An Arlingtonian who served as Virginia’s solicitor general during the McAuliffe administration has been elected to an eight-year term on the newly expanded Virginia Court of Appeals.
Stuart Raphael was among those whose names were announced Aug. 8. Several days later, he was elected by a 53-0 vote in the House of Delegates and 23-0 vote in the Senate.
He joins the bench on Sept. 1.
Raphael currently is a partner at Hunton Andrews Kurth, where he serves as co-chair of the firm’s Issues and Appeals Group, specializing in appellate litigation, constitutional issues, complex litigation and strategic counseling.
As state solicitor general from 2014-17, Raphael authored more than 75 briefs in federal and state court and presented oral arguments more than 30 times in high-profile cases, and provided legal counsel to the governor and Virginia attorney general, the firm said.
His wife, Abby Raphael, also is an attorney and served on the Arlington School Board. They are the parents of several daughters.
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, Daniel Ortiz of Fairfax 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.