Fairfax County Circuit Court Judge Daniel Ortiz has been elected to an eight-year term on the newly expanded Virginia Court of Appeals.
Ortiz, who has served on the bench since 2014, was among those elected earlier this month.
Democratic leaders in the state Senate and House of Delegates put forward a slate of eight candidates to fill a Court of Appeals that will be expanded from 11 to 17 members; there were two existing vacancies on the court, requiring election of eight individuals. Locally, Stuart Raphael of Arlington and Vernida Chaney of Alexandria also were among those elected.
A large number legislators abstained from voting on the nominees, including many Republicans displeased that they had not been more thoroughly consulted on the selections. But a few Democrats also withheld their votes from various nominees.
Del. Rip Sullivan (D-McLean-Arlington), who chairs a key House subcommittee on judicial appointments, said the new judges “reflect a diverse makeup of legal practice, experience and geography” and represent “some of the best legal minds Virginia has to offer.”
In Virginia, judicial appointments are the province of the General Assembly. Neither the governor nor the public has a role to play.
The Court of Appeals sits between the Virginia Supreme Court and circuit courts in the commonwealth’s judicial hierarchy. By law, appeals-court judges earn 95 percent of the salaries of Supreme Court justices.