Virginia Senators John Warner and Jim Webb have recommended candidates they say are “outstanding Virginians with exemplary qualifications” for federal judgeships in the Eastern District of Virginia:
● Joanne F. Alper of Arlington, a Virginia circuit judge in Arlington County
● Mark S. Davis of Portsmouth, a Virginia circuit judge in Portsmouth
● Dennis W. Dohnal of Richmond, a U.S. magistrate judge in Richmond
● David J. Novak of Montpelier, an assistant U.S. attorney in Richmond
● Jeri K. Somers of Arlington, a judge on the Civilian Board of Contract Appeals at the U.S. Department of Transportation
● Jonathan C. Thacher of Fairfax Station, a Virginia circuit judge in Fairfax County
● Anthony J. Trenga of Alexandria, a lawyer with the Miller & Chevalier Chartered firm in Washington
The vacancies were created when Judge T.S. Ellis III, who sits in Alexandria, and Judge Robert E. Payne, who sits in Richmond, took senior status. Both have said they expect to continue to carry a substantial caseload.
Absent from the list was John Brownlee, the U.S. attorney for the Western District of Virginia. He had the advantage of a personal relationship with Warner and a disadvantage in that he is not practicing law in the Eastern District. Two bar groups were underwhelmed by his credentials as well. The Roanoke Times has an analysis of his candidacy.