LEGISLATURE FILLS APPELLATE BENCHES
(Posted June 20, 2022) After an impasse that lasted about three months, Virginia’s appellate courts will again be fully staffed with Robes this summer. On Friday, the General Assembly elected two jurists to fill the current vacancies on the Supreme Court of Virginia, elevating Judge Wes Russell from the Court of Appeals and Judge Thomas Mann from the Fairfax Circuit Court. The legislature chose Halifax Circuit Court Judge Kimberley White to fill Judge Russell’s seat. Judges Russell and White will step up July 1; Judge Mann will take his new seat a month later.
These elections bring the Supreme Court back to its full complement of seven for the first time since Senior Justice Don Lemons stepped down on February 1. The court’s website notes that he’s serving as a senior justice; I expect that the court will approve Justice Bill Mims as a senior, probably upon his 65th birthday, which is … oh, right about now. That will max out the number of senior justices at five. In my recollection, it’s been quite a while since the Supreme Court featured seven active justices and five senior justices at the same time.