GAO Board Member Chris Horner has a piece in today’s Washington Times about the climate litigation industry and next week’s oral argument in the Mayor and City of Baltimore v. BP p.l.c.
Climate litigation industry comes to SCOTUS
Supreme Court will decide whether government donors, ideologues and the trial bar should prevail
Increasingly, societal institutions have enlisted as warriors in ideological and economically predatory litigation campaigns. These campaigns are typically coordinated among the trial bar and ideologically committed donors and activists. The “climate” entrants are particularly furious, and next week they make their way to the U.S. Supreme Court.
The question on Tuesday in Mayor and City of Baltimore v. BP p.l.c. actually has nothing to do with climate change, but is jurisdictional. Nonetheless, by settling whether these cases may be tried in local courts which the plaintiffs clearly see as their hope to provide the desired windfall, the court’s decision could make or break what has become a climate litigation industry.
Practitioners include a breadth of non-profit groups — both issue-advocacy and charitable foundations — as well as universities, and private tort law firms. The most concerning aspect of that effort has been participation by privately hired activist attorneys placed in the offices of progressive state attorneys general by a major political donor, Michael Bloomberg. It smacks of renting the offices.
This litigation campaign’s objectives are several, and include silencing dissenting voices on key issues of national policy; compelling regulation that has eluded advocates through the legislative and rulemaking processes; and obtaining from the targeted parties financial settlements contemplated to be in the hundreds of billions of dollars, which settlements would be used in part to further underwrite the advocates’ and their partners’ efforts, along with the condition that the litigation targets agree to advocate for the larger policy agenda.
The plaintiffs’ team are regularly found admitting these things, only to vehemently deny them when specifically asked whether this is an attempt to use the courts as substitute policymaker for a failed policy agenda that they simply have failed to sell to the public…
Read the entire piece here.