Virginia is one of only two states, along with South Carolina, that empower their state legislatures to pick state judges, a process primarily conducted behind closed doors.
Why is it that Virginia Virginia is often in the minority when it comes to the way things are done? Just take a look at how we restore voting rights to felons or how we limit our governor to a single term, for example. Virginia seems to be out of step with the rest of the nation.
The judicial selection process needs to be overhauled. I am no advocate of elected judges but something needs to be done. Right now, we just have to believe that the judges chosen by the General Assembly are not only the best and brightest but also have the ability to act contrary to self-interest. After all, many members of the General Assembly are lawyers who practice before the very judges they select. Who, besides those involved, really knows what goes on behind those closed doors?
Some may argue that all we need is a more open process. I disagree. Those committed to the wheeling and dealing of backrooom politics will always find a way to circumvent the sunshine. The only real answer is to take the process out the hands of those people. Let an independent panel choose the judges. And let the selection of that panel be such that it is above reproach.