CHARLESTON – Now that Irene Berger has been confirmed as a federal judge, Gov. Joe Manchin must narrow his list of seven potential replacements for her on the Kanawha Circuit Court.
The United State Senate on Tuesday unanimously confirmed Berger's appointment to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia.
Berger, 54, had been appointed by President Obama in July to replace Judge David Faber on the federal bench.
Last week, the Governor's Advisory Committee on Judicial Nominations presented its recommended list of candidates to Manchin.
The seven-person list of potential replacements includes five women. The list below includes reaction from five of the seven who replied to questions from The West Virginia Record:
* Kathy A. Brown, Kathy Brown Law PLLC: "I am honored and humbled to be among those selected for consideration to fill the seat to be vacated by Irene Berger. ... I commend the governor's office for starting this process early to lessen the impact of Judge Berger leaving the bench in Kanawha County. I believe whichever of us is selected will have an opportunity for a smooth transition thereby continuing to provide the outstanding public service that's been delivered by Judge Berger to the citizens of Kanawha County."
* Phyllis H. Carter, Chief Administrative Law Judge of the West Virginia Human Rights Commission
* David J. Cecil, Barth & Thompson: "I am pleased to be considered as one among a group of well qualified potentials. This is an important position requiring, I think, someone with the experience in both civil and criminal litigation, and someone who can offer impartial and learned judgment with dispatch and efficiency. I believe I can provide those attributes should I be selected."
* Katherine Louise Dooley, The Dooley Law Firm PLLC
* John G. Hackney Jr., solo practitioner and judge on the West Virginia State Court of Claims: "Obviously, I am very pleased and honored to be on this list. All of the people on the list are prominent and well-qualified. I look forward to the process. And whatever happens happens."
* Joanna I. Tabit, Steptoe & Johnson PLLC: "I'm honored to be among a field of such distinguished applicants. Judge Berger is an exceptional jurist and will leave big shoes to fill, and I'm up to the challenge."
* Carrie Webster, Bucci, Bailey & Javins LC and chairwoman of the House Judiciary Committee: "I am extremely proud to be one of the seven individuals that the judicial review committee panel recommended to Governor Manchin as a potential successor to Judge Berger's judicial seat. Her successor will step into the shoes of an elected judge who presides over an enormous caseload in the busiest judicial circuit in the state. Judge Berger has an extraordinary work ethic and is widely known and respected for her fair and impartial treatment of all. Therefore, I am honored by the distinguished committee's recognition and endorsement of me as one of the individuals whom they believe is qualified and who possesses those important personal qualities that are needed to fill the void that Judge Berger will leave behind."