Virginia Republicans say they will reject Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s pick for the state’s newest Supreme Court justice and install their own choice — an unprecedented move in modern Virginia history.

The decision added another layer of tension to the already fraught relationship between McAuliffe (D) and the GOP-controlled legislature, with the governor accusing legislative leaders of throwing “a political temper tantrum.”

“This woman is highly qualified, and I’ve got to tell you, it doesn’t send a good message to women around the commonwealth of Virginia,” McAuliffe said about the GOP decision not to back his appointment of former Fairfax Circuit Court judge Jane Marum Roush.

“This is the same group of individuals who have tried to roll back women’s rights and tried to hurt women’s rights in the commonwealth of Virginia,” McAuliffe said.

House Speaker William J. Howell (R-Stafford) and Senate Majority Leader Thomas K. Norment Jr. (R-James City) said lawmakers will elect Virginia Court of Appeals Judge Rossie D. Alston Jr. to the Supreme Court when they convene in Richmond on Aug. 17 for a special legislative session.

Shame on Virginia Republicans.  Rossie D. Alston might not be the best person for the job.  He used to be a circuit court judge right here in Prince William County and some of his decisions were very questionable in high-profile cases.  Alston is known for his “designer sentences” that are light on crime.

One of the most controversial cases was that of Kevin Kelly, who inadvertently left his young daughter in the family van.  She died.  Kelly had 13 or 14 kids and thought one of the other children had retrieved the little girl.  You just can’t delegate that kind of responsibility.  Kelly owned it.  Frances was his child. He was ordered by Judge Alston to spend every February 21 in jail for the next 7 years.  That’s a total sentence of 7 days in jail for carelessness that killed his child.  He also had to volunteer for 2 hours a week and to sponsor an annual blood drive in the name of his daughter.

An even more controversial local case was that of State Trooper Buck Carter.  Carter stalked women in bars or waited outside bars, followed them, attempted to charge them with DUI but instead, let them barter away the charge in exchange for sex.  After he was arrested, dozens of women came forward with similar complaints.  Carter was rude and insulting to the drivers he pulled over and their passengers.  His punishment for being a sexual predator while in a trusted capacity was 500 hours of community service over 7 years.  He also had to report for jail for 2 days on January 9 for 7 years, and he had to go to a sexual addiction program and write a public apology.

BFD.  Carter told the court  he just thought “he didn’t love himself enough.”  He had to spend 14 days in jail and do 500 hours of community service for what amounted to dozens and dozens of cases of rape.

These are examples of Judge Rossie Alston’s judicial decisions.  In my eyes, he slapped both men on the wrist for what most of us consider heinous crimes.  This is not who I want sitting on the Virginia Supreme Court.   Contrast his high-profile cases to Judge Jane Roush.  a well-regarded jurist who has presided over  many high-profile cases including the trial of D.C. sniper Lee Boyd Malvo.  Malvo received life in prison and now is serving multiple life sentences at Red Onion State Correctional facility.  Red Onion is where the worst of our worst go to prison.

Which judge has the best track record?  Roush or Alston?  The choice should be clear.  I was actually glad when I read that Alston had been “promoted” to the Virginia  Court of Appeals.  He was no longer in Prince William County slapping people on the wrist for doing really bad things.  An argument can be made for Kelly receiving a light sentence because he did not intentionally leave his child in his car.  He made a deadly careless mistake. However, Buck Carter knew exactly what he was doing and intended to solicit  sexual favors from drunken women.  He should have spent 20 years in the slammer.  He was a rude pig.

Shame on Virginia Republican lawmakers for attempting to pull a respected woman off the bench and replacing her with a “wrist slapper.”  Their attempts are unprecedented.

25 Thoughts to “Republicans oust McAuliffe’s choice for Virginia Supreme Court”

  1. Scout

    I’ve appeared before Judge Roush and found her to be a very well-prepared judge who commands respect in her court room. I wonder what the objection was to her?

  2. punchak

    Howell will do ANYTHING to go against the Governor.

  3. I am thinking it was probably that McAuliffe appointed her.

    Replacing a Supreme Court judge is unprecedented from what I can tell.

    I was not pleased with Alston when he sat on the PWC bench.

  4. Victim testimony: vulgar and scary


    14 days in jail for this kind of behavior? Carter deserved 20 years for betraying the public trust. I had personal dealings with this pig. I was a passenger in a car. He was rude, crude, and socially unattractive. I didn’t report him because I feared it would go worse on the driver. I will never make that mistake again.

    His abuse wasn’t sexual. It was just rude, caustic and unprofessional on every level. Had he not been a cop I would have slapped his face for his impertinence.

    He was a disgrace to the State.

  5. Steve Thomas

    Of course this is political. Of course T-Mac defaults to the trite argument: “Blah, Blah, Blah, War on Women, Blah, Blah, Blah”

    There is a reason there is a nomination/confirmation process written into the Virginia code. It was meant to be adversarial in nature…not a rubber-stamp. I doubt the leadership of the legislature would take such a stand with no reason. Elections have consequences.

  6. I can’t help but get stuck on this Alston’s poor judgement.
    No one here has mentioned war on women. I am talking about what Buck Carter did and that he got to spend 14 days total in jail for what is really rape. No, he didn’t attack the women. He blackmailed them into having sex with him. That to me, is rape.

    I have come eye ball to eye ball with that MF and I cannot describe his menacing, unprofessional behavior. I hadn’t done anything wrong and he was rude and intimidating to me. He insulted me and asked me all about my drug use. He told me I was unfit to be a parent and to be in my profession.

    This guy insulted me. I would rather be me than those women. He raped dozens of those women. He spent 14 days in jail. Yea, he lost his job. So what. I hope he lost his pension also. I wonder how I could find that out. Maybe Rossie did some sort of waiver so he could keep it.

    The GOP is removing a highly qualified woman off the bench. She is being replaced by a black man who I see as unfit based on the cases I cited. What would YOU call it?

    I would feel the same way regardless of Roush’s gender, for the record. It’s pretty obvious if you ask me.

  7. @Steve Thomas

    Blah blah blah, walk a mile in my shoes. There has been a war on women’s rights as long as I have walked on this earth. Why? Take a guess.

    Any time “others” come along and gain power, those who have the power try to defuse that power. Perhaps its just human nature, but trust me, it does exist.

    Did YOU get to go to the college of YOUR choice? Bet you did. Bet your gender didn’t keep you out. That is just one tiny example.

  8. Kelly_3406

    Oh come now. McAuliffe has been playing Obama-Lite with his Executive Actions for months. Republicans are just showing him the error of his ways. If the Republicans were really intent on doing this, they would not have announced their intentions. I expect McAuliffe can still get his nominee through, but it will clearly cost him something.

    Now if the Rebublicans in Congress could learn to stand up to Obama. Unfortunately, McConnell and Boehner are wimps.

    1. I wish all of them would just run the country and stop playing politics. When I was coming along, say up until about 15 years ago, legislators would fight like thieves over ideas and then basically go have a drink together. Not now. Everything is gotcha.

      All governors of Virginia use executive actions because they can. Being a governor in Virginia wields a great deal of power, mainly because it is a commonwealth.

      I probably wouldn’t have cared enough to do a post on this subject except for the choice of Rossie Alston. Good grief. It also bothers me that Judge Roush is well-respected by most in her field.

  9. Wolve

    Wimps they are indeed. Well put.

  10. Steve Thomas

    The governor’s remarks implied this is about gender.

    1. It appears to be about gender. Do they have an objection to Judge Roush?

      I believe it has more to do with the fact that they just want to gouge McAuliffe than it does gender, however.

      They have more marbles so they will show him.

      Seriously though, a judge who gives a state trooper 14 days in jail for serial behavior that involves blackmailing women into having sex?

      That shows little regard for women.

      Not a soul on this blog has mentioned the fact that the replacement judge tried that case. Don’t YOU think it was inappropriate sentencing?

  11. Scout

    What was the objection to Judge Roush? I’m still trying to catch up to that.

  12. blue

    Scout :
    What was the objection to Judge Roush? I’m still trying to catch up to that.

    It really doesn’t matter. If McAuliffe wants to govern Virginia for all of Virginia, he needs to coordinate and work with the legislature and stop acting like a mini-Obama. Or is McAuliffe governing the new democratic way – which is kinda the old school way for socialists come to think of it.

    1. Oh bullshit!

      Actually he has been coordinating. Ever since he has been in office he has been inviting Republicans to come by the mansion for cocktails at McAuliffe’s expense, not the state’s. He has done uber reach out. I have not heard what the Republican objection is to Judge Roush. Perhaps they weren’t pleased that she put a serial killer away for life in a high profile case. Maybe she should have slapped Lee Boyd Malvo on the wrist or given him 14 days in jail because he had a tough childhood.

      These Republicans are wimps and are soft of serious crime, like rape and murder.

  13. Steve Thomas

    “Perhaps they weren’t pleased that she put a serial killer away for life in a high profile case. ”

    He got Life because the Virginia Supremes decided you can’t execute a minor.

    I’ve been doing a bit of reading on this, and it would appear that the governor overstepped here. It is the legislature that permanently elects judges. The governor only has authority to temporarily appoint, and this appointment expires 30 days after the GA convenes. The bar association wanted Alston. It is the Bar that nominates judges. The governor was trying to circumvent the system, and the GA put him in check.

    1. Maybe he had read how loose Judge Rossie Alston plays with sentencing.

      Also, removal of a sitting justice is unprecedented so I assume that the legislative body respects those who have had interim appointments, after the session has closed. Obviously the vacancy occurred after the session was closed or the General Assembly would have elected a judge, not the governor.

      We are back to “gotcha” on the part of the GOP.

    2. I don’t mind Malvo getting life. I didn’t necessarily want him executed. In many ways, he was a victim. But–he killed repeatedly. So he lives in Red Onion. Worst of the worst.

  14. Scout

    Have any other judges on the Supreme Court been appointed by Governors?

  15. Steve Thomas

    The Bar wanted Alston. The GA wanted Alston. The governor made a miscalculation and failed to consult those who have the authority to elect judges. Yes, it’s political, and that’s the way of things in a zero sum game. The governor loses. The GA wins, and your average voter can go back to 24/7 coverage of a dead lion, transgender celebs, and NFL training camps as getting your fantasy football team right is exceedingly important. Bread and circuses.

    1. If I thought it would do any good I would blast an email to every last one of them.

      We don’t know who McAuliffe consulted. He is a fairly across the aisle kind of guy, as far as governors go. I simply don’t understand the GOP choice. I bet none of them know what I know, and without a lot of research. All I did was confirm that my memory served me correctly, and it did.

      I guess people have short memories. As far as winning and losing, I am more concerned that wisdom be a consideration. I could live with the Kelly case. That family had lived through enough. Throwing the father in jail wouldn’t bring back the child and it would harm the family. However, Buck Carter needed to go to the big house and not just for a visitation. I can’t help but think that perhaps race played a part in the decision then as well as now.

  16. Steve Thomas

    We do know who he consulted and who he did not, from the statements given in the press. He “assumed” he had GOP support, because he had Dave Albo’s support. He didn’t consult or gain the support of the Speaker, Senate Majority Leader or the GOP legislative committee chairs.

    1. So its all gotcha instead of right and wrong and qualifications of a good judge. I understand now. The GOP had to teach McAuliffe a lesson about minding his manners and not getting too uppity.

      A pox on their house. I don’t want a judge on the Virginia Supreme Court who makes special exceptions for sexual predators.

    2. Let me just ask a simple question, Steve. Do you think that the special “designer sentencing” of Buck Carter, sexual predator, was just WRONG? I think you are a man of good conscience and moral grounding. Have I missed something in all of this?

      I see blackmailing someone into having sex as no different than rape. Perhaps I am just an old fashioned girl along these lines.

  17. Steve Thomas

    I think sexual predators should be castrated, which is probably why I am not a judge.

    My commentary on this thread is not an endorsement or criticism of either judge, and I am not in a position to speak to the fitness of either. I’m just commenting on the underlying politics, which is more in the realm of my experience.

Comments are closed.