CHARLESTON — Hiram "Buck" Lewis IV wants to get politics out of the judiciary if he is elected to the Supreme Court.
"I’ve seen partisanship in the court," Lewis said in an interview with The West Virginia Record. "I’ve seen attorneys being awarded by judges because they’re in the same party and I’ve seen retaliation due to party. That creates uncertainty and risk in the business community. Businesses want to know what that law is and they want it to be solid. They want uncertainty out of that."
Lewis is running in Division 1, which is for former Justice Menis Ketchum's seat. Ketchum's term expires in 2020.
"Campaigning is going wonderful," Lewis said. "I'm getting to meet a lot of new people which is always fun. I’ve been going to courthouse-to-courthouse on a listening tour to find out what’s needed across the state."
Lewis said he's trying to find out what is needed across the state and one thing he's heard from several is the need for electronic filing.
"It’s ridiculous in this day and age that I have to physically go to a courthouse across the state to file a case," Lewis said.
Lewis is trying to go to all 55 counties before Election Day to listen to what each county needs.
"The compressed election cycle really shrinks the timeline because we only had two months to do anything," Lewis said. "That helps me because I have experience campaigning and I have name recognition. But, it definitely shrinks the timeline. Whoever wins will have to turn around and start campaigning for 2020."
Lewis said even if he doesn't win, he will continue campaigning for 2020.
"I’m committed to having a non-partisan, non-biased Supreme Court," Lewis said. "I think we can have that."
Lewis said his experience as a veteran adds to his qualifications.
"I’m a former airborne ranger and JAG officer," Lewis said. "I think my experience through that helps me understand a lot of issues at play—especially constitution issues."
Lewis said he's taken two oaths of office in his life and he takes them very seriously.
"The first is where I pledged to support and defend the Constitution of the United States and the second one I pledged to support and defend both the Constitution of the United States and the State of West Virginia," Lewis said. "I take those oaths very seriously. I will look at every case I will issue an opinion on—I’ll look at the issues in a prism of the was the constitutional structure is."
Lewis said from an administrative standpoint, he has both a finance degree and accounting degree, that give him the upper hand to know how to set up systems to be compatible with the Government Accounting Standards Board.
"I also understand auditing and accounting methods and I have a basic opportunity of business," Lewis said. "I’m an entrepreneur at heart and I understand technology. I even have a portable law office and can work anywhere from the world from a suitcase now."
Lewis said he wants to cut down on fraud and abuse and streaming everything.
"I want a non-biased, non-partisan, fully-elected Supreme Court and I want to sit on that historical court," Lewis said.
Lewis also wants to fix the recusal system.
"Our current system allows for a subjective approach on recusal," Lewis said. "We’ve seen that abused in the past. We need to change the recusal process."
Lewis graduated from West Virginia University College of Law in 2001. He also has a bachelor's in accounting, a bachelor's in finance, and a master's in athletic coaching education.