CHARLESTON, W.Va. – House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Shott, R-Mercer, issued the following statement in response to Justice Robin Davis and Beth Walker and Chief Justice Margaret Workman’s announcements today:
“We thank Justice Davis for her decades of service on the bench, and for her retirement, which will now spare the state the cost of an impeachment trial against her. As we have said many times throughout these proceedings, this is a sad time for the state of West Virginia, and no one takes joy in this process.
“We also respect Chief Justice Workman’s and Justice Walker's decisions to remain on the Court while they present their case before the Senate.
“An important thing to remember: these articles of impeachment do not accuse the justices of failing in their role as jurists in deciding how to apply the Constitution to the cases before the Court. Rather, these articles charge the justices with a failure to fulfill their duty to properly oversee and administer the operations of the judicial branch of government. As Chief Justice Workman told the Legislature’s Post Audits Committee in April, ‘We were busy being judges and not perhaps paying enough attention to administrative things.’ That failure in administration has led to the articles of impeachment they now face today.
“When we began this proceeding, our committee was asked to look at the entire court and each justice individually, and we followed where the evidence led and tried to pursue it in a nonpartisan way.
“There were no pre-determined outcomes and nobody involved in the process had any idea where it would ultimately lead – and we certainly had no intention to use it as a tool to usurp the judicial branch of government.
“Unfortunately, as we pursued the evidence, it became clear that the state Supreme Court has been overcome by a culture of entitlement and cavalier indifference with regard to the spending of taxpayer money. This has resulted in the public’s loss of confidence in the state's highest court which must be repaired. I believe Justice Davis’s decision to resign, as well as the coming trials in the state Senate, will help move us toward the ultimate goal of restoring our citizens’ trust in the judiciary.”