CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Seventeen people have applied to fill the vacancy on the state Supreme Court including several who were candidates in the most recent Supreme Court election.


Raleigh County Circuit Judge John Hutchison

The person chosen will replace convicted and resigned Justice Allen Loughry. The person chosen by Gov. Jim Justice will serve until the May 2020 election when Loughry’s unexpired term will be up for election. The candidate elected in that race will serve until December 2024, the end of Loughry’s original 12-year term.

Members of the state Judicial Vacancy Advisory Commission will interview the 17 applicants on Dec. 11 and then forward names of several of the applicants to Justice.

The applicant list includes Kanawha County Circuit Judge Joanna Tabit who received the third most votes in the November election when two separate seats were up for election. Longtime Raleigh County Circuit Judge John Hutchison, a close friend of Gov. Justice, is also on the list. Hutchison delivered the oath of office when Justice was sworn-in as governor.

Also on the list is Putnam County Prosecutor Mark Sorsaia and several other well-known attorneys. Nine of the 17 applicants are from Charleston.

The full list:

Robert Carlton, Williamson
Gregory Chiartas, Charleston
Bradley Crouser, Charleston
James Douglas, Charleston
Lee Feinberg, Charleston
Robert Frank, Lewisburg
John Hutchison, Beckley
Brenden Long, Scott Depot
Louis Palmer, Charleston
Jim Rowe, Lewisburg
William Schwartz, Charleston
Mark Sorsaia, Hurricane
Joanna Tabit, Charleston
Harry Taylor, Charleston
Joseph Wallace, Elkins
Rusty Webb, Charleston
Bill Wooton, Beckley

Loughry’s resignation created a third vacancy on the Court in recent months. Gov. Justice appointed former House Speaker Tim Armstead and Congressman Evan Jenkins to replace former Justices Menis Ketchum and Robin Davis who both stepped down in connection with the Court’s spending controversy. Ketchum pleaded guilty to a federal fraud charge.. Both Armstead and Jenkins were elected by wide margins in the Nov. 6 General Election. Armstead is filling a two-year term and Jenkins a six-year term.

Three of the Court’s five seats will now be up for vote in the May 2020 election including the Loughry seat, the seat currently held by Armstead and the seat currently held by Chief Justice Margaret Workman.