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Live Blog: Virginia General Assembly Special Session


A few highlights (lowlights?) so far (9:41 am) from today’s Virginia General Assembly special session.

The Times-Dispatch reports:

In a surprise move, Virginia Senate Democrats, with the help of retiring Sen. John Watkins, R-Powhatan, adjourned the special session Monday. The move, if it holds up to parliamentary challenge by Republicans, will effectively enable Gov. Terry McAuliffe to reappoint Supreme Court Justice Jane Marum Roush to another interim term when her current interim term expires in mid-September.


Had the legislature remained in session, Roush would have to leave the court 30 days from Monday without legislative endorsement. If it remains adjourned, McAuliffe could appoint her to another interim term that would last until 30 days following the next session of the General Assembly.

“It’s a fine development for Judge Roush,” McEachin acknowledged. “I don’t think we should be removing sitting Supreme Court justices for nothing to do with their qualifications but everything to do with politics.”

But whether the Senate could remain adjourned was still in doubt Monday evening.

Following the move, House and Senate Republican leaders scrambled to see whether it was possible.

@jennaportnoy Watkins, retiring moderate Republican, was only GOP ‘no’ on Alston. He was one of few Rs for Medicaid expansion too. (A dying breed, sad to say…)

@PilotOnPolitics The Senate did not elect Alston. GOP’s Watkins joined Democrats to create 20-20 tie. Ralph Northam voted no. So election of Alston fails.

@MarkKeam  VA Republican State Senator John Watkins announces he can’t vote for Court of Appeals Judge Rossie Alston because process has been broken. (Note: Even thought Sen. Watkins is a Republican, he’s a man of integrity and good sense. I’m going to miss him.)

@NARALVirginia Sen. @TommyNorment admits he is firing Roush b/c Governor “didn’t make a phone call.” And THIS is why we’re reducing woman to political pawn

‏@AmyEGardner “Lord knows, I hate to read newspapers, for obvious reasons.” Virginia Senator Tommy Norment.

@amaxsmith Sen. Saslaw: We don’t need this nomination – we have someone already, Judge Roush.

“Couldn’t find anybody more qualified”

@alana_austin “This isn’t fair. This isn’t right. This is unprecedented.” – Sen. @Donald_McEachin

@alana_austin Sen. @Donald_McEachin says the system is “rigged.” Say Roush, sitting SCOVA justice, hasn’t even gotten an interview.

@amaxsmith #VaSenate now taking up nomination of Judge Rossie Alston to #SCOVA. Sen Norment focuses on fact selection of judges is left to Gen Assembly

@TravisFain After some huddling on protocol, McEachin effort to have Roush certified as well passed by for the day.

@TravisFain Senate Courts cmt has certified judge Alston for Supreme Court.

@jennaportnoy Del Hugo said “The governor gave [Roush] bad advice that he would politically muscle this through.”

‏@jennaportnoy Del. Miller blames Dems for playing “game of identity politics” – “There’s no war on women but that’s the narrative they want to play.”

@JennMcClellanVA  The @VAHouseDems ladies are wearing pink to show our support for Justice Roush.

[I’ve got to head out, will be back later for more of this fun ;)]

@alana_austin Del. Watts says electing Justice Roush to VA Supreme Court furthers goal of equal representation of women in the legal profession.

@Lopez4VA  Delegate Vivian Watts speaking eloquently in support of Virginia Supreme Court Justice Roush.

@C_Herring  Just finished speaking on the House Floor asking that we give Justice Roush a #fairhearing and vote. She deserves it!  (Great job by Del. Herring!)

@momofink lol Kirk Cox’s one-min goodbye speeches for Berg + Futrell and lengthy soliloquy for Joannou

11:34 am: Nauseating listening to right-wingnut Del. Chris Cox lavishing praise on anti-Medicaid “Democrat” Johnny Joannou, who fortunately was defeated in the June primary by a REAL Democrat, Steve Heretick.

@MichaelLeePope  Proto-Delegate-elect @MarkLevineTalk marks his first appearance on House floor by posting on Facebook

@amaxsmith  #VaHouse back – approve the rules. Also pass resolution limiting business to redistricting for US House, judicial elex, confirming appts etc

‏@amaxsmith  #VaHouse goes into recess for about 15 mins so Courts cmte can certify Alston pick to #SCOVA

@VaHouse  The House is now in session.  Live video – http://virginia-house.granicus…

@AliciaPetska Va. House recognizes Del. Bagby, who’s replacing controversial Del. Morrissey. Spkr Howell: We’re happy to have you here for lot of reasons.

@marcussimon Governor of Virginia addresses Democratic Caucus http://fb.me/2ldhxDUbo

@MichaelLeePope Del. Vivian Watts (D-39) questions two Rossie Alston rulings, @JacksonMillerVA responds Democrats are trying to drag him “through the mud”

@TravisFain Saslaw on Judge Alston’s chances in Senate: “They don’t have the votes to get him through…”Right now,” Saslaw adds. Senate Republicans are caucusing now.

@TravisFain  Sen. Norment doesn’t want to talk to @Daily_Press. “Don’t even waste your time,” he says. Won’t say why.

@TravisFain  Judge Alston on whether Justice Roush has been treated fairly: “I can’t comment on legislative process.”

@TravisFain Dems, plus Albo, vote to give Roush a SCOVA hearing in cmt. Fails. Other R’s vote against.

‏@alana_austin Community groups say in House Briefing room that Va lawmakers should allow public to examine maps before voting.

@alana_austin Sen. McEachin reveals discussion he had w/ Alston. Alston said his faith makes him a Republican. McEachin said his makes him a Democrat.

@amaxsmith McEachin asks any circumstance where person could cite religious beliefs to refuse service to blacks, LGBT – Alston says personal view is no

@momofink “Is this a new low?” asks @JacksonMillerVA, apparently born without a sense of irony, after a Dem dares to ask some interview questions

@marcussimon So far everything at GA is according to script. GOP dominated committees vote to redistrict by tinkering with 3rd and not to interview Roush

@MichaelLeePope  House Republicans vote against interviewing #FairfaxCounty Judge Jane Roush for Virginia Supreme Court vacancy

@alana_austin  Del. @C_Herring asks Alston if he has a copy of his financial disclosure form. She says it wasn’t included in packet for judicial panel.

@AliciaPetska  Cmte just adopted redistricting criteria. Del. Jones stressed GA won’t do total redraw of map.

@PilotOnPolitics  Del. Chris Jones says the General Assembly will get public comment on a congressional redistricting plan today but will not vote.

@alana_austin Joint legislative hearing starting up now in the General Assembly Building dealing with VA Supreme Ct interviews.  


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