A RETURN TO BASIC MATH
(Posted July 31, 2023) I’ve mentioned here recently that the Supreme Court of Virginia has trimmed its undecided list of argued appeals down to three. For a guy who did really well at math in school, this represents an elementary error: One of my treasured, eagle-eyed, learned readers has pointed out to me very delicately that the correct count is two.
I went back and counted again, and he’s right. Of all the appeals argued on the merits to the Supreme Court, opinions or orders have come down in all but two of them. We’re still awaiting rulings in McKeithen v. Richmond, involving a city tax lien, and Vlaming v. West Point School Board, a claim by a teacher who was fired for declining to address a transgender student by that student’s preferred pronouns. The lawyers argued McKeithen in the June 7 micro-session, while the justices have been pondering Vlaming since its November 4 oral argument.
One last point on Vlaming: The delay between argument and decision is already a modern record in this court. The justices heard arguments roughly 39 weeks ago, so it exceeds the previous post-2015 record of 35 weeks. The previous record-holder was Baughman v. Commonwealth, a sexually violent predator appeal argued January 11, 2022 and decided September 15 of that year. Surprisingly (at least to me), that one came down as an unpublished order, not a published opinion.
I believe I’d be willing to wager a modest sum of American money that Vlaming will not come down as an unpub. Check back here on Thursday, and we’ll see if it arrives.