A violation of due process occurred when West Virginia Supreme Court justice Brent Benjamin denied a recusal motion. The Supreme Court of West Virginia reversed a trial court judgment which had entered a jury verdict of $50 million against A.T. Massey Coal Co., Inc. Five justices heard the case, and the vote was 3 to 2. The basis for the recusal motion was that Justice Benjamin had received campaign contributions in an extraordinary amount from, and through the efforts of, Don Blankenship, Massey’s board chairman and principal officer. After the initial verdict in the case, but before the appeal, West Virginia held its 2004 judicial elections. Benjamin was running against an incumbent justice. In addition to contributing the $1,000 statutory maximum to Benjamin’s campaign committee, Blankenship donated almost $2.5 million to a political organization opposed to the incumbent and supporting Benjamin. Additionally, Blankenship spent just over $500,000 on independent expenditures—direct mailings and letters soliciting donations as well as television and newspaper advertisements supporting Benjamin. Blankenship’s $3 million in contributions were more than the total amount spent by all other Benjamin supporters and three times the amount spent by Benjamin’s own committee. Benjamin won, in a close election. In October 2005, before Massey filed its petition for appeal to the West Virginia Supreme Court, the plaintiffs in the underlying action moved to disqualify now-Justice Benjamin based on the conflict caused by Blankenship’s campaign involvement. Justice Benjamin denied the motion. In November 2007, the West Virginia Supreme Court reversed the $50 million verdict against Massey. It did so again on rehearing, after another recusal motion was denied. The U.S. Supreme Court held that “Blankenship’s significant and disproportionate influence—coupled with the temporal relationship between the election and the pending case—offer a possible temptation to the average . . . judge to . . . lead him not to hold the balance nice, clear, and true” and that “[o]n these extreme facts, the probability of actual bias rises to an unconstitutional level.”