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Judicial interviews to be brief

The term “mature consideration” probably does not apply to the process the Judicial Panel of the House Courts of Justice Committee has set up to fill upwards of 23 judicial vacancies.

The plan calls for the panel to start interviewing the candidates at 3 p.m. on April 5, conclude the interviews by 6 p.m., and certify the candidates for election the next day at the General Assembly’s veto session.

The notice for the meeting says nothing about the Senate Courts of Justice Committee, but it usually joins the judicial panel in the interviews.

The Legislature has designated 21 circuit and district vacancies, and there are two openings on the Supreme Court of Virginia. If, as is likely, judges are elevated from lower courts, legislators probably will attempt to fill those vacancies as well.

A lot of groundwork will be laid in the next month before what will necessarily be brief interviews. The candidates will provide resumes and fill out questionnaires and financial disclosure forms ahead of the meeting, and many delegations probably will have settled on their choices for the empty seats.

Historically, the local delegations have selected judges in their area, with the party in power generally having the final word if there’s a disagreement. With Democrats in control of the Senate and Republicans in charge in the House, things could get testy.

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