Tag Archives: Washington

Washington Supreme Court Establishes ‘Very Important Precedent’ for Climate Necessity Defense in Case of Valve-Turner Ken Ward

The court’s decision, explained one attorney, “creates a strong legal basis for climate protesters to justify their actions in a court of law.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-6-2019

As part of a multi-state action in 2016, valve-turner Ken Ward temporarily shut down the Kinder Morgan TransMountain pipeline. (Photo: shutitdown.today)

In a decision that could profoundly impact future litigation involving climate activists, the Washington Supreme Court this week refused to review a lower court’s ruling to allow valve-
turner Ken Ward to present a “necessity defense” for charges related to a 2016 multi-state action that temporarily shut down tar sands pipelines.

On Wednesday, a three judge panel from the state’s highest court unanimously denied (pdf) a petition from the State of Washington to review a state appeals court ruling (pdf) in April that overturned Ward’s conviction for disabling the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline as part of the “Shut It Down” action on Oct. 11, 2016. The pipeline transports Canadian tar sands oil to refineries in Washington’s Skagit County. Continue reading

Share

To Stave Off ‘Climate Disaster,’ 29 States and Major Cities Sue Trump EPA Over ‘Dirty Power’ Rule

“President Trump’s attempt to gut our nation’s Clean Power Plan is foolish. It’s also unlawful.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-13-2019

Xcel Energy’s Sherburne County (Sherco) Generating Station, a coal-fired power plant, near Becker, Minnesota. Photo: Tony Webster/Wikimedia/CC

A coalition of 22 states and seven major American cities sued the Trump administration Tuesday over its repeal of the Obama-era Clean Power Plan and a replacement that critics have dubbed the “Dirty Power” rule.

The lawsuit (pdf), filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, targets the administration’s so-called Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) rule, which eases restrictions on coal plants imposed by the Obama plan, the first national policy to limit power plants’ carbon emissions. Continue reading

Share

Health and Labor Groups Sue Trump EPA for Refusal to Ban Pesticide Linked to Brain Damage in Children

“Farmworkers, families, and developing children must be safe from chlorpyrifos.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-8-2019

The Environmental Protection Agency ended household use of chlorpyrifos in 2000 but still allowed famers to use it on crops, including corn. (Photo: Pixabay)

A coalition of health and labor organizations sued the Trump administration on Wednesday over the Environmental Protection Agency’s refusal last month to ban chlorpyrifos, a pesticide tied to brain damage in children.

Represented by nonprofit environmental legal firm Earthjustice, the 11 groups filed a petition for review (pdf) in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, challenging EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler’s July decision to reject the call from environmental groups for a ban on the pesticide. Continue reading

Share

After Supreme Court decision, gerrymandering fix is up to voters

The Supreme Court is empty days before the justices vote to on the U.S. gerrymandering case. AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

 

John Rennie Short, University of Maryland, Baltimore County

In a 5-4 decision the Supreme Court has ruled that partisan gerrymandering is not unconstitutional.

The majority ruled that gerrymandering is outside the scope and power of the federal courts to adjudicate. The issue is a political one, according to the court, not a legal one.

“Excessive partisanship in districting leads to results that reasonably seem unjust,” wrote Chief Justice John Roberts in the majority decision. “But the fact that such gerrymandering is incompatible with democratic principles does not mean that the solution lies with the federal judiciary.” Continue reading

Share

Convicts are returning to farming – anti-immigrant policies are the reason

Migrant agricultural workers kept out of the US by tough immigration laws are now being replaced by prison labor. Shutterstock

Stian Rice, University of Maryland, Baltimore County

Prison inmates are picking fruits and vegetables at a rate not seen since Jim Crow.

Convict leasing for agriculture – a system that allows states to sell prison labor to private farms – became infamous in the late 1800s for the brutal conditions it imposed on captive, mostly black workers.

Federal and state laws prohibited convict leasing for most of the 20th century, but the once-notorious practice is making a comeback. Continue reading

Share

“Stunning”: State Court Silences Climate Experts Set to Testify in Valve Turners’ Necessity Defense Trial

“Four days before trial, for no apparent reason, the court eviscerated our defense, and essentially overruled itself.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-8-2018

The trial for valve turners Annette Klapstein and Emily Nesbitt Johnston, along with their support person, Benjamin Joldersma, began in Minnesota court on Monday. (Photo: Climate Direct Action Facebook)

In an eleventh hour decision, a Minnesota court “eviscerated” the defense of three activists—whose landmark trial began Monday for their 2016 multi-state #ShutItDown action that temporarily disabled tar sands pipelines crossing the U.S.-Canada border—by barring experts from testifying that their civil disobedience was necessary because fossil fuels are driving the global climate crisis.

“The court barred testimony from defense experts on the barriers to effective political action for addressing climate change, the efficacy of civil disobedience historically, and the imminence of climate change,” according to the group Climate Direct Action. Continue reading

Share

To #SaveTheCensus, Major Cities Join 17 States in Lawsuit to Block Trump’s Citizenship Question

“One of the federal government’s most solemn obligations is a fair and accurate count of all people in the country, citizen and non-citizen alike,” says New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for CommonDreams. Published 4-3-2018

Led by Eric Schneiderman of New York, Attorneys General from 17 states and the District of Columbia have filed suit against the Trump administration for its plans to ask about citizenship on the 2020 census. (Photo: Eric Schneiderman/Twitter)

Attorneys General from 17 states and the District of Columbia are suing the Trump administration for its decision to ask about immigration status on the 2020 census, a move denounced by immigrant rights advocates as an effort to “undercount communities of color.”

Led by Eric Schneiderman of New York, the state attorneys—along with legal representatives from six cities and and the bipartisan U.S. Conference of Mayors—filed suit (pdf) in hopes of requiring the Trump administration “to enforce the federal government’s constitutional obligation to conduct an ‘actual Enumeration’ of the national population every ten years, by determining the ‘whole number of persons in the United States.” Continue reading

Share

EPA Decided Preventing a West,Texas-Style Accicdent Wasn’t a Priority. So 11 AGs Are Suing

‘The Trump EPA continues to put special interests before the health and safety of the people they serve,” said New York Attorney General Schneiderman

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-24-2017

The West Chemical and Fertilizer Company plant after the explosion. Photo: Occupy.com

Eleven states filed suit against the Environmental Protection Agency and its chief, Scott Pruitt, in federal court on Monday over the agency’s decision to postpone implementation of a rule aimed at lessening the risk of a chemical plant disaster such as the deadly one that rocked West, Texas in 2013.

“Protecting our workers, first-responders, and communities from chemical accidents should be something on which we all agree. Yet the Trump EPA continues to put special interests before the health and safety of the people they serve,” said New York Attorney General Schneiderman, who’s leading the lawsuit. Continue reading

Share

UN: Americans’ Right to Protest is in Grave Danger Under Trump

At least 19 U.S. states have introduced bills that attack the right to protest since Donald Trump’s election as president

By Common Dreams. Published 4-2-2017

Demonstrators in Arizona, such as these workers striking for higher wages at a Walmart in Phoenix, could face racketeering charges and asset forfeiture under the law passed by the state senate. (Photo: Deanna Dent/UFCW International Union/flickr/cc)

At least 19 U.S. states have introduced bills that attack the right to protest since Donald Trump’s election as president, an “alarming and undemocratic” trend, U.N. human rights investigators said this week.

Maina Kiai and David Kaye, independent U.N. experts on freedom of peaceful assembly and expression respectively, are calling on lawmakers in the United States to stop the “alarming” trend of “undemocratic” anti-protest bills designed to criminalize or impede the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and expression. Continue reading

Share

Outcry Kills Anti-Protest Law in Arizona, But Troubling Trend Continues Nationwide

Rash of anti-protest laws and effort to dismiss demonstrators as ‘paid agitators’ are ‘standard operating procedure for movement opponents,’ says expert

By Lauren McCauley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 2-28-2017

Approximately 50 protesters gather outside of the Pentagon City Mall in Arlington, Virginia on Saturday, November 29th, 2014 to show solidarity with Ferguson, Missouri protests. (Photo: Joseph Gruber/cc/flickr)

An Arizona bill that sought to prosecute protest organizers like racketeers is officially dead after widespread outcry forced state lawmakers to put that effort to rest, marking a victory for the national resistance movement currently facing a rash of legislation aimed at stifling dissent.

Arizona House Speaker J.D. Mesnard announced late Monday that the bill, SB 1142, would not move forward in the legislature.

“I haven’t studied the issue or the bill itself, but the simple reality is that it created a lot of consternation about what the bill was trying to do,” Mesnard, a Republican, told the Phoenix New Times. “People believed it was going to infringe on really fundamental rights. The best way to deal with that was to put it to bed.” Continue reading

Share