Radical environmentalists lose attack on judge
Last year, a left-wing environmentalist and social(ist) lobbying organization called the Community Rights Counsel ("CRC"), filed a petition alleging ethics violations against four judges who served on the Board of Directors of the free-market-leaning Foundation for Research on Economics and the Environment ("FREE").
Three of those judges resigned from the Board of FREE, but one, Judge Danny Boggs of the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, decided to stand up to the attack.
FREE gives seminars to judges, lawyers and business people, including sometimes allowing judges to participate free of charge. Since FREE often espouses free-market and good science-based approaches to environmental issues, CRC argued that the seminars gave people who might have business before the court improper ability to influence a judge. FREE argues that the seminars are educational in nature and that FREE itself does not take positions in cases.
In a decision which was somewhat stunning for its bluntness, the deciding Judge, James Loken, Chief Judge of the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, Judge Loken ruled that FREE's seminars are indeed educational, noting that FREE had a wide range of financial contributors and that if judges could not attend seminars they would be cut out from substantial learning opportunities. Not only did Judge Loken throw out the ethics violations charges but he also excoriated CRC for "presuming a lack of integrity and impartiality" and for resorting to "character assassination".
[It is instructive to read the position of left-wing activists, including but not limited to environmentalists, at the "Trips for Judges" site (link below.) Note that they are complaining because judges are learning from people who discuss free-market and capitalist solutions to economic and environmental problems. I can't say that I'm surprised to see John Kerry's name linked to the move to prevent such junkets. He can't truly believe it would cause a judge to be impartial; he just doesn't like what they're learning.]
Wall Street Journal short summary of the case:
CRC Website: http://www.communityrights.org/
FREE Website: http://www.free-eco.org/
CRC's Petition to the court:
"Trips for Judges" 2001 press release against all junkets for judges:
Newspaper article following resignations:
News story regarding final decision:
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