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December 24, 2012

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Richard Paschal

Hello, Al. The courthouse is in Hanover, Virginia. It is where the Parson's Cause case was argued about reimbursement of Anglican clergy in tobacco, George III's veto of an act by the VA House of Burgesses, and the subsequent suit for, essentially, back pay. I seem to remember that while Patrick Henry argued for the member of clergy, his father was the presiding trial judge. Nothing wrong with that at the time, of course, as Blackstone would soon publish on the limited circumstance (i.e., interest but not bias) where judicial disqualification was necessary.

Alfred Brophy

You got it, obviously, Richard. Nicely done.

As to the Parsons' cause -- the clergy wanted their pay in tobacco (which because of a drought was worth a lot more than usual), but the Virginia legislature passed an act that allowed parishes to pay in money rather than tobacco (and thus seems to have deprived them of what sounds to me like a vested right). The interesting thing about this is that as the case was asserting the rights of the Virginia legislature, the right it was establishing was to pay less than had been promised. Sort of not what I'd expect for an assertion of American rights! I want to look into this some more.

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