Author Archives: sherlockj

Individual Virginians have Political Power If They Will Use It

by James C. Sherlock

We discuss here every day issues such as Virginia’s dangerous shortage of health facilities inspectors that have great consequence to the people of the Commonwealth regardless of their political affiliation.

The Director of the Office of Licensure and Certification in VDH was brave to provide an unvarnished reply to my FOIA request.  Every reader bemoaned this situation.  It screams for redress.

Yet the vast majority of Virginians have never contacted their Virginia Delegate or Senator, much less the Governor.  Most don’t do it either because they don’t know how or don’t think it will have an effect.

I know from my personal experience that it can have an effect.  Rules for effectiveness: Be respectful in your communications and clear on both the issue you are addressing and what you want from your elected officials.

If you know the name of your legislators;

  • for your senate member contact information go to ,
  • for your House member
  • and then click on the name.

If you don’t know your members,

If you don’t know the member personally, an email to his or her office works best because you can be more specific and the legislative assistant who reads it has a record. Continue reading

Part IV – Herring’s LCPS Determination and the Constitution

Constitution of Virginia

by James C. Sherlock

We have in this series explored the case In Re: Final Determination of the Office of Attorney General Division of Human Rights in DHR Case No.: 19-2652, NAACP Loudoun Branch v. Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS).  

This non-judicial investigation and determination has made famous:

  • the new law, Subdivision B 2 of § 2.2-520 of the Code of Virginia that established in 2020 the Department of Law (AG’s office) Division of Human Rights (the Division);
  • the Virginia Human Rights Act, Virginia Code § 2.2-2900 et seq and Virginia Code § 2.2-520 et seq (The Act) that Herring’s new Division of Human Rights cited in this finding; and
  • the regulations written by the Division’s itself to guide its actions and the compliance of wrongdoers.

The determination was a result of a formal investigation that admitted evidence, including six and 1/2 pages of hearsay, that no court would have considered.

It measured the discriminatory impact on Black/African-American and Latinx/Hispanic students who applied and were accepted to Loudoun Academies by means of a racial statistical analysis of the student body. Continue reading

Shortage of Health Facilities Inspectors Puts All Virginians at Risk

Regulatory wreck

by James C. Sherlock

I have been the single fiercest public critic of the Virginia Department of Health in general and its Office of Licensure and Certification (OLC) in particular. I have been particularly critical of OLC’s inspections of nursing homes.

We need them to do better, and they agree.

This essay will report what the OLC leadership in response to my FOIA request suggests is required to meet their critical responsibilities.

Their answer is additional staffing and technology, just as reported in an Office of State Inspector General (OSIG) report in 2017.  I dealt with that office more than a decade ago when it was under different leadership and the shortfalls were the same.

The FOIA response indicates to me that the 2017 OSIG report that criticized OSIG staffing and technology shortfalls was utterly ignored.  The OSIG might wish to report on that. Continue reading

Part III – Questions raised by Attorney General Herring’s Loudoun County Schools Determination

by James C. Sherlock

Still smiling?

The citizens of Loudoun and LCPS need to understand all the implications of the Attorney General’s determination.

This essay will offer questions that I sincerely recommend that LCPS pose to the Attorney General in order to get enough information to decide what to do. The AG’s office was given 60 days after the November 18 date on the determination to comply, so it should act immediately to get answers.

Immediately above Mr. Herring’s signature on the cover letter is the following statement:

Having found reasonable cause to believe that LCPS’s policies and practices resulted in a discriminatory impact on Black/African-American and Latin/Hispanic students, the Division of Human Rights request that the Charging Party (NAACP Loudoun) and Respondent (LCPS) engage in a post-determination conciliation process in an effort to resolve this matter. The final determination includes reforms and commitments that the Division believes are necessary to address the discriminatory disparate impact identified and help ensure equal opportunity for each student, as well as terms requested by the Charging Party in order to resolve this matter. (bold added)

Part II of this series listed those terms.

In the finding, there were two types of reforms required by the government. One type was things that need to be accomplished to ensure a statistically representative student body at Loudoun Academies. The other had to do with hiring, retention and promotion of minority employees, anti-discrimination policies, student discipline, and complaint systems.

I offer a series of questions that LCPS may wish to pose to the Attorney General to clarify the determination.

Continue reading

Herring’s Loudoun County Determination Part II – State-Sponsored Extortion

Why is this man smiling?

by James C. Sherlock

Part one of two essays on this subject described a new Virginia law, a new Division in the Attorney Generals office, its function as a kangaroo court and its astonishing and sweeping  “determination” against Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS). The law requires LCPS to block Asian American kids from the competitively accessed Loudoun Academies in favor of protected classes.

That is not even the heart of the scandal.

That same determination published the NAACP’s demands to settle the case. I will quote the NAACP demands directly here because a summary cannot do it justice. Remember, these “requests” were published by the Attorney General. Also remember that if the NAACP is unhappy, it can go to court with the AG’s determination in hand.

Please note the demand for a high quality charter school for black students that can eliminate the achievement gap. Perhaps Success Academy can help.

Continue reading

Herring’s Academies of Loudoun Ruling – Part I – Only Cure for Disparate Impact is Fewer Asians

Why is this man smiling?

by James C. Sherlock

I just finished reading the 61-page “Final Determination of the Office of Attorney General Division of Human Rights in DHR Case No.: 19-2652, NAACP Loudoun Branch v. Loudoun County Public Schools.”

The first thing I discovered is that the Democrats in the last session created a kangaroo court within the Attorney General’s Office for civil rights cases. It is the new Division of Human Rights.

The second thing I noted was the state-sponsored extortion that was part of the “determination.” This essay will be about the new law that enabled this determination, the finding and its implications.

Part II will expose the state-sanctioned extortion that the “determination” endorses.

This case, while focused on public schools in Loudoun County, is a shot across the bow of every business in Virginia. Not only small businesses are in the crosshairs. Consider Boeing and Amazon, corporate nomads both. Good thing they established headquarters in Northern Virginia before this law. But then again, they are flexible with regards to the states in which they do business. Those two Goliaths used to call the states of Washington and then Illinois (Boeing) and Washington (Amazon) home. Continue reading

The Pick-Your-Expert Game, Virginia Schools Division

by James C. Sherlock

Danica Roem

A story  by Dana Goldstein published in the New York Times on June 30, 2020, illustrates America’s new favorite parlor game: Pick your expert.  

This essay is hereby entered in the Virginia schools division of the bigger game. Ms. Goldstein wrote:

“The American Academy of Pediatrics has a reputation as conservative and cautious, which is what you would expect from an organization devoted to protecting children’s health. But this week, the academy made a splash with advice about reopening schools that appears to be somewhat at odds with what administrators are hearing from some federal and state health officials.”

“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, for example, have advised that remote learning is the safest option. But the (American Academy of Pediatrics) guidelines strongly recommend that students be “physically present in school” as much as possible, and emphasize that there are major health, social and educational risks to keeping children at home.”

Later, there was a government-directed shotgun wedding of the two opinions, but the core AAP recommendation remains. So like every other argument, confirmation bias proved determinative in how various interests chose their “experts.” Continue reading

Belly Flops Make a Splash – Virginia Attacks on School Quality Gain National Attention

by James C. Sherlock

Why is this man smiling?

The Wall Street Journal featured an op-ed today, the first four words of which were “Attorney General Mark Herring.” No picture of the AG, so I offer one here, but they spelled his name right. so perhaps it will be Senator Herring or President Herring one day soon.

Unfortunately, the next words after his title and name were: 

“has fired the latest salvo in America’s assault on meritocracy: a 61-page opinion holding that the suburban Loudoun County school system discriminated against black and Hispanic youngsters because its selective-admission high school, the Academies of Loudon, hadn’t admitted enough of them. Never mind that—as Mr. Herring acknowledged—the school’s test-based admissions process is open to all and fairly managed. Because its results have a “disparate impact,” the school system must scrap it.”

The piece went on to describe for a national audience what Bacons Rebellion has been pointing out to Virginia readers. Selective admission schools are under attack for, well, being selective. Using tests to determine admissions does not result in student bodies that match the general demographics. It’s what the woke left calls the “Asian problem.” Asian students study too hard and have supportive parents. Continue reading

A Clear Victory for Civil Liberties

by James C. Sherlock

In a speech to the Federalist Society earlier this month, Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. said the pandemic

“has resulted in previously unimaginable restrictions on individual liberty. This is especially evident with respect to religious liberty. It pains me to say this, but in certain quarters, religious liberty is fast becoming a disfavored right.”

Last night, the Supreme Court court ruled 5-4 to bar New York Governor Andrew Cuomo from enforcing his “Cluster Initiative” against houses of worship. This ruling was on a suit brought by two of those, a Catholic Church and a synagogue.

Bloomberg News reported that the order was aimed at worship services at some synagogues and Roman Catholic churches in parts of Brooklyn and Queens.

In designated red zones, the state limited attendance in houses of worship to 25% of their capacity or 10 people, whichever is fewer. The majority said his limits violated the First Amendment’s protection of the free exercise of religion.

Justice Neil Gorsuch, in the concurring opinion, said Cuomo had treated religious activities less favorably than nonreligious ones.

Continue reading

Virginia Legislators Hear Lies, Smears and Key Omissions in Critical Race Theory-Based Attacks on Schools

by James C. Sherlock

Senator Louise Lucas

I just spent a great deal of time reviewing two Zoom seminars for Virginia legislators on the education committees of the General Assembly planning 2021 legislation.  

The briefings they got in preparation for the upcoming session were filled with lies, smears, critical omissions and self-referential “data” relative to equity and diversity in Virginia schools.

One was the Virginia Education Summit hosted November 9 and 10 by Sen. Louise Lucas, D-Portsmouth, and Del. Roslyn Tyler, D-Greensville, chairs of the Senate Education and Health Committee and House Education Committee respectively. The Senate Committee on Education and Health has 10 Democrat’s and 5 Republicans and the House Committee on Education has 13 Democrats and 8 Republicans, so this was largely a meeting focused on Democratic priorities.

I sometimes disagree with both Lucas and Tyler on policy, but I will assume they are honest legislators, so will I consider them among the aggrieved parties in what was presented in this two-day meeting. Continue reading

Mark Herring’s Worst Thanksgiving –  Conspiracy Against EVMS may lead to Federal Involvement

by James C. Sherlock

Sentara CEO Howard Kern

Scandals are sometimes overrated. Not this one.

I have reported here before on the strange case of the EVMS-ODU merger. I posted here on Nov 1, Nov 2  and Nov 3 with my own concerns on the subject. Many of my assessments came to fruition.

On November 13 and 20, the Checks and Balances Project picked up the story and took it to the next level. The quotations below are from the November 20 story.

I am not an attorney, but I will project today the significant legal jeopardy into which the process may have put the group that got together to coordinate and plan that merger without EVMS participation. 

Not to mention the legal and personnel mess that it puts on the desk of Virginia’s Attorney General and the Governor. 

Continue reading

U.S. Supreme Court Must Limit Virginia’s Gubernatorial Authority in Emergencies

by James C. Sherlock

Sic Semper Tyrannis

Kerry Daugherty, as is her want, posted a particularly compelling essay today. The most important thing Kerry wrote was: “Please let there be another lawsuit. And let it get to the Supreme Court…. Seems only the courts can save us from these tyrants.”

She is absolutely right.

Article IV of the United States Constitution

SECTION 4. The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government

From contemporaneous notes from James Madison:

“Resd. that a Republican government . . . ought to be guaranteed by the United States to each state.” 1 M. Farrand, The Records Of The Federal Convention Of 1787 22 (rev. ed. 1937).

In a letter in April, 1787, to Randolph, who formally presented the Virginia Plan to the Convention, Madison had suggested that “an article ought to be inserted expressly guaranteeing the tranquility of the states against internal as well as external danger. . . . Unless the Union be organized efficiently on republican principles innovations of a much more objectionable form may be obtruded.”

Edmund Jennings Randolph of Virginia, supporting Madison’s version pending then, said that

“a republican government must be the basis of our national union; and no state in it ought to have it in their power to change its government into a monarchy.”

Madison and Randolph were prescient.  Governors love kingly authority. Continue reading

Citizen Reporting of Misfeasance or Malfeasance of Virginia Government

Virginia Office of the State Inspector General

by James C. Sherlock

I recently published a much commented upon column concerning the governance of Virginia. 

In it I failed to mention the Office of the State Inspector General (OSIG). 

The mission of that office is to partner “with other state agencies to serve as a catalyst for positive change by:

  • Facilitating good stewardship of resources.
  • Deterring fraud, waste, abuse and corruption.
  • Advocating and practicing efficiency and effectiveness.
  • Promoting and practicing integrity and ethical conduct.” 

This site often serves as an outlet for citizen complaints about the performance of Virginia’s government.  

It is thus useful for readers to know: 

  1. their rights and obligations in reporting government malfeasance or misfeasance; and 
  2. how and under what circumstances to file a complaint to the Virginia OSIG that is charged with overseeing government performance.

This column will be dedicated to providing that information.

Continue reading

Bettina Love at Virginia Tech – a Different Context

by James C. Sherlock

A bad penny keeps on turning up.

This appearance is however critically different in context from Ms. Love’s appearance at the University of Virginia School of Education.

The Tech online get together is for faculty, and I have no problem with that. It represents legitimate academic inquiry.

Presumably the audience will question Love on her recommendations for resegregation of the schools and a radically unique curriculum for black students. That should engender a lively debate that I will pay to see.

The UVa School of Education appearance was as a keynote speaker for K-12 teachers, which represents an endorsement.

Virginia’s Government – a Critique

by James C. Sherlock

At the age of 75 with a life of experience in and with government, I will offer here my assessment of the current structural problems in our state government that make that government significantly less efficient and effective than it should be.  

You will note that these comments generally do not point fingers at either party, but rather at the sum of their efforts or lack of same. 

I grew up the son of a federal worker. Most of the men in our Falls Church neighborhood were WW II veterans and after the war most of them were civilian employees of the federal government. I spent nearly 30 years in the Navy and ten more as a government contractor. I dealt with Congress a lot.

In retirement, I took up causes for improving my state. I have spent a lot of time over 15 years dealing with the General Assembly, the Governor and the state administration.

So those are the bases for my perspectives. You will note that my experience dealing with the federal government informs my critique of the government of Virginia. Continue reading