Massey Chief Questions Judicial Ethics Ruling

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

Charleston, W.Va. (AP) -- Massey Energy Chief Don Blankenship is questioning whether the U.S. Supreme court's ruling in a judicial ethics case involving the coal company will stifle free speech.

The court ruled Monday that elected judges must step aside from cases when large campaign contributions from interested parties create the appearance of bias.

In a statement released Wednesday, Blankenship said he hopes the decision won't silence others.

Blankenship spent more than $3 million to help elect West Virginia Supreme Court Justice Brent Benjamin, who later was part of a 3-2 decision to overturn an $82.7 million verdict against Massy.

Blankenship says his support was really opposition to Benjamin's opponent in the 2004 race, former justice Warren McGraw, and never about Massey or the coal industry.

Massey has operations in West Virginia, Kentucky and Virginia.

(Copyright 2009 by the Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

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