CHARLESTON – State Supreme Court Justice Larry Starcher apparently is looking for another job.
Starcher has applied to be the new executive director of the West Virginia Bar Association, according to sources familiar with the selection.
The sources, who wished to remain anonymous, said Starcher applied to replace outgoing Executive Director Tom Tinder. Another source also said Starcher has applied to be the new president of Concord University in Athens.
Charleston attorney Charles M. Love III, a former president of the State Bar and chairman of the search committee to replace Tinder, refused to reveal the names of those who have applied for the job, citing confidentiality.
The State Bar is an arm of the state Supreme Court and, thus, a part of state government. Because of that, The West Virginia Record has sent a Freedom of Information Request seeking a list of those who have applied for the job.
Love did say Tuesday that the committee received 22 applications for the State Bar job. He also said the committee is in the process of going through those applications and expects to name Tinder's replacement soon.
As for the Concord job, Board of Governors member and Presidential search committee chairman R.T. "Ted" Rogers said the panel is in the very early stages.
"We just now are in the process of hiring a consultant for the search," Rogers said. "I don't know if we've actually received any applications yet. And I'm not trying to lead you on. I just don't know right now."
Starcher did not return calls seeking comment.
Starcher was elected to the state Supreme Court in 1996. His 12-year term is up next year, and Starcher has not said publicly whether he plans to run for re-election.
Starcher, a Roane County native, is a 1967 graduate of the West Virginia University College of Law. He was a circuit judge in Monongalia County for 20 years and director of the North Central West Virginia Legal Aid Society.
He presided over the trial of 20,000 asbestos injury cases and a six-month state buildings asbestos trial. Starcher also has served as an Adjunct Lecturer at the WVU College of Law from 1992 to the present.
Last fall, the state Supreme Court justices voted 3-2 to pass Starcher over for his scheduled term as Chief Justice this year and instead allow Robin Jean Davis to serve a second year in that post.
Sources then said the reason behind the move was to punish Starcher for his history of outspokenness that culminated with comments in an Oct. 1 New York Times story about a fellow Justice and Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship.
In the article, Starcher said, "It makes me want to puke to see massive amounts of out-of-state money come in and buy a seat on our court. ... Now we have one justice who was bought by Don Blankenship."
That is a reference to Blankenship's 2004 effort in backing Benjamin in his victory over incumbent Warren McGraw. Blankenship spent nearly $3 million on the campaign with his political action group And For The Sake Of The Kids as well as other advertising.