The District of Columbia Judicial Nomination Commission has designated Judge Anna Blackburne-Rigsby to serve as chief judge of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals. Judge Blackburne-Rigsby will assume the office on March 18, 2017.

Judge Blackburne-Rigsby was the sole candidate for the position of chief judge. Having served on both the Superior Court of the District of Columbia and the Court of Appeals with distinction, she brings a wealth of experience and commitment to the position of chief judge. Judge Blackburne-Rigsby is widely respected by colleagues, Court staff, litigants, attorneys, public officials, and members of the local community. The Court and the residents of D.C. are fortunate that Judge Blackburne-Rigsby is willing to assume the additional duties and responsibilities of chief judge.

In making this designation, the Commission carefully considered the results of Judge Blackburne-Rigsby’s background investigation, interviews, public comments, and her statement of interest. The Commission also took into consideration her experience, qualifications, judicial temperament, interest and experience in Court administration, ethics, commitment to diversity, leadership skills, ability to advocate for and promote confidence in the Court system, and intellectual leadership. Finally, the Commission discussed with Judge Blackburne-Rigsby her vision for the Court, including plans for addressing the challenges facing the Court during the four-year term.

The Commission invited public comment on Judge Blackburne-Rigsby’s application for chief judge, and is pleased to note that it received numerous letters, evaluations, and calls from a diverse group of members of the bench, bar, public, and organizations. The Commission expresses its appreciation to all those who took the time to submit the many thoughtful and insightful comments that were received. The comments the Commission received were uniformly laudatory, praising Judge Blackburne-Rigsby’s leadership, intellect, and demeanor.

Judge Blackburne-Rigsby has served the citizens of the District of Columbia for much of her legal career. After graduating from Duke University, she received her Juris Doctor from Howard University School of Law, having served as lead articles editor of the Howard Law Journal and cocaptain for the Charles Hamilton Houston Moot Court Team. Judge Blackburne-Rigsby worked in private practice and served in the public sector before being appointed to Superior Court. She was both special counsel to the then-corporation counsel, and deputy corporation counsel in charge of the Family Services Division. Judge Blackburne-Rigsby was appointed as a magistrate judge on the Superior Court in 1995, and in 2000, was appointed by President William J. Clinton to the Superior Court. In 2006, President George W. Bush appointed Judge Blackburne-Rigsby to the Court of Appeals.

During her 21 years on the District of Columbia Courts, Judge Blackburne-Rigsby earned a reputation as a gracious and respected colleague and leader. She has served as acting chief judge of the Court of Appeals, and has mentored newly appointed judges on both Courts. Judge Blackburne-Rigsby has demonstrated a deep commitment to access to justice for all residents of the District of Columbia: She currently chairs the District of Columbia Courts’ Standing Committee on Fairness and Access and she also serves on the District of Columbia’s Access to Justice Commission.

Judge Blackburne-Rigsby teaches professional responsibility as an adjunct faculty member at the David A. Clarke School of Law of the University of the District of Columbia. She has also taught courses at Harvard Law School and for the District of Columbia Bar. An active leader and member of various legal, judicial, and community organizations, Judge Blackburne-Rigsby has served as president of the National Association of Women Judges, chair of the Washington Bar Association’s Judicial Council, and as a past chair and current member of the Board of Managerial Trustees for the International Association of Women Judges. Locally, she is supportive of youth organizations. Judge Blackburne-Rigsby has received numerous awards for her legal, judicial, and community service, including the Women’s Bar Association of the District of Columbia’s “2014 Star of the Bar Award.”

The Commission extends its sincere thanks to Chief Judge Eric Washington for his outstanding service during his unprecedented three terms as chief judge of the Court of Appeals and extends best wishes to him in his future endeavors. Chief Judge Washington’s service as an associate judge on the Superior Court and on the Court of Appeals set a sterling example of how judges can progress in their judicial careers. Among his many accomplishments on the Court of Appeals, Chief Judge Washington instituted live streaming of oral arguments and electronic accessibility to court dockets. His efforts resulted in significant reductions in the time that cases are pending on appeal. Chief Judge Washington also served as chair of the Joint Committee on Judicial Administration for the District of Columbia.

Contact the Commission’s executive director for more information at (202) 879-0478 or

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