Judge kills motion to define ‘reside’ in gov residency case

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This photo shows the West Virginia governor’s mansion on Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2019, in Charleston, W.Va. A persistent lawsuit is drawing on the state constitution in an effort to force Republican Gov. Jim Justice to live at the governor’s mansion. Democratic Del. Isaac Sponaugle filed the case and accuses Justice of violating a passage in the state Constitution that says the governor “shall reside at the seat of government.” The result has been a long legal back and forth centered on the definition of the word reside. A judge requested more documents from both sides after a brief court hearing Wednesday. (AP Photo/Anthony Izaguirre)

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) – A lawsuit over whether West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice must live in the state capital may be headed to the state Supreme Court.

News outlets report Kanawha County Circuit Judge Charles King last week defended the lawsuit by Democratic Del. Isaac Sponaugle.

He also denied a motion by Justice’s lawyers to certify questions for the state Supreme Court of Appeals to answer before the case can proceed, including defining the word “reside.” Sponaugle wants Justice to live in Charleston, per the state constitution that says governors should “reside at the seat of the government.”

Justice’s lawyers have argued “reside” has vague meaning. Justice’s attorneys have said they would appeal King’s refusal to dismiss the case, but a Supreme Court spokeswoman said Friday that no appeal has been received.

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