The Alexandria state legislative delegation has endorsed Jean Kelleher Niebauer of Alexandria as their candidate to replace retiring judge Stephen W. Rideout in Alexandria’s Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court.
Members of the delegation interviewed nine candidates who sought the position in Richmond last week. The Alexandria Bar Association had endorsed Barbara Beech for the position.
“I don’t recall a time when there has been so many highly qualified applicants for one judicial vacancy,” said Sen. Patricia S. “Patsy” Ticer (D-30). “We questioned all of the candidates and selected Ms. Niebauer. She will make an excellent judge.”
State Delegate Brian Moran (D-46) agreed with Ticer, saying, “Ms. Niebauer’s breadth of experience made her the best qualified candidate for the job.”
Niebauer has more than 20 years of legal experience. She has worked in large and small firms, was a sole practitioner and has managed legal aid services.
As director of the Alexandria office of Northern Virginia Legal Services and the Law Center for Children Project, she assisted thousands of clients, providing litigation, outreach, advice and counsel. She currently serves as director of the Alexandria Office of Human Rights where she manages a department with a six-member staff and a budget of $400,000 per year.
Niebauer received a rating of “highly recommended” from the Northern Virginia Black Attorneys Association and a “recommended” rating from the Alexandria Bar Association and the Virginia Women Attorneys Association.
THE NEXT STEP in the process is an interview with the House and Senate Courts of Justice Committees. These committees will hold a joint meeting on March 5. At that time, Alexandria’s legislative delegation will present Niebauer and Judge Nolan Dawkins as their candidates to fill the city’s two judicial vacancies. Dawkins has been nominated to fill retired judge Alfred Swersky’s spot on the Circuit Court bench. Republican members of the House will present their own candidate for the Circuit Court vacancy. They selected local attorney, Tim Battle, as their nominee.
Are the Republicans planning to hold separate interviews for the Juvenile and Domestic Relations vacancy? “I haven’t heard that they are going to do that,” Moran said. “Two Republican members sat in on our interviews last week so we are hoping that things proceed smoothly.”
Once the Courts of Justice committees interview candidates, nominations will be sent to the floors of each house. The final vote will be held during the last week of the General Assembly session.