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Climate Change Case Raises Recusal Questions Involving Justice Barrett
- Jan 19, 2021 4:41 pm GMT
Please see this article regarding the question of recusal by Justice Barrett in climate change court cases. The article can also be accessed here.
In addition to working for Shell from 1978 to 2007, Barrett’s father was a longtime member and twice head of the industry trade association, the American Petroleum Institute, which is an amicus party in the BP case.
The U.S. Supreme Court case BP v. Mayor and City Council of Baltimore has nearly two dozen oil and oil-related companies, including Shell, asking the justices to rule on an issue that eventually could allow climate change lawsuits against them to be litigated in their favored venue—federal courts—and not state courts. The court agreed to hear the case before Barrett was elevated as a justice in late October from the Chicago-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.
It is worth watching this one. So far, no indication has been given regarding whether or not Justice Barrett will recuse herself from this case.
At stake is the possibility of oil and oil related companies and, perhaps more importantly, whether industry lobbying groups such as the American Petroleum Institute, can be sued in connection to climate change issues.
Generally, I am slightly skeptical of lawsuits against industries for climate change. Personally, I think the issues are quite different from, say, those against tobacco companies for health impacts from smoking. But, I think it is important that the cases be brought and that we hear the arguments for and against liability. Obviously, the process will be tainted if one or more justices give the appearance of a conflict of interest.
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