District of Columbia Superior Court Judge John McCabe Jr., one of three new judges confirmed by the Senate in November, was sworn in on Friday.
McCabe, now an associate judge in the criminal division, was first appointed to Superior Court in 2002 as a magistrate judge in the Family Court division. In the year before his nomination, he handled in cases in the criminal division and was the court's deputy presiding magistrate judge.
During Friday's ceremony at the courthouse downtown, Superior Court Magistrate Judge Noel Johnson, a longtime colleague, said in remarks that McCabe brings “a great mind and a great heart to the bench.” Johnson said McCabe comes from a family that values community service, noting that he volunteers as a youth mentor outside of court.
Not all of McCabe’s pursuits are as noble, Johnson added. McCabe plays guitar for Deaf Dog and the Indictments, a rock-and-roll cover band that includes six Superior Court judges and one civilian player.
McCabe did not give any remarks.
Before joining the Superior Court bench, McCabe was an assistant U.S. attorney in Washington from 1998 to 2002. From 1990 to 1998, he was an assistant corporation counsel in the city’s Office of Corporation Counsel, serving at one point as the office’s first chief of the domestic violence section.
After earning his J.D. from Tulane University Law School, McCabe worked in private practice in Atlanta from 1986 until he moved to Washington in 1989. He also spent a year at the Legal Aid Society. In Atlanta, Johnson said that McCabe once hit a senior partner with an “errant swing” on the golf course, a sign that “John was not cut out for private practice.”
President Barack Obama nominated McCabe to Superior Court in July, along two other attorneys who were also confirmed in November – Judge Peter Krauthamer, the former deputy director of the D.C. Public Defender Service, and Judge Danya Dayson, a former associate at Washington’s O’Toole, Rothwell, Nassau & Steinbach.
National Law Journal photos by Zoe Tillman. Above, Superior Court Judge Milton Lee administers the oath to McCabe.