Monday, August 19, 2019

An Attempt to Propagandize Federal Judges Involved in Global Warming Litigation

Investigative Report
(c) 2019 Mike Smith Enterprises, LLC

In an otherwise ordinary news story about judicial etiquette, I stumbled across these disturbing nuggets about what appears to be an attempt to propagandize federal judges in advance of hearing cases pertaining to climate and the environment.  While I recommend reading the entire article, my concern focused on the following two items:
  • As of Tuesday morning, [Judge] Randolph was listed as one of three-judges to hear arguments Sept. 6 in a case brought by California and more than a dozen other states challenging an Environmental Protection Agency decision to scrap some vehicle emissions standards.
  • Randolph viewed it differently saying in his memo that judges attending a climate science program put on by the Environmental Law Institute [my emphasis] "lend credence to one side of the climate change debate that is quite improper" because of a host of litigation on the issue.
As I read this, my alarm bells went off. After looking into it, my conclusion is these seminars are cause for genuine concern. 

Let's start with the people who are putting on these seminars. It is called the "Environmental Law Institute."
"Educating Judges for the Climate Litigation of Today and Tomorrow." Doesn't that, by itself, seem odd to you? Do judges pre-educate themselves on, say, auto-mechanics or brain concussions, which are also subjects of litigation?

The rationale for the seminar is stated here:
Some months back, I received a visit from two leaders in the climate science and sustainable energy arena: the former present of Climate Central, Paul Hanle, and David van Hoogstraten, who had just left his position as director of federal environmental regulatory affairs at BP America. 

David and Paul had been following the trends in climate -related lawsuits and, through communications with the judicial community, had been advised that judges often feel insufficiently grounded in climate science...

Since when it is the job of judges to be "grounded in climate science"? In fact, judges are supposed to make decisions based on what is presented by the parties within the courtroom. Judges often instruct juries that they are to make their decisions based solely on what the parties involved present during the case.
In climate litigation, both the plaintiff and defendant are allowed to present experts which can be questioned and cross examined by all concerned. If there is concern about the expert(s), the parties can request a "Daubert Hearing (DH)." In a DH, which is held in open court, the judge must insure the expert's opinions are informed by genuine science. I did quite a lot of expert testimony during my career and I have been the subject of DH's -- and, they are grueling. As they should be.

The Environmental Law Institute (ELI), says it is "non-partisan" which means they do not favor Republicans or Democrats. That does not mean they are neutral. Per its own list of staff, ELI does not employ atmospheric or climate scientists. So, one can count on them receiving course materials from Climate Central (which is why I suspect CC approached ELI) which is rabidly on the side of catastrophic global warming. Climate Central, in turn, is funded by a number of groups with liberal political ties.

This is an attempt to color the thinking of judges before climate-related litigation even begins.

Let's try a thought experiment: Suppose Exxon, Chevron and BritishPetroleum announced they were establishing a similar "Environmental Center For Judges' Education in Climate Science." Do you think Democrats or the Progressives would be comfortable with that? Do you think they would believe it would produce fairer trials consistent with an impartial justice system?

Of course not.

Prior to stumbling upon the above article Friday afternoon, I had never heard of the Environmental Law Institute and that it was attempting to pre-educate federal judges about global warming. I wonder how many other similar programs are out there and what effect, if any, they have on our judiciary?


ADDITION: 9:45a Tuesday: Related story about climate litigation here.

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