The chief of Fairfax County's juvenile court has been recommended for promotion to the circuit court bench by members of the county's legislative delegation, a senior senator said today.
Legislators also have nominated a Fairfax County trial lawyer to a seat on the district court that will be left vacant because of a retirement, according to Sen. Clive L. DuVal II (D-Fairfax).
After 11 hours of interviewing 20 judicial candidates, Fairfax County legislators voted to nominate Thomas A. Fortkort, chief judge of the county's Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court, to fill the seat left vacant when Fairfax County Circuit Court Judge Barbara M. Keenan moved up to the state's new Intermediate Court of Appeals.
Lawmakers also recommended that Michael P. McWeeny, 35, a general trial attorney, be elected to the Fairfax District Court to replace Judge G. William Hammer, who has announced his retirement.
Hammer, 63, announced last year that he will retire from the district court bench in July after serving nine years.
The two nominees must be interviewed by members of both the House and Senate Courts of Justice committees before election by the full membership of the General Assembly. Fairfax County legislators said the process could take up to three weeks.
Fortkort, 51, has been a juvenile court judge for the past eight years. If he is elected to the circuit court bench, legislators must begin the process to find a replacement for him in juvenile court.
A graduate of Georgetown University Law Center, Fortkort served as an assistant county prosecutor before entering private practice and then being elected to the bench.
McWeeny, who has practiced law for 12 years, began his legal career in the firm headed by former senator Adelard Brault, the most powerful member of the Northern Virginia delegation until his retirement two years ago.
Brault, who controlled the judicial nomination process during his tenure as leader of the delegation, lobbied for McWeeny's nomination, Fairfax legislators said.
Fortkort was selected for the circuit court position over six other candidates, including sitting District Court Judges Stewart P. Davis and Richard T. Horan, legislators said.
The Fairfax delegation also has recommended that two district court judges, Frank B. Perry III and J. Conrad Waters Jr., be reelected to their positions when their current terms expire this year.