Former West Virginia Supreme Court Justice Beth Walker, who was impeached by the House of Delegates earlier this year, has been selected as the new chief justice of the West Virginia Supreme Court.
Walker was acquitted by the Senate in a 32-1 vote on Oct. 2, and was censured instead of being impeached and removed from office. Her tenure is set to begin on Jan. 1, 2019.
Walker was originally charged with a maladministration charge that stated that the court failed to police itself and its spending habits. She had spent roughly $130,654 renovating her office, which had already been renovated by the occupant before her.
Senate President Mitch Carmichael acknowledged that Walker made “significant errors in judgment,” but clarified that he didn’t believe that her single charge warranted an impeachment from office.
Senator Stephen Baldwin was the single senator to vote against Walker’s acquittal, and said, “From my perspective, those offenses warrant removal from office. If a public employee used state money to redecorate their office, buy lunches, and contract out their work they’d lose their job. I think we ought to hold everyone to the same standard. No special treatment for anyone.”
Walker told the Senate after their vote, “I regret so much the mistakes I made, and I’m sorry. I need to apologize to the taxpayers and you. I have learned from my mistakes, you can rest assured.” After the hearing, she posted on Twitter, “Thank you West Virginia senators for your careful deliberations. I remain committed to serving our citizens and look forward to working with you toward improved budgetary oversight.”