The U.S. Senate confirmed a federal magistrate judge’s nomination for a judgeship on the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia on March 7, filling a long-vacant seat on the bench.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert Stewart Ballou was confirmed in a 59-37 bipartisan vote, with 11 Republican senators joining the Democratic majority in voting for Ballou’s confirmation.
Ballou will fill the seat last held by Judge James P. Jones, who took senior status in August 2021. Virginia’s U.S. Senators, Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, sent a letter to President Joe Biden in August 2021 recommending Ballou for the vacancy. Biden formally nominated Ballou for the seat in July 2022.
“Judge Ballou brings decades of experience both trying and deciding cases in the Western District of Virginia,” Warner and Kaine said in a joint statement on March 7. “We’re proud to have recommended him to President Biden and are confident he’ll continue his service to Virginians by upholding the law fairly and impartially.”
Ballou graduated from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1987 and later clerked for U.S. District Judge Peter Beer for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana. He then spent 23 years in private practice, the majority as a partner at Johnson, Ayers & Matthews in Roanoke. Ballou began his private practice career as an associate at Christian, Barton, Epps, Brent & Chappell in Richmond.
In 2011, Ballou began serving as a federal magistrate judge in the Western District. In their letter to Biden, Warner and Kaine stated Ballou “has overseen a wide variety of federal civil and criminal matters” while serving on the bench.
Ballou’s confirmation came exactly one week after the U.S. Senate confirmed Assistant U.S. Attorney Jamar K. Walker to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.