CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Quoting from President Abraham Lincoln’s famous second inaugural speech, former Third District Congressman Evan Jenkins noted the process which got him to the West Virginia Supreme Court of appeals was an unusual one.
Lincoln’s inaugural address, made during the waning days of the Civil War came at a time of great uncertainty for the nation. Jenkins noted Lincoln made the speech not in celebration, but also not in despair. Jenkins said Lincoln used the “malice toward none and charity toward all..” address as an acknowledgement of the times. Jenkins’ address, after being sworn into the high court, was much the same tone.
“None of us are blind to the state of affairs of our great state of West Virginia,” he said. “Each of us has a great responsibility in this time of challenge to stand up for our Constitution.”
Jenkins was appointed to the seat formerly held by now retired Supreme Court Justice Robin Davis. He resigned his seat in the House of Representatives Sunday to take the position. Regardless of the job, Jenkins told supporters who gathered in the Supreme Court Chambers, he was dedicated to service.
“I cast 2,450 votes on the House Floor in the past four years,” he explained. “So many people ask about serving in Congress and whether it’s about going to Washington and casting votes. I always say, it’s all about serving people.”
Jenkins is a candidate for the remainder of the term in the November election. His appointment lasts through the end of the year. He said he takes the reins at a time of obvious tumult, but knows the task at hand will be to restore faith in the state’s judicial system.
“The thing I’m the most consoled about is it will be the voters who make the ultimate choices in every capacity in our state, including the court,” Jenkins explained. “I do not stand here with great celebration, and I encourage you not to feel any great despair. This is a process not a conclusion.”