Supreme Court

Ouster of justices sends message

Just two of the five people who were West Virginia Supreme Court justices less than four months ago remain on the bench. Three justices have resigned in a scandal over corruption, mismanagement and waste of taxpayers’ money.

It may be time to call it a day, as we in the Mountain State say sometimes.

Former Justice Menis Ketchum quit and pleaded guilty to federal criminal charges. Former Justice Robin Davis resigned after being impeached. Former Justice Allen Loughry, after being convicted of 11 criminal counts, finally stepped down on Monday.

Justice Elizabeth Walker was impeached but acquitted by the state Senate.

Justice Margaret Workman, also impeached, did not go to trial in the Senate because the court, with five temporary justices sitting on it, ruled it would be unconstitutional for her trial to proceed.

There seems to be little sentiment in favor of the House of Delegates attempting to resolve the constitutional question by moving to impeach Workman again. Unlike Ketchum and Loughry, she has not been accused of criminal wrongdoing.

It has been suggested another impeachment proceeding might be a good thing simply in order to settle questions of proper procedure, should such action ever be needed in the future.

Surely there is some other way of ensuring a future impeachment is handled properly.

Forcing three of the five justices out certainly would seem to have sent the message that West Virginians will not tolerate wrongdoing and waste by the court. It may be time to drop the Workman case and move on.

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