The Charleston Gazette has a long and proud tradition as a crusading newspaper. Our late publisher, W.E. "Ned" Chilton III coined the phrase "sustained outrage" and insisted the Gazette live up to that motto with long-term coverage of important issues facing West Virginia and the nation.
The mission of the "Gazette Watchdog" is simple: To carry on that tradition. We make a commitment to our readers to serve as a public watchdog over government, business, and other powerful entities in West Virginia society, to ensure that the public interest is protected.
The case eventually returned to the state Supreme Court, but this time, Maynard stepped down, because nationally publicized photographs showed Maynard and Blankenship having drinks and dinner together on the French Riviera in July 2006. Benjamin declined to recuse himself, and in April the court affirmed the earlier decision in favor of Massey, 3-2.
Readers who want to learn more about the legal arguments in the case can find all of the briefs filed by both sides — and lots of interested parties — online here. That Web site, sponsored by the American Bar Association, describes the issued presented to the Court this way:
Justice Brent Benjamin of the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia refused to recuse himself from the appeal of the $50 million jury verdict in this case, even though the CEO of the lead defendant spent $3 million supporting his campaign for a seat on the court–more than 60% of the total amount spent to support Justice Benjamin’s campaign– while preparing to appeal the verdict against his company. After winning election to the court, Justice Benjamin cast the deciding vote in the court’s 3-2 decision overturning that verdict. The question presented is whether Justice Benjamin’s failure to recuse himself from participation in his principal financial supporter’s case violated the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
A transcript of the oral argument should be available the same day at this site. Recordings aren’t released until the end of each court term, but are eventually available here.
SCOTUSblog and SCOTUS Wiki are also great sources of information on this and other Supreme Court cases.