- Associated Press - Thursday, February 11, 2016

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia Supreme Court Justice Jane Marum Roush is about to lose her dream job. Whether she gets it back is still unclear.

Roush’s temporary appointment to the high court ends Friday, as Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe and state Republican continue a months-long feud over whether she belongs on the bench.

How long the seven-member court is a justice short is unclear as the political stalemate shows no sign of a thaw. A Republican hold-out senator has prevented the GOP from moving forward with their preferred pick to replace Roush, Court of Appeals Judge Rossie Alston.

Freshman GOP Sen. Glen Sturtevant said his commitment to keeping Roush on the bench is unchanged.

“We have a highly qualified jurist on the bench; politics shouldn’t play a role in that,” Sturtevant said.

The debate about Roush’s future hasn’t focused on her qualifications but the process by which she was put on the high court. GOP leaders say McAuliffe breached protocol by not giving them a heads up before appointing her last summer. McAuliffe has accused GOP lawmakers of being petty.

Without Sturtevant’s support, GOP Senate leaders have looked elsewhere for enough votes to replace Roush with Alston.

They briefly succeeded earlier this week when Portsmouth Democratic Sen. Louise Lucas agreed to support Alston in return for Republicans replacing him on the court of appeals with Lucas’ neighbor and political mentor. But Lucas quickly changed her mind after a private meeting with McAuliffe.

Roush, who said being appointed to the high court was beyond “a dream come true” when she was first appointed last summer, declined to comment.

McAuliffe can temporarily appoint judges, but the GOP-controlled General Assembly has final say in electing them to a full term. If the General Assembly adjourns without electing a high court judge, McAuliffe would be able to reappoint Roush to another temporary appointment.

GOP Majority Leader Sen. Tommy Norment declined to comment. But GOP House Speaker William J. Howell said he’s not worried about Republicans being able to break the deadlock before the session ends in a month.

“We’ve still got plenty of time,” Howell said.

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