Commentary

THE RIGHT TO KNOW: Just because you’re allowed to, doesn’t mean you have to

BY: - July 30, 2018

Most local governments and school districts in Virginia have a top administrator responsible for day-to-day management. Whether the job is called a manager, administrator, superintendent or something else, candidates are hired by the governing board and charged with both implementing and informing the board’s policies. The positions are extremely important and can be quite powerful, […]

Give thanks for President Trump

BY: - July 26, 2018

Raise your hand if you ever talked about the emoluments clause in our Constitution until about 18 months ago. Most Americans never heard of it before Donald Trump became president. Many Americans, in fact, knew nothing at all about the Constitution beyond the Second Amendment in the Bill of Rights, though they generally ignored that […]

Northam’s energy plan: A blueprint for action or destined for dusty shelf?

BY: - July 23, 2018

Forget “all of the above.” Under Gov. Ralph Northam, Virginia’s next Energy Plan will emphasize the features of a clean energy future: solar and wind, energy efficiency, electric vehicles, energy storage and offshore wind. This marks a welcome departure from previous state energy plans, though whether the end result serves as a blueprint for action […]

Are we up to reforming our civil system to help poor litigants?

BY: - July 19, 2018

Lately, we have all been horrified by the spectacle of toddlers and other children, separated from their parents at our southern border, appearing in court alone to face deportation. While our collective distaste is justified, the truth is that people of modest means, like these asylum seekers, have been shuffled through our court system unrepresented […]

Remember officials, when they’re about public business, your texts are public records

BY: - July 18, 2018

Thirty years ago, John Q. Public Servant had a report he had to produce for his boss, the county manager. He was tired and his kid was sick, so he left work a bit early to work on it at home. He sat down at the kitchen table after grabbing one of his kid’s leftover […]

Virginia Mercury team

Meet the Mercury: A new look at the Virginia Way

BY: - July 17, 2018

You’ve heard of the “Virginia Way.”   For those inclined to consider it a cherished asset of the Old Dominion, the term conjures a tradition of restrained, courtly statesmanship and of high-minded legislating that puts principle over party and personality. At its best, they would argue, that approach to governing and lawmaking can produce breakthroughs […]

‘Fraudster preys on the poor:’ an all too familiar story

BY: - July 17, 2018

A recent headline from Lawyers Weekly (referencing a Richmond Times-Dispatch article) reads: Fraudster preyed on the poor. “A self-proclaimed credit consultant has been sentenced to 12 years in prison for ripping off debt-troubled customers in Chesterfield County,” the story says.   As any legal-aid attorney will tell you, this is a familiar story.  Fraudsters prey […]

For Republicans on the ballot, it’s tough to totally reject Trump

BY: - July 17, 2018

Much has been made of longtime respected Republicans calling for voting against their own party. Steve Schmidt, a lifelong GOP activist and the man who, as John McCain’s campaign manager in 2008, brought us Sarah Palin, recently resigned from the party and said he would support Democrats this fall. George Will, the conservative columnist who […]