Local / Norfolk / Politics / Virginia

Here comes the judge

On the heels of this horribly one-sided editorial in the Virginian-Pilot on Friday comes an article today about an interview conducted by Norfolk State Senator Nick Rerras (R-6th) of Mary G. Commander, a candidate for a Juvenile and Domestic Relations judgeship. In order to speak out, Ms. Commander resigned as a substitute judge in the juvenile and general district courts. The text of her letter to Rerras was posted yesterday at VB Dems.

I am ashamed to admit that my current representative in the state senate is Nick Rerras. I have no reason to disbelieve Ms. Commander. The questions asked of her were totally inappropriate, even by his own admission.

But even more troubling is that the decision rests in the hands of a single individual. There is something wrong with our system when one person is able to decide whether to advance a candidate’s name for consideration for a judgeship. Our judicial system is supposed to be fair and independent, but when the selection process involves a litmus test, those ideals get thrown out of the window.

No one is asking Senator Rerras to hang up his morals and his conscience simply because he is an elected official. On the contrary, having morals and a conscience is a good thing – for an individual. But that’s not who elected officials represent. I expect someone who is elected to represent me take into account the wide range of opinions of those who elected him. That is the responsibility of an elected official.

If Mr. Rerras is unwilling and/or unable to represent the 6th Senate district in its entirety, it is time for him to leave elected office. We already have an alternative: Dr. Ralph Northam.

And kudos to Ms. Commander for speaking out. If you had not done so, we would be totally unaware of this despicable behavior.

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22 thoughts on “Here comes the judge

  1. MB – A few days ago VJP booted a commenter, Jack, off her blog because he referred to the Democratic Party as the Democrat Party. By using even cruder language, you have put your friend in an awkward position.

  2. Unlike you, Tom, I don’t presume to speak for VJP. But I would say that I think there is a vast gulf between my foul language in this thread and Jack’s continual and repeated declining to respect a couple of very simple direct requests she made of him. You saying that you can’t see the difference makes me think that you’re (again?) being fundamentally dishonest. The alternative is even more insulting, I suppose. I’ll let you pick.

    All that said, I’d quite happily alter my language for our host. But not for you, and not for the merry little band of racists that seems to take advantage of our good host’s hospitality here. The difference, you see, is that she respects my basic human dignity. You? You don’t. So why would I modify the form of my objections to your substantive maliciousness? You think I could possibly care about your delicate sensibilities when you’re actively working to deprive me of my basic rights?

    I notice that this discussion has transformed to focusing entirely on form – perhaps that’s because you’re too embarrassed at seeing the hypocrisy of your own claims exposed, or because you’re simply unable to engage on a substantive level. So off you go, burst in to tears and tell everyone I called you a bad name. I say, so what? You ARE an ignorant ass. I’ll stand on truth as my defense.

  3. Done on this thread, btw, unless anyone wants to discuss improvements to the judicial nomination process. Or the reasonableness of the judicial ethics code that made her resign before she could talk about this.

  4. You know only gays,guns,god goes so far, i think it might be time to change, and the ones who walk in lockstep i feel sorry for. famous words ‘VOTE DEMOCRATE FOR A CHANGE’

  5. If you consider the duties of a Juvenile Court judge, they have very little to do with religion. In addition, it would be difficult for a Juvenile Court judge to make abortion legal, since it already is. The real question is, who’s the best qualified candidate, and who will follow the law. Mr. Rerras appears to be looking not only for someone who will go against existing law (good luck given the day to day responsibilities of the Juvenile Court, as they do not deal with these issues, except perhaps tangentially). More importantly, he used the term “FemiNazi” to refer to those who oppose domestic violence. Is he FOR domestic violence, or does he just consider these people, male and female, to be so loathsome that he must compare them to some type of Nazi? This term is extremely offensive, and THIS AVOWED CHRISTIAN CLEARLY INTENDED IT TO BE EXTREMELY OFFENSIVE. The problem is his own ignorance of Juvenile Court jurisdiction, and domestic violence cases. In my experience, professionals and volunteers who work against domestic violence are both male and female. They include prosecutors, law enforcement officers, social workers, counselors, FANS program participants, Judges, court staff, probation officers, those who run shelters, volunteers in the shelters, educators, victim-witness coordinators, and many, many others. We recently saw a conviction of a man who went to the BJs in Chesapeake, blew away his sister-in-law in the parking lot, took his gun into the crowded store, and shot his wife, who survived. How many children are motherless/fatherless because of this problem? How much suffering of this kind has been PREVENTED by those that Nick Rerras considers “FemiNazis?” If you knew more about it, you would work against it, too, ESPECIALLY AS A CHRISTIAN. Would that make you a “FemiNazi”? Are all of these dedicated professionals and selfless volunteers “FemiNazis”? Or is it just possible that one person, and one person alone, is wrong — Nick “Dimitrios” Rerras?

  6. Sorry, I left out lawyers, sheriffs, deputy sheriffs, advocates, counselors, legislators …. I’m sure I’ll think of more. FemiNazis, one and all? Or do we just have one name-calling individual who doesn’t understand the judicial system and has not bothered to learn? It seems to me that there are only two religious aspects of this problem: (1) the shameful way our Christian state Senator treated a respected and experienced attorney and substitute judge who was in his office for a judicial interview, and (2) the shameful way our Christian state Senator treated those who care about domestic violence, who come from many fields and are of both genders and many backgrounds, who are often paid little or nothing, but work for the good of society, and who deserve respect rather than the gross disrespect of being compared to any kind of Nazi.
    As for carrying someone else’s water, that sounds like you are blaming the victim of Mr. Rerras’ behavior for HIS offenses. Remember, as an elected official, and a Christian, he ALWAYS had the choice of simply behaving in a polite and civilized manner, much as one might expect of any adult in that context, let alone an elected official and a Christian. And, even today, he has the choice, PARTICULARLY as a Christian, of realizing he was wrong, and apologizing to Ms. Commander and to all of the many people who are working hard to prevent domestic violence.

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