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Martinsburg attorney says she could get spot on Supreme Court

September 01, 1999|By BRYN MICKLE

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - A Martinsburg attorney said Tuesday she is among those being considered to fill a vacancy on the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals.

Laura Rose said she found out last week that she is on West Virginia Gov. Cecil Underwood's list of candidates to replace Justice Margaret L. Workman, who resigned earlier this month.

Rose said she has been in contact with Underwood's office about the vacancy but declined comment on specifics of those conversations.

Governor's Office spokesman Rod Blackstone said he was unaware Rose was on any finalist list but said Underwood has been contacted by people who are hoping Rose will be considered for Workman's position.

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Underwood's office is still collecting information on potential appointments and no timeline has been set for a decision, Blackstone said.

Workman, the senior justice on the five-judge appeals court, was the first woman elected to statewide office in West Virginia when she won the spot on the bench in 1988.

Her Aug. 19 resignation for personal reasons took effect Tuesday, leaving the court one judge short when the new term begins Wednesday.

With Workman's 12-year term not set to expire until next year, Underwood must appoint someone to serve on the court until December 2000.

Rose, 41, said prior experience as a judge is not a prerequisite to serve on the state appeals court.

A 1984 graduate of West Virginia University College of Law, Rose has been a practicing attorney in Martinsburg since 1986.

"I consider it a tremendous honor just to be considered for this," she said.

Workman's departure leaves only one woman on the state Supreme Court of Appeals, and Rose said filling the position with a woman would provide balance to the court.

No one from the Eastern Panhandle has sat on the state's highest court, Rose said. An appointment from this area would also give added balance to the court, Rose said.

Already considering a run next year for the newly created position of Fourth Circuit judge in the Eastern Panhandle, Rose said she would be inclined to run for the Supreme Court of Appeals spot if she is Underwood's appointment.

Rose, a Democrat, failed in three successive bids for a seat in the state House of Delegates in 1994, 1996 and 1998.

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