Former Virginia governor and then-U.S. Sen. George Allen, left, congratulates Virginia Supreme Court Chief Justice Cynthia D. Kinser, right, after she was sworn in at the Supreme Court Building in Richmond on Feb. 16, 2011. (Bob Brown/AP)

The first female chief justice of the Virginia Supreme Court plans to retire this year.

Justice Cynthia D. Kinser — first appointed to the state’s high court in 1997 and elected by her peers as chief justice in February 2011 — announced in a news release that she intends to step down from her post this year. Kristi S. Wright, a court spokeswoman, said Kinser wants to spend more time with her husband and travel.

Kinser, a Lee County, Va., native who received her law degree from the University of Virginia, was the first woman to be selected as chief justice of Virginia’s Supreme Court. She worked previously as a federal magistrate judge and as the commonwealth’s attorney for Lee County.

Get updates on your area delivered via e-mail.