M. President, I rise today to applaud the confirmation of Judge Gina Marie Groh to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia.
As then-Governor of West Virginia, I was honored to have the first female from the Eastern Panhandle – with the highest of credentials – Judge Groh, brought to my attention. I was so proud to appoint her to the 23rd judicial circuit in 2006, and she has served with great distinction ever since.
I am so pleased that my colleague and friend Senator Rockefeller saw the same qualities in Judge Groh that I did, and recommended her for this prestigious position on the federal bench. I thank him for his steadfast support for her nomination.
I just want to take this opportunity to reiterate some of Judge Gina Groh’s fine qualities, and the reasons I know she will be an exceptional judge on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia.
Judge Groh is a well-respected and recognized member of her community in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia, as I have known for many years.
In addition to being the first female circuit judge to serve in the Eastern Panhandle, Judge Groh is only the third female circuit court judge to be selected in West Virginia.
Prior to her circuit court appointment, Judge Groh served as Assistant Prosecuting Attorney at the Prosecuting Attorney’s Offices in Berkeley County and Jefferson County, West Virginia.
During her eight years as prosecutor, she established a strong record of protecting her fellow West Virginians by tirelessly pursuing convictions for such crimes as murder, robbery, rape, child abuse, drunk driving, and drug-related offenses.
Judge Groh has not only excelled professionally, but has also risen to become a true pillar of her community in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia.
She dedicates her time to countless charitable foundations and serves on a number of boards. For many years, she has worked for such programs as “Robes to School” and the “Meals with Love Ministry,” and has been very involved with her alma mater, Shepherd University, serving both with the Wellness Center and as a member of the Alumni Board.
Judge Groh graduated summa cum laude from Shepherd University in 1986, with a Bachelor of Science degree. She earned the university’s highest academic honor as a McMurran Scholar, in addition to serving as editor-in-chief of the newspaper and vice president of her graduating class. Judge Groh went on to earn her J.D. from West Virginia University’s College of Law in Morgantown, West Virginia.
I believe that Judge Groh’s experience, intellect, leadership, impartiality, and deep roots in the community make her a prudent choice for the vacancy in the Northern District of West Virginia. She exemplifies not only the qualities of a talented jurist, but also the high moral character and sense of justice necessary to make a great judge.
I know it has been exasperating for Judge Groh and her family, waiting for this confirmation, knowing that she came out of the Senate Judiciary Committee without any opposition. It has been very difficult that this body has gotten to the point of slowing down these nominations, and I believe very strongly that our system needs to change so we can get quality judges, such as Judge Gina Groh, on the bench as quickly as possible so they can work to protect the people of the United States.
M. President, again, I thank my colleagues for confirming an exemplary candidate for the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia, Judge Gina Marie Groh.