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Bar groups to evaluate candidates to succeed Koontz

The Virginia State Bar and the statewide volunteer bars have set up the machinery for vetting candidates who want to succeed Justice Lawrence L. Koontz Jr. on the Supreme Court of Virginia

The bars are asking for written materials to be submitted to them by Oct. 29. The VSB’s judicial nominating committee and corresponding groups from other bars that interview candidates will meet with candidates on Dec. 8.

Valerie Breeden of the VSB staff is coordinating the vetting process. She can be reached at (804) 775-0551, breeden@vsb.org, and has provided a handy list of contacts for the other bar groups, the materials they want submitted to them and whether they will interview candidates.

The groups are requesting that the materials be sent to the contacts in electronic format.

Breeden said the VSB committee is asking all candidates to submit questionnaires and participate in the interviews. In some previous evaluations, the committee had told candidates they need only express their continued interest in a position participated if they had participated in an earlier evaluation. The committee wants to interview the candidates because of the lapse of time and turnover on the committee, Breeden said.

Koontz is leaving the court because he has reached the mandatory retirement age of 70.

House Courts of Justice Committee Chairman David B. Albo, R-Fairfax, and Sen. Henry L. Marsh III, his Senate counterpart, asked the bar groups to evaluate and recommend candidates to the committees.

The General Assembly elects state judges. Gov. Robert F. McDonnell would become involved only if the legislature can’t agree on a candidates, always a possibility with the House controlled by Republicans and the Senate by Democrats.

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