Don Blankenship, the “scariest polluter in the United States,” is the CEO of A.T. Massey Coal Company, an egregious polluter, union buster, and extreme practitioner of mountaintop removal mining. Blankenship also happens to sit on the board of directors of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which promotes his virulent brand of right-wing global warming denial. The Natural Resources Defense Council’s Pete Altman has just revealed video of his bizarre rant that “The greeniacs are taking over the world” and censoring the poor folks of the Chamber:
How many times have the people in this room heard, at the US Chamber of Commerce or at the National Mining Association, “I don’t believe in climate change, but I’m afraid to say that because it is a political reality”? The greeniacs are taking over the world.
The NRDC Switchboard has much more video of Blankenship’s November speech, including accusations that his political opponents are “atheists,” “communists,” and comparable to Osama bin Laden. Soon we’ll find out if his enemies list includes the U.S. Supreme Court.
In November, the court announced it would take the case of Massey’s corrupt manipulation of the West Virginia Supreme Court, in which corrupt judges reversed a lower-court $50 million judgment against Blankenship’s company not once but twice. At issue, in the words of the U.S. Supreme Court, is whether justice Brent Benjamin’s “failure to recuse himself from a case in which he received substantial campaign donations” from Blankenship “violates the Due Process rights of the other party.”
Don Blankenship’s politics are as dirty as his coal company’s mining practices. While the appeal of a $50 million dispute with another coal company was pending, Blankenship poured $3.5 million into a 527 group that suggested that Warren McGraw, a Democratic state judge, “coddled child molesters,” fueling the candidacy of Brent Benjamin.
In November 2007 Chief Justice Elliott “Spike” Maynard and Benjamin led the first reversal of the decision against Massey, but Maynard was forced to recuse himself and allow the case to be retried after photos surfaced of a Monaco frolic with Blankenship and their “female companions.”
After Benjamin’s election, justice Larry Starcher lashed out:
So, really, the election was bought, a seat was purchased on our Supreme Court, and I’m highly offended by it. I’m highly offended by the obscene use of out-of-state money.
Starcher too recused himself under pressure for his comments that Blankenship was “disgusting,” “stupid,” and “a clown.” Despite his blatant connections to Blankenship, Benjamin stayed on and cast the deciding vote the second time around in favor of Massey. The U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments on March 3, 2009.