If you are keeping your whiteboards up to date, prepare to scribble frantically as the maladministration really hits the fan this week on West Virginia’s Supreme Court situation.
I know, I know. You’re thinking I should be impeached by suggesting this could get any crazier. What I really mean is, this is the moment we’ve been waiting for.
Today kicks off by convening Justice Beth Walker’s impeachment trial in the state Senate. She faces one article alleging maladministration, and she’s acted almost excited to head to trial. Her lawyers wrote in a motion, “Justice Walker is ready, willing and eager to present her case before the Senate.”
Good to know. If I ever find myself in a constitutional crisis, I want the optimistic Beth Walker on my team, plus a water treatment kit, a solar power generator, an AM radio, lots of batteries and lots of canned goods.
Late this morning and across the Capitol, Evan Jenkins will be sworn in as a justice. He is available for this gig because he ran and did not win a primary race for U.S. Senate. Now he is resigning Congress after being appointed – at least for a while – to the state Supreme Court.
Former House Speaker Tim Armstead was sworn on to the court last week. But here’s the twist: The Supreme Court already bumped its September docket to October. Then it generally continued the oral arguments that had been scheduled for the first two days of this week.
Hopefully Jenkins and Armstead enjoy their robes because it’s not totally clear if the schedule will clear up this fall for them to actually hear any cases.
On Tuesday, the main event begins. A federal trial starts for Justice Allen Loughry, who faces two dozen charges. This all began with controversy that began last fall and then burned all year, so even picking a jury could take a while.
Against the backdrop of all of this are lawsuits by justices Margaret Workman and Robin Davis. Workman’s is a petition to the Supreme Court. Davis has gone to federal court. Each could throw a wrench into everything else.
The intent of all of this, at least at first, was to restore trust in the Supreme Court.
No week in this process is likely to be as revealing as this one. It shapes up as a historic, messy and busy five days for the West Virginia judicial system. Let’s hope we’ve made more sense of it all by Friday — or at least through this fall.
Happy Monday. Let’s do this thing.