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Chafin is sworn in to Supreme Court

Photo by Del. Todd Pillion

Photo by Del. Todd Pillion

Southwest Virginia’s newest voice on the Virginia Supreme Court bench took the oath of office Sept. 6 in Abingdon.

Teresa M. Chafin, of Russell County, moved from the state Court of Appeals to the Supreme Court, taking the place of just-retired Justice Elizabeth A. McClanahan, a Grundy native, who spoke at the investiture ceremony at the Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center.

A Lebanon native, Chafin received her undergraduate degree from Emory & Henry College and her JD from the University of Richmond. After private practice in Lebanon, Chafin was elected to the juvenile and domestic relations bench in 2002. She was elected to circuit court in 2005 and sat primarily in Tazewell County. She served as chief judge of the 29th Circuit in 2008 and 2009.

In 2012, Chafin was elected to the Court of Appeals. Her elevation to the Supreme Court by the 2019 General Assembly drew attention to the role of her brother, state Sen. Ben Chafin, who sat with colleagues for a committee interview but abstained from the vote on the Senate floor.

McClanahan is the new dean of the Appalachian School of Law in Grundy.

Speakers at Chafin’s investiture reportedly included Dels. Terry Kilgore and Todd Pillion, Sen. Bill Carrico and the Rev. Tim Brown.