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A Modest Proposal: Maybe Justice Roush for the Restoration of Concealed-Carry Reciprocity Perhaps?

Jeff Schapiro writes a fascinating (although I think Gov. McAuliffe would be foolish to take this advice) article:

On Wednesday night, Gov. Terry McAuliffe will have what may be his last chance to stop Republicans from dumping Jane Marum Roush from the Virginia Supreme Court. It would be high stakes and high drama.


It also is an ideal setting for McAuliffe to put Howell on the spot, calling on him to dispense with gratuitous partisan spitefulness — a sin of which both are repeatedly guilty — and consent to General Assembly approval of the respected Fairfax County jurist for a full, 12-year term on the Supreme Court.

This is a gesture that presumes humiliation is a powerful form of motivation. Further, it demands the shamelessness of which only McAuliffe is capable. After all, he did once wrestle an alligator to raise money for Democrats.


As governor, McAuliffe has an important unwritten power: to shape public opinion. Using the bully pulpit that is the state’s top elective office, he can explain an issue, lay out the consequences, advance a solution, and appeal for Virginians’ support — all in a manner that his adversaries in the legislature, as part-time, largely provincial figures, can never match. But before any of this can happen, McAuliffe has to get his story straight.

I have serious doubt that embarrassing the Speaker of the House of Delegates will accomplish the goal of placing Justice Roush on the Virginia Supreme Court for a full 12 year term.  (Schapiro needs to get his terms straight:  No one is being “dumped” from the Court, even though that is the effect – it is a tried and true constitutional process:  The Governor can propose the judge and give him/her a recess appointment but only the General Assembly elects judges and justices.) And I would think (and I said it privately) that any chance the Governor had to get Justice Roush approved fell by the wayside when he insulted Senator Bill Stanley just before the election.

But maybe old-fashioned politics might:

The GOP leaders in the General Assembly could indicate that they would be favorably disposed to install Justice Roush on the Court – she is wonderfully qualified – if the executive would restore by statute if necessary the former concealed-carry reciprocity that existed before.  Better pass a bill first.

How could the GOP help McAuliffe and Herring walk back that one?  Maybe this:  This gesture was hurting the wrong people and not helping Virginians.  It would hurt tourism (into the Old Dominion and also Virginians going to other states) and it would enrich states like Utah and not necessarily help public safety.

Maybe the deal can be sweetened somewhat but that is the gist.  Both sides get what they want and the point is made for the future:  Better consult the GA before you appoint a judge or justice!

Yes it is unseemly to trade a jurist for a bill.  But it happened before and will happen again.  Both sides get something they really want.

And if the governor refuses?  The legislative leaders could say:  We tried.  The base of the GOP will be pleased and the legislative leaders will look reasonable to the voters.  It’s a win-win.

About Elwood Sanders

Elwood "Sandy" Sanders is a Hanover attorney who is an Appellate Procedure Consultant for Lantagne Legal Printing and has written ten scholarly legal articles. Sandy was also Virginia's first Appellate Defender and also helped bring curling in VA! (None of these titles imply any endorsement of Sanders’ views)

One Response to “A Modest Proposal: Maybe Justice Roush for the Restoration of Concealed-Carry Reciprocity Perhaps?”

  1. Wait until the next election cycle for governor and we could have both ends of that deal. The new governor can reverse what McAuliffe did. It can go both ways. And while doing it expand on the reciprocity.


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Tom White Says:

Nothing is more conservative than a republican wanting to get their majority back. And nothing is more liberal than a republican WITH a majority.

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