by Quentin Rhoades, Attorney for the Intervenors
Montana Attorney General Steve Bullock’s response to the Atmospheric Trust Litigation (ATL) makes an interesting story.
As detailed in our motion to intervene, Bullock crowed about his “commitment to the environment” while on the stump, bragging, for example, that he is a TerraPass member, and promising to invoke the Clean and Healthful Environment clause of the Montana Constitution to crack down on industry. Thus we argued to the Supreme Court that he was not qualified to resist the ATL petition. He could not defend the action without breaking campaign promises.
In response, he insisted he was well-qualified, and sought to prove his bona-fides by arguing that the science on man-caused global warming is not settled. His denial of a scientific consensus disqualifies him in the eyes of the Left as a legitimate candidate for Governor – especially since he convinced the Court to so rule.
Thus, the Montana Supreme Court became the first court in America to rule on the ATL litigation. And not only is it the highest court of a sovereign state, but it ruled that there is no scientific consensus that is sufficiently well-settled to allow for them to decide the case purely as a matter of law. Once Bullock’s core constituents learn of his arguments against the ATL petition — and of the significance of the Montana Supreme Court’s ruling — they will be apoplectic. (As an aside, we were particularly gratified by this ruling because — unlike Bullock – it was our petition that provided the court with actual evidence contesting the facts alleged in the ATL petition to be undisputed.)
On the other hand, Bullocks strategy was heavily damaging to our efforts to get this thrown-out of the courts entirely. Instead of arguing the case was not justiciable, he took the preposterous stance that that it should be remanded to a trial court for fact-finding. He also expressly objected to our motion to intervene, and to the Republican Leaders’ request to file an amicus brief. In other words, he fought all efforts to have the issue returned to the political branches for decision, and he fought the public’s and the Republicans’ efforts to even participate. There’s no way anyone in industry or from any conservative school of thought can find anything redeemable in this stupid approach.
So, for all the talent he supposedly possesses, Bullock’s entire response to the ATL litigation was a political and legal cock-up. I bet he’s gotten a real earful from the lawyers who filed the petition, and their allies, and I doubt many from our side have offered him much in the way of praise. No wonder he’s delayed his announcement for Governor.