State Senator Ralph Smith of Troutville thinks lawyers have too much say in who becomes a judge in Virginia. He sees bar endorsements as a conflict of interest for those who have to practice before the judge. Today, he ventured to defend that opinion before the Roanoke Bar Association. “It’s like getting to pick your own bosses,” he told the gathering.
His main concern, he explained after the bar meeting, is the appearance of conflict when lawyer-legislators appear before the judges they helped put on the bench.
The freshman Republican says that he is not lobbying for elected judges, and he acknowledges that he does not have an alternative to Virginia’s method of legislative appointment of judges. He just wants to limit the influence of those who will practice before the judges they help to select.