“The Justice administration is a mess. It’s plagued by scandals, mismanagement of public monies and poor performance,” Delegate Isaac Sponaugle (D-Pendleton) stated. “The main reason for the mess is Governor Jim Justice’s chronic absenteeism from the Capitol,” he said.
Section 1 of Article VII of the West Virginia Constitution provides that the Governor shall reside at the seat of government during his term of office, and keep there the public records, books and papers pertaining to his office.
“Jim Justice swore an oath to support the constitution of the State of West Virginia and to faithfully discharge the duties of Governor to the best of his skill and judgment,” Delegate Sponaugle stated. “The constitution mandates that you work regularly at the seat of government. Governor Justice has declared that he will only follow the constitution when it is convenient to him,” he said.
“If it takes a lawsuit to make the Governor follow constitutional work requirements, then so be it,” stated Delegate Sponaugle. “I’m one of many plaintiffs that have had to take Jim Justice to court to keep his word,” he said.
A Writ of Mandamus is a civil action. It seeks a court order to get a government official to fulfill their official mandatory duty. It is an extraordinary remedy, used in exceptional circumstances of public importance.
“The rule of law, hard work and dedication are West Virginian values. Likewise, law breaking, self-entitlement and chronic absenteeism are not,” Delegate Sponaugle said. “As the leader of the state, Jim Justice should reevaluate his values. How can the Governor ask West Virginians to follow the constitution when he won’t do it himself?”