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JNC Designates Chief Judge of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia

Friday, August 22, 2008

(Washington, DC) - The District of Columbia Judicial Nomination Commission (“Commission”), at its meeting on August 22, 2008, designated the Honorable Lee F. Satterfield to serve as Chief Judge of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia (“Court”). Judge Satterfield will assume the role of Chief Judge upon the retirement of Chief Judge Rufus G. King, III, on September 30, 2008.

The Commission considered two candidates for the position of Chief Judge: the Honorable Anita Josey-Herring and the Honorable Lee F. Satterfield. Both judges have served the Superior Court with distinction and bring a wealth of experience and commitment to the Court. The Court and the residents of the District of Columbia are fortunate that two such talented and committed individuals were willing to take on the additional duties and responsibilities of Chief Judge, and the Commission is honored by the opportunity to consider these two gifted judges for the position of Chief Judge.

In making this designation, the Commission carefully considered each candidate’s statement of interest, experience, qualifications, leadership abilities, intellectual abilities, administrative skills, ability to promote confidence in the Court, and their visions for the Court, including plans for addressing the challenges facing the Court in the next four years. In addition, the Commission is pleased to note that it received an unprecedented number of letters and calls from members of the bench, bar, and public regarding the candidates for the Chief Judge position. The number and diversity of people and organizations that contacted the Commission, and the time that so many took to submit thoughtful and insightful comments, is a testament to the two candidates, the Court, and the process. The Commission would like to express its sincere appreciation to both candidates and to all those who participated in this important process.

Judge Satterfield is a native of Washington, DC and has served the citizens of the District of Columbia for much of his legal career. After receiving his Juris Doctor degree from the George Washington University National Law Center in 1983, he clerked on the Superior Court of the District of Columbia for the Honorable Paul R. Webber, III. Following his clerkship, Judge Satterfield served as an Assistant United States Attorney in the appellate, grand jury, misdemeanor and felony sections. From 1988 to 1991, Judge Satterfield was in private practice, before returning to the United States Department of Justice. In 1992, Judge Satterfield was nominated by President George H. W. Bush and appointed to the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. In 2007, after completing his first fifteen-year term as an Associate Judge, Judge Satterfield was reappointed to a second term by the Commission on Judicial Disabilities and Tenure.

During his sixteen years on the Superior Court, Judge Satterfield has served in the Criminal Division, Family Division, Domestic Violence Unit and Family Court, and he has been the Presiding Judge of both the Family Court and the Domestic Violence Unit. As the first Presiding Judge of the newly-created Family Court, Judge Satterfield demonstrated exceptional leadership abilities during challenging times when the Court was being scrutinized by Congress, the public, the media and the community. Judge Satterfield has also served on dozens of committees and has held a number of leadership positions in and outside of the Court, including the Strategic Planning Leadership Committee and the Joint Committee on Judicial Administration.

Judge Satterfield serves on the Board of Trustees of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, the nation’s oldest judicial membership organization, with over 2,000 members, and serves on the steering committee of the National Judicial Institute on Domestic Violence. Since 1991, Judge Satterfield has been an adjunct faculty member at The Catholic University Columbus School of Law and he has also taught at the George Washington University National Law Center and Emory University School of Law.

Judge Satterfield is widely respected by colleagues, court staff, litigants, attorneys, public officials and other members of the community, and he has been recognized and lauded for his leadership, intellect, temperament, integrity, commitment, and vision. The Commission is confident that the Court and the citizens of the District of Columbia will be well-served by Judge Satterfield’s extensive experience and exceptional abilities.

Pursuant to DC Code § 1-204.31(b), the District of Columbia Judicial Nomination Commission designates the Chief Judges of the Superior Court and the Court of Appeals. The members of the Commission are the Honorable Emmet G. Sullivan, Chair, Brooksley E. Born, William Lucy, Natalie O. Ludaway, Karl A. Racine, Rev. Morris L. Shearin, Sr., and Helgi C. Walker.