News and Information
September 20, 2018

Comments Sought on Proposed Changes to Judicial Candidate Evaluation Committee & Statutory Amendment

The Virginia State Bar seeks comments on the following proposals made by its Judicial Candidate Evaluation Committee (JCEC):

  1. proposed changes to the Virginia State Bar Judicial Candidate Evaluation Committee Procedures and Policies (JCEC Procedures and Policies) and 
  2. proposed amendments to the Virginia Code to exempt from the Virginia Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) the records and meetings relating to the JCEC’s consideration of prospective judicial candidates.  

The revisions to the JCEC Procedures and Policies improve and clarify the evaluation process of candidates for judicial office in the Supreme Court of Virginia, the Virginia Court of Appeals, the United States District Courts for the Eastern and Western Districts of Virginia, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. See proposed changes here.

The proposed amendments to the Virginia Code create narrow exemptions that preserve the confidentiality envisioned by the current and proposed JCEC Procedures and Policies. Such confidentiality is necessary for the JCEC to conduct full, frank, and fair investigations, interviews, and deliberative assessments of each candidate for judicial office. The JCEC’s executive summaries remain subject to disclosure. Substance of proposed amendments:

The following information and proceedings are excluded from the mandatory disclosure provisions of The Virginia Freedom of Information Act:

Working papers, investigatory files, notes, and correspondence of the members and assigned staff of the Judicial Candidate Evaluation Committee of the Virginia State Bar in association with or relating to its investigation, interview, discussion, and consideration of, and voting upon, candidates for judicial office in the Virginia Supreme Court, the Virginia Court of Appeals, the United States District Courts for the Eastern and Western Districts of Virginia, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.  The Judicial Candidate Evaluation Committee of the Virginia State Bar’s investigation, interview, discussion, consideration of, and voting upon, candidates for judicial office are confidential, and these proceedings are not open to the public. Nothing in this subdivision shall be construed to authorize the withholding of any resumes or applications submitted by candidates for judicial office, the official recommendations of the Committee, or the final reports of the Virginia State Bar relating to the recommendations and activities of the Committee.

At its August 29, 2018, meeting, the JCEC unanimously approved the revised JCEC Procedures and Policies and proposed statutory amendments.  

The proposed revisions to the JCEC Procedures and Policies and proposed statutory amendments may also be inspected at the office of the Virginia State Bar, 1111 East Main Street, Suite 700, Richmond, Virginia 23219-0026, between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.  

Comments are due by October 20, 2018, to comments@vsb.org.

Updated: Sep 25, 2018