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We’ll find out if anyone in the Governor’s office reads this blog!

I read that the Virginia General Assembly has frozen the judges position until 2012; no new judges can be appointed.  I understand budgetary issues but judgeships are a prime political plum for either party.  While I agree that only the best candidates should be appointed to the bench, to freeze the judgeships hinders the effort to place some good solid conservatives/libertarians on the bench. 

I recommend that Governor McDonnell decide to call a special session and undo the freeze; argue that judgeships are crucial to be filled promptly and thus worthy of a one day special session.  Then fill ’em with highly qualified lawyers who can and will do right.  The governor can appoint until the next session in recess appointments.

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)


  1. kelley in virginia says:

    someone will have to pull the exact statutory language, but it goes something like this: as of July 2010, your circuit can have no more judges than it has on July 2010. so if a circuit loses judges in the next few mos due to death or retirement, they cannot be replaced.

    and there is some issue as to where the money to pay sub. judges is at this point. does the Supreme Court still have those funds? or did the General Assembly shift them somewhere else?

    some circuits are so damned busy that they are scheduling court on Saturdays.

  2. Tom White says:

    I spoke at the Powhatan Republican Committee meeting last week and Senator Watkins addressed that issue. He was not happy with the fact that Powhatan will be going without a judge (they have a vacancy). It was one of several issues he had with the approved budget, which, as I recall, he voted against.

    I think it was simply a cut no one liked, but they had to save somewhere.

  3. kelley in virginia says:

    yes, Thomas V. Warren, the longest serving Cir Ct judge in the state (& a damned good one) retired. they will miss him. on another blog, the Commonwealths Atty from Dinwiddie expressed dismay.

    this is a bigger problem than people realize. but judges aren’t allowed to publicly protest or write letters to the editor.

    • Elwood "Sandy" Sanders

      I agree with Kelley but if there are courts open on Saturdays and circuits with crying demonstrative need for new judges, then we need to find the funds. Perhaps a quiet email effort on the Governor’s office to say let’s fund the judges and then fill the spots with good solid GOP lawyers. I am NOT calling for political hacks.


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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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