Justice Thomas E. McHugh was elected to the Supreme Court in 2010 to a two-year term. He began sitting by Designation as Senior Status Justice on the Supreme Court on September 1, 2008, when the Chief Justice appointed him to serve during the illness of Justice Joseph Albright, and he was reappointed on January 1, 2009, for the same purpose. After the death of Justice Albright on March 20, 2009, Chief Justice Brent Benjamin appointed him to serve in Justice Albright’s position until the Governor named a replacement. On April 8, 2009, Governor Joe Manchin III appointed Justice McHugh to the Supreme Court to serve until the 2010 general election. At that time he was elected to complete Justice Albright’s twelve-year term, which ends in 2012.
Justice McHugh previously was elected to the Court in 1980 and was re-elected to a second twelve-year term in 1992. He served as Chief Justice in 1984, 1988, 1992, 1995 and 1996. He retired on December 31, 1997. After his retirement, he practiced law in the Charleston law firm of Allen Guthrie McHugh and Thomas, where he was of counsel.
Justice McHugh was born in Charleston on March 26, 1936, and is a 1958 graduate of West Virginia University and a Distinguished Military Graduate, and he is a 1964 graduate of West Virginia University College of Law. In law school he was a member of the Order of Coif, a legal honorary, and was associate editor of the West Virginia Law Review.
He served as a First Lieutenant in the United States Army from 1958 to 1961.
He was a law clerk to West Virginia Supreme Court Justice Harlan Calhoun from 1966 to 1968. He was elected Judge in the Circuit Court of Kanawha County in 1974, re-elected in 1976, and served as chief circuit judge from 1974 to 1980.
Justice McHugh was President of the West Virginia Judicial Association in 1981-1982. He is a former member of the Judicial Review Board of West Virginia and was a member of the Visiting Committee of the West Virginia University College of Law from 1991 to 1995, serving as Chairman of that Committee from 1994 to 1995. He was a member of the Dean Search Committee of the West Virginia University College of Law from 1991 to 1992 and from 1997 to 1998.
He is a member of the Mountain Honorary and Beta Theta Pi social fraternity at West Virginia University, and is a recipient of the Distinguished West Virginian Award, the 1996 Special Award of Achievement in the Administration of Justice from The West Virginia State Bar, the 1996 Public Service Award from the Mountain State Bar Association, a 1998 Certification of Completion of Mediation Training from Duke University Private Adjudication Center, the 1998 Outstanding Achievement Award from the Kanawha County Bar Association, the 1998 Justicia Officium Award from the West Virginia University College of Law, and The National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution Silver Good Citizenship Medal award. Justice McHugh is a West Virginia Bar Foundation Fellow and Emeritus Member, Judge John A. Field, Jr., American Inns of Court. He is Director Emeritus of the Children’s Home Society of West Virginia. He is Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Thomas Memorial Hospital and a member of the West Virginia Center for Civic Life Board of Directors. He is a member of the Fourth Circuit Judicial Conference.
He and his wife, Judy, have four children – Karen, Cindy, James, and John – seven grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.