Evan Jenkins’ West Virginia Supreme Court Candidacy Challenged

JENKINS

PARKERSBURG — An attorney from Clay County is seeking to remove a candidate from the ballot in a special election for the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals.

In a petition to the state Supreme Court, Wayne King said Evan Jenkins’ law license was voluntarily made inactive from Dec. 2, 2014, until Aug. 9.

The petition cites Article 8 Section 7 of the state Constitution that says, in part, “No person may hereafter be elected as a justice of the Supreme Court of Appeals unless he has been admitted to practice law for at least 10 years prior to his election…”

A special election for Supreme Court vacancies will coincide with the general election Nov. 6. Jenkins, who is a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, filed Aug. 17 to be on the ballot for the Supreme Court seat.

“In essence, (Jenkins’) law license was not only just made active when he filed as a candidate for the Supreme Court, Division 2, but also, his law license was inactive for a period of nearly four years within the 10-year period prior to the scheduled Nov. 6, 2018, general election.”

The petition, filed Monday, said Jenkins should be removed from the ballot by Secretary of State Mac Warner. A comment from Warner was not immediately available.

“West Virginia law is clear,” said Ancil Ramey, attorney for Jenkins. “The state Constitution only requires that a candidate for our Supreme Court have been admitted to the practice of law for 10 years and Evan Jenkins has been admitted for more than 30.

“The Judicial Vacancy Advisory Commission recently determined that Evan Jenkins was one of the best-qualified persons to fill the vacancy among those it considered and Gov. Jim Justice has appointed him to the Supreme Court,” Ramey said. “I am confident that the Supreme Court will reject Mr. King’s meritless petition so that the voters, and not those who seek to pre-empt them, can choose if they so desire someone like Evan Jenkins, who is both fully eligible and well-qualified to serve as justice of the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia.”

King was among the applicants for the vacancy created when Menis Ketchum resigned from the Supreme Court. King did not file as a candidate.

Jenkins and Tim Armstead, former speaker of the House of Delegates, were appointed last month to vacancies on the Supreme Court by Justice. Ketchum resigned effective July 27 and Robin Davis resigned Aug. 14, the day after the House of Delegates passed articles of impeachment against the four remaining Supreme Court justices.

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