Dave Mistich Published

Walker, Acquitted in Impeachment Trial, to Become Chief Justice in 2019


West Virginia Supreme Court Justice Beth Walker will take the helm as chief justice at the beginning of next year. Walker’s selection as the state’s next chief justice comes after she was acquitted earlier this month after an impeachment trial in the state Senate.

Current Chief Justice Margaret Workman nominated Walker to take charge of the state’s high court. The nomination was approved by other justices currently sitting on the bench, including temporarily appointed justices Tim Armstead and Evan Jenkins. Acting Justice Paul Farrell is currently sitting on the bench in place of suspended Justice Allen Loughry.

“I am honored by the trust placed in me by my fellow Justices and I thank Chief Justice Workman for her leadership in recent months. My commitment to greater transparency and accountability in the judicial branch is unwavering, and I am ready to work with the Legislature toward better oversight of the Court’s budget,” Walker said in a news release issued Monday.

Walker was censured and reprimanded for failing to provide administrative oversight of the state Supreme Court following her acquittal in an impeachment trial.

During her trial, Walker expressed remorse for her role in lavish office renovations and other spending of state funds. She vowed to give greater attention to the issue in the future.

Three other justices on the state’s high court were also impeached by the House of Delegates but have yet to stand trial in the state Senate. A ruling from an ad hoc panel of justices has effectively blocked the remaining trials, citing a violation of the separation of powers doctrine and

Walker’s one-year term as chief justice begins January 1, 2019.


According to a news release from the court, Walker earned her law degree from Ohio State University in 1990 before moving to West Virginia to join the law firm of Bowles Rice McDavid Graff & Love (now Bowles Rice) in Charleston. In 2012, she became associate general counsel for the West Virginia United Health System (also known as West Virginia University Medicine) in Morgantown.

She ran an unsuccessful bid for a seat as a justice as a Republican in 2008 but was elected in a non-partisan race in 2016.