The Independent Commission on Judicial Reform, formed by Gov. Joe Manchin to study the West Virginia judicial system, held a public hearing at the West Virginia University College of Law Monday (Sept. 21) with former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor joining as honorary chair.

The panel met from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Marlyn E. Lugar Courtroom at the WVU Law Center in Morgantown.

“We are truly honored that Justice Sandra Day O’Connor has accepted my invitation to serve on this commission and to attend the public hearing in Morgantown,” Gov. Joe Manchin said. “Justice O’Connor’s wealth of judicial knowledge and extensive experience will greatly assist the commission with its research and findings.”

OConnor16x9 Other distinguished legal experts serving on the commission include: Carte Goodwin, chair, Manchin’s former general counsel and currently an attorney at Goodwin & Goodwin; Joyce McConnell, dean of West Virginia College of Law; Sandra Chapman, president of the West Virginia State Bar; Thomas Heywood, Esq.; Marvin Masters, Esq.; Mary McQueen, president of the National Center for State Courts; Andy MacQueen, Esq.; John McCuskey, Esq.; and Caprice Roberts, associate dean of the West Virginia University College of Law.

“We deeply appreciate being asked by Gov. Joe Manchin to host this public hearing,” says West Virginia College of Law Dean Joyce E. McConnell. “We also welcome Justice O’Connor and thank her for her participation in these hearings as her insight will be critical in examining the issue of judicial selection in West Virginia.”

A webcast of the hearing can be viewed at

The Commission is charged to study the need for judicial reforms, such as, but not limited to: adopting a merit-based system of judicial selection, enacting judicial campaign finance reforms or reporting requirements, creating an intermediate court of appeals, proposing constitutional amendments or establishing a court of chancery.

The topic for Monday’s meeting was different methods of selecting the judiciary. A previous meeting in Huntington covered judicial campaign finance and a meeting set for Sept. 29 in Charleston will review the court’s structure.

The commission’s findings will be presented to the governor by Nov. 15. More details to follow on the commission’s Web site,


MEDIA NOTE: A media section, along with a mult box, will be available for coverage of the hearing. Contact Brian Caudill (304-293-7439,

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