Gavel, scales

U.S. Magistrate Judge David J. Novak of Richmond has been nominated to serve as a district judge.

He would fill the vacancy created when U.S. District Judge Henry E. Hudson took senior status last year. Novak, a magistrate judge since 2012, served 18 years as an assistant U.S. attorney in the Eastern District of Virginia.

Novak is an adjunct professor at both the University of Richmond School of Law and the William & Mary Law School, where he teaches a course on national security law.

Before joining that U.S. attorney’s office, Novak held several other positions within the Department of Justice, including serving as an assistant U.S. attorney in the Southern District of Texas and as a trial attorney in the criminal division.

Novak received his law degree from Villanova University and his bachelor’s degree from St. Vincent College.

A prepared joint statement from U.S. Sens. Tim Kaine and Mark Warner on Friday said, “We are pleased that the president has nominated Judge Novak to fill the vacancy. Based on Mr. Novak’s distinguished record, we are confident he would serve capably on the bench. We hope our colleagues will join us to support this well-qualified nominee.”

Last September, Warner and Kaine sent a letter to President Donald Trump, recommending Novak for the vacancy.

Carl Tobias, a professor at the University of Richmond School of Law, said Novak was nominated for a vacancy on the court in 2007 by former President George W. Bush, but the nomination expired before he could be confirmed.

“I think he’s widely respected in the legal community. I think he’ll be a fine judge,” said Tobias. “My guess is he would have a hearing, maybe as early as April and then it could move pretty quickly. ... He could be confirmed this summer.”

Magistrate judges handle relatively minor offenses and are appointed to assist full district court judges who have more authority.

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