Supreme Court Public Financing Pilot Project Press Conference

Kathy Stolz spoke on behalf of WV League of Women Voters at this press conference put together by Natalie Tennants office.  The Supreme Court public financing pilot project would provide funding to participating candidates for the 2012 Supreme Court races.

Supreme Court Public Financing Pilot Project Press Conference from SoS Natalie Tennant on Vimeo.

WV Supreme Court November 2010 General

Candidates for Justice of the WV Supreme Court of Appeals

November 2, 2010 General Election

CANDIDATE Thomas E. McHugh

COUNTY OF RESIDENCE Kanawha

PARTY Democratic

BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION

Thomas E. McHugh has been a Justice for 19 years and a Circuit Judge for six years. He was born in Charleston, is a graduate of WVU (AB and Law) and was in the U. S. Army. He is married and has four children, seven grandchildren and one great grandchild.

QUESTION 1. What do you see as the role of the Supreme Court of Appeals in assuring justice for the citizens of West Virginia?

ANSWER . No matter how tempting it may be, the best way for the Supreme Court to guarantee that it assures justice in all of its actions is not to bend to the prevailing political wind of the moment. Instead, the Court must rise above such political pressure and deal equitably, thus justly, with one case at a time.

QUESTION 2. What special background and experiences do you have that make you the better candidate for the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals?

ANSWER. My nineteen years as a Supreme Court Justice, my six years as a circuit judge, my 20 years as an attorney and mediator, my 3 years in the U.S. Army, and my lifetime as a husband, father of four, grandfather of seven, and even a great-grandfather of one all qualify me for the work on the bench.

CANDIDATE John Yoder

COUNTY OF RESIDENCE Jefferson

PARTY Republican

BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION

Selected in national competition as U.S. Supreme Court Fellow. 35 years legal experience including all 3 branches of government. 5 years as a circuit judge and 3 years working for the Chief Justice of the U.S; 8 years as a WV State Senator; 3 years as Reagan appointee in the U.S. Department of Justice. BA, MBA, and JD degrees. www.judgeyoder.com.

QUESTION 1. What do you see as the role of the Supreme Court of Appeals in assuring justice for the citizens of West Virginia?

ANSWER . Diversity in experience and background are important to assure justice for all West Virginians. Unfortunately, 4 of the 5 justices are currently from Charleston (1 happens to be from Huntington), but Kanawha County only makes up 10% of the state’s population. The other 90% deserve a voice too. All West Virginia regions, viewpoints and perspectives should be represented.

QUESTION 2. What special background and experiences do you have that make you the better candidate for the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals?

ANSWER. My service in all 3 branches of government helps me appreciate differences between the role of a legislator and that of a judge. A judge is supposed to enforce and uphold the law, not to legislate and enact social policy. We need a former legislator on the Court to help keep judges from acting as super-legislators rather than as judges.

WV Supreme Court May 2010 Primary

Candidates for Justice of the WV Supreme Court of Appeals

May 11, 2010 Primary Election

OFFICE Justice of the Supreme Court of Appeals

CANDIDATE NAME Thomas E. McHugh

COUNTY Kanawha

PARTY Democratic

BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION

Thomas E. McHugh has been a Justice for seventeen years and a Circuit Judge for six years. He was born in Charleston, is a graduate of WVU (AB and Law) and was in the US Army. He is married and has four children, seven grandchildren and one great grandchild.

QUESTION 1. What standards regarding recusal would you recommend to avoid the appearance of judicial conflict of interest?

ANSWER

Our West Virginia recusal language is clear, and I strictly follow it. The recusal issue has heightened national interest. The ABA’s Standing Committee on Judicial Independence is working on revisions to its Judicial Disqualification Project as part of the Model Code of Judicial Conduct. The Conference of Chief Justices has no official position on the report.

QUESTION 2. How would you respond to the allegations that West Virginia has a judicial climate that is hostile to business?

ANSWER

No judge should be concerned about whether or not any ruling is good for any one interest. A judge must be fair and impartial to all. People who are interested in fairness in our courts don’t want judges who color their rulings for any particular group. A judicial climate should not be hostile to anyone.

OFFICE Justice of the Supreme Court of Appeals

CANDIDATE NAME John Yoder

COUNTY Jefferson

PARTY Republican

BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION

Thirty-five years legal experience in all three branches of government. Five years as a circuit judge and two years working for the Chief Justice of the U.S; eight years as a WV State Senator; three years as Reagan appointee in the U.S. Department of Justice. BA, MBA, and JD degrees.

QUESTION 1. What standards regarding recusal would you recommend to avoid the appearance of judicial conflict of interest?

ANSWER

Stricter recusal standards are needed when lawyers and litigants give money to the campaigns of judges and justices. A panel of retired judges should be appointed by Supreme Court justices to decide whether justices should be recused from sitting on a case, rather than letting each individual justice decide.

QUESTION 2. How would you respond to the allegations that West Virginia has a judicial climate that is hostile to business?

ANSWER

Allegations that the climate is hostile to business need to be taken seriously because that perception is causing our State to lose jobs and businesses. We need to positively change our Court’s image rather than defending the status quo and ingrained Charleston political class that is now in charge.