In 2011, Virginia Delegate Bill Janis wrote, “In too many courthouses we have, as my old chief would say, ‘too much glass for the job.’” He was referring to having too many judges in Virginia. That year, Janis introduced HB 1990, which intended to reduce the number of judges in Virginia from 403 to 384. An identical bill was proposed in the Senate, SB 1240. While the House version passed 52 to 46, the Senate version ended with a decision to have the Virginia Supreme Court study the issue before the Senate would decide.
That study, titled the Virginia Judicial Workload Assessment Report (“Workload Report”), was released on November 15. It concludes that there are too few judges in Virginia, not too many. The study was performed by the nonprofit National Center for State Courts (NCSC). Between May 2012 and October 2013, the NCSC studied, surveyed, and gathered data from various courts within Virginia. The study’s conclusions paint a picture of a judicial system that is short-staffed and struggling to keep up.