Three good choices
For decades, West Virginia’s court system was dominated by liberals, union backers and/or progressives. It was not a pretty sight. If any ranking came out that showed West Virginia better than worst among the 50 states, we were 49th.
At one time, the liberal justice system was labeled simply a “Judicial Hellhole.” It earned that reputation.
These days, things are different and they should stay that way. Justices Tim Armstead, Evan Jenkins and Beth Walker are obvious constitutionalists who rule ACCORDING to the law; not by MAKING laws to suit themselves.
A fourth Justice, Margaret Workman, has chosen to retire at the end of this term. Her progressive agenda is out of step, anyway.
So, too, is that of the fifth short-term Justice, John Hutchison. Appointed by Governor Jim Justice, Hutchison is an anti-business relic of the state’s past. He is on the ballot next week and should be defeated.
In Division One, then, the incumbent Armstead is our choice. He is a level-headed jurist who identifies with the common man. Armstead is an asset to the court and should be retained.
His opponents are the colorful former Justice Richard Neely and Circuit Judge David Hummel. Negative ads have brought up Neely’s previous services. Hummel wears his government-issued robe while sitting on his government-maintained bench and displaying his government-supported courtroom in commercials. That would be illegal if he was a sheriff or Deputy but judges do not need to adhere to laws they enforce, apparently.
Both Neely and Hummel’s philosophies are out of step. Armstead is the clear choice.
Division Two is not as simple inasmuch as there are two standout candidates. Kris Raynes, a longtime Putnam County assistant prosecutor, and Kanawha Family Court Judge Jim Douglas would both be fine jurists. Raynes is clearly more in tune with the current majority, however.
Raynes has proven willing to stride into controversial issues, praising the Department of Justice for moving to dismiss charges against General Michael Flynn.
The other two in the race, Kanawha Circuit Judge Joanna Tabit and Bill Wooten, are far too liberal for us. So we urge a vote for Raynes.
In the Third Division, the choice is clear. Jackson County Circuit Judge Lora Dyer is head and shoulders above the competition.
Hutchison, despite his pro-labor positions, cost himself key votes by upholding right to work and then trying to “explain” his ruling.
Bill Schwartz is the third token candidate in the race.
Dyer has shown good judgment, fairness and compassion during her time on the bench. She will be a major asset to the court.