CHARLESTON -- Margaret L. Workman will be sworn in to her second term as a Justice of the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia during a ceremony at 2 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 29.

The ceremony will be in the Chamber of the Supreme Court of Appeals, on the third floor of the East Wing of the West Virginia Capitol. Senior Status Supreme Court Justice Thomas McHugh will administer the oath of office.

Workman was elected to a 12-year term on the Supreme Court of Appeals in November. She previously was elected to the Court in November 1988, when she became the first woman elected to the Court and the first woman elected to statewide office in West Virginia.

Workman was born in Charleston, the daughter of Mary Emma Thomas Workman and Frank Eugene Workman, a coal miner whose ancestors were among the first settlers of Boone County. Workman attended Kanawha County public schools and was the first in her family to go to college. She attended West Virginia University and the West Virginia University College of Law.

After she received her law degree in 1974, she served as assistant counsel to the majority of the U.S. Senate Public Works Committee, chaired by Sen. Jennings Randolph. She returned to West Virginia to work as a law clerk to the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit. In 1976, she served as an advance person in the Carter Presidential Campaign, and she later worked on the campaign staff of U.S. Senator Jay Rockefeller. She then opened her own law office in Charleston.

In 1981, Workman became the youngest circuit court judge in the state when then-Gov. Jay Rockefeller appointed her to the Kanawha Circuit Court. She ran for the unexpired term in 1982 and the full term in 1984. As a circuit judge, Workman inherited West Virginia's largest backlog of cases and during her tenure on the court reduced it to the lowest level in the judicial circuit. She held more jury trials than any other Circuit Judge in the state during the same period. She also visited every prison and secure juvenile correctional facility in West Virginia.

After her election to the Supreme Court in 1988, Workman served as Chief Justice in 1993 and 1997. In her capacity as Chief Justice, Workman fostered a close working relationship between the court system and domestic violence programs, and she visited many shelters to learn how the court system could be more effective in addressing domestic violence. She spent the night in the Raleigh County domestic violence shelter to learn first-hand what victims of domestic violence experienced.

Workman created the Task Force on Gender Fairness in the Courts and the Task Force on the Future of the Judiciary. She formed the Broadwater Committee, which made reforms in the court system's response to children's issues and spearheaded the development of rules governing child abuse and neglect cases.

Workman has been active in church and the community, and she is the mother of three young adults, Lindsay E. Gardner, Christopher W. Gardner, and Edward (Ted) Gardner.

More News