The vacancy was created when Justice Allen Loughry resigned earlier this month following his criminal convictions. Two other justices resigned this year and the governor appointed former House Speaker Tim Armstead and former Congressman Evan Jenkins to those spots, which they later won on Election Day. Now many are saying Governor Justice should appoint Kanawha County Circuit Judge Joanna Tabit, who was the third highest vote getter on Election Day.
“I think the Governor made a large mistake by appointing career politicians to the court. However the people have put those two back in there, so with third appointment we have to find someone that the people chose. And I think mostly likely the best choice would be the third highest vote getter in the election,” said Del. Andrew Robinson, (D) Kanawha.
“She’s a sitting judge now. She has plenty of experience in the courtroom. And like I said, we had an election a few weeks ago. She came in third,” said Del. Mike Pushkin, (D) Kanawha.
The Judicial Vacancy Advisory Committee will conduct candidate interviews on December 11th and then submit a list of recommended justices to the governor. But he is under no obligation to pick who they recommend for the Supreme Court. Republicans have made it clear what they are looking for.
“We want, what I believe everyone should want, is someone who interprets the law, and the Constitution as it was written and as it was intended. We don’t want someone who has a judicial activist mentality. In other words they’re going to try to create law from the court,” said State Sen. Mitch Carmichael, (R) Jackson – Senate President, this past weekend on Inside West Virginia Politics.
Whomever is appointed will serve on the Supreme Court until at least the May 2020 election.
“Anyone hoping for an appointment to the state Supreme Court must get their application and letters of recommendation to the Governor’s office by Monday December 3rd,” said Mark Curtis, 13 News Chief Political Reporter.