Settle Constitution Question in W.Va.

West Virginia’s state constitution states that the governor is supposed to live in the capital city, Charleston. Gov. Jim Justice lives in Lewisburg and has no plan to move.

Justice insists he is in touch with state government adequately and does not need to live in the governor’s mansion.

But this summer, House of Delegates member Isaac Sponaugle, D-Pendleton, filed a lawsuit over the issue. He says Justice should be compelled to live in Charleston.

On Monday, Kanawha County Circuit Judge Charles King dismissed the lawsuit — not on its merits or lack thereof, but because of a technicality. Sponaugle did not comply with state law requiring that Justice be notified of the lawsuit at least 30 days before it was filed.

Sponaugle should refile the action. He should. It is a matter that needs to be decided in court because it has ramifications far beyond Justice and his current term in office.

Either the state constitution means what its wording says, or not. And either the courts will require adherence to the constitution, or they will not.

If not, the possibilities for mischief in all three branches of state government are endless.

Sponaugle should meet the notification requirement, then try again.


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