Five circuit court judges temporarily appointed to the state’s Supreme Court of Appeals dismissed two petitions Monday morning that challenged whether Gov. Jim Justice was allowed to appoint two prominent Republicans to fill vacancies on the court. The Governor appointed former House Speaker Tim Armstead and current U.S. Rep. Evan Jenkins to temporarily fill two vacancies on the court. The two men are also running in the November general election to finish out the rest of those two terms. “What you have to do here today couldn’t be more important, even with the short deadline. Our state is in a constitutional crisis,” said Teresa Toriseva, counsel for one of the petitioners.
“I am appearing before five circuit court judges who are now Supreme Court justices specially appointed, because every member of our court stands indicted, impeached or resigned. We have an absolute mess in our government. Nothing could be more important than what we’re doing here today.”
The first vacancy, which Armstead was appointed to fill, was created when Justice Menis Ketchum resigned in July and then immediately accepted a plea agreement in a federal criminal case. The second vacancy, which Jenkins was appointed to fill, was created when delegates impeached Justice Robin Davis and she resigned.
The court heard arguments for both petitions, although they are separate and seek slightly different results.