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|Current Court Information:|
|United States District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia|
|Appointed by:||Barack Obama|
|Active:||11/09/2009 - Present|
|Preceded by:||David Faber|
|Past post:||West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals, Circuit Judge of Kanawha County|
|Past term:||1994 - 2009|
|Home State:||Richlands, VA|
|Bachelors:||West Virginia U., B.A., 1976|
|Law School:||West Virginia U. Law, J.D., 1979|
Irene Cornelia Berger is a federal judge for the United States District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia. She was nominated by President Obama in 2009. She is the first black judge to serve on either of the West Virginia federal courts. 
Early life and education
After law school, Berger was a staff attorney for the Legal Aid Society of Greater Charleston. During her tenure with the organization, Berger represented low income clients in matters involving domestic, consumer, and landlord-tenant disputes.  In 1982, Berger became an assistant prosecuting attorney for Kanawha County. During her twelve year tenure, Berger was known by colleagues as a tough prosecutor evidenced by the 40 convictions she earned from offenses ranging to sexual assault to murder. In 1994, Berger left her post in Kanawha County to join the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of West Virginia. Berger served briefly in that role until later in 1994 when she was nominated to a West Virgina state judgeship. 
Berger was a judge for the Kanawha County Circuit Court in West Virginia due to her 1994 appointment from Democratic Governor Caperton. In 2009, she was confirmed to the federal bench. She was the first black woman to serve on the Kanawha County Circuit Court. 
Southern District of West Virginia
On the recommendation of Senators Robert Byrd and Jay Rockefeller, Berger was nominated by President Barack Obama on July 8, 2009 to replace David Faber on the Southern District of West Virginia.  Berger appeared in a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on September 9, 2009,  which approved her with unanimous consent.  After questioning, Ranking Republican Committee Member Senator Jeff Sessions praised her qualifications,  and Democratic Senator Jay Rockefeller called her "absolutely superb". . Berger also received an unanimous well-qualified rating from the American Bar Association.
On October 1, 2009, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted unanimously to approve her nomination to a full Senate vote. Twenty six days later on October 27, 2009, Judge Berger was confirmed by the US Senate on a unopposed 96-0-4 vote. 
The notable case section on this page needs to be reformatted.
Massey protester case
Judge Berger ruled on February 2, 2010, a temporary ban against people who protest at properties where Massey Energy is located in West Virginia. The order comes after the energy company sued individuals over protesting on the company's site repeatedly in getting mountain top removal mining stopped. The protests have been happening for over a year in which environmental advocates have tried to persuade the Obama Administration to ban mountain top removal mining.
On February 26, 2010, Judge Berger issued a separate injunction against Climate Ground Zero and other allied groups to stop protesting on the company's property. The second injunction came after there were still sit-ins on trees and also protesters chaining themselves to company equipment.
Unconstitutional redistricting map
| United States District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia|
*Jefferson County Commission et al v. Tennant et al 2:11-cv-00989
|On January 3, 2012, a federal three-judge panel from the United States District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia ruled West Virginia's congressional redistricting plan unconstitutional due its unequal distribution of population among the state’s three districts. The court gave the West Virginia Legislature until January 17 to come up with a new map -- otherwise, the panel will redraw the map. The state plans to appeal the ruling to the US Supreme Court and is seeking a stay on the decision. If granted, the stay could give legislators more time to revise their maps even if the panel's ruling is not overturned on appeal.|
In a 1991 interview with the Charleston Daily Mail, Berger talked about her support for judicial empathy. Despite her reputation as a tough prosecutor, she talked about her empathetic side as a prosecutor and as a judge. She stated: "People want to see people punished, and rightfully they should be. But on the other hand, you see people who didn't have a family support group and may be your age and they're going to the pen. You remember they are still human beings." 
Another basis for her belief on judicial empathy may be the personal tragedies that Berger faced in her early life. She endured losing a brother to an industrial accident, another brother who shot and killed his wife and served a prison term, and a sister and a nephew who were killed in a fire in Philadelphia. 
- Official White House press release announcing Berger's nomination
- Official statement on Berger's nomination from West Virginia US Senator Jay Rockefeller
- Official statement on Berger's nomination from West Virginia US Senator Robert C. Byrd
- Judge Berger's Biography from the Federal Judicial Center
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Charleston Gazette "U.S. Senate confirms Berger as federal judge", October 27, 2009
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Judge Berger's Biography from the Federal Judicial Center.
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Associated Press "Kanawha Circuit Judge Irene Berger nominated for federal judge position" July 8, 2009
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 "The White House" President Obama nominates Irene Berger and Roberto Lange to serve on the Federal District Court Bench, July 8, 2009
- ↑ West Virginia Record "Manchin has list of seven to replace Berger", October 23, 2009
- ↑ Associated Press "U.S. Senate committee backs Berger", October 2, 2009
- ↑ "Senate Judiciary Considers Berger for Federal Bench" The State Journal, September 17, 2009
- ↑ WSAZ "U.S. Senate Confirms Irene Berger for New Federal Judge", October 27, 2009
- ↑ CleanSkies "Judge Bans Protesters at Massey West Virginia Properties", January 2, 2010
- ↑ CBS 59 "Federal Judge Grants Injunction on Coal Protests", February 27, 2010
|Federal judicial offices|
|Southern District of West Virginia
|Magistrate judges||Clarke VanDervort • Cheryl Eifert • Dwane Tinsley •|
|Former Article III judges||
Benjamin Franklin Keller • George Warwick McClintic • Harry Watkins • Sidney Christie • Charles Haden II • William Kidd • John Field • Kenneth Hall • Elizabeth Hallanan • Dennis Knapp • Ben Moore • Robert Staker •
|Former Chief judges|