Supreme Court Justice Bill Mims celebrated exactly one year on the job last Friday with a talk to the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association entitled, “Reflections from the End of the Bench: Musings of a Rookie Justice.”
Mims will graduate to veteran very shortly: Either the General Assembly or the governor will be adding two new justices to fill two vacancies. Mims will jump to fifth in seniority on a seven-member court.
Mims came to the court after a career as a practicing lawyer, as a member of both the House of Delegates and the Senate, and as Attorney General. He said he agrees with a statement made by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel E. Alito: “Judging is not an academic pursuit; it is a practical activity.”
Mims observed that the Virginia high court isn’t known for having very many dissents or concurrences. The court generally speaks with one voice.
Of 74 cases during his first year on the court, Mims said there were only eight dissents with no discernible pattern. And there were just six concurrences.
Of those six concurrences, five were filed by … the rookie justice himself.
Mims said his daughter, a first-year student at the University of Virginia law school, apprised him that he better quit that.
She cut to the chase and said, “No one is known at the Great Concurrer.”