West Virginia Coal Association Senior Vice President Chris Hamilton recently responded to a request by Senator Joe Manchin for input into his decision to support the Obama Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland. Garland is known for supporting EPA power grabs. 

Following is the letter Vice President Hamilton sent in response.

Senator Manchin, 

I received your invitation to participate in the public discussion of President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland this Thursday in Charleston.

As you are well aware, the single most important issue before the U.S. Supreme Court is the resolution of President Obama’s “Clean Power Plan”.  Recall that in February, days before the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, the High Court elected to stay the Clean Power Plan until such time the Court could hear evidentiary arguments. The Court’s decision was due in no small part to Justice Scalia's strong persuasion and vote, and the decision was in full recognition of the devastating implications of moving forward with the President’s Climate Plan if it ultimately is found to be unlawful or otherwise inappropriate to issue.


As has been widely reported in media outlets, particularly in energy-intensive states such as Texas, Garland has a record of generally supporting contested EPA regulations since he became a judge on the DC Circuit Court of Appeals. In 2003, Garland wrote an opinion upholding the federal government’s application of the Endangered Species Act, which opponents challenged on the ground that the act exceeded the bounds of the Commerce Clause. In several other cases, he voted to uphold EPA regulations on emissions.

Clearly, Obama’s intentions are to appoint a new Supreme Court justice who will tip the balance in favor of his war on coal. There is nothing presently before the Court more important to President Obama and his Administration than the Clean Power Plan.  It stands as the self-proclaimed centerpiece of his accomplishments as president, and it ranks as one of the primary discussion pointsin his international travels.

Senator, with that backdrop in mind, coupled with all the devastation and pain already inflicted on West Virginia coal miners, their families and communities throughout our great state by this ill-conceived plan, it simply begs the question: Why do you need public input to guide you in this important vote? Especially on a nominee like Garland who is all but certain to uphold EPA’s regulatory actions.

On behalf of West Virginia coal, our state’s coal miners, their families and our communities, we urge you to vote no on Garland or better yet, stand with those in the U.S. Senate who refuse to consider any Supreme Court nomination at this time.