A Few Pieces of Unsolicited but Necessary TV Advice

Alison Malkowski '19
Format Editor

Not all stories have structure. Not every set of cases has a common theme, lovingly curated by a professor to highlight a single nuanced feature of the law. On a related note, the approximately five hundred words below are one such set of dangerously uncultivated thought.[1] Solicited unceremoniously from this Law Weekly staff member—who was frankly already booked solid for the weekend on such existential questions as “you’ve been in this class the whole semester, right?” and “but which red head are you?”—they defy any attempts at an organized theme. It’s almost as though this whole piece was written in twenty minutes! What a thought! Anyway, please find below a brief comment on television, a topic on which I apparently have a regrettable breadth of opinion available at a moment’s notice, in two parts. There is no conclusion, apart from a reminder that we in this profession value “fair notice.”[2]

 Show you have not watched and should try: Happy Endings

This show is severely underappreciated, almost singlehandedly convinced me to move to Chicago, and streams on Hulu. If you enjoyed New Girl but thought “I wish there was more of this Winston whimsy vibe” or “I wish Zooey was here less,” then BOY is this show for you. Centered on six friends in Chicago who epitomize the hashtag ‘#nonewfriends’ by continuing to only hang out with each other, after one of them literally leaves the other one at the altar (on rollerskates) in the first episode, Happy Endings goes to a level of weird that is both (a) the reason I’ve seen every episode four times and (b) probably responsible for its cancellation in 2013.

Damon Wayans, Jr. (who you know as “Coach” from New Girl) plays one half of Brad and Jane, the grounding couple of the friend group and probably my favorite married couple on television. The other half is shamelessly intense control freak Jane, played by Eliza Coupe (who you probably don’t know as “Tiger” from Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg’s new show Future Man, which is on an “Inside John Malkovich” level of bizarre and which frankly would require a separate paper to explain). The show also features cameos by Megan Mullally and Colin Hanks, a fake limousine tour business, and an entire episode that centers on Max (“Peter” from The Mindy Project) becoming a popular emcee on the Chicago bar mitzvah circuit (episode title: “Boyz II Menorah”).

Show you have watched and for which I have some questions: The Crown

Claire Foy stars as Queen Elizabeth II in a dimly lit but otherwise great TV show. Photo courtesy of Netflix.

Claire Foy stars as Queen Elizabeth II in a dimly lit but otherwise great TV show. Photo courtesy of Netflix.

Let me start by openly admitting that I am not enamored with this show. The casting is amazing, as is the structured exploration of historic events related to the British monarchy (like Philip’s titling to Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, which the series portrays as a marital concession by Elizabeth, but which is IRL speculated to have been to immunize him from being subpoenaed to testify in his buddy’s divorce case). My problem with this show (other than Philip, who sucks, and the former pay discrepancy between the actors who play the main characters, which sucks even more), is that the series is very dark. I don’t mean dark tone-wise, which can be an awesome feature in television (see Black Mirror, The Dark, Twilight Zone, iZombie, The OA, Futurama). I mean that the characters inhabit a world that seems to have constantly just lost power after an electrical storm.

I understand that this series is set in 1950s London. You know what they had in 1950s London? Electricity. Why is everyone having full-on serious marital confrontations in the tea room in the pitch black? This is patently unreasonable. Either because of the literal darkness or because I am wholly without sympathy for Philip, who seems to have somehow missed the central premise of a monarchy despite presumably a lifetime of cultural familiarity with it, I fell asleep every single time my family watched this show over winter break, without fail. The dogs were cute and not featured nearly enough. I would likely have stayed awake for more of the dogs.



[1] See also, feelings I have about television in a small garbage collection of words, for your ridiculing pleasure.



In Defense of "Garbage" Entertainment

Kim Hopkin '19
Development Editor

I have to admit that I often feel self-conscious about the forms of entertainment that I consume. I want to be the person who gets true fulfillment from only listening to NPR, only reading The Economist, and only binge-watching Ken Burns documentaries. In fact, I’ve forced myself to try new podcasts, documentaries, and subscriptions to make it as easy as possible for me to be that person. And occasionally, I do like to spend some of my time with This American Life or getting some niche knowledge via Ken Burns on Prohibition or the Roosevelts. But, while these sources do enrich my life, I don’t always want to stay away from “garbage” TV.

I had a college humanities professor who told me that classical music was objectively better than any other type of music. She lectured us by telling us that understanding classical music and preferring to listen to that over contemporary music made you a better and more intelligent person. Having listened to it, I can say it’s not bad music. The people who listen aren’t inherently boring people. But I’m also not stupid for preferring music with lyrics. That’s just how I engage the most with songs I hear. It’s also how I rank songs and musicians that I like. I find Walker Hayes, Sam Hunt, and Devin Dawson’s lyrics interesting and easy to sing along to. People seem to understand and buy into this reasoning.

However, when I tell people that I sometimes tune into Keeping up with the Kardashians or that I love Brooklyn Nine-Nine, I feel like I’m admitting to a dirty secret. “Not even Andy Samberg thinks Nine-Nine should be nominated for an Emmy,” someone once told me. But why do I have to limit myself to smart or award-winning entertainment? Does that make it actually better?  It’s entertainment.

I feel like there are times when I want to turn on the television and think about the issues that are brought up in the episode. Maybe I want to see things from another perspective or I want to learn about a new topic. But sometimes, I want to just laugh or spend some time actively not thinking that hard. Say what you want about the inherent evil in reality television: The Bachelor is sexist; the Kardashians are talentless. Trust me, I have those thoughts occasionally, too. However, after a long day already thinking about criminal justice policy, or researching for a ten-page paper, or re-reading the Federal Rules of Evidence, I just want to wind down for bed.

That’s why it doesn’t matter that I could be spending my limited amount of time watching Westworld or reading biographies of Supreme Court Justices. I understand that having a working knowledge about different subjects is important to being a well-rounded human, and I do try to learn things outside the classroom. But I’m tired of feeling like I can’t enjoy some mindless entertainment for an hour a day. And if you also feel guilty about not having an encyclopedic understanding of mid-century European politics, I implore you to join me.

Let’s stop criticizing people who don’t have the stamina to watch an Aaron Sorkin show from beginning to end. If someone doesn’t like The Crown, then they shouldn’t have to cling to gender pay inequality to have a worthwhile reason. Let’s watch a little Bravo.



Back For Seconds: "The Santa Clarita Diet"

Kim Hopkin '19
Development Editor

Possible minor spoilers below.

 Those of you with Netflix may be aware of a show that debuted on the internet streaming service in 2017 called Santa Clarita Diet.  The advertisements for the show didn’t cause me any excitement, but I decided to check it out anyway. I’ve always been a fan of Timothy Olyphant’s wry humor, and a show that attracts Drew Barrymore couldn’t be that bad. I was absolutely blown away by how funny and ironic the first season was. Without giving major plot points away, Barrymore’s Sheila is a suburban realtor who becomes a self-aware zombie. Her family, including her husband Joel and daughter Abby (played by Liv Hewson), struggles with the repercussions of this recent change in “medical status.” The boy next door, Eric (played by the hilarious Skyler Gisondo), is eventually recruited into the conspiracy and uses his nerdy earnestness to endear himself to the audience as well as Abby.

If you haven’t seen the first season of SCD, then please stop reading here and tune into the show. The show has several twists and turns and includes a mystery surrounding how Sheila turned and whether or not others may soon follow.


Sheila (Drew Barrymore) chows down. Photo courtesy Netflix.

Sheila (Drew Barrymore) chows down. Photo courtesy Netflix.

MAJOR SEASON ONE spoilers below. As in LAST season so don’t send me hate mail.

The second season picks up directly after the cliffhangers in last season’s finale. This means Joel is being carted off to a mental hospital, and Sheila is literally chained up in the basement waiting for Eric and Abby to create a serum that may stop Sheila from further deteriorating. If this doesn’t immediately jog your memory, please go back and re-binge the first season. Many of the important storylines are directly continued, and if you haven’t reviewed, you may miss some of the best jokes trying to catch up.

My favorite part of this season was admittedly my least favorite part of last season. Joel’s role as an emotionally adolescent parent created a dynamic that grated me last year. Sheila had to do all the murders, raise Abby, and get dinner on the table for her family? Rude. But they really reached a dynamic in the relationship once Joel put down the pot and joined in the dysfunction. When they reached #couplegoals at the end of last season with Joel paying a coroner for “spare” body parts, I didn’t know if they were going to repeat Joel’s maturity process again this season. However, I was really happy to see that he really leaned in this season and the relationship as a whole grew. The situations they encounter push them to decide what they really want and how far they are willing to go to maintain normalcy in this outlandish situationleading to wildly comic results. I have to say, their dynamic was my favorite part of this new season.

Following closely behind was Abby’s arc this season. She’s always been tough and witty, but this season she faltered and realized the boy next door can mean more than the tough guy . . . who works at Color Me Mine (I love these writers). While Eric doesn’t undergo too much change this year, I really don’t think he needs to. His sincere desire to help the Hammonds at any cost makes me believe in mankind again. Which is fairly important when watching a show that graphically shows Barrymore chewing a man’s face off while I cheer her on. 

Guest Opinion: Keep College Open to Discussion

Sarah Crandall '19
Guest Columnist

"It is impossible for a man to learn what he thinks he already knows." Epictetus


"It is in fact a part of the function of education to help us escape, not from our own time—for we are bound by that—but from the intellectual and emotional limitations of our time." T. S. Eliot

Hearing Professor Coughlin and Loyola Professor Alexander Tsesis discuss the propriety of limiting free speech on university campuses, I couldn’t help but reflect on the purpose of education. Both professors and I agree that the First Amendment does not protect all speech, and since the discussion did not focus on the current limits of the law as much as the policy questions involved, my response focuses on the normative implications of campus speech restrictions.

As I see it, education is about more than paying a ridiculous sum for a paper bearing my name. I’m here to learn—to hear ideas I never thought of before, to have my fundamental ideas challenged, to see if they will still stand. It’s not a comfortable process. And it isn’t supposed to be. If safe spaces become synonymous with echo chambers, and if classes are expected to be safe spaces, that undercuts the point of education. As Professor Tsesis rightly noted, students miss valuable parts of their education if their professors let them skip the parts that make them sad or uncomfortable. Sometimes the most painful experiences are the most formative. I remember reading and discussing The Hiding Place, describing a Dutch Resistance worker’s torturous experiences in Nazi concentration camps, as an eighth grader. It made me cry. It made me angry. But it forced me to think about how I would respond in a similar situation, and I learned from the narrator’s growth. It exposed me to different ways of thinking and enabled me to assess whether those ways of thinking were right and why.

The danger of campus speech regulations, born from the idea that school should be a safe space, is that they often prematurely shut down discussion that would otherwise lead to growth. I’ve heard from my fellow students how the mere prospect, or in some cases, the firsthand experience, of being labelled a "hater" has had a chilling effect on their speech. They refrain from saying what they think in group discussions not because their ideas lack a rational foundation but because they fear the only responses will be straw-man analysis, ad hominem attacks, ostracism, or even harassment claims because a given idea is politically “incorrect” and personally offensive to someone present. That sort of one-strike-you’re-out reaction does no one any favors in the long run. It doesn’t encourage wrong ideas to be refuted with rational argument rather than name-calling, and it doesn’t teach students how to engage with these ideas post-graduation, when they may not have the luxury of walking out of the uncomfortable conversations. It only serves to leave the disparaged students feeling disrespected and resentful, forcing them into their own growth-stunting echo chambers.

Regardless of what background we come from or what beliefs we hold, none of us has all the answers. I hope that UVa will be a place where people can freely and earnestly pursue truth together, treating each other with the dignity all human beings deserve. Rather than decreeing what can and cannot be said, let’s have the hard conversations. And let’s be better people for them.


Letters to the Editor: 4-4-2018

Response to Justice Stevens

W. Augustus "Gus" Todd '19

 Last week, retired Supreme Court Associate Justice John Paul Stevens penned an op-ed in the New York Times encouraging the students and activists involved in the “March for Our Lives” events to seek “more effective and more lasting reform” by demanding a repeal of the Second Amendment.[1] Justice Stevens argued the Second Amendment as interpreted in Heller[2] has stymied lawmakers from enacting more stringent gun control legislation. In his view, repealing the Second Amendment would short-circuit these arguments and would allow progressive gun control reforms to move forward free from possible constitutional restraints.

While I disagree with Justice Stevens on many points, I am happy to finally see some transparency in the arguments for gun control. For years, many gun owners have viewed proposed “common-sense gun reforms” as concealing an underlying purpose to effectuate an implied repeal of the Second Amendment. This lack of transparency of purpose is one reason many gun owners have dug in their heels and refused to entertain arguments for proposed gun reforms. If society really wants to debate whether the Second Amendment has continued relevancy in modern society, let us have that debate in the open. To do otherwise would be counterproductive and could then endanger other constitutionally secured rights.

I also agree with Justice Stevens that the Supreme Court is responsible for much of our current confusion over the meaning of the Second Amendment. During the decade that has followed Heller, the Supreme Court steadfastly refused to hear cases that would clarify what protections the Second Amendment actually affords.[3] The constitutionality of mandatory waiting periods,[4] bans on certain types of firearms,[5] and whether there is a constitutional right to carry firearms in public at all[6] is still unclear despite opportunities for the Court to take cases and decide those issues. Unfortunately, rather than fulfilling its duty of clarifying the law in this area, the Court instead turned the right to keep and bear arms into a “constitutional orphan”[7] and left the country in limbo.

Before I discuss why I am skeptical that many of the popular gun control proposals will have any appreciable impact on overall gun violence, it might be instructive to note that firearm ownership is already heavily regulated at the federal level. For one thing, federal law has effectively banned private citizens from owning fully automatic firearms (i.e. machine guns, or any firearm capable of firing multiple rounds per single pull of the trigger) since the enactment of the 1934 National Firearms Act.[8] Moreover, it is already illegal under federal law to give a firearm to[9] or for certain categories of people (such as felons, drug users/addicts, persons adjudicated to be mentally defective, and persons subject to domestic restraining orders or with previous domestic violence convictions) to possess firearms or ammunition.[10] Age restrictions are also in place to purchase or own a handgun or any type of long gun (rifles and shotguns).[11] The above discussion doesn’t even begin to take into consideration the existing federal background check regime required for all purchases from licensed dealers or the additional restrictions many states impose. Serious punishment awaits those who violate any of the above federal laws, especially when that violation occurs in relation to another violent crime.[12]

The above scheme still allows for the average law-abiding adult citizen to own rifles, shotguns, and handguns, if 21+, of both the manually loaded and semi-automatic variety. For clarity’s sake, a semi-automatic firearm fires only one bullet per pull of the trigger. “Automatic” is included in the name because some of the energy of the fired bullet is used to eject the spent casing, load the next cartridge, and stage the hammer into a firing position. However, unlike fully automatic firearms, the gun will not fire until the operator pulls the trigger again. By contrast, manually loaded firearms require the operator to manually operate the bolt of the firearm using either a pump action, lever action, or using a handle attached to the bolt itself to eject the spent casing, and then load the next cartridge from the magazine into the firing chamber.[13]

One of the most popular proposals for gun control is to institute a ban on “assault weapons.” This raises the difficult question of what constitutes an “assault weapon.” Previous assault weapon bans did not ban all semi-automatic firearms but instead looked to cosmetic features like pistol grips, barrel shrouds, and telescoping buttstocks as the defining feature of the “assault weapon.”[14] A semi-automatic rifle with detachable magazines that did not include these cosmetic features would not be banned. However, these additional features don’t really affect the overall lethality of the firearm, so I’m not sure why they would be relevant other than that they make the firearm look “tacti-cool.”[15]

For example, both telescoping stocks and pistol grips are primarily ergonomic features that help a person obtain a better and more comfortable grip on their firearm. These are features that should be encouraged, not form the basis of making a weapon illegal. Moreover, features like barrel shrouds, threaded barrels, and flash suppressors are cosmetic in nature and generally have no real impact on the firearm other than making it look like a military grade weapon.

Even more drastic features like bayonet mounts are primarily cosmetic, or in the case of a grenade launcher, meaningless (since the actual grenades themselves are banned under the 1934 National Firearms Act).

Even banning semi-automatic design of firearms or the ability to accept detachable magazines would likely have less of an impact than many gun control proponents would assume. Admittedly, the semi-automatic feature and ability to accept detachable magazines makes it easier to fire multiple rounds in a shorter period of time than if those features did not exist. If that is the sole basis for the argument though, then the goal would seemingly be to ban all semi-automatic firearms that accept detachable magazines, regardless of other cosmetic features they may have. But even this would likely not greatly affect the overall lethality of firearms. Instead, it would encourage firearm manufacturers to change their designs to make pump or lever action firearms fed by “stripper clips”[16] more popular. A person with basic familiarity with their firearm can achieve effective rates of fire with a pump action comparable to that with a semi-automatic firearm. Similarly, there is not much difference in the time required to reload a detachable magazine or use a stripper clip instead.

It would be wrong to see this as evidence that an assault weapons ban wouldn’t affect lawful gun owners. While the average gun owner likely can achieve similar functionality with manually operated firearms, individuals with physical limitations may not be able to operate manually operated firearms. Not only would that would render those firearms practically useless as a means of self-defense, it would needlessly inhibit their enjoyment of shooting sports overall. Similarly, the ergonomic features that can result in a rifle being banned as an “assault weapon” are useful to all shooters in making their rifles more comfortable to shoot. That shouldn’t be a reason to ban them. But more importantly, the debate itself is misplaced because it focuses on a policy that at best would have only a marginal effect on the overall lethality of the firearms themselves. Rifles and shotguns make up a vanishingly small portion of all firearm-related deaths nationwide. In fact, handguns are by far the category most often used in homicides,[17] and even then, approximately two-thirds of all gun-related homicides nationwide are suicides.[18] To focus on “assault weapons” is to look in the wrong place to combat gun-violence.

My goal here is simply to refocus the debate to where it can have the greatest impact. I am eager to participate in a serious conversation about how to lower the social costs of gun ownership in this country, but we have to start in the right place. We should not make the mistake of sacrificing an opportunity to directly address the mental health and overall violent crime issues that are driving America’s gun violence problem by making an emotionally-satisfying yet ill-reasoned choice to focus on a particular class of firearms or by making wholesale changes to the constitutional protections afforded to firearm ownership. Instead, let us have a discussion where we aim to solve the root causes of gun violence. That is a discussion that I, and gun owners like me, have been waiting to have for a long time.


[1] John Paul Stevens, Repeal the Second Amendment, The New York Times (March 27, 2018) https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/27/opinion/john-paul-stevens-repeal-second-amendment.html.

[2] District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570 (2008).

[3] See Silvester v. Becerra, 583 U.S. ____ (slip opinion at 12) (2018) (Thomas, J., dissenting from denial of certiorari). Arguably, the only meaningful Second Amendment case the Court has heard since Heller is McDonald v. City of Chicago, 561 U.S. 742 (2010), which incorporated the Second Amendment as a fundamental right applicable against the states.

[4] Silvester v. Becerra, 583 U.S. ____ (2018).

[5] Kolbe v. Hogan, 849 F.3d 114 (2017) cert. denied, 138 S. Ct. 469 (2017).

[6] Peruta v. County of San Diego, 137 S. Ct. 1995 (2017) (Thomas, J., dissenting from denial of certiorari).

[7] Silvester v. Becerra, 583 U.S. ____ (slip opinion at 13) (2018) (Thomas, J., dissenting from denial of certiorari).

[8] There are narrow exceptions to this rule for certain antique firearms or for people who have a Class III license from ATF. For a thorough discussion of the laws concerning automatic firearms, see Sean Davis, Here are the Actual Federal Laws Regulating Machine Guns in the U.S., The Federalist (Oct. 2, 2017) http://thefederalist.com/2017/10/02/actual-federal-laws-regulating-machine-guns-u-s/.

[9] 18 U.S.C. § 922(d).

[10] 18 U.S.C. §§ 922(g) & (n).

[11] 18 U.S.C. § 922(b).

[12] See generally 18 U.S.C. § 924.

[13] Revolvers can share characteristics of both semi-automatic and manually operated firearms, depending on the design.

[14] See Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, Pub. L. 103-322 §§ 110101, et seq., 108 Stat. 1796, 1996 (1994).

[15] Because of the visual similarities, some also mistake semi-automatic rifles patterned after fully automatic assault rifles as being the same thing. For example, this has led to many people wrongly conflating the semi-automatic AR-15 with true “assault rifles” like the fully automatic M16 and M4 rifles used by the military. “Assault weapons” and assault rifles are not the same.  

[16] A stripper clip is a loading device that holds several cartridges together as a single unit for easier loading into a firearm’s magazine. They are called “stripper clips” because you strip the bullets out of them and into the magazine.

[17] Erica Smith and Alexia Cooper, Homicide in the U.S. Known to Law Enforcement, 2011, U.S. Dep’t. of Justice (Dec. 2013) https://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/hus11.pdf.

[18] See Ben Casselman, Matthew Conlen & Reuben Fischer-Baum, “Gun Deaths in America,” FiveThirtyEight https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/gun-deaths/.

Springtime for Softball in Charlottesville

Johnathan York '18
Softball Enthusiast

Henry Morris '18
NGSL Enthusiast

The UVa Law Softball Invitational is set for its 35th year on April 6-8. What started as a tournament of sixteen teams has grown into an event beloved by law students across the country.[1] Over 1,500 law students representing fifty law schools will make the pilgrimage to Charlottesville that weekend. The North Grounds Softball League, the group that organizes the tournament, is excited to continue the tradition of community, charity, and UVa softball dominance.

The Invitational’s greatest achievement is its impact on the community. Every year, a portion of the proceeds is donated to ReadyKids, a local non-profit that provides early learning education services and counseling to disadvantaged or at-risk children right here in Charlottesville. A portion of the proceeds will also go to UVa’s Public Interest Law Association, helping fund UVa Law students seeking to work in law and public service. We’re looking forward to continuing these relationships this year.

In addition to supporting some great causes, the Invitational is a convenient stage for UVa to assert its dominance over other law schools. The first Invitational was held on March 30, 1984, and had sixteen teams representing seven schools. Things quickly got heated as the coach of the William & Mary team arrived in Charlottesville and declared, “We are not only going to win your tournament, we are going to drink your beer...and burn your overrated law school to the ground.” The UVa teams took this to heart, and the 1L/2L squad made a run all the way to the championship. Thirty-five years later, the pride of protecting our grounds from visiting schools is still alive and well. With a combination of ten Championships and Runner-Up finishes over the past six years, the UVa teams have sent a message to any teams coming to Charlottesville: bring your A game.

            From everyone who has worked tirelessly to help put on this year’s invitational, we hope you all will come out and enjoy every part of the tournament. Whether it’s being a field monitor (and getting PILA hours), or cheering on the UVA teams, this truly is one of the best weekends of the year. Check out the information below to catch all the softball action.

Get involved. Here are a couple ways to join in the fun.

●      Purchase a tournament wristband: Wristbands cost $25 and get you access to the Saturday Barbecue and drink specials on Saturday night at the Corner, plus proceeds go toward a charitable donation. Wristbands can be purchased Friday night at the Biltmore from 4 to 8 p.m., or Saturday at the Park.

●      Cheer on your classmates: Look for an e-mail in the days leading up to the tournament detailing when and where the six UVa teams will be playing so everyone can come cheer them on.

The schedule. It’s a packed weekendhere’s when and where to catch the action.

●      Registration Party at the Biltmore (Friday, 4-8 p.m.): Visiting teams are welcomed to Charlottesville with another UVa Law traditiondrink specials at the Biltmore.

●      Pool play (Saturday, all day): at Copeley Field, the Park, and Darden Towe Park, teams face off in round-robin pool play to determine who will advance to Sunday.

●      Barbecue at the Park Pavilion (Saturday, 12-2 p.m.): sustenance for players, volunteers, and fans will be served up.

●      Saturday night at the Buddhist Biker Bar, featuring Gunners N’ Roses (Saturday, 8-11 p.m.): join us to wash away a day of defeat or numb the Championship jitters at Buddhist Biker Bar. The Law School’s own Gunners N’ Roses go on at 10:00 p.m.

●      Sunday single-elimination bracket (Sunday, all day): the winner of each group will compete in an NCAA-style elimination bracket, culminating in the regular and co-rec championship games at Darden Towe at 3:30 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.

Bold Tournament Predictions. Finally, some hard-hitting analysis of what could (but probably won’t) go down at this year’s Invitational.

●      Cornell, the North Korea of law school softball, will ignore its ban, hop on another party bus, and show up in Charlottesville anyway. Dascher Pasco will lead a small but passionate group in forming a human wall between the Cornell team and the Biltmore registration party.

●      After Men’s Gold realizes that among their “top prospects” they forgot to get someone who can actually pitch, the team will call up Professor White, a.k.a. Father Softball, who will begrudgingly lead them deep into Sunday bracket play.

●      Several inter-law school romances will blossom. Get your Tinder profile updated.

●      Co-Rec Wild Things or Co-Rec America will shock the world on Sunday. With a surprising number of former college athletes and plenty of liquid courage, either team is primed to make a run.


[1] See the Law Weekly Article for the first tournament, Vol. 36 No. 20.

Satire: White Men Protest Libel

Graham Pittman '19
Guest Satirist

The Affluent White Male Law Student Association (AWMLSA) released a statement today condemning the treatment of cis-gender, heterosexual, upper-middle class Caucasian men at this weekend’s Libel Show.

 “The jokes made at our expense were totally out of line, and you better believe my father will be hearing about this,” 3L AWMLSA President Bradley Hartford said while lounging in Scott Commons in his signature salmon shorts, pastel polo, and boat shoes. “I came to Libel expecting to laugh about Dean Davies falling off a horse or lazy 3Ls blaming Dean Dugas for their inability to read emails and set a reminder to sign up for classes, not be confronted with uncomfortable truths about the socioeconomic composition of the law school’s student body. If I wanted to feel bad about being a straight white man, I would just read the op-ed section of Law Weekly.”

 In particular, Hartford took offense to the group’s portrayal in the UVA Law Boyz music video, a parody of “California Girls” by celebrated singer-songwriter Katy Perry. “To describe us as a homogeneous and completely interchangeable group completely mischaracterizes the diversity of our membership. For instance, I’m from Greenwich, Griffon over there is from Northern Virginia, and Tucker here is from Charleston. Brett,” he added, gesturing to another student wearing khakis, an old fraternity t-shirt, and boat shoes, “plays lacrosse and tennis, while I’m more of a squash and golf guy. And to say that we only wear pastel polos and Top-Siders is totally inaccurate. It’s like the writers completely forgot that all of us spent the entire winter and fall wearing plaid button-downs, olive Barbour jackets, and L.L. Bean boots.”

“Further, I resent that they called us ‘privileged.’ We worked just as hard to get into this school as anyone,” continued Hartford, the son of a major law firm partner who serves on the Law School Foundation’s Board of Trustees. “And it’s not like we’ve never faced adversity before. Sure, I have an offer to work at my dad’s firm after graduation, but do you have any idea how difficult it is to maintain close to a B+ average while going out three nights a week with your NGSL bros?” Hartford, whose parents are paying the full cost of his attendance in addition to his rent at the Pavilion, also cited the lack of diversity scholarships for straight, upper-middle class white men.

 “Until the Libel Show, I was absolutely convinced that we didn’t have a discrimination problem at the University of Virginia. You think this sort of thing could never happen around here, but next thing you know, you’re being systemically persecuted in the form of a four-minute music video set to the tune of a Katy Perry song,” Hartford exclaimed. “I’m just not sure that this is a safe place for people like us anymore” he concluded, referencing the law school whose most recently admitted class is both 55 percent male and 75 percent white.

 Hartford says that his group will continue to fight to bring awareness to the plight of straight, upper-middle class white men at the University of Virginia School of Law. On Thursday at 4 p.m., AWMLSA will be holding a rally outside of the Vineyard Vines store at the Stonefield Shopping Center followed by a march to the keg in Spies Garden. Students are asked to pop their collars in solidarity, and members are required to attend unless they have a preexisting commitment with FedSoc.


10 Ways Snow White is Like Law School

Taylor Elicegui '20
Staff Editor

What do law students and Snow White have in common? Both start off blissfully ignorant, living easy lives, until tragedy strikes (becoming an orphan/selling your soul to go to law school) and end up working to death before running for their life from murderous forces like the Queen/the student loans you took to pay tuition only to be saved by a handsome prince/that firm salary awaiting you at the end of your three years. What follows is a guide[1] to the people you will meet as you try and avoid being murdered on this “magical” journey.

1.     The Wicked Stepmother: Finals. Finals feel jealous of everything in your life that brings you joy and happiness. Finals plot to murder you and your joy. Good luck trying to enjoy the Pav pool and beautiful spring weather with your Property/poisonous apples hanging over you. You can run, but you can’t hide. Even if you try and hide, the Wicked Stepmother will track you down and use your weakness (inherent kindness/love of going out) to ruin your life and/or GPA.

2.     The Magic Mirror: Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the edgiest T14 of all? The University of Virginia School of Law, of course. Everyone knows UVa Law is the cool kid of all the law schools. In a few weeks, when all the other schools descend on us for the softball tournament, our popularity will be apparent. They hate us cuz they ain’t u,s @AboveTheLaw.

3.     Doc: You spend the first two months thinking she is your section’s gunner. That is, until she bombs your ungraded Civ Pro midterm. For some reason, she thinks that you need to do a minimum contacts analysis for the plaintiff, even though everyone knows the court always has good personal jurisdiction over the plaintiff. You were super intimidated until you realized that, while she seems to have it all together from the outside, she’s actually the conductor of the Hot Mess Express. For some reason, though, she still reads all the assigned notes.

4.     Sleepy: Your friend that, for some reason, has all of the same responsibilities as you but seems much more hassled, stressed, and sleep-deprived. Unclear if he has an addiction to internet poker or The Great British Bake-Off, but you have a sneaking suspicion he doesn’t sleep at night, since he struggles so hard in class.

5.     Grumpy: He has a coffee addiction but never manages to grab a cup before your 8:30, so every time you speak to him, you fear for your life. He complains about the reading when it’s forty pages and complains about the reading when it’s four pages. You feared for Student Affairs that one time he went to get snacks and they didn’t have any of his favorite chips. Amazingly, he tends to avoid getting cold-called. You’re pretty sure it’s because the professors are scared off by his perma-scowl.

6.     Happy: Every section needs a Happy to help them bond and keep them sane. Happy is super extraverted and seemingly knows everyone around school. She’s most likely the captain of your softball team, the 1L Rep of Virginia Law Women, involved with the Libel Show, and one of those people that runs marathons *for fun*. You know Happy must have some flaw somewhere, right? Otherwise it’s just not fair.

7.     Sneezy: The sick kid who never stays home and gets everyone else sick. You can’t blame Sneezy for being a product of our law school culture, but that doesn’t mean you have to appreciate the germs. Why do we insist on doing this to ourselves? Unclear, but this is definitely something we should work on.

8.     Bashful: Your friend who, despite grading and writing onto Virginia Law Review, remains the humblest, kindest friend you have. She’s always willing to give you her class notes. She writes her own outline and your outline. With Bashful by your side, you’re guaranteed to meet the median in Federal Courts, at the minimum.

9.     Dopey: He’s perpetually late for class. Seemingly never does the reading. Pulls all of his outlines from the SBA bank. Has never missed a bar review. You’re honestly worried about him failing LRW. But, you keep him around because he makes you feel like you’re thriving. Plus, you can always count on him to throw the pre-game.

10.   Prince Charming: Just like Prince Charming, the Virginia Law Weekly. Law Weekly is here to rescue you when you need it the most—the day when you forgot your lunch and don’t want to pay for food. Law Weekly comes to the rescue with the school’s most comprehensive guide to find the fairest free meal in all of the land. Law Weekly is also your go-to source for breaking news, cartoons, and professor quotes—here to rescue you from the drudgery of studying when you need it the most. You’re welcome.




[1] With thanks to Will L. Hupp '20 and Darcy Whelan '19 for their assistance

Don't Raise Your Voice, Improve Your Argument

Anna Murphy '19
Guest Columnist

 Slamming the door on her way out, an attendee caught my attention as she prematurely exited the abortion debate between Nadine Strossen and Stephanie Gray this past week at UVa Law.

This momentary disruption contrasted with the polite silence of Caplin Pavilion where two powerful, expert women intelligently debated the highly contentious issue of abortion. Sitting in the audience, I thought of the principle spoken of by Desmond Tutu: “Don’t raise your voice, improve your argument.”[1]

This article is to provoke thought regarding how you, I, and our colleagues debate generally as well as in the specific context of abortion. I will give you objective facts about abortion, applaud and critique the recent debate between Ms. Strossen (former ACLU president) and Ms. Gray (co-founder of the Canadian Centre for Bioethical Reform),[2] challenge how you think about abortion, and then suggest a common ground that both pro-life and pro-choice advocates can support in their quest to protect women’s rights. I welcome comments and critiques, and would love to have a personal discussion with you regarding this article (please see my contact information below).

To begin, I want to recognize abortion is a highly-charged, emotional issue. It triggers conversations regarding gender inequality, racial inequality, poverty and economic prospects, bodily autonomy, human rights, ethics, religion, and morality. I honestly cannot conceive of a more controversial topic that attaches itself to such an array of concerns. Ironically, both sides recognize that gender inequality and other topics are valid and crucial interests, yet we rudely disengage from conversations and throw ad hominems at a person who is often trying to maximize those same interests from a different lens. We therefore miss opportunities to sharpen arguments, know what the opposition thinks and understands, and find common ground on which we can start solving societal problems.

Additionally, I want to express my support for the approximately eighty women here (statistically) at UVa Law who have had an abortion.[3] Research shows that each of those eighty women likely had an abortion due to poverty, educational concerns, or relationship problems with her partner.[4] I implore you to further research the demographics, the reasons, and the procedures of abortion in order to be an informed debater.

Now to last week’s debate on the question of “Should abortion be legal?” I want to first acknowledge and applaud Ms. Strossen and Ms. Gray’s civility, expertise, and accomplishments. They shook hands, spoke in a friendly manner, avoided ad hominems, and presented compelling arguments and counter-arguments. Although Ms. Gray also did so implicitly, I appreciated Ms. Strossen’s explicit attempts at finding common ground.

Ms. Gray began the debate, following the coin toss to determine speaking order, with the provocative question of, “What do civil societies expect of parents?” She claimed (and I hope we all agree on at least this) that we expect parents not to beat or otherwise harm their children. Her three organized points were as follows: (1) parenthood begins at fertilization, (2) human rights begin when humans do, and (3) abortion violates human rights and parenthood.

Ms. Gray stated that humans undeniably produce human offspring, and “personhood/humanity” cannot logically be based on size, level of development, environment, or dependency. For example, is a 6’4” person more human than a 5’1” person? Is a person with a mental handicap less human than someone with an IQ of 160? Does being in a hospital make a person less human than if she were in a classroom? Is a two-year-old, who needs his parents to feed him, less human than a six-year-old who can prepare his own PB&J? Squarely addressing why we tend to draw the line at pre-born versus birth or at viability for “personhood,” Ms. Gray also asked a challenging question: if “personhood” is based on vitality outside of the womb, why do we allow technology to define our humanity? Given that (a) technology in the US can allow a 21-week-old fetus to survive outside the womb,[5] while (b) technology in less developed countries does not have that capability, are American 21-week-old fetuses more human than those in Afghanistan?[6] Ms. Gray's conclusion is that being conceived from human parents defines our humanity rather than size, level of development, environment, or dependency.

In response, Ms. Strossen focused her arguments on Supreme Court precedents and how Ms. Gray’s arguments overlooked the dire realities of unwanted pregnancies on women in sensitive situations. For example: poor, racial minority women who are pregnant, in college, and have neither a supportive partner nor family have bleak options. Roe v. Wade gave women the right to have an abortion in defined circumstances, [7] and neither the State nor individuals should impose their “independent principles of morality” on women.[8]  Furthermore, forcing a woman to carry a fetus to term violates her bodily autonomy, exacerbates gender inequality, and harms her career potential.[9]

Both sides of the debate supported their positions well, but each had a unique flaw. Ms. Gray did not satisfactorily give solutions for how to alleviate difficult cases of women who are impoverished, in school, or have less-than-ideal partners. Granted, the debate was on the question of “Should abortion be legal?” rather than “How do we help women who are pregnant?” In turn, Ms. Strossen repeatedly refused to argue at what point a fetus becomes human. Instead, she hinged her arguments on Supreme Court reasoning and dicta in addition to heart-wrenching realities faced by women. Such appeals were compelling, but nonetheless emotional appeals.

Before I suggest a common ground for both pro-choice and pro-life advocates (and I promise that we do have common ground), I will challenge you with this question: when do you begin defending human rights? How large does your client have to be? How mentally or physically developed? In which environment does she have to be? Does it matter whether she can care for herself or may she be dependent on her guardian?

Are you purposefully overlooking the question of “when does human life begin?” Do you have good evidence and arguments beyond emotional appeals?

Here is where I believe we all can agree: we must practically empower women who are in school, who are poor, who are in unsupportive relationships so that they can have a choice. Let us advocate for more pregnant-friendly school policies, let us find creative economic solutions for poor women, and let us be better human beings willing to come to the aid of our pregnant partners regardless of whether they will have an abortion or not. Although I am a pro-life advocate, I believe we must first address the three social issues of (1) lack of educational resources, (2) economic inability, and (3) unsupportive partners before women can truly have a choice. Let us empower women so they are not weighed down by an extrinsic factor when evaluating their decision regarding abortion.

Auspiciously, this debate between Ms. Strossen and Ms. Gray occurred the day of oral argument in Nat’l Inst. of Family and Life Advocates v. Becerra,[10] concerning free speech and abortion advocacy. On the issue of abortion, and in discussion of all topics, I ask you to join me in improving arguments to persuade rather than raising our volume to drown out—or walk out on—an opposing viewpoint. Let’s all work together to ensure women do have a choice, and again, please do not hesitate to contact me at alm4zx@virginia.edu to discuss this topic.



[1] “10 Pieces of Wisdom from Desmond Tutu on his Birthday,” Desmond Tutu Peace Foundation (October 7, 2015), http://www.tutufoundationusa.org/2015/10/07/10-pieces-of-wisdom-from-desmond-tutu-on-his-birthday/.
[2] As a disclaimer, I will only discuss what I believe were their strongest points.
[3] See “Induced Abortion in the United States,” Guttmacher Institute, (January 2018), https://www.guttmacher.org/fact-sheet/induced-abortion-united-states (stating approximately 19% of women in the U.S. have an abortion by age 30). See also “Facts and Statistics,” University of Virginia School of Law, https://content.law.virginia.edu/facts-and-stats/overview (stating that as of October 5, 2017, there were 913 enrolled students, 46% of whom were women).
[4] Guttmacher Institute, supra note 3.
[5] Bonnie Rochman, “A 21-Week-Old Baby Survives and Doctors Ask, How Young is Too Young to Save?” Time (May 27, 2011), http://healthland.time.com/2011/05/27/baby-born-at-21-weeks-survives-how-young-is-too-young-to-save/.
[6] “Infant Mortality Rate,” Central Intelligence Agency, (Accessed March 24, 2017), https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/rankorder/2091rank.html.
[7] 410 U.S. 113 (1973).
[8] Planned Parenthood v. Casey, 505 U.S. 833, 850 (1992).
[9] See id. at 851.
[10] Nat’l Inst. of Family and Life Advocates, 839 F.3d 823 (9th Cir. 2016), cert. granted, 86 U.S.L.W. 3238 (U.S. Nov. 13, 2017) (No. 16-1140).  

Four Machiavellian Reasons to Rescue a Dog

Hutton Marshall '19

Guest Columnist

There are a lot of dogs out there in need of a decent human to look out for them. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals estimates that approximately 3.3 million dogs enter U.S. animal shelters each year. [1]  Nearly a quarter of them are euthanized annually.[2]
That reality wasn’t on our minds when my partner Kelly and I decided to adopt our first pooch, Jocoté, in 2015 when we were living down in Costa Rica (where the reality for homeless dogs is even grimmer). We just wanted a good boy to hang out with, and a friend pointed us in Joco’s direction.

Jocoté. Photo courtesy Hutton Marshall.

Jocoté. Photo courtesy Hutton Marshall.

Joco passed away last December, but during the last few years, Kelly and I came to appreciate the dire predicament many dogs spend their entire life enduring. While losing Joco after just two years with him was a shock, rescuing is a no-brainer for us now. Earlier this week, we signed the official paperwork to adopt our foster Artemis (Arty).
I’m clearly in the camp that there are plenty of good reasons to rescue, but in case the traditional benefits haven’t swayed you, here are a few of the more Machiavellian advantages to rescuing:

1.    Rescues can get away with behaving terribly all the time

This is probably my favorite reason, if I’m being honest. Rescues are stereotyped as these crazily damaged creatures—to be sure, many of them have scars from past trauma—but this results in them getting so much leeway in public.
Rescue urinates indoors somewhere? “Sorry, she’s spent her whole life outside, so we’re still working on house training.”
Rescue jumps up on strangers? “Sorry, he was neglected pretty badly, so now he’s a little starved for affection.”
Rescue growls at the helpless poodle at the dog park? “Sorry, she was in a rough situation before coming to us.”

2.    Avoid social obligations with little consequence

This is more universal to dog ownership, but having a rescue is a full-proof get-out-of-[thing you don’t want to go to]-free card playable at any time. [3] This is probably most effective when you get a spur-of-the-moment invite somewhere (“Sorry, I’d love to, but I actually have to run home and let Arty out.”), or when you want to wrap up an evening early (“Welp, Arty’s been cooped up at home for a while now, so I should go make sure she’s doing okay.”). But it can even be used to get out of pre-planned events (“Guys, Arty just ralphed on my living room rug. I better stay home and keep an eye on her.”). Feel free to be creative here. Most people don’t know jack about your dog, so it’s usually a pretty safe excuse.

Artemis. Photo courtesy Hutton Marshall.

Artemis. Photo courtesy Hutton Marshall.

3.    Excellent effort-to-love ratio

When you adopt a rescue dog, chances are that they weren’t in a great situation before their rescuing (hence the term “rescuing”). I know, I know, it’s terrible that Arty spent the first three years of her life living outside, receiving little affection—or even acknowledgement of her existence—but, on the flipside, Casa Hutton is basically her definition of paradise because of that. Rescuing sets the bar low on my end. I’m basically the second coming of Christ to my dog because I let her inside my apartment and give her water on the regular.
The point isn’t that you can skate by as a mediocre dog owner with rescues. Although even if you’re going to be a pretty mediocre dog parent, that’ll probably be an upgrade from your would-be rescue’s current predicament, maybe? I don’t know, I don’t want to get into all that. The point is, from an effort-to-love standpoint, if you’re going to put in X amount of effort as a dog parent regardless of where they come from, you’re going to get exponentially more love and affection back from a rescue. With a puppy who’s never known hardship, you’re going to be setting that baseline pretty high for them.[4]

4.    Moral superiority

This one really doesn’t need much explanation, but once you adopt a rescue, you’re really on a different moral playing field than other dog owners. Like I mentioned above, it didn’t even occur to Kelly and me that we were doing anything altruistic when we got Joco for free. Soon, however, we learned to embrace the fact that by doing so, we had become better people than many of you all.
It was at first unclear how to convey our moral superiority to all those we encountered, especially at the dog park where our selfless nature really had the chance to shine. We wanted to make sure people knew we were better than them, but didn’t want to be too obvious about it, you know? Much to our relief, we quickly realized that there were myriad opportunities for communicating the fact that we had a rescue dog, and that the implication that we were good people would naturally follow. For those hesitant about following this step: whenever you get asked “Oh, how old is your dog?” or “What breed is she?” it’s important to never know the answer to these questions. Not only will this make clear to the fellow dog owner that you are an altruistic dog-rescuer, but that by knowing this information about their own dog, they have in fact unwittingly outed themselves as a morally depraved dog-purchaser.



[1] https://www.aspca.org/animal-homelessness/shelter-intake-and-surrender/pet-statistics

[2] Id.

[3] In fact, you don’t really even need to actually own a dog to do this. See, Veep, Season 1, Ep. 3 (Communications Director has an imaginary dog, a “Bullshitzu,” to evade social and professional obligations).

[4] General disclaimer that this article is grounded in baseless speculation.

Letters to the Editor: 3-21-2018

She Doesn't Even Go Here: Clinton's Speech at Today Conclave 2018

Raise your hand if you’ve ever been personally demonized by Hillary Rodham Clinton. I know it’s not just me.

In Mrs. Clinton’s recent trip to Mumbai, India, she gave a speech at Today Conclave 2018 where she once again blamed her loss in the 2016 Presidential election to Donald Trump on everything save her poor candidacy. This time, however, she not only insulted those who did not vote for her—especially women who did not vote for her—but entire sections of the country. Indeed, according to her estimation, if she did not win your state, your state is not “optimistic, diverse, dynamic, [or] moving forward.”  

She claimed that Trump’s “Make America Great Again” message was not only about looking “backwards,” but irresponsibly claimed it was about not liking “black people getting rights” or women “getting jobs.” [1] It is inconceivable to Mrs. Clinton that some Americans disagreed with her policy positions and, instead, wished to slash the administrative state, rebuild the military, cut taxes, restore local control to schools, or halt illegal immigration. That many of those people live in America’s heartland is not surprising, nor cause for denigration.

Next, Mrs. Clinton was asked why she thinks over 50 percent of white women voted for Donald Trump. Her demeaning, absurd, and wholly anti-feminist answer proves too much. Clinton responded: “We don’t do well with white men and we don’t do well with married, white women. Part of that is an identification with the Republican Party and a sort of ongoing pressure to vote the way that your husband, your boss, your son, whoever, believes you should.” (emphasis added).

The hypocrisy of such a statement by a self-proclaimed feminist is shocking. Apparently only Democratic women are capable of exercising their vote independently.

Perhaps one day Mrs. Clinton will realize that blaming her loss on everyone and their brother (or, literally, their husband, boss, or son) is an unattractive look. She is pathologically demeaning to women who disagree with her and the contempt that she continues to rain upon half of America is, quite honestly, pathetic.

Hillary Clinton represents everything that is wrong with politics today. That is, if you disagree on an issue (or all of them, as it were with Clinton and I), you are a bad person, an ignorant person, a stupid, racist, bigoted, perhaps even evil person. In her view, the states that did not go for her are not simply composed of reasonable people who disagree on policy, but instead of “backward” people.

In Clinton’s estimation, I’m still a “deplorable.” [2] This is not because of any “ongoing pressure” but because I value and believe in certain things dearly—things like limited government, Second Amendment rights, and economic and religious liberties. As a young woman, I would hope a feminist like Mrs. Clinton could at the very least respect that. But instead, the demonization continues.

Thank goodness deplorable votes still count.  

Christy Allen '19

[1] http://www.businessinsider.com/hillary-clinton-says-trump-won-backwards-states-in-2016-2018-3?r=UK&IR=T.
[2] https://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/11/us/politics/hillary-clinton-basket-of-deplorables.html.

In Defense of Blood Drives

Last week’s opinion column featured a piece by Kyle O’Malley bemoaning discriminatory blood donation polices and criticizing the law school for hosting a blood drive while such policies are in place.  I agree with O’Malley’s views on blood donation regulation, but believe that he takes his argument several steps too far and reaches a rather disturbing conclusion. As he concluded his piece with an invitation for a discussion on the subject, I hope to be able to add a different viewpoint to the conversation.
Current FDA regulations require gay men to have abstained from sexual intercourse for at least one year to be eligible to donate blood.  While an improvement upon the previous lifetime blood donation ban imposed upon gay men, the regulation still stigmatizes and harms the LGBT community with little to no benefit to public health.  Had O’Malley taken the blood drive simply as an opportunity to raise awareness of this injustice or even to encourage the SBA not to host the drive during Diversity Week, then I would happily sign on as an ally to his cause. Unfortunately, however, this is not the course taken.
Instead, he seems to argue that the Law School, or anywhere else, should not host blood drives at all until this discriminatory practice ends. As long as there is a legal obligation for blood drives to abide by the FDA guidelines on the subject, then they should not be hosted even if necessary to “[secure] an adequate blood supply.”  Undeterred, he carries the argument to its logical conclusion to suggest that blood donation currently represents an impermissible form of discrimination that is “substantively wrong, no matter how important [its] ends.”
As the father of a son who is alive today only because of blood transfusions made available by donors, I find this conclusion offensive. It suggests that it would be better to have let my son and other patients die for lack of an adequate blood supply than for LGBT people to suffer the indignity of witnessing blood drives at which they cannot participate. While the damage to the LGBT community caused by the blood ban is real, it is not comparable to the harm that would result from effectively eliminating the supply of donated blood to those who need transfusions. The lives of patients in need of donor blood should not operate as bargaining chips in the quest to achieve societal equality. It is a death sentence imposed on patients for the sins of the FDA. It is an immoral, unjust, and regressive proposition.
That public policy often necessitates the balancing of rights when two competing rights come into conflict is hardly novel. In this circumstance, those competing rights are the right not to be discriminated against and the right to life. Both are important, but one also weighs heavier on the scale. Preventing someone from receiving lifesaving treatment results in a greater injury than facing discrimination at a blood drive. Therefore, the proper course is to encourage blood drives and increase blood donation even though it comes at a price. Again, that price is not necessary, and the blood ban should end, but it would be a horrific policy to end blood drives generally until that should happen.
I hope that the Law School will continue the invaluable service of hosting blood drives in the coming months and years while still expressing support and sympathy for our LGBT classmates. It would be unfortunate if the blood drives here ended as a result of O’Malley’s criticism. Furthermore, I hope that the rising generation of lawyers being educated at the law school will rise to the challenge of making public policy more equal and just for all.
Taylor Kordsiemon '19

[1] Kyle O’Malley, Tainted Love, Virginia Law Weekly.

[2] https://www.fda.gov/downloads/BiologicsBloodVaccines/GuidanceComplianceRegulatoryInformation/Guidances/Blood/UCM446580.pdf.

[3] Zhou & Berkman, Ban the Ban, at https://medicalreview.columbia.edu/article/ban-the-ban/.

[4] O’Malley, supra n.1

[5] Id.

Letters to the Editor: 3-14-2018

Response to “Untangling the Immigration Debate”

Max Wagner’s piece on immigration[1] is misleading, false, and xenophobic. Under the guise of an educational series, Wagner makes unsubstantiated claims that only serve to promote harmful, inaccurate stereotypes and to further obfuscate the “debate.”

The Minority Rights Coalition and the below-signed affinity groups are deeply disappointed by the ignorance and xenophobia espoused by this letter to the editor, its author, and those who endorse its views. Our intent in writing this response is not to further engage in the “debate.” But we will call out xenophobia whenever it presents itself. We will stand together as a community in support of DREAMers, their families, and other minority communities.

First, Mr. Wagner asserts that “illegal” is a more accurate description than “undocumented” by falsely suggesting that “undocumented” begs the question: “Why don’t we just give them documents?” There was no logical connection between the two phrases. Furthermore, Mr. Wagner ignores the fact that many undocumented immigrants are here on valid visas but are overstaying their visas. Unlawful presence in the U.S. is a civil offense. Using the word “illegal” to describe civil offenses is contrary to the common usage of the word “illegal” and, therefore, not the more accurate term to describe undocumented aliens. His word choice of “illegal” is misleading at best. It elicits unsympathetic responses from readers who associate “illegal” with criminality or even violent felonies.

Second, Mr. Wagner attacks perception of DREAMers with false data and premises. Contrary to his claim that most DREAMers were teenagers when they came to the U.S., the average age when they arrived was six and a half years old, and 54 percent were under seven years old when they came to the U.S.[2] Next, Mr. Wagner further attempts to mislead the readers by conflating illiteracy and lack of English proficiency. A focus on English language skills and literacy is thinly veiled racism; he uses language as a proxy to target immigrants from non-English-speaking countries. But this conveniently fails to acknowledge the immigrants from predominantly English speaking countries, to whom this English argument would not apply. Furthermore, not speaking English does not preclude people from being productive members of society. As history demonstrates, English-only laws and literacy tests have often been used to single out racial minorities. It is simply inaccurate to conflate illiteracy with not speaking English.

Third, Mr. Wagner’s account of "chain(ed) migration" fails to clarify anything. We reject the term “chain(ed) migration” not for the reasons Mr. Wagner claims, but rather because the term is an inaccurate characterization of the complex process of immigration. The term has recently been used to foster fear about an uncontrolled influx of immigrants. However, the claim that “once immigrants are issued a green card, they can apply to bring members of their family over” is grossly incomplete and recklessly misleading. Most importantly, there is an annual cap of 226,000 visas per year for family visas.[3] Furthermore, green card holders can only apply for legal status for their unmarried children and spouses, while limited by the annual cap.[4] Notably, they cannot petition for their parents or their siblings. For U.S. citizens, even though there is no cap on applications for their children and parents, applications for siblings are also subject to the same annual cap.[5] The application process is restrictive and time-consuming. The term “chain” migration is excessively misleading.

 Mr. Wagner should do his research—and learn that you cannot back up a factual assertion with an opinion column—before he publishes his next “series” on any legal topic. His article fails to clarify the existing immigration debate and may actually confuse readers with no background on the topic.

 For minority students at UVa Law, this is not the first time, nor will it be the last, that our peers feel justified when their opinions and facts are actually ignorance and lies. Surely everyone is entitled to their opinions, but the problem surfaces when one presents misconceptions and false premises as statements of facts. From blatantly racist and xenophobic comments in class, to passive-aggressive dominating behaviors at firm events, to repeated questions of “no really, where are you from?” until the minority is forced to voice a foreign country as an answer. While we are often enraged and hurt, we cannot say we are ever surprised. This was a daunting reminder that many of our colleagues hold similar views and will soon enter a profession of authority. Unfortunately, many times that position is to govern over minorities. We are used to this and will continue to bear the burden. We will continue to respond intelligently. We will not be silenced. After all, many of us came to law school to gain the tools needed to change the world. To our allies, we thank you for the overwhelming support. Please help us reduce xenophobia everywhere. Speak up. We can all do a little more.

 Minority Rights Coalition at North Grounds; BLSA; JLSA; LALO; Lambda; SALSA; WOC

 Individual names: Lola LollieAkere (saa3cq@virginia.edu), Kendy Chan (kc4dd@virginia.edu), Michelle Chang (mc3qu@virginia.edu), Stephanie Chen (sac7js@virginia.edu), Leanne Chia (lec2tb@virginia.edu), Nellie Guzman (nmg2dc@virginia.edu), Amanda Lineberry '19 (avl5wk@virginia.edu), Elyse Moy (eam8cf@virginia.edu), Robbie Pomeroy (rap3fa@virginia.edu), David Wang (dw2an@virginia.edu), Calla Zhou (cz3dj@virginia.edu)

Response to Clark Hall

When I was a freshman at UC Berkeley, I came back to my dormitory one night to discover a swastika on my door. That was just the start. Over my years as an undergraduate, I routinely found swastikas and anti-Semitic scribbling, like the “kill Jews” I found in the library bathroom. I found Swastikas painted around town as well, and the city seemed in no hurry to remove them. The Daily Californian, UC Berkeley’s student newspaper, published anti-Semitic op-eds and cartoons on multiple occasions. A Jewish student was rammed in the back with a shopping cart during an anti-Israel event and subsequently had to seek a restraining order. As bills to boycott the Middle East’s only democracy, Israel, were debated by UC Berkeley’s student government, I heard Jews called Christ-killers and bloodthirsty child-killers. Old anti-Semitic conspiracy theories about Jewish domination of the media, finance, government, etc. were aired over and over again.

My experience is common for Jewish students in the University of California system. In recent years, swastika incidents have become commonplace, and at UC Davis, swastikas were even painted on the Jewish fraternity house. At UCSD, at a pro-Israel event, a student declared support for gathering all Jews in Israel, that they might be killed more easily. At UCLA, a Jewish applicant for the Student Council’s Judicial Board was asked whether being Jewish would get in the way of her doing her job. At UC Irvine, an anti-Israel mob harassed and chased a female Jewish student trying to enter an Israeli film event. The movement of hate against the Jewish state often predictably results in hate crimes, intimidation, and violence directed at Jewish students.

I bring all this up for a reason. On February 22, the Brody Jewish Center at UVa hosted an event in Clark Hall called “Building Bridges.” A panel of Israeli Defense Force reservists were to share their personal stories and answer questions from students. The objective was to humanize the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, offer students a chance to learn about Israeli society, and create a dialogue about peacemaking.

During the event, a group of students and non-students stormed in, yelling anti-Israel slogans and trying to intimidate Jewish students. The militants ignored entreaties to be part of the event and ask tough questions of the panelists. They continued harassing attendees until campus police were called, and then they finally dispersed. It is disturbing to see the anti-Israel hate movement’s campaign of violence and intimidation against Jewish students, which has become an established part of campus life at the University of California and other major universities, being brought to UVa.

It was still more disturbing to see the undergraduate Minority Rights Coalition deny the Jewish Leadership Council membership, on the grounds that one of the council’s five organizations was a pro-Israel group. Thankfully, this has not been an issue at UVa Law.

One of the main strategies of the anti-Israel hate movement is to try to drive a wedge between Jews and other minorities, suggesting that Jews are not a minority group in an effort to isolate Jews. The facts say otherwise. According to FBI statistics for 2016, the last year for which data is available, Jews were subject to more hate crimes per capita than any other minority group. And according to the Anti-Defamation League, in 2017 anti-Semitic incidents in the U.S. surged nearly 60 percent, the largest single-year increase on record. It is no accident that when the white supremacists came to Charlottesville to intimidate African-Americans and other minorities, one of their chants was “Jews will not replace us.”

Of course, when a culture of hate against one group is tolerated, the result tends to be the targeting of other groups as well. It was not a coincidence that while I was at UC Berkeley, there were numerous racist incidents targeting other minorities, including a fraternity hanging a noose outside their window for Halloween. And I’ll never forget my horror when I sat down at a desk in the UC Berkeley library to find “kill N*****s” written on it. 

Hate crime statistics bear out the connections between different forms of hate on the national level too. In 2016, 50.2 percent of racially-motivated hate crimes targeted African-Americans, and 54.2 percent of religiously-motivated hate crimes targeted Jews. These are strikingly similar numbers.

Benjamin Franklin once wrote “We must, indeed, all hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hang separately.” In the 1960s, Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel and Martin Luther King marched arm in arm at Selma, with Rabbi Heschel calling on Jews to “hearken” to Dr. King’s call for equality, and Dr. King denouncing anti-Zionism as a reincarnation of anti-Semitism. We need to rekindle the spirit of those times, and remember that all of us share a commitment to equality.

In the coming weeks, the UVa chapter of the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights and allied organizations will be partnering for two events. On March 19, veteran civil rights litigator Joel Siegel will speak about how Title VI and Title IX claims can be used to address race and sex discrimination in educational institutions. On April 4, civil rights scholar Alexander Tsesis of Loyola Law and Dean Kendrick will discuss campus hate speech and the First Amendment. We hope both events will spark a meaningful conversation about discrimination in educational institutions.


Baruch Nutovic '19




A Debate on Abortion at UVa Law

This year, I have been extraordinarily fortunate to serve on the board of Advocates for Life at UVa Law, a pro-life educational and advocacy student group. Although most of our activities focus on advocacy and necessarily promote pro-life arguments, last year we decided to take on one event dedicated wholly to the “educational” end of the spectrum. On Tuesday, March 20 at 11:30 a.m., we will host that event, cosponsored with The Federalist Society: a debate on the ethics of abortion in Caplin Pavilion.

As the word “debate” implies, the event will involve two speakers, each presenting what is in her respective mind the strongest arguments for or against the legality of abortion. The speakers, Nadine Strossen and Stephanie Gray, will each have the opportunity to build a complete case within the confines of a timed debate.

Both speakers are exceptionally qualified, and I am deeply grateful to each for her willingness to come speak. Nadine Strossen is currently a professor at New York Law School. Her scholarship, though varied, has recently focused on free speech. Through her long involvement with the ACLU—she served as president from 1991 to 2008—she has also gained intimate familiarity with other regulatory and civil liberties issues, including abortion-related issues.

Stephanie Gray, a Canadian based in Vancouver, is the founder of the pro-life outreach group Love Unleashes Life and a co-founder and past executive director of the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform. Gray travels widely speaking about various topics related to abortion and, among many other recent engagements, delivered a presentation for Google’s “Talks at Google” series last year. She has built a career in apologetics and, like Strossen, is a sought-after speaker.

Both Gray and Strossen have participated in numerous debates on abortion, but they will debate each other for the first time next Tuesday!

Both women have agreed to address ethical, moral or philosophical arguments and not legal arguments, about which any student could quickly become informed through reading cases or treatises. The sole goal of the event, from Advocates for Life’s perspective, is to raise important normative questions that students, faculty and other attendees can—and should—continue to debate amongst themselves.

To that end, I extend a very warm invitation to all members of the UVA Law community to come hear the debate. Most law students have some opinions about the regulation of abortion, and I believe the educational value of the event will rise with the number of different views raised during Q&A after the debate. Both speakers have told me personally that they are very eager to hear and respond to your questions. I hope many of you will take advantage of this rare opportunity to hear two of the best!


Betsey Hedges '18

When All You Want to Do Is Moot

My team had just finished the first round of a national moot court competition. I looked at my phone for the first time in hours, and GroupMe had blown up. Apparently, someone had written an incredibly biased, hate-filled article about immigrants in the Law Weekly. Questions and comments were flying as people discussed how We (not a typo, meant to be a capital We)[1], the people of color at UVa Law, should respond.

I read through all of the messages, but I didn’t know what to say. I didn’t even have time to think about what to say—the competition wasn’t over yet, and I needed to focus on prepping for the next round. But of course, that’s easier said than done. How does one shift their attention to an ultimately pointless argument about a fake case when actual racism and xenophobia are happening?

I didn’t spend months working on this problem to give up now. I prepped for the next round, went in, and did my best. We went back to our hotel and prepped for the next day. We got up, got ready, and went out to wait for the shuttle to the competition. While we waited, I looked at my phone, and again, GroupMe was blowing up. I scanned through the messages and saw pejorative terms like “stolen” and “vandalism” as people discussed what had happened that night.

Once again, I was distracted from the competition that I spent months prepping for. My white teammate, only meaning the best, told me not to worry about it and to focus on the competition. Ultimately, I pulled through and we finished the competition as best we could, but it was difficult to not let my thoughts drift back.

What was most striking about this experience was how entirely unsurprising it was. Time and time again, people of color and other minorities are forced to go through the motions of law school while having to deal with events that are incredibly tolling on our mental and emotional health. Every day, we have to walk through the halls of an institution built by slaves, past pictures of all of the white men who came before us, and literal dick pics. We are told to concentrate on our grades and journals and jobs and résumé boosters, but people don’t seem to understand that all of that is inherently more difficult when you are not a cis-gendered heterosexual white male. We are told to learn the laws of our country, but they are all written by old white men to benefit old white men. We are told not to overcommit ourselves, but we can’t simply ignore the needs of our communities and the affinity groups associated with them, so we add those on top of everything else.

No matter how hard we try to be good law students, something inevitably comes up that tears away our focus and makes all that we do that much harder, even when we’re hundreds of miles away and all we want to do is moot.


Courtney Tonks Koelbel '19



[1] Capitalization in original – Eds.


Strict Scrutiny For Libel

110th Show Theme A Product of Exacting Selection

At the heart of the University of Virginia Law School’s annual stage comedy event, the Libel Show, is a secretive conclave whose existence is known only to a select group of insiders. Each year, the theme that unites the show’s sketches is selected, in rigorous secrecy, by high-ranking members of the Libel organization, known to themselves as “the Junta.”

That process, which the Law Weekly has learned is known internally as the “theme party,” takes place every September 30 under conditions much like the in-group gatherings that produce Popes and U.S. presidential candidates. This year’s theme was no different—and it’s already generating surprise and anticipation around the Law School.

Not only was the Charlie’s Angels theme a surprising one in an age characterized more by idealized nostalgia for the Eighties than the Seventies, when young Millennial viewers, according to market research carried out this year by SurveyMonkey, are more likely to assume that “Farrah Fawcett” is a kind of avocado toast than a middling actress, it was also a bold choice in the era of #MeToo. Adapting a show well known even in its own time for coarse innuendo, lingering bath scenes, and plots less driven by sharply written repartee than by “jiggle-TV” slow-motion closeups of the bodies of its protagonists promises to be a challenge for Libel’s production team. How well the conceit of three women overqualified to follow the orders of a millionaire with a speakerphone plays to Generation #Twitter remains to be seen. But now, less than two weeks from the show’s opening night, the Law Weekly has exclusively obtained almost 300 of the themes rejected by this year’s Junta, revealing for the first time the rigor of the theme party selection procedure, and the length of the long odds Charlie’s Angels really ran to emerge as this year’s theme. “Just running your eyes down the column doesn’t really give you a real appreciation of how much effort goes into separating out a theme that really makes the grade,” commented one theme party attendee, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss internal matters. “You really have to read each one out loud, as we do, preferably in a group, to get the full effect.”

Rejected Themes:

Friday Night Libel

The Forty-Year Old Libel

Talladega Libels


Dial "L" for Libel

Sympathy for Lady Libel

Throw Libel From the Train

Slander: Or the 120 Days of Libel

Libel, She Wrote

Libel the Bailiff

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Libel Show

My Fair Libel

McCabe and Mrs. Libel

An Inconvenient Libel

Libel: Redemption

My Dinner with Libel

All Libel on the Western Front

Do the Libel Thing

Dances With Libels

A Serbian Libel

Libel Rublev

Come and Libel

2001: A Space Libel

The Libels of Navarrone

Libelminer's Daughter

The Handmaid's Libel

Libel, the Beloved Country

Libel on the Roof

A Short Film About Libel

Smokey and the Libel

Libel of the Fireflies

When Libel Met Sally

The Umbrellas of Libel

Libel the Gallant Pig

The Luck of Barry Libel

Guess Who's Coming to Libel

Mad Libel Beyond Slanderdome

Breakfast at Libel's

The Heart Is A Lonely Libel

The Big Libelowski

Stand and Libel

Bill & Ted's Excellent Libel

A Clockwork Libel

Libel On A Hot Tin Roof

A Streetcar Named Libel

Zack And Miri Make A Libel

The Libel King

It's A Wonderful Libel

The Libels of Others

For A Few Libels More

Some Like It Libelous

Libeling in the Rain

Libel Runner

The Bridge On The River Libel

Libel, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels

Tokyo Libel

Mr. Libel Goes to Washington

The Passion of Joan of Libel

Libel Without a Cause

No Country for Old Libel

Libel Me If You Can

Chitty-Chitty Libel-Libel

The Man Who Shot Libel Valance

Who's Afraid of Virginia Libel?

The Libel in Winter

It Libeled One Night

Touch of Libel

La Dolce Libel

The Libel Before Christmas

Libel in the Shell

This Is Libel Tap

In the Heat of the Libel

Stalag Libel 13

The Manchurian Libel

Libel is The Warmest Color

But I'm A Libeler

Libelers Don't Cry

Brokeback Libel

Libel Me by Your Name

Love And Pain And The Whole Libel Thing

Aguirre, the Wrath of Libel

Arsenic and Old Libel

Au Revoir Les Calomnies

Libel With Bashir

Straight Outta Libel

Libels from Iwo Jima

Let the Right One Libel

Back to the Libel Part II

O Libel, Where Art Thou?

Hedwig and the Angry Libel

Faster, Pussycat! Libel! Libel!

Invasion of the Libelsnatchers

A Few Good Libels

Who Framed Libel Rabbit?

Fear and Libel in Las Vegas

From Here to Libel

Libel of Arabia

The Last King of Libel

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Libel

A Hard Day's Libel

The Muppet Christmas Libel

Libel or High Water

What We Do In The Libels

West Side Libel

Libel’s 11

Dawn of the Libel of the Apes

The Libel For Red October

A Fish Called Libel

An American Libel in London

Snow White and the Seven Libels

Sixteen Libels

Libel Hard With a Vengeance

National Libel's Christmas Vacation

Last Libel of Christ

The Libel who Wasn't There

The Meaning of Libel

House of Flying Libels

Picnic At Libel Rock

The Libel of Drunken Master

And Now For Something Completely Libelous

Zatoichi: Blind Libeler

Women on the Verge of A Nervous Libel

Libel and Kumar Go to White Castle

The Man Who Libeled Too Much

The 36 Chambers of Shao-Libel

My Little Libel Show Can't Be This Cute!

Gochuumon wa Meiyokison Desu Ka?

Attack on Libel

The Opening of Misty Libel

Deep Libel

Debbie Does Libel

The Three Libels of Eve

The Devil in Ms. Libel

All About Libel

Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Libel (But Were Too Afraid to Ask)

Jeanne Dielman, 23 quai du Calomnie, 1080 Bruxelles

Last Libel in Paris

My Own Private Libel

The Double Libel of Véronique

Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Libels

The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Libeler

The Accidental Libellists

The Triumph of the Libel

Song of the Libel

Birth of a Libel

Gone With the Libel

The Libel Man (this is a twofer at least)

A Libel Runs Through It

They Call The Wind Libel

The Old Man and the Libel

Gilligan's Libel

Howl's Moving Libel

Trading Libels

The Libel Trap

Romancing the Libel

Libel 2: Electric Boogaloo

A Libel In The Sun

How I Libeled Your Mother

Libel Police

Bubblegum Libel: Tokyo 2040

Sex, Libels, and Videotape

Libelous in Seattle

The Prime of Ms. Jean Libel

The Libel of Apu

Three Billboards Outside Libel, Missouri

The Shape of Libel

Libel Out

Bang the Libel Slowly

Our Libel In Havana

The Pink Libel Strikes Again

Around the World in Eighty Libels

The Libel Potemkin

Why We Libel

30 Seconds Over Libel

Libeling Miss Daisy

The Color Libel

Cool Hand Libel

Libel Farm

Blazing Libels

The Man From L.I.B.E.L.

The Libel Always Rings Twice

Libel Indemnity

St. Elmo's Libel

The Man With the Libel Arm

You've Got Libel

Charlie and the Libel Factory

Honey, I Libeled the Kids

Stop! Or My Mom Will Libel

On the Libelfront

Libels Wide Shut

Libel Snowblood 2: Love Song of Vengeance

Violent Libel

Libel Royale

The Year of Libeling Dangerously

Merry Christmas, Mr. Libel

My Big Fat Greek Libel

How Green Was My Libel

Libel: the Professional

A Tree Grows in Libel

Libel At Bernie's

Daddy Longlibels

Edward Libelhands


The Squid and the Libel

20,000 Libels Under The Sea

The Best Years of Our Libels

Django Unlibeled

Libel By Me

Into the Libel

There Will Be Libel

The Deer Libeler

The Libel of the Sierra Madre

Libel History X

My Side of the Libel


3:10 to Libel

Shakespeare in Libel

Libel vs Libel

Sophie's Libel

Libel Day's Journey Into Night

The Libel of Emile Zola

Libel on the Bounty

Seven Libels for Seven Libelers

The Six Million Dollar Libel

Five Nights at Libel's

Four Libels and a Funeral

Three Libels in the Fountain

2 Libels 2 Libelous

One Flew Over the Libel's Nest

Zero Dark Libel

Chariots of Libel

Close Libels of the Third Kind

How to Succeed in Libel (Without Really Trying)

Libeling For Godot

Libel Came the Stranger

Citizen Libel

Philadelphia Libel

It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Libel

In the Realm of the Libels

Of Mice and Libels

American Libeler

The Libels of Wrath

The Libels of Cherbourg

Libel, She-Wolf of the SS

Tuskegee Libelmen

Those Magnificent Men In Their Libel Machines

Field of Libels

Libel Doesn't Live Here Anymore

How To Lose a Libel in 10 Days

Butch Cassidy and the Libel Kid

Libel at the Museum

The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Libel

Sweet Sweetback's Liibeeeeelous Song

Three the Libel Way

Cornbread, Libel and Me

Libelz ’n the Hood

Death Libels a Horse

Libel of the Flying Guillotine

The Texas Chainsaw Libel

Straw Libels

The Hurt Libel

Defamation: Libel on the Street





Libel on 34th Street

How the Grinch Stole Libel

It's the Great Libel, Charlie Brown


David Ranzini '20


Musings from the Resident Dog-Nut

Lt. Johan Hein USN
'19 Guest Columnist

Do you love dogs?  Let’s be honest, you do.  Do you need extra belly rubs and a couch-cuddler in your life?  Certainly couldn’t hurt.  Are you unsure if you’re ready for a dog, but are willing to spend some time helping both a dog and local animal rescue?  Answering “yes” to those questions launched my wife and me into an ongoing adventure as rescue dog foster parents.

From right to left: Tulip Hein, Hannah Hein, and Rosie Hein. Phot courtesy of Jonah Hein.

From right to left: Tulip Hein, Hannah Hein, and Rosie Hein. Phot courtesy of Jonah Hein.

While living in South Carolina, my wife, Hannah, and I adopted our dog, Tulip, from a rural dog rescue, which raised our awareness of the enormous abandoned animal problem across the United States.  At the time we adopted her, the Charleston, S.C. animal shelter was acquiring up to 50 to 80 dogs a day.  These pups were either directly surrendered by their owner or abandoned and taken to the shelter by people who found them in the wild.  Unfortunately, in rural shelters, many are euthanized due to the lack of shelter space and inability to find them a suitable home.

Motivated to find a way to help, we started fostering through a rescue organization which pulled dogs from high-kill shelters in the Carolinas and Virginia and placed them in foster homes.  At first, I was extremely hesitant.  I never planned on opening up my home to a dog we knew nothing about.  We had no idea the issues the dogs might have or their medical situation.  As “foster parents,” we cared for the pups while the rescue organization advertised for “furever” families on Petfinder and other sites.  Though most of our fosters have been hounds, we also had the pleasure of a super-snuggly boxer who loved squeaky toys, an elderly pit-bull who was a sucker for belly rubs, and a few attention-demanding beagles.  It didn’t take long for something that was initially a minor commitment to evolve into a passion for Hannah and me.

Since coming to Charlottesville, we’ve fostered dogs from a local rescue (Caring for Creatures) and volunteered for a local nonprofit that provides dog houses, food, and medical care to dogs that live their entire lives outdoors on the end of a chain (Houses of Wood and Straw, or HOWS).  My wife serves as the Forever-Home Coordinator for HOWS and works around the clock (on top of a full-time job!) to find homes for outdoor dogs, provided the owner can be convinced to surrender them.  These dogs are placed in foster families while we look for an adoption family that will help them lead a healthy, normal life indoors.

Fostering rescue dogs has been one of the most rewarding experiences we have ever had.  Being able to “turn around” a neglected dog and deliver them to a caring family has brought us tons of great memories and plenty of stories to share with the world.  At the end of the day, fostering is a way to make our corner of the world a little better.  
Are you interested in joining us?  Fostering is a flexible activity and can be either short or long in duration.  Basically, it’s having a temporary dog: you’re able to provide a pup with food, shelter, and love while the rescue advertises and seeks an adoption family.  Over the years, we have fostered rescue dogs for as long as three months, and for as short as overnight, in situations where another foster is traveling and needs a dog-sitter, or where the dog may have a veterinary appointment the next morning.

Author Jonah Hein and Rosie. Photo courtesy of Jonah Hein.

Author Jonah Hein and Rosie. Photo courtesy of Jonah Hein.

Full disclosure: fostering is not all sloppy kisses and snoozing.  Many of these pups have lived rough lives outdoors and have never experienced people, the inside of a home, smooth floors, food bowls, or walks.  But the good news is that most of these hurdles are overcome with two simple measures: kindness and patience.  After a few days, almost every foster dog we have hosted is over the moon to have a soft bed and regular meals!

I’ll admit, the toughest challenge of fostering is parting with your foster pup once an adoption family comes along.  Over the years, we’ve grown particularly attached to many of our fosters; however, the satisfaction we receive from seeing the joy that they bring their new families overwhelms any sense of sadness as they leave our house.  Hannah calls this our “happy-sappy” days.  Most of these dogs have so much love to share, we can’t possibly keep it all to ourselves.
I have to admit that there are few things as pure as the unadulterated, butt-wagging joy that I receive at home after a long day of studying.  Some of my section-mates have joined the fostering bandwagon and can attest to its benefits as well (looking at you, Siarra and Hutton).  Given the continuous stream of rescue dogs through our home, we’ve taken to calling it the “Hein Hound Hotel,” and some nights, it feels like we’re booked to capacity.  Right before Christmas this year, we had six dogs in our house!  If fostering is something you’d like to try, let us know: we’d love to open new locations for the Hein Hound Hotel!  If you’d like to learn more, we even have a website (www.HeinHoundHotel.com) where you can review our distinguished former guests, learn about local laws we are trying to change, and apply to foster.


Mingalabar Myanmar!

Maria C. Dieuzeide
L.L.M. Guest Columnist

Jordan R. Silversmith
'18 Guest Columnist

A monk walks by a Buddhist temple in Myanmar. Photo courtesy of Maria C. Dieuzeide.

A monk walks by a Buddhist temple in Myanmar. Photo courtesy of Maria C. Dieuzeide.

It was during one of those very hot days in August in Charlottesville when we first heard that we were among the eight students who had been accepted to the Human Rights Study Project of the University of Virginia School of Law. One email and the word “Myanmar” were sufficient to feel happy, if not also a bit of trepidation, and to start dreaming of and organizing what would turn out being one of the most amazing experiences of our lives.

Getting ready for the trip was no easy task. Vaccinations, malaria pills, visas, forms and more forms, almost twenty-seven hours in transit, layovers in basements with ominous signs that read “THE EXIT OF FLIGHT CANCELLATIONS,” many coffees (with milk!), and watching four movies on the plane were part of the preparations. Nor does that include the strange eleven-and-a-half-hour time difference that made the beginning of the trip full of sleepless nights, groggy afternoons, and a strange enduring hunger for Five Guys.

But everything was worth it. After we arrived in Yangon, we discovered that finding good food would not be a problem in a city with curries and noodles from the many different ethnic groups of Myanmar, along with exquisite teas. We also found out that this place has a special mysticism. It may sound a cliché to say that “life moves at a different pace here,” but that doesn’t make it any less true. Once you get used to the traffic (something similar to Hanoi with its thousand motorbikes, or Manhattan with only ten percent of its traffic lights, which makes that a two-and-a-half mile trip can take forty-five minutes) and to speaking a mix of English with a small quota of Burmese words and a great amount of body language and imagination, you start to understand some of the elements that make Yangon a distinctive place.

Myanmar article 1.jpeg

Indeed, the stark contrast between dilapidated British colonial buildings, the immense Shwedagon Pagoda and other Buddhist stupas, impromptu markets and stunning new hotels all piled on top of each other is something you can only find in Yangon. Among all of them, the markets best depict Yangon. Wherever you go, you will encounter huge markets that seem to appear out of nowhere, with hundreds of shops that offer a fascinating insight into the ethnic diversity of the city, the interaction of different cultures, their history, their traditions, their art and their patrimonies that vary from clothing, jewelry and handcrafts to vegetables, thanaka, and different sorts of meats. All this is surrounded by miles of railways and the Yangon Circle Line Train that several times a day circles around the city through the rural outskirts and gives you the chance to interact with local people and get a sense of their daily routines.

The picturesque organization of Yangon and its peculiarity cannot be completely understood without trying to describe the Burmese people. They are intense fans of international soccer and of the Myanmar National League, dress in longyis that vary in colors according to age, gender, and ethnic group, and cover their faces with swirls of thanaka to protect themselves from the bright sun. But what most surprised us were their broad smiles, their kindness and their generosity. No matter whether they are hanging out at 19th Street (the most popular night spot for locals), listening to music or playing the guitar next to Kandawgyi Lake, commuting back home by the Circle Train or studying at University of Dagon, local people always smile to visitors, are fascinated by learning from other cultures and do their best to make everyone feel at home. This scene is complemented by the presence of little novitiate monks everywhere with their pink robes, flooding the marketplace and streets with magic and charm.

Myanmar, like every country, contains contradictions and multitudes. Yet, what is distinct about Myanmar is how the country’s paradoxes are apparent, with such clarity, every moment of every day. A country of astounding ethnic diversity, Myanmar is home to at least 135 recognized ethnic groups. Its government has treated one ethnic group as its defining ethnic identity; it has a dominant religion, Therevada Buddhism, that is profoundly conservative yet whose votaries—the monks and nuns one may see in their flowing saffron robes at all hours and in all places—have no qualms about using their iPhones to take selfies in front of the skyline-defining Shwedagon Pagoda; a citizenry that, having endured in isolation more than half a century of the vicious whims and barbarism of a military junta, nevertheless manifests a profound curiosity about the world and such endearing kindness towards strangers, the homeless, foreigners, tourists and visitors; and, of course, a country whose name could be Myanmar, or Burma, or neither, or both, or something different altogether. While, the convention of whether to call the country “Burma” or “Myanmar” is a subject of contention, Roman transcriptions of those two names hide the fact that both “Burma” and “Myanmar” are pronounced almost identically in Burmese; what’s more, people there call themselves “Myanmar people,” so it seems wise to let a country’s population determine who they are. For a novice traveler, Myanmar can seem like a lot, even too much. But if you spend several weeks there, as we did with the Human Rights Study Project over winter break, you come to a new realization: there’s a reason every person greets you with a smile and says mingalabar. The word means “it’s a blessing,” or “we are blessed.” And that’s what it’s like to be in Myanmar: a blessing.


Letters to the Editor in Response to Last Week

Last week, the Virginia Law Weekly ran a letter to the editor from Max Wagner ’19 entitled “Untangling the Immigration Debate.” The Law Weekly publishes letters without regard to content or viewpoint. The paper does not endorse the positions taken by authors of letters to the editor. Below are the responses the Law Weekly received to Mr. Wagner’s letter. As was the case with Mr. Wagner’s letter, the only changes our editors made relate to grammar, style, and clarity. 

Kevin Jackson '20

Last week, guest columnist Max Wagner threatened our fair school with not one, not two, but an entire series of opinion pieces on immigration.[1] Mr. Wagner’s first piece objects to liberal terminology and suggests that we adopt a more Trumpian tone. I’m not an expert on immigration. However, I am in the process of getting a visa for my spouse, and I have lived abroad most of my life. I helped with the Migrant Farmworker Project and will soon begin immigration internships. Admittedly, I’m only a few weeks into Immigration Law classes. But since last week’s piece set the bar for discussion very low, I’m happy to proceed on these few credentials.

Mr. Wagner is right that words matter, especially the ones we use to sort human beings. He loosely frames his article around the terms “undocumented immigrant,” “DREAMer,” and “chain(ed) migration.” He argues that we should call people “illegal” instead of “undocumented” immigrants. “Undocumented,” he says, is meant to sound more sympathetic and distort the debate. “Illegal,” to him, is more factual.

In terms of accuracy, neither holds up well. “Immigrant” itself may be confusing because, under federal law, it denotes a category of people intending to stay permanently. It does not include everyone who crosses the border unlawfully. “Undocumented” is arguably under-inclusive. Some people do have documents but then overstay. “Illegal” is also potentially misleading. Crossing the border without authorization is not in itself a federal crime as Mr. Wagner seems to believe. If it were, there would need to be due process instead of summary deportation. Of course it isn’t the legal route, and the government can deport you for being unlawfully present. Is this splitting hairs? Yes, but we’re in law school. We all use these terms loosely in daily conversation and writing, and that’s fine. But the more precise terms are “unauthorized/unlawful alien/noncitizen.” If accuracy alone is your goal, pick an adjective and a noun from that set and you’re golden.[2]

I personally prefer “undocumented immigrant.” Yes, that’s a partisan choice. It implies that the problem is the system, not the immigrant. It tells you where I stand in this debate. A strong preference for “illegal immigrant” is also telling. Illegal activity is done by criminals. Criminals are bad people who should be punished. At least, those are the normal, non-lawyer connotations of those words. “Undocumented” and “illegal” are both understandable but imprecise. Neither is neutral. Mr. Wagner has not chosen an accurate term; he has merely chosen the one that facilitates President Trump’s agenda.

He does not object to the term “DREAMer” itself. He simply wishes to say that Dreamers are not as successful, not as fluent in English, and not as literate as their advocates would have us believe. His source? An opinion piece by a senior legal fellow at the Heritage Foundation.[3] That piece, in turn, gets its statistics from the Center for Immigration Studies. We don’t have time to go into all the problems with CIS. Its executive director wrote a book called The New Case Against Immigration: Both Legal and Illegal.[4] We can just leave it at that.

Advocates of any cause will find the most sympathetic cases and highlight them. And of course not every Dreamer fits the poster child description. But that’s not really the point. We support Dreamers because it’s wrong to deport people who are part of our communities, who are harming no one, and who have been building their lives alongside us. English fluency, lack of exposure to their birth countries, and military membership are rhetorically helpful but ultimately irrelevant. Dreamers are Americans too, and the law should reflect that.

If Trump’s immigration plan is “extremely generous” to Dreamers, I don’t know why Mr. Wagner feels the need to make them seem less sympathetic. He’s right that we should “be honest about the experiences of members of this group.” The best way to do that is to listen to Dreamers themselves. We should read and hear their experiences before we draw conclusions. I dare say we’ll need more than just CIS statistics filtered through an anti-immigrant opinion piece.

Finally, Mr. Wagner claims that “chain migration” is neutral and descriptive. He disapproves of “chained migration,” a reference to slavery that implies “chain migration” is a racist term. Strikingly, he neglects to discuss the far more widespread “family reunification.” “Family reunification” is perfectly descriptive, since that is what bringing family members to the U.S. does. It is used in U.S. legislation and regulations.[5] “Chain migration” may not have always been derogatory.[6] However, it is only familiar to most of us because President Trump uses it in his anti-immigrant rhetoric. Presumably it’s easier to rail against “chain migration” than it is to openly attack families.

Last week’s article is not the impartial guide it purports to be. It characterizes Trump’s immigration plan as “extremely generous.” It puts “clean DACA bill” in scare quotes. Throughout, it makes negative references to “the left,” “the far left,” and “advocates.” The closest it gets to balance is a vague reference to “hardliners on both sides.” It purports to guide us through partisan terms, but it’s not hard to see the charade for what it is. So rather than “untangling” it, let’s just cut through the knot of terminology and make our positions clear. I, like many others at our school, stand with the undocumented. Others stand with Trump. Still more stand somewhere in between. It’s a high-stakes debate, but there’s no need to be coy. Since we must be partisan, let’s at least be straightforwardly partisan.


[1] Max Wagner. “Guest Opinion: Untangling the Immigration Debate.” https://www.lawweekly.org/col/2018/2/21/guest-opinion-untangling-the-immigration-debate

[2] I’m drawing from Professor Kevin Cope’s January 23 Immigration Law course lecture. The analysis of immigration terminology is my characterization of that content, and the application to last week’s article is my own.

[3] Hans Spakovsky. “Not-so-beautiful Dreamers: The reality behind the media airbrushing.” https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2017/dec/25/daca-demographics-show-less-ideal-dreamers-media-i/.

[4] https://www.cis.org/Krikorian?type=blog

[5] 22 USC §7832(b)(2)(B); 8 CFR §204.11(a); 8 USC §1227(a)(1)(E)(ii); 45 CFR §400.115(c)

[6] Blair Guild. “What is ‘chain migration’?” https://www.cbsnews.com/news/what-is-chain-migration-definition-visa-trump-administration-family-reunification/

W. Augustus "Gus" Todd '19

Last week saw one of the most shameful displays of ignorance and intellectual cowardice that I have witnessed since coming to UVa for law school. As many of you may have noticed, last week’s issue of the Law Weekly disappeared from the stands Thursday night. It appears that members of our community, after reading an article they disagreed with,[1] removed the remaining copies of the paper off of the stands to prevent others from reading the article. While reasonable people can and should continue to discuss the merits and flaws of the article itself, this reaction to the article must be forcefully condemned. Rather than confronting the ideas they disagreed with, the people who participated in removing the papers attempted to silence the person holding them. Our society should not tolerate this conduct anywhere. It is hostile to the very concept of the freedom of speech and it is abhorrent in an institution of higher learning where academic honesty and intellectual freedom are paramount virtues.

However, the problems with the events of last week run deeper and speak to the very core of who we are as students at UVa and as future leaders in our communities. Here at UVa, we pride ourselves on our support for one another. We pride ourselves on treating each other with dignity and respect and we hold ourselves to a higher standard in our interactions with one another. The foundation of trust that underlies this school is a large factor in why UVa has come to be consistently ranked as not only one of the best law schools, but also one of the best places to go to law school.[2] The events of last week undermine that trust. Silencing a fellow student is not respectful and is emblematic of a much larger problem facing our society.

It should be uncontroversial to recognize that right now we are a divided nation. America is facing serious issues that in the coming years we are going to have to confront. At home, we still have yet to come to terms on how we are going to treat healthcare and we are in the midst of a debate about whether the individual right to bear arms has continuing relevance in a modern world. Issues concerning race, sex, drugs, abortion, and religion are all still very much part of our national dialogue. On the foreign policy front, we are embroiled in a conflict with one dictator who gasses his own people and may soon be at war with another one hell-bent on launching ballistic missiles at our homeland. It should surprise no one that it appears a Cold War foe is seeking to exploit our current division for its own geopolitical benefit.

If we are going to solve these issues as a nation, we are going to have to do it together. Are we going to initially agree on the best path forward? Of course not. It would be a bad thing if we did. Instead, we will forge our path by arguing with one another—the crucible of vigorous public debate will yield the right answers once we are ready for them. But this kind of robust debate cannot happen if we are not willing to treat each other with respect. The further we divide, the less likely it is for us to engage with the other side and the easier it is to demonize those with whom we disagree. Our inflamed rhetoric portrays each other as evil and lacking humanity while at the same time we retreat into echo chambers that reinforce a sense of our own virtue and righteousness. This is a dangerous cycle, but it is one that we are capable of breaking.

As soon-to-be lawyers, we are entering a profession where we must learn how to disagree without being disagreeable. Wherever our careers take us, we will be in a position where resolving conflict will be part of our everyday lives. Building strong working relationships with those on the other side of the table is a skill that will be crucial to our long-term successes. These relationships will not be fruitful unless we can interact with one another with respect and honesty.  

But more than that, as graduates of an elite law school, we will be in a position to lead the debate on the issues that continue to divide America. Every person at this Law School is intelligent and has ideas worth taking seriously—we wouldn’t be here otherwise. After we graduate, people will look to us for guidance on how to think about these issues and our voices will set the tone for these ongoing debates. We must keep our role as future leaders of our communities in mind when we talk to one another and treat the ideas advanced by our colleagues with due respect, especially when we vehemently disagree with them.

Where we do disagree, we must use the means available to us to respond in a constructive manner that seeks to move the debate forward. Write a response article. Try to get organizations to arrange a debate. More than anything, seek out those with whom you disagree to learn from their perspective. In the process you will recognize their humanity and we will all be better for it. There is some irony in the fact that the article that initiated this uproar was itself the first step in starting a discussion over the words we use when we debate immigration policies. It saddens me to see members of this community having such an antagonistic reaction to an opposing viewpoint. Although the individuals involved do not represent the broader UVa law community, their actions represent a breach of trust that we must take seriously. That is not how elite law students carry themselves, and it is not something we should want to be associated with. Because if this is happening here, I shudder to think what it means for the rest of the country. We can do better than this. We must.


[1] The article attempted to clarify terms commonly used in the debate over immigration and referenced statistics that allegedly show many “DREAMers” lack literacy skills and fluency in English. I have read the article, but do not know enough about the ongoing immigration debate to have a well-informed opinion about the topic or the issues raised by the article.

[2] No citation needed.


Toccara Nelson '19

Last week, Max Wagner wrote an article titled, "Guest Opinion: Untangling the Immigration Debate." In this piece, Wagner explains his position on why many undocumented immigrants should be called illegal immigrants, while providing his divine benevolence over the status and categorization of DREAMers. Wagner states:

While the DREAMers are illegal immigrants, there has long been an understanding that there is a distinction between those who willfully violated the American immigration laws and those who were brought over as children. This is a distinction I agree with. DREAMers did not choose to come here, in most circumstances. They were brought here through little or no fault of their own, and it makes sense that a separate solution for them should be discussed.

He demands that the public be truly “honest” about the experiences of DREAMers in order to inform the U.S. government’s immigration restrictions. Wagner then, in all his precious sympathy and benevolence over DREAMers, cites that DREAMers en masse have high illiteracy rates, lack fluency in English, and lack high school diplomas. The study Wagner cites fails to list any sources or methodology in support of its statistics. This study was briefly described in a Washington Times article, which only quotes but does not cite the source.[1] In fact, the study was allegedly conducted by the Center on Immigration Studies, which is listed by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a group with ties to white supremacist organizations and whose employed policy analyst was pushed out of the Heritage Foundation for forwarding racist pseudoscience.[2]

Based on what Wagner himself spells out in "Untangling the Immigration Debate," the U.S. government should “define who [DREAMers] are” through DREAMers' allegedly (but unfounded) high illiteracy rates and low levels of English fluency and high school diplomas, so that the government “can make correct decisions” regarding immigration policy. It is not a foregone conclusion to see that if Wagner had his way, the U.S. government wouldn’t support DREAMers because, in Wagner’s eyes, they bring nothing of value to the United States. 

It should be very easy to dispute Wagner’s claims about DREAMers and other undocumented immigrants. It should be common sense for this Law School community to know the value that DREAMers and other undocumented immigrants bring to the United States;[3] we should also not be forced to engage in respectability politics to appeal to this Law School community about the value of DREAMers and undocumented immigrants to society.

It should also be common sense that the United States of America was created from immigration from Europe. But those immigrants, unlike the DREAMers and other undocumented immigrants Wagner and so many others malign, violently colonized this land from Native Americans, and ripped numerous of Africans away from their homeland by forcing them into slavery and forcing them to build the nation we now know as the United States of America. Wagner, unsurprisingly, makes no mention of those immigrants. Wagner also fails to mention the U.S.’s role in destabilizing numerous nations with its interventionist policies, and that destabilization causes many to emigrate to the U.S. seeking stability and prosperity.[4] He instead dismisses the worth of DREAMers and other undocumented immigrants. For DREAMers and other undocumented immigrants, their sole crime is to seek a better life in a nation in denial of its own sins. Wagner’s piece is the embodiment of America’s denial.

The fact that students are forced to write a response to blatant racism featured within an article from an institution where the best legal scholars and attorneys supposedly are present is ridiculous. This is not the most desired use of mine or anyone’s time. Consistently students at the University of Virginia School of Law are forced to dedicate time to combat emotionally and mentally triggering instances of racism, xenophobia, homophobia, islamophobia, etc. forwarded by students. The time taken to combat such issues is spent away from doing weekly readings for courses, outlining and preparing for final exams, going to office hours for professors, and this ultimately affects our academic performance at UVa Law. The fact that marginalized students have to respond to an article forwarding racist and xenophobic ideologies further indulges, legitimizes, and publicizes such farces of views in the first place. But here we are, and unfortunately based on this institution and the reactions from members of our community, this is the only “acceptable” way to respond to such ignorant, dangerous, violent, and triggering rhetoric.

I implore the Law Weekly not to continue Wagner’s series about immigration. It is patently obvious that he is misinformed about U.S. immigration policy on a sociohistorical level. The sources he cites prove to be unfounded conjecture. Neither I nor anyone else should have to write this for an article like Wagner’s to be maligned and condemned. But as tradition goes at UVa Law, the burden continuously falls on the marginalized to fight against our own marginalization. And it is utterly exhausting. 


[1] https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2017/dec/25/daca-demographics-show-less-ideal-dreamers-media-i/

[2] https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/group/center-immigration-studies

[3] https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/projects/storywall/american-dreamers

[4] https://revista.drclas.harvard.edu/book/united-states-interventions



Last week, this paper published a guest opinion that stirred controversy on grounds and led to an unidentified person removing all the copies from the library newsstand. I would have been completely oblivious to this drama were it not for the Law Weekly’s Facebook post that blew up my news feed. The post (and re-posts) made no mention of the article’s content. So naturally I had to track down a copy and settle in for a challenging read, which I figured I would probably disagree with on the merits. That is not exactly what happened for me. In the words of someone who shared the Law Weekly’s post about the theft, “fight content you disagree with using better content.” I agree, and so this is my attempt.

I’ll grant the article’s take on words like “illegal” vs. “undocumented” or “chain” vs. “chained.” What ideology doesn’t just hate it when the other side comes up with an effective word or phrase to carry their message? What “pro-life” proponent wouldn’t love to cement “pro-ending-life” into the lexicon? Discussions about linguistic accuracy are worth having—for better or worse, the legal term is “alien”—but I’m not writing this to have that debate. I want to write about a different kind of chain—a chain that is, in my opinion, far more harmful to the country than so-called “chain migration.” That is the chain of sourcing that normalizes baseless and/or utterly false information, which then ends up in our news feeds, accumulating attention, acceptance, and legitimacy.
To its credit, the article recognized that DREAMers are not inherently bad people. They are often children brought to this country at a young age “through little or no fault of their own”—because what small child isn’t occasionally a little at fault for their parents fleeing to another country? I’m sure my parents considered it. Putting aside that “a majority of the DREAMers were brought over as teenagers” is a notion that was left unsupported in the article and is at least disputed,1  my interest was really piqued over a “study” the article cited regarding literacy rates of DREAMers. Digging into the source of this study, I found a sadly common example of legitimization of poor sources through a process whose name I will make up—chain citation.

This citation begins with an article from the Washington Times, a notoriously conservative paper whose viewpoint I do not identify with. However, that does not spell trouble—let’s go to the next link in the chain. The article cites the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS). I’m not an immigration expert; it sounds reputable enough. Let’s check it out. Search results show that CIS was listed as a hate group in 2016 by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) for “its repeated circulation of white nationalist and anti-Semitic writers in its weekly newsletter and the commissioning of a policy analyst who had previously been pushed out of the conservative Heritage Foundation for his embrace of racist pseudoscience.”2  Not looking good so far. But I hear you, 50-percent of readers: “SPLC is a liberal-leaning organization that has its own agenda. What about the study itself?” Let’s hit the next link in the chain. Using the direct quotes from the Washington Times article turned up one article on CIS’s website, “Time to End DACA.”3  Still, this article is not the source of the data. Fortunately, the article directly links to the study.4  The study’s author? Remember the policy analyst pushed out of the Heritage Foundation for his racist pseudoscience? Bingo. The study’s author’s name is Dr. Jason Richwine, a Harvard Ph.D. whose dissertation was entitled "IQ and Immigration Policy", which argued that genetic and/or environmental factors have made “today’s immigrants . . . not as intelligent on average as white natives” in a way that will “have substantial negative effects on the economy and on American society.”5  I hope by now you’re convinced that the literacy data from last week’s article is insufficiently supported. But in case you’re willing to accept this data because all I’ve done is attack the source ad hominem, let’s walk this study back to the article. Even if you are willing to accept the validity of Dr. Richwine’s immigrant literacy study, it wholly doesn’t support the premise for which it was cited. The study purports to quantify literacy rates of Hispanic immigrants as a whole. The CIS article that cited the study linked its Hispanic literacy rates (without questioning accuracy) to DACA recipients merely because “80–90 percent” are Hispanic.6  Therefore, that author’s “estimate” was that “perhaps 24 percent of the DACA-eligible population fall into the functionally illiterate category and another 46 percent have only ‘basic’ English ability.”7  The author doesn’t control for variables or provide any evidence that DACA recipients are somehow representative of Hispanic immigrants writ large.8  This is how a study, which wouldn’t be relevant even if accurate, makes its way from the mind of a racist, through the conduit of a hate group, into a slanted newspaper, and onto the pages of the student newspaper of one of the best law schools in the country. Chain citation—people have a right to be mad about it.

It should be obvious from my taking the time to write this that I support a pathway to citizenship for DREAMers, unqualified and unsullied by political maneuvering. Further, I take serious issue with the unspoken, rhetorical conclusion of last week’s article, which is that DREAMers somehow do not deserve legal status because they are illiterate, or nearly so, and they have no high school diploma. It’s a dog whistle, plain and simple. It is fundamentally no different from the nativist xenophobia that was typified by anti-Roman-Catholic and anti-Asian movements in the 19th and 20th Centuries. Replace “DREAMers” with “Asian” in last week’s article and you’ll see what I mean. Articles like these are problematic not only for their improper research, but also because they continue to marginalize people who would undoubtedly be more successful in our country if we opened our arms rather than stereotyping and ostracizing.
I’m not saying you have to agree with my point of view on DREAMers. What I do hope you agree with is that we in the law school community should attempt to rise above the inadequacy of modern discourse. Neither “side” is innocent of flippant sourcing that feeds our arguments and our egos, myself included. But we should at least attempt to raise the bar, where we can, and refuse to add noise to the debate. Thoughtful and considerate research and argument is paramount, not just in our future careers, but also in our every-day interactions with each other.


1 https://cdn.americanprogress.org/content/uploads/2017/11/02125251/2017_DACA_study_economic_report_updated.pdf (noting that average age when first arrived to the United States was 6.5).

2 https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/group/center-immigration-studies.

3 https://cis.org/Oped/Time-End-DACA.


5  https://www.scribd.com/doc/140239668/IQ-and-Immigration-Policy-Jason-Richwine.
6  https://cis.org/Oped/Time-End-DACA.
7  Id.
8 The author, Dr. Steven Camarota, does have a master’s from UPenn and a PhD from the University of Virginia.



Nathan Tyre '19

Can we all please stop the yelling? We get it. The far right are xenophobic, gun-toting racists who are looking to protect white America at the expense of, well, everyone. And the self-righteous left, correct as they may be on many issues, believe that government cures all ails and if you get in their way they will smear you with names like racist, sexist, xenophobe, and/or bigot. While there may be more than a few on the right that deserve such a description, it is not all of them. And while some on the left want to burn the constitution and start over, most do not.
My primary issue with Mr. Wagner’s recent article is not with his opinion. He’s entitled to be wrong. My primary issue is that it wasn’t worthy of a UVa Law student. This is a school, so we don’t have to get too serious, but Mr. Wagner’s article added nothing to the debate on immigration. It was a poorly written, poorly sourced echo-piece. The article served only to add a microphone to the political right’s talking points.

The provocateurs who responded to the article by throwing away copies of the Virginia Law Weekly and penning an unsigned response also did nothing to advance the debate. Mr. Wagner’s article was inflammatory. It contained arguments that I would call racist—for instance, the argument that those who break immigration laws are “illegals” but those who break other laws are not so branded. But the arguments that Mr. Wagner offered were not his own. He simply repeated them. We’ve heard them before. And we’ve heard the response before as well: He’s a xenophobe. Like I said, we get it. Can we turn the page?

Our country, and certainly this law school, should be a place where ideas and policies are debated with open minds. But instead we walk the halls and hear echoes of ideas we already know to be true. There is no room for debate when minds are made up and battle lines drawn. If you know you are right, then have the confidence to read Mr. Wagner’s article and respond to it with truth and reason. If you are confident in what you believe, have the humility to read Mr. Wagner’s article, look past its inflammatory comments, and reason with the issues. And if you are going to engage in the debate, be disciplined enough to come up with original thought and to properly source your articles. Finally, the debate should be respectful of these conditions and of people. Mr. Wagner’s article wasn’t respectful. It wasn’t original; it wasn’t properly sourced; it wasn’t offered with humility; it didn’t respectfully consider the other side; and it ignored the human element. We should set the standard a bit higher.

To his credit, Mr. Wagner signed his name to his response. His article may have been supremely deficient, to put it mildly. But he engaged. I hope he continues to submit articles to Law Weekly. But I hope he does so in a thoughtful and disciplined manner. I hope his writing improves with each attempt (I hope the same for my own writing). I hope that his future articles are respectful of others and of the debate itself. And I hope that those responding to his article will in turn put down the megaphones and engage with the substantive ideas—it is why we are all here.




Playing the Game: How to Master Firm Receptions

Second semester 1L: Just when you thought you had a handle on law school—or at least a toehold—the mountain shifts, and you’re back to scrambling against the rockslide. They warned you about cold calls and outlines, but most 1Ls feel ambushed by journal tryouts, firm receptions, and  the summer job search. That’s a lot on top of your classes. And getting gussied up to schmooze a tax partner from Whitebread & Smith LLP on a school night may reasonably bottom-out your to-do list. Don’t let it. When firms come to town, they offer more than steak crostini and an open bar. In some cases, they offer jobs, and in all cases, they offer an opportunity to make connections, practice your “elevator pitch,” and learn what the hell transactional law is. Think of firm receptions as a moot OGI. Use them to become fluent in the language of law firms, and to figure out which of your qualities law firms want most. This is how you get a job. 

As a 1L, I went to as many receptions as I could. By OGI, I had refined my process for preparing for and attending them. I should emphasize that it was my process, bespoke for my neurotic, deeply awkward personality. Thus, some of my suggestions may not suit you, but they got me a job in my target market. Without further throat-clearing, here they are: 

Go to firm receptions.

….especially if you’re targeting NY or D.C. because most of the attendees will be from those offices. There may be some folks whose grades are so stellar, their personalities so disarming that they need only smile and nod to get a callback. The rest of us need to be able to speak with enthusiasm about the stuff on our résumés. We need to articulate our reasons for coming to law school, the things we’ve found interesting about being here, and what kind of job we want. That takes practice. But where are you going to find law firm partners with nothing better to do but gab about their firms and listen to you jabber? Firm receptions, duh. This, in my opinion, is the primary benefit of going to them. True, sometimes people get callbacks from receptions. Many more will form good connections that they can lean on when they bid on interviews in the summer. But even if you leave a reception with neither, you’ll at least have practiced talking to attorneys. That matters, I promise. As long as you’re paying attention, you’ll have learned which parts of your narrative work, and which parts leave them glassy-eyed. You’ll know why Cleary is the “quirky” firm, and Covington partners brag about profits per partner (Hint: bring up “siloing” and they’ll love you for it). 

Bring backup but don’t travel as a pack.

If you can help it, go with a friend or a group. This does a few things. One, it keeps you honest. Like a gym buddy, you’re more likely to suit up and go if you have someone else counting on you. Second, going with people you know feels a lot less awkward. If there’s a lull in the conversation, it’s easy to bring up a common activity or interest and get people talking (“John and I are both going to be in the Libel show next month! Did you ever perform in Libel?”) Rolling in with a squad will also boost your self-confidence and put you at ease, but be careful not to cling to them too much. Covering ground at a reception requires flexibility. Often, that means gracefully exiting a conversation once you’ve made a lasting impression. Orchestrating a smooth departure is necessarily harder if you’re trying to extract two or three people from the conversation circle. Traveling as a pack also makes it hard to squeeze in next to that need-to-meet partner and easy to get lost in a string of introductions. Instead, try the tag team method. If you’re eager to peace out of a conversation, and you see bae near you, pull her into the circle, introduce her, talk her up a bit, and use that as an opportunity to withdraw. Finally, carpooling and sharing Ubers makes going downtown three times a week a lot more feasible.

Don’t be afraid to eat.

Few topics get people talking like food does. That’s especially true for lawyers with their firm’s credit cards. How lucky, then, that you can always count on a sampling of Charlottesville’s finest at these events. Don’t be fooled. The food is there less for your nourishment than to feed conversation. (“Have you tried the sushi? It’s delightful.” “Oh you if you like sushi you have to try my favorite sushi joint in D.C.”) So, eat in moderation. The same goes for alcohol. One glass of beer or wine might lead you smoothly into a conversation about Charlottesville’s excellent breweries and wineries, but any more than that will sail your résumé smoothly to the trash. Dean Donovan recommends one fewer drink than it would take for you to start “feeling” it. Eating and drinking at the same time? Not recommended. You should keep your right hand free and dry at all times to introduce yourself. You can’t do that with a beer in one hand and a plate of crispy shrimp in the other. 

Do your research. 

Shockingly, many people go to firm receptions knowing next to nothing about the firm. Don’t be so foolish. At the very least read the firm’s pages in Chambers (that free book that career services gives out).  Just that will set you apart, but if you want to go a step further, read about the firm on its website. That will tell you how the firm views itself, and give you a peak at the firm’s culture which you can then ask more about in person (“I read that your firm really values collegiality, how does the firm promote that culture?”). Partners and associates will appreciate that you’ve looked into their firm, and that you’re not asking clichéd 1L questions (e.g., “So, what’s your firm’s culture like?”). If you have time, look up the attorneys in attendance either on their firm’s website or on LinkedIn. That way you can identify the attorneys you need to meet, and bank some good questions about their backgrounds. It’s not creepy. If the firm sent a list of people they’re sending, the attorneys will be expecting you to know who they are. 

Don’t be boring, but don’t be a dick.

When asked, “Where are you from?”, aspire to more than one word with your answer. It doesn’t matter how obscure, boring, or podunk your home town. Have something to say about it. This goes for more than home towns. Frequently, during firm receptions, you will be expected to pitch yourself. You might see the spotlight coming, or it may land on you without warning. I’ve been to receptions where the partner asked everyone in the circle to share his or her journey to law school, and others where a partner singled me out for a “mock” interview. Saying, “I’m from Kansas, and this is the best law school I could get into” will earn you nothing but a courtesy chuckle. Take the time to work out an elevator pitch. Write it out and practice it with Career Services if you have to. Once you’ve memorized the highlights, you can adapt it to virtually any situation. When the spotlight catches you, you’ll be ready to perform. But being interesting does not mean everyone else must be uninteresting. Don’t hog the attention. When your classmates are waiting to talk to an associate, don’t take the conversation where no one can follow. If you’ve been talking for more than a minute, hook in one of your classmates. They will appreciate it, and the attorneys will take notice.

Go on time

Here’s a secret: attorneys are just as awkward at firm receptions as we are. Many of the ones that get sent to receptions are only a few years older than us and they’re no better at making small talk. Going right when the reception starts makes it a little easier on everyone. If you’re one of the first 1Ls to arrive, you get your pick of the attorneys while they’re fresh and eager to meet you. You don’t have to worry about sliding into a conversation circle or shouting to be heard. You can even ask the recruiters to introduce you to people. You also have the benefit of talking to many attorneys at once. The typical pattern at these events is that individual attorneys spread out across the venue and each receive a cluster of 1Ls. If you show up early, the pattern is reversed. You get to hold court with a cluster of attorneys. 

Follow through.

For better or worse, attorneys will remember you if you had a conversation with them. Though they may not remember your name, they’ll certainly remember what you talked about and whether they liked you. If you feel like you had a good conversation with a few attorneys, get your name in their inboxes. This requires you to remember their name (or get a business card), and email them the next day at the latest. It doesn’t have to be flashy or poetic. Your email should merely remind them of your conversation and thank them for taking the time to talk with you. Career Services can help you with the exact wording. If you do it right, you can email that person during the summer when you’re putting together your bid list, and they’ll be reminded of the pleasant conversation you once provided. This can translate into a good word with the hiring partner, or, in some cases, an early screener interview.




Snacks and Cite Checks: A Guide to Journals

Eric Hall '18
Editor Emeritus, Jr.

There’s a lot of misinformation around North Grounds about journals, their importance, and the differences between them. With this article, I seek to clarify some of that. I won’t say which journal is the best or the most prestigious (I’m plainly biased). And I don’t seek to answer every question for every person. I can only give you my suggestions for criteria that might matter to you speaking as someone who got on a journal, served on a managing board, and found a job at OGI. 


    Should I Join a Journal?

Too often 1Ls overlook the most basic question they should be asking: is it even worth it to join a secondary journal? The answer, I think, is usually yes but not for the reason you’ve often heard parroted. You should not join a journal if you’re only doing it because you heard employers will “think you’re weird” if you don’t have one of our ten journals printed on your résumé. Of the dozens of law firms I interviewed with at OGI, only one associate ever asked about VLBR and only because he was an alumnus of the journal. By the time you interview next fall, you won’t have a clue about how a journal is run. At best, you’ll have done one cite check. Certain journals do offer 1L leadership positions, but even if you get one of those, your responsibilities usually won’t kick in until after OGI. At OGI, if you find yourself discussing your 1L journal experience, something has probably gone terribly wrong in that interview. You should have something else on your résumé that is more interesting to talk about. So, if there’s a student organization or a pro bono activity you find more interesting than working on a journal, that’s a perfectly legitimate, non-weird reason to have no journal on your résumé. 

    Don’t mistake me, journals are helpful for OGI. If there’s an area of the law that is lacking on your résumé, journals serve as a strong signal of your interest in the topic. It shows that you’re tapped in to business law, or tax law, or law and politics. This is especially true if you achieve a leadership position. You show employers that you’re not just on a journal because “at Virginia, everyone’s on a journal.” 

    The real benefit of being on a journal comes from engaging with the process of legal scholarship. Legal scholarship is unique in that we let students—often with nearly zero experience in the field—choose and edit the articles that define the cutting edge of an area of law. This bizarre arrangement is evidently built on a compact that entrusts law students with incredible power in exchange for our free Bluebooking services. This is great for us! We get to work with powerful thought-leaders at law schools across the nation, and put our names on a physical product that will (hopefully) be cited time and again. For anyone committed to studying the law, there are few more rewarding activities in law school. 


Which Journal Should I Join?

The extent to which you will have the above experience will vary tremendously, however, depending on which journal you choose and what position you hold. The same position on different journals has vastly different opportunities to engage like this. If you want to understand how a journal works, interact with authors, and have a hand on the helm, you’ll want to choose a journal that offers 1L leadership. Getting involved as a 1L is the best way to be on the senior managing board later. VLBR, for example, offers Articles Editor positions to certain 1Ls which puts them in a position of ownership over an entire article. Ask the managing board of the journals you’re considering what roles they served in when they were 1Ls.

As an editor, your ability to shape and direct legal scholarship also depends on the strength of your journal. Choose a journal that is stable and respected. You can gauge how well-respected a journal is by inquiring about its peers and the credentials of the authors that typically publish in the journal. Stability comes from the journal’s ability to attract top talent from the journal tryout year after year, the journal’s ability to maintain subscriptions and solicit articles, and—perhaps most important—its ability to publish on a regular, timely schedule. Be sure to ask about these features at your journal’s office hours and open houses after the tryout. In particular, ask when the journal published last. This year, with impending audits and the administration limiting funding to journals, stability is more important than ever. Choose a journal that will be here next Fall and after you graduate. 

Finally, it’s worth asking about your expectations as an editorial board member on the journal. Cite checks are a super-massive time sink. Most journals will only tell you how many cite checks are required, but not how many footnotes per cite check. Having only two cite checks may sound easy until you discover that each one is 60 footnotes. Will there be a note requirement? If so, can you submit a paper written for one of your classes? A good rule of thumb is that a larger journal requires less work from each individual editor. But that doesn’t mean that there isn’t responsibility available to those who want it. Though you can ascend to more impressive-sounding titles quickly on a small journal, larger journals allow more direct leadership early on. Because large journals have more people, leadership positions within in actually involve managing a group of people.  

There are plenty of peripheral considerations that may influence your decision more personally. (E.g., does the journal still print? Will it have a symposium?) But the criteria I’ve named here should be central to your decision. Don’t worry too much about which journals have the best food or the fanciest office. Those are irrelevant. Instead pay attention to features that will let you leave your mark on legal scholarship.  




1 I serve as the outgoing Editor-in-Chief of the Virginia Law & Business Review.

2 VLBR received 127 applications last year, 33 more than the next most popular secondary journal.



Guest Opinion: Untangling the Immigration Debate

Max Wagner '19
Guest Columnist

In the last month there has been a lot of talk about “comprehensive immigration reform” and the category of immigrants commonly called “DREAMers.” President Trump unveiled his immigration reform plan, which is extremely generous.1 During the same timeframe, the Democrats have shut down the government demanding a “clean DACA Bill.” Unless you study politics and are actively engaged in the discussion on a daily basis, a lot of these policy proposals, acronyms, and euphemisms can get confusing. It is my hope to be able to untangle some of this confusion. Because the length limitations inherent in a school newspaper, this will be the first part of what I hope to be a several-part series looking at this confusing issue. Part one will focus on three terms which have gained prominence recently, discussing their origins and how they are being used to obfuscate the issue. These words will be “undocumented immigrant,” “DREAMer,” and “chain(ed) migration.”

The first term, “undocumented immigrant,” is a term that has been contested for at least a decade. This is the term put forward by the left for those in the country illegally. The real debate is whether the adjective that accompanies immigrant should be “illegal” or “undocumented.” The difference here is not in meaning, but rather implication. The word “illegal” denotes that the person being described has, in some way, broken the law. In this context, the law or laws being broken are the United States federal immigration laws. While referring to “illegal immigrants” has the unfortunate effect of being sometimes being shortened to merely “illegals” (sometimes out of convenience, sometimes out of malice), it is the more accurate term. What is more, the purpose of this euphemistic change from “illegal” to “undocumented” is to make it seem more acceptable for the government to grant such immigrants legal status, regardless of the breaking of our nation’s laws. The change to “undocumented” raises the question: why not just give them documents? In attempting to change the term, advocates are trying to blur the lines of the debate. For this series, the term I will be using is the more accurate, “illegal immigrant.”

The next term is “DREAMer.” This term comes from the anagram for the 2001 proposed legislation, the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act. The term “DREAMer” refers to a specific subset of illegal immigrants, those who arrived in the United States when they were children. Those eligible for relief under this act had to meet certain requirements, including age and clean criminal background checks. This bill never passed, and has been proposed in various forms for the last seventeen years or more. This group of illegal immigrants came to prominence with the signing of President Obama’s executive order in 2012, “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” or DACA, which is believed by some scholars to be unconstitutional. While the DREAMers are illegal immigrants, there has long been an understanding that there is a distinction between those who willfully violated the American immigration laws and those who were brought over as children. This is a distinction I agree with. DREAMers did not choose to come here, in most circumstances. They were brought here through little or no fault of their own, and it makes sense that a separate solution for them should be discussed.

It is important, when going through different policy proposals, to get an accurate idea of who this group includes. Hardliners on both sides exaggerate to make their point. The first thing to note is that a majority of the DREAMers were brought over as teenagers. This is still a difficult time to exercise autonomy in deciding where you live, but it is not the picture many on the far left try to paint—of infants being brought over before they can walk or talk. Here, they still lacked significant agency, but the claim that this is the only nation they have known is false. In order to find the best solution, we have to be honest about the experiences of members of this group. 

The next point that should be discussed is the literacy and English fluency of the DREAMers. While there are DREAMers who succeed in the U.S., the fact is many of the DREAMers lack fluency in English. According to one study, as many as 24 percent of DREAMers are functionally illiterate, with 46 percent having only “basic” English skills. To compound this, according to the same source, only 49 percent of DREAMers have a high school diploma, despite a majority of them being adults. Finally, we hear a lot about the DREAMers in the military. This is true; there are some DREAMers in the military. The decision to serve a nation of which you are not a citizen and has made no promise of citizenship is incredibly commendable and patriotic. In fact, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has said he will personally defend all serving DACA recipients from deportation if no deal is reached—an admirable statement defending admirable men and women who have chosen to serve. However, the number of DREAMers enlisted in the U.S. military is roughly 900. That is 0.13 percent. This is not to diminish the incredible sacrifice and service of those 900, who should have special consideration in these discussions, it is important to know this is a relatively small number of DREAMers. While there has to be some discussion about this particular group of illegal immigrants, it is important to define who they are so we can make correct decisions.

The final term I want to discuss is “chain(ed) migration.” As you may notice, there are odd parentheses in this term. That is because we are currently in the middle of an attempted shift in the use of this term. Dating back decades, this term was used to describe the immigration situation we have now, where once immigrants are issued a green card, they can apply to bring members of their family over. This is a descriptive term. As one person is approved and arrived in the United States, successive applications create a “chain” of their family members who may immigrate to the country as well. Unfortunately, the Democrats have begun to say the term is racist. This began with Senator Dick Durbin, who claimed it reminds African-Americans of the chains slaves wore when they were brought from Africa to the United States. This is an absurd argument given that chain migration has no relation to slavery or physical chains at all, nor is the term in anyway racially motivated. We are currently in the middle of an attempted shift from “chain migration” to “chained migration.” This shift is an attempt to further call back to the slave trade and paint the term as one of racial animus. This is an insidious attempt to try and reframe the debate from terms that have been used for decades to terms friendlier to the policy proposals of the left. As discussed before, this term in no way references race or ethnicity in any way. It is a descriptive term that has been used for over seventy years. 

As we move forward through this series, there are three points to remember: (1) The attempted change from “illegal immigrant” to “undocumented immigrant” is subtle and designed to favor a solution before the discussion occurs; (2) DREAMers are a special subgroup of illegal immigrants who are not entirely what the left is portraying them to be; and (3) the term “chain migration” is not a racist term, no matter how much Democrats want it to be, nor is it the insidious “chained migration.” It is merely a description of how the immigration provision works. 



1 This plan would provide a pathway to citizenship for 1.8 million DREAMers, and significant numbers of their parents. 

2 https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/20a17/dec/25/daca-demographics-show-less-ideal-dreamers-media-i/.

3 Id.

4 Id.

5 Mattis’ Statement: https://www.politico.com/story/2018/02/08/jim-mattis-military-dreamers-no-deportations-398991.

6 As noted by Jonah Goldberg, this term has been used in scholarly papers going back to 1943 https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2018/01/31/chain-migration-racist-term-no-its-just-you-democrats-jonah-goldberg-column/1079100001/

7 Id. 

Human Rights in Action: A Trip to Troubled Myanmar

Bonnie Cantwell '19
Guest Columnist

On the neatly gridded streets of downtown Yangon stands an abandoned Italianate building. It is turquoise in color, but a careful eye will notice a pop of verdant green. That green, on further inspection, is a tree. The building’s foundation is surprisingly stable, despite the misplaced garden and weather-worn exterior. This building, with its bright coloring and steadfast foundation, attests both to the harshness of the twentieth century in Myanmar and the opportunities for growth in the twenty-first. 

In the last century, Myanmar experienced British colonial rule, independence, occupation by Japanese forces during World War II, and the formation of a military government. Now, in the twenty-first century, the country is ruled by coinciding civil and military governments. The establishment of a legitimate civil government is no easy task. It requires the confidence of the citizenry, from both ethnic majorities and minorities. This confidence rests on the guarantee of essential liberties, which in turn requires the institutional capacity to safeguard individual rights. At each turn, there is an opportunity for reflection and dialogue. 

The students of the UVa Law Human Rights Study Project are learning from this ongoing process. We have each selected a discrete research topic, ranging from social entrepreneurship in Yangon to freedom of speech, land use, the peace process, and rule of law. During winter break 2018, we commenced field research to develop our academic pursuits in the context of Burmese culture. This semester, we will continue the project by preparing research papers on our respective topics. We now apply our academic tools, but our stay in Myanmar allowed us to appreciate the tangibility of our topics.  

If you would like to learn more about Myanmar (Burma), explore these books and film: 

Finding George Orwell in Burma, Emma Larkin 

The River of Lost Footsteps: A Personal History of Burma, Thant Myint-U

The Lady (2011)




How the Health Law Association is Changing the Game at UVa Law

Virginia Health Law Association

This past year, no student organization has generated more discussion on campus than Health law Association (HLA), which went from relative obscurity to becoming the campus’ hottest student org. Keep reading for more on this popular and sometimes controversial organization and their plans for this semester.

How long has Health Law Association been around?

Some say that HLA existed before the Law School, but we don’t think that’s important. Chicken/egg, egg/chicken? What matters is that HLA is still here and stronger than ever. We’re continuing to generate buzz on campus. For example, in September we had a general interest meeting where we offered free pizza and a free side salad. Who does that, just give away free food like that to the masses? It’s crazy, but it’s what we’re all about: inclusion and acceptance. It’s our cornerstone, really. Yeah, we draw an inevitable contrast to UVa charging $65 to go to Barrister’s. Does that make us more inclusive than UVa? Hey, you said it, not us.

What are the goals of the organization?

We want to be the best—it’s that simple, really. Consider Law Review. We all know how badly 1Ls hope to make Law Review; our goal is that in the next few years, people will want to join HLA with that same sort of fervor. And to be honest, we’re practically there already. We understand that we dominate the social scene here at UVa, and it’s not lost on us that we throw the most impressive career panels and talks. So going forward, we just want the recognition amongst the Charlottesville community of today’s reality: we are the top dog.

We also hope to reach one million likes on Facebook in 2019. Currently, we have 140 likes, so we are not quite there yet. But with our #roadtoonemillion campaign, we anticipate reaching one million likes by December. Who knows—the sky is our limit at HLA. Like us at facebook.com/HLAatUVA.

Lastly, we hope to eradicate the problem of a lack of suitable drinking water in this world. There has been a lot of conversation on campus about why the HLA bulletin board is blank. It’s not out of laziness; we’re making a statement here. There are currently 844 million people without suitable drinking water in this world. Safe water should not be a privilege of only those who are rich or live in urban metropolises. Thus, until that number hits zero, we at HLA will continue keeping our board barren, standing in solidarity with all those who lack access.

The barren HLA bulletin board. Nothing will be posted on it until there is no longer a lack of suitable drinking water in this world. Photo courtesy of HLA.

The barren HLA bulletin board. Nothing will be posted on it until there is no longer a lack of suitable drinking water in this world. Photo courtesy of HLA.

Why should people join?

To be part of something truly elite. HLA is greater than any one person. We provide a forum in which students, academics, professionals, and community partners with an interest in health law can collaborate to enhance our understanding of the health law practice and advance the health and wellness of our communities.

Moreover, if you’re not with us, you’re against us. And believe us when we say HLA is not an enemy you want to have. We know we have haters (we’re not dumb). But bad news: we have so much more for our haters to be mad at—just be patient. A wolf doesn’t lose sleep over the opinion of sheep.

Just read what our members have to say: 

“It’s funny—you read about Jonestown and you can’t begin to grasp how a group of people could be so committed to a cult to the point where they would drink the Kool-Aid and kill themselves for it. And now, after being part of HLA, I finally get it.” – Alana Broe, Vice President of Social Events and Interdisciplinary Activities

“Being in HLA is like being hugged by an angel.” – Anonymous 1L HLA Member

“The instructions in my will are simple. Leave all my earthly belongings to my fiancé, Sanders. Except my HLA t-shirt—bury me in that.” – Caroline Kessler, President

What events have been held in the past? 

Well, in October, we had our first annual Health Law & Business Mixer. It was a true rager, so much so that Pav security got called on us. 2L partygoer Angela Dunay described it as a “huge success.” “I don’t socialize when my boyfriend Andrew is out of town, but I made an exception for the HLA party that evening. It was that sort of night, if you know what I mean,” Dunay said.

Party critic Angela Dunay has nothing but positive things to say about HLA's party. Photo courtesy of HLA.

Party critic Angela Dunay has nothing but positive things to say about HLA's party. Photo courtesy of HLA.

Then in November, we held our annual Fall Career Panel. Organized by 2L celebrity and Vice President of Academic and Career Events Will Hall, our panel featured exclusively women. This was our stance against the patriarchy. We received a lot of positive press about it, and we’ve quickly outpaced Virginia Law Women when it comes to advocating for women in the field of law.

Speaking of your career panel, would you care to comment on the controversy HLA found itself embroiled in last semester?

Ah, the elephant in the room: Laura Dern. Our Fyre Festival, if you will. Look, for that Fall Career Panel, we had a host of great speakers share their rich experiences in the field of health law, ranging from an associate working on FDA regulatory matters to a trial attorney working in the DOJ’s vaccine litigation group. But no, we didn’t have any insights from Big Little Lies’ Laura Dern, whom many people showed up to hear from after widespread rumors of her appearance at the event. Indeed, rumors ran rampant that Ms. Dern would be making an appearance to discuss a career in health law, and we know there were a lot of faces in that crowd who were feeling the Dern, so to speak. Well, we at HLA failed to quash these rumors. But let us be clear here. We learned a lesson, we have moved forward in the face of significant backlash, and we choose to live in the present. Our past does not define us.

What events are coming up this semester?

HLA has loaded the docket this semester, as we are officially the most active student organization on Grounds.

First, we have our annual Spring Career Panel on February 22 from 4 to 5 in Purcell Reading Room. This is an excellent opportunity to network ahead of OGI and learn more about law firm careers in health law. We have the hottest names in the field of law.

We’re also having a President’s Day party on February 16 to celebrate the new HLA board after elections take place this month. Should be pretty belligerent.

Can you comment further on the elections?

This February, there is about to be a tremendous power vacuum on North Grounds. The current HLA board plans to step down from their positions, and a new host of health law aficionados shall ascend to power. Students can apply for President, Vice President of Academic and Career Events, Vice President of Social Events and Interdisciplinary Activities, Vice President of Communications, Vice President of Finance, and/or Vice President of Pro Bono Activities. It promises to be the most bitterly contested, contentious HLA elections to date.

To learn how to join our movement, contact HLA President Caroline Kessler at cdk2rh@virginia.edu.