April 19, 2006 – The contentious nomination of Julio A. Brady for a Superior Court judgeship came before the full Senate Wednesday, and after all was said and done — including a failed motion by Sen. Craig Barshinger to further question Brady — the nomination passed on an 8-3 vote.
After tempers flared last week during a Rules Committee hearing on Brady's nomination, the subject has been a high-profile issue, with community members, senators and other government officials angrily speaking out on the matter through various radio and print media outlets.
To keep the atmosphere from becoming equally as volatile during Wednesday's full Senate session, Sen. Ronald E. Russell – who was heard on the radio earlier that morning fielding comments from residents who questioned his attitude toward Brady – began the meeting by emphatically stating that he "had no personal problem with the nominee."
"It was not my intention to offend anyone," he said, while adding that he felt senators should have given Brady a second round of questioning before forwarding the nomination onto the full body with a favorable recommendation. "But the public has made a spectacle of the situation, which is unfair to the nominee and unfair to me," Russell said.
Building on Russell's statements that the approval of Brady's nomination at the Rules meeting was "premature," Sen. Craig W. Barshinger – who said he could not vote in favor of the nomination without further information – offered a motion for senators to go into Committee of the Whole, where they could further question Brady on certain "lingering issues."
Later in the meeting, Barshinger added that because new information – not released to the public – was distributed to senators during a Tuesday night caucus, he was not sure that Brady was able to make "fair decisions."
The motion failed, with Sens. Lorraine L. Berry, Liston Davis, Pedro "Pete" Encarnacion, Neville James, Norman Jn Baptiste, Terrence "Positive" Nelson, Usie R. Richards, and Celestino A. White Sr. voting against it, and Barshinger, along with Sens. Roosevelt C. David, Juan Figueroa-Serville, Louis P. Hill, and Russell voting in favor.
With each senator instead being given three minutes to discuss their position on Brady's nomination, the floor played host to a range of remarks, with some senators saying that they supported Brady and his credentials, while others said they still had concerns about Brady's position as an attorney for Innovative Communications Corp. and his position as the territory's head of the National Republican Party.
Concerns about Brady's connection to ICC came to a head during the April 11 Rules meeting after Brady said he would recuse himself from ICC cases for one year, then re-evaluate his position (See "Bitterly Divided Rules Committee Approves Brady Nomination").
"The nominee is loaded with credentials while the nomination is loaded with questions," James said, adding that senators would be "naive" in ignoring Brady's link to Innovative and Gov. Charles W. Turnbull's decision to nominate Brady in "his eighth and final year" in office.
David added to James' statements by saying that some senators "have been ostracized" for the way they voted on the nomination during Tuesday's Rules Committee meeting. "No one has a monopoly on determining how senators should vote," he said. "So no one should be criticized for voting a certain way. There is no question about the nominee's credentials, but there are lingering issues that need to be addressed."
In Brady's defense, White said that senators had problems with the "nomination and not the nominee due to certain situations that were stirred up long before Brady's name was submitted." White wrapped up his comments by urging senators to "unanimously consent" to Brady's nomination.
While the vote was not unanimous, the nomination did pass, with Berry, Davis, Encarnacion, Figueroa-Serville, Jn Baptiste, Nelson, Richards and White voting in favor and David, Hill, and Russell voting against.
Barshinger and James abstained, while Sen. Adlah "Foncie" Donastorg was not present at voting time.
Sen. Shawn-Michael Malone was absent.
Senators moved quickly through another batch of nominees during Wednesday's session and further approved the nominations of:
–Desmond L. Maynard to the Government Employees Retirement System Board of Trustees.
–James Crites to the V.I. Board of Tax Review.
–Earl DeWindt to the V.I. Housing Finance Authority Board.
–Dilsa Rohn Capdeville to the V.I. Board of Social Work Licensure.
–Winifred Anthony-Todman to the V.I. Board of Social Work Licensure.
–Delores A. Powell to the V.I. Board of Social Work Licensure.
–Diane Mawson-Walker to the Virgin Islands Historic Preservation Commission
–Henry T. Harrigan to the Coastal Zone Management Commission.
The nominations of Randolph Latimer, Eduardo O'Neal, Lionel Jacobs, and John Standish to the Public Works Acceleration Board were held.
All senators except Malone were present during Wednesday's session.
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