Read the Judges' order HERE.
RICHMOND, VA—Richmond prosecutor Tracy Thorne-Begland, after weeks of controversy, was appointed a General District Court judge.
The Richmond Circuit Court judges made the appointment Thursday, after the General Assembly denied Thorne-Bergland's nomination in May and failed to fill the seat.
Several local lawmakers and lawyers had recently voiced their support for Thorne-Begland, who is openly gay. He becomes the first openly gay judge in Virginia.
However, some lawmakers argued Thorne-Berglans' activist work for gay causes would impact his judicial decisions.
That's an argument Circuit Court judges and the Richmond Commonwealth's Attorney disagree with.
"Anyone who takes the time to go over and observe his courtroom will be nothing short of impressed," said Michael Herring, Richmond Commonwealth's Attorney.
Thorne-Bergland will take office immediately, but the General Assembly will hold a vote on the confirmation in January.
"I'm glad the Circuit Court judges got it right, and I anticipate the Assembly will reconsider in January and do the right thing," said Sen. Donald McEachin.
Newly-appointed General District Court Judge Tracy Thorne-Begland released the following statement Thursday regarding his appointment:
"I am humbled by the Circuit Court's decision. I look forward to serving the citizens of the city of Richmond as a jurist, and over the coming months, I hope that my service provides comfort to all Virginians that I remain committed to the faithful application of the laws and Constitutions of Virginia and the United States of America."
In a release, Sen. Donald McEachin lauded the judges' decision.
"I applaud the circuit court judges for recognizing Mr. Thorne-Begland's skill, qualifications and competency and putting aside bigotry, prejudice and false excuses. I have always had and continue to have the utmost confidence in Mr. Thorne-Begland's ability to serve our community and I am gratified to see that the circuit court judges share my confidence.
"I wish Mr. Thorne-Begland the best as he ascends to the bench and I know that Richmonders will be fortunate to have him in the General District Court. I want to thank the Circuit Court judges, my colleagues and all the many citizens who came forward to support his candidacy," Senator McEachin said.
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