Senate Joint Resolution No. 9


[Originating in the Committee on Finance;

reported March 1, 2000.]


Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the State of West Virginia, amending section two, article VIII thereof relating to the supreme court of appeals; providing for appointment of justices by and with the advice and consent of the senate; requiring governor to select justice from a list of names submitted by the judicial nominating commission; limiting number of justices from a congressional district; and requiring voters to review a justice's performance.

Resolved by the Legislature of West Virginia, two thirds of the members elected to each house agreeing thereto:
That the question of ratification or rejection of an amendment to the Constitution of the State of West Virginia be submitted to the voters of the State at the next general election to be held in the year two thousand, which proposed amendment is that section two, article VIII thereof, be amended to read as follows:
§2. Supreme court of appeals.

The supreme court of appeals shall consist of five justices. A majority of the justices of the court shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business.
The justices shall be elected by the voters of the state for a term of twelve years, unless sooner removed or retired as authorized in this article. The Legislature may prescribe by law whether the election of such justices is to be on a partisan or nonpartisan basis.
The justices shall be appointed by the governor for a term of eight years. When a vacancy occurs in the office of justice of the supreme court due to the expiration of a term of office, death, resignation, removal, retirement or for any other reason, the governor shall appoint, by and with the advice of the Senate, a justice to fill the vacancy. The governor shall call the Senate into session to consider the appointment of a justice of the supreme court. A justice appointed by the governor may not be seated until the Senate has consented to the justice's appointment.
The governor shall appoint a justice from a list of three nominees presented to him or her by the judicial nominating commission. No more than two justices from any congressional district may serve on the supreme court at the same time. The Legislature shall provide for the composition and duties of the judicial nominating commission by statute and shall set minimum qualifications for persons nominated to the position of justice of the supreme court.
The continuance in office of a justice is subject to the approval or rejection of the registered voters of the state at the next general election following the expiration of eight years from the date of the occurrence of the vacancy which he or she was appointed to fill. The approval or rejection by the registered voters shall be a vote for the justice's retention in office for an additional term of eight years or his or her removal.
Provision shall be made by rules of the supreme court of appeals for the selection of a member of the court to serve as chief justice thereof of the supreme court. If the chief justice is temporarily disqualified or unable to serve, one of the justices of the court designated in accordance with the rules of the court shall serve temporarily in his or her stead.
When any justice is temporarily disqualified or unable to serve, the chief justice may assign a judge of a circuit court or of an intermediate appellate court to serve from time to time in his or her stead.

Resolved further, That in accordance with the provisions of article eleven, chapter three of the code of West Virginia, one thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as amended, the proposed amendment is hereby numbered "Amendment No. 1" and designated as the "Supreme Court of Appeals Amendment" and the purpose of the proposed amendment is summarized as follows: "To provide for the merit selection of Justices of the Supreme Court of Appeals."