Wilson gets judgeship over Helsley

Brent Finnegan -- April 24th, 2008

You may remember this story from last month about the mounting “dispute” in General Assembly over the appointment of judges.

Republicans appear to have won that dispute yesterday, at least where Harrisonburg is concerned.

Yesterday was the day legislators had to deal with their unfinished business, like appointing judges. It was also the day the Assembly voted to borrow $1.5 billion to pay for construction projects around the state. Sen. Creigh Deeds, who supported Bill Helsley for the appointment over Thomas Wilson, forced a vote. But with so many other items on the agenda, apparently there wasn’t much of a fight.

As reported in today’s DNR, the Assembly elected Republican Thomas Wilson, endorsed by Republican legislators in the Valley, over Democrat Bill Helsley, who had the endorsement of the Harrisonburg-Rockingham Bar Association.

Wilson is expected to begin his eight-year term as Rockingham County Circuit Court Judge this month or next.

Elsewhere in the state, there were several disputed judgeships that will be decided by Governor Kaine… At least until next year, when the Assembly can do it all over again.

11 Responses to “Wilson gets judgeship over Helsley”

  1. JGFitzgerald says:

    It’s odd that this story reuses the description “Democratic activist.” It’s not just that Bill doesn’t quite qualify (“Democratic activist” vs “active Democrat” is probably too much of a nuance for their news department). It’s also the fact that a reporter who wouldn’t normally say the sky was blue without a source to confirm it is willing to state this as a bald fact. Probable deep-down reason: the continued corruption of the paper, in the purest sense of the word, into a local party surrogate.

  2. Gene Hart says:

    The DNR continues to use the “Democratic activist” line in a kind of sneering fashion in an obvious effort to say, “well, that is the only reason anyone (read, Sen. Deeds) would push for Helsley; it is purely partisan on their part!” All while continuing to leave out the fact that the chosen candidate’s wife is the head of the city Republican Party. Not that that is a bad thing, but it is certainly relevant to the story and relevant to why the all-Republican legislators in the area supported one candidate and opposed the other.

  3. Bubby says:

    When Emmett Hanger says that Tom Wilson “knows the process”, what is he talking about? The “process” where our special election for the Commissioner of Revenue was canceled by the local Republicans and rubber stamped by the Judge?

  4. JGFitzgerald says:

    An Augusta County Republican cannot afford to have a very high standard when it comes to knowing the process. Quick-draw bloggers are reminded that this is a reference to Augusta Pubs, not to Wilson.

  5. cook says:

    This method of finding judges sure is ugly . . . but they all are, I guess. Is there a best way to select a judge?
    Harrisonburg is fortunate; TJ Wilson is a fine choice for Circuit Court judge (time will tell if I am right). But I am sure that such a screwy system does not always produce good results.

  6. Bubby says:

    How about we keep the selection of judges simple: The Harrisonburg-Rockingham County bar association recommends a candidate for judge, and our local politicians appoint them.

    The Republican activists in the Shenandoah Valley Caucus should know that one day soon they will lose power, and they better pray they don’t get repaid in kind.

  7. Adam Sharp says:

    Here’s another reason for the coverage by the DN-R:

    Daily News-Record, February 29, 2008:

    “Wilson, of Harrisonburg, is the principal counsel for Wilson & Bowers PLC. Wilson represents Rockingham Publishing Co., the parent company of the Daily News-Record.”

    The incestuousness boggles the mind. Maybe the DN-R should recuse itself from covering stories in which it has a conflict of inter- … hahaha, that was good for a laugh.

    Helsley never had a chance, which is a shame. Just another “done deal” from the Harrisonburg establishment.

  8. Dave Briggman says:

    I wrote this letter to this Editor earlier today, I hardly think they’ll publish it:

    It is extremely fascinating how often that facts most readers would be considered relevant are omitted, or horribly mangled in news stories relating to politics. The article of April 24th on the election of T.J. Wilson to the Circuit Court for the 26th Judicial District is a continuance of your paper’s tradition.

    Your paper, without citation, classifes Bill Helsley as a democrat activist, which is hardly the case, while completing omitting the fact that T.J. Wilson’s wife is the Chairman of the City’s Republican Committee.

    Assuming the anticipated response that Mr. Wilson’s wife’s position is not relevant to his election, overruling the recommendation of the local bar association, why is Mr. Helsley’s level of political activism [low to moderate, in my opinion] relevant to the same story?

    It’s all just too cozy in the Republican Party in this area. I guess the DNR is more than willing to “snuggle right up”, huh?

    I personally believe the General Assembly should elect the judges for their first term…and let the people in the respective judicial district decide whether they should re-elect them — they are often more aware of a judge’s performance than the 140 dolts in Richmond.

  9. David Miller says:

    Briggman, I like your letter to the editor and I think that you should have included the post script in the original letter. We rarely see eye to eye but your train of thought seems “fair and balanced”.

    Perhaps we should extend upon your letter by asking the DNR why a judge’s political slant is applicable. Aren’t judges required to uphold the law that politicians enact; you know, democracy……I mean republic….I mean ………insert sigh here. Frankly I don’t really care because I haven’t been surprised by this shit for about twenty years.

    Following David Miller’s comments comes an uprising of comments about how liberal activist judges are destroying the fabric of our great nation. Follow that with a retort about how our great nation has been stabbed in the back by those most vehemently demanding constitutional correctness. Man, that was fun. Hope everyone enjoyed the dialogue.

  10. David Miller says:

    I meant, pretending to demand constitutional correctness.

  11. finnegan says:

    “Wilson, of Harrisonburg, is the principal counsel for Wilson & Bowers PLC. Wilson represents Rockingham Publishing Co., the parent company of the Daily News-Record.”

    Nice catch, Adam.

Reader Tweets

Latest Flickr photos in the hburgnews Flickr pool
Announcements & Press Releases
  • Friendly City Grand Opening Set for July 9

    Friendly City Food Co-Op, Harrisonburg’s consumer-owned grocery, invites the community to come see its new destination for natural, organic and locally-produced products at the store’s grand opening 11 a.m.-5 p.m. July 9 at 150 East Wolfe Street.

  • Friendly City Becomes Member of National Cooperative Grocers Association

    HARRISONBURG, VA — Friendly City Food Co-op, slated to open this month in Harrisonburg, Va., has become the newest member of the National Cooperative Grocers Association (NCGA), a business services cooperative serving 120 consumer-owned food co-ops nationwide.

  • Harrisonburg Recognized as a Bike Friendly Community

    May 2: Harrisonburg was honored when the League of American Bicyclists announced the latest round of Bicycle Friendly Community (BFC) designations over the weekend to kick off May as National Bike Month.