Posts Tagged ‘climate deniers to the wall’

Un-forthcoming Schneiderman loses another round to CEI

A New York appellate court has upheld an order that New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman pay counsel fees to the Competitive Enterprise Institute for having resisted required disclosure of the “AGs United for Clean Energy” secrecy agreement [Anna St. John, CEI; Chris White, Daily Caller]

Attorneys general began tangling with CEI in April of 2016, and have experienced repeated setbacks in courtroom battles since then.

Canada’s inquiry into wrongful climate advocacy

A Canadian government agency investigated three organizations accused of “climate denial” for 14 months after Ecojustice, a leading environmental pressure group, sought criminal charges [Lorrie Goldstein, Toronto Sun] While the bureau eventually discontinued the probe in June, citing “available evidence, the assessment of the facts in this case, and to ensure the effective allocation of limited resources”, it reserved the option to reopen it “should it receive relevant new information from the public.” We have followed the efforts of state attorneys general including New York’s Eric Schneiderman and Massachusetts’s Maura Healey to attach legal consequences to improper advocacy on climate topics; see also our free speech in Canada tag.

Environment roundup

  • Seattle will ban restaurants from giving plastic straws [Christian Britschgi]
  • Big money in climate inquisition? Lawyers with contingency-fee role in AGs’ carbon campaign join Hagens Berman [Scott Flaherty, American Lawyer; earlier on climate lawyers on contingency fee here and here]
  • Encyclopedia of Libertarianism, 2008, includes entries on urban planning by Mark Pennington and on eminent domain and takings by Karol Boudreaux;
  • California legislature’s $1.5 billion green Christmas tree includes bill “aimed at helping a union looking to organize workers who assemble Tesla electric cars in Fremont” [AP]
  • Michigan AG Schuette indicts state human services chief Nick Lyon in Flint water case, and a prominent Democrat and Republican both take exception to that [Kathleen Gray, Detroit Free Press (former AG Frank Kelley); Maura Corrigan]
  • “You Should Be Able to Vindicate Federal Property Rights in Federal Court” [Ilya Shapiro and Meggan DeWitt, Cato on Wayside Church v. Van Buren County]

John Baker on the AGs’ Exxon campaign

“Warning to Corporate Counsel: If State AGs Can Do This to ExxonMobil, How Safe Is Your Company?” Prof. John Baker in the Georgetown Journal of Law and Public Policy, excerpt:

Nation-states have long fought wars for control of oil. In a novel development, American states are now fighting a war over control of oil—not with one state attempting to take oil from another, but with some states attempting to deny its use to other states. In 2015, New York’s Attorney General, Eric Schneiderman, began an investigation of ExxonMobil. Then, at a news conference held in New York City on March 29, 2016, Schneiderman said that he and a group of other attorneys general were looking at “creative legal theories” to bring about “the beginning of the end of our addiction to fossil fuel.” The group is comprised of seventeen attorneys general, representing fifteen states, the District of Columbia, and one territory. Opposing these attorneys general from mostly “blue states” are attorneys general from twenty-seven mostly “red states.”

We’ve covered one angle of the investigation — its attempt to attach legal consequences to wrongful climate advocacy, and use subpoena power to investigate advocates — at length. Baker writes about many others, including the murky origins of the multi-state investigation and related professional responsibility questions, Exxon’s subdued public response, and the prospect of an ideological “War Between the States.”

Free speech roundup

  • Howard Dean, in hole re: grasping legal status of “hate speech,” keeps digging [Eugene Volokh (“No, Gov. Dean, There Is No ‘Hate Speech’ Exception to the First Amendment”), more (Chaplinsky and “fighting words”), Ronald K.L. Collins (will Dean publicly debate Volokh?]
  • White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus gets asked on a talk show about Trump’s much-criticized hopes for libel law. Did he say much that was new? [Volokh]
  • “Don’t Compel Doctors to Promote State-Favored Programs” [Ilya Shapiro and Thomas Berry on Cato amicus brief supporting Supreme Court certiorari in National Institute of Family & Life Advocates v. Becerra]
  • “Newspapers and magazines tend to bury stories about libel settlements. Don’t want to give readers ideas.” [@jackshafer on Twitter]
  • Until courts definitively smack down New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s war on wrongful climate advocacy, this interim freedom-of-information win is nice [CEI] Related: Leo Doran, Inside Sources.
  • First “alternative facts,” now this: “Students Have an ‘Alternate Understanding’ of the First Amendment.” [Stephanie Castellano, Newseum]

Free speech roundup

  • “Spanish woman given jail term for tweeting jokes about Franco-era assassination” [The Guardian]
  • If California Attorney General Xavier Becerra’s 15-felony complaint and arrest warrant against activist filmmakers David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt is a vendetta, it’s one motivated by speech. That’s serious [Jacob Sullum]
  • “A.B. 1104 — a censorship bill so obviously unconstitutional, we had to double check that it was real.” [EFF on stalled California bill to ban “fake news,” introduced by Assemblymember Ed Chau (D-Monterey Park)] “Germany approves bill curbing online hate crime, fake news” [AP/Yahoo, earlier]
  • “Another Free Speech Win In Libel Lawsuit Disguised As A Trademark Complaint” [Tim Cushing, TechDirt; criticism of doctor’s experimental treatment methods]
  • Punching a hole out of Section 230: new “sex trafficking” bill could have far-reaching consequences for web content and platforms [Elizabeth Nolan Brown, Reason]
  • One section of a Maine bill would bar state’s attorney general from investigations or prosecutions based on political speech [HP 0551; Kevin at Lowering the Bar is critical of bill]

Environment roundup

  • “Rockefeller Foundations Enlist Journalism in ‘Moral’ Crusade Against ExxonMobil” [Ken Silverstein] Massachusetts was using courts to investigate heretics back before the oil industry was even whale oil [Reuters on subpoena ruling] Washington Post shouldn’t have run Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) on climate politics without noting his brutal efforts to subpoena/silence opponents on that topic;
  • “Should you go to jail if you can’t recognize every endangered species?” [Jonathan Wood]
  • Sandy Ikeda reviews Robert H. Nelson, Private Neighborhoods and the Transformation of Local Government [Market Urbanism]
  • D.C. Circuit shouldn’t let EPA get away again with ignoring cost of power plant regs [Andrew Grossman on Cato amicus brief]
  • Under what circumstances should libertarians be willing to live with eminent domain in the construction of energy pipelines? [Ilya Somin and earlier] Economic benefits of fracking are $3.5 trillion, according to new study [Erik Gilje, Robert Ready, and Nikolai Roussanov, NBER via Tyler Cowen]
  • “Dramatically simpler than the old code…[drops] mandates for large amounts of parking.” Buffalo rethinks zoning [Aaron Renn, City Journal] Arnold Kling on California’s housing shortage; John Cochrane on an encouraging Jason Furman op-ed; “Zoning: America’s Local Version Of Crony Capitalism” [Scott Beyer]

When legal action punishes speech

Panel discussion from the Federalist Society Lawyers’ Convention with Profs. Arthur Hellman and Patrick Parenteau, West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, and Kim Strassel of the WSJ, moderated by Eighth Circuit judge Steven Colloton and introduced by John J. Park, Jr., on political and ideological investigations from the Wisconsin John Doe episode through various failed or overextended public-official corruption cases to AGs-vs.-climate-deniers. “It is noteworthy that the worst abuses have taken place in state courts. Should Congress allow removal to federal court when a defendant makes a plausible case that the relief sought would violate rights under the First Amendment?”

Environment roundup

  • Finally, some progress? White House releases “Housing Development Toolkit” urging local policymakers to expand by-right development, accessory dwelling units, pro-density rezoning [Jonathan Coppage, Washington Post; Vanessa Brown Calder, Cato]
  • And see related: “Parking Requirements Increase Traffic And Rents. Let’s Abolish Them.” [Brent Gaisford, Market Urbanism] “America’s Ugly Strip Malls Were Caused By Government Regulation” [Scott Beyer]
  • And yet more, stranded in Seattle: “Micro-Housing, Meet Modern Zoning” [Vanessa Brown Calder, Cato]
  • California: “Coastal Commission Abuse Smacked Down by Court” [Steven Greenhut]
  • “If firms refused to take direction, FDR ordered many of them seized.” For climate change advocate Bill McKibben, RICO-for-deniers is only the start [New Republic] Fan at New York Times eyeing McKibben to win Nobel [Timothy Egan]
  • “Midnight Monuments: The Antiquities Act and the Executive Authority to Designate National Monuments” [Federalist Society podcast with Donald Kochan and Charles Wilkinson]

September 28 roundup

  • Today at Cato, Josh Blackman discusses his new book Unraveled: Obamacare, Religious Liberty, and Executive Power with comments from Washington Post Supreme Court reporter Robert Barnes and Philip Klein of the Washington Examiner, Ilya Shapiro moderating [watch live 12 noon Eastern]
  • Breed-specific laws fuel mass euthanasia: “Montreal Gearing Up To Sentence Huge Numbers Of Innocent Dogs To Death” [Huffington Post]
  • Feds prepare to mandate mechanical speed governors capping road speed of tractor-trailers; truckers warn of crashes and traffic jams [AP/San Luis Obispo Tribune]
  • “You have to go back to the Red Scare to find something similar,” said Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas) of advocacy-group subpoenas by Hill committee in “Exxon Knew” probe. Or just five months to the CEI subpoena [Washington Post hearing coverage which oddly omits mention of CEI episode]
  • “I’m not here to take away your guns.” Why Hillary Clinton’s assurances ring hollow [Jacob Sullum] Trump’s comments defending stop-and-frisk and no-fly no-buy further undercut his never-impressive claims as defender of gun liberty [AllahPundit, Leon Wolf, Ilya Somin]
  • Why my Cato colleagues believe the Trans-Pacific Trade Partnership (TPP) is worth supporting as a trade liberalization measure despite some suboptimal aspects [Daniel J. Ikenson, Simon Lester, Scott Lincicome, Daniel R. Pearson, K. William Watson, Cato Trade]