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House, Senate leaders agree on 8 for appeals court

Leaders in the Virginia House of Delegates and Senate announced an agreement this afternoon on the eight candidates to be nominated for certification and election to the Virginia Court of Appeals.

The eight are:

  • Dominique A. Callins, Front Royal
  • Doris Henderson Causey, Henrico
  • Vernida R. Chaney, Alexandria
  • Frank K. Friedman, Roanoke
  • Junius P. Fulton, Norfolk
  • Lisa M. Lorish, Charlottesville
  • Daniel E. Ortiz, Fairfax
  • Stuart A. Raphael, Arlington

On Tuesday both the House Courts Committee and Senate Judiciary Committee will meet to certify these candidates. They will then be put before the both chambers for election to the court.

In a release, the House Democratic Caucus said that the agreement followed “in-depth review and vetting of all the candidates by the Virginia State Bar and several of the commonwealth’s top legal associations—including the Women’s Bar and Old Dominion Bar Associations.

These selections “will diversify the Court to more adequately reflect the makeup of the Commonwealth of Virginia,” the caucus said. “The nominees also reflect a diverse makeup of legal practice, experience, and geographic representation, and include four women and four African American nominees.”

The court was expanded by six seats in the 2021 General Assembly session, and its jurisdiction was expanded past just three areas (criminal cases, domestic relations and administrative appeals, including workers’ compensation).

Two additional seats were open due to the confirmation of Judge Rossie Alston to a federal judgeship and the pending retirement of Judge William G. Petty this fall.

Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn said in the release, “I want to thank my colleagues in the House and Senate, especially Majority Leader [Charnielle] Herring and Chairman [John] Edwards, for their dedication and work in conducting a thorough process that resulted in the selection of these candidates. I would also like to thank the Virginia State Bar and other legal associations for the months of work that went into interviewing and vetting each of the candidates who applied to provide us with their crucial feedback and reviews which contributed to our selections.”

Sen. Scott Surovell, D-Fairfax, added in the release, “Expanding the jurisdiction of the Court of Appeals means every case, civil or criminal, can be heard again by a three-judge panel. This once-in-a-generation opportunity will change the Court for many years to come, ensuring Virginians attain justice. Further, expanding the Court’s jurisdiction will help maintain the Commonwealth’s rating as the #1 state for business.”

He continued, “Appointing a diverse slate of judges brings in points of view from varying areas of practice, geographic locations and life experiences. When our judicial system more closely represents the people it serves, it can be more effective and fair in the administration of justice.”