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Elizabeth V. Hallanan


Judge Elizabeth Virginia Hallanan (January 10, 1925-June 8, 2004) was West Virginia’s first female federal court judge. She was born in Charleston, the daughter of Walter Simms and Imogene Burns Hallanan. She received her A.B. degree from Morris Harvey College (now the University of Charleston) and her law degree from West Virginia University. She was a member of the State Board of Education from 1955 to 1957. Hallanan was elected to the House of Delegates in 1956 and appointed assistant commissioner of public institutions by Governor Cecil Underwood in 1957. She was also the first woman judge of a court of record in West Virginia when she became judge of the first full-time juvenile court in Kanawha County in 1959. She was a member and chairman of the Public Service Commission from 1961 to 1975.

Appointed by President Ronald Reagan in 1983 as a federal judge, she took the oath of office on November 30, 1983, and was best known for her eight-year jurisdiction of the case involving major problems in the state’s child support program. Judge Hallanan was a member of the board of directors of Columbia Gas System, and of Charleston National Bank from 1975 until her resignation from both boards in 1983. She took senior status as a federal judge on December 1, 1996.

Written by Tom D. Miller