In advance of next month’s General Election, The Register-Herald invited all candidates on the ballot for U.S. Senator, U.S. House of Representatives, Governor, State Supreme Court,
Attorney General and Agriculture Commissioner to appear before our editorial board. During the next several days we will feature those in-depth interviews. Today’s candidate is incumbent Democrat Robin Davis running for the West Virginia Supreme Court.
Adding an intermediate appellate court is often discussed/debated in West Virginia. What do you consider some of the pros and cons of an intermediate appellate court?
Davis: I have consistently taken the position that there is no need for an intermediate appellate court in West Virginia; and, I have some very specific reasons. When the Chamber and business began several years ago talking about the need for an intermediate appellate court, I was chief of the court and we began to take a look at some of the things we could do as a court to negate that need. I quickly realized that our appellate court rules had not been revised in well over 40 years; and, I can tell you why: It was a ton of work to revise those rules. They were antiquated, they didn’t provide a means or a mechanism for the people of West Virginia to understand exactly what we do. So, during the year of 2010, when I was chief, I headed up the revision of the appellate court rules.
One of the complaints that businesses had was that we were not reviewing every petition or rendering a decision on every petition that was filed with the court. Quite frankly, that was wrong, but when you went back and looked at how we handled some petitions, if we just refused them, we refused them in just a cursory sentence or two. Now, because of the revision, we write a written decision on every petition that’s filed with the West Virginia Supreme Court. So, every litigant knows how we ruled and why we ruled that way because there’s a written decision. Because we, in fact, are getting our work done at the Supreme Court, there is simply no need to burden the taxpayers of West Virginia with an intermediate appellate court. It would cost millions of taxpayer dollars every year and just add another layer of government. I firmly believe less government is better. Of course, there would be an additional delay. For all of those reasons I think we simply do not need an intermediate appellate court.