Judicial nominee will have support of Rockefeller, Manchin at hearing

By Kyla Asbury | Oct 3, 2011


WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Jay Rockefeller and Joe Manchin will introduce West Virginia attorney Stephanie Thacker at a U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Tuesday.

Thacker was nominated by President Barack Obama to serve as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit after Rockefeller recommended her nomination.

The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee hearing will be at 3 p.m. To view the webcast, go here.

A law professor who follows judicial nominations expects little problem for Thacker.

"Thacker looks like a well qualified, uncontroversial nominee who has strong support from the two home state senators, so she should win easy approval," said Carl Tobias, the Williams Professor at the University of Richmond College of Law. "One possible problem is timing, as the Senate will stop processing nominees next year as the election approaches.

"The Senate has been so slow in moving appointing court nominees that she may have a problem being confirmed before the process stops. I expect that the Senate Judiciary Committee will vote favorably on her in the next month, and then the question will be whether she can secure a floor vote."

Thacker, who grew up in Hamlin, currently is a partner at the law firm of Guthrie & Thomas in Charleston, where she specializes in complex litigation, environmental and toxic tort litigation, and criminal defense. She also teaches as an adjunct professor at the West Virginia University School of Law.

If approved, Thacker would replace Judge M. Blane Michael, who died earlier this year.

After graduating law school, Thacker spent two years in the Pittsburgh office of the law firm of Kirkpatrick & Lockhart. In 1992, after working briefly in the West Virginia Attorney General's Office, Thacker joined the law firm of King, Betts & Allen, which now is Guthrie & Thomas.

She rejoined the firm in 2006 after having served as a federal prosecutor for 12 years both in the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of West Virginia and in the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C.

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