Kaine Appoints Chesapeake Judge to Supreme Court

By Anita Kumar
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, October 11, 2007

RICHMOND, Oct. 10 -- Gov. Timothy M. Kaine named Chesapeake, Va., Circuit Court Judge S. Bernard Goodwyn on Wednesday to fill a vacancy on the Virginia Supreme Court.

Goodwyn, 46, is the second African American justice on the seven-member court, joining Chief Justice Leroy R. Hassell Sr., who swore in Goodwyn after a late-morning news conference. Goodwyn needs to be confirmed by the General Assembly when lawmakers return to Richmond in January.

"He approaches the law with an appropriate balance of intellectual insight and an understanding of its real-world impact on our citizens," Kaine (D) said. "His judicial talent will be of great service to the commonwealth."

Chesapeake area lawmakers from both parties praised Goodwyn, but Del. David B. Albo (R-Fairfax), who chairs the House of Delegates Courts of Justice Committee, said his confirmation was not certain.

"Maybe we'll appoint him; maybe we won't," he said. Albo favored a different candidate, William C. Mims, who spent more than a decade in the General Assembly representing Fairfax and Loudoun counties and is now Virginia's deputy attorney general.

Goodwyn and Mims were two of nine people the Virginia State Bar rated as "highly qualified" for the vacancy.

Del. John A. Cosgrove (R-Chesapeake), who described Goodwyn as one of the city's toughest judges, said he hopes that the General Assembly puts principle over politics when taking up the judge's confirmation.

Majority votes in the House and Senate are required to confirm justices, who serve 12-year terms at a salary of about $155,000 a year.

Goodwyn spent a decade as a trial court judge in the 1st Judicial Circuit Court in Chesapeake, where he was instrumental in founding a drug court. He grew up in Southampton County and attended Harvard University and the University of Virginia School of Law before going into private practice and later serving on the General District Court in Chesapeake.

"I look forward to continuing my service to the commonwealth and to its citizens as a justice of the Supreme Court," he said.

Goodwyn succeeds Justice Elizabeth B. Lacy, the court's first female judge, who retired in August. He is Kaine's first nominee to the court.

Goodwyn was accompanied at the announcement by his wife, Sharon Smith Goodwyn, his two children and his mother.

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