Governor Justice, former Acting Attorney General of the U.S. issue statement on residency lawsuit

West Virginia

This photo shows the West Virginia governor’s mansion on Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2019, in Charleston, W.Va. A persistent lawsuit is drawing on the state constitution in an effort to force Republican Gov. Jim Justice to live at the governor’s mansion. Democratic Del. Isaac Sponaugle filed the case and accuses Justice of violating a passage in the state Constitution that says the governor “shall reside at the seat of government.” The result has been a long legal back and forth centered on the definition of the word reside. A judge requested more documents from both sides after a brief court hearing Wednesday. (AP Photo/Anthony Izaguirre)

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WOWK) –Lawyers representing West Virginia Governor Jim Justice filed a brief with the West Virginia State Supreme Court regarding the residency lawsuit against the governor.

One of the lawyers who filed the brief was the former acting Attorney General of the United States, George Terwilliger.

“This matter should be squarely focused on a fair analysis of the law, not politics. The governor, not the court, has the discretion to carry out his official duties in a manner that best serves the people of West Virginia,” Terwilliger said. “While the governor is often on the road promoting the state and visiting West Virginians where they live and work, he is in Charleston with great frequency to conduct official business and meet with legislators. In addition, his staff and cabinet officials work there on a daily basis.”

The lawsuit over whether the governor should be required to live in the governor’s mansion in Charleston was first filed by Delegate Isaac Sponaugle of Pendleton in June of 2018, and then again in September of 2018 after the original petition was dismissed.

Justice said that while the Supreme Court reviews the filing, he remains focused on the work he was elected to do.

“When the people of West Virginia elected me to be their governor, it wasn’t because I was a lifelong politician. I’ve always been a business person. I promised to get out and promote our great state with everything I had. That’s exactly what I’ve done. When I walked in the door, we were dead flat bankrupt, but within two years, we set the all-time record for the greatest single-year of revenue growth in state history,” Justice said. “Our employment numbers have reached their highest levels in over a decade. Major businesses are moving and expanding in West Virginia and people are following suit because we have invested in tourism and changed our image to the outside world. There’s no question, we still have work to do. But I’m confident that we’re finally turning a corner and our best days are ahead.”

Justice has said several times that he does not live at the governor’s mansion in Charleston, but at his Lewisburg home in Greenbrier County. An attorney for Justice said last year that the governor regularly uses the mansion and complies with the constitution. 

The filing can be viewed on the Governor’s website

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