Morgan Riley via Wikimedia Commons

Virginia is set to have its second black chief justice in the Commonwealth’s 232 year history.

Bernard Goodwyn has served on the high court since 2008 and will assume his new leadership role on Jan. 1.

As the Richmond Free Press reports:

The late Justice Leroy R. Hassell Sr. became the court’s first Black chief justice on Feb. 1, 2003, and served in that capacity until days before his death on Feb. 9, 2011, at age 55.

Justice Goodwyn, 60, a former Chesapeake Circuit Court judge, will succeed current Chief Justice Donald W. Lemons, who is serving his second term in the top post.

The court announced Wednesday that Chief Justice Lemons also is retiring from the court on Dec. 31 and provided a copy of the two sentence resignation letter he sent to Gov. Ralph S. Northam.

Chief Justice Lemons’ departure comes 2½ years ahead of the expiration of his current 12-year term that would have ended in 2024.