Categorized | News

This is Disturbing at Best

The General Assembly CAN undo this error!

When I “ran” for judge this legislative cycle, I tried to defend the Virginia system and usually paraphrased the Churchill aphorism about democracy is the worst form of government until you consider the alternatives. The present system at least lets you get your foot in the door but it can be problematic after that. Sometimes judicial applicants get serious foot injuries from heavy doors closing fast!

And I did not get very far with my campaign: I was not interviewed for the Appeals Court job by the General Assembly and figuring that, I decided to create a potential alternative for the solons: A Circuit Court seat in Stafford County.

I was actually angling for the district court position – I figured (and I was right) that at least one district court judge would want to advance to the circuit court and two did. And one of those district court judges was nominated and elected to the circuit court. And only three persons sought the Fredericksburg Bar nod for the circuit court seat: The two district court judges and me. I was worried; I might get ZERO votes! Thank Jesus, I DID get a few votes for that spot from the lawyers present! I was hoping the legislature would say: No time to check again with the bar – let’s pick the third guy! At this point it has not worked…yet. But to all the lawyers’ groups I spoke with on the judgeship(s) I did glorify Jesus – He is the source of all talent and ability – even every breath we take!

Now before that seat came up, there was a juvenile court seat (I do not seek those seats as I do/did not have extensive practice experience in that court) and the Fredericksburg Bar chose, quite rightly I thought, Fredericksburg Commonwealth’s Attorney LaBravia Jenkins. I remember Jenkins from my old days (probably when Biden first ran for President!) in a domestic case in Spotsylvania and she was the as I recall the GAL. She was tough and prepared. I respected her from that experience.

I expected Jenkins to get that nod; but someone else got the juvenile seat and there was no person picked for the district court spot. I wondered why…

Wonder no more: The editorial board of the Free-Lance Star told all of us why – and it is at the very least disturbing:

What was unusual was what happened to Jenkins’ nomination after that. She was apparently blackballed in the House of Delegates for standing up to then- Gov. Terry McAuliffe four years ago.


But Jenkins’ reputation as a tough but fair prosecutor was no match for a group of back-biting members of the House who wanted to punish her for daring to criticize McAuliffe, then reportedly considering a presidential run, when he attempted to restore voting rights to more than 200,000 felons en masse in 2016.

Usually if the local delegation says yea, it is a sure thing: They start calling you judge. But this was dirty. Yes it’s politics. But Jenkins’ position on the McAuliffe mass clemencies had nothing to do with her being a fine judge.

Even though Governor McAuliffe perhaps ought to be supporting me for something because of this, I got to throw myself on the grenade: I think it stinks. There is still time (if I read the legislative stuff on judges right) to elect Jenkins general district court judge during the veto session.

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)

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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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