When Gov. Jim Justice was presented the gift of a lifetime with the opportunity to fill three seats on the West Virginia Supreme Court, everyone expected him to appoint three conservative judges to fill the vacancies. When the dust settled, we were presented with two political hacks who had never served on the bench nor even served as a prosecuting attorney.
One of the appointees, Evan Jenkins, had allowed his law licenses to expire and renewed them only recently. The other, Tim Armstead, served about 30 years in the House of Delegates and was employed by a corporate law firm.
The significance of these two appointments is that Gov. Justice gave them the gift of a lifetime. Their $30,000 annual legislative salaries increased in value to equal more than $160,000, when figuring their eventual state retirement. These two will not be required to “buy back” the years they get credit for from legislative service, thus we taxpayers will pick up the tab. Good deal, huh?
Obviously, Justice is not the first governor to appoint members from his own party to such cushy positions. However, the highest court in our state deserves better — much better. There are dozens of highly qualified conservative judges in West Virginia, and he chose those two. Remember this when you go to the polls.
Noble Wayne Lanham