D.C. Superior Court judges Judith Bartnoff, Zoe Bush, Rhonda Winston have been approved for automatic 15-year extensions to their term on the bench.
According to evaluations of the three judges filed by the D.C. Commission on Judicial Disabilities and Tenure, all three were found to be "well qualified," which is the highest approval rating the commission hands out. To be considered well qualified, a judge must show that his or her "work product, legal scholarship, dedication, efficiency, and demeanor are exceptional on the bench."
The evaluations for Bartnoff, Bush, and Winston are all highly complimentary.
The commission applauded Bartnoff for her handling of the infamous $54 million pants lawsuit, which was lampooned nationally and internationally as an example of frivolous litigation. Bartnoff ruled in favor of the owners of a dry cleaners who had been sued by former administrative law judge Roy Pearson. Pearson claimed that the cleaners had lost his pants and failed to meet their "satisfaction guaranteed" promise as posted on a sign in the store's window.
"Judge Bartnoff's skills as a trial judge, sensitivity to the litigants, and her ability to maintain the dignity of the court were indispensable in bringing this matter to its rightful conclusion," the seven-member commission wrote in Bartnoff's evaluation.
In her evaluation, the commission praised Bush, who is the deputy presiding judge of the Family Court, for her "energy, integrity, leadership skills, legal scholarship, and patient and evenhanded demeanor."
Winston, who serves as the deputy presiding judge of the Probate and Tax Division, was praised for her "laudatory" supervision of that division, which the commission says has "greatly helped a segment of our community often neglected and forgotten."
The commission says in each of their evaluations that the three judges received nothing but complimentary comments from both the bench and the bar.
Their new terms will begin on July 18.