Editorial on Caperton case
Thought I'd point out this editorial about the Caperton v. A.T. Massey Coal Co. case, for which the Supreme Court heard oral arguments earlier this month. At issue is whether a judge was obligated to recuse himself from a case, when one of the parties had spent millions of dollars to affect the outcome of the judge's campaign. The author of the editorial argues that "if the justices condone this travesty, they will be letting the well-heeled place their ingots of gold on justice's scale."
The big donor in the case, CEO Don Blankenship, had supported West Virginia Supreme Court Chief Justice Brent D. Benjamin's candidacy against an incumbent Democrat, including:
"$1,000 donated directly to Benjamin's campaign, some $516,000 in payments to media outlets for television and newspaper advertisement in opposition to the incumbent, and nearly $2.5 million to a group called "And for the Sake of Kids," set up to oppose Benjamin's opponent. Altogether, Blankenship's spending accounted for more than 60 percent of the nearly $5 million spent to promote Benjamin's election."
Justice Benjamin won his election and ultimately cast the deciding vote in Blankenship's case, with a 3-2 ruling in Blankenship's favor.
The folks at the Brennan Center have covered this case extensively here. One to watch. The Supreme Court will rule on the case this summer.