Harman Mining files reply brief in Brent Benjamin case

Attorneys for a bankrupt coal company have filed one last brief before the United States Supreme Court decides if state Supreme Court Justice Brent Benjamin should have recused himself from the case of a campaign supporter.

Harman Mining's attorneys refuted three arguments posed by Massey Energy, the benefactor of the West Virginia Supreme Court's decision to overturn a $50 million verdict. Harman says Justice Brent Benjamin should have stepped down from the case because Massey CEO Don Blankenship spent millions of dollars campaigning against Benjamin's opponent in the 2004 election.

Massey dismisses the manifest probability that any jurist would have a difficult time being evenhanded in the face of such immense and influential campaign support by asserting that bias is never a constitutional ground for recusal; that any such principle unaccompanied by a clear, bright line would be limitless and unmanageable; and that, in any event, the $3 million was expended by an individual who was not actually a party to the case, and not to elect Justice Benjamin, but to defeat his only opponent.”

— the brief filed by Harman