Rappahannock County lawyer A. Burke Hertz was appointed by the Virgina legislature today to a vacant juvenile judgeship, marking the end of a controversial attempt by a Northern Virginia Democrat to name a Republican to the post.
Hertz, former Falls Church commissioner of revenue and a longtime figure in Northern Virginia Democratic politics, was selected by a 95-0 vote in the House Delegates and a 31-0 vote in the Senate.
He will replace William F. Moffett Jr. as the judge who presides over juvenile and domestic relations cases in the 20th judical district, which comprises portions of Loudoun, Fauquier and Rappahannock counties.
Amid strong criticisim from his party leadership Sen. Charles L. Waddell (D-Loudoun) had struggled unsuccessfully to place Republican Kenneth Rollins, the mayor of Leesburg, in the position. A subsequent attempt by Waddell to appoint Democrat George Martin, Leesburg's town attorney came to late to smooth the ruffled feathes of Democratic leaders.
Del. Earl E. Bell (D-Loudoun), one of three Democratic delegates who spearheaded the drive for Hertz, said today that Waddell was "pretty naive" to think he could win the appointment of a Republican judge in the Democrat-dominated state.
"You may be able to keep partisan politics out of it (judgeship selections) at home,"Bell said, "but you're never going to be able to do that in Richmond -- particularly when you've got a Republican governor who went around campaigning against every Democarat."
Rollins last year posed on election challenge to Bell and the other two Democratic delegates, David Brickley and Floyd Bagley. Bell said yesterday that Rollins Republican candidacy made him particularly unacceptable to the legislature's Democratic leadership.
"I kind of feel sorry for Charlie (Waddell)," Bell said, adding that the senator had damaged his political effectiveness in Richmond. "He should have known better."
Waddell, who had portrayed his judicial nominations as a protest against what he saw as an inequitable judgeship selection selections process, said today that "the people of that judicial district and the judiciary of Virginia were the real losers" in the legislature's decision to select Hertz.
He contended that Hertz has not adequately demonstrated his qualifications in the area of juvenile law. Wadell has also argued that the judge for the 20th judicial district should be a resident of Loudoun County, which he said generates about 80 percent of its caseload. Rappahannock County produces only about five percent of the district's work, Waddell said.
Hertz, 59, is a distant relative of Virginia House Majority Leader Thomas W. Moss Jr. A 28-year resident of Falls Church, Hertz was that city's commissioner of revenue for 24 years and also served as a chariman of the Falls Church Democratic Committee. He has also held positions on the Virginia State Democratic Central committee and the 10th District Democratic Committee.
Hertz moved to Flint Hill in Rappahannock County four years ago and maintains law offices in Falls Church and Washington, Va. He will assume the $42,000-a-year position on Feb. 1.
Among other judges selected by the legislature yesterday was Richard t. Horan of Springfield, who was named to a six-year term as a general district judge in Fairfax County. Horan's brother, Robert F. Horan, was recently reelected as chief prosecutor in the county.
Robert Horan said today he saw "no ethical problem at all" with his brother's selection and said he would not appear personally before his brother in his role as country prosecutor.
Barbara M. Ardis of Fairfax City and Johanna M. L. Fitzpatrick of Great Falls also became the first full-time women judges ever selected by the General Assembly to serve in Fairfax County. Both will begin six-year terms on Feb. 1.
Ardis was named to the position of general district court judge, and Fitzpartick will serve as a juvenile and domestic relations judge.