Monday, June 08, 2009

Horse Puckey At The High Court

The U.S. Supreme Court by a bare 5 to 4 majority has ruled that you can't steal, at least not from someone else who's rich, under some vague circumstances, if the crime is so gross you get caught at it. As usual (see Watergate, et al.), the attempted cover-up was worse than the original crime. It's all about coal mining in West Virginia, and no, it doesn't provide justice to the oppressed peasantry whose valleys were hauled away by Mr. Peabody's coal trains per the song. It's just a fight between two companies, but 'tis a famous victory. The AssPress doesn't want us linking to them (which causes me to celebrate the election success of the Pirate Party in Sweden), but here's the key paragraph:
The West Virginia case involved more than $3 million spent by the chief executive of Massey Energy Co. to help elect state Supreme Court Justice Brent Benjamin. At the same time, Massey was appealing a verdict, which now totals $82.7 million with interest, in a dispute with a local coal company. Benjamin refused to step aside from the case, despite repeated requests, and was part of a 3-2 decision to overturn the verdict.
Their actual decision doesn't get into who was right in the original dispute. It only says personally financing (with three million bucks in the rock-poor tiny state of West Virginia) a statewide judicial candidate hand-picked to rule your way in an appeal calls too much attention to the real masters of the courts and should not be allowed. That might expose the myth and cause revolt in addition to revulsion. Those are not the words they used, of course, but like most of their money decisions, if you grasp the hidden premise the syllogism is clear.

What was the orignial case really about? Enjoy this dissent from that West Virginia decision, in language so blunt that I've never read anything like it before in any state Supreme Court ruling:
The majority's opinion is morally and legally wrong.

The majority opinion is morally wrong because it steals more than $60 million dollars from a man who was the victim of a deliberate, illegal scheme to destroy his business. The majority opinion is legally wrong because it uses erroneous legal reasoning to justify an immoral result.

Make no mistake -- a West Virginia jury heard from all the witnesses for both sides, and decided that Mr. Don Blankenship directed an illegal scheme to break Mr. Hugh Caperton's business. No one says that the jury was wrongly instructed. No one says they didn't hear all the evidence. In fact, the majority opinion concedes, “the facts of this case demonstrate that Massey's conduct warranted the type of judgment rendered in this case.” Yes, that's right, the majority of the members of this Court says that the Boone County jury's verdict was fully justified! Therefore, in this aspect of the case, our Court's opinion is unanimous.

Let's not forget why the jury's verdict was justified: the jurors looked Mr. Blankenship in the eye and concluded that he was lying, and that Mr. Caperton was telling the truth.

The majority opinion says: “That doesn't matter” -- it all should have been handled in Virginia. To which argument, one must respond: “Horse puckey!”

The Virginia case was about a single narrow contract issue. There was nothing in the Virginia case about Mr. Blankenship's grand scheme to crush Mr. Caperton and his business. According to the jury's findings, that scheme was hatched in West Virginia and carried out in West Virginia. Mr. Caperton had every right to try his case in West Virginia -- and he did, and he won.

Now three members of this Court have ruled that even though it is a fact that Don Blankenship illegally took over $60 million dollars from Hugh Caperton -- he can get away with it scot-free. Talk about crime in the suites!
Mind you, the U.S. Supreme Court didn't say that this dissent was right, or that Blankenship was really a thief. If the West Virginia judges had reached the same decision, but all been free of the mark of such grossly obvious contributions from someone trying to buy their ruling, that would have been fine. If this goes back to West Virginia and untainted judges make the same unjust decision as the bought-and-paid-for ones did, SCOTUS won't even blink. Moral: be subtle and covert when you buy "justice" in America.

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