Ten of the longest names

John O'Brien Aug. 6, 2010, 2:00am

While researching this article on silica claims, we came across the word "Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis," which refers to a lung disease caused by exposure to silica fibers and is the longest word in the dictionary. This week, Legal Newsline looks at the 10 state supreme court justices with the longest names, and no hyphens or middle names allowed. Memo to Kentucky's Bill Cunningham (right): If you want to crack this list, simply switch to "William." Kentucky native Lisabeth Abramson was first appointed to the Kentucky Supreme Court in 2007 then was elected in 2008. She is one of nine justices with 16 letters in their names. Those not pictured are Nebraska's Michael McCormack, Louisiana's Catherine Kimball and Massachusetts' Margaret Marshall. Ohio Supreme Court Justice Terrence O'Donnell joined the court in 2003 when Gov. Robert Taft II appointed him. Voters selected him in a special election a year later. He has passed his 16 letters on a generation, naming one of his sons Terrence. Missouri Supreme Court Justice Richard Teitelman, a Philadelphia native, was diagnosed as being legally blind when he was 13 years old. He was appointed to the court in 2002 by Gov. Bob Holden and was retained in an election in 2004. He received his law degree from a school with five words -- Washington University in St. Louis. Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Wallace Jefferson was appointed by Gov. Rick Perry in 2001 and has won a pair of elections since then. Jefferson has three sons, though none of them can match the 16 letters in his name. Judith Meierhenry is the first female on the South Dakota Supreme Court, having been appointed in 2002. Her 10-letter last name is matched by fellow South Dakota Justice David Gilbertson. Longtime North Dakota Supreme Court Justice Gerald VandeWalle has been on the court since 1978 and has been chief justice since 1993. VandeWalle's 16-letter name and 32-year service, though, is outdone in state history by former Justice Adolph Christianson, who has an 18-letter name and served from 1915-1954. Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Christopher Dietzen breaks the string of 16-letter names, topping them by one. Prior to taking office in 2008, he worked in a city with a sizeable name of its own -- Bloomington, Minnesota. Wisconsin Supreme Court Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson has been a member of the court since 1976, spending the last 14 years as chief justice. She has been married to the man who gave her the long last name, Seymour, for a long time -- 54 years. Abrahamson's name is outdone by her colleague on the Wisconsin Supreme Court, Justice Patience Roggensack. Considering the Wisconsin court also features justices Michael Gableman and Annette Ziegler, it has the highest letter-per-name average of any high court. Ninety-nine letters are used for the names of the seven justices Finally, Patricia Breckenridge is the only state supreme court justice with a 20-letter name. She joined the Missouri Supreme Court in 2007. She and husband Bryan live in Nevada, Mo., and were the Rotary International of Nevada's Co-Citizens of the Year in 1989. With Breckenridge and Teitelman, the Missouri court has 92 letters in the names of its seven justices.

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