Read the Bills Act Coalition

Friday, January 23, 2009

BENCHING AT THE BEACH.....Sen. Ken Stolle wins fight to appoint competent Judges

Posted by MAXIMUS

State Senator Ken Stolle (R-Virginia Beach), the former street cop turned lawyer/legislator, brought his "A" game to the State Senate in deliberations over who gets appointed to judgeship's in Virginia Beach and the City of Norfolk.

Fellow Senator Yvonne Miller (D-Norfolk) and Senator Harry Marsh (D-Richmond) wanted their personal picks seated in the judicial circuit in Virginia Beach over the objections of Sen. Stolle. By tradition, Judicial selection in the General Assembly lends itself to the local delegation coalescing around a candidate and then the respective chambers vote to confirm that choice.

Sens. Marsh and Miller (Marsh replaced Stolle as Chairman of the Senate Courts of Justice Committee when Dems took over the Chamber) tried to railroad their choices down the throats of the Virginia Beach Delegation and they then attempted to use the votes of other Dems in the State Senate to codify their selections.

Not to be outfoxed, Sen. Stolle maneuvered with newly elected Sen. Ralph Northam to successfully form a coalition that secured enough votes in the State Senate to install competent candidates to serve on the Bench in Norfolk and Virginia Beach. The sweet thing? This was done over the objections of Sen. Miller and Sen. Marsh who just just happens to be the Chairman of the Senate Courts of Justice Committee. BANG.

Excellent work by Senator Stolle. Even in the minority, Republicans appoint competent jurists to the Bench while Democrats can't disassociate themselves from harming the people of Virginia by engaging in bitter recriminations on current judicial selections while defending these actions based upon the Republicans successfully removing less than stellar judges who just happened to be friends of Sen. Miller (read the removal of Judge Askew).

Thank Senator Stolle for keeping competency on the Bench at the Beach and in the Virginia Judicial System at large.

Here is the story from today's Virginian Pilot:

Ending delay, Assembly elects four to Norfolk, Beach courts - Julian Walker

RICHMOND The General Assembly elected judges to local courts across the state Thursday, including several from Norfolk and Virginia Beach whose approval had been delayed since last year.

As part of th ose moves, a vacancy on the Beach Circuit Court will be filled by City Attorney Les Lilley.

Three judges appointed to the Norfolk Circuit Court on an interim basis by Gov. Timothy M. Kaine in October also were confirmed. They are Jack Doyle, a former commonwealth's attorney, and judges Louis A. Sherman and Jerrauld C. Jones.

The deal that made those judicial elections possible was hatched last fall when state Sens. Kenneth Stolle, R-Virginia Beach, and Ralph Northam, D-Norfolk, reached a back-room accord. Stolle, who had sparred with state Sen. Yvonne Miller, D-Norfolk, over the Beach judicial candidates, pledged that fellow Republicans would confirm Kaine's interim picks in Norfolk.

In exchange, Northam promised to get enough Democrats to support Lilley - Stolle's preferred candidate for the Beach opening - over Miller's choice, General District Judge Gene Woolard. To show their disapproval of the maneuver, most Senate Democrats refrained from the deciding vote on circuit court judges. Miller and Sen. Henry Marsh, D-Richmond, who is chairman the Senate Courts of Justice committee, voted against the slate.

"I don't think a chairman of the Courts of Justice committee in the history of Virginia has ever voted against electing a judge," Stolle said.

Marsh said the unusual situation prompted his vote. "This is unique. I don't know what normal is, anymore."

Miller said that in the past she has been excluded from selecting judges and wanted a more active role.

"Republicans are still selecting judges for Norfolk," she said, but added: "People win battles; they don't always win wars." link here: http://hamptonroads.com/print/495568
Julian Walker, (804) 697-1564, julian.walker@pilotonline.com

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