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Margaret Workman

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Margaret Workman
Current Court Information:
Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia
Title:   Justice
Salary:  $
Active:   2008-2020
Personal History
Born:   May 22, 1947
Party:   Democratic
Undergraduate:   West Virginia University, 1969
Law School:   West Virginia University College of Law, 1974

Margaret Workman is a justice on the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia. Workman left the court in 2000, after only one term.[1] She was re-elected to the court in November 2008 and her current term ends in 2020.

In 1988, Workman became the first woman in West Virginia history to be elected to the state's highest court. At the time of her election, she also became the first West Virginian woman to win any state-wide office.[2]


Workman received her A.B. from West Virginia University in 1969 and her J.D. from the West Virginia University College of Law in 1974.[3]


After graduating from law school, Workman served as assistant counsel to the majority of the United States Senate Public Works Committee. After that, she clerked for West Virginia's 13th Judicial Circuit. She later worked for Senator Jay Rockefeller's campaign. Next, she went into private practice, opening her own law office. She was appointed to the Kanawha County Circuit Court in 1981. In 1988, she was elected to the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia. After leaving the court in 2000, she returned to private practice. She was elected to the court again in 2008.[2]

Awards and associations

  • Florence Crittendon Award
  • Justitia Officium Award, West Virginia University College of Law
  • Honorary degree, University of Charleston
  • Honorary degree, West Virginia State College
  • Excellence in Criminal Justice Award, West Virginia Prosecuting Attorneys Association[4]

2008 election

In a three-way race for two seats, Workman received the second largest number of votes, winning 32.9%.

Candidate IncumbentSeatPartyPrimary %Election %
Menis Ketchum ApprovedA NoMaynard SeatDemocratic27%34.8%
Margaret Workman ApprovedA NoMaynard SeatDemocratic35.9%32.9%
Elizabeth Walker NoMaynard SeatRepublican100%32.2%
Elliott E. Maynard YesMaynard SeatDemocratic19.4%
Robert Bastress NoMaynard SeatDemocratic17.6%


Campaign contributions

For information about Workman's campaign contributions, see: Follow the Money: Margaret Workman.

Bluefield Daily Telegraph interviews candidates

On May 5, 2008, the Bluefield Daily Telegraph Editorial Board hosted a question and answer panel session with each West Virginia Supreme Court candidate. Below are the questions, with x responses.[6]

  • On judicial integrity
"You’ve got to keep your word and be fair and honest in all your dealings."
  • On Workers' Compensation cases
"I believe the Legislature ought to consider establishing a separate court to handle workers’ compensation cases." She also noted the Supreme Court may be the most “ill-equipped” to handle comp cases, as those hearing such cases should have a knowledge of medicine.
  • On priorities for judicial reform
The family court system is the most critical issue in West Virginia, Workman said, saying these judges are overworked and over-stressed. She said it also should not take months for families to get hearing dates on family court issues. Workman also cited judicial reform — specifically the process in which judges have to raise money to run for election — as a big problem. She said the state should consider non-partisan election of judges.

All information from this section comes from Bluefield Daily Telegraph, "Supreme Court candidates state their cases," May 3, 2008 (dead link), last accessed February 20, 2014.

Political ideology

See also: Political ideology of State Supreme Court Justices

In October 2012, political science professors Adam Bonica and Michael Woodruff of Stanford University attempted to determine the partisan ideology of state supreme court justices in their paper, State Supreme Court Ideology and 'New Style' Judicial Campaigns. A score above 0 indicated a more conservative leaning ideology while scores below 0 are more liberal. Workman received a Campaign finance score (CFscore) of -1.06, indicating a liberal ideological leaning. This is more liberal than the average CF score of -0.35 that justices received in West Virginia. The study is based on data from campaign contributions by judges themselves, the partisan leaning of contributors to the judges or, in the absence of elections, the ideology of the appointing body (governor or legislature). This study is not a definitive label of a justice, but an academic gauge of various factors.[7]

External links


West VirginiaSupreme Court of Appeals of West VirginiaWest Virginia Circuit CourtsWest Virginia Family CourtsWest Virginia Magistrate CourtsWest Virginia Municipal CourtsUnited States District Court for the Northern District of West VirginiaUnited States District Court for the Southern District of West VirginiaUnited States bankruptcy court, Northern District of West VirginiaUnited States bankruptcy court, Southern District of West VirginiaUnited States Court of Appeals for the Fourth CircuitWest Virginia countiesWest Virginia judicial newsWest Virginia judicial electionsJudicial selection in West VirginiaWestVirginiaTemplate.jpg