Criminal Frivolity

By Beacon Staff

You might have noticed in May when a “Petition for Original Jurisdiction,” Barhaugh et al. v. State, was placed before our Montana Supreme Court. Because global warming will kill us all, and Montana has been “prevented by the Legislature from taking any action,” and because there is “not enough time […] unless immediate action is taken,” plaintiffs were “left with no alternative but to fight their government.”

The Montana Supremes responded they were “ill equipped to resolve the factual assertions” – that is, settle the climate change issue. They further said the plaintiffs had not established the “emergency factors” allowing plaintiffs to skip the district court process. Dismissed.

So, what’s the method behind THIS madness?

As duly noted by Montana Attorney General Steve Bullock, the petition is “part of a nationwide effort” by Our Childrens Trust, run by Julia Olson, a former Earthjustice lawyer in (where else besides Missoula?) Eugene, Ore. OCT’s website is registered to Ms. Olson at the same street address as her private practice.

OCT seems to be a spinoff, or partner, of the so-called iMatter Million Kid March, in turn a “non-profit project of Earth Island Institute” – in turn founded by the late “Archdruid” David Brower after the Sierra Club canned him for being too radical.

The “iMatter” campaign gets fiscal support from the Rockefeller Brothers and Ted Turner foundations, as well as the U.S. Green Building Council. Political support comes from 24 environmental groups, including the Center for Biological Diversity, National Wildlife Federation, Sierra Club, Greenpeace and Rainforest Action Network.

Anyway, OCT has filed suit in federal court (in San Francisco, imagine that) and 11 states, plus Ukraine. The strategy? Well, as iMatter teenager “founder” Alec Loorz (his mom Victoria does the logistics) told the Ventura County Star, “All we need is one friendly judge to put it through.”

This search for friendly judges involved six friendly Montana lawyers: Amy Poehling Eddy, Elizabeth Best, James A. Manley, Randall Bishop, Greg Munro, and Thomas J. Beers. All have made federal political contributions – only to Democrats. All except Mr. Manley are University of Montana (UM) law school alums, with Mr. Munro currently a professor.

As for plaintiffs, three college students sued on their own behalf: Kip Barhaugh, from Choteau at UM, Emily Howell at Harvard College, and John Thiebes, from Kalispell at Montana State University.

More interesting are the parents suing on their minor kids’ behalf: Ryan Busse, board chairman of Montana Conservation Voters, and Montana-based vice president of sales for a major gun manufacturer. Worst of all, my Dad just bought one of their fine products – it shoots too well to send back.

There’s Timothy Bechtold, a 2000 high-honors UM Law graduate who clerked for Judge Donald Molloy before entering private practice specializing in environmental law and toxic torts, with clients such as Alliance for the Wild Rockies and Sierra Club. Currently litigation attorney for Forest Service Employees for Environmental Ethics, Bechtold is married to Karen Knudsen, executive director of the Clark Fork Coalition.

Plaintiff Jamul F. Hahn is a championship-level cyclocrosser, while his spouse Graden Oehlrich Hahn was a community organizer for the Montana Environmental Information Center, graduated from UM law school, and now is a Helena attorney currently on MEIC’s Board of Directors.

While his relationship to Emily Howell isn’t clear, Larry Howell is a professor at UM’s School of Law, director of the legal writing program. Plaintiff Maylinn Smith directs the Indian Law Clinic at UM, and in 2010 chaired the school’s Faculty Appointments Committee.

In short, of the “grownups” in this affair, nine of 12 are UM-schooled lawyers, with three currently UM law professors. Gee, is it any wonder why conservative UM law professor Rob Natelson retired – and was later denied emeritus status?

Let’s face it. The warmist political movement has utterly failed to convince the unwashed electorate rabble of the righteousness of their cause, their data, their “consensus” – and lost in the court of public opinion.

So what’s a good elitist totalitarian to do? Pursue kitchen-sink litigation in hopes of a “friendly judge” willing to subvert the political processes of a free country, of course.

Frivolous? Nah – it’s criminal.

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