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House certifies judge candidates

Wrapping up judicial interviews this morning, legislative committees have voted to certify all but one of the candidates who interviewed this week. The full House has again postponed a vote on judges.

Only Halifax County Commonwealth’s Attorney Kimberley S. White was left off the list approved by the Senate courts committee. White ran into questions at her March 7 interview with the Senate courts committee about two cases in which she had some involvement. Another judicial candidate, Patricia Palmer Nagel, had expressed interest in the Virginia Court of Appeals vacancy, but Nagel did not appear before the courts committees for a scheduled interview this week.

This morning, both committees interviewed five additional candidates for general district and juvenile and domestic relations district courts.

Lawyers who have appeared before the courts committees during this legislative session have provided a range of artful responses to the “Hernandez” inquiry. Judicial candidates who are cataloging the various replies may want to take note of a point scored this morning by Kimberly Irving, who has applied for a seat on the 31st General District Court bench.

Irving offered a thorough and studied explication of the issues, concluding with the observation that a judicial exercise of discretion could impinge on the governor’s right to pardon. Apparently some committee members hadn’t yet heard that argument in favor of judicial restraint.

Del. Dave Albo’s ears pricked up. “I hadn’t thought of that,” said Albo, R-Fairfax, chair of the House courts committee.

“Well played,” echoed several delegates.

Of the previously reported budget proposals, both the Senate and House recommended funding for the following vacancies: circuit court seats in the 9th (Williamsburg), 17th (Arlington) and 22nd (Danville) circuits; general district court seats in the 6th (Hopewell), 11th (Petersburg) and 31st (Prince William) districts; and juvenile and domestic relations district court seats in the 9th (Williamsburg) and 28th (Bristol) districts.
Correction: An earlier report indicated Kimberley White was not certified by the House courts committee. In fact she was certified by the House committee, but not by the Senate. Lawyers Weekly regrets the error.
–Deborah Elkins

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