CHARLESTON — Supreme Court candidates Jim Douglas wants to champion for rights of children and families if elected to the court.
Douglas, who is currently a Family Court judge in Kanawha County, said campaigning has been physically challenging.
"It's physically challenging because you can't be in two places at once," Douglas said in an interview with The West Virginia Record. "There are 55 counties and it’s geographically diverse."
Douglas said this has been a hustle campaign.
"Right now with all of the publicity going on because of what happened on the Supreme Court, there is a lot of interest in this race," Douglas said. "It’s tough because I hear about how all judges are bad. We’re all being painted by the same brush."
Douglas said he is the only family court judge running and he believes it is significant because family law matters touch everyone.
"You’re more likely to be involved in something in family court than charged with a felony or misdemeanor," Douglas said. "If we do not have someone on the Supreme Court with family law experience, it does not bode well for the mass litigation and the people that are touched in this state by family law."
Douglas said as a family law practitioner for 39 years and a family law judge for the last two years, his qualifications are unique.
"If it’s not me, it has to be someone with family law experience," Douglas said. "What is more important than children? Nothing is more important than families and children."
Douglas is passionate about his work and said if he is on the Supreme Court, he wants to find funding for guardians ad litem, which the Supreme Court cut last year.
"I champion families and kids," Douglas said.
If elected, Douglas hopes to decrease the distance between the Supreme Court and the public.
"We have to put a face on the justices and restore respect," Douglas said. "I think the justices should go to Shepherdstown and hear four or five cases, go to Martinsburg, to Parkersburg, to Beckley, to Huntington, to Clarksburg, to Lewisburg, to Wheeling. With the proper security, of course, why can't the Supreme Court hear cases outside of Charleston?"
Douglas said he also thinks it should be mandatory for the justices to make public appearances six times a year in different counties.
"The justices need to participate in the state in which they basically rule over," Douglas said.
Douglas also wants there to be a public/media day twice a year at the Supreme Court chambers.
"With the proper security, you could do this easily," Douglas said. "That humanizes the justices."
Douglas is running in Division 2 for former Justice Robin Jean Davis's seat. The term expires in 2024.