HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 26
(By Delegates Nesbitt, Walters, Harrison
(Introduced February 27, 1995 ; referred to the
Committee on Constitutional Revision.)
Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the State of West
Virginia, amending sections two and five, article eight
thereof, relating to the terms of office for supreme court
justices and circuit court judges; numbering and designating
such proposed amendment; and providing a summarized
statement of the purpose of such proposed amendment.
Resolved by the Legislature of West Virginia, two thirds of the
members elected to each house agreeing thereto:
That the question of ratification or rejection of an
amendment to the Constitution of the State of West Virginia be
submitted to the voters of the State at the next general election
to be held in the year one thousand nine hundred ninety-six,
which proposed amendment is that sections two and five, article
eight thereof be amended, to read as follows:
ARTICLE VIII. JUDICIAL POWER.
§2. Supreme court of appeals.
The supreme court of appeals shall consist of five justices.
A majority of the justices of the court shall constitute a quorum
for the transaction of business.
The justices shall be elected by the voters of the state for
a term of
twelve four years, unless sooner removed or retired as
authorized in this article. The Legislature may prescribe by lawwhether the election of such justices is to be on a partisan or
Provision shall be made by rules of the supreme court of
appeals for the selection of a member of the court to serve as
chief justice thereof. If the chief justice is temporarily
disqualified or unable to serve, one of the justices of the court
designated in accordance with the rules of the court shall serve
temporarily in his stead.
When any justice is temporarily disqualified or unable to
serve, the chief justice may assign a judge of a circuit court or
of an intermediate appellate court to serve from time to time in
§5. Circuit courts.
The judge or judges of each circuit court shall be elected
by the voters of the circuit for a term of
eight four years,
unless sooner removed or retired as authorized in this article.
The Legislature may prescribe by law whether the election of such
judges is to be on a partisan or nonpartisan basis. Upon the
effective date of this article, each statutory court of record of
limited jurisdiction existing in the state immediately prior to
such effective date shall become part of the circuit court for
the circuit in which it presently exists, and each such judge of
such statutory court of record of limited jurisdiction shall
thereupon become a judge of such circuit court. During his
continuance in office, a judge of a circuit court shall reside in
the circuit of which he is a judge.
The Legislature may increase, or other than during term of
office decrease, the number of circuit judges within any circuit.
The judicial circuits in existence on the effective date of this
article shall remain as so constituted until changed by law, and
the Legislature, at any session thereof held in the odd-numbered
year next preceding the time for the full-term election of the
judges thereof, may rearrange the circuits and may increase or
diminish the number of circuits. A judge of a circuit court in
office at the time of any such change shall continue as a judge
of the circuit in which he shall continue to reside after such
change until his term shall expire, unless sooner removed or
retired as authorized in this article.
There shall be at least one judge for each circuit court and
as many more as may be necessary to transact the business of such
court. If there be two or more judges of a circuit court,
provision shall be made by rules of such circuit court for the
selection of one of such judges to serve as chief judge thereof.
If the chief judge is temporarily disqualified or unable to
serve, one of the judges of the circuit court designated in
accordance with the rules of such court shall serve temporarily
in his stead.
The supreme court of appeals shall provide for dividing the
business of those circuits in which there shall be more than one
judge between the judges thereof so as to promote and secure the
convenient and expeditious transaction of such business.
In every county in the state the circuit court for suchcounty shall sit at least three times in each year. The supreme
court of appeals shall designate the times at which each circuit
court shall sit, but until this action is taken by the supreme
court of appeals, each circuit court shall sit at the times
prescribed by law. If there be two or more judges of a circuit
court, such judges may hold court in the same county or in
different counties within the circuit at the same time or at
Further resolved, That in accordance with the provisions of
article eleven, chapter three of the code of West Virginia, one
thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as amended, such proposed
amendment is hereby numbered "Amendment No. 1" and designated as
the "Judicial Term Limitation Amendment" and the purpose of the
proposed amendment is summarized as follows: "To reduce the term
of Supreme Court Justices from 12 to 4 years and of Circuit Court
Judges from 8 to 4 years."
NOTE: The purpose of this amendment is to reduce from 12 to
4 years the term of office for supreme court justices and to
reduce from 8 to 4 years the term of office for circuit court
Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken
from the present Constitution, and underscoring indicates new
language that would be added.