CHARLESTON, WV (WOAY) – Justice Tim Armstead will be Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia beginning January 1, 2020.
At the Court’s last administrative conference, Justice Armstead was approved as Chief Justice by his colleagues on the Court. The Court also voted to return to the oneyear rotation of Chief Justice and designated Justice Evan Jenkins to serve as Chief Justice in 2021. Justice Jenkins will serve as Chief Justice in 2020 whenever Justice Armstead is disqualified from a case.
“I am honored to have the trust of my fellow West Virginians to serve on their Supreme Court of Appeals and to have the confidence of my fellow Justices to serve as Chief Justice in 2020,” Justice Armstead said. “This year has been a year of rebuilding and restoration for our Court. Under the leadership of Chief Justice Beth Walker, our Court has worked to build a stronger, more open and accessible court. I am excited to have this opportunity to build upon that effort in 2020 and will work hard to ensure our court system continues to earn the trust of the people of our state,” Justice Armstead said. “Our judiciary is made up of many talented people who are dedicated to ensuring justice, following the law and upholding high standards of integrity,” Justice Armstead said. “We owe it to the people of our state who have entrusted us with this responsibility to provide them a fair, efficient open and honest court system. “One of the greatest challenges facing West Virginia is the effect of the opioid crisis has had on our families. Our court system plays a key role in ensuring that every child in West Virginia has a safe and healthy home and a loving family who supports and nurtures them. In 2020, we will continue to make their future a priority for our Court,”
Justice Armstead said.
Justice Jenkins said, “Each and every day we continue to focus on rebuilding the public’s trust and confidence in our state’s highest court. Chief Justice Walker’s leadership this year has brought much needed accountability and transparency to the work of the court. Our decision to return to a seniority based rotation is just another important step that demonstrates the excellent working relationship the Justices share with one another and our commitment to the court’s important work. Justice Armstead will do an outstanding job as chief justice in 2020 and I look forward to working with him these next twelve months.”
Current Chief Justice Beth Walker’s term as Chief will end December 31, 2019. “The new Court has worked successfully as a team this year, and I know that cooperation and collegiality will continue,” Chief Justice Walker said. “I am grateful to my colleagues for the opportunity to serve as Chief Justice and am confident that our important work to safeguard the integrity of our judiciary will continue under Justice Armstead’s leadership.”
Justice Armstead was appointed to the Supreme Court by Governor Jim Justice to fill the seat vacated by the retirement of Justice Menis Ketchum. He took office September 25, 2018, and was elected November 6, 2018, to retain the seat until the end of the term on December 31, 2020. Justice Armstead became Speaker of the West Virginia House of Delegates in 2015 and was re-elected in 2017. Prior to serving as Speaker of the House, he had been Minority Leader since 2006 and a member of the House since 1998. Prior to serving as Minority Leader he served as Minority Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.
Justice Armstead began his public service career as a press intern for Governor Arch Moore. He later worked as Executive Assistant to the Chief of Staff of Governor Cecil Underwood. He served as a law clerk for U.S. District Judge David A. Faber. Justice Armstead is a native of Clendenin and grew up in Gassaway. He is a graduate of the University of Charleston and West Virginia University College of Law. He has practiced law for nearly 30 years in West Virginia and taught Constitutional law at the University of Charleston. Justice Armstead and his wife, Anna, live in Elkview and have one daughter, a son-in-law, and a grandson. Justice Jenkins was appointed to the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia by Governor Jim Justice on August 25, 2018, and took the oath of office on October 1.
Justice Jenkins was elected on November 6, 2018, to fill the seat vacated by the retirement of Justice Robin Davis until the end of that term on December 31, 2024. At the time of his appointment to the bench, Justice Jenkins was a member of the United States House of Representatives, to which he was elected in 2014 and re-elected in 2016, to represent the citizens of West Virginia’s Third Congressional District. For four years he served on the House Appropriations Committee and most recently as the Vice-Chairman of the Commerce, Justice and Science Sub-Committee. He previously served three terms in the West Virginia House of Delegates, beginning in 1995, representing Cabell and Wayne counties, followed by three terms in the West Virginia Senate, from 2003 to 2014. Before his election to Congress, he was executive director of the West Virginia State Medical Association, general counsel of the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce,
and taught business law at Marshall University. Justice Jenkins was admitted to the practice of law in West Virginia thirty years ago and began his legal career as an associate attorney with the Huntington law firm of Jenkins Fenstermaker, PLLC in 1988. Justice Jenkins is a native of Huntington. He has a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Florida and a law degree from the Cumberland School of Law at Samford University.
Justice Jenkins and his wife, Elizabeth, live in Huntington where they raised two sons and a daughter. He is active in the community as a member of the First Presbyterian Church and has served as a volunteer leader for the American Red Cross, Boy Scouts of America, Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Tri-State Area, Foundation for the Tri-State Community, Foster Foundation, and Lily’s Place, a nationally recognized facility that cares for newborn infants suffering from drug exposure during pregnancy.