Virginia is different. The judges on the Virginia Court of Appeals are elected by the Legislature
Legislation passed earlier this year took the court from 11 to 17 judges as part of a major expansion of the right to appeal. Until the law was passed, Virginia did not guarantee appeals from trial courts. Litigants could request a petition to the Supreme Court of Virginia, mostly for civil cases, or the Court of Appeals, mostly for criminal cases. When the Court of Appeals was created in the 1980s, it was given only limited jurisdiction. Previously, it could only hear criminal appeals, administrative appeals and appeals from juvenile and domestic relations court.
With the new law, it’ll bring new classes of cases — things like automobile, business and property cases.
Most justices will start their eight-year terms Sept. 1 Both the House and Senate committees found all of the candidates put forward by Democrats qualified with little dissension early Tuesday morning, sending them to the chambers for votes.
The two bodies voted later in the day to approve the slate of judges. Republicans had pushed back last week, saying the process wasn’t transparent enough.
The candidates Democrats put forward were vetted by the Virginia State Bar and several other professional organizations and were announced publicly Monday. Democrats had held closed door group meetings with candidates before the open interviews Tuesday, Republicans charged.
“Are we going to have an interview process or is it just going to be a list that we certify?” said Republican Sen. Bill Stanley during floor debate last week. “How are we going to be able to gain the information that they have already had?”
Democrats have responded that this has always been the process, that the party in control of the chambers proposes a shortlist from the vetted applications.
“I don’t see where what has happened with the Court of Appeals is any different in reality than what’s been going on probably for the last 100 years,” said Senate Majority Leader Dick Saslaw.