” Falwell casually claims that his “first time” was with his mother while “drunk off our God-fearing asses on Campari” and that his “Mom looked better than a Baptist whore with a $1000 donation.” Falwell was not pleased.


Soon after the ad was published, Falwell sued Hustler Magazine for libel, invasion of privacy, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. The District Court granted summary judgment for Hustler Magazine on the invasion of privacy and libel claims, but the jury awarded Falwell $150,000 on intentional infliction of emotional distress. The Fourth Circuit affirmed the decision on appeal, causing Hustler Magazine to file a writ of certiorari with the Supreme Court.  


However, Mazer was fighting an uphill battle. The established media outlets were hesitant to support Hustler Magazine, and the Rehnquist Court had rejected eighty percent of First Amendment claims. Rather than trying to bypass the Scalia-Rehnquist wall, however, Mazer appealed to their love of U.S. history. Drawing on her contacts in the political cartooning world, Mazer added an appendix of cartoons in her legendary brief. She included historical cartoons from Thomas Nast, who was instrumental in the collapse of Boss Tweed, as well as submissions from modern cartoonists such as Patrick Oliphant.


Ultimately, Mazer’s gambit paid off with the Court reversing the Fourth Circuit judgment in a unanimous decision. The Court held that “public figures . . . may not recover for . . . emotional distress . . . without showing that the publication contains false statement of fact which was made with actual malice.” Dean Kendrick stated that the decision “strikes at the heart of what the First Amendment is about” and continues to hold “historical and doctrinal significance.” The hosts also explained that the case represented an “inversion of the traditional political framework” for liberal and conservative judges on First Amendment claims. 


Throughout the event, Mazer injected comic relief (sorry, I had to) into the discussion with political cartoons and anecdotes. In one instance, she displayed a cartoon submission which depicted a butler speaking to the Chief Justice. The cartoon read, “Justice Rehnquist, will you be wearing your hooded white or your black robe today?” Mazer strategically omitted this cartoon in her brief, invoking the ire of the illustrator. She also noted that in Justice Rehnquist’s high school yearbook, he wrote that his favorite activity outside of class was cartooning. And that, in an interview with Justice Scalia, he stated, “I have a cartoon by Pat Oliphant in my man-cave.”


However, Mazer also gave the audience a somber reminder that journalists and cartoonists are increasingly under threat. She listed acts of literal violence, threats of litigation, and the decline of newspapers to emphasize that free speech must be continually reinforced. As the discussion began to close, Mazer left the audience with a pertinent quote from Mr. Oliphant—“In thirty-five odd years of watching and caricaturing public figures, I have increasingly felt that the figures are lampooning themselves and that the business of satire is continually and deliberately being undercut by the subjects.”


Welcome from SBA President

Jasmine Lee ‘20
SBA President

On behalf of the Student Bar Association, I want to welcome the new 1L and LLM classes to UVA Law! We are so excited to get to know you and see all the great things you will do this year. This is a very special law school and hopefully you’ve already started to see that in your two and a half weeks here. The first few weeks of a new school year are always a little hectic. There’s orientation, meeting people, and finding your class. I’m sure it seemed like just when you figured things out there was then an influx of more people into the building as the 2L and 3Ls returned to start classes last week. We all remember being in your shoes not too long ago.

My suggestion is to take time to take stock of yourself. Check in with yourself and make sure you’re doing okay. Not just academically, though doing the readings and going to class are important. I recommend finding an activity outside of school, because balance is an important aspect to your success here. For example, if you like going on runs, do that. Charlottesville has a lot of great trails and views to explore after all. If you like playing music, perhaps go over to Main Grounds where we have a music library where you can “check out” a practice room and play for a while. Enjoy time with your section mates, but also call your mom every once in a while and fill her in on how it’s all going. Or your dad. Or your best friend from college who has no idea what a cold call is but is happy to support you. Remember you’ve got a support system both in and out of this building that is rooting for you. 

Last week we kicked off the school year with the Activities Fair. We have quite a few clubs on Grounds! It may have seemed overwhelming if you had more than a few that interested you on top of your readings and briefing, but I recommend getting involved. Don’t take on more than you can handle, and remember it’s okay to just be a member of a group and not in a leadership role right away, but get involved with things that pique your interest. It’s a great way to meet new people who can become both friends and mentors down the road. I can almost guarantee there is a club for everyone here. If there’s an organization you missed that you want to learn more about, it’s not too late to reach out to its board and get more information. (MICHAEL INSERT FOOTNOTE HERE!!!!!!!! “See here:"

Throughout the year we have a number of events and traditions that you will hopefully take part in. Nothing is mandatory, but these are great ways to have fun and make lasting memories with new friends here. Soon, we’ll have events like our annual tailgate, Dandelion, and PILA. Don’t worry if you aren’t sure what these are yet, you’ll get plenty of information about these and more from Peer Advisors, SBA, and other upperclassmen. 

A personal favorite event of mine is a newer tradition called Fauxfield. It is the brainchild of members of SBA that started last year as a way to have a fall event for the entire school even though Foxfield was scheduled for our Fall Break, making it impossible for the Law School to participate last year. Instead, we had a day of music and fun all our own. I love talking about this event because it’s a great example of the passion and commitment of students at this school to bring the community together. It is a testament that we are still making and creating traditions here. We are looking forward to continuing that tradition this year in addition to Foxfield. We both love our traditions and are excited about the concept of creating something totally new. It’s hard to know exactly how a year will turn out and what new events will be added to the calendar, but SBA is always excited to try something new and listen to what the student body is interested in.

I would also suggest during 1L to take the time, when you can, to explore Charlottesville. Find out why alums are always eager to come back and why upperclassmen say they love this town. Find a favorite coffee shop, perfect your Bodo’s order, and really take the time to invest in this town. 

Your three years here are going to fly by. It may not always seem like it, but I promise you they will. Before you know it, you’ll be headed home for Winter Break, your head full of law jokes that no one in your hometown will find as funny as the section GroupMe, and you’ll wonder where the time went. Enjoy it, celebrate the small wins (survived your first cold call, made it to a base in softball, etc.), and remember you deserve to be here. Don’t get caught up in what others are doing or how you perceive they are doing. Staying in your lane and focusing on yourself is a key part to success. 

Please know that whether we are your PA, club leader, or someone from the same undergrad as you, the 2Ls and 3Ls are excited you are here and happy to help you as you adjust to law school. In the next week, I will be sending an email out with my office hours. Please do not hesitate to stop by and chat!


Dean Goluboff Welcomes Class of 2022

Risa Goluboff
Dean, University of Virginia School of Law

What a momentous time to welcome you to UVA Law School. Over the course of the next two years, we will observe both the bicentennial of our founding and the centennial of coeducation.

As we commemorate these important milestones, continuity and change are both much in evidence. From its charter in 1819 as an original “department” of the University of Virginia, this law school began educating students broadly, with courses in political theory and political economy as well as more strictly legal subjects. Its purpose was to train exceptional lawyers for both the practice of law as well as service to and leadership of the new democracy that was the United States.

That continues to be the mission of this Law School, and it is one that I hope shapes your time here. We will teach you the fundamentals of how to think (and write and speak) with the analytical reasoning and precision of a lawyer. We will offer you opportunities to work with real clients on real cases so that you can acquire the integrity, judgment, and perspective that you learn most effectively through experience. And we will expose you to the broad sweep of interdisciplinary perspectives—economics, jurisprudence, history, psychology, and more—that will enable you to see the big picture wherever your career takes you. You will leave here able not only to deploy the law as it is but also to envision what the law can and should be in the future. In other words, we will carry on our 200-year tradition of educating servants and leaders of the law.

At the same time, evidence of how much has changed at UVA Law School over the past two centuries is all around us. Most fundamentally, who we educate has broadened in every conceivable way from our founding. Almost 100 years ago, Rose May Davis ’22 and Elizabeth Tompkins ’23 became the first women to attend the Law School as regular students. Almost 70 years ago, Gregory Swanson ’51 became the first African American. Today, our community of students, faculty, and staff is as diverse in backgrounds, experiences, beliefs, and passions as we are unified in our commitment to the importance of the law and the legal education that supports it.

Such diversity is a gift. Take advantage of what it offers. Meet people who are different from you, get to know them, learn from them. The honest and respectful exchange of ideas is invaluable—not only in the classroom, but also in Scott Commons, in the sections you have been assigned and the organizations you choose to join. It is not always easy to speak so that others can listen or listen even when the message is hard to hear, but our community of trust and belonging makes that possible. Moreover, those skills are essential to analyzing and solving problems, considering every argument, exploring every idea, arguing for your side, and collaborating with the other. In other words, learning how to talk and listen with professionalism, respect, and empathy in a diverse community like ours is essential to becoming the exceptional lawyers you are all here to become.

I know that many of you are asking exactly what kind of lawyer you will be and what kind of practice you will pursue. You are right to be asking those questions, but I urge you not to be in too much of a hurry to answer them. Some of you may have arrived here with set plans for how you will use your law degree, and perhaps you will end up just where you expect. For many of you, those plans will change. And for those of you who don’t yet have a plan, don’t worry. I am not worried about any of you, whatever your situation. There is so much you can’t possibly know yet.

These next three years will transform you as you gain a new vocabulary and a new way of thinking, as you learn the tools and substance of the law. Law school will change you by running you through the gauntlet of torts, contracts, legal research and writing, and more. You will come out the other side of this year the same person that brought you to law school but also a different person.

Inside and outside the classroom, we will offer you more opportunities than you will be able to take to become your new lawyer self. That is the beauty of a law school that boasts students who are the best and the brightest in the nation, world-class faculty engaged in groundbreaking research, and experiential learning that will let you put your classroom knowledge to work immediately. So join a journal, take a clinic, do moot court, take on leadership roles in student organizations.

Your experiences here will prompt you to imagine alternative futures for yourselves. Imagine yourself in the courtroom and the boardroom. Imagine what it would be like to argue before the Supreme Court and to help a family stay in its home. Try out transactional work and litigation, local government and international law.

Like all those who have gone before you, you will leave here transformed and you will leave here having transformed this place. You will carry on our historic traditions, and you will also make new ones. You make this Law School what it is. It is why we chose each of you to join us and to become us. I know I speak for all the faculty and staff when I say that we cannot wait to see what you will do with your time here, who you will become, and how you will change us as we all, together, embark on our third century.


Greetings From Your Law Weekly Chief

M. Eleanor Schmalzl ‘20

Dear UVA Law students, old and new,

Welcome (and welcome back)! The Law Weekly has been gearing up for another great year these last few weeks, and we are so excited to be at it again. As an intro for 1Ls and LLMs who may not know who we are (or 2Ls and 3Ls who have somehow missed the glorious reign of this paper in their law school careers), the Virginia Law Weekly reports on matters big and small, be it a mouse in the WB hallway during health day, snakes under the WB floorboards, a new pricing regime in the UVA Law Copy Center, or changes in Virginia Law Review’s membership policy. While we aim to be informative and to report on major Law School happenings, we also try not to take ourselves too seriously. As last year’s Editor-in-Chief, Jansen VanderMeulen ’19, said in his outgoing column in the spring, this paper offers stories about life at the Law School from the perspective of students, and that’s something students really can’t get anywhere else. Because we have a clear monopoly on our readers, we hope to at least do a good job of it by making you laugh and helping you feel connected to the many parts of the Law School community, even those you may not interact with closely on a regular basis.

While I am writing to all students here, I want to emphasize to the 1Ls how much the paper hopes you will engage with us during your time at law school. The best way to do this is to attend weekly editing meetings in SL 279, eat some dinner (free Domino’s pizza every week; it’s not Bel-Air sandwiches—we’re not made of money—but free is free), and edit a piece or two. Who knows, maybe an employer will confuse the Law Weekly with a scholarly journal––as they have in past years––or ask you about the times the paper has been cited by SCOTUSblog[1] or the Supreme Court.[2]

The less obvious but no less critical way to engage with the paper is by being involved somewhere in the Law School community. Don’t find a hole in the library and stay there all year. Join organizations, write opinion pieces on things you are passionate about in the Law School community, be active, send us faculty quotes! (But not from Professors Mitchell or Doran—you have been warned.) Not only have you chosen one of the best law schools in the country to attend, you have also selected one with a huge array of options to make an impact on your surrounding community. Don’t waste that opportunity. There’s a reason UVA Law produces the happiest law graduates and why 3Ls are actually sad to leave, so don’t miss the good old days that are law school because you “need” to make Law Review or haven’t finished highlighting every line of your textbook because “it’s all important for the final.”[3] You won’t remember what happened in Pennoyer v. Neff, but you will look back and recall the memories you made with good friends.  

In case you need another reason to read and contribute to the paper every week, know that the Law Weekly has been named the best law school newspaper in the country for three years running by the American Bar Association. We work really hard to make this a paper you’ll enjoy. Many schools don’t have a law school newspaper, and not all of your fellow law students across the country have access to stories like these. The paper always has room to improve, but know that this—a weekly, semi-satirical paper—is a unique concept, and we want to keep that alive for years to come.

As you begin your Law School journey (or begin it again), the Law Weekly wishes you the greatest success and the least possible need to understand Latin phrases. We’ll be here, telling the stories of the Law School. We hope you’ll continue to pick up the paper and enjoy!


[1] Edith Roberts, Potential nominee profile: Amul Thapar, SCOTUSblog(Jul. 3, 2018, 9:59 AM),

[2] Patterson v. New York, 432 U.S. 197 (1977).

[3] Pro tip: it isn’t.

The 1L Guide to Surviving Cold Calls

Jacob Jones ‘21
Events Editor

The dreaded 1L cold call. It’s a moment dramatized by Legally Blonde and Other Law School Movies I Should’ve Watched by Now. You will never forget your first cold call.[1] I remember mine like it was yesterday. There I was, enjoying mom’s spaghetti, when suddenly my professor calls my name. I panicked, my spaghetti fell on my sweater, and everything was off to a terrible start. Don’t be like me. Do better. Learn from the mistakes of your elders, mostly by reading this column.

Do: Take a deep breath. You read the case (hopefully). It’s all in there. You’ve got your notes, maybe your seven highlighted portions of the text, and your casebook. That’s all you need. Nobody who’s stupid gets in here. You can do this.

Don’t: Cry. At least during the cold call. It’s hard sometimes.

Do: Accept help from classmates. This doesn’t help as much if you’re in the front row, but if you have no idea what the answer is, the answer whispered in your ear by a classmate is better than nothing. And remember to help your classmates too! If you’ve got the Quimbee notes, slide them on down.[2]

Don’t: Let your guard down after the cold call is done. The professor may come back for you for a comparison on the case you were just grilled on. It may be months until this happens. Remember what the point of the case was, because you’re not in the clear.

Do: Be honest if you are completely unprepared. Life happens, and even the best students sometimes come to class without having done the reading. Unless you are one of the ultra-geniuses that live among us who can figure out everything on the spot,[3] it’s going to be a really awkward ten minutes of you bumbling through the case. And that doesn’t help anyone. It will be painfully obvious you didn’t read. So, for the sake of yourself and your classmates, admit your unpreparedness,and promise to do better in the future.

Don’t: Say I don’t know without taking your best guess. Sometimes you can make an intelligent point even if it’s not what the professor has in mind. Most of the time when professors were looking for a different answer, I found the “wrong” answer a student gave on a cold call really insightful. Sometimes giving a wrong answer will result in a professor pointing you towards the right answer.

Do: Remember your professor wants to hug you and tell you you’re doing great deep down inside. But as a legal practitioner there’s going to be people who grill you on topics, and some of those people are not out to hug you.[4] So your professor has to do her best to play the part of a stern judge, or law firm partner, or whoever, because that’s how they help you. And you can help yourself by remembering that, and keeping in mind that you’re playing the role of someone as well. You can think of yourself as the witty lawyer before a judge, a master Jedi being questioned by the Jedi Council on Coruscant, or whatever image of yourself that makes you think of someone who is calm, cool, and collected.

Don’t: Just start reading large excerpts from your casebook. Reading smaller parts of cases may work if they’re actually relevant and you need time to stall. But make sure you’re cooking up a point in the back of your mind while you read a small and relevant portion of text. We all know what’s in the casebook. Your job is to extrapolate, not xerox.

Do: Encourage your classmates even if they didn’t do the best job. I remember feeling terrible about a few cold calls, but having friends say I did great made me question my terribleness.[5] To this day I have no idea whether I bombed out or just did okay, but without encouragement I definitely would be sitting here today telling you all about the terrible job I did.

If all else fails: Make a joke. It will make you feel better to make everyone laugh even if you feel like you’re not doing great. Maybe your professor will even laugh.


[1] But other people will forget.

[2] If you are a professor reading this, this is a joke and no UVA Law student uses Quimbee ever, for any purposes, and we all read the cases seven times.

[3] Those people are just the worst.

[4] Have you ever seen an old judge’s wig? Those things just scream “don’t hug me!”

[5] Something something UVA Law collegiality.

Advice for 1Ls and New Professors

Drew Calamaro ‘21
Satire Editor

Welcome to the University of Virginia School of Law! You are about to embark on a journey unlike any you have gone on before. Like a newborn seahorse, most of you have been ejected from your father’s financial safety net and into the turbulent currents of law school. Like the seahorse, you are now literally underwater in debt and will either die crashing against the coral reef or wither away on the inside as you begin to rationalize your shift to Big Law as “a temporary thing.”

This reality might worry you, but fear not! I am your spiritual guide on the way to acceptance of this reality. As such, I have some wise words for both students and new professors. What to do, what not to do, and how to do law school. I may even write a book on that topic and slap on some punny title to sucker 0Ls into buying it just to get an edge on their competition.[1] So buckle up as I guide you like Virgil through the depths of your first $85,000 of loans year of school at the University of Virginia School of Law!


Some simple advice for 1Ls:

1.     Use your middle initial in everything. Law school is primarily about intimidation and respect, and nothing says that like a name people have to linger on for an extra syllable simply because you refuse to make it shorter. You’re basically putting your classmates into a mental armbar the moment they meet you as they submit to your Alpha-betical dominance. History is littered with forgotten figures who chose not to use a middle initial when signing documents. However, the ones who did use that middle initial still live on today, like Jesus H. Christ or Jon B. Jovi.

2.     Come to class sick. Keep in mind that law students are notoriously soft, and pushing through that sickness by going to class and coughing the whole time will show those classmates how tough and committed you are. If you are sick, never sit in the back of the class—always sit in the middle, so that everyone around you can really hear and see your runny nose and used tissues on the table. That will impress them to the point where they can’t stop talking about how brave you are for pushing through the sickness, even though you could have stayed home and asked for someone to take notes instead.

3.     Your gut feeling is always right, so be sure to correct professors within the first two classes of the semester. They don’t call it beginner’s luck for nothing, and professors are always running scared from the students who correct them in class. The best way to get on anyone’s good side is to correct them in front of others, and professors are no different. Always stick to your guns, too, when you feel the professor is questioning your logic. They prefer you be dead wrong and convinced you are right than for you to question your pre-formed conclusions about a given topic.


Advice for new professors:

1.     Never record your classes, and never post slides before class. It weakens the minds of our students and the resolve of our allies. As a professor, it is your job to keep the flame of knowledge alive, and what better way to do that than to only provide a single avenue by which students may learn your material, even though you have every opportunity to provide more? You are a professor, tending to the hearth of learning like the Vestal Virgins of old. However much your students may want you to post those slides in a timely manner, you know that forcing them to guess where you are going with a particularly juicy anecdote in the lecture will keep them lean and fit. This, of course, is the true lesson of your class.

2.     Only assign the most expensive books, and double the price if you wrote it yourself. Like the biblical parable of the talents, you are showing students that in order to make money you gotta spend it. What better investment for them to make than to rent your $200 textbook? Knowledge is never free, and they will be glad—nay, honored—to put down that money to receive the type of knowledge that only a member of The Academy could find useful.

3.     Put your middle initial in your name every time you write it. As I stated above, law school is all about intimidation, and you need to look smart even before the students set foot in your class. What better way to prove this than to put an extra letter in your name? You are showing them that you are more than just a first and last name. You are also a middle initial and a period. When they see that middle initial, they will think of parchment paper, tortoiseshell glasses, and celibacy—all the great things associated with The Academy.


I know that, although this is great advice, many of you will still have questions about law school. I believe that it is important that I answer every single one. So please write in, dear reader, and I will do my best to guide you through your first year here.


[1] Working title:  1 L of a Ride

Pointing the Finger: Who’s Really Responsible for America’s Problems Right Now

Will Palmer ‘21
Staff Editor

Ha! Are you kidding me? Do you think I want to belly-flop into that minefield? I’m not touching it with a ten-meter pole. So, instead of blithely wallowing in the treacherous waters of political opinion, I’m going to go ahead and talk about why smart home technology gives me the willies.

Here’s an anecdote to set the scene: An acquaintance of mine (let’s call him Dennis) received an Amazon Alexa in the mail some time ago. Dennis had not ordered an Alexa. There was no information on the package identifying the sender. Dennis used it anyway. It turned out that a mutual friend had sent the device in question, presumably with the intention of either (1) bugging Dennis’s domicile for salacious purposes, (2) teaching Dennis a valuable lesson about responsible technology use in the modern age, or (3) both. However, it could just as easily have been some dude named Boris who’s a contractor for the FSB and works a crappy desk job with terrible benefits manipulating the American public by remotely accessing our consumer electronics. Next thing you know, your Alexa is telling you that Nancy Pelosi spends her free time burning down orphanages with a flamethrower and that the only way to stop her is to buy taint wipes from InfoWars and watch a bunch of Russia Today.

While we’re on the topic of Amazon, we might as well mention the fact that their face recognition software, the not-at-all-villainously-named ‘Rekognition,’ now ‘rekognizes’ fear (wow, that was terrible). Maybe if Jeff Bezos dedicated less of his schedule to pushing humanity into the darkest possible timeline, he could figure out how to send sexts that don’t immediately clue everyone in to the fact that he’s an actual robot. No offense to Mecha-Bezos. I mean, people are entitled to their sexual proclivities, you know. Let there be a thousand blossoms blooming as far as I’m concerned. But I ain’t spending any time on it, because in the meantime, every three months, a person is torn to pieces by a crocodile in North Queensland.*

But I digress.

To some just a fridge, to Will Palmer ‘21, the bane of his existence. Photo courtesy of Samsung.

To some just a fridge, to Will Palmer ‘21, the bane of his existence. Photo courtesy of Samsung.

Where were we? Right, smart home devices. My reptilian brain’s immediate reaction to smart refrigerators—much like my instant response to snakes and green ketchup—is one of extreme, almost paralyzing, disgust and horror at the sight of this thing that should not be. I looked over at my refrigerator just now. (It was running.) It doesn’t have Twitter capabilities and it doesn’t know the weather or keep track of my schedule. It keeps my White Claws cold. It is a simple purpose, yes, but a true one, and honest. And I respect that. Call me a Luddite if you want (hell, tweet at me from your smart fridge if you feel like it**), but I’ll be the one laughing after the Rise of the Appliances. 


My parents, unfortunately, do not possess the same apprehensions. In January, they purchased a new washer and dryer. But these weren’t just any laundry machines: these were from Sweden. I already possess an innate distrust of Swedes (you can’t depend on anyone who eats herring), and the cheerful, futuristic beeps and flashing lights emanating from the new machines only served to reinforce my trepidation. In my mind, the ideal home appliance is one that endlessly belches coal smoke and requires two tins of long cut Grizzly a day to function.  The gleaming silver monoliths, towering like Nordic icons of the laundry room, most assuredly did not meet this standard. They probably used Skoal pouches. . .or snus. Leave it to the Europeans to take all the grit out of packing a fat lip.

Needless to say, the infernal laundry devices had to be destroyed. That night, I dragged them into the backyard, poured water onto their circuit boards, and buried them next to my twin brother Damien. Staging the scene to make it look like a very specific type of burglary had occurred was difficult, but it’s doable. I would know.

So, how to resolve the smart-home dilemma? The first option that comes to mind, as with many of life’s troubles, is to flee the surface and join the mole-people in their underground kingdom. However, if you’re not a fan of becoming a Morlock, there’s another choice: stop bugging your own residence. Or at least do so minimally.

I don’t need to worry about Boris from the FSB hacking an Alexa or smart fridge and ordering 50-gallon tubs of Vaseline off Amazon using my account. Don’t put that evil on me. I worry enough about this wish-granting guitar I bought at a moonlit crossroads in Georgia to have to deal with g*ddamn Skynet. And I already have enough Vaseline left over from Prime Day.

 *This delightful bit of commentary comes to you courtesy of Australian MP Bob Katter. The man knows his priorities.

**I don’t have a Twitter account.

The Borking of America: On the Failed Confirmation of Judge Robert Bork

Will Fassuliotis ‘19
Guest Columnist

            The nomination of Robert H. Bork in 1987 is likely the most famous (or infamous) confirmation battle in the history of the Supreme Court. This is evident in that the failed nominee’s name became a verb. No one speaks of “Frankfurting” someone, or “Harlaning” another, but Judge Bork was borked, and so never became Justice Bork. The word has even crossed the Atlantic, with the Oxford Dictionary defining “bork” as to “obstruct (someone, especially a candidate for public office) by systematically defaming or vilifying them.”

            Bork was neither the first nominee to be treated toughly nor even the first in the second half of the twentieth century to be rejected. But something about the Bork nomination was qualitatively different from the confirmation battles that happened before him. People opposed Abe Fortas, Clement Haynsworth, and Harrold Carswell for ideological reasons, yes. But ideology alone could not have sunk the trio. Liberal senators voted against Fortas, and conservative senators voted against Haynsworth and Carswell. There was a sense that if you were a qualified nominee with no personal baggage, you would be approved. Sure, a minority of Senators would gripe and vote against you, but not in large enough numbers to seriously threaten your chances.

            Unlike Fortas and Haynsworth, Judge Bork did not lack personal integrity. Unlike Carswell, Bork was no mediocre candidate. He had a distinguished legal and academic record. He made partner at a major Chicago firm before joining the faculty at Yale Law School in 1962. He was the Solicitor General from 1973 to 1977 under Presidents Nixon and Ford, and he argued over thirty cases at the Supreme Court during that time.[1] His 1978 book, The Antitrust Paradox, revolutionized antitrust law. Retired Chief Justice Burger said there was no one with better qualifications than Judge Bork.

            But most important to his confirmation chances, Robert Bork was a leading proponent of originalism. Only the late Justice Antonin Scalia rivaled Bork’s early importance in developing and evangelizing the method of constitutional interpretation. His method is best explained by his opening statement to the Senate Judiciary Committee: “The judge’s responsibility is to discern how the framers’ values, defined in the context of the world they knew, apply in the world we know. If a judge abandons intention as his guide, there is no law available to him, and he begins to legislate a social agenda for the American people. That goes well beyond his legitimate power.” No penumbras, no emanations.

            It was for this reason—his originalism and judicial restraint—that President Ronald Reagan selected him to replace the retiring Lewis Powell. Justice Powell was the Justice Kennedy of his time, in that he was the median swing vote. More often than not, he voted in a “conservative” manner. But not always, especially not in cases involving social issues. He voted to eliminate abortion bans in Roe v. Wade,[2] and consistently defended Roe and the right to access abortion in subsequent cases. Regents of the Univ. of Cal. v. Bakke[3] was a rare “4-1-4” opinion. Four justices believed both racial quotas and affirmative actions were legal, while four justices believed neither were legal. Like King Solomon, Powell split the difference. Powell was the “1.” Writing solely for himself, he ruled that racial quotas were illegal, while affirmative action was not. In the end, he had five justices in favor of the judgement of the opinion, though not the same set of five justices. 

            The counter-revolution that Nixon promised never emerged. Reagan, who shared many of the same criticisms of the Court, this time only compounded with abortion and affirmative action, would not make the same mistake. Bork was no Harry Blackmun; he was no Powell. He would vote, in the eyes of the conservative movement, the correct way—every time.

            Bork’s philosophy was not lost on Reagan’s opponents. For the very same reasons Reagan lauded Bork, his opponents derided him and his “extremist views.” The Bork hearings popularized the idea of a nominee being “outside the mainstream” of legal jurisprudence. Opponents likewise knew what replacing Powell with Bork would mean for the Supreme Court’s jurisprudence. Senator Ted Kennedy’s vivid painting of “Robert Bork’s America” was the most memorable moment of the confirmation battle. Speaking on the floor of the Senate, Kennedy warned that “Robert Bork’s America is a land in which women would be forced into back-alley abortions, blacks would sit at segregated lunch counters, rogue police could break down citizens' doors in midnight raids, schoolchildren could not be taught about evolution, writers and artists would be censored at the whim of government, and the doors of the federal courts would be shut on the fingers of millions of citizens for whom the judiciary is often the only protector of the individual rights that are the heart of our democracy.”[4]

            The battle lines were drawn. The balance of the court was up for grabs.

            We should first back up, however, to place Bork’s nomination in context. Reagan had already added two Justices to the Court. In his first year as President, he nominated Sandra Day O’Connor, fulfilling a campaign promise to nominate the first female justice to the Supreme Court. O’Connor was confirmed 99-0. In 1986, only a year before the Bork nomination, Reagan sought to replace the retiring Chief Justice Burger by promoting Justice William Rehnquist, and then selecting Judge Antonin Scalia to fill Rehnquist’s open spot. Rehnquist faced some opposition, but, per the old paradigm, was confirmed by a comfortable margin of 65 (forty-nine Republicans plus sixteen Democrats) to 33 (thirty-one Democrats plus two Republicans). Scalia faced no opposition, and was approved 98-0.

            What was the difference? Liberal opponents focused their firepower on Rehnquist, but were unable to convince the center-left to join them. Concentrating on Rehnquist, they mostly left Scalia alone. Scalia’s ethnicity as an Italian-American, the first to sit on the Supreme Court, helped him as well. Democratic Governor Mario Cuomo, also an Italian-American, supported his nomination despite their ideological differences.

            By the time of Bork’s nomination, Republicans would no longer control the Senate. Now, instead of Senator Strom Thurmond as Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Senator Joe Biden would wield the gavel as he prepared to run for President in 1988. But Democratic control did not doom Bork—Ford, Nixon, and Eisenhower were successful even as the opposing party controlled the Senate—though it did decrease the margin of error. But most importantly, the Supreme Court was not up for grabs in the same way Powell’s retirement made so clear. Rehnquist replaced Burger, and Scalia replaced Rehnquist. This barely moved the court rightwards, if at all. Bork, unequivocally and undoubtedly, would.  

            Two-and-a-half-months after his nomination, the Senate held its first hearing for Judge Bork. During that time, Bork faced the first sustained media campaign against a nominee, including an advertisement narrated by Gregory Peck—Atticus Finch himself—echoing Senator Kennedy’s [5]. But Bork’s confirmation hearing is not remembered only for the vitriol. Judge Bork, unlike every Justice to come before him, did not shirk questions when asked about his constitutional and legal philosophy. [6].” In 1997, then-Professor Kagan said the Bork hearing was “the best thing that happened, ever happened, to constitutional democracy.” Bork sparred with senators, debating the whole gamut of original intent, questions of precedent, liberty and the bill of rights, privacy, equal protection, and many other issues.

             While a “masterclass” in Constitutional law, Bork was ultimately unsuccessful in convincing senators on the fence that he was indeed not “out of the mainstream.” The two-and-half month campaign took its toll. Neither the Reagan Administration nor other supporters responded in kind—they believed Bork’s brilliance would shine during the hearing and convince the necessary number of senators. Bork’s long history, however, would hurt him in the proceedings.

            Opponents presented Bork with some of his controversial writings and asked him to explain them. For some, he backtracked, saying he either changed his mind over time or that some works were intentionally provocative in his capacity as a professor. Where once he denigrated precedent, he discovered a newly found respect for it during the hearing. To take one example, Bork wrote an article in the New Republic in 1963 criticizing the public accommodations requirements of what became the Civil Rights Act of 1964. During the hearings, he renounced his work, but this played into his portrayal as an opponent of equal rights for African Americans. This was a studied effort by opponents. As Senator Biden explained, “Every time I could get him to recant, I won. People don't believe in recantations.” But he was more than willing to defend his views, including an extended colloquy with Senator Biden about whether the constitution included a right to privacy (Bork argued it did not).

            While Supreme Court hearings were first televised in 1981, Bork’s hearing was the first to get sustained play on television. People did not just read Ted Kennedy’s excoriation of Bork in the paper, they heard and saw him excoriate Bork on TV. Bork’s professorial manner did not help him either. Tom Shales of the Washington Post wrote that Bork came off as “cold-hearted” and “condescending,” a man who “looked and talked like a man who would throw the book at you—[7] When asked by a sympathetic senator why he wanted to be on the Supreme Court, he answered it would be “an intellectual feast,” which only played into the perception that he did not care about people.  

            Bork lost the battle of public opinion, and he lost in the Senate. The Senate voted against confirmation, 42 in favor (forty Republicans plus two Democrats), 58 against (fifty-two Democrats joined by six Republicans). Bork and the Reagan administration were unable to rally conservative and Southern Democrats to his side, while liberal Republicans defected. Reagan’s second choice, Judge Douglas Ginsburg, had to withdraw after his use of marijuana as a professor with students became public. Finally, Reagan would successfully nominate Anthony Kennedy, who would be just as much a swing Justice as his predecessor.

            No nominee with the depth of writings on significant and controversial constitutional issues as Bork did would ever be nominated again. Kennedy, and every nominee afterwards, including Kagan, would decline to comment about his or her judicial philosophy in any more than a cursory manner, in order to maintain plausible deniability. Now with Justice Kavanaugh confirmed, we come full circle. Kavanaugh is expected to be the fifth conservative justice, finally creating a conservative majority that has been decades in the making. But unlike Bork, Kavanaugh has never indicated so, at least not out loud. He studiously refused to answer whether he thought there was a right to privacy or what it entailed. For those interested in ideas, their silence and feigned ignorance is a shame. But it is, politically, completely understandable. After all, no one wants to be Borked.


[1] In his capacity as Solicitor General, Bork fired special prosecutor Archibald Cox during the Saturday Night Massacre, in accordance with President Nixon’s order. After initial attacks, this did not play too much a role in the hearing after Attorney General Elliot Richardson and Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus, who resigned instead of following Nixon’s order, defended Bork’s action as necessary to prevent the Justice Department from operating without a leader. Bork would later appoint a new special prosecutor, who continued without interference.  

[2] 410 U.S. 113 (1973).

[3] 438 U.S. 265 (1978).

[4] The speech was captured on C-SPAN, available at <>. Kennedy’s speech begins at 25:35, this excerpt starts at 27:36. It is worth listening to.

[5] The commercial is available on YouTube, “1987 Robert Bork TV ad, narrated by Gregory Peck,” <>.

[6] The Bork Hearings: Highlights from the Most Controversial Judicial Confirmation Battle in U.S. History. Ralph Shaffer condenses the voluminous transcript into a readable book about the questions asked and answered.

[7] The Bork Turnoff, October 9, 1987.

Impeachment Stories: Congressman Gerald Ford’s Attempt to Remove Justice William O. Douglas

Will Fassuliotis ‘19
Guest Columnist

            On November 12, 1975, Justice William O. Douglas announced his retirement in a letter to President Ford. The Justice suffered a debilitating stroke in 1974, but tried to continue serving. His condition became so poor, however, that the other Justices created a plan for any case that Douglas would be the fifth vote in an otherwise evenly split, four-to-four decision. The Justices agreed they would hold the case over for re-argument in the next term, awaiting either Douglas’ recovery, or a new judge (Douglas was unaware of this arrangement). Eventually, former law clerks and friends convinced Douglas he was incapable of fulfilling his duties.

            In his responding letter, the 38th President heaped praise upon Douglas, writing “[y]our distinguished years of service are unequalled in all the history of the Court.” By one measure, President Ford was objectively correct: Douglas’ 36 years on the bench were over two years longer than any other justice.[1] Despite the warm words, the true nature of their relationship could be encapsulated in their encounter at the swearing-in ceremony of Douglas’ successor, the soon-to-be-Justice John Paul Stevens. After the ceremony, President Ford approached the wheelchair bound Douglas. “Good to see you, Mr. Justice,” greeted Ford. Douglas responded sarcastically, “Yeah. It’s really nice seeing you. We’ve got to get together more often.” After this brief exchange, Douglas was wheelchaired away.[2]

            While impolite, the retired Justice’s terse reaction is immediately understandable; only five years earlier then-Congressman Ford sought to impeach Douglas. Now, Douglas’ poor health forced him to give the choice of his successor to the same man who tried to forcibly remove him. Never before and never since has a President replaced a Justice he actively sought to force off the bench.

            It was April 15, 1970, when the Republican House Minority Leader rose in the Capitol building to demand an investigation of Douglas and, if warranted, a vote on impeachment. This period in time, as we have seen, was a pivotal one for the Court. Warren Burger had replaced Earl Warren as Chief Justice, and Nixon saw two of his nominees for the second opening go down in flames.[3] Ironically, the disgraced Justice who Nixon tried to replace, Abe Fortas,[4] resigned in part “to protect Douglas,” hoping to forestall further investigation into Douglas’ extrajudicial activities.

            Ford presented four charges he thought rose to impeachable offenses. It was in this context that Gerald Ford uttered the (in)famous standard for impeachment, that “an impeachable offense is whatever a majority of the House of Representatives considers it to be at a given moment in history.” The first two charges stemmed from alleged conflict of interests. In one instance, Douglas sold an article to a magazine facing libel charges in a case that ultimately reached the Supreme Court. Despite being paid by one of the litigants, Douglas did not recuse himself and joined a dissent from the denial of certiorari and would have ruled in favor of the magazine and overturned the jury decision against the magazine.[5]

            The second charge involved Douglas serving as the only director of the Parvin Foundation. As director, he made over $96,000 in the ten years before 1970 (for comparison, his judicial salary over the same time period was slightly over $396,000). While the Foundation had legitimate functions seeking to develop leadership in Latin America, the Foundation’s namesake —Albert Parvin—was a sketchy individual. He publicly associated with criminals and was heavily involved with the casino business in Las Vegas when that industry was synonymous with mafia interests. Realizing the bad optics and similarities to Fortas, Douglas put an end to the payments soon after Fortas resigned.

            The final two charges criticized Douglas’ political activity while he was a Justice. The first charge alleged association with “new leftists” and “leftist militants” of the Center for Democratic Institutions,[6] the second charged related to the contents of his recent book “Points of Rebellion” which, per Ford, “fanned the fires of unrest, rebellion, and revolution.”

            Douglas’ actions were problematic. The editor of Douglas’ private papers, Melvin Urofsky, believed his actions fell short of an impeachable offense, but cautioned that “Douglas’s experience should serve as a warning, not an example” to judges. I am inclined to agree. The last two charges demonstrate that, however egregious Douglas’ actions, Ford’s charge was political in nature. And because they were political, Douglas ultimately continued without any formal censure. Where Ford sought a select committee to investigate the charges, Representative Andrew Jacobs beat Ford to the punch. Even though the Democrat opposed impeachment, by introducing the resolution he ensured the Democrat-dominated Judiciary Committee would oversee the investigation—a committee chaired by a good friend of Douglas.

            Douglas and Fortas’ circumstances share some similarities, especially with their payments for legal work from their respective Foundations. Ultimately, their differences as individuals likely accounts for their different fates. Fortas was associated with Lyndon Johnson at a time when the Vietnam War made Johnson unpopular with the liberal legislators, people who Fortas needed to support him. However, distrust of LBJ easily transferred to Fortas.

            Douglas, on the other hand, was an icon to the same liberals. Bob Woodward explained Douglas’ philosophy succinctly: “He was for the individual over government, government over big business, and the environment over all else.” “Wild Bill” was larger than life, in no small part because he encouraged those myths. Douglas was easily the most prolific writer on and off the Court, writing more opinions than any other Justice, as well as over thirty books expressing his political views. He wrote his opinions quicker than any other Justice; one legend holds that once, when Justice Whittaker struggled to write a particular opinion, Douglas, despite having already written the dissent, offered to write Whittaker’s majority opinion for him. Whittaker accepted, and thus, according to the story, Douglas became the only Justice to write both the dissent and majority of the same opinion.[7]

            Eight months after Ford spoke, the committee voted to take no action. The results were predictably on a party line. This was the last serious attempt to impeach a Justice of the Supreme Court. But historically, judges were the most common targets of impeachment. Of the nineteen officials impeached in American history, fifteen were judges. The first person to be impeached, convicted, and removed was Judge John Pickering in 1803—for “mental instability and intoxication on the bench”—while the most recent impeached and convicted was Judge Thomas Porteous in 2010 for accepting bribes. Impeachment and removal are not always career ending, however. Despite being removed in 1989, former Judge Alcee Hastings later won election to the House of Representatives. He is now the longest tenured congressman in the Florida delegation.

            Ford lambasted the committee’s investigation as a sham—no public hearings, no subpoenas, nothing. But Ford’s failure may have been preordained over a century and a half earlier, way back in 1805. Justice Samuel Chase remains the only Justice to be formally impeached by the House of Representatives. Chase was, by many accounts, a rank partisan, even more so than Douglas. At a time when Jeffersonian Republicans controlled the political branches, this attribute was dangerous for the ardent Federalist. Believed to still be smarting over John Marshall’s rebuke in Marbury v. Madison, President Jefferson encouraged Congress to impeach Chase. Formally, the charges of impeachment concerned his conduct as a trial judge (this was the time when Justices presided over trials in addition to hearing appeals). But to Jeffersonian Republicans, this could be the first step in restraining the activist Federalist federal judiciary and replacing them with committed Jeffersonians. If the Senate was willing to remove Chase, perhaps it would be willing to remove Marshall as well.

            Proving that history has a sense of irony, Vice President Burr presided over the trial that featured some of foremost legal minds of the time. Ultimately, none of the eight articles of impeachment succeeded. Only one count garnered a majority, but it still fell short of the two-thirds required for removal. Justice Chase’s acquittal stands for the proposition that whatever a “high crime” or “high misdemeanor” means, they do not encompass mere political or partisan disagreements. For better or worse, judicial independence was secured. Better off, Ford learned, to just wait until the pain in the neck retires.

[1] For context, 13,365 days before the date of publication of this article would be after the movie E.T. was released, but before Michael Jackson’s Thriller album.

[2] This account comes from Bob Woodward and Scott Armstrong’s The Brethren, p. 402.

[3] For more, see “‘Aren’t the Mediocre Entitled to a Little Representation?’ Nixon’s Failed Supreme Court Nominees” in the February 6, 2019 issue of the Virginia Law Weekly.

[4] See the November 28, 2018 issue of the Virginia Law Weekly.

[5] Ginzburg v. Goldwater, 396 U.S. 1049 (1970).

[6] Which one biographer believed was false.

[7] Justice Whittaker’s biographer, Craig Allan Smith, purports to dispel this legend as made up. Debunking Douglas: The case against writing both majority and minority opinions. David J. Danelski purports to refute Smith’s refutation in Justices Douglas and Whittaker in Meyer v. United States: A false claim rebutted. Truly, I can think of nothing that better illustrates Douglas’ polarizing reputation.

Law Weekly's Guide to Conspiracy Theories

Will Palmer ‘21
Staff Editor

I’m taking a quick break from the Malicious Chinchilla series at Brutus’ request; following his devastating loss in the Paw Review contest, he has cloistered himself away in the manor’s East Wing to plot in seclusion. I’m not trying to get another glass eye, so I’m going to leave the little guy alone for a bit so he can blow off some steam by hacking into the NSA or whatever he does for fun. In the meantime, let’s do something completely different


I’ve just gotten in some transmissions from some high-level contacts and folks, I’m not messing around here—they are out to get you, and out to get your families. They’re devious people, and they smell like sulfur. Look at Tom Cruise. I’ve smelled ‘em. Reptilians, they all smell the same. You learn this from observing the enemy, really trying to walk a mile in their shoes. Obviously, I can’t do that because I’m not a goddamn goblin, but you get what I mean. Let’s talk some hard truths you didn’t learn in elementary school because they didn’t want you to know.


The Moon “Landing”: Come on, sheeple. Wake up and smell the coffee: we didn’t land on the moon because the moon is going to land on us. I’ve got a number of transmissions here, from trustworthy sources, and my own observations, folks—they all indicate what the big government calls a ‘moon’ is actually an asteroid being piloted towards Earth at an extremely slow speed. I’m talking slower than an old turtle, folks. Real slow. But it’s coming, alright. And when it gets here, the Illuminati, they’re going to go into cryo-slumber in their subterranean temple complexes, while the rest of us get flattened. Gets me riled up just thinking about it.


Tupac & Biggie: Both were “killed” in drive-by shootings in the late 90’s—or so they would have you believe. But what makes you feel better inside: believing that, or believing that they’re chilling on some tropical island, getting higher than Elon Musk and making fun of current rap beefs? Sometimes you gotta go with your gut, and that’s what I’m doing on this one. My gut is a powerful force, as long as I keep that bad boy powered up with chili in the mornings.


The Shape of the Earth: I’m not talking about the fish sex movie here, folks. I’m talking about the planet Earth, and how people have been brainwashed into thinking that it might be round. It’s clearly a cylinder. Just look on the internet. The truth is out there.


Avril Lavigne Being Alive: She’s dead, folks. Replaced by a clone in 2003. Next.


Project MKULTRA: Everyone knows about this one, right? Secret CIA experiments on unwitting subjects and all that. The government is using LSD to try and perfect a brainwashing technique to fight the Commies. That’s just what they want you to think, people. Wake up. This is a classic example of an unfalse flag—so, just a flag, I guess. The government makes itself look bad to distract from what’s really going on. The invasion of Iraq? Another example. They were just plotting the financial crisis the whole time.


Vaccines: Say what you will about their effectiveness, folks, I’m not putting anything into my body that’s made by big government. That’s why I’ve developed my own personal lab to manufacture vaccines for a variety of illnesses. You can buy all the necessary equipment on my website or borrow it from your least perceptive neighbor.


The Roswell UFO Crash & Area 51: There’s a lot of fake news flying around out there about these two, and let me tell you, it’s hard to sift through all of that and get a sense of the truth. But I’ve got some insider sources on my team, and I’ve done cite checks on all their research, and it’s good stuff. What they’re telling me is that aliens didn’t land at Roswell in 1947. What really happened is that a reptilian-operated craft landed in Roswell in 1973 and that landing created a space-time anomaly. It’s really intense math stuff, folks. Gives me a headache. But this establishes pretty conclusively that the reptilians have time travel capabilities. Either way, Area 51—my sources are telling me that it’s really the entrance to the Illuminati vault for the American Southwest, the cryo-chambers, all that.


CERN: They’re building an interdimensional hell portal over there, folks. This place is just shifty. The Large Hadron Collider is the most dangerous thing for the world since I personally averted Y2K, and I won’t stand for it. There’s a donation link up on my website to help fund my upcoming protest—I’m going to chain myself to their infernal machine and dare them to fire it up.


Remembering Allison Angel '19

Jansen VanderMeulen ‘19
Editor-in-Chief Emeritus

Allison Angel, a member of the Class of 2019, passed away in February after a battle with cancer. In tribute to her memory, her friends wrote the messages below. To commemorate her life, The Class of 2019’s Gift Campaign are designating funds to a remembrance tree in her honor that will be placed at the Law School. If you'd like your pledge to go towards that memorial fund, please chose "unrestricted funds" on your pledge card and include a note that this is for the "Allison Angel Fund." If you pledge online and would like to do this, choose “unrestricted funds” and email Julia ( or Robbie ( with that preference. The Law Weekly salutes Allison’s memory and sends its sincerest condolences to her friends and family.



Brian Diliberto ’19

Allison and I were both in Section D so we naturally spent a lot of time together during our first year at UVA Law. We immediately connected because we were both from California, we each attended the University of California, we both had an interest in entertainment law, and we both had no idea what was happening in Torts.

I will always remember Allison as someone who was a champion for women and the LGBT community. During law school, she always sought out new ways of helping others. We spoke about her interest in participating in the Innocence Project Clinic and I remember encouraging her to apply because I knew they would be lucky to have her. 

Before law school, Allison worked at a law firm in San Francisco and gained knowledge in the area of entertainment law. I was fascinated with her experience and excited to meet another student with the same curiosity and passion for the industry. We spoke about our professional aspirations and she described returning to California and possibly pursuing entertainment law as a career.

Allison left an enormous impact on our section and the law school. She was deeply loved because she was incredibly down to earth, optimistic, and a joy to be around. She loved EDM, music festivals, and was a real adventuress. She had a free spirit and a level of charisma that I deeply admired. I will always remember Allison for her great sense of humor, unapologetic hipster vibes, and her vivacious approach to life. 

Allison will forever be a part of my experience at UVA Law and I will always cherish our time together. My thoughts are with Allison’s family and friends during this very difficult time.



Clay Davis ’19

When I close my eyes and bring Allison to mind, I can see her smile, her infectious smile, so clearly. Allison and I became friends through our many hours spent in the climbing gym, trying to escape the stress of 1L. A small group of us formed a climbing crew: Allison, Alex, Jenny, Taylor, and I.

The afternoons spent bouldering at Rocky Top were some of my happiest in 1L. A mix of physical activity, mental release, and laughs as we fell time and time again off the wall. Allison’s smile permeates those memories. We were both horrible at climbing but, nevertheless, still loved every moment.

As the year progressed, I got to know Allison better. And what I witnessed was a truly remarkable woman. I wish I could give light to Allison through my words, but it is simply impossible.

Allison was kind. She was thoughtful. She was genuine and confident in herself. She was light and fun. She was a true friend. Above all, she was strong as hell: through all the trials and struggles of 1L, Allison never complained, even as she silently suffered from cancer.

I miss her dearly. The pain of losing her hurts, hitting deep inside my chest. What I would not give to see Allison walking around the halls of the law school, looking like she just stepped out of a Coachella fashion magazine, just one last time.

Allison was a free spirit, with a subtle light around her and sense that she was on the edge of growing wings, leaving the troubles of law school behind her. Reflecting now, her body was only holding her free spirit down, chaining her to the ground. But now, she’s been freed to soar the heavens as, living up to her own name, an angel.


Jenny Lamberth ’19

Allison and I became friends during 1L when we started rock climbing together with a few other classmates from the law school. Allison had such a calming presence and radiated love and laughter. It still amazes me that, while battling stomach cancer and 1L all at the same time, Allison never told anyone or complained once. Rather, she was walking around the school in her bell bottoms and excited to be jetting off to fashion week or a music festival that weekend. I will always remember Allison as being adventurous, sunshiney, and making the most of everyday. 



Teddy Kristek ’19

Allison was, and still is, an inspiration to me. She was courageous, pursuing her dreams in the face of so much adversity. And through it all, she never took a smile off her face. She would light up every single room she walked through and made every day brighter. I am so grateful to have been placed in her section and have gotten to call her a friend. I could not have made it through 1L spring finals without her. Whether it was her unique sense of style (almost always complete with trendy glasses and a big hat) or her love for music and dancing, Allison lived life in her own perfect way. Everything she did, she did with an unmatched passion and enthusiasm. The way she treated life should be a model for all to live by. She will be missed dearly. 


Mary Seraj ’19

It’s hard to put Allison Angel into words. She was really something else. She was the sort of friend that would pull an all-nighter with you to support you during a long night of studying, the type of person that never judged or asked anything of anyone, and, honestly, the most inspiring human I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. Our best memories weren’t the ones that involved extravagant trips or once-in-a-lifetime events, but ordering in takeout and just bonding over all life had to offer. She was a radiant human being and a source of unparalleled positivity. For Allison, it was all about being the best version of yourself and enjoying life for what it is. I will always remember her as the girl I met at Admitted Students Weekend who rocked bell bottoms, lived for sunshine and music festivals, and saw the absolute best in everyone she met. My memory of her is this image and every time I walk down Withers-Brown Hall, I see Allison and think just how lucky, we the Class of 2019, were to have had her in our lives.



Kyle O’Malley ’19

In the six years I knew her, Allison played many roles. At first, she was just my colleague. Then, she became my comrade. After a while longer, she became my best friend. Finally, she became my classmate and conscience. I looked forward with joy to see what she would accomplish. At no point along the way did she fail to show the kind of generosity of spirit, and openness of mind, for which she was so well regarded and so well respected. Like so many others, I am devastated by her passing. This world will never be the same without her sense of humor, her sense of style, and her sense of justice. But that devastation cannot, and with the support of others will never, erase the memories she left me with; nor will it expel her spirit from its home in my own. Instead, her spirit will remain, a reminder to ask, as the late Mary Oliver did: “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your wild and precious life?” 


Jessie Michelin ’19

Allison Angel is someone I looked up to and will continue to throughout my life. She was nothing but kind to me from the moment I met her and from what I saw, she treated everyone with this same kindness. Allison listened to you and cared what you had to say. She was someone I knew I could turn to whenever, and she would be there. One of the things I admired most about her was her positivity. She saw the good in any situation and did not want anything to stop her from enjoying her life––even her own illness. Moreover, Allison was determined. She was determined to accomplish her dream of becoming a lawyer and was determined to beat her illness. She continued to be the bright, passionate, warmhearted, and tenacious spirit that she was throughout it all. Some of my favorite memories with Allison are staying up until 4 a.m. eating the famous C’ville dumplings after nights out with our friends and chatting about everything and anything until we realized what time it was and that we should probably go to bed. Allison will not be forgotten and will be deeply missed. I am extremely saddened that she will not be able to accomplish her dreams, but I will try to carry her spirit with me the rest of my life. I love you Allison!



UVA's Final Four Through a Tar Heel's Eyes

Lena Welch ‘20
New Media Editor

When you walk into my apartment, there are a few things you can’t help but notice. First, the Carolina blue. It looks like it was decorated by a seven-year-old UNC fan. Second, I have more than 100 press passes displayed on my walls. When people ask about them, I say they are from my past life. Before law school, I worked in the sports information field, which is kind of like media relations plus keeping statistics for university athletic teams. But it’s misleading to say that sports are my past life. Watching sports will always be one of the most consistent things in my life, and this weekend is a good example of what I mean.

Thursday, like many other 2Ls and 3Ls, I attended the Libel Show, but I also checked my phone during the second act to figure out when the tip-off for UVA Men’s Basketball Sweet Sixteen game would take place. I went home from the show and turned on the TV. Ultimately, I fell asleep on the couch watching the Hoos top the Ducks.

Friday, I downloaded the March Madness app on my phone so I could watch the UNC-Auburn game while attending the UVA-Richmond men’s lacrosse game. Saturday, after watching Carolina’s Men’s Lacrosse defeat Duke in its first ACC game of the season, I attended a party, which turned into a basketball watch party as UVA earned its first trip to the Final Four since 1984. The other partygoers can attest that 1) I said Ty Jerome should intentionally miss the second free throw for the chance to send the game to overtime (even though I never thought it would work), and 2) I told everyone to calm down and not celebrate too much.

Sunday, I went to another Men’s Lacrosse game as UVA hosted first-year program Utah, which is helmed by former UNC volunteer assistant coach and all-around great human Brian Holman, before heading over to the Park for my section’s softball games. All the while, I kept a close eye on the scores from the remaining Elite Eight games, even watching over Editor-in-Chief Eleanor Schmalzl’s shoulder in the dugout.

This is a typical weekend for me. If I’m not attending lacrosse, then I’m attending soccer or wrestling. If I’m not falling asleep to the late basketball game, then I’m falling asleep to football or hockey. So, sports are very much a part of my life––including softball at UVA Law.

I’ve only played in one section softball game. I was dressed like Benny “The Jet” Rodriguez, and I stood in left field, praying the ball would not come my way. However, I have found that my way to contribute to my section, and my way to make a lot of enemies, is by keeping a book. I have a love-hate relationship with baseball statistics, but it’s pretty safe to say that the umpires and the other teams have a hate-hate relationship with me keeping statistics at softball games. And my section just appreciates that I keep the lineup straight. This weekend was particularly special for our section softball team because it marked the return of all-star third base coach and all-star PA Alexander Hoffarth ’18 to North Grounds.

But as much as I care about section softball―and let’s be clear, I care too much―I cannot bring myself to care about UVA sports. Alexander is the perfect counterpoint. He also went to an ACC school for undergrad. He also attended a bunch of sporting events at UVA. And he also is a beacon of school spirit (if you think I’m not, tell that to the children’s socks I bought at Courts & Commerce and regularly wear). Alexander treats the Cavaliers as his team, unless they are playing his Boston College Eagles.

On the other hand, it took me ages to wear a UVA shirt to a sporting event here, because I’m not a UVA fan. I’m a Tar Heel. This weekend, someone even suggested that UVA losses don’t need to upset me and I could celebrate the wins. I pointed out that that is being a fair-weather fan, and there’s nothing more despicable to me. Becoming a fan means taking on the wins and losses. While I’ve come to have quite reserved reactions to the outcomes of games (compare Carolina beating Duke twice this season to Carolina losing in the Sweet Sixteen), that doesn’t mean I want to adopt another team. Instead, I hold my Heels close to my heart, and I attend UVA games to get my fix of live sports.

So, what happens when UVA Men’s Basketball goes to the Final Four? It’s not clear. Some say I should get over myself and just become a UVA fan. Some say an allegiance to the ACC means I should root for the Cavaliers. My dad says I should cheer for UVA so he can win his bracket pool. My mom says I should support UVA because Tony Bennett is “a hottie.”

In all likelihood, I’ll just fall asleep on my couch watching the game.


New York City: A Hillbilly's Perspective

Kolleen Gladden ‘21

If you tried to tell my friends back home that I was from a “small town,” most of them would laugh at you. Joplin, Missouri, is a bustling metropolis, and by that I mean it has both a Chipotle and a Target. It is, by far, the largest town within a seventy-mile radius. However, when I first told someone that Charlottesville was the biggest town I’d ever lived in, I was met with first confusion and then outright horror. That reaction started to make sense when I began my love affair with “The Big City” in fall of last year. After recently spending another week in NYC, the differences between The Big City and my Ozarkian home became even more glaringly and hilariously apparent. Without further ado, I present New York City, through the eyes of a simple Missourian.

Kolleen Gladden ‘21 strikes a pose with fellow feminist Lady Liberty. Photo Credit César Andrés Sobrino Acuña

Kolleen Gladden ‘21 strikes a pose with fellow feminist Lady Liberty. Photo Credit César Andrés Sobrino Acuña

On driving: When driving through C’ville for the first time, my dad chuckled and mused, “You’re not going to like the traffic here.” He was right. After graduating from dirt roads to Barracks Road traffic jams, I felt ready to tackle Manhattan during rush hour (a great decision, really). NYC driving has become my favorite variety of traffic. There are truly no rules. Turn signals are a long-gone memory, a distant fading dream. With my massive Yukon and Missouri license plate, I ruled every road I turned onto. Watch out, there’s a Midwesterner on this road and she doesn’t fear death. All went smoothly until a car cut me off, causing me to shift over one inch and mirror-first into a semi parked halfway into my lane. If you see me driving around with a duct-taped mirror, go ahead and mind your own business.

Side note: Next time you meet Midwestern folk, go ahead and ask them if they’ve ever accidentally honked at someone. They will look off into the distance, far gone, lost in a jarring piece of the past. By contrast, New Yorkers seem to have this perception that, upon the moment of a light turning green, the car in front of them can accelerate at the speed of an attack helicopter. My apologies, Peggy, I’ll be sure to drive my Bugatti Chiron next time I visit.

On road signs: What are these “no standing” signs? What do y’all have against standing? Does everyone have to move forward at all times?

On the streets: I am convinced the reason New Yorkers are stressed is because there aren’t any dirt roads to take it out on.

On the trains: I’ve become more experienced at navigating the subways, but we’re still working out the kinks. My dear friend César and I were sitting in a subway car, blissfully unaware that the train had been stopped for a while and every other person had vacated. Suddenly, the doors closed, and the train barreled into the distance before halting in the darkness, screeching the entire time. César looked around, obviously concerned, before taking a sip of his green tea and musing with a smirk, “I’ve lived a good life.”

On restaurants: I knew my down-home days were behind me when I heard the words, “would you like sparkling or still?”

On Times Square: No matter how far you walk, all Manhattan roads lead back to here. You trek for hours. You see lights up ahead. They are unfazed, ever blinking. Your eyes glaze over. It is never dark.

On the people: I love New Yorkers. I’ve never met a group of people so totally infazed by such a plethora of things. During my time spent on the subway alone, I saw walking transformers, pole dancers, preachers, rappers, wildly vicious arguments, and pyramid schemers of all varieties. Nobody so much as took a headphone out of an ear. And yet, so many of them are apprehensive of anything that isn’t New York City. I had a conversation with a tough-as-nails woman when it came to all things city who said she was terrified of the Midwest because it’s dark and quiet. I also had three people specifically tell me they thought that the Ozarks was a place conjured up by Netflix for their series Ozark. “I thought that region was mythical,” one person told me, “you know, like Narnia.”

On Madison Square Garden: It is neither square nor a garden. We were all disappointed.

On Columbia: As we scoped out the campus, a tour guide walked past. She gestured at the pristine, sprawling lawns. “When the weather is nice, we like to come out here and protest.”

On thrifting: Those who know me know I am an avid thrifter. I like to stroll into a secondhand store, grab a ridiculous pair of pants for five bucks, and get out. NYC thrift stores are more of an experience. I’d rather not spend ninety-five dollars on a used pair of paint-stained jeans while a DJ spins records on vinyl behind me. With that said, there are bargains to be found if you know how to hunt. Awoke Vintage has a bin of cheap items, and I snagged a $3 floor-length tweed coat from a street vendor in Morningside Heights.

On Sak’s Fifth Avenue: We walked into the store. We found a clearance aisle. We found a pair of boots for $1,600. We walked out of the store.

On Nina: Nina is an absolute gem. She works at a vintage shop in Williamsburg, never wears shoes with less than a six-inch platform, and hates the outdoors. She warmly spoke with my friends and me for an hour about her love for the city. My favorite quote was, “I love NYC rudeness. I lived in LA for a year. They’re too friendly there. Just one time, a man pushed me so hard I almost fell over. I loved it. He didn’t even say sorry.”

On public restrooms: Do y’all not have bladders???

Overall, the city of New York is an eclectic, fascinating myriad of unique people and neighborhoods. I suspect the love affair will continue a while longer––even if I am the only one wearing cow-spotted kicks. 

Libel According to a 1L

Sam Pickett ‘21
News Editor

            Listen. We have fun here. But somebody has to keep things serious. When pressing issues arise—like who is going to serve us alcohol every other week and where I’m going to get course packets I may not open—somebody has to step up to the plate. So when I heard about Libel, a supposedly hilarious and fun-filled experience, I knew I had to seriously investigate. I decided to investigate so seriously, in fact, that I auditioned for the show and landed a spot—one that gave me access to undercover sources and the underground world of Libel.

Nicole Llinares ‘19 gives stage directions to a group of actors. Photo credit Kim Hopkin ‘19.

Nicole Llinares ‘19 gives stage directions to a group of actors. Photo credit Kim Hopkin ‘19.

            The first thing I talked to my source about was the lack of a theme this year. To be completely honest, I wasn’t aware that these types of things were supposed to have a theme, given that they are already based around law school. But given that prior shows had themes, this still seemed to be a dramatic change. Don’t worry though, my source said that theme “was taken away to the farm” and that it is now “very happy there.” I wonder if it’s the same farm my old dog went to…

            Anyway, this source also shared with me a number of the sketches that will be accompanying this year’s show. We have SCOTUS sketches, sketches about drama between 1L sections (imagine West Side Story, but more dramatic), musical numbers, professors playing Dungeons and Dragons in Professor Setear’s basement, and videos starring people ranging from Professor Cohen to the fabulous member of Career Services. But, some even spicier rumors have emerged. Apparently, we are finally going to figure out who ANG is, “To Catch a Predator” style, based off ANG’s activity on the ATL message boards. Dean Dugas is going to open the show with a rousing performance of “Star Spangled Banner” sung in falsetto, and an anxiety-ridden 1L is going to close the show by screeching for four minutes straight. I can’t wait. I can also neither confirm nor deny a report that Lil Sebastian will be there. As in, I actually can’t confirm or deny it because I was hiding in a closet and listening to the directors’ conversations so it could be Lil Sebastian is coming or that there is a song based off of “Under the Sea” by The Little Mermaid’s Sebastian. Either way would be pretty cool though??

            Now I know what you’re thinking—with all of these things happening, how long could this last? Well, I’m glad you asked, because I’m so committed to this story that I shut myself in a theater closet (the same one where I heard the Lil Sebastian rumor) and timed it during rehearsals. I’ve now determined that it could either be one hour and five minutes long, or it could be seven hours long. And while I can’t tell you exactly, I can tell you it has to be somewhere in-between those two times. You’re welcome for this insight. If you’re anxious about sitting there that long unmedicated (I’m in the show and I am also anxious) HAVE NO FEAR, THERE WILL BE BEER![1] So, sit down and listen real quick because this is arguably the most important part of the article. If you get a drinking ticket, you can get two beers before the show and two beers at intermission. According to my sources, 2 + 2 = 4. That means you get FOUR beers for just FIVE dollars extra. That is a DEAL and I should know because I am from the Midwest and therefore very uncomfortable committing to spending money unless it is a DEAL. SORRY for all the CAPS.

            But you won’t really even need alcohol,[2] because this show is destined to be great. When I was in my closet,[3] I heard Lin Manuel Miranda watching rehearsals in the audience and crying because he can never be good enough. (You could say his “Shot” wasn’t good enough.) The show has even been nominated for a Tony, which gives K-Don a shot at the much coveted EGOT and the screeching 1L a chance at “Best Original Score.” And, while it’s hard to admit it, this investigative reporter can confirm that Kim Hopkin, John Dao, and Nicole Llinares are ready to deliver a truly excellent show. Even if Lil Sebastian doesn’t show. But to find out, you’ll have to buy a ticket—available from 11:00 a.m.–2:00 p.m. in Hunton Andrews Hallway every school day until March 28.


[1] I’m really proud of this one. Okay? I am. Screw the haters. This is me. Please keep reading though it gets better.

[2] Though I’ve heard section S plans to pregame 24 hours before…a true lesson in endurance that would make Big Law blink.

[3] This is the third time I’ve mentioned being crushed in a closet in one article…I feel like I’m in a stereotypical Disney movie about a kid being crammed in a locker.

The Malicious Chinchilla Part Three: This Time It's Personal

Will Palmer ‘21
Staff Editor

            Brutus and I, having survived our first few months living together at college, moved to the D.C. suburbs for the summer. I grew up in the area, but staying at my parents’ house was out of the question––my father made it very clear that “The Vermin” was not welcome in his establishment. Thus, I rented an apartment close to my work, smuggled Brutus inside under a sheet, and continued to make poor life decisions. One day in late July serves to indicate the character of our lives during those months.

            I woke up at around two in the afternoon. The inside of my head felt like Dresden circa February 1945 and Brutus was sitting on my chest, holding a mirror up to my nostrils (presumably to check for breathing). He seemed mildly disappointed at the results but made no move to leave. I heard a dull metallic noise emanating from outside. Thwang…thwang…thwang. “Ugh.” I sat up, boosted Brutus onto my shoulder, and staggered to the bathroom. Barry, one of my friends from home, was slumped over next to the toilet, sleeping peacefully in a pile of Cheetos bags and crushed Lime-a-Rita cans. I gave him a rousing kick in the ribs while I shoveled Advil into my face, then wandered out to the living room. It appeared that the Tunguska explosion had been recreated at a slightly smaller scale within my apartment; my friend Luke was seated, bodhisattva-like, at the center of the wreckage, a trifecta of hookahs aligned on the table in front of him. I rubbed at my temples. “Where’s Derek?”

            Luke gestured towards the terrace and I glanced through the sliding-glass doors to the source of the noise. Derek was out on the balcony in a bathrobe, firing a paintball gun at cars in the parking lot across the street and hawking dip spit into a bucket full of cigarette butts and Bud Light cans. I sighed, took a hit off the middle hookah and coughed up approximately three lungs. “Christ Jesus man, what flavor is that?”

            Luke looked at me reproachfully. “Don’t take the lord’s name in vain, bro. It’s Gummi Bear flavored.”

            “Are you goddamn serious? I don’t-” The faint sound of shattering glass interrupted my rebuttal. Derek hurried inside, shutting the door and pulling the blinds closed before he slid the paintball gun behind the couch. I continued in a hiss, “When I’m abusing my lungs with tobacco products I want to know it! You don’t see me walking around hitting fruity flavored vape pens, do you?”

            Brutus slithered off my shoulder and onto the table, padding between the hookahs before hopping onto the floor and disappearing into the kitchen.

            My phone rang. I groaned and accepted the call. “Hey, what’s up, Maddie?”

            Maddie was displeased with me. “What’s up is that your goddamned rat tried to kill me with a hairdryer while I was in the shower last night!”

             “Wait, why were you showering here?” I replied. “You know my bathroom is mad gross. This place is a hive of scum and villainy.” (For the record, my current domicile is quite clean. Just saying.)

            “My water was out. We talked about this. You guys couldn’t have had all those Lime-a-Ritas––oh, my god, you did.”

            From the kitchen, Barry called out, “Bro, who put all this broken glass in the garbage disposal? Oh, shit.”

            Luke, Derek and I simultaneously responded, “What is it?”

            “Uh. Brutus is, uh, in the wall.” Barry shot back.

            “Maddie, I gotta let you go, Brutus is in the wall.” I said.

            “He’s in the what? Leave him! He tried to electrocute me!” she fumed.

            “Yeah, he does that sometimes. Especially when people call him a rat. I’ll have a talk with him if-slash-when we get him out...” I hung up and jogged over to the kitchen.

            “Well,” said Barry, “the little bastard got under the cabinets here,” he gestured beside the fridge, “…and now he’s there.” A loud gnawing noise echoed out of the wall.

            After mulling it over, I decided that the best way to lure the little guy out would be by playing Peruvian pan flute music at a high volume and hoping that he heeded the call of his species’ homeland. Unfortunately, he is from New Jersey, and there’s not a lot of overlap there. He remained in the wall, merrily chewing away at what I assume were key structural supports for half an hour, before wriggling out from underneath the cabinet and hopping back to the couch like nothing had happened. I regarded him sternly and said, “Do you ever wonder what life would be like if you weren’t cute as hell?”

            He cocked his head and looked back at me for a moment, then leaned down and started chewing the power button off the TV remote.


Strengthening American Democracy by Strengthening the Electorate

Ali Zablocki ‘19
Articles Editor Emeritus

China lifted a billion people out of poverty and is experiencing six percent GDP growth on an annual basis. America was once a bastion of innovation and entrepreneurship, a leader in investment banking, and home of the world’s supreme armed forces. Today, America is afflicted by politics more deeply divided than at any time since the Civil War, budget cuts to science and education initiatives such as the space program, and crumbling infrastructure. At the same time, problems ranging from terrorism to cyber warfare and climate change to income disparity loom unrelentingly large, and it is unclear how America will confront them. What does all this say about the ideals of individual rights and democracy that America has prided itself on for so long? 


On Friday, March 1, 2018, the Student Legal Forum—one of UVA Law’s oldest student organizations, now celebrating its seventy-second year—hosted General Wesley K. Clark (retired) in a conversation about what many believe to be the greatest single issue facing America today: a dearth of true leadership at a time when our country can no longer avoid addressing these serious problems and when American supremacy cannot be taken for granted as it has been for decades. 

General Clark retired in 2000 as a four-star general after thirty-eight years in the U.S. Army, at which time he turned his skills to investment banking and took a foray into politics as a Democratic Party presidential candidate for the 2004 election. Prior to his retirement from the military, he served as NATO Supreme Allied Commander, during which time he directed NATO’s response in the Kosovo War. General Clark was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, Defense Distinguished Service Medal (five awards), Silver Star, Bronze Star, Purple Heart, and honorary knighthoods from the British and Dutch governments. General Clark credits his time in the military, at West Point (where he was valedictorian and studied the Russian language), and Oxford University (which he attended as a Rhodes Scholar) for giving him diverse international experience, but he notes that it was not until he ran for the Democratic presidential nomination and had a chance to interact with people all over the country that he truly got to know America politically. However, to quote the General, he is “two years older than Donald Trump and did fight in Vietnam,” and his generation is “about done.” It is up to us to ensure the effectiveness of our country’s leadership and to decide where the country is headed and how we will get there. In a bid to support rising generations, General Clark founded the nonpartisan organization Renew America to diminish partisanship in public discourse.

General Clark believes that in order to strengthen the democracy, we must strengthen the electorate. Specifically, “We must strengthen the way we challenge those running for office.” In order to raise the quality of elected officials and put effective leaders in office, private individuals must ask hard questions about the issues facing the country and accept only thoughtful answers that delve into the complexity of these issues. General Clark acknowledges that obtaining anything but the soundbites to which we are accustomed has become increasingly difficult in the era of television and internet. According to Clark, the press is happy to headline controversy rather than real issues, because that is what sells. Cults of personality drive elections. Candidates today are selected based on their looks, their personal lives, and their overall charisma rather than their hard skills and plans for their time in office. JFK had a beautiful wife and a royal sister-in-law, but as the now-public record shows, he was not terrifically well-prepared to cope with the Cuban Missile Crisis. However, if we could move beyond such superficiality, engage in genuine discussion, and elect politicians whose focus is on achieving the solutions we the people want, progress will come.

General Clark explained that by his analysis, American politics runs on a forty-year cycle, with business-dominated policy eventually ceding to progressive political reforms. For instance, FDR pushed through massive reforms, propelling the country out of the Great Depression, into WWII, and onward to the rise of the military industrial complex––whereby government investment enabled large-scale innovation that spilled over beyond the defense sector (e.g., integrated chips). However, the rise of Milton Friedman’s Chicago School of Economic Thought in the latter half of the 20th century led to business-led policy displacing government regulations and initiatives. Clark identified the Clinton Administration’s authorization of mergers between investment and consumer demand-and-deposit banks as the moment at which the government’s role reached its nadir. By Clark’s calculation, we are now at the end of a such a forty-year cycle of diminishing the role of government. Efficient market theory and the shareholder theory of value reign supreme, even as major issues go unaddressed by big business, and our positions in foreign affairs are messy and often reflect a lack of comprehensive strategy. Now is the time to force candidates to come to terms with the issues the private sector has been unsuccessful in addressing. 

Meanwhile, as America veers toward dystopian ideological posturing and partisanship, a nation on the other side of the world that was the greatest on Earth for millennia vies to reclaim that position. China is the birthplace of silk, gun-powder, and a fierce exam-based educational system. Though socialist, the Chinese government has a meritocratic basis, much like its university system. General Clark recalled how Madeleine Albright once described America as the indispensable nation, one which must be involved in everything. Once upon a time, Great Britain ceded leadership of the world to its best friend, the U.S.; now China is jostling to become the U.S.’s best friend and the next recipient of this title. During the 2008 downturn, China invested heavily in infrastructure and fared better than the U.S.; according to General Clark, this took a toll on China’s view of the U.S. The challenge for the U.S., then, is to prove that the rules made by a group of men over two hundred years ago can solve problems just as effectively or even more so than China’s Communist system.

As our generation rises, there are three lessons General Clark wished to impart to us. First, if the U.S. government and the American people work together, there is nothing we cannot do. History shows that some of America’s greatest achievements have been attained through government intervention; however, equally importantly, there are some issues which may only be thoroughly addressed through broad-ranging government initiative. For instance, a 5G network would be a major advance in the private sector but also raises national security issues more aptly addressed by the government than private business. Similarly, consumer and investor demand might propel some environmental initiatives but not comprehensively enough to avert devastating climate change.

Second, if the people cannot accept the government as an ally and instead vote for the marketplace to determine the American vision, we should not go to war unless it is forced upon us. Military intervention is not necessarily the most effective solution; General Clark noted, with respect to Venezuela, that chopping away at the problem from the edges—working with international organizations and countries such as China and Russia to force relief in, and then supporting interference-free elections rather than taking over the government—likely would be more effective than sending in U.S. troops.

Third, we cannot withdraw from a world of which we are a major power: those outside forces will eventually impact us; therefore, it is essential to use preventive diplomacy, to engage with allies, and to have able leaders. 

Throughout American history, there has been an evolving vision for the U.S. people. During World War II, the dream was for everyone to have the opportunity to become a homeowner; during JFK’s time, it was of Camelot; during the Reagan administration, it was of America as the shining city on a hill. Our generation must generate its own vision of America and work to ensure the officials we elect are capable of implementing it. In order to do so, we must challenge candidates to give us proof of their capabilities before we give them power. In doing so, we have the opportunity to prove once again the superiority of those classic American fundamentals of individual freedom and democracy.