Earlier this week, Justice Harry L. Carrico, former chief justice of the Virginia Supreme Court, died at the age of 96. His body is currently lying in state in the Capitol. I went over there earlier today to pay my respects.
Justice Carrico had a career that spanned the history of Virginia. As many will certainly note, his court sustained the trial court opinion in the Loving case, thus sending the issue to the U.S. Supreme Court which outlawed all miscegenation laws. Later, Justice Carrico struck down the Virginia law which required segregated courtrooms.
In 1994, I traveled to Richmond to receive my law license. Justice Carrico, who was still the Chief Justice, spoke to our “class” of 1,000+ new attorneys. In his brief speech, he warned against the encroachment of the “billable hour” which was ruining the practice of law by having lawyers focus on billing time, instead of quality work.
Truer words were never spoken.
Soon after I came to the legislature in 2001, Justice Carrico retired from the bench although he still showed up occasionally to sit “senior status” on cases, even as late as 2011 when we were short judges on the Supreme Court.
He was a consummate Virginia gentleman who grew up on a dairy farm in Fairfax County, near the intersection of Braddock Road and Rte 236 in Annandale. He never shrank from serving the people of the Commonwealth or explaining the decisions that he made. He is fondly remembered by all who knew him.