Patterico's Pontifications

8/10/2018

West Virginia Moves to Impeach Its Entire Supreme Court

Filed under: General — JVW @ 2:56 pm

[guest post by JVW]

Well now, this is the first I have heard of this: legislators in West Virginia are set to vote on articles of impeachment for their entire remaining state supreme court. Let’s turn to Fox News for the details:

The [state’s House Judiciary] [C]ommittee filed 14 articles of impeachment against the four judges on Tuesday, and they will now go to the full House of Delegates for a vote.

The articles allege the justices – Chief Justice Margaret Workman and Justices Allen Loughry, Robin Davis and Elizabeth Walker – have engaged in corruption, incompetency, neglect of duty, maladministration and certain high crimes.

The justices are also accused of “wasteful spending of taxpayer funds on lavish office renovations,” using public vehicles for personal matters and creating a plan to pay certain senior judges more than is lawful, the committee said.

[. . . ]

Aside from the articles of impeachment, Loughry was previously suspended for allegedly repeatedly lying about using his office for personal gain. He pleaded not guilty in federal court in June to multiple counts involving alleged fraud.

His trial is expected to begin in early October. If convicted, he faces up to 395 years in prison and $5.5 million in fines.

[. . . ]

Normally, West Virginia has five Supreme Court justices who are elected to serve a 12-year term, NPR reported.

However, Menis E. Ketchum resigned from the state Supreme Court in July after he was accused of alleged federal wire fraud. He pleaded guilty to a felony charge of defrauding the state and faces up to 20 years in prison, according to WSAZ-TV.

West Virginia Democrats are skeptical of this action, believing it has largely been undertaken in order to allow Republican Governor Jim Justice to replace the four jurists (the one who resigned will be replaced in the November election). Justices for the Supreme Court of Appeals in the Mountaineer State are elected to twelve-year terms. Justices Workman (term expires in 2020) and Davis (term expires in 2024) are both Democrats; Justice Loughry (term expires in 2024) is a Republican; and Justice Walker (term expires in 2028) was elected with no party preference, though she had previously run as a Republican. Former Justice Ketchum, whose term was set to expire in 2020, was elected as a Democrat.

The articles of impeachment are spelled out here. Loughry comes off the worst in them, as noted in the Fox article, while the other three are accused largely of wasting taxpayer money on their offices with Davis and Workman also standing accused of agreeing to overpay semi-retired judges on senior status. It appears that Walker is kind of caught up in the maelstrom, with the only complaint against her being wasting money on office renovations, which would seem like small potatoes in the state that celebrates the wasteful spending of Senator Robert Byrd. A local media source, WV MetroNews, reports that the sums spent for office renovations range from over $500,000 by Chief Justice Davis to a little over $110,000 by Justice Workman. It’s worth noting that the optics of this lavish spending look pretty bad in light of a two-week strike for higher wages by the state’s teachers this past spring.

The issue of these justices’ continued employment will be brought to the WV House chamber on Monday. On the one hand, I find impeachment and removal to be a very serious matter, especially when the legislative branch targets the judicial branch. On the other hand, we’ve had plenty of examples of judges who operate as if they are accountable to nothing other than their own whims and desires, so every once in a while it is probably good to let them know that they can’t just get away with everything all of the time.

– JVW

Ben Shapiro And Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: The Debate That Never Was Going To Happen (UPDATE ADDED)

Filed under: General — Dana @ 8:58 am

[guest post by Dana]

So, this happened, and I’m not even sure I really care but it seems to be a thing now. Let me just say, I think that there should be far more public debates happening between candidates in political races, at all levels, than is currently happening. More coming straight from the horse’s mouth, and less from the watered-down, invested media on both sides of the aisle. It also seems to me that a viable candidate worth their salt would jump at any opportunity to personally convince voters that they are indeed worth that voter’s nod.

With that, a young, very inexperienced, self-proclaimed Democratic Socialist who is running for Congress in a heavily-Democratic district in New York made the unfortunate claim a few weeks ago after a satirical video of her was posted, that “Republicans are so scared of me that they’re faking videos and presenting them as real on Facebook because they can’t deal with reality anymore”. In the following weeks, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez unfortunately also revealed her clear lack of understanding about economics, how government works and the specifics of her proposed policies as she made one absurd claim after another. So many of them, in fact, that even the Washington Post’s Glenn Kesssler was unable to ignore her eyebrow-raising claims.

As Ocasio-Cortez threw down the gauntlet and made her foolish claims, conservative pundit Ben Shapiro politely invited the new media darling of the left to appear on his show and have a “real conversation” about the issues:

Miss Ocasio-Cortez, I’m really excited that you’ve been elevated to that position and I would love to have a real conversation with you about the issues. You’ve noted that you think Republicans are afraid to debate you or talk to you or discuss the issues with you.

Not only am I eager to discuss the issues with you, I’m willing to offer $10,000 to your campaign, today, for you to come on our Sunday special. We can have an hour-long conversation about all the topics under the sun, really probe your belief system.

Fair enough, it would seem. But not to Ocasio-Cortez, who responded by embarrassingly asserting that his offer was akin to some sort of sexual harassment:

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Ugh. To make an assertion of sexism is not a well thought-out response, and is instead a painfully manipulative and calculated response that has the potential to help diminish viable claims of actual sexual harassment. This is not what women on either side of the aisle need. It’s a disingenuous political ploy that is easily seen through. Further, if Ocasio-Cortez really didn’t believe she owed Shapiro a response, then why on earth did she? Why not just ignore him? After all, he’s not a politician running for office, he’s not anyone who can further her cause. Why even acknowledge his existence? Someone needs to set this girl straight. She is shooting herself in the foot every time she opens her mouth. And as I have always maintained, the most unattractive look a woman can wear is the look of desperation. And to me, her painfully calculated response wreaks of it. Obviously, under the surface of embarrassing bravado, she and her handlers know that Shapiro would call each of her claims into account and that she would not be up to the task of facing such a direct challenge, let alone coherently defending her positions. This is the very definition of being out of one’s depth. Part of me feels sorry for her because she is clearly young and inexperienced, and not well informed. Yet she is an adult, who willingly stepped into the brutal ring of politics to become the future of the progressive Democratic party, and who happily grants interviews to friendly media outlets and appears regularly on cable television. So this is hers to own.

On a side note, while Ocasio-Cortez is certainly not obligated to debate anyone, if she compares Shapiro’s offer to debate with “catcalling,” what does say about conservative women who have asked her to debate them instead?

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)

UPDATE: I’m just going to leave this here:

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–Dana


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