West Virginia

Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia
Election (Nonpartisan)
5 Justices
12 year terms
State High Court Judicial Selection Process Legal Authority

  • In a partisan primary election, the candidate who receives the highest number of votes is placed on the ballot for the general election.
  • If there is a tie, the executive committee of the party determines its party’s candidate.
  • The candidate who receives the highest number of votes in the general election is appointed to the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia.

Interim Vacancies

  • If from any cause a vacancy shall occur in the office of a justice of the supreme court of appeals or a judge of a circuit court, the Governor shall issue a directive of election to fill such vacancy in the manner prescribed by law for electing a justice or judge of the court in which the vacancy exists, and the justice or judge shall be elected for the unexpired term.
  • In the meantime, the Governor shall fill such vacancy by appointment until a justice or judge shall be elected and qualified. If the unexpired term be less than two years, or such additional period, not exceeding a total of three years, as may be prescribed by law, the governor shall fill such vacancy by appointment for the unexpired term.

    Docket Watch

  • CAPERTON Decision Prompts Changes to Judicial Recusal Standards and Procedures

    In June of 2009, the Supreme Court decided the case Caperton v. A. T. Massey Coal Co.1 The Court ruled, in a 5-4 decision, that the due process clause of the 14th Amendment is violated when a judge denies a recusal motion based on the judge’s benefit of “extraordinarily large” campaign contributions or independent expenditures from the opposing party.2 Before this ruling, the 14th Amendment required recusal only when the judge had a financial interest contingent on the outcome of the case, or if the judge had participated in a previous stage of the case and was likely biased from that participation.

  • West Virginia Court Expands COPPERWELD Doctrine

    In the 1984 case Copperweld Corp. v. Independence Tube Corp.,1 the United States Supreme Court forever altered antitrust law by holding that a parent company cannot conspire with one of its wholly owned subsidiaries such as to violate Section 1 of the Sherman Act.2 Since that time, lower courts have been left to decide the scope of what has become known as the Copperweld Doctrine. A recent decision of the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia clarified just how far the Copperweld Doctrine extends within West Virginia’s own antitrust law jurisprudence.

  • Judicial Election

    Judges are elected by popular vote.
  • Democratic Appointment

    Judges are appointed directly by a democratic body, or appointed by the governor with the advice and consent of some democratic body.