The Senate confirmed former Department of Justice prosecutor Stephanie Thacker to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit on Monday, the first woman from West Virginia to serve on that court.
Thacker, confirmed by a 91-3 vote, was the second confirmation this year for a federal circuit court judge. Thacker's nomination was reported to the full Senate in November, with the unanimous support of the 18-member Senate Judiciary Committee.
She was one of 14 judges – 12 federal district court judge picks and two circuit court selections – that Senate leaders agreed to move to the floor for votes before May 7. That deal came after months of backlog and partisan recrimination stemming from President Barack Obama’s controversial recess appointments to federal boards.
A White House Press release at the time of her nomination said Thacker is currently a partner at the law firm of Guthrie & Thomas, located in Charleston, W.V., where she specializes in complex litigation, environmental and toxic tort litigation, and criminal defense. She also teaches as an adjunct professor at the West Virginia University College of Law.
Thacker earned her J.D. from that law school in 1990, and worked as an assistant United States attorney for the Southern District of West Virginia, where she participated in the first prosecution in the country under the Violence Against Women Act.
Thacker moved to Washington in 1999 to work as a trial attorney at DOJ's child exploitation and obscenity section. During her seven-year tenure in the section, she spent two years as the deputy chief of litigation and two years as principal deputy chief.