Special Committee on Judicial Nominations

Marni E. Byrum, chair

The Judicial Nominations Committee (JNC) was asked by the House and Senate Courts of Justice Committees to evaluate candidates for two Supreme Court of Virginia vacancies. The first was occasioned by the retirement of Justice Lawrence L. Koontz Jr.; the interviews were conducted in December 2010 and the report issued on December 27, 2010. The second was the result of the untimely death of Justice Leroy R. Hassell Sr. on February 9, 2011. After Justice Hassell’s death, the chairs of the House and Senate Courts of Justice Committees requested that the JNC evaluate candidates for “statewide appellate vacancies,” signaling that there might be some vacancies on the Virginia Court of Appeals, if one or more of those judges were elected to the Supreme Court. The second set of interviews was conducted on March 29, 2011, and the report was issued on April 1, 2011.

From the report issued on December 27, 2010, these candidates received the following evaluations for the Supreme Court of Virginia:

Highly Qualified
The Honorable Pamela S. Baskervill (9-2)
The Honorable Randolph A. Beales (9-2)
The Honorable Robert J. Humphreys (11-0)
The Honorable D. Arthur Kelsey (11-0)
The Honorable Elizabeth A. McClanahan (10-1)
The Honorable Joseph W. Milam Jr. (10-1)
Monica T. Monday (11-0)

Qualified
L. Steven Emmert (11-0)
Glen A. Huff (10-0)
William E. Thro (7-4)

Candidates evaluated in March 2011 for the “statewide appellate positions” were asked to designate which court they would like to be evaluated for.For those who wished to be evaluated for the Court of Appeals, the April 1 JNC report contained the following evaluation of the candidates:

Highly Qualified Evaluation for Court of Appeals
The Honorable Gary A. Hicks (9-0)
The Honorable Victor V. Ludwig (9-0)
The Honorable Michael S. Irvine (9-0)

Qualified Evaluation for Court of Appeals
Stephen R. McCullough (7-2)

The committee then made the following evaluations of the candidates for Supreme Court of Virginia vacancies, listed alphabetically in each category:

Highly Qualified Evaluation for Supreme Court
W. Coleman Allen, Jr. (6-3)
The Honorable Gary A. Hicks (9-0)
The Honorable Victor V. Ludwig (9-0)
The Honorable Cleo E. Powell (9-0)
The Honorable Clifford R. Weckstein (8-1)

Qualified Evaluation for Supreme Court
The Honorable Michael S. Irvine (9-0)

Individual summaries were included with the reports for each candidate evaluated. As of the end of the fiscal year, no selection had been made by the General Assembly for either Supreme Court vacancy.

Updated: Jul 14, 2011