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Large field seeks federal judgeships

February 19 and 20 are going to be loooong days for judicial nominating committees. The committees of several bar groups plan to interview candidates those days for vacancies on the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and U.S. District Court in Richmond, and twenty-six people have asked to be considered for one seat or the other.

Some names stand out on the candidates for the 4th Circuit seat, such as Virginia Supreme Court Justice Barbara Milano Keenan and former Justice John Charles Thomas.

Another candidate for that seat is Mary Lynn Tate, a prominent personal injury attorney from Abingdon who has long been active in Democratic politics.

In fact, she served on the transition committee of Sen. Jim Webb, and the bar groups are vetting the candidates at the request of Webb and Sen. Mark Warner, who are both Democrats.

The other 4th Circuit candidates, in alphabetical order, are:

Gregory S. Ashe, a senior staff attorney with the Federal Trade Commission in Washington

State Sen. John S. Edwards, D-Roanoke, a sole practitioner with a general practice that includes commercial and criminal litigation and personal injury work

E. Roy Hawkens, chief administrative judge for the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission

Kathleen J.L. Holmes, a partner in the McLean office of Williams Mullen whose practice focuses on commercial litigation

Raymond A. Jackson, a federal judge in Norfolk and a former assistant U.S. attorney

Richard A. Simpson, a partner at Wiley Rein LLP in Washington who had worked at Ross, Dixon & Bell before it merged with Troutman Sanders last year; his practice is largely litigation with an emphasis on appellate work

A. Benjamin Spencer, a professor at the Washington and Lee University law school who teaches civil procedure

Carl W. Tobias, a University of Richmond law professor who teaches constitutional law, torts and products liability

James J. Vergara Jr., a principal in Vergara & Associates who devotes most of his practice labor relations and eminent domain litigation

Several candidates say they are interested in both the appellate and district court:

Timothy V. Anderson, the principal in Anderson & Associates PC in Virginia Beach whose practice includes, bankruptcy, criminal and traffic defense, intellectual property and estate planning

Walter J. Brudzinski, an administrative law judge with the U.S. Coast Guard in New York City and a former state and federal prosecutor in Virginia Beach and Norfolk

J. Amy Dillard, an assistant professor of law at the University of Baltimore law school and a former public defender in Alexandria

Lisa E. Jones, an assistant chief of the appellate section in the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the Justice Department

Randy S. Segal, senior vice president, general counsel and secretary of SkyTerra Communications Inc. in Reston

Candidates interested in the district court seat are:

James L. Banks Jr., a partner in the Washington office of Seyfarth Shaw LLP who had been a partner at McGuireWoods LLP before joining Seyforth in 2006; he specializes in employment law and commercial litigation

Randy I. Bellows, a Fairfax County Circuit Judge and a former federal prosecutor and public defender

Thu Anh Dang, an administrative patent judge with the Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences

Francis S. Ferguson, deputy Virginia attorney general and general counsel and director of legislative and regulatory affairs for the Virginia Lottery

John A. Gibney Jr., a shareholder at ThompsonMcMullan in Richmond who frequently represents state constitutional officers in federal court in employment and civil rights disputes

Paul G. Gill, as assistant federal public defender in Richmond who had practiced earlier as a trial attorney in the tax division of the U.S. Justice Department and in product liability litigation at two Richmond firms

M. Hannah Lauck, a U.S. magistrate judge in Richmond who worked previously as an assistant U.S. attorney on both civil and criminal matters

Edward H. Starr Jr., a partner in the Richmond office of Troutman Sanders who specializes in insurance coverage litigation and in tort and product liability litigation

Richard D. Taylor, a Richmond Circuit Court judge who also served as a judicial and domestic relations district judge

By Alan Cooper


  1. Perhaps given the econimic times, all these candidates are taking head of Judge Agee’s observation that it’s good to have a life time appointment with an employer who prints their own money.

  2. In regards to Walter J. Brudzinski, a Coast Guard administrative court judge, the Baltimore Sun wrote about him titled “Justice Capsized?”

    Read more at:


    For more information, check with the National Mariners Association http://www.nationalmariners.org/

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