West Virginia Record

Monday, March 30, 2020

It's enough to make you grimace

By The West Virginia Record | May 12, 2006

So an ex-member of the West Virginia Supreme Court is blaming his lost re-election on a car accident, and he wants the man who caused it to pay.

I guess this is how you really know your state is suffering from lawsuit abuse-- even the most (supposedly) highly-regarded legal minds among us feel a need to rake in a little jackpot justice for themselves.

In the case of former Justice Warren McGraw, brother of West Virginia's Attorney General, he's demanding at least $100,000 in compensation from truck driver John Tugman for being deprived of his judicial power and prestige.

Since his 2004 election loss to Brent Benjamin, McGraw can only wear his black robes around the house, he can issue "decisions" in Judge Judy cases but they aren't binding, and only close friends and family still call him "your honor." We can imagine his humiliation.

To blame is a pained "grimace" on stage by McGraw during his now infamous "Scream from Racine" speech in April 2004. He charges that Tugman caused the grimace by ramming into him, and then Benjamin used the grimace like a club against him to win the November election by 47,000 votes.

Just to be clear, former Justice McGraw did not suggest any "grimace" conspiracy or connection between Benjamin's campaign and Tugman, or between either of the men and the Trilateral Commission.

As embarrassing as it is to most of us in West Virginia that we actually once elected a guy like this to such an important post, we're comforted by McGraw's self-destructive behavior. He seems determined to rid every semblance of esteem from his own public legacy by constantly reminding us why we voted him out of office in the first place. This man lost not due to a grimace but because he was arrogant, plainly intoxicated by the dominion of his position.

Warren McGraw won't be remembered as a genteel jurist who served admirably before losing a hard-fought election. Rather, he won't be forgotten as that petulant judge, West Virginia's best-known sore loser.

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