MORE APPELLATE NEWS AND NOTES (ALREADY!)
(Posted August 24, 2021) It was only five days ago that I posted a set of news items about the appellate world; but things haven’t stopped happening since then. Here are a couple of updates.
Fourth reopens webinar registration
I noted last week that the Fourth Circuit has scheduled a September 8 webinar on appellate practice, but that the program had filled already. The powers that be up there have heard your plaintive cries for mercy and have expanded and reopened registration. You can sign up here. Given the earlier demand leading to a quick sell-out, I would encourage you to register now.
New digs (long-term) for the state appellate courts
Here’s an interesting article from Richmond BizSense, with news of the planned relocation of the Supreme Court and Court of Appeals of Virginia. The story notes that the Commonwealth has received responses to requests for proposals to move the courts into the space now occupied by the Pocahontas Building at Ninth and Main Streets, about a block south of the current courthouse. The project would likely raze the building and construct the courthouse afresh on the site.
The project is still subject to approval and funding by the General Assembly, but if things go according to current plans, the new courthouse could be ready by about 2026. The article includes an interesting component: The original RFP described the needs of the new courthouse in terms of the current size of the Court of Appeals. As you know well, because you’ve been reading about it here for months, the CAV will grow from 11 to 17 judges in about a week. That means that the designers will have to tweak the plans a bit to accommodate six more judges (plus their law clerks, legal assistants, and so forth). Those folks will need chambers space, too.
The article prompted one musing from me on a topic than it didn’t address: Whom did the architects consult before designing the new courthouse? The Robes, of course, had to have substantial input, as did folks like the Office of the Executive Secretary, the Law Librarian, the Chief Staff Attorneys for the two courts, and the like. But did anyone consult the building’s patrons? Specifically, did they get input from the lawyers who practice there, to find out what features might be useful for those who come to conduct business in the people’s courthouse? I’m going to assume that the answer is yes, but I’d prefer to know that for sure.
A delayed arrival
Last year, I forecast that one of the Supreme Court’s opinions released in the August/September 2020 time frame would be the first case reported in volume 300 of Virginia Reports. I was wrong; the court (or possibly the reporter of decisions) slowed the pace noticeably.
This week’s arrival of the third and final set of advance sheets for volume 299 portends the delayed arrival of our nice, round number. The last case reported in that volume is Norton v. Fairfax County, 299 Va. 749 (2021). That decision came down on May 27 along with several others. That means that presumptively, Galiotos v. Galiotos, which was the only opinion to arrive on June 3, will serve as 300 Va. 1.
I got advance word of this development yesterday from a fellow rules/procedure geek, a learned trial judge who would probably prefer to remain nameless. I’ll preserve that anonymity, while noting that the arrival of the case that’ll be reported at 333 Va. 333 will assuredly postdate my legal career. Because I won’t be around to mark the occasion, you’ll have to be on the lookout for it yourself.