Proposed Power Lines Debated at Environmental Law Symposium

Environmental advocates spoke out against towering power lines they hope wonGuv,!v,,ut become the new symbol of rapid development in Northern Virginia, during the Virginia Environmental Law JournalGuv,!v,,us Fall Symposium Nov. 2. The proposed Mid-Atlantic National Interest Electric Transmission Corridor designated by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has stirred up controversy in the heart of the fastest-growing region in Virginia, where part of the corridor will be located.

Northern Virginia is located in what the DOE considers a critical congestion area, which runs from the Washington, D.C., area to New York City. The DOE has the authority to designate land for these corridors, allowing utility companies to potentially acquire protected land to use for their transmission facilities. Experts representing a variety of views convened at the symposium to debate the issues that arise from building more high-voltage power lines in the state.

For more on the story, read Emily Williams report on the U.Va Law School news site.

U.Va Law: Professor Jon Cannon on Massachusetts v. EPA

Nine years ago, Professor Jon Cannon, currently director of UVA’s environmental and land use law program, was general counsel of the EPA under Administrator Carol Browner. In his capacity as general counsel he issued a memorandum stating that the EPA could regulate emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases as air pollutantskj under the Clean Air Act if the agency found they were a danger to human health or the environment.

(full story on Virginia Law Weekly)

A NeW Generation of Women: How Conservative Women Are Reclaiming College Campuses, with 1L Karin Agness

First-year law student Karin Agness, who spoke at a Miller Center of Public Affairs Forum April 18, is the founder and national president of the Network of enlightened Women (NeW), the nation’s premier organization for conservative university women.

U.Va Law: U.S. Needs to Reclaim Mantle of Liberty Abroad, Slaughter Says

The United States should hold itself to the same standards of restraint that it requires of other countries if it wants to reclaim its mantle as a protector of liberty under law on the international stage, said Anne-Marie Slaughter, dean of the Woodrow Wilson School of International Affairs at Princeton University.

“When we do not restrain ourselves, other nations band against us,”kj she said.

Slaughter is the 2007 recipient of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medal in Law, and her lecture on Thursday, April 12, accompanied the recognition. The Thomas Jefferson Medal in Law is the highest award the University, which gives no honorary degrees, grants to individuals outside of the University community.

For more on this article, click here.

U.Va Law: Supreme Court Docket Heavy on Environmental, Business Cases, Solicitor General Says

A look from mid-term revealed that the Supreme Court docket was full of key environmental and business cases, U.S. Solicitor General Paul Clement observed at a Federalist Society talk in Caplin Pavilion April 11. But it is still too early to decide what the major themes of the court year will be, because arguments for the last session of the court begin April 16, he added. This term is the first in which all the justices of the Roberts Court are serving.

Clement is the nation’s 43rd solicitor general. The Office of the Solicitor General conducts all litigation on behalf of the United States in the Supreme Court and supervises the handling of litigation in the federal appellate courts.

“This will be a term that will be remembered as having some very important environmental cases,” Clement said. “I think that the business docket of the court will also be a significant contributor to the importance of the decisions this term.”kj The jury is still out on whether this is coincidence or whether Chief Justice John Roberts’s background in corporate law is influencing the docket.

U.Va Law: D.C. Gun Control Laws May Be Illegal, Smith Says

(for more on this post click here)

Sen. Jim Webb’s recent embarrassing encounter with the law when an aide was arrested
for attempting to carry the senator’s gun into a Capitol Hill office building exposed another embarrassing fact for lawmakers: while congressmen are allowed to carry firearms in government buildings to protect themselves, they break the District of Columbia’s strict gun control laws by even driving a firearm to work.

Key provisions of the D.C. gun ban were struck down 2-1 in March by a conservative panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, a decision that would likely be affirmed if the case is appealed to the Supreme Court, said Law School professor Stephen Smith during a Federalist Society lunch talk April 5. Smith called the case an “ideal vehicle”kj for the Bush administration to get a Second Amendment case to the Supreme Court. “These laws [in D.C.] are just so unyielding,”kj he said. “The facts are just very, very strong in favor of recognizing at least a basic individual right to keep and bear arms.”kj

U.Va Law: The ‘Bong Hits 4 Jesus’ Case: Free Speech, Religion, and Public Order

Jordan Lorence of the Alliance Defense Fund and UVA law professor Robert Neil discussed the “Bong Hits 4 Jesus” case recently heard by the Supreme Court, during an event sponsored by the Federalist Society April 3. Lorence is senior counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund and has litigated First Amendment cases since 1984 in courts across the United States. Robert O’Neil, an authority on the First Amendment, is the director of the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression and a law professor and former president of the University of Virginia.

U.Va Law: “Insular Cases” Made Puerto Rican Status Unclear, Panel Says

After the United States acquired Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines during the Spanish-American War in 1898, Americans weren’t sure whether they wanted constitutional rights to “follow the flag.” A series of five Supreme Court rulings from 1901 to 1922, known as the Insular Cases, reflected this ambiguity, as a combination of racist and populist reasoning in the decisions ensured Puerto Rico – relationship with the United States would remain unclear to this day, explained panelists at the Latin American Law Organization spring colloquium March 28.

“The Insular Cases display some of the most notable examples in the history of the Supreme Court in which its decisions interpreting the Constitution evidence an unabashed reflection of contemporaneous politics,”kj said Judge Juan Torruella of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. Torruella is the first Puerto Rican appointed to a federal appellate court. “The Insular Cases in effect translated the political dispute about the acquisition of foreign territories into the vocabulary of the Constitution, with the Supreme Court eventually echoing the popular sentiment of the day.”

For more on this story, visit the U.Va School of Law.