First Comes Love: Advocating for a Revival of Pre-Obergefell Estate Planning Vigor for LGBTQ+ Couples and Families

First Comes Love: Advocating for a Revival of Pre-Obergefell Estate Planning Vigor for LGBTQ+ Couples and Families

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On June 24, 2022, the Supreme Court of the United States handed down its decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. Beyond the obvious devastation this opinion wreaked on abortion rights nationwide, it also unleashed a fear in communities that have gained substantive rights through the Court’s decisions based on similar reasoning. News organizations and LGBTQ+ advocacy groups quickly published stories discussing the fate of same-sex marriage in a post-Dobbs society. If the Supreme Court were to overturn Obergefell v. Hodges, it would be a crushing loss to the LGBTQ+ community. Not only would it signal the lack of respect for same-sex relationships in society, but it would deprive same-sex couples from the “constellation of benefits” marriage provides.

Kimberly N. Furtado*

* J.D. Candidate, 2024, University of Richmond School of Law.

 

Appoint Judge Ana de Alba to the Ninth Circuit

Appoint Judge Ana de Alba to the Ninth Circuit

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Appoint Judge Ana de Alba to the Ninth Circuit

 

The United States Senate must rapidly appoint Eastern District of California Judge Ana de Alba to the Ninth Circuit. This appellate tribunal is a preeminent regional circuit, which faces substantial appeals, has the largest complement of jurists, and clearly includes a massive geographic expanse. The nominee, whom President Joe Biden designated in spring 2023, would offer remarkable gender, experiential, ideological, and ethnic diversity realized primarily from serving productively with the California federal district, and state trial, courts after rigorously litigating for one decade in a highly regarded private law firm. For over fifteen years, she deftly excelled in law’s upper echelon. The post which the judge could fill has been vacant for months. Thus, the Senate needs to promptly approve the well qualified, mainstream nominee.

Carl Tobias *

* Williams Chair in Law, University of Richmond School of Law

 

Confirm Rachel Bloomekatz to the Sixth Circuit

Confirm Rachel Bloomekatz to the Sixth Circuit

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Confirm Rachel Bloomekatz to the Sixth
Circuit

 

Now that the United States Senate is convening after the July Fourth holiday, the upper chamber must promptly appoint Rachel Bloomekatz to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. The nominee, whom President Joe Biden selected in May 2022, provides remarkable experiential, gender, and ideological expertise that she deftly realized in litigating high-profile gun control, environmental, and other significant cases in federal appellate courts and district courts. Over fifteen years, the nominee has reached law’s pantheon across a broad spectrum from extremely prestigious clerkships with Justice Stephen Breyer and particularly distinguished federal court and state court jurists to robustly participating in many suits for the powerful global law firm Jones Day. The opening that the nominee would fill has been vacant for months. Thus, the Senate needs to rapidly approve the exceptionally competent, mainstream nominee.

Carl Tobias *

* Williams Chair in Law, University of Richmond School of Law

 

Confirm Julie Rikelman for the First Circuit

Confirm Julie Rikelman for the First Circuit

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Confirm Julie Rikelman for the First Circuit

 

Now that the United States Senate has reconvened after pauses for holidays, the upper chamber must expeditiously appoint designee Julie Rikelman to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, which is the smallest, albeit critical, appellate court. The nominee, whom President Joe Biden tapped during late July 2022, would supply remarkable experiential, gender, and ideological diversity gleaned from pursuing much cutting-edge reproductive freedom litigation, which included arguing Dobbs before the Supreme Court that overturned Roe v. Wade. The nominee has definitely excelled in law’s highest echelon over twenty-plus years, most recently as the U.S. Litigation Director in the Center for Reproductive Rights at which she has worked over a decade. The vacancy that the nominee would fill has been empty for plentiful months. Thus, the Senate needs to promptly confirm the well qualified, mainstream nominee.

Carl Tobias *

* Williams Chair in Law, University of Richmond School of Law

 

Redemption

Redemption

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Redemption

 

Lawyer and University of Richmond Law graduate Robert C. Smith—the great-great-grandson of T.C. Williams, Sr.—has recently claimed that his family is owed a refund of $3.6 billion from the University of Richmond, stemming from donations that Williams, for whom the University of Richmond School of Law was officially named from 1920 until September 2022, made to establish and sustain the school. Though the law school had not referred to itself as the T.C. Williams School of Law for some two decades, the University formally changed the law school’s name because Mr. Williams “owned and managed slaves in both his professional and personal capacity.”

Smith is likely aware that he would have no standing before a court of law, or an actionable claim, for the recovery of the money his great-great-grandfather donated to the University of Richmond, much less a sum greater than the entire University endowment. Smith’s demands appeal more to Smith’s view of morality than the law of contracts. By demanding not only the money that Williams donated, but a sum that is greater than the University’s endowment, Smith essentially suggests that unless the Law School bears Williams’s name, it should not exist. On this point, and several others, he is mistaken.

By publishing his letters, and the stunning defenses of slavery contained therein, Smith is waging a battle that is not so much legal as it is rhetorical—and he does so with a particular audience in mind. Through this battle, Smith is attempting not to redeem a financial debt, but rather, to redeem his family’s honor vis-à-vis America’s present culture wars.

Where Smith fails to articulate a compelling claim for contractual breach, he does make an excellent case for reparatory justice. Unlike Smith’s far-fetched demands for the return of Williams’s gift, reparative justice to those exploited and otherwise harmed by enslavement does have a basis in law.

Marissa Jackson Sow *

* Assistant Professor, University of Richmond School of Law

 

Unavoidable Necessities: How COVID-19 and Ali v. Commonwealth Illustrate the Need for a New Balancing Test for Speedy Trial Right Claims

Unavoidable Necessities: How COVID-19 and Ali v. Commonwealth Illustrate the Need for a New Balancing Test for Speedy Trial Right Claims

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Unavoidable Necessities: How COVID-19 and Ali v. Commonwealth Illustrate the Need for a New Balancing Test for Speedy Trial Right Claims

 

The COVID-19 pandemic is still an ever-present phenomenon in the United States. Since the pandemic began in March 2020, over one million Americans have died as a result of this disease. During that time period, the pandemic impacted the everyday lives of Americans and the institutions we depend on. The judicial system in particular was affected by COVID-19. In Virginia, the Supreme Court of Virginia declared a judicial emergency in response to the pandemic. As a result of this judicial emergency, the trials of many criminal defendants were postponed for an indefinite period of time. This resulted in many criminal defendants languishing in jail during the pandemic. Many of these defendants, in Virginia and other states, have challenged their subsequent convictions, arguing that their Sixth Amendment right to a speedy trial was violated when their trials were not allowed to move forward. These challenges have been met with little to no success. On May 31, 2022, the Court of Appeals of Virginia decided a case, Ali v. Commonwealth, that sought to bring clarity to the law of the Commonwealth relating to speedy trial rights and COVID-19.

This Comment reviews the Ali decision, the history of speedy trial jurisprudence, and the continued impact of Barker v. Wingo. In Barker, the Supreme Court of the United States set out a four factor balancing test for analyzing a defendant’s speedy trial claim. The court in question looks at the facts of the case and analyze the following: (1) the length of the delay, (2) the reason for the delay, (3) the defendant’s assertion of his right, and (4) the prejudice suffered by the defendant. Once the court has completed this analysis, it balances these factors and determines if the defendant’s right to a speedy trial had been violated.

Courts have followed this balancing approach for the last fifty years. However, this Comment illustrates how COVID-19 and previous natural disasters have shown that courts should no longer follow the Barker four-factor test. Instead, this Comment proposes a similar, but different test: the Unavoidable Necessities Test. Under this test, the government has the burden to show that it was not responsible for an intentional or negligent action that led to the defendant’s trial being delayed. If the government intentionally or negligently caused the delay in the defendant’s trial, the court would compare the intrinsic importance of the delay, the length of the delay, and its potential for prejudice to the defendant in determining whether the defendant’s speedy trial right was violated.

Roger D. Herring *

* J.D. Candidate, University of Richmond School of Law