Sustained Outrage

More on Benjamin and Blankenship


As tomorrow’s U.S. Supreme Court oral argument on the Brent Benjamin-Don Blankenship connection  approaches, more media stories are coming out about the high-profile case over whether Benjamin should have stepped down from considering a big-money appeal involving Blankenship’s Massey Energy Co.

frey.jpgolson.jpgThe Washington Post had a story today,  points out that the case will be argued by “two of the court’s most prolific and persuasive practitioners, former solicitor general Theodore B. Olson and Andrew L. Frey.”

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All about Benjamin — and Blankenship

benjamin08.jpgThere’s been plenty said and written about whether West Virginia Supreme Court Chief Justice Brent Benjamin has a conflict of interest because of the millions of dollars Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship spent helping him get elected in 2004.

The whole thing comes to a head this week, when the U.S. Supreme Court hears oral arguments on Tuesday.

The Gazette’s own Paul J. Nyden has covered the controversy extensively, and the issue has been the subject of recent stories in The New York Times and USA Today.blankenshipx1.jpgMore than one commentator has noted the similarities with John Grisham’s thriller, The Appeal. The American Bar Association Journal published a lengthy piece on the matter, and it has been covered in The Economist.

The National Law Journal also has a new analysis of the case.

Dr. Nyden, by the way, will be in D.C. for the oral argument and be reporting on it in the Gazette. And in a preview in today’s Sunday Gazette-Mail, one legal expert described the case to Nyden this way:

This growing lack of confidence in the judicial branch has almost become a crisis in the American legal profession. Was there ever a case or time, when an individual’s contributions to a judge or a judicial candidate created such an appearance of potential bias? Was there ever a time when a failure of a judge to recuse himself or herself – because of the appearance of impropriety, not because someone was actually paid off – crossed the line? If this isn’t such a case, there is no such case.

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