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Margaret Workman

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Margaret Workman
Chief Justice of the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals
In office
February 16, 2018 – December 31, 2018
Preceded byAllen Loughry
Succeeded byBeth Walker
In office
January 1, 2015 – December 31, 2015
Preceded byRobin Davis
Succeeded byMenis Ketchum
In office
January 1, 2011 – December 31, 2011
Preceded byRobin Davis
Succeeded byMenis Ketchum
In office
January 1, 1997 – December 31, 1997
Preceded byThomas McHugh
Succeeded byRobin Davis
In office
January 1, 1993 – December 31, 1993
Preceded byThomas McHugh
Succeeded byWilliam T. Brotherton Jr.
Justice of the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals
Assumed office
January 1, 2009
Preceded byLarry Starcher
In office
January 1, 1989 – August 31, 1999
Preceded byDarrell McGraw
Succeeded byGeorge Scott
Personal details
Born (1947-05-22) May 22, 1947 (age 73)
Charleston, West Virginia, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
EducationUniversity of Charleston
West Virginia University, Morgantown (BA, JD)

Margaret Lee Workman (born May 22, 1947) is a Justice of the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia.


Workman was born in Charleston, West Virginia to Mary Emma Thomas Workman and Frank Eugene Workman.[1] Her father was a coal miner, and his ancestors were some of the first settlers of Boone County, West Virginia.[2] She attended public schools in Kanawha County, West Virginia. She attended Morris Harvey College (now the University of Charleston) for one year and received her undergraduate degree from West Virginia University. She received a degree in law from West Virginia University College of Law. She was the first person in her family to attend college.[3] She has three children.[1][2]


As a senior in high school, Workman wrote a letter to West Virginia Governor Hulett Smith seeking employment, and she was hired to handle correspondence at the governor's office. This job led her to enroll in law school.[3] After graduating from West Virginia University College of Law, she worked in Washington, D.C., for U.S. Senator Jennings Randolph, where she drafted legislation and did legal research. In 1974, she served as assistant majority counsel to the United States Senate Public Works Committee.[1] She later returned to West Virginia to work with Professor (later Justice) Franklin D. Cleckley in his private practice of law. She became a law clerk for the 13th Judicial Circuit (Kanawha County) in West Virginia. In 1976, she served as an advance woman for Rosalynn Carter in the Jimmy Carter Presidential Campaign. Workman then opened her own law practice in Charleston, West Virginia.[3][2] In 1981, she was appointed a circuit judge by Governor Jay Rockefeller in Kanawha County, West Virginia, to fill a vacancy. She was subsequently elected in 1982.[1] She inherited the largest backlog of cases in West Virginia, and during her tenure, reduced said backlog to the lowest in the circuit. She also held more jury trials than any other circuit judge during her tenure.[2] She was elected to the Supreme Court in 1988 for a 12-year term, expiring in 2000, making her the first woman elected to this position and the first woman elected to statewide office in West Virginia.[1][4][3] She, however, resigned in 1999 with 18 months left on her term. She returned to her private law practice.[3]

She then entered the Democratic primary in 2002 and 2004 for West Virginia's 2nd congressional district seat, but lost both times. She then ran again for the court in 2008 and was elected. Workman previously served as Chief Justice in 1993, 1997, 2011, and 2015.[5]


Following a series of controversies involving excessive spending, the West Virginia House Judiciary Committee voted to recommend that Workman and the three remaining justices be impeached on August 7, 2018 "for maladministration, corruption, incompetency, neglect of duty, and certain high crimes and misdemeanors".[6] Based on the committee recommendation, Workman was impeached by the full West Virginia House of Delegates on August 13, 2018.[7]

Justice Workman's impeachment trial was scheduled to begin on October 15, 2018. However, on October 11, the Supreme Court of Appeals, temporarily reconstituted with five circuit court judges, issued an injunction blocking the impeachment trial, stating that the articles of impeachment presented by the House of Delegates against Workman violated the separation of powers doctrine and, therefore, the Senate has no jurisdiction to try Workman on the impeachment. In addition, Judge Paul Farrell, who is presiding over the trial as acting Chief Justice, stated that he would not preside over Justice Workman's trial while the injunction was in place. The Senate met on October 15 and adjourned with no final decision on how to proceed being made. Senate President Mitch Carmichael did announce after the session had adjourned that the Senate would ask the Supreme Court of Appeals to reconsider their decision.[8][9]

Awards and honors

In 1993, Workman received the West Virginia Prosecuting Attorneys Association’s Excellence in Criminal Justice Award. She has also received the Susan B. Anthony Award, the Celebrate Women Award for Government and Public Service Award, and the WVU College of Law Women’s Law Caucus Distinguished Women in the Law Award.[1]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f Michael, Kay. "Margaret Workman". e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia. e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia. Retrieved 5 February 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d "Justice Margaret L. Workman". West Virginia Judiciary. West Virginia Judiciary. Retrieved 5 February 2017.
  3. ^ a b c d e "Margaret Workman: The Trailblazer". WV Living. WV Living. Retrieved 5 February 2017.
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-02-15. Retrieved 2012-08-21.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ "Workman to Serve as W.Va. Supreme Court's Next Chief Justice". West Virginia Public Broadcasting. West Virginia Public Broadcasting. Retrieved 5 February 2017.
  6. ^ McElhinny, Brad (2018-08-07). "Delegates vote to impeach all four remaining WV Supreme Court justices". WV MetroNews. Retrieved 2018-08-10.
  7. ^ Levenson, Eric (9 August 2018). "A West Virginia House panel has voted to impeach the entire state Supreme Court". CNN. Retrieved 10 August 2018.
  8. ^ With Workman impeachment trial blocked, Senate debates next move.
  9. ^ West Virginia Supreme Court halts impeachment trial for Justice Workman.

External links

Legal offices
Preceded by
Darrell McGraw
Justice of the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals
Succeeded by
George Scott
Preceded by
Thomas McHugh
Chief Justice of the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals
Succeeded by
William T. Brotherton Jr.
Chief Justice of the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals
Succeeded by
Robin Davis
Preceded by
Larry Starcher
Justice of the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals
Preceded by
Robin Davis
Chief Justice of the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals
Succeeded by
Menis Ketchum
Chief Justice of the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals
Preceded by
Allen Loughry
Chief Justice of the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals
Succeeded by
Beth Walker
This page was last edited on 25 September 2019, at 20:03
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