Virginia is for Criminal Justice Reformers (in 2016)

If you heard the John Fredericks show this morning, you know I am looking forward to the 2016 session. One of the things I'm most excited about is the opportunity to bring Virginia's criminal laws into conformity with the 21st century and common sense.

Earlier this week, we rolled out SB 108, which sought to curtail police seizures of private property without a conviction. Thanks for all the positive comments from both sides of the proverbial aisle.

What I Learned in the Holy Land

It's 5:45 a.m. Tuesday and I'm in my law office catching up on about 2,000 emails, phone messages and letters. What a life.

Last night our group from Truro Church arrived at Dulles after an 18 hour flight from Tel Aviv via Istanbul. We're back home. Here's what I will remember.

Saturday, December 26, boarding the plane. My mother (MY MOTHER!) texting me: "DHall scores on a fumble. 30-17 Skins." Cause she rolls like that.

The Big Short

Last night, I saw the movie "The Big Short." It's one of my favorite books written by one of my favorite authors, Michael Lewis, a great chronicler of our time. (He also wrote "The Blind Side").

"The Big Short" describes the demolition of the U.S. housing market in 2007-2008, through the sale of mortgage-backed securities. The sale of these securities in the preceding five years led to runaway inflation in residential housing, then eventually its collapse. The U.S. economy has never really recovered.

Merry Christmas, Y'all

The past ten days have been the very height of hectic-ity. Finishing cases, paying bonuses, attending parties, preparing legislation, mailing two thousand holiday cards, and buying presents.

(Years ago, I decided to simplify life by limiting Christmas gifts to my children and godchildren, however, that combined number is now seven).

"Desean to the House" (Sung to "Joy to the World")

Desean to the House
He scores again
Let Redskins fans rejoice
Across the DMV …
From Woodbridge to PGC …
All Hail our victory
All Hail our victory
All Hail, all ha-a-il our victory

Kirk throws the ball
With truth and grace
And let’s his ends make plays
The glories of …
His back shoulder fade …
And scrambles for six points
And scrambles for six points
And scrambles, scra-a-ambles for six points

RPV Blows a Major Opportunity

This spring should be a major opportunity for the Republican Party of Virginia. They have a major primary approaching in March. All thirteen major candidates have qualified for the ballot. Voter interest is at an all-time high.

And they're going to blow it.

Rather than encourage a million plus voters to participate -- and creating a list that could sustain the party for years -- the RPV has decided to require voters to sign a "loyalty oath" to vote in the primary. And this crowd wonders why they can't win statewide elections?

Holiday Madness Approaches

It's the last couple weeks of 2015. I've got a couple dozen potential pieces of legislation in drafting in Richmond for the 2016 session. Waiting on the Governor's proposed budget, which comes out in days, so I can read it over the holidays.

Tonight, the Fairfax County delegation will meet to interview candidates and eventually choose four new judges. (We have a unique system in which all members participate in nominating candidates who are then elected by the Assembly). Expect that meeting to last until late at night.

Why Religious Freedom Defines America

With the recent attacks in California following the November terror attacks in Paris, the national dialogue has gone a little bit nuts. At the center of it, shockingly, is Donald Trump who has turned the 2016 Presidential race into a reality TV show about his life and opinions.

This week, Mr. Trump proposed a policy that a lot of people probably considered but wouldn't openly state: what if the USA just stopped accepting immigrants of the Muslim faith? Wouldn't that make us safer?

What if Pearl Harbor Occurred Today?

Seventy four years ago, the Empire of Japan attacked the U.S. Navy at Pearl Harbor. Seven battleships were sunk and 2,000 sailors were killed. The U.S. air corps was caught on the ground at Honolulu's Hickam Field and destroyed. It was a devastating moment in U.S. history.

President Roosevelt made no public comment on December 7, 1941. The next day he addressed the U.S. Congress and simply described it as "a day that will live in infamy." Then he asked for a declaration of war.

Talking Drug Policy at Mason

Talking Drug Policy at Mason

Tonight I had a chance to serve on a panel at George Mason University discussing the reformation of drug laws. It was sponsored by "Roosevelt at Mason" and the GMU Economic Society. The participants were me, Economics Professor Bryan Caplan and VP of University Life Rose Pascarell.