Today, the Virginia House Republicans voted to reject the confirmation of Justice Jane Roush to the Virginia Supreme Court, despite already serving in that role for seven months and being unanimously qualified by the House Courts of Justice Committee to serve in that role.
Roush was nominated on a 22-0 vote by the Virginia Senate; the House of Delegates voted against her confirmation on a 55-38, largely party-line vote.
“This vote shows incredible disrespect for the judiciary and the appointment process,”said David J. Toscano, House Democratic Leader. “Removing an eminently qualified judge in this way is unprecedented. Justice Roush’s ejection is reminiscent of the Washington-style politics that threatens to engulf state houses across the nation. Almost never are negative votes cast in a confirmation process, and the House Republican Caucus produced 55.”
The Past Presidents of the Virginia Bar Association urged, on Feb. 11, for the General Assembly to confirm Justice Roush’s appointment.
Justice Roush’s 22 years of trial court experience doubles the amount of such experience on the Court, being more than all other six justices combined. As a trial judge, Justice Roush has written over 250 opinions. Of the 20 appealed, only two were overturned.
“I was proud to stand with the Governor announcing his nomination of Justice Roush to the Virginia Supreme Court on July 27, 2015 after a long, open and transparent process where applications were encouraged and proper vetting took place,” said Delegate Eileen Filler-Corn (41st-Fairfax). “We had an immensely qualified sitting Supreme Court Justice that was appointed with bipartisan support and impeccable credentials. Justice Roush does not deserve to be the first Justice to be removed from the Supreme Court since 1900.”
“For 116 years, the General Assembly has confirmed gubernatorial appointments to the Supreme Court. Today, we have broken that tradition to remove a highly qualified justice to make a political point. This sets a bad precedent that threatens judicial independence,” said Delegate Jennifer McClellan (71st-Richmond). “This is a blatant display of disrespect for Justice Roush.”
“Justice Roush’s appointment ended a six-year period in which there’s was no judge from Virginia’s most economically robust, highly populous region on the Commonwealth’s highest court. Virginia needs her widely recognized corporate expertise to support sound business decisions,” said Delegate Vivian Watts (39th-Annandale). “Justice Roush equals the collective trial court experience of the other six justices combined, and has a stellar record of decorum and fairness on complex, high-profile cases. Her unjust removal from the Supreme Court is a great loss for our judicial system as well as all of state government.”