Decision to resign rather than be heard is puzzling
Many West Virginians are angry at the three remaining members of the state Supreme Court, we suspect. Allegations against them paint a collective picture of high court justices on a spending spree with taxpayers’ money, eager to circumvent state law and dismissive of ethics rules that guide others in government.
The three — Allen Loughry, Elizabeth Walker and Margaret Workman — were named in articles of impeachment approved by the House of Delegates.
If two-thirds of the state Senate’s members decide the justices are guilty of accusations in the impeachment documents, they may be removed from office.
Former Justice Robin Davis also was impeached. Rather than make a defense before the Senate, she chose to resign. Her announcement was full of accusations, claiming that a legislative plot was afoot. She called it “a disaster for the rule of law.”
It is not. If anything, it is an affirmation that government in West Virginia — all three branches — will be held to certain standards.
Her arrogance in maintaining, in effect, that the judiciary makes its own rules means Davis will not be missed.
And former Justice Menis Ketchum, who resigned earlier this summer, will not be missed either. He has agreed to plead guilty to federal criminal charges involving misuse of a state vehicle for personal trips.
What of the other three?
Loughry’s case is special. He, too, is charged with federal crimes — 25 of them at last count. Evidence against him makes it clear he should be removed from office. Even his colleagues on the court, who suspended him, seem to have been shocked at his misbehavior.
Both Walker and Workman have indicated they are eager to have the facts in their cases revealed before the state Senate.
Many Mountain State residents probably are familiar with the range of allegations against the justices. Comparatively little has been heard of their sides of the story, however.
They deserve to be heard — and they will, before the Senate. It may well be that what Walker and Workman have to say will not reflect well upon others in, or formerly in, state government.
Davis’ decision to avoid having the facts laid out in her case — to have justice done — is puzzling.
But for the other three, West Virginians, through our elected representatives in the Legislature, deserve to learn the whole story.