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Impeached Justice of the West Virginia Supreme Court Sues Lawmakers

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By William Vogeler, Esq. on October 02, 2018 12:20 PM

When a former state supreme court justice sues the governor and the entire legislature, you know something has to be wrong.

Actually, everything looked wrong when the West Virginia legislature voted to impeach the whole supreme court. One member of the court has pleaded guilty and another is facing charges in the government-spending scandal.

Robin Davis, however, is not going down without a fight. She says she did nothing wrong, sort of.

"Remodel Gate"

For Davis, the problems started with remodeling. She and other judges spent more than one million taxpayer dollars remodeling their judicial chambers; Davis allegedly went whole Martha Stewart with $500,000.

There were other problems, like the use of the state car. Justice Menis Ketchum resigned and pleaded guilty to driving the car on golf trips, while Justice Allen Loughry faces multiple charges for misusing government resources.

All told, the justices allegedly spent more than $3 million crossing the line between business and personal use of government property. That's basically how the whole court got impeached.

Hoping to avoid an impeachment trial, Davis resigned. But the legislature is moving forward, so she is pushing back.

"Nakedly Partisan"

Davis accuses the lawmakers of filing articles of impeachment for "nakedly partisan" reasons. She called it a "power grab" to replace the justices with other jurists more aligned with their views.

The former justice claims they violated her equal protection rights because she is a woman. She said only one man -- Loughry -- was impeached.

However, that's because Ketchum resigned before the impeachment vote. For Davis, who stands to lose her state pension if convicted, the timing of her resignation may have been a mistake.

In the long run, it may cost her more than she spent remodeling her chambers.

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