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Legislature names Mims to Supreme Court

The General Assembly unanimously elected former attorney general and legislator William C. Mims this afternoon to the Supreme Court of Virginia, effective April 1.

The election was a foregone conclusion after his appearance Monday before the House and Senate Courts of Justice Committees as the only candidate for the position. Our report on that appearance and background on Mims is here.

Mims will replace Justice Barbara Milano Keenan, who was to be sworn in today as a judge of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals after President Obama signed her commission yesterday.

The General Assembly reappointed three other judges this afternoon: Franklin Circuit Judge William N. Alexander II and 27th General District Judges Edward M. Turner III and Randall J. Duncan.

Alexander’s appointment had been held up because of questions about his handling of a special grand jury investigation of Franklin Sheriff Ewell Hunt. Alexander attempted to defuse criticism with a letter saying that, on reflection, he should have recused himself from any involvement with the grand jury.

Turner ran into questions about his membership in the New River Land Trust, a conservation organization. Members were concerned about the propriety of correspondence that listed him as a member of the organization’s board of directors.

Turner said no correspondence with this name on it had been used to solicit money by the organization, and he indicated that he would withdraw from it if legislators thought his membership created a problem.

No one suggested any impropriety on the part of Duncan, but he apparently was caught up in muscle flexing between senators and delegates and Democrats and Republicans.

By Alan Cooper

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