Legislature Elects Judge McCullough to Virginia Supreme Court

Judge McCullough
Judge McCullough

BULLETIN: Republican legislators prevailed in their long political battle with Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe and elected Judge Stephen McCullough on Thursday to the Virginia Supreme Court, The Washington Post said. 

Virginia Court of Appeals Judge Stephen R. McCullough appeared close to election to the state Supreme Court after former Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli withdrew his name from consideration. In Virginia, the Republican-controlled legislature elects state judges.

If McCullough is elected, it will result in the removal of Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s twice-appointed interim pick, Justice Jane Marum Roush, whose second interim appointment has expired. If the General Assembly does not act, however, before finishing its business, McAuliffe is expected to appoint her again.

A McAuliffe spokesman said GOP legislators have “done untold damage to the independence of the commonwealth’s highest court.” The spokesman said, according to The Richmond Times-Dispatch, “Today’s circus further underscores the desperate lengths to which Republicans have gone to remove a qualified and nonpartisan jurist from the Virginia Supreme Court.”

McCullough once worked under then-Attorney General Cuccinelli, and he said at a committee hearing this week that he generally finds agreement with the approach to constitutional interpretation taken by the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. House Speaker William J. Howell called McCullough an individual “of integrity and “very intelligent, the kind of person we are looking for,” The Washington Post reported.