Virginia’s two U.S. senators have recommended two U.S. magistrate judges for a vacancy on the U.S. District Court bench in the Eastern District.
In a letter to President Trump, Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine said they recommended both U.S. Magistrate Judge Roderick C. Young and U.S. Magistrate Judge Douglas E. Miller for the position. The vacancy was created when U.S. District Judge Rebecca Beach Smith took senior status in August.
The senators said they recommended Young and Miller based on assessments of an independent panel of attorneys as well as feedback from numerous Virginia bar associations.
“Both Judge Young and Judge Miller would serve with great distinction and have our highest recommendation,” the senators said in a joint letter to Trump.
Young was a prosecutor in Richmond and then a federal prosecutor for 12 years before his appointment as a magistrate judge in 2014. A Virginia State Bar committee found him “qualified,” saying he garnered “mostly rave reviews.”
He was found to be highly qualified and recommended by the Old Dominion Bar Association, where he has been a member since 1995.
Miller was a commercial litigator before his selection as a magistrate judge in 2010. The VSB panel found him “highly qualified” and said he won unqualified rave reviews and drew praise from both prosecutors and defense attorneys.
Miller also won a top recommendation from the ODBA.
The White House now will nominate one candidate for the position to be considered by the Senate Judiciary Committee, with the nomination subject to confirmation by the full Senate, the senators said.
Judicial selection expert Carl Tobias at the University of Richmond said there probably is enough time for nomination and confirmation this year, but there are many nominees ahead of any Eastern District nominee and the response to COVID-19 leaves the timing unclear.
In the Western District, Thomas T. Cullen is awaiting U.S. Senate action on his nomination for the seat of Senior U.S. District Judge Glen E. Conrad. Cullen was listed as “well qualified” by an American Bar Association panel and won support of Warner and Kaine as he moved easily through a March 4 hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee.