ACSBlog

  • May 1, 2018

    by Justin Pidot, Associate Professor, University of Denver Sturm College of Law*

    Last week, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt announced plans to adopt a new rule that would severely limit the types of information that EPA may consider in designing rules to protect public health and the environment. If this proposal becomes final, it will require the agency to turn a blind eye to many scientific studies and other evidence of the effects of pollution. The rule is widely opposed by the scientific community. It may well be unlawful because it would prevent EPA from considering the best available science. It is also part of a broader, surreptitious, and profoundly misguided effort to undermine federal law by controlling information.

    The current attack on information is best understood as a new front in the longstanding Republican war on our nation’s landmark environmental and public health laws. When Congress enacted those laws in the 1960s and 1970s, they enjoyed broad support among the American public and political leaders from both parties. A significant majority of the public—almost 60% of respondents a 2018 Gallup Poll—continues to prioritize environmental protection over unconstrained economic growth.

  • April 30, 2018

    by Patrice L. Simms, Vice President of Litigation, Earthjustice

    The accessibility and independence of a strong judiciary is critical to empowering the people to hold their government and powerful private interests accountable. But our court system is under attack now as never before.

    Since January 2017, Congress has introduced more than 50 bills that in one way or another aim to strip people of the right to hold the government and special interests accountable in court.  What’s more, we’ve seen the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Department of Justice (DOJ) adopt policies that mirror some of these shameful legislative efforts.

    Earthjustice recently released a report that examines actions of the Trump administration and Congress that threaten people’s ability to have their day in court. These dangerous policies, which are being pursued at the behest of wealthy corporations and ideological extremists, seek to diminish the role of the courts in securing important public protections for individuals, workers, families, communities, and the environment, with particularly profound implications for already marginalized groups.

  • April 30, 2018

    by Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear

    I am the product of a Kentucky public school education, and my mother worked as a public school teacher in Woodford County. I owe so much to the amazing teachers who helped me along my path. 

    As attorney general, I work closely with social workers, law enforcement, and state and local public employees.

    I see firsthand the true commitment of these public servants. They leave their families every morning to help our families.

    Unfortunately, my appreciation is not shared by everyone in Frankfort. Some leaders and lawmakers have called these public servants “disgusting,” “uniformed,” “ignorant” or accused them of hoarding sick days they earned.

    These leaders and lawmakers are not only badmouthing and disrespecting these public employees, they are trying to break a legal contract and cut their guaranteed retirement benefits. 

    The so-called “pension reform” legislation is Senate Bill 1.

  • April 27, 2018

    by Melissa Wasser, Law Fellow, ACS

    On January 10, 2018, I sat in the gallery of the Supreme Court of the United States listening to oral argument in Husted v. A. Philip Randolph Institute. The question presented was whether the state of Ohio’s practice of updating its voter rolls by purging people who fail to vote in consecutive elections violates the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 and the Help America Vote Act of 2002. As an Ohioan, I was very interested in the case. I was born and raised in Northeast Ohio, attended law school at The Ohio State University, and have voted in every single primary, special, and general election since I turned 18.

    During oral argument, I heard many stories of people being aggressively purged for failing to vote and failing to respond to a confirmation notice. I even saw Oak Harbor’s mayor, Joe Helle, confront Secretary of State Jon Husted outside the Court, demanding to know why he, an Army veteran, had been purged from the rolls upon returning from service overseas. Before this case, I disagreed with Ohio’s process in removing voters from the rolls but believed that voting and staying engaged would safely keep people registered. Imagine my surprise a month later when, despite my continuous voting over the past eight years, the state of Ohio sent me a confirmation notice.

  • April 27, 2018

    by Victoria Bassetti and Norman Eisen

    *This piece was originally posted on the New York Daily News.

    Geoffrey Berman's appointment to be the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York yesterday marks the end of his awkward odyssey to take command of the nation's preeminent prosecutor's office. He has arrived at the post via a circuitous path including a highly unusual interview with President Trump, a 120-day time-limited interim appointment by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and finally, yesterday, a court appointment after that time expired.

    This is not the way U.S. attorneys are supposed to get the job.