[Posted August 18, 2014] The justices of the Supreme Court this morning elected Justice Donald Lemons to serve as the next chief justice, beginning January 1, 2015. Justice Lemons will take over the center chair effective with the retirement of Chief Justice Cynthia Kinser on December 31.

Justice Lemons is second in seniority on the court, so he also would have been the next chief if the court had not changed its method of selection from tenure to election, back in 2002. Given his demonstrated commitment to professionalism, and its critical component, civility, I expect the court to emphasize those qualities to bench and bar over the next four years.

Here’s the text of the court’s announcement:

PRESS RELEASE – August 18, 2014

The Supreme Court of Virginia Announces the Election of the Honorable Donald W. Lemons as Chief Justice-Elect

Today, the Justices of the Supreme Court of Virginia elected Justice Donald W. Lemons as Chief Justice-elect. Chief Justice-elect Lemons will succeed Chief Justice Cynthia D. Kinser, who has served one term as Chief Justice and will retire from the Court on December 31, 2014.

Chief Justice-elect Lemons will assume office on January 1, 2015. He was elected by the General Assembly to the Supreme Court ofVirginia in 2000 and again in 2012. Previously, Chief Justice-elect Lemons served as a judge of the Court of Appeals of Virginia and the Circuit Court for the City of Richmond.

He received both his undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Virginia. After receiving his law degree, he served as Assistant Dean and Assistant Professor of Law at the University of Virginia School of Law. Thereafter, he has served on the faculties of the University of Richmond School of Law and Washington and Lee University School of Law.

Chief Justice-elect Lemons has held leadership roles in numerous legal and civic organizations, including serving as the President of the American Inns of Court. Current Chief Justice Kinser remarked that “Chief Justice-elect Lemons is a dedicated jurist who exemplifies integrity, civility, and professionalism. He will lead the judiciary with distinction during the next four years. I look forward to working with him to effect a smooth transition.”