So, you may recall that loathsome mountaintop-removal mining outfit Massey was hit with a $50 million judgment a while back. They appealed it up to the W. Va. Supreme Court, which overturned it.

Later, it turned out that Massey CEO Don Blankenship (an evil bastard) had been photographed frolicking with one of the judges in Monte Carlo, accompanied by, um, female consorts.

So that judge dropped out of the case.

Now the WSJ brings word that another judge is recusing himself — Justice Larry Starcher had criticized Massey and Blankenship publicly, so Blankenship bullied him off the case.

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Said Starcher:

"As a judge I am limited in my public comments, but I do have a constitutional right — and, in fact, a duty — to speak out on matters affecting the administration of justice," Starcher wrote. "And let me be clear about this: I believe Mr. Blankenship’s conduct does have an effect on the administration of justice, in that it has become a pernicious and evil influence on that administration."

"The simple fact of the matter is that the pernicious effects of Mr. Blankenship’s bestowal of his personal wealth, political tactics and ‘friendship’ have created a cancer in the affairs of this court," Starcher wrote.

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Starcher has filed a brief requesting that a third justice — Brent Benjamin — recuse himself now. Turns out Blankenship spent $3.5 million supporting Benjamin’s re-election. Not that it biased him in any way.

This is what you get in a poor rural state with one huge employer that’s insinuated himself in the entire government apparatus. It’s incestuous in the extreme. Anybody see any chance of real justice coming out of this? Or even the possibility of finding legitimate judges?

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