Should the attorneys general of 17 states be allowed to investigate whether Exxon officials were aware of the potential for global warming from burning oil and gas decades before claiming the science was not settled? Or does such an investigation violate the corporation’s constitutional rights?
One piece of a cascade of competing court cases involving Irving-based Exxon Mobil and the attorneys general of 17 states is set to move into a federal courtroom in Dallas this morning. Exxon is asking that the attorney general of Massachusetts, Maura Healey, be blocked from her investigation. Monday’s hearing is over a request for a preliminary injunction that Exxon wants to take force while its case is being argued. Exxon first filed its suit in June.
Needless to say, Healey disagrees with Exxon.
Exxon accuses Healey of playing politics. The lawsuit says she is “targeting the speech of [her] political opponents” and “exposing [the company’s] documents that may be politically useful to climate activists.”
A brief for Healey says there’s case law to justify the Dallas-based branch of the federal court dismissing Exxon’s suit out of hand:
“Federal courts have consistently dismissed cases against out-of-state government officials whose sole connection to a forum was an alleged harm to a plaintiff residing there. Exxon’s repeated incantation of bad faith on the part of Attorney General Healey does not change this analysis. Exxon fails to cite any law that would support an exception to the established precedents requiring this Court to decline jurisdiction.”