Editor's Note: In the coming weeks, The West Virginia Record will profile candidates in this year's election for the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals and for state Attorney General.
NEW MARTINSVILLE – H. John "Buck" Rogers says he thinks it's time for a change at the state Capitol.
And he wants to be part of that change on the state Supreme Court.
"It is time to cast the moneychangers out of the temple," said Rogers, a New Martinsville attorney who also is a reverend. "I shall not accept and will return any campaign contributions."
Rogers, known by many in the Mountain State as a frequent political observer, pundit and former Graffiti writer, said he has been "thoroughly disgusted and frustrated" with recent actions of state government and the state Supreme Court.
Rogers, who was born in Wetzel County, is a graduate of West Virginia University, Harvard Law School, the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception in New York and Pittsburgh Theological Seminary.
He ran twice for governor against Jay Rockefeller in 1976 and 1980. He compared that to "the great grandson of Hitler running for mayor of Jerusalem."
"Personally, he (Rockefeller) is a nice guy," Rogers said. "It's just what the family represents."
Rogers has practiced law alone – except for one month when he had a law partner – since 1966.
"I like the independence of what I do," he said proudly.
When asked to describe his philosophy, Rogers thought for a moment.
"Libertarian liberal, whatever that means," he said with a slight chuckle. "I'm the Newt Gingrich of the judicial campaign. Some people say I'm on the money. Others say I'm off the wall."
He did say he is opposed to the concept of an intermediate appellate court.
"That's just another level of bureaucracy we don't need," he said. "Ohio and Pennsylvania do have them, and the real flotsam and jetsam end up on those courts. There's no way to dislodge them."
He also said he doesn't think the state Supreme Court's revised rules for appellate procedure introduced last year aren't working.
"Enough with these memorandum opinions," he said. "What I'm suggesting is that of the present Supreme Court, you create three-judge hearing panels and argue before that panel in a truncated fashion. If you get one vote off that panel, you go to the full Court. If not, then you don't go to the Court. No one wants a law clerk's anonymous opinion.
"I'm not attacking anyone on the court. We're a small state. We don't need another level of bureaucracy. As my friend A. James Manchin always said, God bless these 55 counties and the great state of West Virginia."
Always colorful, Rogers concluded with a story from his youth.
"I graduated 18th out of 20 students at Reader High School," he said. "I go over to WVU, and I'm second or third in my class. I was just scared of flunking out. An advisor looked at my transcript and asked why I did so poorly in high school, but excelled in college. I said, 'Reader was a very tough school, sir.'"