Monday, June 16, 2014

Paul A. Prados selected as a rising star

Paul A. Prados has been selected to the 2014 Virginia Rising Stars list. Each year, no more than 2.5 percent of the lawyers in the state are selected by the research team at Super Lawyers to receive this honor.

Super Lawyers, a Thomson Reuters business, is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The annual selections are made using a patented multiphase process that includes a statewide survey of lawyers, an independent research evaluation of candidates and peer reviews by practice area. The result is a credible, comprehensive and diverse listing of exceptional attorneys.

The Super Lawyers lists are published nationwide in Super Lawyers Magazines and in leading city and regional magazines and newspapers across the country. Super Lawyers Magazines also feature editorial profiles of attorneys who embody excellence in the practice of law. For more information about Super Lawyers, visit

Sunday, November 3, 2013

A Libertarian’s perspective on Ken Cuccinelli

Every election, philosophical libertarians are faced with a conundrum: should we vote for principle/stay home or vote for the lesser of two evils.  Democrats tend to be better on personal liberty issues and Republicans tend to be better on economic liberty issues.  Occasionally you find the odd “moderate” that seems to be bad on both sets of issues.  At least then we have something to vote against.

I am supporting Ken Cuccinelli for Governor in 2013.  I found this decision easy, but my hope is that philosophical libertarians will take a strong look at Cuccinelli.

The source

I worked for Ken Cuccinelli as an attorney for the first four years of my career up until he took office as Attorney General.  During that time I was exposed to many aspects of his life: his law career, political actions, and his family.  I have had uncountable private conversations with Cuccinelli about his beliefs and actions.  

What follows is my take on his beliefs vis-a-vis libertarianism.  Unless I attribute the statement directly to him, it is merely my understanding.  I will point out a few tidbits that he has not hidden, but are not known in a widespread fashion.

Principled stand on the Second Amendment

Most people know that Ken Cuccinelli is a strong supporter of the Second Amendment.  What most people do not know is that support for gun control polled well above 50% in his Senate district, and he knew it was the case.  In three elections there he did not waiver in his support of the Second Amendment despite knowing it was a dangerous position to take politically.  He was repeatedly elected on principle and stuck to those principles.  Libertarians tend to worry that Democrats and Republicans will abandon their libertarian leaning principles upon election.  Cuccinelli does not.

Opponent of the overreach of police powers

Whether it is search and seizure, the rights of the accused, or dare I say, the death penalty, Cuccinelli repeatedly falls on the side civil liberties.  Cuccinelli was constantly seeking to reduce the ability of localities to spy on citizens, whether it be through warrantless searches or traffic cameras.  He supported restoration of voting rights to released felons.  He knows all too well that our criminal justice system, despite its general effectiveness and a great many honorable public servants, sometimes falls short of doing justice.  Cuccinelli personally took up the cause of the 27 year wrongfully imprisoned Thomas Haynesworth.  To the press and to casual observers this appeared to be an aberration.  To those of us who knew Cuccinelli, none of this surprised us.  This is one of the reasons why Cuccinelli has such a dedicated base of followers.

Defender of the First Amendment

Ken Cuccinelli was lead counsel on a major case seeking to invalidate a law passed by the General Assembly that restricted the free association of political parties.  This lawsuit originally entitled Miller v. Brown, successfully invalidated a restriction on how political parties can nominate candidates.

Cuccinelli’s religious beliefs

Cuccinelli takes a lot of flak for his stances on abortion and gay marriage.  Cuccinelli believes that life begins at conception and deserves protection in the womb.  He does not want to prevent access to contraception, but he does not consider abortion, chemical or surgical, to be “contraception.”  This is identical to the position of Ron Paul, a supporter of Cuccinelli.  Ron Paul reached his conclusions, in part, from being a practicing obstetrician.  Cuccinelli does not take this position lightly.
Cuccinelli is opposed to state sponsored gay marriage.  He does not believe in “criminalizing blow jobs.” It would take 500-1000 words, perhaps more, to explain the appeal of the ruling invalidating Virginia’s anti sodomy law.  In short, the Attorney General’s brief submitted to the 4th Circuit en banc, and the Supreme Court both fully acknowledged in writing that the law cannot constitutionally ban sexual activity between consenting adults.  It is my strong belief that the tide of public opinion and the court system will overtake his positions in the next 5-10 years.
If your feelings on one or both of these issues control your vote, please vote your conscience, just please remember not to let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

The final take

Cuccinelli, in the end, believes that the greatest minority is the individual and the protection of individual liberties is the primary purpose of government.  Civil liberties, economic liberties, and constitutional freedom are the baseline for Cuccinelli.  In the end, Cuccinelli is the strongest pro-liberty candidate to run statewide in Virginia with a reasonable chance of winning in modern history.  He is not the lesser of two evils, he is a good that is worthy of your consideration. 
Please get out and vote on Tuesday November 5, and no matter your take on Cuccinelli I look forward to working with all liberty minded individuals in the future.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Gay marriage lawsuits taking back seat in waning days of the campaign

I predicted that the gay marriage lawsuits in Virginia would have a significant impact on the gubernatorial campaigns in the final days. 

Apparently neither Cuccinelli nor McAuliffe appear interested in raising the fact that the AG's office must address the issue in court right at this moment. 

The media appears disinterested as well.  I acknowledge I was wrong about the effect it would have on the election.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Gay Marriage case on course to affect Virginia's Governor's race

The first Virginia case after the landmark U.S. v. Windsor ruling on gay marriage has undergone some recent changes that will truly push the matter to the forefront immediately before November's elections.

A New Complaint

Bostic & London have filed an Amended Complaint adding two additional plaintiffs, Carol Schall and Mary Townley.  Taking a cue from the ACLU case, they added Janet Rainey, the State Registrar of Vital Records, as a Defendant.

What happened to Cuccinelli?

Gov. McDonnell and AG Cuccinelli have been voluntarily dismissed as Defendants.  In these types of cases, you have to figure out the correct state actors to sue.  It is not always obvious which actors a court expects to be listed as a defendant.  This probably looks like a good thing for Cuccinelli as he is no longer listed as a defendant, it may appear to have less effect on him before the election.  But, the Commonwealth has intervened in the case as an "interested party."  This means that AG Cuccinelli's office will still be submitting briefs and taking stances before the election.  Cuccinelli will have to defend these actions.

The ACLU case does not appear to be moving to the forefront

The ACLU of Virginia finally got around to filing a class action lawsuit challenging Virginia's ban on same-sex marriage.  The opposing parties have filed motions to dismiss, and the ACLU has filed a motion to certify all members as a class.  This lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia which is reasonably fast, but not known for the haste in which the Eastern District proceeds. 

None of the motions have been scheduled for a hearing, and given the tremendous effort it takes to obtain a class action certification, any public fight in this case in the next two months will likely center on this boring procedural step, which will have substantially less political effect on the Governor's race.

With all these delays will this case still have any effect on the election?

This is where the Bostic case gets interesting.  The parties submitted an agreed order setting response schedules for the amended complaint and a briefing schedule for summary judgment motions.  Summary judgment is the means by which this case will be adjudicated in total.  It is the equivalent of a trial in this matter. 

Here is the schedule:

Initial summary judgment motions from all parties are due September 30, 2013.
Response briefs are due October 24, 2013.
Final reply briefs are due October 31, 2013.

The election is November 5, 2013

AG Cuccinelli's office, on behalf of the Commonwealth will have to file major briefs 36 days, 12 days, and 5 days before the gubernatorial election.  October is the most critical time of the election season.  Cuccinelli will be held accountable for every word in these briefs.

This makes it easy to stand by my initial prediction that this will have a substantial negative impact on Cuccinelli.