Challenge to Jenkins' Supreme Court Special Election Bid Dismissed, Appointments Will Stand

Sep 24, 2018

The West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals has dismissed cases seeking to challenge appointments to -- and a special election campaign for -- the high court. Arguments were heard Monday and an order was issued hours later in matters involving Congressman Evan Jenkins and former House Speaker Tim Armstead.

Two separate lawsuits sought to prevent the appointments of Jenkins and Armstead to the state Supreme Court. One of those suits also sought to prevent Jenkins from running in a November special election and argued that his lapsed law practice made his bid unconstitutional.

Acting Chief Justice Paul Farrell and four other temporarily appointed justices ruled “there is no clear right to the relief sought by the petitioners.”

In a statement following the decision, Jenkins called the suits “bogus.”

Chief Justice Margaret Workman and Justice Beth Walker were disqualified from the case, as they await impeachment trials.

Gov. Jim Justice appointed Jenkins and Armstead to the court last month, following the retirements of Justices Menis Ketchum Robin Davis. Those appointments are only temporary, as the remainder of the terms -- with the seat Jenkins will hold through 2024 and Armstead's through 2020 -- will be filled through a November special election.

The two justices stepped down from the bench amidst a nearly year-long scandal involving costly spending by the court and accusations of other administrative malfeasance.