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.

___

shp8dz@virginia.edu


[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.

___
wtp7bq@virginia.edu

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.

___

amz2ea@virginia.edu

Technology Panel Thrills


By Drew Calamaro ‘21 Staff Editor

On Friday, March 1, the Emerging Companies and Venture Capital Club (ECVC) and the Virginia Journal of Law and Technology hosted a panel with general counsels from technology companies to discuss their careers in the technology sector. The panel was moderated by Cooley’s firmwide head of business Mike Lincoln, a UVA Law lecturer and 1991 graduate.  

The panel members included General Counsels Chris Winters (Appian), David Woolston (Nuxeo), Stephen Riddick (Tenable), and Brian Brown (AvePoint). A big shoutout to Mike Lincoln ’20, Moussa Ismail ’20, and Vikram Vivek ’20 for organizing this event, as well as the general counsels for choosing to attend.  

Mike Lincoln opened the event by having the panel introduce themselves and explain what they do for their respective companies. Lincoln then asked the panel how much of an expert general counsels of tech companies need to become in the technology they are dealing with in order to be effective at their jobs. 

According to Riddick, you need to become very familiar with the technology. But, he joked, there are people who will “never respect my depth of understanding of our product.” The key, he said, is to ask a lot of questions to the people in your firm. Woolston added that the deference goes both ways between engineers and lawyers, since you are still the expert of your field in the room.  

Lincoln then asked what students thinking about joining a company or being on the business side can do in school to position themselves best. Winters responded, “get to know your classmates.” Winters went on to say that lawyers practicing in M&A, real “deal junkies,” make for great tech lawyers since they are used to working on a deadline. Winters did say that, although he remembers very little from law school, negotiation seminars were incredibly important. He compared the skill to a muscle that, if worked consistently, gets better over time.  

The rest of the panel agreed with Winters, and Riddick added that it is helpful to join large law firms to develop the expertise needed to conduct large deals. Riddick also emphasized the importance of relationships in law school and beyond, saying that they “are everything.” Three out of the four general counsels also spoke to relationship building by saying that their current jobs were the result of cultivating good relationships.   

The panel discussion then turned to what the split is like between the business side of their position and the legal side. Brown answered that the most successful people understand what the business objectives are and allow the legal side to play in that direction. The goal, he said, is to “offer solutions if you tell the business side that they can’t do something.” Winters stated that, for him, everything is “100 percent business.” He reiterated that it is important to think of yourself as more than just a lawyer, and that revenue is “everything.”  

Other fantastic quotes include, “associate yourself with revenue,” and “there’s a lot of ‘general’ in “general counsel.”” Absolutely a huge day for this reporter, since he is a big fan of revenue, and is not the biggest detail guy. Whether or not that is what the GCs were addressing is up for debate, but I will choose to interpret it that way. The panel closed out by speaking to the importance of client service inside and outside of the company. Riddick stated that “you had better know client service walking into a company.”  

There was a happy hour held at Maya afterwards, where this reporter ordered what he thought was a gin and tonic, but ended up being an electric green cucumber drink. A good time was had by all, however, as students were able to speak with Lincoln and Riddick. One final thanks also to Lincoln for bringing in engaging guests and setting aside time for this event.  

The Fried Chicken Sandwich Column, Part III


By Drew Calamaro ‘21 Staff Editor

**Author’s note:  Last week, I was led to believe by someone I thought I could trust that the word “dummeranwalt” was German for “Hamburger.” It is not. It means “stupid lawyer.” As an aspiring lawyer, you are fine to call me a sociopath, uninteresting, and you can even call me undeservedly self-serious. But you can never call me stupid. Law students like myself and my readers are not stupid lawyers, and never have been. We are law students, and therefore that insult doesn’t apply to us. I apologize to my readers for publishing that insult. 

We are at the end of our journey of finding the tastiest and least problematic chicken sandwich. That being said, it is important to remind the readers that this column’s objective—relating chicken sandwiches to the political landscape—is never truly over. There will always be more things to get offended by and more chicken sandwiches to eat. As a media member, I will never stop asking whether something enjoyed by nearly everyone is problematic. 

One other note to all who are concerned; I found a parking garage that gives you free parking for the first hour, since the Virginia Law Weekly will not allot me money for travel, despite repeated requests.1  

Draft Taproom – 425 E Main St. 

Draft Taproom has over sixty self-serve taps to choose from, which is extremely alarming. Yet another corporation has replaced its bartenders with artificially intelligent pourers. Do you think that these consumers are equipped to choose amongst so many beers, and then pour them without the cup foaming over? I don’t think so. Luckily, I am perfectly capable of pouring beer, and this did not happen to me. 

The chicken sandwich here is the classic combination of “Special herbs & spices, shredded lettuce, pickles & Dukes mayo on a brioche bun.” We do not need to revisit here the horror that is the appropriation of the brioche bun. However, given that Taproom lets the proletariat become their own bartenders, it should surprise no one they are stealing French bread like it’s 1789.  

The sandwich itself was very pickly—pickled onions and pickled pickles. If you’re looking for a briny, average meal, this is it. But given that Taproom’s AI revolution will lead to riots by disenfranchised bartenders, I rate this sandwich as highly problematic. I give it the full Louis XVI/Louis XVI for problematicness, and a Louis XI/Louis XVI for taste.   

One other note to make is that I ate the longest freedom fry I have ever seen in 25 beautiful years of life. If the culmination of Monsanto-engineered crops and pesticides and bee colony collapse disorder is foot-long French fries, I think that we are paying a small price for the benefits we are seeing.  

The Fitzroy – 120 E Main St. 

Due to the cheapness of certain editors, I had to order this sandwich to-go so that I could leave the parking garage in under an hour and not get charged.2 Travel costs aside, the Fitzroy has a chicken sandwich that is “boneless, buttermilk battered, a little honey and hot sauce.” Confident is the restaurant that chooses not to hide its chicken sandwich behind a veil of lettuce, or rest it on a crutch made out of tomato. This, folks, is pure and honest chicken sandwichery, or chicanery for short.  

The sandwich has two fried chicken thighs stacked on top of each other. Perhaps they thought this was a great idea, but unexpectedly getting a pair of thighs covered in honey and hot sauce to the face is not exactly a good time. The sandwich is delicious though, and I give it a 9.1/10 for taste. 

However, since Fitzroy is Anglo-Norman for “son of the king,” I also give it a 9.1/10 for problematicness. Great chicken sandwiches should never be gender biased, and this is an anti-nepotism column.  

Chick-fil-A – 350 Woodbrook Dr. 

I would first like to say that if you haven’t tried the chicken breakfast burrito at Chick-fil-A, you haven’t started living life. But we are here for the chicken sandwich, and more specifically, the “spicy deluxe meal (Chick-fil-A sauce included) with a large fry and an ice water.”  

It seems that Chick-fil-A’s sandwiches has ruffled the feathers of my media colleagues over at The New York Times and The Washington Post. I, for one, choose to be open minded about my chicken, and do not discriminate based off of a chicken’s religious background. I make room for chickens of all religions. As for the sandwich itself, the spicy deluxe with pepper jack cheese is consistently a revelation to eat.  

What’s more, unlike Michael’s Bistro, which appropriated Oaxacan queso onto its sandwich, I see nothing of the sort done with Chick-fil-A’s “spicy deluxe.” On the contrary, calling something more exciting than a glass of milk or Chief Justice John Roberts “spicy” is the most American act of all. The use of “spicy” here is American, through and through.  

As a result, and for the first time ever on this column, I am awarding the Chick-fil-A sandwich a perfect 66/66 books of the Bible for taste, and a one-way ticket to heaven for having nothing problematic whatsoever. A simply incredible finish to an even more incredible column! 

 

Final Rankings: 

Chick-fil-A 

Taste:  66/66 books of the Bible 

Problematicness:  None—one-way ticket to heaven 

The Fitzroy: 

Taste:  9.1/10 

Problematicness:  9.1/10 

Michael’s Bistro:  

Taste:  177/180 LSAT 

Problematicness:  3.54 GPA 

Iron Paffles: 

Taste:  173/180 Press Freedom Index 

Problematicness:  147/180 (still very high!) 

Whiskey Jar: 

Taste:  10/12 eggs 

Problematicness (Brioche tastiness): 47/50 freedom fries 

Draft Taproom: 

Taste:  Louis XII/Louis XVI 

Problematicness:  Louis XVI/Louis XVI 

Zinburger: 

Taste:  3.5/5 stars (Southwest airlines food rating) 

Problematicness:  3.5/5 stars (Id.

Cookout: 

Taste:  163 LSAT 

Problematicness:  Tune in next week! 

 

Chief Schmalzl Takes Charge


M. Eleanor Schmalzl ‘20
Editor-in-Chief

For years I have dreamed of attending UVA Law. I knew from a young age that this place was special, and for a long time I hoped to walk these halls, make incredible lifelong friendships, and, most importantly, play softball.[1] But the last thing I ever expected was not only to be involved with, but also to be Editor-in-Chief of, the Virginia Law Weekly.

 

Like most people who become involved with the Law Weekly, I began attending meetings as a 1L because of the free pizza and the hope to have something interesting to put on my resumé come OGI. Thanks to Jenna Goldman ’18, Editor-in-Chief during the 2017-18 school year, and Julie Dostal ’19, nicest person to me on Monday nights in the Law Weekly office when I was a 1L, I kept coming back to edit every week and enjoy some laughs with fun upperclassmen. And come spring semester, then Editor-in-Chief Jansen VanderMeulen ’19 approached me, much to my surprise, about being the paper’s Executive Editor. Despite knowing very little about the position, or about how bad pizza smells when you sit in a room with it for six hours on a weekly basis, I agreed to devote my Monday nights and take a more serious role with the newspaper.

 

It was in that first week as Executive Editor that I realized my passion for the Virginia Law Weekly. After publishing our very first edition under the new leadership, the papers were taken from the stands in protest of a controversial piece submitted by a non-staff student that had made its way into our pages. Additionally, a large display condemning the article was left outside of the Law Weekly office––a copy of the missing issue marked up with highlighter and red text written across the page, “SHAME” in all caps. Seeing this, I felt threatened. And I felt like someone was trying to scare the paper’s leaders away from publishing controversial articles submitted to them. Suffice it to say that the new executive board was shaken, unsure of what our tenure would look like from that point forward.

 

Those events left me feeling passionate about the importance of freedom of speech and the press. They also transformed my previous enjoyment of the Law Weekly into much more. No matter my feelings toward the controversial article of that week or others like it, I feel strongly that opinions should be heard. And when people disagree, I feel just as strongly that these people should have a place where they can challenge those opinions––as many students did by writing response letters in subsequent editions of the paper last spring. I don’t view the Law Weekly as the appropriate posting board of all things controversial, but I am thankful to have had this experience. It led me to love a facet of this law school I never dreamt I would care about––this newspaper. It led me to want to take on this role as Editor-in-Chief. 

 

As Jansen mentioned in his farewell article last week, the Law Weekly has come a long way in the last five years. I feel so lucky to have had such strong leaders before me who have left the paper as healthy as it is. And I feel fortunate to have such a supportive Law School community that cares to pick up a copy every week and actually read our sometimes-funny and hopefully-informative content. Now, as I begin my tenure as Editor-in-Chief, I feel a real responsibility to continue to push the Law Weekly toward excellence. At this point in the paper’s rejuvenation, this year’s leaders have a high bar to clear if we really want to improve the Virginia Law Weekly. Luckily, we have an enthusiastic editorial board and strong group of staff editors who cram into the office on Monday nights, eager to produce content and push the Law Weekly to new heights.

 

This coming year, I hope to make the paper more interactive and better serve the needs of the students, present and former, at UVA Law. I know a lot of you pick up the paper for the ANGs, the professor quotes, and the Sudoku,[2] and I know some of you have become loyal readers of our restaurant reviews and recaps of Law School events. But I hope to expand our readership by producing more exclusive, valuable content and making it readily available both in print and online. I also hope to provide better means of soliciting feedback from our readers so the paper can learn what you want more of and how we can better serve you.

 

With that, I charge those reading this to reach out to us. Without our readers, there is no Virginia Law Weekly. Tell us what you like. Tell us what you would like. Tell us where we can improve. Engage with us. During my time as Editor-in-Chief, my goal is to serve you and this Law School community. After years of dreaming about this place, I feel so fortunate to be able to contribute to it in this unique and, for me, unexpected way. To everyone who is reading this article: I appreciate your involvement with this paper, whether it’s scanning the ANGs every week or reading the pages cover-to-cover. Help make it a great year and leave this paper––and this community­­––better than we found it.


[1] Shout out to Peter Dragna ’20 and Ben Hawkins ’20 for dubbing me the Leslie Knope of softball. I can’t thank you enough for such kind words.

[2] Or the rare but valuable crosswords.

The Fried Chicken Sandwich Column Strikes Back


Drew Calamaro ‘21
Chicken Reviewer

I’m big enough to admit that I made a lot of sacrifices this week. I could have stayed inside during the snow day, and I could have stayed home with a stuffy nose on Saturday. Instead I walked all the way to the car and drove to review more chicken sandwiches. Doing so took a physical and emotional toll on me, but I refuse to complain. I especially won’t complain about the $3 parking fee I had to pay for one of my reviews that the Virginia Law Weekly[1] refuses to refund; not in this column, and especially not to the readers.

 

Instead, like a true member of the media, I am here to relate chicken sandwiches to the current political environment. This requires asking tough questions addressing the intersectionality of problems and matic-ness. No one else is asking these questions, and like the chicken and the egg, it has to start somewhere.

 

Zinburger’s Southwest Fried Chicken Sandwich, featuring the sweet peppers our correspondent found so difficult to swallow. Photo Drew Calamaro /  Virginia Law Weekly

Zinburger’s Southwest Fried Chicken Sandwich, featuring the sweet peppers our correspondent found so difficult to swallow. Photo Drew Calamaro / Virginia Law Weekly

Zinburger—973 Emmet St N

 

Don’t let the name fool you—Zinburger is not the German word for hamburger. My good friend from Germany told me that the German word for hamburger is dummeranwalt, which I trust to be correct since, as he said, translating German back to English on Google never works right.

 

German names aside, Zinburger’s Southwest Fried Chicken Sandwich includes “Pepper Jack Cheese, Red and Yellow Peppers, Poblano Peppers and Avocado Crème.” The chicken itself was good, but, to my horror, the sandwich had bell peppers on it. When it comes to chicken sandwiches, I draw the line at bell peppers. They have no place in the public sphere except in a salad ordered by Amy Klobuchar that I assume contains the souls of her underlings topped with a nice green goddess dressing.

 

I was so upset over this fowl-pas that I forgot to feel outraged enough to read Paul Manafort’s 800-page sentencing memo. Does that make me an irresponsible citizen? Perhaps. But remember that Zinburger calls this a “Southwest” chicken sandwich by virtue of putting the worst vegetable on the best possible food. Therefore, I give this sandwich a 3.5 out of 5 stars for both taste and problematicness, which is the same as Southwest Airlines’ food rating on TripAdvisor.

 

Chicken and . . . “paffles”? This do-it-yourself offering won high marks from our reviewer— for democratic liberal internationalism as well as flavor. Photo Drew Calamaro /  Virginia Law Weekly

Chicken and . . . “paffles”? This do-it-yourself offering won high marks from our reviewer— for democratic liberal internationalism as well as flavor. Photo Drew Calamaro / Virginia Law Weekly

Iron Paffles & Coffee—214 W Water Street

 

The sandwich here is build-your-own. I am not convinced that the public is ready for this type of power. Chicken sandwiches, like societies, cannot be trusted to the masses and instead require chicklets and balances. However, as someone in the roost-ruling class, I knew the only correct order was a chicken sandwich with aioli, tomato, slaw, and pepper jack cheese.

 

The “paffles” are a mixture of French puff pastry and Belgian waffles, which is a touchy combination of countries that hasn’t been attempted in over half a century. However, the result here is a beautiful piece of chicken nestled between two flaky waffles. Given that the term “flaky waffles” is literally redundant and that combining the two words gives you “falafel,” calling the sandwich bun a “paffle” starts to make more sense.

 

Since I am giving Iron Paffles free press, and Belgium is ranked 7th out of 180 countries on the Press Freedom Index, I will give this sandwich 173/180 on tastiness. However, since France is 33rd on the Press Freedom Index, I will give it a 147/180 on problematicness, which as we all know is still very high!

 

The author’s sandwich at the Whiskey Jar. Photo Drew Calamaro /  Virginia Law Weekly

The author’s sandwich at the Whiskey Jar. Photo Drew Calamaro / Virginia Law Weekly

The Whiskey Jar – 227 W Main Street

 

Here we have “Shredded Lettuce, Pickles, Tomato, [and] Duke’s Mayo on a Grilled Brioche Bun.” Innocuous, you might say, but we need to talk about something first: the Brioche Bun.

 

Folks, I haven’t seen appropriation like this since Ruth Bader Ginsburg stole Barry Goldwater’s glasses. I don’t think we depended on France to gain our independence, so why are we depending on them to make our sandwiches? Maybe I’m simple, but the only French “bread” I’m interested in appropriating is more funds for NATO. I give the Brioche Bun 10/10 baguettes for problematicness. However, it was delicious, and I take the baguettes back and give it 47/50 FREEDOM fries for tastiness. The other 3 fell down my car seat.

 

Overall, this was a strong contender. I don’t know who “Duke” is or why he has his own mayo, but seeing as mayo contains eggs, there are arguably two chickens in this sandwich. Therefore, I give it 10 eggs out of a basket that can hold 12, because you should never put all of your eggs in one basket.

 

Current Rankings:

Michael’s Bistro:

Taste:  177/180 LSAT

Problematicness:  3.54 GPA

Iron Paffles:

Taste:  173/180 Press Freedom Index

Problematicness:  147/180 (still very high!)

Whiskey Jar

Taste:  10/12 eggs

Problematicness (Brioche tastiness): 47/50 freedom fries

Zinburger

Taste:  3.5/5 stars (Southwest airlines food rating)

Problematicness:  3.5/5 stars (Id.)

Cookout

Taste:  163 LSAT

Problematicness:  Tune in next week!


[1] Editor’s note: at no point did this author ask for reimbursement by the Law Weekly. Fake news.

The Fried Chicken Sandwich Column


Drew Calamaro ‘21
Chicken Reviewer

              John F. Kennedy once said, “We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things. Not because they are easy, but because they are hard.” My fellow fried chicken sandwich eaters, this column is doing that other thing. I will fulfill Kennedy’s mandate, complete his vision, and find the best fried chicken sandwich in his brother’s alma mater’s city, just as he wanted us to.

              The question that any self-respecting future lawyer will ask, however, is “What is a chicken sandwich?” It is therefore my charge to find the outer bounds of what defines a chicken sandwich in this column as well. Important questions like, “Does a chicken tender hoagie count?” and “Do I include buffalo chicken sandwiches?” will be explored, as well as the finer points of mayo. There will even be an ode to iceberg lettuce (the polyester of lettuces).

This chiken does not yet know its fate. With your contribution, it may, soon. Photo sourced from almanac.com

This chiken does not yet know its fate. With your contribution, it may, soon. Photo sourced from almanac.com

              How does one rate fried poultry? What are the criteria? Well, seeing as beauty is in the eye of the cluckholder, I will rate it according to a rigid system that I develop for each specific sandwich that is liable to change sporadically. That is the only fair way to do it, and is what our founding farmers would have wanted.

              Of course, as a responsible journalist, I will relate each and every chicken sandwich to the Trump era, and ask if it is problematic to eat it while Trump is in office. Why? Because the media doesn’t do this enough, and now that I am a member of it, I am going to ask it even more. Questions like, “Is it problematic that I eat the sandwich while scrolling past an Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweet without reading it?” or “Should I care about Trump’s restructuring of the military funds to build the wall without declaring a national emergency while biting into a gorgeously breaded piece of white meat?” are the ones the people want to hear the answers to.

              Join me, and together, we will finish what Kennedy started. Not because it is easy, but because it is hard to eat so much fried chicken in so little time; hard to say no to a non-conforming sandwich; and hard to find the holy grail—the perfect, juiciest, and crispiest chicken sandwich.

Michael’s Bistro and Tap House – 1427 University Ave., Charlottesville Va

              Is the name too long? Perhaps. Does it seem like this “Michael,” whoever he is, didn’t know whether he wanted to open up a bohemian bistro near the sea or a dark and smoky tap house full of bar fights and broken dreams? Absolutely. But in the end, I refuse to go to michaelsbistro.com/history to find out why he couldn’t decide between the two. Facts are dead.

              Getting to Michael’s was tough enough—they only have two signs with giant arrows pointing to where the door is. Yet it’s easy to trip over one of them and keep on walking, all while avoiding eye contact with everyone around you. Luckily, I did not do that and nimbly ran up the stairs.

              But it’s time to talk turkey. What we got here is a true heavyweight—a “fried chicken thigh with pickled jalapeno Oaxaca queso and housemade slaw on an ABC butter roll.” All for $9.50. When I saw that description, was it problematic that I stopped thinking about the corporate greed that went into the making of that chicken, the thousands of chickens who laid eggs and died in the past so that this one chicken could get fried up in the crispiest batter and smothered in queso that I know does not come from Oaxaca? As a media member, I will gladly keep asking these questions without taking any personal responsibility myself.

This chicken does know its fate. Fate was not very kind to this chicken, but fate bestowed a delicious gift upon someone else. Photo from cookscountry.com.

This chicken does know its fate. Fate was not very kind to this chicken, but fate bestowed a delicious gift upon someone else. Photo from cookscountry.com.

              I was going to rate this according to how much debt I felt like I had accumulated since I started writing this, but I’ll save that for another time. Instead, I’ll give this sandwich a solid 177 on the LSAT. When rated using the problematicness scale, however, I’ll give it an average GPA of 3.54. What tipped it past a 3.5 mark was the ABC bun. As an anti-number guy myself, I am all for naming buns after letters of the alphabet. However, this could quickly turn exclusionary with the finance-law crowd, resulting in a competing 123 bun that could do some damage.

*BONUS REVIEW*

Cook Out – 1254 Emmet St N, Charlottesville, Va

              This place is best enjoyed on a Friday night when you have to Uber there. Welcome to the south baby. I rate this sandwich a solid 163 on the LSAT—price point is fantastic.  Is it problematic if I give this sandwich a 1.0 GPA, meaning it’s nearly not problematic at all? Tune in next week to find out!

Malicious Chinchilla: Part the Second


Will Palmer ‘21
Staff Editor

            First things first, we should probably discuss the photo that accompanied the last installment of this series (hopefully there’s a new one in place by now). I’m not going to lie, it’s not a great look. The lumberjack phase was questionable in and of itself, and I’ve never been good with student ID photos. That said, I can assure you that it is indeed my student ID photo and not a mugshot––those are either for people who got caught or people who wrote about their misadventures in the school paper before the statute of limitations ran out. Far be it from me to fall into one of those camps. But I digress.

            We left off with my new chinchilla, having already demonstrated a somewhat malevolent streak, freshly installed under the bed in my dorm room and ready to wreak havoc. In less than a week, my friends had organized a death pool regarding how long Brutus would last in his new environment; the longest bet was two months. To everyone’s great surprise, he not only survived, but prospered (depending on your definition of “prospered”). Within three weeks, he was slamming whey protein shakes and doing prison workouts in his cage while blasting Immortal Technique on a speaker he’d procured on the dark web. By the two-month mark, he was the most swole chinchilla on the eastern seaboard and had dropped five mixtapes on DatPiff (if you’re wondering, the most popular one was All Idez On Me). Needless to say, my cohort conveniently “forgot” the death pool and acquired a newfound interest in treating Brutus with proper deference.

            The local squirrels were put on notice as well. On a fine spring day in mid-May, I was polishing my glass eye when I noticed that the door to Brutus’ cage was hanging open. Even worse, my collection of 16th-century throwing stars was missing. I realized that the little fella may have taken the wrong lesson from the episode of Family Guy where Meg goes to prison. Sure enough, I looked out the window and saw Brutus stalking towards a group of chittering squirrels in the center of the quad, ready to find the proverbial toughest guy in the room and punch him in the teeth. I hurried downstairs, prepared to throw hands if my sidekick needed some backup.

            As it turned out, he did not––he didn’t even need to use the throwing stars.  He approached the erstwhile leader of the squirrels, a nasty specimen that my friends and I had dubbed Harvey Dent (one guess why we picked that nickname). I like to think that Harvey said something uncultured about chinchillas and that Brutus told him he’d need to “get woke,” but I’ll never know for sure. At any rate, Brutus performed what appeared to be a Tombstone Piledriver and introduced Harvey’s good side to the ground at Mach 2. Seriously, he hit the floor so hard that even the NFL would have a hard time covering up the long-term damage. Over my shoulder, I heard my friend J.T. say, “Damn, dude, this is like that scene from Terminator 2.” (Names have been changed to protect the innocent.)

            “The one in the biker bar?” I responded, as we executed a crisp dap.

            “Word,” J.T. said. “Smoke?” We lit up a couple Camels and turned our attention back to the mêlée at hand. At this point, Brutus had Harvey sprinting around the walls of my dorm like he was Achilles pursuing Hector of Troy. “By the way,” J.T. shot me a glance and took a long drag on his cigarette, “Have you looked at the Wikipedia page on chinchillas? Or, like, done any research at all on them?”

            “Not really, I just asked Dennis for some basic tips. I know I’m not supposed to get him wet and stuff.”

            “Who’s Dennis? And––wait, you can’t get him wet? Like in Gremlins?”

            “Dude who works at PetSmart. Great salesman. What’s up with the Wikipedia?” I paused to ash my cigarette. “And yeah, I guess it’s kinda like Gremlins, now that you mention it. Chinchilla fur is so fine that it won’t dry naturally. Crazy stuff.”

            “Anyway,” J.T. responded, clearly still somewhat shook by Brutus’ Wicked-Witch-of-the-West vulnerability, “I was pretty drunk last night and spent some time on Wikipedia, ended up reading about chinchillas.”

            “As one does,” I interjected.

            “Bro, did you know they can live to be, like, 20 years old?” Brutus drove past us in a small chariot, dragging Harvey behind him by the ankles. I whistled.

            “Nineteen more years of this shit?”

 

To be continued…

Secrets and the Supreme Court: The Strange Case of Justice Hugo Black


Will Fassuliotis ‘19
Guest Columnist


            There are many reasons one may keep a secret. A secret may be innocuous, but rather embarrassing––no need to share it. You may need to keep a secret for the safety of friends or family. A friend may come to you in confidence, seeking advice on a sensitive mater.

Hugo Black in 1937. Photo courtesy Library of Congress

Hugo Black in 1937. Photo courtesy Library of Congress

            All of these sorts of secrets are understandable and often even defensible. Some secrets are understandable, but morally less defensible. You might hold a secret for base reasons, that were your secret public, others would fundamentally change their view of you. And with that fundamentally different view, an objective you have long sought (perhaps a job or award) would no longer be obtainable, or, having reached that objective, it is taken from you. As if to demonstrate that these are universal concerns, this series, which began as an allusion to the Ford/Kavanaugh accusations, applies equally well to contemporary events in our Commonwealth. The Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and Attorney General are all under the cloud of past actions––some pictured, some alleged, and some admitted––which had they been known, would have altered the course of their political trajectories.

            When Justice Hugo Black retired on September 17, 1971, few were likely thinking of Black’s old secret. Black served thirty-four years on the bench (longer than all but four other justices), so how bad could it have been? Between 1923 and 1925, Hugo Black was a card-carrying member of the Ku Klux Klan.

            That bad.

            When Franklin Roosevelt nominated then-Senator Black (D-Ala.) to the Supreme Court in 1937, his membership was unknown. There had been some rumors, but at the time nothing substantiated. Roosevelt supported Black because Black supported him in the Senate: on the New Deal, on the court-packing scheme, and various other aims, Black was a rare non-conservative Southern Democrat. When Justice Willis Van Devanter, one of the “Four Horsemen” who frustrated Roosevelt, stepped down, the Senator from Alabama seemed an obvious choice. After some discussion of technical constitutional issues surrounding Black’s appointment,[1] Black was easily confirmed, 63–16. With his commission in hand, Black left for vacation in Europe.

            While overseas, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette confirmed his membership in the KKK, including getting hold of Black’s 1925 resignation letter. Even more damning were the reports of speeches thanking the support of the Klan for their support in his first run for the Senate, as well as accepting a “grand passport” from the KKK, both after he resigned from the group. The author of the Post-Gazette’s reports opined that “the note of resignation was a deliberate ruse, designed to protect the Klan’s political candidate.” Many senators said had they known of his membership in the Klan, they would not have voted for him. Calls for Black’s resignation grew louder. Many wondered what Roosevelt thought. In this era, the Klan was not only anti-Black, but vehemently anti-Catholic and anti-Jewish as well. FDR was no friend of the KKK; he supported Al Smith, a Catholic hated by the Klan for his Catholicism, for President in 1928. But when the news came out, Roosevelt remained silent, waiting to see how Black would defend himself.

            When Black returned from Europe, he decided to address the nation over the radio, “in a way that cannot be misquoted and so the nation can hear it.” On October 1, 1937, he admitted the truth, “I did join the Klan.”[2] But, he continued, “I later resigned. I never rejoined. I completely discontinued any association with the organization…Before becoming a Senator I dropped the Klan. I have had nothing to do with it since that time.” Black emphasized his views, that “I have no sympathy with any group which, anywhere or at any time, arrogates to itself the un-American power to interfere in the slightest with complete religious freedom.”

            After a terrible secret is revealed, the next question is often one of forgiveness. What can a person in a place of public trust do to earn forgiveness? Should forgiveness even be allowed? The people of 1937 forgave Black: prior to his speech, a poll showed 59 percent of Americans believed Black should resign, after his speech, only 44 percent thought he should. In retrospect, we can see his Klan ties did not prejudice him. In his obituary, The New York Times wrote that Black “[made] his mark as a champion of civil rights and liberties,” [3] joining Brown v. Board of Education, and authoring Griffin v. School Board, which effectively ended “Massive Resistance” in Virginia. If the Ku Klux Klan was hoping Black was one of them, they were sorely mistaken. Of course, it is much easier to forgive looking back than it is at the time. 

            At least one more secret would surround Justice Black’s vacated seat. Most accounts say President Nixon wanted to ask Representative Richard H. Poff (R-Va.) to fill Black’s seat. Poff’s son was adopted, and the son did not yet know that. Poff was not yet ready to tell his son and was concerned that reporters would find out about the adoption and publicize the fact. In order to protect his son, Poff preemptively declined any nomination. Instead, Lewis F. Powell, Jr. was nominated and confirmed to Black’s seat. The benefits of Poff’s sacrifice were short-lived, however, when a reporter publicly revealed the adoption anyway.[4]

            While not quite on par with Aesop’s Fables, a story like this must have a moral. This author suggests: “Do nothing secretly; for Time sees and hears all things, and discloses all.”[5] But if this is too abstract, remember, “Three may keep a Secret, if two of them are dead.”[6]



[1] For the story of why Black was nominated to the Supreme Court, as well as a discussion of the constitutional issues, see American Heritage’s “Hugo Black and the K.K.K.,” available at <https://www.americanheritage.com/hugo-black-and-kkk>.

[2] The speech is available on YouTube, entitled “Supreme Court Clips: Hugo Black's 1937 radio address about KKK membership,” at < https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p7BaRRPh428>.

[3] “Justice Black Dies at 85; Served on Court 34 Years,” September 25, 1971. The obituary includes Black’s reason for joining the Klan, as explained decades after the fact. At the time, Black was a trial lawyer. Opposing counsels as well as jurors were all members of the Klan, so, ostensibly, joining was a way to even the odds at trial.

[4] Poff was a graduate of the University of Virginia School of Law; thus, this sequence of events robbed this Law School of a second justice to sit upon the Supreme Court.

[5] Sophocles, Hipponous, fragment 280.

[6] Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard's Almanack.

State of the Union: Good, Bad, Ugly


Raphael Cho ‘21
Staff Editor

Rhetoric: 2/5

Entertainment Value: 3/5

Meme[1]-ability: 4/5

Average: 3/5

 

            After tumultuous midterms and a government shutdown, President Trump delivered his State of the Union Address to the 116th Congress last week. In his address to the nation, the President called for cooperation and compromise to overcome partisanship and petty squabbles. President Trump also highlighted the success of his economic and international policies. Overall, I gave the 2019 SOTU a 3/5. The President scored a lot of points on meme-ability and entertainment value, but the substance and rhetoric of his address were subpar according to my arbitrary criteria. Below are some musings on the SOTU. Enjoy.

 

The Good

            One of the President’s central messages was overcoming the challenges of partisan politics. While many Congress-people visibly rolled their eyes, the President did deliver a moment of bipartisan applause when he celebrated the record number of Congresswomen in attendance. The most iconic, and meme-able, moment of the SOTU also occurred at this point with Nancy Pelosi’s literal clap back.

            On a non-political note, the video directors of the SOTU have to be given some credit. The high entertainment value score, in fact, is largely attributable to the directors. If you’re not going to pan to Bernie Sanders’ perturbed face while President Trump marshals his forces against the red menace of socialism, why even televise the SOTU? Without the video directors, we would never get classic moments like President Trump disparaging military planning in Afghanistan while his top generals visibly think, “Bruh, not cool.”

            President Trump also claimed that his economic policies have led to the lowest unemployment rates for minorities, reduced taxes for the middle class and increased business confidence. While I can’t and won’t speak to the accuracy of these claims, I did note that President Trump omitted his greatest economic contribution: bolstering the meme economy to levels unseen. Some might argue that current status of the meme economy was a product of the Obama administration and that a rising tide lifts all boats. However, President Trump is the equivalent of a one-man stimulus package and few can dispute his personal contributions to said meme e-conomy.

 

The Bad

            In an odd moment, President Trump claimed, “If I had not been elected President of the United States, we would, right now, be in a major war with North Korea.” While I admit that my information on the subject is infinitesimally small compared to the Commander-in-Chief’s, the President’s hypothetical seems as unrealistic, pandering, and unnecessary as the hypotheticals posed by gunners a minute before the end of class.  

            President Trump also posited that the only things that could stop the “economic miracle” happening in the United States were “politics or ridiculous partisan investigations.” The President’s statement undoubtedly gave the geriatric members of Congress flashbacks to Tricky Dick Nixon’s final SOTU. Although unconfirmed, some claim to have heard Alaska Representative Don Young (R-Geriatric) say, “Haven’t we seen this one already?”

            On a more serious note, I found the rhetoric of the President’s address to be subpar, not (only) because of my own bias, but because of the ham-fisted nature of his rhetoric. What happened to subtlety and innuendo? If I’m going to be told what to think, I’d rather believe I’m getting there myself. For example, repeatedly calling the Mexico–U.S. border “our very dangerous southern border” is like using a howitzer to deliver a flu shot. Maybe I’m just too young to realize that’s how it’s always been, but all in all, Demosthenes would not be proud of the President.

 

The Ugly

            To be honest, I only included this section to mention Mitch McConnell’s 1/3 inch, blue and white, pinstripe shirt coupled with his hot pink tie. I don’t know what’s more of a mismatch, Mitch McConnell’s shirt and tie or Mitch McConnell and AOC working on a bill together. Either way, the end product is hurtful to the eyes and should not be allowed on the floor.

 

            Bearded Ted Cruz also gets an honorable mention. I personally think he looks better with the beard, but nothing says, “I will never be President,” like growing a beard after barely being reelected. Then again, Beto also seems to be growing a beard, so maybe Senator Cruz just wants to be barely better than Beto at another thing.

 

             The State of the Union Address following the midterms often signals the policy agenda for the remainder of the President’s term. Generally speaking, President Trump’s agenda for the next year seems to be a mixed bag of old causes and enemies. Some of those policies we will be seeing in the near future are: stopping Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, building a “physical barrier . . . or wall,” fighting socialism, reducing the price of prescription drugs, and watching Kim Jong Un honeypot our Government.


[1] For our less internet savvy readers, a meme is: a humorous image, video, piece of text, etc., that is copied (often with slight variations) and spread rapidly by Internet users.

"Aren't the Mediocre Entitled to a Little Representation?" Nixon's Failed Supreme Court Nominees


Will Fassuliotis ‘19
Guest Columnist

On May 23, 1969, President Richard M. Nixon must have felt pretty good. It was on that day that he submitted his nomination to the Senate for the new Chief Justice of the United States. On a personal level, his new nominee would remove his longtime rival and bitter foe, Earl Warren, from the national level. The soon-to-be-former Chief Justice once had presidential ambitions, which Nixon had helped thwart. Now, Nixon had risen to that role. On the political and legal level, he was fulfilling his campaign promise to promote law and order—Nixon ran in no small part against what he perceived to be the excesses of the Warren Court.

            In his acceptance speech for the Republican nomination, Nixon identified the source of the surge in crime—and there was undoubtedly a great increase in crime at this period—as a result of the judiciary having “gone too far in weakening the peace forces as against the criminal forces . . . . Let those who have the responsibility to interpret [our laws],” he continued, “be dedicated to the great principles of civil rights. But let them also recognize”—invoking FDR’s Four Freedoms—“that the first civil right of every American is to be free from domestic violence and that right must be guaranteed in this country.” In choosing as Chief Justice D.C. Circuit Judge Warren E. Burger, a prominent critic of the Warren Court from Minnesota, Nixon thought he had his man to restore balance between the “peace forces” and the “criminal forces.”

            Burger’s nomination easily sailed through the Senate. Barely criticized, Burger would be confirmed by the Senate seventy-four to three, a mere eleven days after nomination. His confirmation would stand in stark contrast to the battles that preceded him and kept the Chief Justice spot open, and the battles to come to try to fill the second vacancy.

            For his second nominee, Nixon sought “a white southern conservative federal judge under age sixty.”[1] Having already won much of the peripheral South, Nixon hope that nominating a Southerner to the Court would help him in the Deep South, as well as heading off a potential Dixiecrat third-party spoiler in the next election, which he had suffered in the form of Alabama Governor George Wallace of Alabama in 1968. With these requirements in mind, Nixon nominated South Carolina Judge Clement Haynsworth of the Fourth Circuit.

            Unlike Burger, Haynsworth faced immediate and sustained opposition. Opponents emphasized three deficiencies. The first was in the area of civil rights. Haynsworth’s record was not particularly good; He had joined a public-school desegregation opinion that was unanimously reversed by the Supreme Court. Other opinions led civil rights leaders to opine that at best Haynsworth was unlikely to support desegregation efforts once on the Supreme Court, and at worst out-right supported segregation, and so they urged the Senate to oppose. The second source came from organized labor, who claimed that seven of his antiunion opinions had been reversed.           Ironically, the third well of opposition was in the same vein of problems that brought Justice Fortas down: money. Haynsworth had sat in at least one case where he had a financial interest. After Fortas, many Senators were wary of putting a man on the Court who even hinted at an appearance of impropriety.

            Haynsworth was rejected, forty-five to fifty-five. As the Democrats controlled the Senate fifty-seven to forty-three, this might not seem so odd. But this was not a party-line vote. Nixon’s nominee was defeated by a mirror image of the forces that defeated Fortas. Recall that Fortas was defeated by a coalition of Republicans and conservative Democrats; Haynsworth was vanquished by a coalition of Democrats and liberal Republicans. Seventeen Republican Senators—nearly 40 percent of the Republican caucus—broke ranks to oppose their Republican president.

            Nixon took the defeat personally. Recent history has exposed a deep fault-line about when a Senate should confirm or reject a nominee. Ideology? Basic competency? Pure politics? Nixon rejected all of these views: Appointments were “the constitutional responsibility of the president,” and he did not believe that individual Senators could “frustrate” that responsibility. To a certain extent, Nixon had a point. For the first time in thirty-nine years, a president’s nominee to the Supreme Court was rejected.[2] Before that, a historian would have to go all the way back to 1894, when the Senate rejected President Cleveland’s choice.[3] Not only was opposition rare, most judges were confirmed unanimously. That era no longer existed. Rather than change course, Nixon doubled down.

            Nixon’s next nominee was Judge G. Harrold Carswell of the Fifth Circuit. Another “strict constructionist” Southerner, Carswell’s fate would be no better than Haynsworth’s. Carswell faced opposition for past stances on civil rights.[4] While running for local political office in 1948, he made remarks explicitly in favor of segregation. While a judge, his opinions seemed written to delay desegregation rather than promote it.

            But it was not this that ensured his defeat. Carswell had a reputation for being an intellectual lightweight bordering on incompetence. In perhaps the greatest own-goal backfire, Republican Senator Hruska of Nebraska had this to say in support: “Even if he were mediocre, there are a lot of mediocre judges and people and lawyers. They are entitled to a little representation, aren’t they, and a little chance? We can’t have all Brandeises, Frankfurters and Cardozos.” With supporters like these . . .

            The Senate rejected Carswell, forty-five to fifty-one. Republicans, again broke rank—thirteen of forty-one voting Republicans, over 30 percent, again voted against their President’s nominee. Ironically, Fortas, Haynsworth, and Carswell all received forty-five votes in support. Enraged, Nixon publicly denounced his opponents for refusing to allow a Southerner to be on the Supreme Court. Nixon turned to Judge Harry Blackmun of the Eighth Circuit. Burger had suggested Blackmun to the administration. The Chief Justice had strong ties to Blackmun—they went to the same elementary school—and Burger was even the best man at Blackmun’s wedding. The suggestion was a good one, in that Blackmun was confirmed ninety-four to zero.[5]

But for strict constructionists and judicial conservatives, the choice was ultimately disappointing. The “Minnesota Twins”—Burger and Blackmun—would grow personally and judicially distant on the bench, as Blackmun became one of the most liberal justices on the Court during his tenure. And though we do not know how a Justice Haynsworth or Justice Carswell would have been on the Court, I feel safe in saying that their opponents succeeded in preserving the legacy of the Warren Court, in no small part, because it was Justice Blackmun who sat on the court instead.

            Next time, Hugo Black’s retirement lets us ponder: When does a secret bring prevent someone from becoming a Justice?

—-

wf5ex@virginia.edu


[1] A useful book on this topic, from which I got this quote, is Kevin J. McMahon’s Nixon’s Court.

[2] In 1930, the Senate rejected President Hoover’s choice of Judge John Parker, also of the Fourth Circuit, thirty-nine to forty-one. Formally, Fortas was filibustered, and so he was never technically rejected. Instead, his nomination lapsed at the conclusion of the Congressional term.

[3] Wheeler Hazard Peckham was defeated 32-41. Cleveland would later successfully appoint Peckham’s brother, Rufus Wheeler Peckham.

[4] A major difference between today and the past was that nominees were largely unscrutinized by those who appointed them. While current events show that no one catches everything, some of these misses, if I may editorialize, are malpractice.

[5] Like Haynsworth, Blackmun also had sat on cases where had a financial interest in the outcome. Unlike Haynsworth, no one used this as reason to vote against Blackmun.

ANG's Guide to 1L Firm Receptions


Taylor Elicegui ‘19
Features Editor

I recently sat down with UVA Law’s favorite all-knowing cretin ANG, under ANG’s favorite bleachers at the softball field, because ANG had a message ANG wanted to make sure the community heard. As law firm reception season starts up, ANG wants to make sure the 1Ls are ready to win friends and influence partners to get that bread. The conversation was a little tricky—it can be hard to distinguish ANG’s excited grunts from ANG’s angry grunts—but I did the best I could to reprint the substance for you here. If, for whatever reason, you’re wary about taking ANG’s advice about receptions, see my italicized commentary below ANG’s nuggets of wisdom.

 

1.     Make sure you dress for success. ANG knows that if you look good, you feel good. And if you feel good, you can do a better job of convincing partners that your C+ in Contracts is not indicative of your overall intelligence. ANG recommends a new trash bag or maybe a new Busch Light box as a hat. ANG knows that is what always makes ANG feel ANG’s best.

 

In all seriousness, law firm business casual is more formal than I originally expected. Don’t wear a suit, but it’s not a bad idea to go a little more formal than you might initially think.

 

2.     Find at least seven of your sectionmates and carpool. Social interaction can sometimes be a little weird for ANG. To make receptions go as smoothly as possible, ANG finds at least seven of ANG’s sectionmates and goes with them to the reception. ANG’s general life motto is “No New Friends” so ANG wants to make sure ANG doesn’t interact with anyone for the first time.

 

Go with a friend or two, but make sure you branch out and talk to others. Law firm

receptions can be a good time to get to know some of your other classmates. The goal,

though, is to learn more about the firm and the different types of law you may be

interested in. The best way to do that is talking with the attorneys and learning about

their work.

 

3.     Keep your hands full at all times. ANG knows there’s nothing worse than having to engage in the social niceties of “shaking hands” and “looking people in the eye” during flu season. To avoid this problem, ANG suggests keeping your hands full at all times. ANG’s go-to is a glass of wine in each hand—one red and one white if ANG is feeling playful and wants to mix things up. If that’s not your thing, ANG recommends having two little plates piled high with appetizers. You won’t have any hands available to put the food into your mouth, so ANG avoids the caprese skewers and sticks to things ANG can eat straight off the plate.

 

Don’t have a drink and plate at the same time. If you want some snacks, grab a snack plate and napkin, and eat some snacks with your peers before beginning your networking interactions. Make sure you always have a hand available to shake.

 

4.     Get as drunk as possible. ANG talks with law firms a lot—they all want to hire ANG. So ANG has it on good authority that law firms want you to get as drunk as you possibly can so they can assess how you will fit in at the firm’s annual holiday party. ANG likes to start with beer and then switch to liquor. ANG has found that really allows ANG to shine.

 

Don’t have more than two drinks. One is even better. This is not a party and you should not be visibly tipsy in any way.

 

5.     Pick at least one lawyer and talk to them. Once you’re tired of talking to the nineteen sectionmates you arrived with, it’s time to do what you’re really there for: talk to a lawyer. ANG likes to pick a lawyer who’s engaged in a conversation with at least six other people and barge in. Once in the group, ANG thinks it’s important to cover all the major conversation topics to show the lawyer how good you are at social interaction. Make sure to tell the lawyer who you voted for, ask who they voted for, share your thoughts on religion, and ask about money. Don’t let anyone other than the lawyer talk, though. You want to make sure the lawyer knows you are the top dog at school. Law firms aren’t looking to hire anyone else. So assert your dominance over your peers by cutting them off every time they try to speak.

 

Use this opportunity to ask about the lawyer’s work and find out more about the firm’s personality. A lawyer once suggested I ask how they would describe the firm in three adjectives, which I thought was a good question and helped me differentiate between firms. Make sure you don’t dominate the conversation and give your peers the same opportunity to ask questions and talk).

 

6.     Follow up if you have a good conversation. ANG continues to differentiate ANG from ANG’s peers by sending at least twelve follow-up emails to everyone ANG speaks to. Recruiter, waiters, bartenders, all the lawyers ANG made eye contact with. Tell them about your family vacation, most recent Con Law reading, and the Taco Bell you had for dinner. ANG finds that sending emails allows ANG to make meaningful connections.

 

Send a follow-up email only if you make a good connection or have an unusually good conversation. Keep it short and make sure it’s very polite. Lawyers are busy people, so don’t take up more of their time.

—-

tke3ge@virginia.edu

Between Tectonic Plates: Snorkeling the Silfra Fissure


Grace Tang ‘21
Staff Editor

My hands were numb and shaking as I descended into the freezing waters of the Silfra fissure in my dry suit and gear. It was unclear whether the shaking was due to excitement, dread, or the sheer cold, as my foggy brain was still reeling from only three hours of sleep after arriving in Reykjavik that morning.

Going on a trip to Iceland in the middle of January seemed like a great plan during August when I was booking plane tickets in the midst of sunshine and great weather. Now, as I descended into the crystal-clear waters of mid-winter in Iceland, I wasn’t so sure. When I lifted my head above the water, all I could see were snow-covered tundra and cliffs on either side, with impressively sized icicles dangling off the edges.

Astoundingly, the cold, gray landscape above the water was transformed into a dazzling, colorful new world as soon as my head descended beneath the surface. The waters in Silfra are likely the purest on earth. They originate from local glaciers which are filtered through porous rock, and clean enough to drink while snorkeling. The colorless waters also greatly improved visibility and it was possible to see almost 100 feet beneath me as I swam.

Though no wildlife inhabits the Silfra fissure, the snorkel was not boring by any means. The geology of the craggy bare-rock walls, bright green algae, and vibrant blues and greens of the water are beautiful and awe-inspiring. Some portions of the fissure are narrow and shallow while other areas widened and deepened unexpectedly hundreds of feet below. The trip ended when we veered left and the waters opened up into a blue sandy lagoon. I couldn’t stop looking around in wonder at everything as I floated by, fascinated by the incredible scenery. It was a very different experience from a normal snorkel, without the typical tropical fish and sea life. Rather, the beauty of the land itself was the main attraction. Because the heavy dry–suits were cumbersome and the water was so cold, the 300 foot swim was much more tiring than I had anticipated. Thirty minutes later, I was quite happy to be sipping hot chocolate on a tour bus.

Located on the famous golden circle route at Thingvellir National Park, I highly recommend the Silfra snorkel any able-bodied swimmer. The Silfra fissure is located between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates and is deemed a UNESCO world heritage site. The glacial water is the clearest in the world, and at its narrowest portion, it is possible to almost touch the two continental plates on either side. The tour is available year-round; however, there is one catch for this extraordinary opportunity. Whether you go on the tour in the high of summer or mid-winter like me, the temperature of the water remains steady at approximately 30 degrees Fahrenheit as the waters originate from a glacier. Despite the cold, snorkeling in Iceland is definitely an adventure one should experience at least once in their life.

The Malicious Chinchilla; or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Exotic Varmints


Will Palmer ‘21
Guest Contributor

On a blustery Tuesday in March of 2014, I was returning to my undergraduate campus from a quick trip to Joe Canal’s Discount Liquor Outlet when I noticed a strip mall PetSmart on the side of the highway. I can’t explain with any certainty why I decided to investigate. My university had a rather strict policy on pets, meaning that the purchase of anything but a fish would lead to unnecessary “complications” in my living situation. Fish give me the willies, so getting a university-approved pet was off the table. I suppose, if anything, that I wanted to cheer myself up during the March doldrums by seeing some cute animals.

Brutus. Photo courtesy Will Palmer.

Brutus. Photo courtesy Will Palmer.

            After a few minutes of aimless wandering, I found myself in the “Small Pets” section of the store. The stacks of gleaming plastic enclosures contained an array of critters, all of whom appeared to be in a state of severe existential malaise. I guess I would be too if I lived in a PetSmart in [state redacted]. I observed a pair of “Fancy Rats” that were engaged in some decidedly non-fancy activities, a guinea pig with a lazy eye, and a hamster that looked like it hung out at truck stops to pick fights for fun. Above them was a seemingly empty enclosure, labeled “Chinchilla,” containing an opaque plastic hutch. I tapped on the wall in a halfhearted attempt to rouse any hidden residents. Yes, I know you’re not supposed to do that. I apologize on my younger self’s behalf.

            A furry, gray head, blunt-nosed, with long whiskers and perky ears, appeared in the hutch’s entrance––the first chinchilla I’d ever seen. Glimmering black eyes looked me up and down searchingly. I felt a sudden chill in the air and shivered. The chinchilla seemed to make up its mind on something and, instead of retreating inside its lair, hopped to the side of the enclosure closest to me and pressed a paw against the plastic wall. In retrospect, this was clearly a calculated ploy to tug at my heartstrings––but hey, it worked, and I’ve got to respect the hustle. At this point, a helpful PetSmart employee (who we’ll call Dennis), approached and inquired as to whether I was “interested in the chinchilla.” He (the rodent, not Dennis) continued to stare, evaluating me like a dad who’s probably going to be disappointed in your life choices.

            I weighed the options presented by my spontaneous foray into the pet store. Should I follow the time-honored traditions and bylaws of the esteemed institution of higher learning that I attended, or allow myself to be swayed by the vaguely unnerving stare of an odd-looking but cute rodent I’d just been introduced to? The title probably spoiled that one for you.

            The licensing fee was pretty cheap, considering that the paperwork I signed said “Critically Endangered Exotic” in large print (I skipped reading the rest of it, as one does). Word, I thought. Critically Endangered? I can swing that. After purchasing a cage, food, and the other necessaries, I left the store a proud new pet owner. The only thing I knew about chinchillas was that I was apparently now in charge of the survival of the species. Either Dennis is quite the salesman or I’m easily manipulated by adorable critters with haunting gazes. In my defense, I thought getting a chinchilla would be kind of funny. “Kind of funny” sometimes outweighs time-honored school traditions, especially when those traditions implicitly prohibit exotic-animal-based hijinks.

            Upon returning to campus, I set up the cage under my bed and opened the carrier to release my new sidekick into his Batcave. A gray blur sped into the cage, coming to a stop next to the bowl of food I’d left out. He sniffed at it, then picked up a kibble in his paw and took a dainty bite. His nose wrinkled and he dropped the kibble like it had personally insulted several generations of his ancestors. My ward then hopped on top of his bowl and, while making full eye contact with me, took a prolific dump on his food. I addressed him: “So it’s going to be like that, huh?” He said nothing. “Fine,” I responded, “be that way.” He glared back from the darkness, clearly plotting something.

            The next day, I returned from class to find that he had crafted a miniature ballista out of balsa wood, rubber bands, and toothpicks. Later that afternoon, while I was getting measurements taken for my new glass eye, I decided on a name for him that has proven to be an apt moniker in the years since: Brutus.

Opinion: Law School Should Take Off Martin Luther King, Jr. Day


Ben Lucy ‘20
Staff Editor

On Monday, most of the United States observed Martin Luther King Jr. Day (“MLK Day”), a federal holiday that commemorates the birth and life of the civil rights leader of the same name. Public schools, post offices, and even the New York Stock Exchange were closed in observance of the holiday. Our Law School was not.[1]

 

To my knowledge, our Law School is alone in refusing to honor MLK Day.[2] I conducted an informal poll of friends who attend other law schools, from Harvard to UNLV to Georgetown to Alabama. None of them had class on Monday. Moreover, each of them was bewildered when I told them UVA didn’t observe the holiday, and some of them didn’t even believe me.

 

I love this Law School. I am so fortunate to have had the opportunity to study here, and I especially appreciate the rich tradition of civil rights scholarship and advocacy the Law School has produced. In particular, I find our dean to be an inspiring person. Dean Goluboff’s scholarship and teaching have had an enormously positive impact on civil rights in the academy and the world at large. In an interview, she once said, “We need to…train our students not to be passive recipients of information but to empower them so that they understand the role they play in the legal system and the legal process. . .This is a law school that cares about our students, our faculty, our staff as whole people.”[3] I want her to be right.

 

But this is a place with deep scars. Nearby on Main Grounds, undergraduate tour guides wrestle with the legacy of slavery and face difficult questions about the persistent lack of diversity at the University. The Law School faces its own diversity problems. With a student body that is significantly less diverse than the general population, the Law School struggles to be a welcoming environment for minority students. It is not unusual for me to take a class where I have zero, one or two classmates who are persons of color. Five of the ten students whose biographies are listed on the Law School’s diversity webpage are not even current students. Frankly, I cannot imagine the resilience it takes for those students to look around them and see so many people who look like me and so few people who don’t. I cannot understand how anyone who works here could fail to imagine how those students must have felt sitting in class on Monday.

 

Law school administrators face many difficult decisions. Whether to observe a federal holiday is not one of them. If an administration cancels classes for a holiday, it signals that the benefits of observing the holiday exceed its costs and necessarily makes a value statement. And if it does not cancel classes for a holiday, that administration sends a clear message that observing the holiday is less important than maintaining regular operations. That necessarily is a value statement, too.

 

I believe both of Dean Goluboff’s statements. This is a law school that cares about its stakeholders as whole people. And I hope that we as a student body can send our own message to help the administration understand the harm that is done by not celebrating MLK Day. If I’m right, things will change. And I believe the Law School does teach us not to be passive recipients of legal knowledge. If I’m right, this student body will not sit passively and endure the symbolic insult of ignoring MLK Day for another year.

___

bml4xd@virginia.edu


[1] Darden, for example, rearranged its entire weekly schedule to allow students to participate in a service day on Monday.

[2] The Law School does not observe several federal holidays, including Veterans Day, Labor Day, and President’s Day. I take it to be painfully obvious how absolutely vacuous that statement is as a justification for failing to observe this one. I have written here about MLK Day because it occurred this week and because I believe the Law School’s failure to observe it is uniquely harmful. But I also believe the Law School harms its stakeholders and its brand by failing to observe Labor Day and Veterans Day. I do not care about President’s Day but would welcome another long weekend if consistency is an important goal of the Law School’s academic calendar.

[3] Meet Dean Risa Goluboff, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DLDYQzNi2aw.

A 1L's Guide to the Second Semester


Taylor Elicegui ‘19
Features Editor

Welcome back everyone! After anywhere from four to six weeks sitting at home, stuffing your face with your mom’s holiday cookies, dodging questions from relatives about your grades and love life (or lack thereof), or traipsing around some random part of the world for one to two credits or just for leisure, it’s good to be back in Charlottesville.

1Ls, you’re probably thrilled to be back, because everyone has been telling you that you already made it through the worst part! Law school is all fun and games from here on out! Well, I have some bad news for you. They’re all lying to you. Your PAs, older friends, and professors have all been lying when they told you first semester is the worst. With that said, I’ve prepared a guide to second semester so you have a better idea of what to expect.

1.     The First Few Weeks of School. This is the good part your PAs were probably talking about when they said second semester is better. For the first two to three weeks, all you have to do is read—and you finally know how to do that! Your readings won’t take nearly as long as they used to, and you’ll find yourself with some extra time on your hands. Take advantage of that extra time by hitting the gym to work on your New Year’s Resolution, living it up at Feb Club, or just enjoying being in your own apartment, where no one tells you to make your bed if you don’t want to.

2.     Feb Club. To spread some cheer in the bleak month of February, SBA and different organizations plan a party for every day in February. As a 1L, do not try and iron man Feb Club and make it to every party. I repeat, do not try and make it to every party. Leave that to the employed 3Ls, who don’t have much better to do and can’t be bothered to read anymore. Pick a few parties, get the section gang together to pregame, and head out to blow off some steam a few times.

3.     Classes. Good news: You picked two of your classes this semester, so there’s a good chance you’re excited about them. Bad news: If you don’t like them, you did this to yourself. You’ll notice there are some different-looking people in those classes. Not necessarily weird per se, but definitely different. There’s something a little off about them. Why do they play so much Tetris during class? Who knew anyone needed to do that much online shopping? Those, my friends, would be the 2Ls and 3Ls. You may also see some strange, never before seen humans, who appear to be more focused than the slacker upperclassmen. Those are people *not* from your section. Pick a seat and introduce yourself to the people around you. Best case scenario, you make some new friends while learning about something you’re genuinely interested in. Worst case scenario, at least you still have half of your classes with your section buddies.

4.     Barrister’s Ball. It’s time to dust off your old prom gown (or tux) and say a little prayer you can still fit into it. If you took my advice and made a journey to the gym with your extra time, you should be in good shape (pun fully intended). Barrister’s is a good opportunity to strut your stuff and remind your enemies just how fabulous you are. There’s an open bar. Enough said.

5.     Journal Tryouts. The worst weekend of 1L. Luckily, though, it’s only a weekend. You have the choice of doing the weekend before Spring Break or the first weekend of Spring Break. There’s pros and cons to each—that first weekend, you get it done sooner, there are more people around (which is less depressing, but also means more competition to find a good work space), some of your older friends may take pity on you and swing by with treats. The downside is, you’ll probably have some reading to do for the week ahead and there’s a whole week of school in front of you after you’ve turned into a journal tryout zombie. Weekend of Spring Break—obviously, you lose three days of break, which sucks. You also have to hear people talk about how terrible it was all week. But there’s no reading to be done, less competition to get your favorite library seat, and plenty of time to de-stress while watching eighteen episodes of New Girl after. Whatever you pick, make sure you have groceries and good snacks on hand, plan to order some type of delicious take-out, and have a killer playlist. Yes, it sucks, but it’s only a weekend and we all make it through.

6.     Extracurriculars. I have some more bad news for you. All those club meetings you go to? They may start…expecting things from you. And all those free lunches you go to, with Chick-Fil-A and interesting speakers? Well, the Chick-Fil-A doesn’t drive itself and those speakers don’t invite themselves, either. Club elections will be coming up, and the 2Ls who have been actually doing things are sick of it. They can’t wait to hand the reins off to the next group of suckers—I mean, student leaders—so they can fill the board positions. In all seriousness, this is a great opportunity to get more involved, add some things to the resume, and plan the types of events you want to see.

7.     Libel!!! This is the only part of the list that’s entirely positive. Libel is the best. At the very least, make sure you come ready to laugh your a** off in March. We’re law students—if we can’t laugh about the reading we aren’t doing, then we may have to actually be doing it?? Your peers will have put a ton of time and effort into the show, and I can guarantee it will be fantastic. Here’s the other important thing: You want to make sure you audition and join the cast. Humor is required, but talent is optional. Being in the show is a pretty minimal time commitment (each skit rehearses once a week) and a fantastic way to make some new friends outside of your usual crew. Libel also feeds you dinner the week of the show. So dust the cobwebs off the left side of your brain and make sure you come out for auditions.

8.     Finals. The great news about spring finals is the weather is great. Charlottesville is beautiful in April and there’s so many wonderful outdoor activities to do. The bad news about spring finals is you don’t get to do any of that, because you’ll be studying. And studying. And studying. Note that “studying” is a combination of “student” and “dying.” Try and at least pick a library spot by the window. You can look out at the sunshine and birds while you attempt to figure out the Rule Against Perpetuities (don’t worry, no one actually gets it). You now get to decide when you’re taking half your finals, which gives you some more flexibility. Make a plan and stick to it. Upperclassmen, only two test windows will be blocked out for us this time! All the better to get those finals over with and get into summer mode. Or bar studying mode. Or work mode. Ugh.

There you have it, folks. The official guide to second semester. Yes, things will be busy. But we’re all back together again and Feb Club is just around the corner!!

___

tke3ge@virginia.edu

 

1L Small Sections Not So Small in Coming Semester


Taylor Elicegui ‘20
Features Editor

Changes are coming to the size of 1L classes next semester. Instead of having one small–section class, one combined class, and two electives, 1Ls will have both their core classes with another section. Additionally, LRW II will now be a two-credit class and LRW I will count as a skills credit. The third LRW credit will be awarded spring semester, but it will reflect the time spent outside of class in both the spring and fall.

According to Associate Dean for Academic Services and Registrar, Jason Dugas, the faculty collectively decided to change LRW in August. Regarding the combined sections in Property and Constitutional Law, Dugas explained, “There are many factors at play for the Vice Dean and me to consider when it comes to class scheduling and sizing, with the result that the spring 1L class size may vary from year to year. It could be that 1Ls will take combined sections of these courses for many future spring terms, or it could be that they don’t—we make that determination from year-to-year.” Professor Sarah Ware, co-director of the Legal Research and Writing Program, added, “The increase in credits was the result of a routine review conducted by the Vice Dean’s office. The school periodically reviews course workload to make sure the credit allotments are appropriate. It was our turn, and the assessment demonstrated a need for one more credit to reflect work outside of class. Accordingly, the faculty implemented an adjustment. We also considered whether some part of LRW might feed into the ABA’s new skills requirement. We concluded it could (as have a number of our peer schools).”

Students reacted to the increase in class sizes in a variety of ways. 1L AJ Santiago ’21 was not pleased to learn about the increase in class size. He said, “Having only 30+ people in a class allows each student a greater opportunity to ask questions about difficult concepts, and I feel like it likewise helps the professor to get a better sense of when the majority of the class is struggling with a concept. I have definitely benefitted from my section being able to have more intimate, in-depth discussions in Contracts, in a way that we are simply not able to in any of our other classes. And I can say with near certainty that I would have a better grasp on a class like Torts if the class were smaller.” Similarly, Meg McKinley ’21 was sad to hear about the increased class sizes. Meg told the paper, “People are more comfortable participating in the small section, and we definitely know Rip better than any of our other professors. I think the smaller size makes everyone more engaged with the class (but that could also just be Rip’s teaching style). I hope they bring it back for future classes!” Head PA Robbie Pomeroy ’19 said, “I think that having two larger classes in the Spring will give students a better sense of what to expect for their 2L and 3L years, as well as exposure to more of their peers in class.” Professor Charles Barzun ’05, who occasionally teaches Con Law but won’t be teaching the class this spring, thinks there could be a slight downside to the change. Barzun believes there may be a downside because students always benefit from smaller classes, but ultimately, he doesn’t think the increase in class size will make much of a difference. Barzun also explained that 1Ls didn’t have small section classes in the spring when he was a student and some of the classes used to have three sections, which was less preferable than class sizes of sixty.

Students generally responded positively to the changes to LRW. Pomeroy also said, “I think it’s great that students will be rewarded for their hard work in LRW. I wish we’d had the same credits as 1Ls, but I’m happy for the Class of 2021 and years to come.” Nellie Black ’20, a Legal Writing Fellow, told the paper, “I think increasing the credits will help students to feel like their work is proportional to the credit they are receiving. I think all students know how important LRW is, but it can feel frustrating to put what feels like two credits worth of time into the class and only receive one credit at the end of the semester. Likewise, I think adding a professional-skills credit helps to recognize the time and effort that goes into preparing and presenting oral arguments in the Spring.” According to Ware, the increase in credits will not “prompt a major alteration to the course as a whole; rather, both are mostly based on an evaluation of what we are currently offering. We think the credit changes just better reflect the educational experience students are gaining through their LRW course work.”

In total, the changes are not large deviations from the past. Students can look forward to receiving an extra credit for LRW and getting credit for the skills they develop. 1Ls will have larger class sizes next semester, which may be adjusted going forward.

Scenes From an Italian Thanksgiving


Tyler D’Ambrose ‘21
Staff Editor

            It is late Saturday night as I sit at an airport bar in Durham. Two gin-and-tonics and a can of Copenhagen mint were sufficient to dull the stress that accumulated as a product of a long, tiring day of cancelled flights and TSA tomfoolery. After flipping through Hunter S. Thompson’s musings on the mundanity of political journalism, I now feel capable of elaborating on my Thanksgiving break.

            Italians are intriguing people. They talk loudly, and they have a unique tendency of waving their arms around as they speak. Their manners aren’t always on par with societal norms. In fact, approximately half of the food prepared for an evening is consumed by an Italian family before it reaches the dinner table. I say all this to convey the point that one may feel understandably out of his or her element when attending a sufficiently Italian dinner gathering. Such was the position that my Uncle Norman found himself in this past Thanksgiving.

            My uncle had the good fortune of marrying into an Italian family thirteen years ago. I say good fortune because the gourmet meals, strong family bonds, and lively political debates that accompany such an arrangement are more than sufficient to make up for the occasionally ill-mannered Italian-American lifestyle.  However, that is not to say that Italian familial gatherings are easy to be a part of.  Here it is worth noting for the uninformed audience the three unwritten rules of Italian dinners.

1.     You must try all of the food. This is the most iron-clad of the three rules. There are absolutely no exceptions to this rule. I should know. In junior high, while spending my Sunday morning running while covered in a garbage bag to cut weight for wrestling, I still had to sit and eat dinner with the family. I then spent the rest of the evening coming up with an explanation for my coaches as to why I was seven pounds over the weight limit.

2.     You must compliment Grandma’s cooking. This applies even if she did not actually make anything. The primary purpose of this rule is to show your great love and appreciation for the most highly regarded member of the Italian family. The secondary purpose of this rule is to stay in Grandma’s good graces, lest you suffer the consequences.[1]

3.     You will participate in the post-dinner, pre-dessert political discussion. This is an inevitability. If you sit at the table with your eyes down while silently sipping a drink, you will still be asked to give your opinion. Here it is vital that you give your honest take on current affairs. If honest, you will only draw the ire of one half of the dinner attendees. If dishonest, you are inviting a full-on barrage of politically incorrect insults for having the gall to give such a ludicrous response.

            My uncle, as one well-acclimated to Italian dinners, knows full well the veracity of Rule 3. To ease the inevitable pain, he (somewhat) wisely makes sure to down a few Moscow Mules before the discussion begins. But while this strategy is sometimes prudent, it has its own risks.  These risks fully materialized last Thursday. During our regular post-dinner, pre-dessert political discussion, the hot topic was on guns. As should be expected from a politically right-leaning family, many pro-gun sentiments were expressed. At first, my uncle seemed to concur. But as the Mules worked their way into his bloodstream, his answers became more grandiose. After ten minutes of a hideously slurred defense of the second amendment, it became apparent that Uncle Norman was not giving his honest political views. Rather, he was merely parroting the talking points from the two hours of Fox News we had just watched before dinner. He broke Rule 3, and consequently a verbal bombardment ensued with enough viciousness to put Bush’s “shock and awe” assault to shame.

            At this point I think it is best to leave out the specific details of the barrage inflicted upon my uncle. Needless to say, everyone felt at ease to give him a piece of their minds. Grandma’s verbal attacks were by far the most brutal. Even the kids got involved in the ordeal, undoubtedly filled with tremendous shame at their father’s ill-advised and disingenuous soliloquy.[2]

            Despite this unfortunate incident, my uncle showed tremendous resilience after taking his ear-beating. He poured himself another Mule and joined the family for the post-dessert, pre-second-dinner nap. As Italian Prophet Rocky Balboa once said, “Life’s not about how hard you can hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward.” And while Italians can sometimes be pretty vicious, there is one unwritten Rule that trumps them all: always love and cherish your family. I hope that my fellow law students got to spend some time this Thanksgiving with the people they love most. And if not, then at least be thankful that you weren’t my uncle.


[1] Diplomats at the Geneva Conventions briefly considered adding “Italian Grandma Ear-Beatings” to the list of prohibited war atrocities.

[2] The dog was also involved. While I was unable to hear back from a credible dog whisperer, I’m pretty sure that “woof woooof” translates to “I am deeply ashamed of your lack of genuine political insight.”

3L Head Sizes Revealed: "Ears" How They Stack Up


Daniel K. Grill ‘19
Staff Editor

Every year the 3L class enjoys a number of events that bring the class together, such as the 3L bonfire and graduation. While these events are certainly fun, no event has had as big of an impact on Grounds as the graduation regalia measurements.  What seemed like an innocent measurement by our Graduation Co-Chairs (#SEN19RS) has revealed interesting information about fellow classmates and even pitted a number of classmates against each other.

Large-headed Brendan Woods ‘19 enjoys a slightly less large cigar. Photo coutesy Brendan Woods.

Large-headed Brendan Woods ‘19 enjoys a slightly less large cigar. Photo coutesy Brendan Woods.

This year’s biggest heads welcomed their newly discovered status among the 3L class. The biggest head, Toccara Nelson, was particularly pleased with her accomplishment. “I’ll take this honor with me for the rest of my days,” she stated.  “When my grandchildren ask me ‘Grandma Toco, what did you do at UVA Law?’ I’ll say, ‘Young child, my head was big AF . . . the biggest throughout the land. Expecto patronus or whatever.’” Brendan Woods, the second-biggest head, was also pleased to learn he had one of the biggest heads in the 3L class. He highlighted the hardships he endured in earning this recognition. “I am used to getting gasps from ski rental workers when they measure my head and I have a hard time finding hats that fit my bulbous skull,” he shared, as he held back tears. These experiences, however, have shaped how he relates with those who have heads across the whole spectrum. Woods plans to treat even the smallest heads in the class with the same respect as his big-headed counterparts, and he hopes they will return the favor to him. W. Campbell Haynes earned a surprising finish as only the third-biggest head in the 3L class. Given his buoyant locks and an apparent misinformation campaign spreading that he had the biggest head in the class, many expected a top-two finish for Haynes. Upon learning that he only had the third biggest head in the class, a noticeably upset Haynes muttered, “Go Vols.” The Law Weekly is not aware of the source of the rumors regarding Haynes’s big head, but will continue to pursue the matter.

While the 3L class has a definitive ranking for the biggest heads, there is no such consensus for the smallest heads. Lina Leal, an LLM from Colombia, earned the measurement for the smallest head. She has always been aware that she has a small head, and was glad to earn this honor. She said, “It would have been a surprise to have the biggest head taking into account that I am petite” (weird flex but ok). While there is no doubt that Leal has a small head, the Law Weekly has recently learned of a complication shaking up the smallest head rankings. Christy Allen, who was thought to have the second-smallest head in the class, claims that her measurements do not accurately reflect the size of her head.  Christy provided the Law Weekly with the following statement: “All I can say is that I’ve always had big hair, so I never knew I had such a small head!! :) and I actually went up a quarter inch just to be safe, so my head is actually smaller than they measured! :)” Graduation Co-Chairs and noted phrenologists Robbie Pomeroy and Julia Wahl declined to comment on the matter. While this may be disconcerting to those seeking a definitive smallest-head-in-the-class, the two seemed content to share the title.

The excitement surrounding the graduation regalia measurements has far exceeded anyone’s expectation. Pomeroy did not even realize the importance of the measurements to the 3L class. “I only wanted to make sure we got tams instead of undergrad cardboard graduation caps. I didn’t realize that measuring the circumference of everyone’s head would bring the class together as it has,” he shared. Wahl was also surprised at the impact her measurements have had and reflects positively on the experience. “I feel a lot closer with the 3L class after touching everyone’s foreheads,” she said. Needless to say, the graduation regalia measurements have provided the class with a wealth of personal information about each other. While no one is really sure what do with this information, there is no doubt that the excitement surrounding the class’s head sizes will continue as the semester progresses.