The Washington Post

McClanahan, Powell elected to Virginia Supreme Court

The Virginia General Assembly unanimously elected two new justices of the commonwealth’s Supreme Court Friday morning, ending a months-long stalemate over judicial appointments.

Members of the House of Delegates and Senate voted unanimously in special session to elevate Court of Appeals judges Elizabeth A. McClanahan and Cleo E. Powell.

The split chambers hammered out a compromise on the appointments; McClanahan was favored by the Republican House, Powell by the Democratic Senate.

Powell becomes the high court’s first African American woman justice.

To fill the lower court vacancies, legislators unanimously elected Stephen R. McCullough, a senior appellate counsel with the attorney general’s office, and Glen A. Huff, a Hampton Roads attorney and former law partner of Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R).

The court also filled three circuit court posts.

McClanahan and Powell fill vacancies created early this year on the Supreme Court, by the January retirement of Justice Lawrence L. Koontz Jr. and the February death of Justice Leroy R. Hassell Sr.

The new appointments — for 12 years, for the Supreme Court justices, eight years for the lower court judges — are effective Aug. 1.

Mike DeBonis covers Congress and national politics for The Washington Post. He previously covered D.C. politics and government from 2007 to 2015.


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