Supreme Court Tells Massey Coal “We’ve Heard Enough”

In the highly publicized case of Caperton v. A.T. Massey Coal (08-22), the Supreme Court has denied a March 3 motion filed after oral argument by Massey Coal, requesting permission to file a new brief containing what Massey characterizes as evidence that Justice Brent Benjamin of the West Virginia Supreme Court is not biased toward the company.

Courtesy of SCOTUSBlog:

In [the brief], Massey’s counsel sought to lay before the Justices a “press release detailing [Chief] Justice [Brent] Benjamin’s voting history in matters involving Massey Energy Co. and its affiliates.” That history, the brief contended, bears on the issue of whether there was a probability of bias based on the large sums of money spent by a Massey executive to defeat Benjamin’s election opponent.

At issue in the case is whether Justice Benjamin’s refusal to recuse himself from hearing Massey’s appeal of a $50 million verdict that Hugh Caperton had obtained against Massey violated Caperton’s right to due process, given that Massey CEO Don Blankenship was a major contributor in support of Benjamin’s campaign for a judgeship. After his election, Benjamin cast the tie-breaking vote in favor of Massey.

CAC has filed an amicus brief in support of Caperton on behalf of itself and 27 other national, state, and local organizations committed to preserving judicial independence and integrity.