Justice Elizabeth B. Lacy, the longest serving member of the Supreme Court of Virginia, has told her colleagues that she will retire in August.
Lacy made the announcement Friday at the end of the court’s June argument week. She said she intends to continue to serve as a senior justice, participating on three-justice panels that decide which cases the court will hear and filling in when a justice decides tno to sit on a case.
Lacy, 62, became the first woman on the Supreme Court in November 1988, when Gov. Gerald L Baliles elevated her from the State Corporation Commission. Baliles’ predecessor, Charles S. Robb, had named her the first female member of the SCC.
She was in line to become the court’s first woman chief justice in 2004 upon the retirement of longtime Chief Justice Harry L. Carrico, but the General Assembly changed the method of selecting the chief justice the previous year. The chief justice now is chosen from among his or her colleagues, and the justices selected Justice Leroy Rountree Hassell Sr., the court’s only black member and the second senior member on the court in terms of service. The court recently elected him to a second four-year term as chief.
Lacy has been active in law-related organizations. She is a member of the advisory committee for judicial ethics at the American Judicature Society and is a former chairman of the American Bar Association’s Section of Legal Education and Admission to the Bar.