CHARLESTON -- West Virginia Sens. Jay Rockefeller and Joe Manchin are asking President Barack Obama to nominate Circuit Court Judge Gina Marie Groh for a federal judgeship.
Groh, currently a judge on the 23rd Judicial Circuit, which includes Berkeley, Jefferson and Morgan counties, would fill the seat of U.S. District Judge W. Craig Broadwater.
Broadwater was a state judge for 13 years and a federal judge for 10 years before he died in 2006.
There already are plans in the works to rename a U.S. Courthouse in the state's eastern panhandle region for the longtime judge.
Rockefeller, along with U.S. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, introduced federal legislation in both houses last month that would rename the federal building and U.S. Courthouse in Martinsburg in his honor.
Groh has been a judge for four years, worked as a litigation associate at firms in Martinsburg and Washington, D.C., for nine years and served as an assistant prosecuting attorney in Berkeley and Jefferson counties for eight years. She has a bachelor's degree from Shepherd University and a law degree from West Virginia University.
"I'm humbled and honored all at the same time by Sen. Rockefeller's recommendation," Groh told the Herald Mail in a telephone interview Wednesday night. "He was very thorough and very thoughtful in making sure I was a good fit for the federal bench, and he also made sure it was a good fit for me and my family."
Groh, who lives in Charles Town, could become the first Eastern Panhandle resident elevated to a federal judgeship.
"Judge Groh is a proven leader in West Virginia's legal community and is dedicated to upholding the principles of justice and fairness, which we expect from all members of our federal judiciary," Rockefeller said in a prepared statement to the Charleston Gazette.
"Judge Groh has a wide range of judicial and legal experience that spans her 21-year legal career."
Manchin also praised Groh.
"I was extremely proud to appoint Judge Groh to the circuit court when I was governor of West Virginia, and I join Sen. Rockefeller in recommending her for the federal bench," Manchin said in a statement to the Gazette.
"As a former prosecutor, she's fair-minded, has impeccable standards and will be an excellent addition to the court."
If Groh is nominated by Obama, her nomination would have to be approved by the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee and the full Senate.
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