West Virginia Moves to Impeach Entire Supreme Court

I don’t know enough about this to have an opinion, but it sure is interesting. I think it fair to say that buying a $32,000 suede couch is not an appropriate use of taxpayer funds. I like to see checks and balances being exercised.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — West Virginia’s unprecedented impeachment process for four Supreme Court justices gets started this week with initial appearances before the state Senate.

The justices or their lawyers have been ordered to appear at a pre-trial conference Tuesday before the Senate, which will serve as the jury. Dates for the actual impeachment trials have not been set.

The House of Delegates voted last month to impeach justices Robin Davis, Allen Loughry, Beth Walker and Margaret Workman. Davis retired hours afterward but remains a target of impeachment articles.

A conviction at trial could mean a justice would be disqualified from holding public office.

The impeachments stemmed from questions involving renovations to the justices’ offices. Those questions evolved into accusations of corruption, incompetence and neglect of duty. Democratic lawmakers, who hold minorities in the House and Senate, have characterized the impeachments as an unprecedented power grab by the GOP.

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A legislative audit report released last week said the Supreme Court’s chief justices skirted state law concerning pay for senior status judges who are no longer on full-time duty. State law prohibits those judges from making more than active circuit judges. The audit said that to circumvent the law, Supreme Court officials began converting senior status judges from employees to independent contractors.

The audit tallied Supreme Court office renovations between 2012 and 2016 at $3.4 million, including $1.9 million for the five justices’ chambers. Auditors say invoices for renovations to the court’s law library and administrative offices were not made available.

The report also showed the court spent a $29 million budget surplus between fiscal years 2012 and 2015, whittling it to $333,514. The money was used for renovations; pay increases for judges, justices and magistrates; computer services; and attorney legal services, among other expenditures.

Individual office spending by the justices for renovations included $503,000 by Davis, $367,000 by Loughry, $131,000 by Walker and $113,000 by Workman.

Among Loughry’s expenditures were a $32,000 blue suede leather couch in his office and $7,500 for a wooden floor state map with individually outlined counties. Davis spent $56,500 for glass countertops and $28,000 for rugs.

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