"Very interesting," state Sen. Wiley F. Mitchell Jr. said yesterday when told by a reporter that his name had been submitted by Sen. William L. Scott (R-Va.) as a nominee for a federal judgeship. "I'm pleasantly surprised."
A few hours later Sen. Mitchell was back to being a plain old Republican legislator from Alexandria. It seems that Sen. Scott had goofed.
During a press conference in Richmond yesterday, Scott said that Mitchell's name had been submitted by both himself and Sen. Harry F. Byrd Jr. (I, Va.) for one of two new judgeships in the Eastern District. Actually, he meant to say Wiley R. Wright Jr., an Alexandria Circuit COurt judge who was one of five men selected by a nomination commission appointed by Byrd last February.
"I can understand the confusion," Mitchell said graciously after being told that his possible rise to the bench had been a mere slip of the tongue."We're always being introduced as each other in Alexandria. Wiley Wright and I are about the same age, although he's balding and I'm not. We do get mixed up. He's an excellent choice."
Scott, a member of the Judiciary Committee who is retiring from the Senate, has no official role in the selection of nominees but suggested Wright and Fiarfax Circuit Court Judge James. C. Cacheris on his own initiative. Cacheris also was on Byrd's list.
"I'm sorry for the confusion," said Scott's press aide, Jim Roberts. "Wiley's for sure not an everyday common name . . . "
Final authorization of the new judgeships is pending in Congress. District of Virginia also would be authorized.