Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

A Revolution Brewing: Partisan Gerrymandering May be Unconstitutional

It’s been true for a long time, since nearly the dawn of the Republic, that politicians drafting voting districts have tinkered with borders of those districts for a host of reasons. Indeed, “gerrymandering,” owes its name to Massachusetts Governor Elbridge Gerry who, in 1812, presided over a redistricting map that created a Boston district that […]

 

Policing Social Media Policies

By Cullen D. Seltzer and Faith A. Alejandro   Police officers in Petersburg had a First Amendment right to post to Facebook their complaints about their police department.  A department policy limiting social media postings was unconstitutional.  So held the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit this week. Two Petersburg officers posted and […]

 

Virginia Supreme Court Opinion Affecting Local Government Law: September 22, 2016

The Virginia Supreme Court issued one additional opinion in September affecting local government law, on September 22, 2016.  This opinion addressed the priority to be given a local government special assessment lien over a deed of trust. The case summary is taken from the Virginia Supreme Court opinions website.  Click on the case number to read […]

 

Legislature to Litigants: “Can’t Touch This!” – Virginia Supreme Court Recognizes Legislative Privilege

Co-authors: Cullen D. Seltzer and Andrew R. McRoberts The Virginia Supreme Court, interpreting the Virginia Constitution’s speech and debate clauses, has recognized a legislative privilege from responding to a document subpoena substantially similar to that of the better-known federal privilege.  Edwards v. Resilind, decided by opinion of Justice Lemons without concurrence or dissent, arose in […]

 

Virginia Supreme Court Opinions Affecting Local Government Law: September 15, 2016

The Virginia Supreme Court issued two opinions in September affecting local government law.  Its work resulted in opinions addressing legislative privilege from document requests, and applying a local government tax exemption ordinance. The case summary is taken from the Virginia Supreme Court opinions website. Click on the case number to read the opinion. 151701 Miller & […]

 

Virginia Supreme Court Opinions Affecting Local Government Law: April 28, June 23, June 30 and July 22, 2016

The Virginia Supreme Court issued a number of opinions this Spring and Summer in recent terms.  Its work resulted in several opinions affecting Virginia local (and state) government law, in the areas of Virginia Constitutional Law, taxation of utilities, insurance coverage by the Virginia Association of Counties, grievances within a redevelopment and housing authority, assessment […]

 

Tasing is for Safety, Not Punishment: Even Non-Lethal Force Can be Deadly

South Boston police responded to the local Super 8 Motel in the wee hours of May 3, 2013. They came because they’d received phone calls from Linwood Lambert, Jr. asking somewhat unclearly for help. When they arrived, they found Lambert’s room in shambles, with blood stains about, and a white discharge around Lambert’s nose. Lambert […]

 

Virginia Supreme Court Opinion Affecting Local Government Law: September 17, 2015

The Virginia Supreme Court issued opinions on September 17, 2015 during its recent term.  This term resulted in one opinion affecting Virginia local government law, in the area of the Freedom of Information Act.  The opinion addresses the need – actually, the lack of a need – to redact documents when a portion of a […]

 

Signs Signs, Everywhere a Sign: U.S. Supreme Court Decides Reed v. Town of Gilbert

The Supreme Court of the United States handed down today an important First Amendment case concerning governments’ ability to regulate commonly displayed informational signs. In Reed v. Town of Gilbert, the US Supreme Court (Justice Thomas wrote for a six Justice majority with three other Justices concurring) struck down a town’s Sign Code that regulated the […]

 

Kingsley v. Hendrickson: Excessive Force is in the Eye of the Objective Beholder

The Supreme Court of the United States, in Kingsley v. Hendrickson, waded into the metaphysical discussion of what plaintiffs must prove about corrections officers’ state of mind in a lawsuit alleging the officers used excessive force against an inmate.  In the process, the High Court made it incrementally easier for plaintiffs to prove an excessive […]