Web Links to Appellate Courts in Virginia
Here are the appellate courts’ official web sites. You’ll find links to rules, calendars, opinions, and more.
United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
A handful of websites and blawgs confine themselves to matters here in Virginia. You’re reading one such site right now. Here are some notes on a few of the others.
De Novo – My appellate pal Jay O’Keeffe in Roanoke publishes this site, and he writes with wit and insight. Jay more or less went dormant for a while last year, but I’ve seen a welcome burst of activity from him recently.
Norman Thomas – Yet another pal posts occasional commentary on appellate developments and specific decisions. Norman is a former judge, and his writings reflect a thoughtful approach to legal developments.
Virginia Appellate Lawyer’s Blog – This is a brand-new entrant onto the scene: John Koehler, a retired career law clerk at the Supreme Court and Court of Appeals of Virginia, has launched a site dedicated to developments at, and decisions from, the CAV. Once upon a time, I aspired to cover the CAV as thoroughly as I do the SCV, but I soon realized that I wouldn’t have time for a life if I did that. I accordingly provide spot coverage of the lower court and of the Fourth Circuit. John’s site will focus welcome attention on the workings at Eighth and Franklin. Given his long career with the appellate courts, you should expect him to write authoritatively.
SCOTUSblog – The ultimate site for coverage of the highest court in the land. You’ll find analysis of each case on the merits docket; SCOTUS-related news; enough statistics to make a stats junkie drool; and much more.
Fourth Circuit Blog – Advertising itself as providing “Case summaries and analysis from Federal Defender Offices” within the Fourth, this site understandably focuses on criminal decisions. The publisher is Jonathan Byrne, an appellate specialist in West Virginia. In case you’re wondering, I don’t know of a website that covers civil decisions out of the Fourth.
How Appealing – Yet another appellate pal, Philadelphia lawyer Howard Bashman, has been publishing this behemoth of a site for about a year and a half longer than I’ve offered VANA. Howard amasses news and articles about appellate developments across the nation, and posts links to them. I recommend that you check his site only if you have a lot of time on your hands, because you’ll be sucked in.
Recently a website named Feedspot published a list of the “Top 10 Appellate Law Blogs and Websites to Follow in 2021.” The #1 entry on that list is the North Carolina Appellate Practice Blog, an excellent site published by some of my pals at the Fox Rothschild firm. All I can say about this top-10 list is that it clearly wasn’t well-researched, because (1) VANA isn’t on it, and (2) it only lists nine blogs.
Closed or dormant sites
Many years ago, an anonymous Virginia appellate jurist published a wonderful website entitled Have Opinion, Will Travel. It was always a joy to read; at once informative and hilarious. The publisher laid aside his pen in 2008 but kindly left his archived posts active so you can read them.
In 2012 – the very year that the Mayans warned us about – a splashy announcement heralded the launch of something called the Virginia Appellate Law Firm Website. But I haven’t seen a single post on such a site; the announcement appears to have been a promotion for a company that builds websites.
SW Virginia Law Blog – Steve Minor – yet another appellate pal (I have a great set of pals) – maintained this very enjoyable site for many years. But he’s largely gone silent, at least as far as posts are concerned; his last new entry is about six months old. He continues to add his Twitter feed on the home page, but I can’t call the site active now.