Articles Posted in West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals

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Petitioner, a candidate for the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia, invoked the Supreme Court's original jurisdiction seeking a writ of mandamus to compel Respondents, including the secretary of state and members of the state election commission, to comply with W. Va. Code 3-12-11(e) and approve the release of matching funds to his campaign. Petitioner, a participant in the Supreme Court Public Campaign Financing Pilot Program, argued that because he complied with the applicable requirements set forth in the Pilot Program, and because one of the privately finances candidates spent a sum sufficient to trigger the matching funds provisions, the election commission was statutorily required to disburse matching funds to his campaign. The Supreme Court denied the writ of mandamus requested by Petitioner, holding (1) the matching funds provisions set forth in the Pilot Program violated the free speech clause of the First Amendment; and (2) therefore, Petitioner failed to establish a clear legal right to the relief sought. View "State ex rel. Loughry v. Tennant" on Justia Law

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Petitioner Donna Boley filed a petition asking for a writ of mandamus directed to Respondents, the Secretary of State of West Virginia and Frank Deem. Petitioner was an incumbent state senator seeking re-election for the Third Senatorial District (District 3). Deem sought to challenge Petitioner for the Republican Party's 2012 nomination and was certified as eligible by the Secretary to have his name placed on the ballot. Petitioner filed the petition challenging Deem's eligibility to be a candidate for state senator against her, asserting that Deem did not met the residency requirements contained in the state Constitution and the Senate Redistricting Act of 2011. Deem conceded that a plain reading of the residency requirements made him ineligible to be a candidate for state senator in District 3 but argued that the residency requirements should be declared unconstitutional. The Supreme Court found that the residency requirements were constitutional and granted the requested writ, ordering the Secretary to withdraw her certification of Deem's candidacy for state senator in District 3 and commanding that Deem's name be removed from ballots to be used in the May 2012 Republican party primary election. View "State ex rel. Boley v. Tennant" on Justia Law

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At issue in these consolidated appeals was the redistricting legislation adopted by the Legislature in 2011. Petitioners, several individuals and groups, challenged the constitutionality of H.B. 201, which was redistricting legislation regarding the House of Delegates, and S.B. 1006, which was redistricting legislation regarding the Senate. The constitutional challenges were before the Supreme Court as petitions for writs of prohibition and mandamus. The Court denied the requested writs, holding that the redistricting plans for the House of Delegates and the Senate were securely within the realm of constitutional mandates, as (1) in regards to H.B. 201, the constitution did not prohibit splitting counties or a plan containing multi-member delegate districts, the delegate residency dispersal requirement served a valid purpose, and no unconstitutional partisan gerrymandering occurred in this matter; and (2) S.B. 1006 did not violate the equality in population provisions of the state Constitution, did not unconstitutionally divide certain election precincts and cross county boundary lines, and did not violate the compactness requirement of the state Constitution insofar as it established certain senatorial districts. View "State ex rel. Cooper v. Tennant" on Justia Law

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The Clerk of the McDowell County Commission appealed an order of the Circuit Court of McDowell County pertaining to mandamus proceedings. The Commission was directed to reimburse the attorney fees of A. Ray Bailey who was the prevailing party in an election contest. The Commission argued on appeal to the Supreme Court that the trial court abused its discretion by ordering the Commission to pay Mr. Bailey's fees when the Commission was not a party to the election contest. Furthermore, The Commission argued that there was no statutory authority to support the award. Upon review of the arguments and law governing this matter, the Supreme Court reversed the lower court's order directing payment of attorney fees by the Commission.