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Judicial Appointment Standoff in Virginia Senate

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Judicial Appointment Standoff in VA Senate

AP

The evenly divided Virginia Senate reached its first political standoff Tuesday -- one that could continue on Thursday.

The stalemate came over the issue of judicial appointments. With 20 Democrats and 20 Republicans, Republican Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling is barred from using his tie-breaking vote on judicial elections.

Democrats say they agreed to act on 47 judicial re-elections but balked when the GOP added two new names to the list. Both sides pronounced the other obstructionist.

"After knowing for days the Democratic senators were not ready to vote on new judges, the other side still left the two new judges on the bill and deliberately brought the Senate to a halt," Minority Leader Dick Saslaw, D-Fairfax County, said.

Republicans accused Democrats of throwing a temper tantrum.

"Democrats have been warning quietly for weeks that they would block all new judicial appointments and the state budget in an effort to overturn the will of the voters at the ballot box," Virginia Republican Party Chairman Pat Mullins said.

The Senate broke the standoff -- for now -- by recessing on the appointments until Thursday.

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