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<span style="font-family: 'book antiqua', palatino, serif; font-size: 8pt;">Mountaintop removal at Oven Fork, near Whitesburg (Letcher County, KY). Source: <a href="http://www.mountainroadshow.com/gallery/">The Mountaintop Removal Roadshow</a>.</span>

Mountaintop removal at Oven Fork, near Whitesburg (Letcher County, KY). Source: The Mountaintop Removal Roadshow.

Unified Patriots by Vassar Bushmills

When I was in law school I worked for the Kentucky Bureau of Reclamation, whose original mission was to reclaim all the land in the state that had been devastated by unregulated strip mining. There were parts of the state that looked like the mountains of the moon, stripped and barren, littered with red acid water catch basins.

The Environmental Protection Act was passed in 1970, when the catch-phrase by environmental groups, “Sue the bastards” began echoing throughout the halls of state and federal government. The law school class succeeding mine doubled-in-size, nearly half of them engineers, not liberal arts grads. When I left in 1971 we had a staff of about 15 at our HQ at the state capital, plus regional field offices. When returned to visit in 1976,  in a new state office building, that department covered an entire floor, with hundreds, mostly lawyers.

And the movement changed too. By 1976, at my last Army post, when I returned to civilian life, except for dope-smoking hippies who invaded the wilder canyons of Arizona, one rarely ran into a genuine bird-watching, tree hugging preservationist out there. The new environmentalists all carried briefcases, and in fact, did a lot of suing.

So I quit being one.

Since then, suing the bastards has become ubiquitous, no longer targeting Big Business to make them stop some outrage or the other, but just to inflict pain. The little guy, you see, was an easy target.

And the Trial Lawyers Association made this even easier, as virtually no state or federal politician, most of whom are lawyers anyway, would legislate a “loser pays” rule into legal outcomes from civil law suits. Think about it. A millionaire could sue a man of modest means out of spite, and even if the court ruled in favor of the little guy, the cost of litigation could still break his bank.

And if the government, state or federal, is one of the parties, criminal or civil, they are protected by law. For instance, Special Counsel Mueller is probably paid an executive pay rate, but below that of DOJ Sessions, or $210,000. Mueller’s staff will be paid a lesser rate, all the way down to about a GS-13 equivalent, $76-$96K.

Government officials are immune from lawsuit and even incase of negligent damage, the limit of damage is set by law (Federal Tort Claims Act.) So no matter how much the Mueller team may have lied, denied defendants their rights, or even destroyed innocent men (none of these things as yet proven, I might add) they cannot be sued for their misconduct[…]

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