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.
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]
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.
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. (& welcomeGlenn 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.
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]
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.
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]
Over the years we’ve traced some of the shifting theories by which it’s been argued that once-prominent attorney Paul Minor was railroaded and didn’t really deserve conviction in that seedy Mississippi cash-for-judges scandal. Now America’s Most Irresponsible Public Figure®, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., has started banging his bowl in Minor’s cause, prompting Alan Lange to do what Kennedy does not do, namely provide supporting documents and links by which the interested reader can check out the actual details of the Minor-Whitfield-Teel scandals rather than taking someone’s word for it.
“I don’t know if that [quotation] is accurate, but I believe it and I support it,” said Mr. Kennedy, who has been involved in a vigorous legal effort against the meat industry for some years, arguing that manure and other products associated with large livestock producers emit toxic wastes that threaten the environment.
Mr. Kennedy also has said that a single hog consignment can put out more pollution than a city of a million people.
He has also said that every public official in North Carolina has been corrupted by the pork industry. He cited as evidence an editorial in a Raleigh newspaper, although he also said there may be some exceptions. …
Mr. Kennedy has said that he plans to go after all large farms in the country, not just pork producers. He has also said that the “right” lawsuit against livestock producers could bring damage awards of up to $13 billion.
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