Beth Walker (judge)

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Beth Walker
Chief Justice of the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals
Assumed office
January 1, 2019
Preceded byMargaret Workman
Justice of the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals
Assumed office
January 1, 2017
Preceded byBrent Benjamin
Personal details
Born (1965-03-24) March 24, 1965 (age 53)
Oak Park, Illinois, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Mike Walker
EducationHillsdale College (BA)
Ohio State University (JD)

Elizabeth D. "Beth" Walker is a Justice of the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals. She was elected in the non-partisan election on May 10, 2016.[1] She began a 12-year term in January 2017. Walker was named in articles of impeachment passed by the West Virginia House of Delegates on August 13, 2018, was "reprimanded and censured" on October 2, 2018 but allowed to remain in office after being tried in the West Virginia Senate.[2][3][4] Walker is the 77th justice to serve on the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals.[5] She was an unsuccessful candidate for the same office in 2008.

Career[edit]

Campaign[edit]

She stated that she was running for the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia because West Virginians deserve a fair and impartial court system. She stated that she understands the importance of the role of the Supreme Court as an independent branch of government. She was generally considered the right-most of the four serious candidates in the election. Those she defeated to earn the spot included then-current Justice Brent Benjamin (the incumbent) and former Justice and state Attorney General Darrell McGraw.[5]

State Supreme Court female majority[edit]

Once Walker took office, West Virginia had a female majority on the state Supreme Court for the first time in history. West Virginia is one of 11 states whose top courts have a majority of women.[5]

Impeachment[edit]

Following a series of controversies involving excessive spending, the West Virginia House Judiciary Committee voted on August 7, 2018 to recommend that Walker and the other three remaining justices be impeached "for maladministration, corruption, incompetency, neglect of duty, and certain high crimes and misdemeanors".[6] On August 13, 2018 the full House of Delegates approved the Judiciary Committee recommendation and impeached Walker. On October 2, 2018, after a two-day impeachment trial, the West Virginia Senate, in a 32-1-1 vote, decided not to remove Walker from office. The Senate later voted to publicly "reprimand and censure" Walker for her actions in the spending scandal.[4][7]

Earlier career[edit]

Prior to taking the bench, Walker was an attorney for West Virginia University Medicine.[8] Prior to that, Walker was a partner in the law firm of Bowles Rice, where she concentrated her statewide practice on labor and employment law for more than 20 years. She has advised large and small employers in a wide variety of industries including manufacturing, energy, health care, financial services, professional services and associations and retail sales. She also has experience representing higher education entities, municipalities, counties and boards of education in the public sector.

In 2012 Walker was elected a Fellow of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers, which is an international membership association of more than one thousand of the best and brightest lawyers who practice in labor employment law.

Education[edit]

A 1987 summa cum laude graduate of Hillsdale College, Walker earned her law degree in 1990 from The Ohio State University, where she was Articles Editor for The Ohio State Law Journal.

She was admitted to practice in the United States Supreme Court, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth and Sixth Circuits, District Courts in West Virginia and Ohio and the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia.

Affiliations[edit]

She is a 1999 graduate of Leadership West Virginia and past Chair of that organization's Board of Directors. She also is a past president of the board of Kanawha Pastoral Counseling Center. She is past Board Chair and current board member of Girl Scouts of Black Diamond Council.

Personal[edit]

She is married to Mike Walker, an attorney and former Executive Vice President of Cecil I. Walker Machinery Co. They reside in Charleston, West Virginia.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Kabler, Phil (10 May 2016). "Beth Walker Wins WV Supreme Court Race; Ousts Benjamin". Charleston Gazette-Mail. Retrieved 11 May 2016.
  2. ^ McElhinny, Brad (9 August 2018). "Ahead of House impeachment hearing, Justice Walker hires counsel and releases statement". WV MetronNews. Retrieved 10 August 2018.
  3. ^ McElhinny, Brad (13 August 2018). "Decision day for delegates on Supreme Court Impeachment". WV MetronNews. Retrieved 14 August 2018.
  4. ^ a b Senators reprimand Justice Walker, but vote to not impeach.
  5. ^ a b c Dickerson, Chris (2016-12-05). "Walker sworn in as newest state Supreme Court Justice". West Virginia Record. Retrieved 2018-03-23.
  6. ^ McElhinny, Brad (2018-08-07). "Delegates vote to impeach all four remaining WV Supreme Court justices". WV MetroNews. Retrieved 2018-08-10.
  7. ^ Senators acquit Justice Walker on impeachment charge
  8. ^ Mattise, Jonathan (10 May 2016). "Beth Walker Wins West Virginia Supreme Court Seat". Herald-Dispatch. Retrieved 11 May 2016.[permanent dead link]
Legal offices
Preceded by
Brent Benjamin
Justice for the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia
2017–present
Incumbent
Preceded by
Margaret Workman
Chief Justice of the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals
2019–present