CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The House of Delegates on Monday voted to impeach all four remaining West Virginia Supreme Court justices on 11 various articles of impeachment, covering a range of grounds from wasteful spending, maladministration, incompetency, neglect of duty, and potential criminal behavior.
Additionally, delegates approved a resolution to publicly reprimand and censure all four justices for the conduct covered by the articles of impeachment.
“This is one of the saddest days in my 34 years in the Legislature,” said House Speaker Pro Tempore John Overington, R-Berkeley, who presided over the impeachment proceedings. “It has become clear that our Supreme Court has breached the public trust and lost the confidence of our citizens. This somber action today is an essential step toward restoring the integrity of our state’s highest court.”
A group of five delegates, to be named in the coming days, will now take the impeachment articles to the state Senate, where Chief Justice Margaret Workman and Justices Allen Loughry, Robin Davis and Elizabeth Walker will stand trial on the articles of impeachment.
The articles of impeachment contain accusations ranging from the creation of a potentially unlawful scheme to pay retired senior status judges more than the law allows, wasteful spending of taxpayer funds on lavish office renovations, the use of public vehicles for personal gain, the illegal removal of historic property from the state Capitol, and the neglect of duty to create policies that prevent improper use of state resources and property.
While the four justices have been impeached by a majority of the House of Delegates, the state Constitution requires a two-thirds vote in the state Senate to remove any of the justices from office.
The timing and rules of procedure for any trial will be determined by the state Senate.
The House also voted 95-1 to approve House Resolution 203, which formally censured and publicly reprimanded the justices for their pattern of wasteful spending, misconduct and neglect of duty.
Following adoption of the articles of impeachment, the House voted to stand in recess until called back by the Speaker Pro Tempore.