CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The state Supreme Court will hear arguments next Wednesday about whether ex-coal CEO Don Blankenship should be allowed on ballots this fall for the U.S. Senate race.

Blankenship ran in the Primary Election as a Republican and came in third behind Attorney General Patrick Morrisey and Congressman Even Jenkins.

In late May, he announced he would run in the General Election as the nominee of the Constitution Party.

The Secretary of State has blocked Blankenship’s latest Senate candidacy on the grounds of West Virginia’s sore loser law.

That prompted Blankenship’s legal challenge to the state Supreme Court.

The court has complications of its own as controversies have raged about spending and oversight issues.

Justices Menis Ketchum and Robin Davis abruptly retired, and Justice Allen Loughry has been suspended.

Chief Justice Margaret Workman and Justice Beth Walker remain on the court along with Justice Paul Farrell, who was named to the court to fill in during Loughry’s suspension.

The court pushed its fall schedule, which was supposed to start at the beginning of September, to the beginning of October.

But the Blankenship case is a pressing matter that needs to be settled prior to the printing of ballots, so it will be expedited.

Arguments will be heard in the Blankenship candidacy case at 10 a.m. Wednesday.

Workman has appointed Judge Darrell Pratt of Wayne County and Judge Alan Moats, whose circuit includes Barbour and Taylor Counties, to hear the case, sitting in the two vacant seats.

Justices Workman, Walker and Farrell will also will hear the case.

Documents in the Blankenship case are here.

Blankenship served a 1-year prison sentence  for a misdemeanor conviction on conspiracy to violate mine safety regulations.

The charges against Blankenship related to his leadership of Massey Energy leading up to the 2010 explosion of the Upper Big Branch mine, which killed 29 workers.

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