The House Judiciary Committee has been investigating the West Virginia Supreme Court spending scandal for the past month.
While all justices are being investigated, the main focus is on suspended Justice Allen Loughry.
If he is impeached and removed from office by August 14th, names of candidates could be put on the November ballot.
If that date is missed, Governor Justice gets to appoint Loughry’s successor:
“We need to finish by August 14th. This needs to go back to the taxpayers. This needs to go back to the people to make the decision. Not Jim Justice and lobbyists and more politicians in a back room for an appointment. And I fear, that’s the intention here,” said Delegate Shawn Fluharty, (D-Ohio) who is also a Judiciary Committee member.
Republicans leaders insist there is still a lot of information to gather especially from the Judicial Investigations Commission, which had to be subpoenaed for additional documents.
The focus so far had been on detailed reports from legislative auditors, that showed a lot of expensive court spending for furniture, catered food and, and over 100 thousand dollars for picture framing. The chairman says there’s much more to look at before voting.
“To think that we can make our decision and call the House back into session and be ready to try a case that the Senate’s ready to hear by August 14th? It’s not practical, not realistic and I’d say almost impossible,”said Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Delegate John Shott Chairman (R-Mercer).
On Wednesday, Democrats submitted eight articles of impeachment against Justice Loughry, but it’s unlikely they will be considered very soon.
For now the impeachment investigation will continue to focus on the four remaining Justices, now that embattled Justice Menis Ketchum has chosen to retire.