VA GOP Wants to Fire Highly Qualified Female Supreme Court Justice, Replace with Jesse Helms Pick

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    Seriously, you can’t make this stuff up. As we heard yesterday, “Virginians are used to hyper political temper tantrums from Virginia Republicans like Tommy Norment and Bill Howell, but their dark of the night announcement that they will be kicking a qualified, nonpartisan female justice to the curb in favor of their hand-picked male alternative is a new low.

    Namely, Virginia Republicans want to fire the highly qualiifed Judge Jane Marum Roush and replace her with…this guy (click on image to “embiggen” and to read how “National Right to Work Committee President Reed Larson Friday lauded U.S. Sen. Jesse Helms (R-N.C.) for recommending Rossie D. Alston Jr., a graduate of the North Carolina Central University School of Law to serve as general counsel of the National Labor Relations Board”). Also note that the “National Right to Work Committee,” where Alston worked, is a far-right-wing organization tied to ALEC (Speaker Bill Howell’s organization), the Koch brothers, Americans for Prosperity, etc., which is one of the “national leaders in the effort to destroy public and private sector unions by pushing anti-union legislation at the state and federal level and by bringing lawsuits.”

    Yep, that’s the guy – a bitter enemy of workers’ rights to organize, a former favorite of arch segregationist and bigot Jesse Helms, etc.- who Republicans want to replace Judge Jane Marum Roush. And why? Two main reasons as far as I can tell: 1) to get a right wingnut on the Supreme Court; 2) to pressure Gov. McAuliffe on redistricting, maybe to extract some sort of leverage or whatever. Either way, it’s unacceptable.

    P.S. I hear that Judge Roush – someone who, by the way, is admired by everyone – had to give up her judgeship to be appointed to the Supreme Court, so now she could be unemployed. The question is, why would Alston accept that?!?

    • From super-smart Virginia attorney (and former Chair of the Charlottesville Democratic Party) Lloyd Snook on Facebook regarding Rossie D. Alston Jr.:

      I haven’t done a thorough search, and I don’t have access to Westlaw or Lexis here at home, but I see from other sources that as a Circuit Court judge, he was reversed by the Virginia Supreme Court three times.

      In a capital murder case, Andrews v. Commonwealth, in 2010, he was reversed for a couple of different errors in the sentencing phase, and the death sentence was vacated. He was reversed by the Court in Woods v. Mendez, where Woods had been injured in an accident by a quite drunk Mendez, and Alston had dismissed the claim for punitive damages. He was reversed in Royal Indemnity v. Tyco Fire Products, where he had thrown out a products liability claim. So the three times that he was reversed, it was for being too pro-prosecution once and too pro-insurance defense in two other cases.

      Another reason that Republicans probably like him is that he worked for the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation for 5 years.