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I asked our team to pause for family time this week before kids return to school. The homepage is updated daily. The Digest returns on Monday, August 2. —Mark Alexander

Jordan Candler / Mar. 10, 2016

Justice Admits: Climate Skeptics Could Be Punished

It was only a matter of time.

As you may recall, last September the White House received an alarming recommendation from a group of ecofascists. The authors asked the federal government to utilize the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) in order to hold climate skeptics legally liable for the effects of man-made global warming. The letter, which prompted a congressional investigation, specifically credits Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse for having publicly advocated the idea. While the outcome of the congressional investigation is unclear, the growing chorus demanding action against climate skeptics appears to have paid off. We learned this week that the Justice Department has, at the very least, entertained the idea.

On Wednesday, Attorney General Loretta Lynch took questions at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing. One of her inquisitors — who else? Sen. Whitehouse — remarked: “Under President Clinton, the Department of Justice brought and won a civil RICO action against the tobacco industry for its fraud. Under President Obama, the Department of Justice has done nothing so far about the climate denial scheme. A request for action by the Department of Justice has been referred by you to the FBI. My question to you is other than civil forfeitures and matters attendant to a criminal case, are there other circumstances in which a civil matter under the authority of the Department of Justice has been referred to the FBI?” According to Lynch, “This matter has been discussed.” She says Justice has “received information about it and [has] referred it to the FBI to consider whether or not it meets the criteria for which we could take action on.”

Who knows if it was Sen. Whitehouse or the letter that finally set Justice into motion, but it’s hard to imagine both weren’t influential. Obviously, such a move would result in myriad lawsuits, as it is a blatant attack on the First Amendment. But it’s not just the chilling effect on free speech that’s concerning here — the DOJ is playing politics with Rule of Law. During the same hearing Wednesday, “Lynch indicated … that the law doesn’t require the Justice Department to pursue criminal charges against Hillary Clinton for her use of a private email system, even if the FBI recommends criminal charges,” the Washington Examiner reported. What’s the point of even having a Justice Department if Rule of Law is tossed aside in favor of political advocacy?

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