Warren McGraw was born in Wyoming County, West Virginia, United States, on May 10, 1939. After graduating from the Wyoming County public school system, McGraw attended Morris Harvey College (now the University of Charleston) where he earned his Artium Baccalaureus in 1960. McGraw then attended West Virginia University Graduate School and later Wake Forest University law school where he earned his Juris Doctor in 1963. In 1961, McGraw married Peggy Shufflebarger. They have 3 children, Warren Randolph McGraw II, Judge Helen Suzanne McGraw of the Raleigh County Family Court, and Rebecca McGraw, M.D. The McGraws also have six grandchildren.
McGraw began his political career in 1968 when he was elected to the West Virginia House of Delegates, serving there until 1970. He was then elected to the West Virginia Senate in 1972, serving three consecutive terms. During his third term, McGraw was the Elected 44th Senate President. In 1984, he decided to run for Governor and in the Democratic primary challenged then-Speaker of the House Clyde M. See, State Attorney General Chauncey Browning, and State Highway Commissioner Dusty Rhodes. McGraw edged out Browning for second place but lost the primary to See.
After his service in the West Virginia Legislature, McGraw returned to Wyoming County where he was elected to the Board of Education in 1986 and later as Prosecuting Attorney in 1996. In 1998 McGraw successfully campaigned for an unexpired six-year term in the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia. Although he was elected for a term ending in the year 2004, he filed as a candidate in the year 2000 for the term ending in 2012. Charleston lawyer George Carenbauer, a former state Democratic chairman, challenged the filing in the state Supreme Court, and in a 4-1 decision, the Court held that McGraw was ineligible to run for a 12-year term in the year 2000 when he was already a member of the Court until the year 2004, and referred to his action as "audacious conduct." Carenbauer v. Hechler, 542 S.E.2d 405 (W.Va. 2000). http://www.courtswv.gov/supreme-court/docs/Spring2000/27458.htm Under the Court's rotation scheme, he served as the Chief Justice during the 2001 term.
McGraw was defeated for reelection by Brent Benjamin in 2004. Afterwards, McGraw filed a lawsuit against Charleston attorney George Carenbauer and West Virginia Media Holdings over a campaign ad which McGraw claimed portrayed his speech during the 2004 United Mine Workers of America's Labor Day rally in Racine, West Virginia in an unfair light. The speech, sometimes referred to as the "Scream at Racine" or the "Scream from Racine", was featured in several campaign ads run by both the West Virginia Republican Party and the Benjamin campaign, and played a large role in McGraw's reelection defeat. However, the suit was dismissed in July 2005.
- "Justice Warren McGraw: About Warren". McGraw 4 Justice. 2004. Retrieved August 20, 2009.
- "Justice Warren McGraw". McGraw 4 Justice. 2004. Retrieved August 20, 2009.
- Dickerson, Chris (May 12, 2006). "McGraw suit 'must be' referring to Racine speech". West Virginia Record. Retrieved August 20, 2009.
- "McGraw's Lawsuit Tossed Out". WTRF. July 25, 2005. Retrieved August 20, 2009.
William T. Brotherton, Jr.
|President of the West Virginia Senate
Dan R. Tonkovich
John F. McCuskey
|Justice for the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia