In case you missed it, this past Thursday:
“[L]eaders of Virginia organizations including the Virginia chapter of NOW…and domestic and sexual violence survivors [assembled] in front of the Loudoun County Courthouse…to bring attention to a misogynistic incident in the judicial system,” in which Loudoun County Circuit Court Judge James Fisher “interrupted [domestic violence survivor Katie] Orndoff’s testimony, released the jury…interrogated her with a series of questions she nervously and respectfully answered,” then “found her in contempt of court for admitting her use of a legal substance, cannabis, that morning to calm her fears at having to appear before her assailant. The judge ordered six deputies to take custody of Ms. Orndoff, haul her out of the courtroom and jail her for 10 days…Further, he ordered an assault on Ms. Orndoff by demanding her blood be drawn against her will after she was convicted.“
If this doesn’t enrage you, I’m not sure what if anything ever would. But as bad as this specific case was, Fisher’s actions also “may create a chilling effect surrounding victim willingness to testify in cases of domestic violence, an area of law already replete with victims recanting and/or refusing to cooperate, due to the extensive trauma domestic violence victims experience through the cycle of power and control, especially in cases where victims have mental health concerns, as … in the case at bar.” Horrifying and totally unacceptable.
So who is this judge, exactly, and how on earth did he get on the bench in the first place? Here’s what we know about him:
- He’s a “Republican who previously chaired the Fauquier GOP committee” and was previously Fauquier County Commonwealth’s Attorney.
- He was chosen in 2019 when the Republicans had complete control of the Loudoun County judge process.
- He was pushed through by faaaaar-right State Sen. Mark Obenshain (R), an extreme social conservative, in a process that included an interview of Fisher “last[ing] about three minutes” and which asked him “no questions.” Also note that, “Introducing Mr. Fisher to the committee members Friday morning , Sen. Obenshain, whose district includes Rappahannock, called him ‘an outstanding’ prosecutor who has ‘done a great job.'”
- It turns out Obenshain wasn’t the only far-right legislator who was in Fisher’s corner: “Besides Sen. Obenshain, [Fisher] made his interest in the job known to Senators Jill Holtzman Vogel (R-27th/Upperville) and Richard H. “Dick” Black (R-13th/Leesburg) and Del. Michael Webert (R-18th/Marshall).” Black, of course, is one of the most extreme members ever to have served in the Virginia State Senate. For Black’s latest lunacy, see Video: Chaos Erupts, Loudoun County School Board Meeting Suspended After Former State Sen. Dick Black (Far-Right R) Rants Against “Critical Race Theory,” Teachers Who “call boys girls, and girls boys.” Also see Photos: Far-Right Republican Virginia State Sen. Dick Black Travels to Syria to Praise War Criminal Assad, Blame U.S. for Destroying Middle East, etc., Del. John Bell Announces Candidacy to Take On Extremely Anti-LGBT, Anti-Choice, Pro-Assad State Sen. Dick Black (R-SD13), Video: Far-Right Virginia Republican Rants About Long-Acting Contraceptives “Rendering” Women Infertile, Targeting “the Wrong KIND of Children”, What Is It With Loudoun Republicans?!? Dick Black on Spousal Rape, “Nighties,” etc., Republican Loudoun-sanity Continues: Dick Black Rails Against Gays in the Military, etc.
- As if that’s not bad enough, guess who else was a big fan of Fisher’s? That’s right: “Republican state Del. Dave LaRock (33rd) said he was pleased with Fisher’s appointment… I am grateful he is making himself available to serve the citizens of Loudoun County and the 20th Judicial Circuit.” For more on LaRock, see Extremist VA Del. Dave LaRock (R-HD33) Shared Content from 9/11 “Truther” Who Wrote Book on “12-foot-tall alien lizard people, many of whom just happen to be posing as Jews”; FWIW Virginia: Far-Right Republican Del. Dave LaRock Pushes Dangerous and Irresponsible Vaccine Misinformation; Video: Del. Cia Price, Del. Patrick Hope Slam Far-Right/Extremist Del. Dave LaRock’s “Dangerous,” “False Information” COVID Vaccine Bill, Which Is Then Voted Down 18-3; Following 1/6/21 Insurrection at U.S. Capitol, Loudoun County Board of Supervisors Demands Resignation of Faaaaar-Right Del. Dave LaRock (R); Loudoun Delegate Dave LaRock (R) in Trouble With The Law…Again; Far-Right Virginia Delegate Shares Post Railing Against a Supposed “engineered tyrannical coup d’état” Against Trump; etc.
- As you can see from the following video, *Democratic* delegates and state senators representing Loudoun County (Jennifer Boysko, Barbara Favola, David Reid) and the Loudoun County NAACP – were not pleased about the fact that they were almost completely excluded from the process of selecting and confirming Fisher to be a judge. As Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax said at the press conference, “…in the 20th judicial circuit there was a process that we believe was not transparent it was not open and was not fair.” Then-Delegate (now State Senator) John Bell added, “It wasn’t a bipartisan operation the way it should have been; we need to have a bipartisan selection and we need to have a selection that’s open and transparent…We’re disenfranchising thousands
of voters…there were seven of us available; if our voices aren’t heard on behalf of our constituents, those seven represent 800 000 people.” And the Loudoun NAACP Chair called the process “a tremendous disservice to democracy, to the constituents of Loudoun County.”
- In the end, Fisher was approved by the 100-member House of Delegates in a 50-0 vote, with every single Democrat NOT VOTING in protest. As for the State Senate, “Senate Democrats also abstained, with the vote coming in at 21-0-19.”
- Bottom line: This judge is a former county Republican Party chair who was pushed by hard-right Republican legislators, confirmed on a party-line vote (with Democrats not voting), and now is the subject of protests from people outraged that he threw a domestic violence survivor in jail for being nervous while testifying and for “admitting her use of a legal substance, cannabis.” The message is clear with regard to the crucial, upcoming Virginia elections – if you put Republicans in charge, THIS is the type of thing that will happen, so if you do NOT want this shit to happen, then: a) make damned sure you vote; and b) make sure you cast your vote for every Democrat on your ballot!