Cleo Powell

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Cleo Powell
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Court Information:
Supreme Court of Virginia
Title:   Justice
Salary:  $189,000
Appointed by:   Virginia Legislature
Active:   2011-2023
Preceded by:   Leroy Hassell
Past post:   Judge, Virginia Court of Appeals
Past term:   2008-2011
Personal History
Undergraduate:   University of Virginia, 1979
Law School:   University of Virginia School of Law, 1982

Cleo Elaine Powell is a justice on the Virginia Supreme Court. She was elected by the Virginia Legislature in July 2011. Her term expires in 2023. Powell is the first black female to serve on the high court.[1]


Powell earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Virginia in 1979 and her Juris Doctor from University of Virginia School of Law in 1982.[2]


Powell began her legal career in private practice, then from 1986 to 1989, served as assistant attorney general for the state. She left the public sector to work as corporate counsel and director of Employee Services for Virginia Power. In 1993, joined the 12th Judicial Circuit, serving as a general district and circuit judge in Chesterfield County. Eight years later she was elected to the Virginia Court of Appeals in 2008. In 2011, the Virginia Legislature elected her to the Virginia Supreme Court.[3][4]

On each court Powell has served, she has been the first African-American female to do so.[5]

Awards and associations

  • Outstanding Women of Virginia, Ebony Magazine
  • Influential Women of Virginia, Lawyer's Weekly[5]

Political ideology

See also: Political ideology of State Supreme Court Justices

In October 2012, political science professors Adam Bonica and Michael Woodruff of Stanford University attempted to determine the partisan ideology of state supreme court justices in their paper, State Supreme Court Ideology and 'New Style' Judicial Campaigns. A score above 0 indicated a more conservative leaning ideology while scores below 0 are more liberal. Powell received a Campaign finance score (CFscore) of 0.3, indicating a conservative ideological leaning. This is more conservative than the average CF score of 0.11 that justices received in Virginia. The study is based on data from campaign contributions by judges themselves, the partisan leaning of contributors to the judges or, in the absence of elections, the ideology of the appointing body (governor or legislature). This study is not a definitive label of a justice, but an academic gauge of various factors.[6]

See also

External links


VirginiaVirginia Supreme CourtVirginia Court of AppealsVirginia Circuit CourtsVirginia District CourtsVirginia MagistratesUnited States District Court for the Eastern District of VirginiaUnited States District Court for the Western District of VirginiaUnited States bankruptcy court, Eastern District of VirginiaUnited States bankruptcy court, Western District of VirginiaUnited States Court of Appeals for the Fourth CircuitVirginia countiesVirginia judicial newsVirginia judicial electionsJudicial selection in VirginiaVirginiaTemplate.jpg