Politics forces Virginia’s top court to audible

Jane Marum Roush

Jane Marum Roush (Washington Post/Pool photo)

I’ll bet every lawyer has had a court date changed for various reasons.

But politics?

Such is the situation for any lawyer who had been scheduled to argue a case before the Supreme Court of Virginia on Sept. 17. That was supposed to be the last day of arguments this month at the state’s top court, but our colleagues at Virginia Lawyers Weekly report the court has shortened its schedule so it concludes its business one day earlier, Sept. 16.

That’s when the interim appointment of Justice Jane Marum Roush concludes. As Peter Vieth of Virginia Lawyers Weekly explains:

Roush was a recess appointment by Gov. Terry McAuliffe. As such, her interim term normally would last through January, with a 30-[day]-window that month for the General Assembly to consider election to a full term.

The Assembly’s one-day, ineffectual Congressional redistricting session on Aug. 17, however, started the 30-day clock for the expiration of Roush’s pro tempore appointment. Now, her appointment will end Wednesday, Sept. 16. The court’s previous schedule ran through Thursday, Sept. 17.

McAuliffe has pledged to reappoint her, but Republican leaders have questioned the governor’s authority to do so. The two sides clash on whether the Assembly technically remains in session.

(If only there were an impartial panel that could decide if the Assembly remains in session. Oh, wait…)

The cases that had been scheduled for argument Sept. 17 have been added to the dockets on the Tuesday and Wednesday of that week, according to Vieth.

The Washington Post has more on the political battle over the appointment.

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