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McClanahan, Powell elected to Supreme Court

The General Assembly elected Virginia Court of Appeals Judges Elizabeth A. McClanahan and Cleo E. Powell to the Supreme Court of Virginia last Friday.

The legislature then filled the court of appeals vacancies by electing Glen A. Huff, a former law partner of Gov. Robert F. McDonnell and a civil litigator in Virginia Beach, and Stephen R. McCullough, senior appellate counsel in the Virginia attorney general’s office.

The Assembly also elected three circuit judges: W. Revell Lewis III, a partner in the firm of Custis Lewis & Dix LLC on the Eastern Shore; Glenn R. Croshaw, a former delegate and partner at Willcox Savage in Virginia Beach; and Richard Y. AtLee Jr., who was elevated from the York County Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court.

The appointments are effective today.

Local delegations were unable to agree on candidates to fill circuit vacancies in the 10th, 26th and 27th circuits; general district vacancies in the 6th and 11th districts; and J&DR vacancies in the 11th and 27th districts in addition to the opening created by the elevation of AtLee.

The Assembly convened today barely a week after McDonnell sent a blunt letter to House Speaker William J. Howell and Senate Majority Leader Richard L. Saslaw. McDonnell told the legislators the General Assembly needed to appoint justices and judges or get out of the way so that he could do so.

The legislature remained in session after adjourning for the day because it has yet to agree on realigning the state’s 11 congressional districts.

That means McDonnell won’t be able to fill the circuit vacancies and circuit judges can’t appoint anyone for the general district and J&DR openings.

The Supreme Court has been operating with only five justices since the death of Justice Leroy Rountree Hassell Sr. in February. The court’s four senior justices traditionally have filled in so the court had seven members participating in cases in which the justices were unable to sit because of illness or a conflict.

However, the court heard many cases with only five of seven justices during its two most recent argument sessions.

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