By David Frisk | Virginia Statehouse News
RICHMOND — The hotly debated nomination of openly gay Richmond prosecutor Tracy Thorne-Begland to a low-level judgeship may end up in the courts.
Supporters say an interim appointment would give Thorne-Begland a chance to build a record as a judge.
Thorne-Begland, who could not be reached for comment Wednesday or Thursday, could serve until next winter with the Circuit Court’s approval.
But the General Assembly then would have to confirm him to a full six-year term.
State Sen. John Watkins, R-Powhatan County
, who favored the nomination, said the Circuit Court judges may prefer not to do it, thinking it might be "putting their finger in the eye" of the House of Delegates
. The Legislature must reappoint Circuit judges when their eight-year terms are up.
Thorne-Begland's nomination earlier this month in both legislative chambers was derailed when the the social-conservative lobby Family Foundation of Virginia
raised concerns about his gay activist background. Several supporters changed their vote to oppose his appointment.
Richmond Circuit Court Clerk Bevill Dean said the judges have not appointed an interim judge, "and I've been here 34 years."