The U.S. Senate voted 96-0 to confirm Virginia Supreme Court Justice G. Steven Agee’s nomination to the U.S. Fourth Circuit of Appeals which covers federal appeals in Maryland.
President Bush nominated Justice Agee six weeks ago after he withdrew his earlier nominee, Virginia lawyer Duncan Getchell. Getchell, a lawyer at McGwireWoods, saw his nomination go into the tank when it was revealed he apparently botched an $8 million dollar appeal in a personal injury case to the Virginia Supreme Court.
Setting aside that after his nomination he publicly blamed another lawyer for the error to the point where the lawyer sued him, and setting aside the character defects such an action might reveal, it is probably a little over the top to make an issue of single error in a legal career that spanned over 30 years. But Getchell’s nomination was probably doomed the minute he was not approved by either of the Virginia senators, one of whom is Republican Senator John W. Warner. The fact that he once belonged to a country club that excluded women also didn’t help.
Both Senator Warner and Senator James Webb approved of Justice Agee, who also served in the Virginia House of Delegates. I doubt I would nominate Justice Agee because I suspect I disagree with him on many political issues. But by all accounts, he is eminently qualified to join the 4th Circuit. Even with the addition of Justice Agee, there are still 7 more vacancies on the 4th Circuit that I do not suspect will be filled anytime soon in this election year.