Supreme Court won’t intervene over West Virginia justices

WEST VIRGINIA (AP) – The U.S. Supreme Court is leaving in place a decision that derailed the impeachment trials of three West Virginia Supreme Court justices.

The court said Monday it won’t review a case where five acting justices of West Virginia’s highest court ruled that prosecuting then-state Supreme Court Chief Justice Margaret Workman in the state Senate would violate the state constitution’s separation of powers clause. That ruling was later applied to also halt impeachment proceedings against two other justices who have since left the court: Robin Davis and Allen Loughry.

West Virginia House lawmakers impeached the justices in 2018 over questions involving lavish office renovations that evolved into accusations of corruption, incompetence, and neglect of duty. But the acting justices’ ruling halted state Senate impeachment trials. Workman remains on the court.

Justice Margaret Workman released the following statement: I am gratified that the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld my position by refusing to hear the appeal of the dismissal of the impeachment articles filed against me. With this order from the nation’s highest court, we can finally rest knowing that the impeachment proceeding that consumed so much time and energy last year is over.

In my almost 30 years as a judge and justice, I have always been committed to serving while upholding the highest ethical standards. I plan to complete the term to which the people of West Virginia elected me in the same manner that I have during all my years of judicial service – with fairness and integrity while upholding the rule of law. I am very grateful for the help of my counsel, Marc Williams, and his team of excellent lawyers at Nelson Mullins.

Senate President Mitch Carmichael, R-Jackson released the following statement: “Although we are deeply disappointed that the U.S. Supreme Court has declined to hear our appeal, we always knew it was a long shot due to the Supreme Court taking up so few cases per year. On average, about 7,000 cases are petitioned for certiorari each year, and only 100 to 150 petitions are granted. Though we will not get our day before the nation’s highest court, we will continue to look for ways to right the wrong we believe the appointed state Supreme Court committed during the impeachment process.”

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