CHARLESTON, W.Va. (Legal Newsline) - The West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals listened to nearly two hours of oral arguments Tuesday to determine whether a special gubernatorial election should be held in 2011.
The West Virginia Constitution currently gives Senate President Earl Ray Tomblin the duty of acting as governor. Tomblin succeeded newly elected U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin in November. He was elected to the Senate seat long held by the late Robert C. Byrd's.
Tomblin has said current laws "clearly provide" that the election to replace Manchin as governor should be in 2012. But the Logan County Democrat has acknowledged that he knows many people want an election before that.
The West Virginia Citizen Action Group, South Charleston attorney Thornton Cooper, the West Virginia AFL-CIO and House Speaker Rick Thompson are among those who would like a special election sooner.
Both the citizens group and Thompson contend that Tomblin's dual role as governor and lawmaker indeed violates the state constitution.
Kathryn Reed Bayless, who argued on behalf of the citizens group, admitted that while the situation is simple to state, it is not so simple to resolve.
To view the rest of the article, please visit the West Virginia Record.