CHARLESTON – Kanawha Circuit Court Judge Joanna Tabit is running for a seat on the state Supreme Court.
Tabit filed and announced her campaign plans Aug. 6. She will be running for the opening created by the recent resignation of Justice Menis Ketchum.
“Now more than ever, our court needs a proven, experienced, qualified judge” said Tabit, who has been a judge since 2014. “I believe voters want to know why they should vote for me, not why they shouldn’t vote for the other candidates.
“I plan to meet as many people across the state as possible in hopes of earning their trust and their vote.”
Tabit said she plans to run an aggressive and positive campaign for Supreme Court, and she said West Virginians deserve Supreme Court justices who are fair, honest, and transparent.
“I’m going to work hard,” she said. “I work hard as a judge. I’m still going to work hard for the people of Kanawha County. But, I look forward to talking to people from across the state, earning their trust and, hopefully, earning their vote.”
Tabit has sat in as a temporary justice several times in recent years when justices recused themselves from cases. She said that has helped her see how it would be to work at the appellate level.
“I think my work here at the circuit court level and when I’ve been called upon by the Supreme Court speaks for itself,” she said. “I approach the cases the same way. I prepare. I read briefs. I read case law. I have an understanding and an appreciation of the case.
“Frankly, I think I would have more of an opportunity and more time to dive down deep into the research. It will be different. It will be different in that it’s appellate level, but as for preparation, it won’t change for me that much.”
Tabit, a Charleston native, received her undergraduate degree from Marshall University and her law degree from the West Virginia University College of Law. Her legal career spans more than 30 years and she is widely regarded an exceptional lawyer and judge. Before becoming a judge, Tabit was a law clerk to former Supreme Court Justice Thomas E. McHugh and as Deputy state Attorney General.
In 1992, Tabit joined Steptoe & Johnson, where she worked until she was appointed to the bench by former Gov. Earl Ray Tombling in October 2014.
“Since I worked at the Supreme Court for Justice McHugh, it’s always been a long-term goal of mine,” Tabit said of being a justice. “Justice McHugh is, I think, the standard by which all are measured. It was such a wonderful experience.
“And now, I love serving on the Kanawha County bench. But I would love the opportunity to serve the state.
“Now more than ever, we need a proven judge up there … someone who can restore the public trust in the court. It’s going to take some time, but I think our court can do just that. I’d be honored to be given the chance to do that.
“To me, it’s all about experience, trust, confidence and integrity.”