The Charlottesville Albemarle Bar Association, having held an interview forum and considered comments from the public, has backed both Judge Robert Downer and prosecutor Cheryl Higgins to replace Judge Paul Peatross, Liesel Nowak reports in today’s Daily Progress. It’s the General Assembly who will make the decision, though, and there’s some reason to believe that they will ignore the bar.
Bizarrely, several lawyers tell the Progress that Albemarle commonwealth’s attorney Jim Camblos is still considered to be in the running by some members of the General Assembly. Even Republican Del. Bill Janis, who represents Louisa, says that Camblos “would be an imminently qualified judge,” despite the bar having made clear that he is not.
4 thoughts on “Bar Backs Downer, Higgins”
I’m confused by how the bar’s decision is being perceived here and by the press. Judges are appointed by the General Assembly, whose members can choose anyone they like, even individuals who did not participate in the bar process. (And the bar has made some odd decisions in the past, certainly). Few of those reporting on this topic seem to have grasp of the highly political nature of the process. Why would Bell create a citizen’s committee if the bar’s endorsement was the last word on the matter?
There’s no legal (or necessarily practical) reason why the bar’s decision should be the last word, but I think it’s telling that they selected two candidates. It would be more useful if the bar did the same as the ABA, and provided a qualification ranking for every applicant, rather than selecting or not selecting candidates. But in selecting two candidates, they have set up a defacto qualified / not qualified division. Downer and Higgins are consequently perceived as qualified, and the others as not qualified, and rightly so.
You know what I like about Downer and Higgins? Neither of them is Jim Camblos. Both of these fine people are extremely qualified in the area of non-Camblos-ness.
I think we are giving Mr. Bell a bit too much credit. He did not create the citizen’s committee it is a left over from Paul Harris. You can tell how much it really matters to Bell by his absence at its public forum. Sleep, bring a crossword puzzle, read a book, do something but at least show up. My guess is that there is a 25% Chance of Downer, 25% Chance of Higgins, 25% Chance of Camblos and a 25% Chance of a candidate that is not now being considered.
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