The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Local News

October 21, 2008

Ketchum pledges one term, to bring experience to court

Candidates for two Supreme Court seats tout strengths

Menis Ketchum says he believes the West Virginia Supreme Court is under attack.

“I just received an e-mail with an article from the New York Times that just blasted our court,” Ketchum told The Register-Herald editorial board. “It’s talking about the U.S. Supreme Court is going to try and fix the corrupt West Virginia Supreme Court.”

Ketchum says he wants to bring his experience to the state’s high court and just for one 12-year term.

“I pledge to only run for one term so that I don’t have to worry about a decision that the business community or labor may not like and worry about being re-elected,” he said. “I just want to go up there and work and not worry about how my decisions would effect my re-electability.”

Ketchum added he believes West Virginia’s Supreme Court justices must act more like the justices on the U.S. Supreme Court.

“They must insulate themselves,” he said. “You go to work, you do your job and you stay out of the limelight. That has to be done to get the appearance back that our court is judicial.”

Ketchum believes an independent commission made up of regular citizens should make the decision if a Supreme Court justice should be recused from a case.

“I think it’s too much on the justices to ask them to recuse themselves from cases,” he said. “I do not think it can be circuit judges put on a commission because they work for the Supreme Court.”

Ketchum said until the 1990s justices on the state’s high court remained out of the public eye.

“For years and years, our state Supreme Court didn’t go around making public speeches and announcements, and that’s what must be done again,” he said. “The only reason a justice would do this is because they have a big ego or it’s political.”

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