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Warner, Kaine interview judgeship candidates

Finalists for the vacancy that will open this summer on the Western District federal bench have been interviewed by Virginia’s two U.S. senators, according to information from the senators’ offices.

Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine soon are expected to make a recommendation for the district court position to President Barack Obama.

Ten candidates originally indicated interest in the seat.

As bar groups offered recommendations, U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert Ballou and Roanoke lawyer John Fishwick Jr. were often highly rated contenders, although Fishwick was not among candidates voted as qualified by a Virginia State Bar evaluation committee.

A quick recommendation from the senators would be beneficial, said University of Richmond law Prof. Carl Tobias, since U.S. District Judge Samuel Wilson has announced he will step down from the bench on Aug. 1.

The president typically takes about three months to make a nomination, Tobias said. The nominee then is subject to confirmation by the U.S. Senate.

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