House convening Monday to decide court’s future

Some days almost make you wish for a Monday morning — a reset.

However, the remaining justices on the state Supreme Court probably wish tomorrow would never get here.

At 10 a.m. Monday the House of Delegate will convene to consider the impeachment of those four justices.

If it approves any of 14 articles of impeachment by a simple majority, th charges would then be heard by the state Senate in a trial.

A two-thirds majority of the state Senate is required to remove any of the justices from office.

Far be it from us to predict the outcome of the House’s vote or a potential Senate trial(s?).

But it’s likely at least one of the remaining justice’s seats will be vacated, if not two or more.

It’s uncertain what happens once the House convenes at 10 a.m. Monday but a lengthy debate is expected to ensue on each of the 14 charges.

Whether it lasts for hours or days is unknown, but there should be no rush to judgment despite the generally solid evidence.

Though we have called on Justice Allen Loughry to resign on several occasions, we are not going to call for any one justice’s impeachment.

Instead, we expect every member of the House to hold each of these justices accountable for the articles of impeachment that apply to them.

There is obviously also a need here to establish a precedent with some guidelines for future spending. Outline limits on spending for office remodeling and offer draft policies on travel budgets, computers for home use, framing personal mementoes and “borrowing” state furniture.

Amendment 2 will certainly also help with the judiciary branch’s excesses by giving legislators oversight of its budget. The Judicial Budget Oversight Amendment will be on the Nov. 6 ballot.

It was unanimously approved by legislators this year but still needs the voters OK to become law.

This amendment prohibits lawmakers from reducing the court’s budget to an amount less than 85 percent of the most recently enacted one. Unless, on a separate vote of two-thirds of both chambers, it decides to cut even deeper.

This limit curbs any fiscal retaliation by lawmakers who take exception to court rulings.

It also bars the court from artificially raising its budget request in anticipation of lawmakers lowering it by a certain percentage.

This fiscal year, about $139 million was appropriated for the judiciary’s use. That’s no big slice overall of state spending.

But when it’s being spent on $32,000 couches, $28,000 for two rugs and 1,141 free lunches that’s a huge abuse of public funds.

No one expects miracles on Mondays, but it would be no small wonder to clean up this court.

Previous ArticleNext Article