There have been significant developments in recent days regarding the Articles of Impeachment brought against the four remaining justices of the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia.
On August 9, 2018, Chief Justice Workman issued an Administrative Order temporarily appointing the Honorable Paul T. Ferrell, Judge of the Sixth Judicial Circuit, to serve on the Supreme Court during Justice Loughry's suspension. Judge Ferrell's assignment commenced immediately and will continue until the Chief Justice determines such assistance is no longer necessary. Justice Workman's Order further notes that should the Articles of Impeachment brought forth by the House Judiciary Committee proceed to the Senate for trial, Judge Ferrell will serve as the Acting Chief Justice for any impeachment proceedings.
On Monday, August 13, the House of Delegates convened for a 14-hour floor session and voted to adopt 11 separate Articles of Impeachment put forth by the Judiciary Committee.
Following the votes in the House of Delegates, on August 14, Justice Robin Davis announced her immediate retirement from the Supreme Court, effective August 13, 2018. Justice Davis's retirement means the unexpired six years of her term (until 2024) also will be on the ballot in the November 2018 general election. As previously reported
, Justice Ketchum's seat also will be on the ballot in the November 2018 general election. Prior to that election, Justice Davis's position on the Supreme Court could be filled by an appointee of the Governor of West Virginia, or Chief Justice Workman could fill the seat through use of temporary appointment powers.
The remaining articles of impeachment approved by the House of Delegates against Justices Loughry, Walker, and Workman will go to the state Senate for consideration and trial. State Senate President Mitch Carmichael stated today he will convene the Senate on Monday, August 20, to adopt rules for any impeachment trials. Senator Carmichael further indicated he believes each Article would be addressed separately, the justices would be tried individually, and the earliest he expected trials to begin would be mid-September. Impeachment of any justice would require a 2/3 vote in the Senate for conviction and potential removal from office.
The Supreme Court's fall term is scheduled to begin on September 5, 2018.