Explain your views on how transparent the court should be to the public.
Loughry: As you know, I wrote this thin, little book called “Don’t Buy Another Vote, I Won’t Pay for a Landslide” and I believe in openness — always. So, the court should be as transparent as it possibly can be within the confines of any attorney-client types of relationships. As long as there are no ethical rules being violated, absolutely all information should be provided to the public. Period.
Should West Virginia’s highest court be one of activism, or merely confine itself to ruling on the issues of law as spelled out in the State Code and Constitution? Please explain.
Loughry: I believe that the judiciary should be the non-political branch of government. You should want your governors and your legislators to make arguments based upon your philosophical viewpoints. That’s entirely appropriate. You want those individuals passing laws, signing laws that deal with health, safety, welfare and morals; but, you want your judges to follow the law and follow the Constitution. The term “activist” gets thrown around and if you are leaning more toward the left, your talking about somebody that’s left wing, ... I don’t think there’s room for an “activist” on the court from either side of the aisle. I think judges should be judges. They are not legislators.
Is the current makeup of the State Supreme Court one of balance? If so, please say why you feel this way. If not, how can you tilt the scales so that it is balanced?
Loughry: I have worked as a lawyer at the Supreme Court for approximately 10 years. In law school, I worked for a short time for the Ohio Supreme Court. So, I’ve worked with ... more than 20 justices. I believe the Court, right now, is at a better position than I’ve seen it in well more than a decade. And, the question is which direction are we going to go from this day forward?
This election is so critically important. I want to make this point: There are two seats up for election on the Supreme Court this year. There are five members of the West Virginia Supreme Court. Nearly 40 percent of this court will be selected for the next 12 years. That’s critical. I have people coming up to me constantly saying, “Supreme Court, now we vote for that?” So, there’s a lot of confusion out there about this court, but the court is so important because it affects everything that goes on in everybody’s lives. Whether it’s a businessman, or whether it is an average citizen. I think the court is in a better position than it’s been in more than a decade. Again, you’re going to have two positions on the court. One is a pure opening and I believe that I have proven that I can work well with these people. I already have established relationships. My book shows that I can work in a very non-partisan way. And, I will move this court forward. Perceptions don’t change over night, also. It’s going to take some time.