Category Archives: Civil Rights

Impact of Supremes’ Roe v. Wade Ruling Way Overstated

Photo credit: Netblogpro

by Ken Reid

Should Governor Glenn Youngkin succeed in getting the Virginia General Assembly to curb abortion in Virginia from 25 weeks of pregnancy (at present) to 15, some 97% of abortions will still be protected, according to 2019 stats from the  Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

In addition, in six of the eight states which had pre-Roe v. Wade abortion bans, which have now become law again, an overwhelming majority of abortions will continue because abortion drugs (like Mifeprex – generic, mifepristone) –- cannot be outlawed. The only state with a trigger law where only 39% of abortions would continue is Missouri, based on data from the CDC.

In two states, Ohio and Texas, which have enacted restrictions after six weeks of pregnancy, CDC data indicates abortion through Mifeprex could conceivably cover 62% and 80% of abortions in those states, respectively.

About 54% of all abortions in 2019 were by abortion drugs, not surgery. Not all 1st trimester abortions can be done via drug, but the numbers are increasing and I will explain shortly why the states can do little about it.

I covered the drug and device industry for the trade press for 35 years, so I have some expertise here. Since the Supreme Court overturn of Roe was leaked in early May, I have written several articles, including a letter in The Washington Post,  about how this decision is really a wash for both sides – but these facts have not entered the news cycle or TV punditry. You can read one of these articles here.

Here are my arguments: Continue reading

Is Virginia’s Lab School Law Constitutional?

by James C. Sherlock

The Governor and General Assembly may wish to look at Virginia’s new laboratory schools law in light of the Supreme Court’s June 21, 2022 Carson v. Makin (Carson) decision

Held: Maine’s ‘nonsectarian’ requirement for otherwise generally available tuition assistance payments violates the Free Exercise Clause.

The facts of Carson, in which Maine spent state money to fund students to attend private schools but not religious ones, seem to align generally with the facts of the establishment of laboratory schools under Virginia law.

Code of Virginia § 22.1-349.1. Definitions; objectives.

“College partnership laboratory school” means a public, nonsectarian, nonreligious school in the Commonwealth established by a public institution of higher education or private institution of higher education that operates a teacher education program approved by the Board. (Emphasis added)

That definition may be found to make the same constitutional error that the Supreme Court found in the Maine law on tuition assistance.  Continue reading

The “Occasional” Butchery of Children

By James C. Sherlock

Chloe Cole after childhood surgical transition to a boy (left) and de-transition to a girl (right) – Courtesy of Chloe Cole and the New York Post

The New York Post wrote recently:

At 12 years old, Chloe Cole decided she was transgender. At 13, she was put on puberty blockers and prescribed testosterone. At 15, she underwent a double mastectomy. Less than a year later, she realized she’d made a mistake.

Note the gracious acceptance of agency by this young woman, even though she made a “decision” at 12 that she was transgender.  Some clearly think that a child of twelve is mature enough to make such a decision.

We see no such agency proclaimed by her parents, pediatrician, endocrinologist or psychologist.  I am sure they were “supporting” that child.

No agency is apparently accepted by the state in which she lived.  The state in which her doctors were licensed.

Let’s examine the agency of the adult players in such matters in Virginia.

Continue reading

“Toxic” Parents in Harrisonburg

Harrisonburg City Public Schools

by James C. Sherlock

Harrisonburg City Public Schools (HCPS) have a tough row to hoe.

April Howard, HCPS chief officer for student support, noted in a presentation to the school board on October 19 of 2021:

Fall 2021 Student Trends
➔ Observations of increased anxiety
➔ Increased school refusal
➔ Increased reports of suicidal ideation—utilization of SPG protocol
➔ Increased needs for emotional regulation support
➔ Increased behavioral issues in pre K-12
➔ Concerns related to loss of social skills due to pandemic-related isolation

That is a common list of the monumental issues brought about by the COVID closures.

So, HCPS somehow thought it a good time to pick a fight over protecting “transgender and gender questioning” kids from their teachers and parents.

They got one. Continue reading

A Gun Owner’s Suggestion for Virginia Gun Laws

By James C. Sherlock

I was a career military man.

I am a conservative and a gun owner. As a younger man, I won competitive awards for marksmanship with both rifle and pistol.

I own a semi-automatic Glock for home protection.  I train regularly and at almost 77 can still hit what I aim at.

With that introduction, I have a couple of suggestions for gun legislation in Virginia that I hope will draw condemnation from both the left and the right so that I know I have it roughly right.

I have four criteria for firearms legislation:

  • changes that can matter to the safety of children and law enforcement officers;
  • changes that can deter criminals from use of a firearm in the commission of a crime;
  • changes that do not disadvantage the average citizen’s possession and use of firearms; and
  • changes that can pass Second Amendment review in federal court.

Those are, as a group, difficult needles to thread simultaneously.  They should be.

This article involves semi-automatic long guns – rifles and shotguns.

Continue reading

Progressive Dogma Untethered to Results – Voter Laws Edition

by James C. Sherlock

The armies of the progressive left are what the great political scientist George Edwards called “Prisoners of Their Premises.” Many persons and institutions are captives, to a greater or lesser degree.

Lesser is better in this case. Mistakes flow from the best of intentions. You can learn from them or repeat them.

The United States military late in the Vietnam war mandated and then made a science out of analyzing its mistakes in order to learn from them.

At the unit level, soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines debrief after every training and combat mission. At higher levels the reviews are periodic, but also professionally honest. Combat training schools capture, but do not enshrine those lessons. Because there is always a next time, newer equipment, newer force compositions, newer enemies and newer lessons.

It is the only way to improve systematically.

Many progressives, in solitary confinement with their dogma, are often wrong but always certain. When their policy prescriptions fail to provide the predicted results, which is most of the time, outcomes are ignored or blamed on outside factors beyond their control. Core beliefs, unchallenged, are undisturbed.

Consider for illustration recent voting law changes. Continue reading

Silence of the Trumpets

by Jim McCarthy

Criminal justice at the local level in Virginia is the province of the 120 Commonwealth’s attorney offices funded primarily by the state, with some also receiving local supplement. Indigent defendants may avail themselves of the Sixth Amendment right to counsel through 28 public defender offices. Many other indigent defendants will be represented by court appointed counsel from lists and attorneys overseen by the Virginia Indigent Defense Commission (VIDC) which is the statutory organization for public defenders.

The genesis of the existence of public defenders arose in 1963, ten years before Roe v Wade, with the SCOTUS opinion in Gideon v Wainwright. The defendant, Clarence Earl Gideon, was sentenced to five years in prison after trial at which he requested the appointment of counsel to defend him. At the time, states were mandated to consider appointed counsel only in capital offense proceedings, not for lesser offences which might involve imprisonment. The unanimous court in Gideon concluded that the Sixth Amendment did not distinguish between capital and non-capital cases, finding that a defendant faces the danger of criminal conviction “because he does not know how to establish his innocence.”

This hallmark decision and its progeny later gave rise to the familiar Miranda warning (Miranda v Arizona, 1966), a required notification by police in a custodial setting: Continue reading

Charter School Lessons for the Youngkin Administration from the New York Times

by James C. Sherlock

Probably surprising to many of my readers, one of the newspapers to which I subscribe is The New York Times. Another is The Washington Post.

Of the two, the Times demonstrates far more balance in its reporting. Not opinion – reporting.

Times education writers, direct witnesses to the astonishing achievements of New York City charter schools and their huge waiting lists, can be counted on to investigate and report stories that openly disregard progressive orthodoxy on such schools.

They reported on May 13 (adjacent picture) that opposition to charter schools disadvantages primarily poor minority children and is driving the support of poor and minority parents away from the Democratic party.

That is the message I have been trying to bring to the Youngkin administration. Continue reading

School Daze

by Jim McCarthy

Governor Glenn Youngkin had an opportunity to withdraw his big-footed amendment to a bill that would have moved the election date of the Loudoun County School Board from 2022 to 2023 and vacate the nine board seats for a new election. The original bill sought only to stagger the terms of five of the seats. Now, rejected by vote of Democrats in the senate, the Governor has the choice of vetoing the original bill or signing it.

Whichever choice is made, it is not likely to diminish the feral fever that has enveloped school board meetings nor will it appease the bloodlust outrage stoked during the campaign.

Passage of the proposed amendment rested, in part, upon the Dillon Rule, a judicial doctrine from the 1800s which provides that a local jurisdiction may exercise only what authority is conferred by the parent state. This principle, in turn, is mirrored by another dominant value that has guided educational policy for centuries called in loco parentis (ILP) or in place of the parent. Historically, as population grew and shifted from agrarian settings to urban and suburban ones with enhanced employment opportunities, the education of youth was entrusted to a public school system with professional personnel. Continue reading

The Richmond Times Dispatch, “Hate Groups” and Journalism

by James C. Sherlock

The Hanover County School Board (HCSB) is seeking legal assistance in reviewing its transgender policy from the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), a conservative legal organization that provides its services pro bono.

ADF’s key values that it goes to court to defend are religious freedom, free speech, marriage and family, parental rights, and the sanctity of life.  It has  won 80% of its court cases and played a role in 64 victories at the United States Supreme Court.

The HCSB, the target of an ACLU lawsuit, wants to know if their transgender policy is defensible in court.  ADF offered to review the policy and advise on modifications if any and a defensive strategy for free.

Seems reasonable.

But not to the Richmond Times Dispatch (RTD). Continue reading

End the Subminimum Wage for Disabled Virginians

Virginia is top ranked as a business-friendly state. How we treat employees with disabilities in the workplace matters.

by Shaun Kenney

What are the hallmarks of a business-friendly environment? Competitive wages, opportunities to build wealth, support for entrepreneurial endeavors, freedom to create and innovate, dignity of work, and economic independence and sustainability – to name a few.

There’s a law on the books in Virginia that legislators and advocates on both sides of the aisle argue stands in direct contrast to many of these principles. It goes back to 1938.

According to Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act, employers with a 14(c) certificate from the Wage & Hour Division of the Department of Labor are legally permitted to pay wages below the minimum wage to employees with physical, developmental, cognitive, mental or age-related disabilities. Continue reading

Loudoun Public Schools – Suitable for Economically Secure Asian and White Kids Only

by James C. Sherlock

If your kids are Asian or white and economically advantaged, Loudoun County Public Schools are worth a try.

Otherwise, forget it.

At my age I am seldom surprised. The failures of Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) to educate so many of their children in the wealthiest county in America have easily cleared that bar.

The Constitution of Virginia famously demands:

“The General Assembly … shall seek to ensure that an educational program of high quality is established and continually maintained.”

In Loudoun, the struggles between the school system — the school board, the superintendent and the school administration — and parents have spawned national headlines. Those have focused on COVID responses and social engineering by the schools.

The spectacular failures of the Loudoun County Public Schools seen in the academic scores of its students other than economically secure Asian and white kids is a bigger scandal.

Far too many young lives have been cut short of their promise by denial of not only an “educational system of high quality”, but even an adequate one.

It needs to stop. Continue reading

Terry McAuliffe as Governor Aggressively Denied Charter Schools to Poor Minority Children

by James C. Sherlock

Terry McAuliffe demonstrated as governor that he will fight public charter schools.

He will oppose them regardless of the lifelong costs to the students of some truly pitiful Virginia public schools, many with majorities of minority students.

When governor, he vetoed a major attempt by the General Assembly to help those kids.

Indeed, not a single charter school has been approved by the Virginia Board of Education since the McAuliffe administration took office in 2014. Two, subject to reauthorization by hostile Boards, have closed.

He and his supporters in the unions and the ed schools consider the children be acceptable collateral damage to their policy preferences. Continue reading

The Loudoun Way — School Rapes by a Member of a Progressive Protected Class

Loudoun County Commonwealth’s Attorney Buta Biberaj

by James C. Sherlock

Any time you think there is only one system of justice in America, consider these two stories I offer below, one a progressive dream and the other true.

The true story will show some progressives care more about their dogma than kids.

And any time you think only big city progressives don’t give a damn about child victims of crime, like in Chicago or New York, read the true one below.

It is underway in Loudoun County. Continue reading

Return to Autocracy in Virginia

Why is this man smiling?

by James C. Sherlock.
Updated Aug 13, 12:15 PM

It was so easy to predict that I can claim no special prescience. I wrote a week ago:

“The Governor’s 15-month emergency powers expired June 30, and, God, does he miss them…. (H)ow long (will the) governor put up with the lack of emergency powers?”

If you guessed a week, you win.

Today’s headline: Virginia Gov. Orders Mask Mandate for State’s K-12 Schools

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam on Thursday announced a public health emergency order to require masks in all indoor settings for the state’s K-12 schools.

The Governor has a legal basis for the order, § 32.1-13 of the Code of Virginia. The State Health Commissioner, acting for the Board of Health when it is not in session (§ 32.1-20 of the Code of Virginia),

may make separate orders and regulations to meet any emergency, not provided for by general regulations, for the purpose of suppressing nuisances dangerous to the public health and communicable, contagious and infectious diseases and other dangers to the public life and health.

If you are wondering, the Board of Health meets four times a year for a couple of days each meeting. And there is no mention of a role for the General Assembly.

This is not the same law that Northam used for 15 months. New ball game. Continue reading