I mentioned in June the exceptional delay in the filling of two seats on Virginia’s Supreme Court, tied directly to an inability of the legislature to pick replacements (Virginia and South Carolina are the only two states where selection of the justices of the state supreme court is handled by legislative appointment).
According to reports this morning in the Washington Post and elsewhere, the General Assembly will come back into special session tomorrow to fill the seats. Indications are it was a letter from Gov. Bob McDonnell sent last week that broke the log jam. The letter detailed the delays and hardships on the court due to the failure to appoint and, according the Virginia Lawyers Weekly‘s blog, included some harsh language for the legislature.
McDonnell told the legislative leaders the General Assembly needs to appoint justices and judges or get out of the way so that he can do so. Under state law, the governor appoints judges in the first instance when the legislature is unable or unwilling to do so – but he can make the appointments only if the legislature is out of session.