Noting there is more than enough evidence to impeach W. Va. Supreme Court Justice Allen Loughry, the Democratic members of the House Judiciary Committee have created proposed Articles of Impeachment and demand that the Republican leadership stop dawdling around and bring this to a vote.
“Enough is enough,” said Barbara Evans Fleischauer, Minority Chair of the Judiciary Committee. “We have been in Special Session looking at this for over five weeks and the evidence we have seen on Justice Loughry just confirms what was already found in three prior investigations. Former Justice Ketchum has not only resigned, but he's agreed to plead guilty to federal charges with the United States Attorney. Despite a 23 count indictment, Justice Loughry doesn’t appear willing to do the same.”
“Clearly, the Judiciary Committee should pass these articles of impeachment against Justice Loughry now and recommend the Senate impeach him,” Fleischauer added. “Although remaining Justices have been cleared of ethics charges, if the committee chooses to continue looking at their conduct, nothing prevents us from doing so.”
“This whole process has become very political and the judicial branch should always operate immune from political shenanigans,” stated Shawn Fluharty, House Judiciary Committee Minority Vice-Chair. “We have eight Articles of Impeachment -- any one is sufficient for Justice Loughry’s removal. The power of choosing our next Supreme Court Justice should belong to the people of West Virginia, not politicians and lobbyists in a back room. Any attempt to take power away from the people and pack the court wreaks of the very corruption we are trying to stop."
Delegate Mike Pushkin introduced House Resolution 4 during the Regular Session on February 5th of this year to initiate an impeachment inquiry on Justice Loughry. “Here we are 6 months after I filed my resolution, more than a month after we convened this impeachment proceeding, and nothing has happened,” Pushkin said. “Our concern always was that the House Republican Leadership would drag their feet, and try to pack the court with appointed Justices, rather than having a Court composed of Justices voted on by our citizens.” It turns out our fears were justified.”
Based on the evidence presented during the several days of testimony, the Legislative audits presented several months ago, the Judicial Investigation Commission report that led to Loughry’s suspension, Ketchum’s resignation, and the federal grand jury indictments, the Democrats of the House Judiciary Committee have prepared a resolution to enact Articles of Impeachment against Justice Loughry immediately.
All members of the Democratic Judiciary Caucus urge that it be considered as soon as possible.