Brief Cases


Lynchburg prosecutors last week announced their decision not to pursue criminal charges against two journalists who Liberty University police accused of trespassing on campus while covering the school’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. According to Lynchburg Commonwealth’s Attorney Bethany Harrison,  the decision not to pursue the case in court came after consulting with Liberty President Jerry Falwell Jr. Harrison said Falwell was “satisfied with having the reporters understand they have to respect the no trespassing signs.” The decision to drop the charges is a significant loss of face to  Falwell who had vowed to wage an “ugly legal fight” against the reporters and their respective outlets. [See VoxFairfax, Liberty: Thy Name in Vain, April 20, 2020 (]  There was no recorded comment from the reporters confessing their trespass.


Virginia Dems Abigail Spanberger (VA-7) and Elaine Luria (VA-2) voted against the recent stimulus package in the House of Representatives breaking from their caucus. The $3-trillion “Heroes Act,” drafted by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, passed the chamber by a vote of 208 to 199. In all, 14 Democrats broke ranks and voted against the bill.

Calling the bill opportunistic, Spanberger explained, “As the shockwaves of this pandemic continue, I have a responsibility to be honest with the people of central Virginia, including those who are suffering, sick, losing their jobs, or losing their businesses…. Unfortunately, many members of Congress—including some in my own party—have decided to use this package as an opportunity to make political statements and propose a bill that goes far beyond pandemic relief, … further delaying the help so many need.” Luria commented that the bill would double federal spending for the fiscal year, and said that spending of that scale needed input from both parties.

Imagine such independence from the GOP caucus in the Senate. Oh, but McConnell’s Marauders are all refusing to consider the House bill. On whose side are Luria and Spanberger? Could their political calculus have included Senate resistance as well as avoiding legislation containing “political statements”?


The lawyer behind the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case Citizens United is suing Virginia election officials to stop voters from submitting absentee ballots in the upcoming June 23 primary. The Indiana attorney who filed the lawsuit is James Bopp, who said that guidance, endorsed by Governor Northam, encouraging absentee voting would disenfranchise voters. He explained that “[I]f you spring this on a soon-to-be upcoming election, where you’re going to increase the number of ballots by, say, five times, the result is massive chaos and disruption, lost ballots, all sorts of problems.” He filed the lawsuit on behalf of six Northern Virginia voters, including Thomas Curtin, who is secretary of the Fairfax County Republican Committee. 

The Virginia Board of Elections has encouraged voters to vote absentee next month, to prevent the spread of coronavirus at the polls. But because state law currently requires voters to list the reason why they can’t vote on Election Day, the board said they can just choose the “disability or illness” option. The General Assembly passed a law this year allowing no-excuse absentee voting, but it doesn’t go into effect until July 1, 2020.

Attorneys for the state said in a response that Virginia law permits absentee voting during a state of emergency, adding that the absentee guidance represents a critical part of the Commonwealth’s efforts to protect people from COVID-19.

If voting increases by “say, five times,” is that not a good thing? If at the same time, the procedure saves lives, is that not a good thing?




Categories: Brief Cases, Issues, Local, pandemic, politics, press, prosecutors

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