Circuit court judges; restricts appointment to office if General Assembly fails to elect. (SB693)

Introduced By

Sen. Dick Black (R-Leesburg) with support from co-patron Del. Mark Cole (R-Fredericksburg)


Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law


Appointment of judge by circuit court. Restricts the circuit courts from appointing to judicial office any person either house of the General Assembly failed to elect. Read the Bill »


01/30/2013: Failed to Pass in Committee


09/18/2012Referred to Committee for Courts of Justice
09/18/2012Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/09/13 13100192D
10/01/2012Referred to Committee for Courts of Justice
01/30/2013Passed by indefinitely in Courts of Justice (8-Y 5-N 1-A) (see vote tally)


Waldo Jaquith writes:

This bill is presumably in response to the General Assembly's vote against the election of Tracy Thorne-Beglund last May.

It's also full of holes, rendering it impractical and leading to ridiculous results in application. Here's the text that it would add to the Code of Virginia:

No person shall be appointed under the provisions of this section if such person was the subject of a special and continuing order and under the order such person failed in the House of Delegates or the Senate to receive a majority vote of the members elected to the respective house of the General Assembly.

So if a bill comes up to appoint somebody to a judgeship, and that bill is left in committee—they just don't have time to get to it—then they can never, ever be appointed to a judgeship. Five, ten, thirty years in the future—it's impossible. Period. Even if the Courts of Justice committees specifically ask that the individual be appointed, because it's procedurally impractical (say, an emergency in the manner of September 11th, in Richmond) for them to nominate that judge in the traditional way—it doesn't matter. Lifetime ban. Even if it came to a vote in the legislature, years passed, and every single member of the legislature who voted on that candidate has left the legislature and been replaced...doesn't matter. Can't be appointed.

If Sen. Black wants to eliminate circuit courts' ability to appoint judges, and leave vacancies open until the General Assembly next meets, he should simply introduce a bill that would accomplish that. But this? This is foolishness.

S Stanley writes:

This is a good bill - prohibits local judges from paying a localities political favors to an attorney... especially one that has failed to meet previous Senate Judiciary Committee's appointment as a Judge... Bedford County has had an Attorney involved in the D-Day Scandal that has a reprimand by the State Bar... because some of the scandalous funds went into the County's cofers then after the Senate Judicial Committee refused to appoint him he was Bench Appointed as a favor for the money that helped renovate the Social Services Building and the Court House... now he refuses to punish and lock up delinquent parents that owe it to their children and the Commonwealth of Virginia to pay Child Support... evade support... and even if the Custodial Parent has evidence that the non-paying parent has money or a job he just prolongs it more and more... even with the option to require payment or go to jail they still don't pay and they still don't go to jail because he doesn't even use that option... this will eliminate political favors and the good ole' boy / northern buy your man favors....

Carol N writes:

I believe Waldo is correct. This bill is in response to the controversy over the appointment of Tracy Thorne-Begland after he was turned down by the GA. His judicial qualifications are superb but some objected to his life-style.