Cynthia Kinser takes the oath of office during a ceremony Wednesday afternoon in Richmond

Cynthia Kinser takes the oath of office during a ceremony Wednesday afternoon in Richmond

Cynthia Kinser was formally sworn in Wednesday as Virginia's Chief Justice, the first woman to lead the state's highest court.

Family, friends and a who's who of state government and the Virginia judicial system attended the investiture ceremony in Richmond.

"I am deeply honored to be the 25th person to serve as the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Virginia," Kinser said in remarks during the ceremony.  "Many years ago, when I was admitted to practice law in this Commonwealth, I never imagined that I would be a member of this court, much less its Chief Justice."

Governor George Allen appointed Kinser to the Supreme Court in 1997.  Her colleagues elected her Chief Justice last August, and she took over February first. She succeeds Justice Leroy Hassell Sr., who died last week.

A native of far southwest Virginia, Kinser lives in Lee County.