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Committees to interview judicial candidates

The House and Senate Courts of Justice Committees will interview tomorrow Chief Deputy Attorney General William C. Mims, who is expected to be elected to fill Attorney General Robert F. McDonnell’s unexpired term, and candidates for more than 25 judicial vacancies.

The committees must certify candidates as being qualified before they can be considered for election by the House and Senate.

Only one candidate is listed for many of the vacancies, an indication that the local delegation has agreed on that person to fill the judgeship.

As many as five candidates will be interviewed for other vacancies, a circumstance that may indicate a split in the delegation or a mere courtesy to those who have expressed interest in the seat.

Also to be interviewed are five incumbent judges whose interviews have been delayed at least twice because of an impasse between the General Assembly and the Supreme Court of Virginia over the use of judicial performance evaluation reports.

The Supreme Court has ordered that the reports not be disseminated beyond the members of the legislature, and many legislators have questioned the authority of the court to issue such an order.

The order has created the possibility that a legislator or the chairmen of the courts committees, to whom they were given in sealed packets in the first instance, could be held in contempt of court, and Del. David B. Albo, chairman of the House committee, has said he will not open the packet under those circumstances.

The list of judges scheduled to be interviewed is here.

By Alan Cooper

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