Watch CAC’s Elizabeth Wydra Discuss Caperton v. Massey Coal on Fox

Yesterday afternoon, Constitutional Accountability Center’s (CAC) Chief Counsel, Elizabeth Wydra, appeared on Fox News to discuss Caperton v. Massey Coal, a case concerning judicial accountability that is set to be argued before the Supreme Court tomorrow. CAC has filed an amicus brief in this case in support of the petitioner, Hugh Caperton, on behalf of Justice at Stake and 27 other public interest advocacy groups. The brief argues that the text and history of the Fourteenth Amendment require that Justice Brent Benjamin have recused himself from hearing the appeal of a $50 million verdict, in which the CEO of the appealing company was a major campaign contributor in Benjamin’s election.

As Elizabeth states, contrary to some arguments that a ruling in favor of Caperton would be an intrusion by the federal government into states’ ability to administer their own justice systems, federalism does not mean the principle of due process is optional from one state to the next. Watch it:

(Note, Elizabeth’s response begins around minute 3:30.)
Shannon Bream, Fox News: Let me check in now with Ms.Wydra… Some are going to argue this is a states’ rights issue. Nobody should be telling the states how they run their elections or how they choose a chief justice. What’s your take on that?

Elizabeth, CAC: Shannon, I’d like to bring it back to some first principles for a moment. Our Constitution’s text and history require that every state in America, whether it elects its judges or appoints them, has a fair system of justice that we can all be believe in. And that’s simply not possible if Mr. Blankenship can buy his judge’s way into office.

The facts here are disturbing but clear. Mr. Blankenship spent millions of dollars, 60% of the total amount spent in support of Justice Benjamin’s candidacy, and that certainly creates the appearance – if not the reality – of an unconstitutional ‘pay to play’ justice system.
In related news, Caperton v. Massey Coal was featured heavily in this morning’s papers, including in the Washington Post, which discussed CAC’s brief filed on behalf of Justice at Stake and 27 other advocacy organizations.

Oral argument in this case is scheduled for 10am, tomorrow morning.