[Posted May 11, 2010] Chief Justice Leroy Hassell announced this morning that he will not seek a third term as the leader of the Supreme Court of Virginia. The announcement, which came at the Commonwealth’s Judicial Conference in Norfolk, means that the justices will select another from among their number when the current chief’s term expires in January 2011.

Previously, the selection of chief justice was automatic — a matter of simple tenure, lasting for as long as the chief justice remained on the court. But beginning in 2002, the chief justice has been “elected by majority vote of the justices of the Supreme Court to serve a term of four years.” Chief Justice Hassell will have served two terms before stepping aside. The announcement doesn’t end his tenure on the court; just his time as chief.