“How soon might you make a resignation or a statement as such?” asked a reporter.
We asked convicted Justice Allen Loughry if he would quit a month ago, and over the weekend he sent Governor Justice a letter doing just that. Tuesday scheduled impeachment hearing is now canceled.
“This now saves the state the headache of having to go through the impeachment process in the House, and then holding a trial here in the Senate for someone who’s already been convicted of multiple federal counts,” said State Sen. Ryan Weld, (R) Brooke – Majority Whip.
But critics say the evidence against Loughry was overwhelming a year ago, and he should have been forced out then, so that voters could pick his replacement.
“I don’t really believe it has taken him over a year to read the writing on the wall but now here we are – just days after an election – and he’s giving Governor Justice yet another chance to stack the court against working West Virginians,” said Del. Mike Pushkin, (D) Kanawha.
Technically there could still be impeachment trials for Chief Justice Margaret Workman and retired Justice Robin Davis, but many in the Capitol are doubtful.
“No, I don’t think we have time for that because it would have to be done by December first and I think that’s pretty… we’ve already wasted an enormous amount of time and money,” said Del. Barbara Evans Fleischauer, (D) Monongalia.
A multi-million dollar court spending scandal – where justices spent lavishly on their offices – prompted the whole investigation. But on Election Day, West Virginia voters gave the legislature control over the court spending.
“Amendment 2, that puts the budget of the Supreme Court under the purview of the Legislature, where it actually belonged in the first place,” said Del. Kelli Sobonya, (R) Cabell.
Voters also put former House Speaker Tim Armstead on the Supreme Court, along with former Congressman Evan Jenkins.
Governor Justice now gets to appoint Allen Loughry’s replacement on the state Supreme Court. That person will serve until the next judicial election which is in May of 2020.