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Bills to limit courts system’s authority advance

A series of bills that the judicial system regards as an intrusion on its turf cleared their first legislative hurdle yesterday when they were reported out of the judicial systems subcommittee of House Courts of Justice Committee.

The legislation would eliminate the Virginia court system’s two top policy-making bodies, limit the authority of the executive secretary of the Supreme Court and do away with much of the Supreme Court’s authority to appoint substitute judges.

We detailed the bills and the rationale for them here. All passed with no more than a single dissenting vote.

House Bill 126, a bill the judicial system supported – elevating the mandatory retirement age for judges from 70 to 73 – failed on a 5-5 vote.

The bills will move on to the House courts committee, which generally goes along with the recommendations of subcommittees, especially if the votes are one-sided.

By Alan Cooper

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