Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell on Thursday sent a letter to leaders in the Virginia General Assembly telling them to move quickly on selecting judges for state courts, including the Supreme Court, as he is prepared to do it himself should they adjourn their special redistricting.
The legislature has been mired in a partisan gridlock over judicial appointments as they remain in a special session called to re-draw congressional district lines. Mr. McDonnell wrote that House conferees have agreed on new lines, but the Senate will not acquiesce.
As long as the legislature is still in its special session, Mr. McDonnell cannot make appointments on his own. If they adjourn, he can appoint judges that the General Assembly would have to confirm in January.
As a result of the stalemate, substitute and retired judges are working on many cases, and the state Supreme Court is hearing fewer cases with smaller panels, Mr. McDonnell wrote. He wrote that he has started the evaluation process after previously setting up a website seeking applications from potential candidates.
“To bring this process to conclusion, the legislature must act promptly by finishing redistricting immediately and adjourn sine die,” Mr. McDonnell wrote. “Our courts and our citizens cannot afford further delay.”
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