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W.Va. Senate Seeks U.S. Supreme Court Review of State Impeachment Ruling

March 12th, 2019 by WCBC Radio

The West Virginia Senate, as represented by Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, filed a petition Monday asking the U.S. Supreme Court to review a state Supreme Court of Appeals ruling that halted an impeachment proceeding involving the lower court.
The petition takes issues with the October 2018 ruling, describing it as inconsistent with the separation of powers guaranteed to each state within the U.S. Constitution.
The Senate’s petition takes no position on the merits of whether a specific justice should be removed from office, but argues that five judges, temporarily appointed as acting justices, inappropriately expanded the state judiciary’s authority in a way that broke down the separation of powers and violated the Legislature’s primary role over impeachment.
Specifically, the petition asks the U.S. Supreme Court to grant review of the lower court ruling and ultimately restore the traditional understanding of the Legislature’s primary role over impeachment in West Virginia.
“(The U.S. Supreme Court) should intervene to resolve the narrow, but critically important, question whether the acting justices’ decision undermines the republican form of government that the federal Constitution guarantees to every State,” the petition reads. The acting justices’ “decision renders impeachment’s promise of accountability hollow by setting the judiciary up as its own judge, and impermissibly upsets the balance of powers between what should and must be co-equal branches.”

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