Archive for the ‘Lawyers’ Category
There’s no question that Eric Holder wasn’t the US Attorney General when thugs from the NBPP threatened voters, including legendary civil rights attorney Bartle Bull. He wasn’t the US Attorney General when the DOJ won the civil case against the NBPP. What’s indisputable, though, is that Holder was the US Attorney General whose DOJ dropped the case after a previous DOJ team of attorneys had won the case.
New evidence has surfaced showing a high-ranking DOJ official, Thomas Perez, lied under oath. This scandal is about to get major national press thanks to this video:
First, let’s review what’s known. Judicial Watch filed a FOIA request, which led to Judge Reggie Walton’s ruling. Here’s the vital part of Judge Walton’s ruling:
Judicial Watch…has obtained documents from the Obama [DOJ] that provide new evidence that top political appointees at the DOJ were intimately involved in the decision to dismiss the voter intimidation case against the New Black Panther Party for Self Defense (NBPP). These new documents, which include internal DOJ email correspondence, directly contradict sworn testimony by Thomas Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division, who testified before the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights that no political leadership was involved in the decision…The new documents include a series of emails between two political appointees: former Democratic election lawyer and current Deputy Associate Attorney General Sam Hirsch and Associate Attorney General Thomas Perrelli.
Here’s one of the emails disclosed by the DOJ:
For example, in one April 30, 2009, email from Hirsch to Perrelli, with the subject title “Fw: New Black Panther Party Update,” Hirsch writes:
I need to discuss this with you tomorrow morning. I’ll send you another email on this shortly.
If you want to discuss it this evening, please let me know which number to call and when.
This entire administration must go, starting with Eric Holder. That means prosecuting him for politically undermining a case involving a voting rights violations.
That includes criminal prosecution of Gen. Holder and President Obama’s political appointees. President Obama’s political appointees undermined the American system of justice through acts of political sabotage that helped their political allies. That’s corruption of the worst kind.
The indictment against this administration keeps getting longer. What’s worse for this administration is that it keeps revealing more corruption and economic ineptitude.
When I first read this article, I thought I was seeing things. Unfortunately, I hadn’t. Here’s what I’m talking about:
But the state has no obligation to verify eligibility before counting votes, nor would doing so be practical, countered Assistant Attorney General Nathan Hartshorn, representing Secretary of State Mark Ritchie and Attorney General Lori Swanson.
That’s an odd interpretation of Article VII of Minnesota’s Constitution:
Section 1. ELIGIBILITY; PLACE OF VOTING; INELIGIBLE PERSONS. Every person 18 years of age or more who has been a citizen of the United States for three months and who has resided in the precinct for 30 days next preceding an election shall be entitled to vote in that precinct. The place of voting by one otherwise qualified who has changed his residence within 30 days preceding the election shall be prescribed by law. The following persons shall not be entitled or permitted to vote at any election in this state: A person not meeting the above requirements; a person who has been convicted of treason or felony, unless restored to civil rights; a person under guardianship, or a person who is insane or not mentally competent.
Article VII, Sect. 1 specifically says that people who don’t meet the Constitution’s requirements “shall not be entitled or permitted to vote at any election in this state.”
The Secretary of State is known as the chief election official in Minnesota just like the Attorney General is known as the chief law enforcement official in Minnesota. They, along with the state auditor, the governor and the leiutenant governor are the 5 “constitutional offices.”
What Assistant Attorney General Hartshorn just said in U.S. District Court is that Minnesota’s constitutional officers, specifically the Secretary of State and the Attorney General, aren’t required to uphold Minnesota’s Constitution.
That argument wouldn’t work in a Minnesota court. If it wouldn’t work in here, it certainly won’t fly in any US appellate court with the exception of the Ninth Circuit.
Hartshorn isn’t going beyond the bizarre statements in Mark Ritchie’s memo in favor of dismissal motion:
In their responsive memorandum, Plaintiffs once again proceed from the premise that the Minnesota Constitution imposes an obligation on Defendants to “confirm” or “verify” voter eligibility before counting votes. This time, Plaintiffs repeatedly assert that that obligation is contained in the phrase “any election” in Minn. Const. art. VII, § 1.
(See 2d. Pls. Mem. 3, 7, 13, 16, 17, 19.) As Plaintiffs concede, however, that section of the state constitution merely provides that a “person not entitled to vote cannot vote in ‘any election.’” (2d. Pls. Mem. 7 (emphasis added).) There is nothing in the words “any election,” in art. VII, § 1, or elsewhere in Minnesota law that places upon Defendants an affirmative obligation to prevent such persons from committing felony voter fraud.
What Mr. Hartshorn is arguing is that the chief election official doesn’t have a responsibility for upholding Minnesota’s election laws. What he’s arguing is that a) the Secretary of State’s office is a ceremonial office devoid of official constitutional responsibilities and b) Minnesota’s constitution doesn’t require that the Constitution be upheld.
He’s also arguing that the chief law enforcement officer in the state isn’t responsible for enforcing the requirements codified into Minnesota’s Constitution.
These are absurd arguments that attempt to shirk the Secretary of State’s and the Attorney General’s responsibilities. It’s absurd to think that the Constitution requires something but Minnesota state statutes doesn’t compel anyone to enforce those requirements.
The ACLU of Minnesota, the League of Women Voters-Minnesota, Common Cause MN and Jewish Community Action filed suit yesterday to keep the Photo ID constitutional amendment off of November’s ballot:
The American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota, the League of Women Voters Minnesota, Jewish Community Action and Common Cause Minnesota are petitioning the state Supreme Court to strike down the voter ID ballot question, because they claim it would create one of the most restrictive election laws in the country.
Chuck Samuelson, executive director of the ACLU Minnesota, said during a news conference at a downtown Minneapolis law office that the proposed constitutional amendment would do far more than what the question describes. Samuelson said there’s no mention of a new provisional ballot system or the potential end of same-day registration.
“We believe that the voters of Minnesota have a right to know what they’re voting on,” Samuelson said. “This petition is about ensuring that all Minnesota voters know the full extent of what this amendment could do and the impact it could have on hundreds of thousands of Minnesota voters.”
This isn’t unexpected. In fact, DFL legislators started laying the groundwork for it during floor debates this session.
Rep. Ryan Winkler and other DFL legislators insisted that the real intent of the constitutional amendment was to eliminate same day registration. That’s nothing more than the DFL’s typical fearmongering.
Rep. Mary Kiffmeyer frequently informed DFL legislators that eliminating same day registration wasn’t part of the constitutional amendment.
Eliminating same day registration isn’t planned. If it were, why would there be a need for provisional ballots? Secretary of State Mark Ritchie admitted as much during a visit to St. Cloud recently.
Pentelovitch also believes that the proposed voter ID requirement would essentially end Minnesota’s tradition of same-day registration. He said that’s because election officials will face too many complications at polling places trying to verify the identification of voters. But voter ID supporters firmly disagree.
“That is not true. That is absolutely not true,” said Sen. Scott Newman, R-Hutchinson, a chief sponsor of the voter ID constitutional amendment bill.
Newman said the practice of vouching for the identity of other voters will end. But he insists eligible Minnesotans will still be able to show up at their polling place on Election Day and register to vote, even without an identification.
“If they show up on Election Day without the requisite identification, they will be allowed register,” he said. “They will be allowed to vote. But their vote will be provisional, and it will not count unless and until they come back with the necessary identification.”
It’s time to get rid of the voter fraud in Minnesota. Yes, there’s voter fraud here. It’s just that people like Mark Ritchie and Joe Mansky haven’t been looking for it.
It’s understatement to say that legendary law professor Alan Dershowitz is upset with the prosecutor in the Trayvon Martin case:
Professor Alan Dershowitz of Harvard Law School stated upon release of the arrest affidavit that it was “so thin that it won’t make it past a judge on a second degree murder charge … everything in the affidavit is completely consistent with a defense of self-defense.”
After the release of the photo, however, Dershowitz went much further, telling Breitbart News that if the prosecutors did have the photo and didn’t mention it in the affidavit, that would constitute a “grave ethical violation,” since affidavits are supposed to contain “all relevant information.”
Dershowitz continued, “An affidavit that willfully misstates undisputed evidence known to the prosecution is not only unethical but borders on perjury because an affiant swears to tell not only the truth, but the whole truth, and suppressing an important part of the whole truth is a lie.”
The benchmark for a witness testifying is telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. It looks like that’s the standard for affidavits, too.
If the police were the first people on the scene, they certainly had to see the blood on George Zimmerman’s head. Whoever filled out the affidavit was obligated to include that information.
Alot of attention was paid to marches by racebaiters like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton. The fact that Mr. Zimmerman might’ve been acting in self defense wasn’t important to the racebaiting reverands. Replenishing the racebaiting industry’s coffers was infinitely more important to them than seeking justice or the truth.
When this case collapses, President Obama and the racebaiting reverands will have tons of egg on their faces. It couldn’t happen to more deserving people.
UPDATE: A Florida judge has set George Zimmerman’s bail at $150,000.
The Houston County Minnesota Landowners Concerned About Property Rights have filed a lawsuit in federal court. In their lawsuit, the Houston County, Minnesota Landowners Concerned About Property Rights argue that their U.S. constitutional rights have been violated. Here’s their press release announcing the lawsuit:
The Houston County, Minnesota Landowners Concerned About Property Rights have endorsed new litigation toget government back in the hands of “We the People.” The Complaint, to be filed in the Minnesota Federal District Court, asserts that the Houston County Commissioners, the Board of Adjustment, and the Planning Commission, as well as Houston County Zoning Administrator Bob Scanlan and Environmental Service Director Richard (Rick) Frank are violating the constitutionally guaranteed rights of the landowners in Houston County.
The case, which will be filed during the week of October 3, 2011, argues that the County, Scanlan and Frank have violated the private property rights, the rights of due process, the rights to freedom of speech and association, the right to petition for redress of grievance and the right to equal protection of the law to similarly situated landowners in the application of the County’s Land Use Plan and Zoning Ordinance. The case is being brought under the Federal Civil Rights Act of 1871.
“We are not a litigious group,” said Robert Ideker, a Houston County landowner. “We have tried to work with the County; we have attended dozens of meetings and hearings; we have written dozens of letters, but no one will listen. This last year, we even tried to talk to the Commissioners individually to express our concerns about the protection of property rights, and some landowners were told that the Commissioners would not speak to them. These are our elected representatives; it boggles my mind that they won’t even hear what we have to say.”
“At some of the meetings, we are told not to talk about the Constitution and the protection it guarantees to U.S. citizens. We need to get government back in the hands of the people; we just want the use of ourproperty, our land and buildings. As we have told the County numerous times, we are not against civil law, but if our property use is not harming our neighbors or the environment, we should be able to use our property. We aren’t disrespectful to the County, but they should listen to our side as well. We are disappointed that we have to resort to the federal court to get a fair hearing on our concerns.”
The disagreements with the County came to a head when concerned citizens who had been deprived of their property rights went to the county officials, only to be rebuffed for their concerns. The landowners, often referred to as Landowners Concerned About Property Rights, then drafted a resolution, which was signed by 700 of the County’s landowners, that urged the County Commissioners to recognize the protections for private property and property use. That petition was presented to the Commission in 2007. The Commissioners never responded.
The Concerned Landowners filed litigation in state court challenging the land use plan and zoning ordinance in 2010, but during the research and discovery in the case, many landowners learned that the issues between the County and its citizens were significantly deeper than the land use plan; those issues go to the heart of the guarantees in the U.S. Constitution that are protected by the Federal Civil Rights Act. That is why the landowners are dismissing the state court case and endorsing the Federal District Court Civil Rights case. Dismissal of the state court case does not mean we agree with the County, it means we want to resolve all the claims at once and that can only be done in Federal Court.
“Civil rights are the rights belonging to an individual by virtue of his or her U.S. citizenship, especially the fundamental freedoms and privileges guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and by subsequent acts of Congress, including property rights, civil liberties, due process, equal protection of the laws, and freedom from discrimination,” explained Ideker. “Specifically, section 1983 of the Civil Rights Act makes monetary and equitable relief available to those whose constitutional rights had been violated by a bureaucrat or official acting under State authority.
The Federal Civil Rights Act stands as one of the most powerful authorities under which federal courts may protect those whose constitutionally guaranteed rights are deprived. Section 1983 provides a way individuals can sue to stop past and prevent future violations of constitutionally protected rights. Section 1983 applies to both governmental employees as individuals and to state and local boards and commissions acting under state authority. It requires that the individuals or boards be responsible for the decisions they make, and not simply hide behind a claim that they are ‘following the law.’”
“It is disappointing that it has come to federal court litigation, but there is nowhere else to turn. We would still be open to talking to the County officials to try to come to a resolution,” said county land owner Tom Groeschner. “But we can’t really talk to them if they won’t listen to us. Don’t we have to put government back in the hands of ‘we the people?’”
The Houston County Minnesota Landowners Concerned About Property Rights argue that the Houston County Commissioners have stripped them of their constitutional rights by telling these landowners that they’ve changed the rules of the game after the land has been purchased. They’ve essentially said that the things they wanted to do when they purchased the land can’t be done thanks to Houston County’s oppressive regulation.
Worse, Houston County has said that the property’s use has been restricted for “the public good” without paying the landowner for the taking. What Houston County is claiming is that they can take the land without paying for the taking. If the courts let this stand, it will essentially gut private property rights. Local units of government wouldn’t need to use the Takings Clause of the U.S. Constitution to achieve their goals. They could just use zoning laws to tell property owners what they can or can’t do.
The Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states that “nor shall private property be taken for public use without just compensation”. Houston County is essentially saying that they aren’t taking the property. They’re just telling private property owners that the county, not the landowner, will control the use of private property.
This is unacceptable. If Houston County wants to be the final arbiter of what land can be used for, then it should be required to purchase the land from the landowners at a fair market price. If Houston County isn’t willing to purchase the land for a fair market price, then it shouldn’t have decision-making rights, final or otherwise.
Essentially, Houston County wants everything for nothing. That sounds more like what happened in the former Soviet Union than in the United States.
After reading these articles from the American Spectator’s Quin Hillyer, the Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin and this Washington Times editorial, I’m wondering if Eric Holder is in charge of the Department of Justice or the Department of Corruption. Here’s some statistics from the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights’ investigation:
The statements indicate several points: 1) the New Black Panther Party case brought by career Justice Department employees was meritorious on the law and the facts; 2) there is voluminous evidence of the Obama administration’s political interference in the prosecution of the New Black Panther Party case; 3) there is ample evidence that the Obama administration directed Justice Department employees not to bring cases against minority defendants who violated voting rights laws or to enforce a provision requiring that states and localities clean up their voting rolls to prevent fraud; 4) the Justice Department stonewalled efforts to investigate the case; and 5) vice chairman Abigail Thernstrom has, for reasons not entirely clear, ignored the evidence and tried to undermine the commission’s work.
Let’s take these one at a time. That the case against the NBPP “was meritorious” isn’t surprising. It’s just nice that a formal investigation confirmed that.
More importantly, the bombshells are that the administration told the DOJ not to prosecute alleged lawbreakers and that the Obama administration ran interference for the NBPP. There should be a zero tolerance level for this type of corruption. There should be an independent investigator named ASAP to prosecute anyone who ran interference.
That’s a must because we’ve seen that the Obama-Holder DOJ isn’t willing to take this seriously, perhaps as a result of reverse discrimination.
All along, therefore, the question was if the Obama-Holder Justice Department was giving support to the internal Civil Rights Division belief that civil rights laws should not be enforced against black perpetrators who abused the rights of white victims. This is explosive stuff. It cuts to the very heart of equal rights under the law. It’s also straight out of Orwell’s Animal Farm, where some animals were “more equal than others.”
Holder isn’t interested in justice for all. It’s apparent that he’s interested only in justice for the perceived aggrieved, only in justice for those who are more wrthy of his protection.
Holder obviously doesn’t agree that the law must protect everyone or it doesn’t protect anyone. Shame on him for that. That type of corruption must be eliminated. If President Obama won’t terminate Holder, then we’ll terminate President Obama through the ballot box in November, 2012.
When it comes to racial corruption, the United States must have a zero tolerance policy. When thugs like the NBPP are allowed to threaten white voters outside a polling station, the Justice Department is obligated to prosecute and imprison the criminals who committed that heinous crime.
On Wednesday, Judicial Watch, a private watchdog, filed a brief in its case seeking release of official memoranda, arguing that government stonewalling, “is about political interference in [Justice’s] decision-making process and [the department‘s] efforts to avoid public scrutiny of that interference.” Most abused is the “deliberative process” privilege, which is intended for discussions made before and during litigation but is being claimed for documents created after the Black Panther case was concluded.
I know a person who works for Judicial Watch. If there’s anything I can predict with total certainty, it’s that Judicial Watch will torment Holder’s DOJ persistently until they’re voted out of office or until the DOJ hands over the specified documents. It’s that simple.
There’s no chance that the judge won’t rule in Judicial Watch’s favor, either. They don’t make frivolous challenges.
Here’s something that should be filed in the ‘What Could Possibly Go Wrong’ File:
The final internal review into Justice’s seemingly race-based decision-making also lies in question. In September, Justice Inspector General Glenn A. Fine announced he would examine “whether the Voting Section has enforced the civil rights laws in a non-discriminatory manner; and whether any Voting Section employees have been harassed for participating in the investigation or prosecution of particular matters.” Today, Mr. Fine retires from his post with that examination not even close to being finished. His successor will be appointed by President Obama based on Mr. Holder‘s recommendation. That’s hardly a recipe for investigatory independence.
This is the most shameful behavior imaginable. The reality is that this type of corruption can’t be weeded out through investigations. The corruption must be rooted out by electing a new president who will nominate someone to be America’s Attorney General who is a profile in integrity.
In other words, the new president would eliminate corruption from the DOJ by doing the opposite of what President Obama and Gen. Holder have done. Their political demise can’t come soon enough.
After reading this article, I’m left wondering if this trip will actually help the Iron Range or if it’s just another PR stunt from Gov. Dayton.
As for President Obama’s potential visit to the Range, that’s up in the air right now.
But Gov. Dayton reportedly says he would love for Mr. Obama to learn first hand about the mining industry, its importance to Minnesota and even the entire country.
Sadly, there’s little chance that President Obama will help cut through the red tape to help get PolyMet into operation. Just this afternoon, President Obama said that he’d veto legislation that would restrict the EPA’s ability to impose Cap and Tax through regulations without passing Cap and Tax legislation.
What’s worse is that Gov. Dayton hasn’t shown any interest in litigation reform, which is the biggest thing holding the PolyMet project up. Gov. Dayton showed he’s prone to making splashy PR stunts by signing EO-04, which commands the MnDNR and the MPCA to get their work done in a timely fashion.
That, by itself is stunning. The rules on the books haven’t changed yet Gov. Dayton felt the need to sign EO-04 to tell these regulatory agencies to get their work done on time.
Still, the biggest thing holding PolyMet up is the constant stream of attrition litigation filed by MCEA and other militant environmental organizations. Without the streamlining contained in Rep. Fabian’s HF1 bill, Gov. Dayton’s EO is nothing more than a quaint gesture.
Atkins said it would be great for the president to see the many rich fines and minerals the Iron Range has to offer. He said it would be great for the U.S. to focus on our mining region with a focus on exporting it to other parts of the world.
“These copper-nickel fines are some of the richest in the world, and the United States imports most of its nickel from foreign sources,” Atkins said.
While it’d be great if President Obama got serious about cutting through the EPA’s red tape so hundreds of permanent jobs could be created on the Range, the reality is that the EPA is filled with militant environmentalists.
The good news for Iron Range union workers is that Chip Cravaack is working hard to get PolyMet opened:
New Minnesota congressman Chip Cravaack (cruh-VAHCK’) says he’s planning a closed-door roundtable meeting soon with top state and federal regulators to try to push forward on the state’s first copper mine.
Cravaack tells the Duluth News Tribune in an interview that he isn’t trying to circumvent environmental reviews for the PolyMet Mining Co. project near Hoyt Lakes. He says he just wants to “act as a facilitator” for a project that would bring jobs.
Cravaack says he’d like the meeting to include tribal officials as well as PolyMet and Gov. Mark Dayton or a Dayton aide.
Cravaack promised during his campaign to help the PolyMet project as well as another precious metals mine in the works near Ely.
This is a refreshing change from Rep. Oberstar, who didn’t take an interest in this project until the race started tightening up:
It’s been in the works for more than four years, but when the environmental review came out last fall, the federal government blasted the report as inadequate.
Oberstar says he wants a thorough review, but it shouldn’t take so long.
“The red tape, the slowdown, the lack of full attention by federal and state permitting agencies has dragged this process out much too long,” said Oberstar.
Oberstar said the No. 1 issue people talk about in northeastern Minnesota is jobs. And the Polymet mine promises 400 jobs.
“I’ve heard some concerns, ‘Be careful about our environment. We love this land, we don’t want our waters to be adversely affected.’ And I’ve assured people that corners will not be cut, there will be no exceptions made, but we have to do this in an expeditious manner,” he said.
This was a PR stunt. The miners saw through it and worked hard to elect Chip Cravaack. Here’s my commentary on Rep. Oberstar’s inaction:
It’s been 4 years since the permitting and inspection process started. Finally, it’s got the attention of Rep. Oberstar? Why didn’t he take interest before this?
Oberstar wasn’t interested in this project. President Obama’s EPA has fought against this project. Finally, Gov. Dayton has taken a half-hearted interest in getting the project running.
How pathetic is that?
By now, you’re probably sick of me writing about Paul Aasen and the MCEA. I won’t be quitting anytime soon, especially after reading this post about the Equal Access to Justice Act, aka the EAJA. I haven’t found a connection yet but I’m investigating whether EAJA is possibly funding MCEA’s litigation abuse. While this post doesn’t involve MCEA, it’s still important to the big picture:
During the Clinton Administration, there was a determination that snowmobiling should be substantially curbed (i.e. eliminated) in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. When the litigation dust settled, several facts became clear:
First, although numerous cases were filed in both the Federal District Courts for the District of Columbia and the District of Wyoming and in some cases the environmental groups won, and in some cases, Wyoming small business and the State of Wyoming won, only the environmental groups recovered attorneys fees. The total amount of attorneys’ fees recovered by the environmental groups is AT LEAST $321,996.69. The court records do not indicate why Wyoming small businesses and organizations did not recover fees, although as a technical matter, it appears that they would also have been eligible for fee recovery.
Second, although the environmental groups, initiating this litigation did so over an alleged concern that snowmobile use in the Parks was harming wildlife and other National Park qualities, none of the litigation dealt with the science related to these claims. Every case filed by any party was over the procedures used by the National Park Service (NPS) to decide how many and under what conditions snowmobiles would be used in the Park, not with whether snowmobiles harmed the Parks’ values.
In my opinion, the environmental groups were using procedural arguments as a guise to force changes in NPS substantive decisions. There is no indication that procedural statutes should be used for a substantive result (i.e. the significant limitation and elimination of snowmobiles in the Park and the related economic harm to winter use businesses in Wyoming and Montana.)
Taxpayers nationwide should be upset to the Nth degree over this information. It’s one thing for government to provide for defense attorneys for criminal trials. That’s needed to provide for a criminal’s defense, which is required by law.
It’s another thing when the federal government foots the bill so special interest groups can file civil lawsuits against the government. There’s no constitutional right to federal subsidies to sue the federal government.
Notice the different treatment in these lawsuits:
A.Fund for Animals, Biodiversity Legal Foundation, Predator Project, Ecology Center et al. v. Babbitt, 97-cv-1126. This case was filed in the Federal District Court for the District of Columbia and alleged that the NPS failed to comply with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the Endangered Species Act (ESA), and other federal laws and regulations in connection with winter use, predominately snowmobiling, in the National Parks. The NPS subsequently settled the suit, in part, by an agreement to prepare a comprehensive environmental impact statement (EIS) addressing a full range of alternatives for all types of winter use in the Parks. The federal government paid attorney fees to the environmental groups in this case of $11,000.
B.International Snowmobile Manufacturers= Association (ISMA) et al. v. Norton, No. 00BcvB0229. This case was filed in the Federal District Court for the District of Wyoming, challenging the decision to ban snowmobiles, as reflected in the NPS 2000 Record of Decision (ROD). The 2000 ROD was prepared pursuant to the settlement agreement in case 97-cv-1126 described above. The Department of the Interior settled with ISMA on June 29, 2001, with an agreement that the NPS would prepare a Supplemental Environmental Impact Study (SEIS). No attorney fees were paid to the plaintiffs although there were small business and individuals who would have qualified.
C.Fund for Animals v. Norton, 02-cv-2367. This case was filed in the Federal District Court for the District of Columbia challenging the NPS March 25, 2003 ROD which was the result of the settlement agreement in 00-cv-0229. On December 16, 2003, five days after the Final Rule was promulgated, the D.C. Court vacated the new regulation and effectively reinstated the January 22, 2001 rule phasing out the recreational use of snowmobiles in the Parks. The federal government settled the attorney fees request and paid $160,000 in attorneys’ fees to the plaintiffs.
Small businesses didn’t get reimbursed but special interest groups filed the lawsuits did. Why? In fact, why should taxpayers fund any of these attorneys’ fees? What’s worse is that some of the fees apparently are bogus:
Without any oversight, accounting, or transparency, environmental activist groups have surreptitiously received at least $37 million from the federal government for questionable “attorney fees.” The lawsuits they received compensation for had nothing to do with environmental protection or improvement.
The activist groups have generated huge revenue streams via the obscure Equal Access to Justice Act. Congressional sources claim the groups are billing for “cookie cutter” lawsuits; they file the same petitions to multiple agencies on procedural grounds, and under the Act, they file for attorney fees even if they do not win the case. Since 1995, the federal government has neither tracked nor accounted for any of these attorney fee payments.
Nine national environmental activist groups alone have filed more than 3,300 suits, every single one seeking attorney fees. The groups have also charged as much as $650 per hour (a federal statutory cap usually limits attorney fees to $125 per hour).
I know that eliminating this statute won’t eliminate the deficits but it will eliminate a huge number of frivolous lawsuits and a substantial amount of attorney fees for attorneys filing civil suits. Similarly, I suspect that it’ll eliminate alot of abusive lawsuits. If the attorneys aren’t getting paid, I’d bet that the lawsuits would quickly dry up.
This week a bipartisan group of congressional members introduced legislation to end the secrecy of the payments and force the government to open up the records to show exactly how much has been paid to the groups and the questionable attorney fees. The legislation was sponsored by Rep. Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyoming), Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (D-SD), and Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah).
Congressional sources have said the disclosure was necessary to determine the extent of fraud and abuse. The $37 million is considered only a fraction of what has been paid out to the activist groups.
“For too long, taxpayers have unwittingly served as the financiers of the environmental litigation industry,” Rep. Bishop, who also is the chairman of the Congressional Western Caucus, said.
Rep. Herseth Sandlin remarked: “Simply put, this legislation is about ensuring good and open government.”
“It’s time to shine some light [on the program],” explained Rep. Lummis, who said the groups have created an industry that “supports their ‘stop everything’ agenda.”
Not that I don’t appreciate this group’s work but I think it’d be better to just repeal this law. We’re running trillion dollar deficits. The last thing we should pay for are attorneys’ fees representing environmental extremist organizations in civil lawsuits.
That’s plain insane.
It’s time legislators started setting intelligent priorities. We can’t afford to subsidize attorneys filing frivolous civil lawsuits. Instead, we should implement a loser pays system.
Finally, it’s clear in reading this post and other related posts that these groups are mildly interested in the environment but intensely interested in making a living off taxpayers’ money.
This moring, I read this LTE on the intersection between the PolyMet and Nokomis mines, Paul Aasen and the MCEA. The LTE, written by Terry Stone, is a compelling read, one which all Minnesotans should read.
This afternoon, I decided to call Terry. I’m glad I did. Terry’s insights gave me a whole new perspective into Minnesota’s environmental anti-industrial complex. For now, though, let’s see what Minnesota’s environmental extremist movement has done to our economy:
Governor (Mark) Dayton has barely begun making decisions and already I see a big difference between his campaign promises, centered on jobs, and his appointment of Paul Aasen as Minnesota Pollution Control Agency commissioner.
The MPCA works best when it administers environmental law as part of the executive branch. Aasen is, by any reasonable evaluation, an environmental extremist and activist who has embroiled Minnesota in lawsuits for years.
Aasen is listed as the contact for Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy. MCEA shares the same address and suite with Minnesota Environmental Partnership. The MEP membership is said to be over 80 non-profits, but the list reads like a who’s who summary of job-killing extremists who have bilked the public out of economic vitality with environmental lawsuits.
Environmental groups have filed more than 2,000 job-killing lawsuits during the past 10 years with the Sierra Club filing over half of them. Environmental lawsuits have snagged environmental groups over 34 million of our dollars in legal fees awarded to them. Win or lose, a perverted system called Equal Access to Justice Act pays environmental groups for suing the public. Environmental groups were paid $462,010 in legal fees for actions in Minnesota alone.
From this background and mindset comes Dayton’s pick for the MPCA. This is not an auspicious beginning for the economic salvation and job creation promised by candidate Dayton.
As I read Terry’s LTE, it felt like I was reading one of my posts, except that Terry’s information is more extensive than mine. One thing that’s clear is that MCEA, under the leadership of Paul Aasen, has been a force for economic destruction in Minnesota.
It’s dispiriting to total up the economic destruction caused by MCEA’s attrition litigation. I’ve had it up to here with the DFL telling me that the ‘no-new-taxes-crowd’ are what’s led to Minnesota’s economic ruin. Based on the attrition litigation practiced by MCEA, I think it’s easier for me to make the case that they’re to blame for more of Minnesota’s economic difficulties than are Tim Pawlenty’s policies.
In fact, I don’t think it’s that close of a fight on that issue. It’s time that clear-thinking conservatives started pushing back against these militant environmental organizations. I can’t summarize things better than Terry’s summation so I’ll you with Terry’s summarization of what’s at stake:
The Iron Range currently holds the second largest copper deposit (34 percent of U.S. resource), the second largest platinum group metals deposit (75 percent of U.S. resource) and the third largest nickel deposit (95 percent of U.S. resource). These are big deposits; these are big stakes and big jobs. Dayton has played to his ideological environmental base. With the appointment of Paul Aasen, he has just told the Iron Range to keep waiting.
The hard-working people of the Iron Range need these jobs. In fact, if we get all these mines going, they’ll see a major increase in shipping activity, too, which means the economies in Silver Bay, Two Harbors and especially Duluth will explode.
Imagine how that’d change Minnesota’s economy. Imagine how that’d change Minnesota’s revenues, Minnesota’s budgets.
That’s what Paul Aasen, MCEA and Mark Dayton are standing against.
There’s a new rallying cry for the Range and Minnesota’s economy:
Technorati: MCEA, Paul Aasen, MPCA, Sierra Club, Mark Dayton, Environment, Economy, Unemployment, Polymet, Nokomis, Silver Bay, Two Harbors, Duluth, Iron Range, Mining, Shipping, Arrowhead, Minnesota, Platinum, Copper, Nickel
With the national gas price exceeding $3.00/gallon, you’d hope that environmental extremists wouldn’t be working to drive it higher. Unfortunately, that’s precisely what they’re attempting to do:
“A coalition of US-based environmental groups filed a lawsuit in federal court September 3 against the State Department seeking to overturn a permit to build a pipeline to import Canadian crude. The lawsuit, which also names Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the US Army Corps of Engineers as defendants, takes aims at a permit granted in August to Canada’s Enbridge Energy for construction of the Alberta Clipper crude line into the US (ON 8/21). The Alberta Clipper pipeline is designed to initially carry 450,000 b/d of crude from Hardisty, Alberta, to Superior, Wisconsin. The 1,000-mile project envisions expansion to 800,000 b/d.
The lawsuit was filed in the US District Court for the Northern District of California by the law firm Earthjustice. Oakland, California-based Earthjustice filed the suit on behalf of the Sierra Club, the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy, the Indigenous Environmental Network and the National Wildlife Federation. The groups’ concern surrounds increased availability in the US of oil produced from Canadian oil sands that could add air and water pollution as refineries process heavier crude, which the environmentalists said will contribute to global warming.
The filing claims the State Department failed to consider the cumulative impact of other proposed pipelines, including Enbridge’s Southern Lights project and TransCanada’s Keystone project, with Alberta Clipper. The groups claim the State Department’s issuance of the permit was unconstitutional because the project should be exclusively considered by Congress.” (Matthew Cook, “US suit aims to block Alberta Clipper line,” Platts Oilgram News, September 4, 2009)
9/23/2009 – Transferred to another district
This litigation does nothing except add to the cost of a gallon of gas. They’re fighting the myth of AGW. There’s no proof that man is causing global warming but that isn’t preventing the MCEA and their coalition from insisting that AGW exists and is verifiable.
Courts deal with proof, aka verifiable things. Too often, the MCEA deals with allegations and myths. That’s why their track record is shoddy. The only reason why they prevailed (I didn’t say won for a reason) against the Big Stone II investors is because the filibuster-proof Senate and the Obama administration’s threatened to bankrupt them.
While Big Stone II is a victory for their cause, it isn’t a legal victory. In the end, though, when Minnesotans, whether they’re from rural Minnesota, whether they’re part of a construction union or whether they’re just average folks who want Minnesota’s economy to flourish, find out that MCEA has played a significant role in damaging Minnesota’s economy, the DFL’s losses won’t seem like a victory.