A coalition of state attorneys general trying to terrorize, muzzle, and extort climate skeptics with legal assaults may have bitten off more than it can chew — and the AGs may eventually have to face justice, experts say. In recent days, an alliance of prosecutors purporting to “investigate” climate skeptics, which styles itself “AGs United for Clean Power,” has sparked a backlash of massive proportions. Now, the group of Democrat and far-left prosecutors is being accused of serious wrongdoing, including abuse of power, unethical behavior, and potential criminal activities such as conspiracy to deprive people of constitutionally protected rights.
Even believers in the man-made global-warming theory (less than 40 percent of Americans) have lashed out against the anti-free speech machinations via top American media outlets. Reasonable prosecutors from across the country have also lambasted the effort as a dangerous and illegal assault on freedom of speech and the First Amendment. And this is probably just the start. E-mails and documents about the effort to prosecute climate skeptics have started trickling out, despite the efforts of lawless officials to conceal their scheming from the public. Depriving people of rights “under color of law” is a serious criminal offense.
Perhaps the most serious accusation thus far argues that the coalition of state prosecutors, led by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, are involved in a criminal conspiracy to deprive Americans of their constitutionally protected rights. University of Tennessee law professor Glenn Harlan Reynolds, for example, noted that it is a felony under federal law for two or more people “to agree together to injure, threaten, or intimidate a person in any state, territory or district in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him/her by the Constitution or the laws of the United States, (or because of his/her having exercised the same).”
Writing in USA Today, America’s largest newspaper by circulation, Reynolds wondered if Schneiderman, U.S. Virgin Islands Attorney General Claude Walker, or California Attorney General Kamala Harris had read the law. They are among the more than a dozen AGs involved in the alleged conspiracy. “Because what they’re doing looks like a concerted scheme to restrict the First Amendment free speech rights of people they don’t agree with,” he explained, saying the prosecutors should look up 18 U.S.C. Sec. 241. “You don’t have to be paranoid to see a conspiracy here.” The penalty for such conspiracies includes up to a decade in prison. If anyone is kidnapped or killed as a result of the conspiracy, the conspirators can be sentenced to death.
Reynolds highlighted the massive amounts of disagreement in the climate debate: Is the planet warming? By how much? What is the cause? Will regulations make a difference? And so on. “Yet the goal of these state attorneys general seems to be to treat disagreement as something more or less criminal,” he explained. “That’s wrong.” He also cited a Supreme Court decision pointing out that, as the court wrote, “If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion.”
But prescribing such orthodoxy — ironically even the warmists themselves are not sure what the current orthodoxy is — appears to be exactly what the AGs have in mind, Reynolds said, calling the approach un-American. “In pursuing this action, they are betraying their oaths of office, abusing their powers and behaving unethically as attorneys,” he added, raising the possibility that the AGs could lose their law licenses, as well, due to their unethical behavior.
Obama’s attorney general, Loretta Lynch, who also came under fire for admitting that the Justice Department referred climate skeptics to the FBI for potential investigation, is unlikely to bring charges against the state AGs conspiring to deprive Americans of their right to free speech. A Ted Cruz or Donald Trump presidency, however, might make such charges more likely, Reynolds argued. Even without criminal charges, however, victims of the state AGs’ conspiracy to silence AGW skeptics have civil options to pursue justice as well.