General Assembly elects two Supreme Court justices | Govt-and-politics

The Virginia General Assembly on Friday elected two judges as new justices on the Supreme Court of Virginia.

Fairfax County Circuit Judge Thomas P. Mann will begin a 12-year term on the Supreme Court on Aug. 1, and Virginia Court of Appeals Judge Wesley G. Russell Jr. of Henrico County will begin a 12-year term on the court beginning July 1.

Russell was a deputy attorney general under then-Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, a Republican, and assisted Cuccinelli in an investigation of grant money used by a former University of Virginia climate scientist.

The Supreme Court of Virginia sided with the University of Virginia in 2012 in its fight against Cuccinelli’s investigation.

Mann in September rebuked Fairfax County prosecutors for a plea agreement in a sexual abuse case he called “woefully inadequate.”

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Donald W. Lemons, the former chief justice, said in December that he would retire Feb. 1. William C. Mims announced in July that he would not seek a new term as a justice when his term ended March 31.

“The Senate and House made a sensible, pragmatic decision to fill the 2 Supreme Court vacancies with experienced, well respected judges,” University of Richmond law professor Carl Tobias, who follows the legislature carefully, said by email. “It is good for the Supreme Court to have all of its vacancies filled with fine new members and for the GA to discharge its constitutional duty to elect Justices when vacancies arise.”

The General Assembly elected Halifax Circuit Judge Kimberley S. White, a former public defender and former commonwealth’s attorney, to the newly opened spot on the Virginia Court of Appeals for an eight-year term that begins July 1.


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