Virginia, that redest of red states, would surely have one of the most conservative courts out there - wouldn't it?
Consider this not atypical passage from Carter v. Commonwealth, 2002, 38 VaApp 116:
Well established "principles of statutory construction require us to ascertain and give effect to the legislative intent." "The plain, obvious, and rational meaning of a statute is always preferred to any curious, narrow or strained construction; a statute should never be construed so that it leads to absurd results." Thus, "[i]t is a basic rule of statutory construction that a word in a statute is to be given its everyday, ordinary meaning unless the word is a [term] of art." Because the Code of Virginia is "one body of law," we may consult other statutes "using the same phraseology" to assist us in divining legislative intent. "Although penal laws are to be construed strictly [against the Commonwealth], they 'ought not to be construed so strictly as to defeat the obvious intent of the legislature.'"This one paragraph contains pretty much all the dodges used in Virginia law to avoid giving a statute the written meaning of the statute: legislative intent, absurd results, term of art, use of other statutes to divine legislative intent, obvious intent of the legislature.
Hmmm . . . There seems to be a theme here . . .
[addendum] As well, a conservative court would believe in State rights and interpret things under the State's laws and constitution as much as possible, applying the federal constitution only when it has been imposed upon it by the federal supreme court. What do the courts appellate in Virginia have to say about that?
Jackson v. Commonwealth, 41 Va.App. 211 (2003): Our courts have consistently held that the protections afforded under the Virginia Constitution are co-extensive with those in the United States Constitution.Thus, no recourse to the Commonwealth's constitution at all.
OMG! Somebody switched our appellate judges with - shudder - judges from the 9th Circuit! They're going to turn us into California - or worse, remake the whole Commmonwealth in the image of Northern Virginia. We're dooooomed!!!