Court of Appeals of West VirginiaWest Virginia's
House of Delegates has impeached all four of the state's Supreme Court
justices, who allegedly abused their authority and used taxpayer funds
for personal gain.
Fourteen articles of
impeachment were brought up against Chief Justice Margaret Workman and
Justices Allen Loughry, Robin Davis, and Elizabeth Walker of the
Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia. Eleven of those articles
were officially adopted last night and this morning, putting the
justices' fates in the hands of the state Senate. Davis has already retired from
her post. Another former justice, Menis Ketchum, resigned last
month and admitted to defrauding the state.
the four justices impeached this week, Loughry is probably in the most
trouble. According to the articles of impeachment, he wasted more than
$363,000 of taxpayer funds on office renovations, including a $32,000
couch. He's also accused of misusing government vehicles and computer
equipment, taking a desk from his office home with him, and lying to
the state's House Finance Committee when questioned about his alleged
is facing something worse than just removal from office. In June, he
was indicted on
multiple counts of fraud. His case is somewhat ironic, considering
that he's the author of
a 2006 book about political corruption in West Virginia.
meanwhile, allegedly spent $500,000 to renovate her office. Workman
and Walker were also accused of unnecessarily spending large amounts
of state funds to remodel their offices ($111,000 and $131,000,
respectively). But they were cleared, as those sums were considerably
less than what Loughry and Davis allegedly spent.
justices aren't just accused of overspending on themselves. The House
of Delegates also approved impeachment articles charging Loughry,
Workman, and Davis with overpaying senior status judges (who are
retired but still preside over some cases) for their work.
was the last of
the justices to be impeached. The House said that she, along with her
colleagues, failed "to provide or prepare reasonable and proper
supervisory oversight" of the Supreme Court of Appeals and its
is indeed a sad day and certainly no cause for anyone to celebrate,"
Del. John Shott (R–27), chairman of the state's House Judiciary
Committee, told The
New York Times. "But it is our duty, and I think the public
is also a significant timing issue at play with the impeachment
proceedings and subsequent state Senate hearings. As NPR notes,
West Virginia has until the end of today to set up a special election
to replace any departing justices. If that deadline isn't met, Gov.
Jim Justice, a Republican, will be able to appoint judges to fill the
In announcing her
retirement, Davis explained that she wanted West Virginians to "be
afforded their constitutional right to elect my successor in
November." State officials have already scheduled a special election
to replace Ketchum.