Larry Starcher won't be on West Virginia's Supreme Court in 2009, but Menis Ketchum hopes to carry on his legacy.
We know for certain, after this week's story by Record editor Chris Dickerson that Starcher recently called the High Court candidate 11 times in one week from his state-issued cell phone.
The pair admit they've been chinwagging regularly about Ketchum's campaign. Starcher says he's been dispensing campaign advice to the Huntington personal injury lawyer, helping him find like-minded supporters and contributors across the state.
"Menis Ketchum is a fine lawyer, and we have been good friends since law school," Justice Starcher explained in a written statement to The Record. "(But) there are other fine candidates as well as Mr. Ketchum."
Starcher says that although he gabs with Ketchum about how to run a better campaign and considers him a pal, he isn't officially endorsing his candidacy. Such behavior by a sitting justice, of course, would seem highly inappropriate.
If that's inappropriate, then how would Starcher characterize his recent extended interview with a national network television crew in
his office in which he bashed one of Ketchum's opponents? For a sitting justice, isn't that unbecoming and highly embarrassing to the rest of the court as well?
Not that any of Starcher's errant behavior comes without explanation.
"I do think that the voters need to know about the problems the Court has been having, so they can make informed decisions," Starcher has said.
Based on a career littered with distracting hysterics and offensive behavior from the bench, voters were prepared to make an informed decision about Starcher. Please note his decision not to run for re-election in 2008. Surely, the justice didn't choose to step down -- he thought he might lose.
Alas, call it a cause for caution for the aspirational Ketchum, lest he envision himself as a justice cut from the same cloth as his old law school buddy-turned-ad hoc campaign advisor.
West Virginia already has had enough of that.