CHARLESTON — The state Supreme Court ruled Thursday to block the impeachment trial of state Supreme Court Justice Margaret Workman.
The ruling stated the allegations in three articles of impeachment violated the separation of powers doctrine. In addition, the court ruled the House of Delegates never formally approved the impeachment resolution against the justices.
“We have determined that prosecution of Petitioner for the allegations set out in Article IV, Article VI and Article XIV of the Articles of Impeachment violates the separation of powers doctrine,” the justices ruled. ” The Respondents also do not have jurisdiction over the alleged violation in Article XIV as drafted.”
Acting Chief Justice James Matish delivered the opinion of the court while acting justices Louis Bloom and Jacob Reger concurred and dissented parts of the opinion.
“This case is not about whether or not a Justice of the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia can or should be impeached; but rather it is about the fact that to do so, it must be done correctly and constitutionally with due process. We are a nation of laws and not of men, and the rule of law must be followed,” the ruling said
The articles in question involve the over-payment of senior-status judges and allegations of failing to implement administrative policies and procedures.
Workman’s trial was scheduled to begin Monday.
A spokesperson for the state Senate said they will challenge the decision.
“We have received the Court’s Order and are planning to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court of Appeals. Pursuant to the authority granted the Senate in the West Virginia Constitution, the Court of Impeachment will convene at 9 a.m. Monday,” the spokesperson said.
Retired justice Robin Davis’ trial is scheduled for Oct. 29, and the impeachment trial of suspended Supreme Court Justice Allen Loughry is set for Nov. 12.