Committee Recommends Impeachment for WV Supreme Court; Ben Queen Votes "YES"

By Connect Clarksburg Staff | August 11, 2018

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Making West Virginia political history, the House Judiciary Committee has voted in favor of impeachment articles for all four remaining members of the state Supreme Court.

{Delegate Ben Queen was the only member of the Impeachment Committee from Harrison County.  On Tuesday, Queen voted "YES" on impeaching all four remaining members of the Supreme Court.}

Only former Justice Menis Ketchum was spared because he announced his resignation the day before impeachment proceedings were set to begin.

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John Shott

“It’s really a sad day for the state, and nobody should be celebrating,” House Judiciary Chairman John Shott, R-Mercer, said Tuesday at the end of a nine-hour day of impeachment consideration.

“I think the overwhelming evidence we saw was there was an atmosphere of entitlement and cavalier disregard for the expenditure of taxpayer money. It’s unfortunate the entire court seems to be infected by that atmosphere. We felt like we had no choice but to recommend the impeachment for each justice.”

Impeachment of any kind is a rarity. The last West Virginia political figure to be impeached was Treasurer A. James Manchin, who resigned before being tried in the Senate in 1989.

The actions taken by the House Judiciary Committee follow months of controversies, mostly focusing on spending decisions by the Supreme Court.

Now the full House of Delegates will convene at 10 a.m. Monday to weigh impeachment of justices Allen Loughry, Margaret Workman, Robin Davis and Beth Walker.

Any articles the full House approves would then go to the state Senate for trial.

If all four remaining justices wind up being removed from office, Gov. Jim Justice would appoint new members of the court, likely until 2020.

Justice commented during a separate press conference about the state budget: “It’s a black eye that we don’t need. I’m sure we’ll work our way through it.”

The House Judiciary Committee wound up approving 14 impeachment articles, rejecting two others.

One of the articles was a catch-all wrapping up almost every controversy the Supreme Court has faced over the past year.

That article accuses all four remaining justices of failing to establish policies about remodeling state offices, travel budgets, computers for home use and framing of personal items.

And the justices each face allegations that they spent thousands too much on the renovations of their own offices: $500,278.23 for Justice Davis, $363,013.43 for Justice Loughry, $130,654.55 for Justice Walker and $111,035.19 for Justice Workman.

To read more of Brad McElhinny's story included the individual Articles of Impeachment against each member of the Supreme Court,  CLICK HERE.

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