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Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

Environment roundup

by Walter Olson on October 8, 2014

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Video now out from Save Farm Families on the Hudson Farm case (earlier). Description:

Collateral Damage: Farm Families Under Attack reviews the questionable political and academic actions that enabled the New York-based Waterkeeper Alliance to push forward with its lawsuit against the Hudson family, and the continuing threat that environmental extremists pose to family farmers, not just in Maryland but across the nation.

I wrote about the case here, here, and here. It raises questions of legal ethics (when the mistaken factual basis for a claim is revealed, aren’t the attorneys obliged to withdraw it?), ideological adventurism in the environmental sphere by state-affiliated law schools, and the need for loser-pays. Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler, who failed in a bid for the Democratic nomination for governor, comes off badly in the video, and America’s Most Irresponsible Public Figure® Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., even worse.

[cross-posted from my Maryland blog Free State Notes; more on RFK Jr.'s latest foray into public discussion, in which the celebrity scion/frothing hothead again demands the incarceration of various persons who take the opposite side from him in environmental controversy]

More coverage: Mark Newgent/Watchdog and Len Lazarick/Maryland Reporter.

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The group Save Farm Families is doing a nonfiction film (link to trailer) about the Hudson Farm case, in which Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s Waterkeeper group, backed by a University of Maryland environmental law clinic, sued an Eastern Shore chicken farming family on charges a judge later threw out as unfounded. More at my local policy blog Free State Notes.

Environment roundup

by Walter Olson on August 23, 2013

  • California officials profess surprise: fracking’s been going on for decades in their state [Coyote]
  • Taxpayers fund Long Island Soundkeeper enviro group, affiliated with RFK Jr.’s Waterkeeper network, and a Connecticut state lawmaker does rather nicely out of that [Raising Hale]
  • Backgrounder on Louisiana coastal erosion suit [New Orleans Times-Picayune] “Lawsuit Blaming Oil Companies For Wetland Loss Might As Well Blame The Plaintiffs” [Daniel Fisher, Forbes]
  • US ties for worst of 25 countries when it comes to delay in mining permits [Sharon Koss, NTU] “Number One in DataMining” [@sonodoc99]
  • “BP Is Rapidly Becoming One Giant Law Firm” [Paul Barrett, Bloomberg Business Week]
  • “Mann v. Steyn — Mann wins round one” [Adler]
  • An insider’s view of EPA and how it uses power [Brent Fewell]

Environment roundup

by Walter Olson on June 13, 2013

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Yes, America’s Most Irresponsible Public Figure® is at it again. [Orac, Respectful Insolence] For good measure, the celebrity environmentalist/wayward scion, speaking in Chicago at a conference called Autism One, is quoted as saying of Dr. Paul Offit and other vaccine scientists, “They should be in jail and the key should be thrown away.” [Age of Autism]

Update: As of Tues. June 3 in the afternoon, the AoA blog post has been taken down. [h/t Justin Miller]

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After a thorough scolding by the judge — to say nothing of some of us on the commentary side — the celebrity-friendly environmentalist group is cutting its losses. [DelmarvaNow] An official with the University of Maryland’s environmental law clinic defends the school’s stand here.

Maryland law clinic follies

by Walter Olson on December 28, 2012

I’m in the Baltimore Sun with an op-ed about the University of Maryland’s ill-chosen decision to represent the Waterkeeper Alliance in what was intended to be a landmark environmental case against an Eastern Shore farm family. Earlier here, etc. (& welcome Glenn Reynolds/Instapundit readers)

P.S. Welcome listeners from Baltimore’s WBAL, which had me as a guest Friday afternoon to discuss the suit. Research assistance thanks to Ryan Mulvey, Cato intern.

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On Maryland’s Eastern Shore yesterday, federal judge William Nickerson ruled against a lawsuit alleging that Alan and Kristin Hudson’s family farm and Perdue Inc. violated the federal Clean Water Act. The plaintiffs, the Waterkeeper Alliance led by celebrity environmentalist Robert F. Kennedy Jr., had hoped to establish that big food processors, in this case Perdue, could be held liable for the purported pollution sins of “contract growers” like the Hudson family. Aside from its considerable factual weaknesses, for which the judge criticized the plaintiffs, the case had touched off a furor in Maryland because the University of Maryland law school’s environmental clinic had entered the lists on behalf of Waterkeeper and its long-shot theory; Democratic Gov. Martin O’Malley had sent a critical letter to the university saying it had contributed to an “injustice” against the Hudsons. The university law clinic says it’s reviewing the judge’s order in search of grounds for appeal. [Beth Moszkowicz/Daily Record, Charlene Sharpe/DelmarvaNow, MeatPoultry.com; earlier coverage, CBS Baltimore, Mark Newgent/Red Maryland; Maryland Coast Dispatch; pro-defense SaveFarmFamilies.org; legislative reaction, NLJ and more]

P.S. Don’t miss this from John Steele at Legal Ethics Forum, quoting the judge’s concluding paragraph:

The Court has no disagreement with Plaintiff that the Chesapeake Bay is an important and vital resource, that it is seriously impaired, and that the runoff from factory farms, including poultry operations, may play a significant role in that impairment. Nor does the Court disagree that citizen suits under the Clean Water Act can play a significant role in filling the void where state regulatory agencies are unable or unwilling to take appropriate legal action against offenders. When citizen groups take up that mantle, however, they must do so responsibly and effectively. The Court finds that in this action, for whatever reason, Waterkeeper did not meet that obligation.

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January 16 roundup

by Walter Olson on January 16, 2012

  • Per Chevron, Kerry Kennedy getting undisclosed percentage of the take, potentially in millions, to side with plaintiffs in Ecuador suit [NY Post] Long New Yorker take-out on case [Patrick Radden Keefe]
  • Freetail Brewing fields a nastygram: “How to Comply With a Cease-and-Desist Letter But Still Win” [Lowering the Bar]
  • I.e. boycotts illegal? Odd Minnesota law bans economic “reprisals” based on “political activity.” [Volokh]
  • “Chris McGrath v. Vaughan Jones: An Unpleasant Peek Into U.K. Libel Law” [Popehat; suit over science-and-theology book review] Related: “You Can’t Read This Book: why libel tourists love London” [Nick Cohen, Guardian, on his new book]
  • Business experience isn’t be-all or end-all for presidential qualifications, but might avert some policy howlers [Kling]
  • “Arbitration Is Here to Stay and One Lawyer Says That Is Good for Consumers” [Alan Kaplinsky interview, Mickey Meese/Forbes, PoL]
  • Off-topic random thought: “Iranian nuclear scientist who moonlights in Broadway Spider-Man cast” must be world’s most uninsurable job description;
  • “D.C. Lawmakers Propose Requiring Students to Apply to College” [Fox]

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Environmental law roundup

by Walter Olson on December 16, 2011

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April 18 roundup

by Walter Olson on April 18, 2011

Six years late, the online publication is throwing in the towel on a notorious venture into antiscientific claptrap by America’s Most Irresponsible Public Figure®, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. Meanwhile, Carter at Point of Law reports that the newly civility-aware celebrity environmentalist will be headlining a “Progressive Voices Cruise” of the Caribbean that by total coincidence will also feature attorney Michael Papantonio, with whose Levin Papantonio injury-law firm the hothead scion has long been associated, a connection curiously absent from his current Wikipedia page and most other coverage (& welcome Jonathan Adler readers).

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January 14 roundup

by Walter Olson on January 14, 2011

  • When naming a new law, please, no acronyms, no victim names, and no assumptions about what it will accomplish [WSJ Law Blog on Brian Christopher Jones's recommendations] More: Wood.
  • America’s Most Irresponsible Public Figure® — that would be RFK Jr. — sounds off on Tucson massacre [Hemingway, Examiner]
  • More press attention for CPSC’s dubious consumer complaint database [Washington Post; my take last month]
  • An appellate win for Internet anonymity in Pennsylvania [Levy, CL&P]
  • Santa Clara lead paint case: Supreme Court won’t review government misuse of contingency lawyers [Wood, ShopFloor]
  • DC cops’ “post and forfeit” policy deserves scrutiny [Greenfield]
  • “Philosophy Explains How Legal Ethics Turn Lawyers Into Liars” [Kennerly]
  • “Marshall, Texas: Patent Central” [six years ago on Overlawyered]

New at Point of Law

by Walter Olson on April 19, 2010

Things you’re missing if you’re not keeping up with my other site:

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September 11 roundup

by Walter Olson on September 11, 2009

  • House Ways & Means — yep, Charlie Rangel’s own — passes bill slamming taxpayers for innocent errors [James Peaslee, WSJ, via Alkon]
  • Must protect the children! “Parents banned from British school sports event” [Common Room] After-school pickup procedures can get a little crazy too [Free-Range Kids, Florida]
  • Once again, America’s Most Irresponsible Public Figure® (that’d be RFK Jr.) sounds off on an environmental dispute to which he turns out to have personal financial ties [Greenwire via Eco-Pragmatism]
  • Allegations in ugly Florida law firm breakup include misallocation of Hillary Clinton campaign money [DBR]
  • When in court, try to avoid following the example of “Girls Gone Wild” impresario Joe Francis [Lowering the Bar and more, earlier]
  • “Judge Allowed to Sue N.Y. Daily News, But Not a Lawyer Thought to Be a Source” [ABA Journal, NYLJ]
  • New Hampshire judge rules for divorced father who disapproves of homeschooling [Volokh]
  • ABA Journal is taking nominations for its annual best-of “Blawg 100″ list [hint, nudge]

A major article in the new Discover. We’ve been covering Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. (and his ties to the mass-tort litigation business) for a long time.

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April 24 roundup

by Walter Olson on April 24, 2009

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