2021 APPELLATE LAW Q&A
Lucas I. Pangle
Wharton Aldhizer & Weaver PLC, Harrisonburg
Other legal specialties: Administrative law, occupational safety and health, and bankruptcy
Birthplace: Maurertown in Shenandoah County
Education: Bachelor’s degree in neuroscience, Duke University; law degree, William & Mary School of Law
Fan of: Duke Blue Devils basketball
Recently read book: “The Code of the Woosters,” by P.G. Wodehouse
Favorite vacation spot: Key West, Florida
Career mentors: Tom Ullrich, Steve Milo and Derek Brostek
Why did you decide to enter law after receiving a degree in neuroscience? In college, I opted for neuroscience on the advice of a school counselor who thought freshmen “ought to take what they’d enjoy knowing.” I accepted his advice, but I never lost the inclination to go to law school.
What has been your most interesting case?
I worked with Jeff Adams to successfully challenge Virginia’s one-of-a-kind incumbent protection act — a law that allowed an incumbent officeholder to choose the method of nomination in an upcoming election. The case had all sorts of unique and complicated conceptual issues, and Jeff and I gladly spent hours and hours theorizing about them. That was quite an introduction to appellate practice.
What’s your take on the Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulation under review regarding COVID-19 vaccination mandates? Simplifying the issue to whether OSHA’s several-month delay renders COVID-19 a “nonemergency” gives OSHA a shot at prevailing. However, a sprawling regulation with broad applicability would invite judges (and maybe even justices) to reconsider the nondelegation doctrine, commerce clause decisions and administrative law principles that presently support a modest mandate.