Appointed: October 1, 2000
The District of Columbia Judicial Nomination Commission, at its meeting on September 6, 2000, selected Associate Judge Rufus King, III, age 58, to become the next Chief Judge of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. He will assume the office on October 1, 2000 following the retirement of Chief Judge Eugene N. Hamilton. Judge Hamilton will be completing seven years as Chief Judge of the Court.
Judge King was born in New Haven, Connecticut on June 16, 1942. He grew up in the Washington area, graduating from the Landon School in 1960. In 1966, Judge King received a bachelor of arts degree from Princeton University. While attending the Georgetown University Law Center, he clerked for Judge Austin L. Fickling of the District of Columbia Court for General Sessions, and for Judge William C. Pryor of the Court of General Sessions and its successor, the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. He received the J.D. Degree in 1971, and was admitted to the District of Columbia Bar that year. He was admitted to the Supreme Court Bar in 1975 and the Maryland State Bar in 1984.
Following his clerkships, he entered the private practice of law with the firm of Karr and Greensfelder (now Karr and McLain). There, he began a general litigation practice which included significant civil and criminal trial work in the Superior Court as well as in nearby state and federal courts. In 1973, he joined Rolinson, Long & Stein (now Sills & Brodsky) and from there joined his father Rufus King, Esquire, in practice. In 1977, they formed a partnership, King & King, which was later expanded to the firm King & Newmyer. In 1983, the firm merged with Berliner & Maloney where he was a partner and practiced until his appointment to the Superior Court of the District of Columbia in 1984.
Since his appointment, Judge King has served in all of the various Divisions of the Court, except Probate and Tax, including an extensive term, from 1990 until 1998, in the Civil Division. After serving for two years as Deputy Presiding Judge he was appointed Presiding Judge of the Civil Division from 1997 until 1998. His responsibilities as Presiding Judge included overseeing the day-to-day management of the Division. It also included chairing its management and policy body, the Civil Implementation Group and the Civil Rules Advisory Committee, which is responsible for recommending rules changes.
While on the Court, Judge King has chaired the Committee on Technology and Automation since its establishment in 1986 and continues to serve in that capacity. He also teaches the course on introduction to Computers at the National Judicial College in Reno, Nevada. Judge King also chaired the Superior Court Child Support Guideline Committee and the D.C. Domestic Violence Coordinating Council. He also assumed the responsibility of the Co-Chair of the Committee on Cameras in the Court and from 1988 until 1990, he served on the Court’s Training Committee. Moreover, he has chaired the Information Technology Advisory Committee of the D.C. Criminal Judge Coordinating Committee.
Judge King is a member of the American Bar Association, the Bar Association of the District of Columbia, the Washington Bar Association, the Society for Professionals in Dispute Resolution, the Barristers, and the American Law Institute, where he chairs the Judges’ Advisory Group on a project to develop Principles of the Law of Family Dissolution.
In choosing a new Chief Judge, the Commission considered seven extremely capable candidates. In addition to Judge King, the candidates were Associate Judges Geoffrey M. Alprin, Herbert B. Dixon, Jr., Steffan W. Graae, George W. Mitchell, Michael L. Rankin and Lee F. Satterfield. Each of the candidates has provided exceptional service to the Court, and the Commission found all of them well qualified. The Commission concluded, however, that Judge King was the person who should be selected to lead the Court for the next four years. He enjoys the respect of his colleagues at the Court, including the other judges, the hearing commissioners and the staff of the Court, many of whom have spoken of his nomination to various members of the Commission or submitted written letters on his behalf. Judge King was designated because of his 16 years of experience on the Court, his leadership in technological advancement, his administrative experience as a presiding judge, his collegiality and demeanor, his vision for the Court, his management style, which embraces inclusion and consultation, his ability to work with other agencies of government, and his commitment to improved fiscal management and the strengthening of staff morale at the Court.
Judge King lives in Cleveland Park with his wife, Barbara Stevens, and son, Alex. The investiture ceremony for Judge King will be held on September 29, 2000 at 4:00 p.m. in the Main Atrium of the D.C. Superior Court building at 500 Indiana Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C.