WV Supreme Court Crisis – House Votes to Impeach Sitting Judges

What in the world is going on in West Virginia? Last Friday in our “best of the rest” list of energy stories, we ran a brief piece about a WV House panel voting to impeach the remaining four (of five) sitting WV Supreme Court justices, claiming the justices had abused taxpayer funds (see Energy Stories of Interest: Fri, Aug 10, 2018). We didn’t think much of it at the time, partially because it was a CNN story–a known source of fake news. Yet the news, in this case, was not fake. On Monday the full WV House voted to impeach all of the sitting justices. One them (a Democrat) promptly resigned her position so that Gov. Jim Justice could not replace her with his own pick. Instead, her office will go on the ballot this November. The Wall Street Journal ran an article yesterday outlining in more detail what the alleged charges are (bordering on embezzlement), and speculating on what happens now. We’re interested in this story because earlier this year it was this group of justices that reversed itself in a highly unusual practice to allow EQT to deduct post-production expenses from flat rate leases (see WV Supreme Court Reverses Itself, Post-Production Deductions OK). That sparked a rebellion in the WV legislature which led to a new law reversing the Supreme Court’s ruling (see WV Gov Justice Signs Bill to Guarantee 12.5% Minimum Royalty). There are other oil and gas cases that may be impacted by a wholesale change in the court as well. Here’s the latest on this developing situation in WV…

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