CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Although newcomer West Virginia Supreme Court Justice Allen Loughry has been in office for nearly a year, he says it seems like much longer.
"It's an enormous responsibility, but I feel like I've been here 15-20 years," Loughry said. "You think I would have been nervous, but I've been comfortable in this job and I really enjoy it."
Loughry has two favorite places in the building. The first, of course, is the courtroom. The second?
"I love my office," Loughry said of his workspace, where a framed cover of his book along with pictures of his wife, Kelly, and son Justus line the bright yellow walls. "It's my home away from home."
Before becoming a justice, the Tucker County native served at the state Supreme Court as a law clerk. He also wrote a book detailing corruption in the Mountain State, titled "Don't Buy Another Vote, I Won't Pay for a Landslide."
His 12-year term at the state's highest court started at the beginning of this year.
"There have been no real surprises," Loughry said. "I worked at the court for the last 10 years, and it's been a seamless transition."
And it's been quite a busy year for all state Supreme Court justices. The most recent term ended the day before Thanksgiving, and more than 1,300 decisions have been issued so far this year. Not all of the decisions have been released yet, however.
The majority of those decisions are memorandum decisions or abbreviated decisions on the merits, and some are signed opinions that create new points of law.
"The fact that we've had 1,300 written decisions shows that we've been working very hard," Loughry said. "Each decision is important to someone. Some are important to thousands while others are important to two or three people. What I've tried to focus on is looking at every case as a separate issue and issue good, solid legal opinions."
Loughry previously told the Charleston Daily Mail this last term was the busier of the court's two terms, mostly because it's the shortest term.
"But some of that will be cyclical, meaning during some terms you're going to have more difficult cases than other terms, and that's something that's outside of your control," he previously said. "I think the court has dealt with some pretty difficult cases during the past year, and the quality of the work continues to improve."
And it doesn't hurt when justices get along, which Loughry says they do. However, he says that doesn't mean they agree on everything.