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Letter from Daniel Meador to Ronald Sokol, Monday, December 18, 1978

Mr. Ronald P. Sokol
13450 Puyricard
Aix-En-Provence, FRANCE

Dear Ron:

Your welcome letter has been in my “To Be Answered” file
for several months. I now hasten to write with the hope of
reaching you with Yuletide Greetings.

To bring you up on events, and to answer some questions
in your letter, I underwent another operation on my right eye
last April. It was viewed in advance as a “high risk” procedure
in that only a small percentage of such operations
achieve any significant measure of success, while many of them
not only fail to do that, but also result in a loss of the entire
eye. My case has fallen somewhere in between. The operation
achieved nothing; on the other hand, it has not yet resulted
in the loss of my eye. If things hold where they are, the
likelihood is that I can retain the eye itself, although without
vision. The upshot is that the doctors now consider my
case closed, medically speaking. This ends the hope which I
had maintained for a year that something might be worked out.
This has also caused me to get more seriously down to the
business of learning Braille and of taking “mobility instruction”
with the hope of being able to get myself around independently
to a higher degree. These skills could be much more important
in the future than they are now, when I have less help than I do
in this situation.

Aside from a couple of weeks off for the surgery last
Spring, I have been steadily on the job since August 1977. We
have many projects of interest — too many to try to list here.
At the moment, we are consumed with getting together our legislative
program for the new Congress which comes in in January.
Almost none of our proposals were enacted in the last session,
although several of them came quite close. We are expecting
better results in the new Congress. We also have some new

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proposals. Among the major items on our agenda are the reduction
or elimination of the diversity of citizenship jurisdiction,
substantial overhaul of class action procedures, and the creation
of a new intermediate federal appellate court which would
hear appeals nationwide in tax cases, patent cases, and certain
specified administrative agency rulings. We also have a proposal
to convert the Supreme Court’s jurisdiction almost entirely
to a certiorari basis, eliminating obligatory appeals.

I have always carried in mind your generous and interesting
invitation to visit you and I have been hoping to find some
opportunity to do so. I thought the moment might be at hand
this past Fall when a trip to Germany loomed. However, time
turned out to be too short. Jan and I did go to Germany for
one week. I spent two days in Bonn at the Ministry of Justice,
and another two and a half days in Karlsruhe visiting three
courts. This is a trip which I had planned twice before, but
had been compelled to cancel. It was highly informative. What
I have in mind is an article attempting to explain the German
judiciary to Americans — especially the methods of training,
promoting, and selecting judges, and something of the structure
and procedure of the appellate courts. I have done similar
things with the English system. In fact, an article of mine
has just appeared in the Georgetown Law Journal on the English
appellate judges. When I have reprints, I will mail you one.
In any event, we were unable to spare the additional time to
detour through Southern France. But I still want to do this
and hope to have a chance some day.

Please accept my apologies for not having responded to
your flattering request for a photograph. It is very difficult
to resist the opportunity to have one’s likeness join such
august company as you have described. My problem has been that
I have not yet come into possession of a photograph to send you.
In fact, this lack has been one of the reasons why I have procrastinated
in writing. I have been thinking that I would get
a suitable photograph, but I have not yet done so. If you wish
to hold the invitation open, I will keep the matter in mind
with the object of getting a photograph sometime in the near
future and sending it along.

My plan still holds to return to Charlottesville before
the end of next Summer to resume my place on the law faculty.
This will require a completely new orientation. I have become
adjusted to working in my situation here, but the teaching
work and the law school situation will present quite a different
setting. I hope that there is some chance during 1979 when we

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can get together, either in Washington or in Charlottesville
I hope that you and your family have a good holiday season.
We will go to Charlottesville this coming weekend to spend
Christmas week there.

Daniel J. Meador

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