We Demand Transparency and Accountability in the Intermediate Court of Appeals

Tell Governor Jim Justice and State Supreme Court Chief Justice Evan Jenkins that West Virginia courts work for the people, not for corporate interests.

West Virginia saw $3.8 million in spending in 2018 when two seats were up for election on the state’s supreme court. 65% of that spending was by special interest groups. We don’t elect our judges to be politicians, trading favors and jockeying partisan interests. We elect our judges to be fair minded and impartial, relying on the West Virginia state constitution, not campaign donors, to guide their decisions.

West Virginia State Supreme Court Chief Justice Evan Jenkins, who has his own ties to corporate special interests, is now charged with establishing rules for the new West Virginia Intermediate Court of Appeals, but has provided little to no transparency into the process, arising concerns of improper or arbitrary rulemaking for the new court. It’s clear that big business is backing this court in the belief that it will pay dividends when the time comes to litigate business-related cases. This pay-for-influence system in West Virginia is unacceptable.

The court is set to open its doors in July of next year, but the selection of its judges could begin at any time. By law, the governor must appoint an initial bench of judges to the three-member court. The state’s Judicial Vacancy Advisory Commission has been tasked with coming up with a list of candidate judges by January 1, 2022 to help Gov. Justice with his selections. However, the governor is not obligated to choose any of the commission’s recommended candidates, leaving the door open to a potentially arbitrary selection process. We demand transparency in the system.