Impeachment for the Entire West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals
While in one breath I’m trying to recover from a judge ordering a plane to turn around in mid-flight, now we are witnessing the entire Supreme Court in the state of West Virginia being impeached.
West Virginia’s House Judiciary Committee adopted Articles of Impeachment against all four justices that sit on the state’s Supreme Court of Appeals. All of them!
The judges are Chief Justice Margaret Workman, Justice Allen Loughry, Justice Robin Davis and Justice Elizabeth Walker.
Now, since it is an appellate court, there should be an odd number of judges. Usually, there are five, but Justice Menis Ketchum resigned when impeachment proceedings were initiated against him. He was indicted for wire fraud. The other justices had Articles of Impeachment filed for maladministration, corruption, incompetency, neglect of duty and high crimes.
Justice Allen Loughry was already indicted by a grand jury on charges of fraud, witness tampering and lying to federal investigators. He even took an historic desk (Cass Gilbert) from the Capitol building and placed it inside his home. The best part: Loughry wrote a book on political corruption that was published in 2006.
All the Justices were also charged with “mal-administration” and overspending in remodeling their offices. More than $3.7 million which even includes a $32,000 sofa which came with $1,700 in pillows.
The catch is now that the Governor will be able to appoint all the justices required to fill the seats. Oddly enough, other than Ketchum, the rest of the Justices don’t seem intent on resigning.
The governor of West Virginia is Republican Jim Justice (what a name). The cutoff to appoint interim judges is August 14 because of the mid-term elections in November.
Per West Virginia’s law, then an election is held. But, since the four remaining justices aren’t resigning within a week, the Governor will get to appoint the judges instead and they will remain on the bench until the next election cycle which is May of 2020. With a Republican Governor, the judges will lean all the way right.
Alexander Hernandez, Esq.