Ketchum eager to hear cases at Marshall

By Chris Dickerson | Sep 18, 2009



The West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals last visited Marshall University in 2007. (Photo courtesy of Rick Haye, Marshall University)

HUNTINGTON – Justice Menis Ketchum's commute to work won't be nearly as long Tuesday.

A lifelong Huntington resident, Ketchum will be close to home when the state Supreme Court hears arguments at Marshall University.

"I'm tickled that we get to hold court at Marshall," said Ketchum, a former chairman of the University's Board of Governors. "The court really enjoys going to West Virginia University and to Marshall because it gives the students at those schools exposure to the appeal process. And I'm really glad that we visit Marshall in conjunction with Constitution Week."

The Justices will hear several cases beginning at 10 a.m. The public is invited to attend the Court session at the Joan C. Edwards Performing Arts Center. The visit to Marshall marks the fourth year the Justices have visited the campus during Marshall's celebration of Constitution Week.

"I look forward to bringing the Court back to Marshall," Chief Justice Brent Benjamin said. "I look forward to bringing the Court back to Marshall.

"I know Justice Robin Jean Davis and I have enjoyed our visits to the campus in the past and I know my three new colleagues are eager to see the students in the audience. We are happy to be able to participate in the Constitution Week observance."

The two other Justices who never have heard cases at Marshall are Margaret Workman and Thomas McHugh.

Marshall University is named for former U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall, who served on that Court from 1801 to 1835 and was the longest serving Chief Justice in United States history. He died two years before Marshall Academy was formed in 1837.

"I hate that I can't wear my green Marshall robe," Ketchum said with a chuckle. "I lobbied the other Justices, but they think we ought to look the same.

"But seriously, the Court really feels it is important for us to take part in Constitution Week at Marshall, particularly since John Marshall was instrumental in defining the role of the courts."

Ketchum said he hopes his return to the campus is a proud moment not only for him, but for the City of Huntington.

I'll be proud that a recent chairman of the board has been elected to a statewide office," he said. "And particularly because I'm the first Justice from Huntington to be elected to the court in more than 80 years.

"It will be fun seeing all the old familiar faces there."

Since winning a seat on the five-person Court last fall, Ketchum said he has thoroughly enjoyed the job.

"I really enjoy it, he said. "I enjoy reading, and this job entails hours and hours of reading."

Ketchum said he also enjoys the camaraderie with his fellow Justices.

"We all get along," he said. "Everybody works hard, and we aren't broken into five camps. We sit around and discuss the cases.

"If we do have a disagreement, it's amicable."

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