Top Biden DOJ Official Takes Heat For Flip-Flopping On Climate Lawsuit: ‘Signal Virtue To Political Bedfellows’

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A top Biden DOJ official is taking heat for flipping the established government position on climate change lawsuits, a move opponents say only stands to benefit the Biden administration’s political allies.

The case, Suncor Energy v. Board of County Commissioners of Boulder County, is one of many lawsuits brought by local governments against energy companies seeking damages for climate change. U.S. Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar, in her brief submitted to the Supreme Court, held that the case should be heard in state, not federal court, citing a “change in Administration” that caused the government to “reexamine” its position.

The change is significant: activists also want the case heard in state courts, where Democrat-governor appointed judges may be more friendly to their claims, opponents say. Previously, former President Donald Trump’s DOJ said climate-change related claims of injury are “inherently and necessarily federal in nature.”

O.H. Skinner, executive director of Alliance For Consumers, told the Daily Caller News Foundation the reversal is “yet another example of Biden political appointees at DOJ flipping longstanding norms on their head to aid the president’s leftwing political allies.”

Beyond benefitting environmental activists, Skinner says a major group of Democratic donors stands to gain from the Biden administration’s flip-flopping: trial lawyers.

“Time and time again Biden’s Justice Department has broken with normal practice at the Supreme Court, especially with regard to jurisdiction and preemption, when Biden’s trial lawyer allies stand to benefit,” he told the DCNF. “These trial lawyers send 99% of their federal political donations to Democrats.”

Nearly $4 million from the top eight trial law firms went to the Biden Presidential campaign and the Democratic National Committee, according to the Alliance For Consumers.

“Consumers don’t win from this type of behavior, and neither does the rule of law, just the president’s trial lawyer allies,” Skinner continued.

Climate activist protest as they march on Park Avenue in New York on October 29, 2022. – The ongoing climate demonstrations in New York are timed to coincide with the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Sandy’s impact on the US east coast. (Photo by Kena Betancur / AFP) (Photo by KENA BETANCUR/AFP via Getty Images)

Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita argues the flip shows “politics has replaced law” in the current solicitor general’s office. (RELATED: County’s Lawsuit Suing Energy Companies For ‘Climate Change’ Teed Up For Supreme Court)

“The Office of the Solicitor General has embraced this position for decades, and solicitors general appointed by presidents from both parties have defended it—including left-wing Democrats who used climate change as part of their political platform,” he pointed out in a Tuesday Newsweek opinion.

Federal courts, he said, would “undoubtedly reject” activists’ claims, explaining why they are “fighting to keep their claims in front of their favorite state courts.”

In its brief filed last week, Suncor Energy made similar observations, impugning the government’s arguments as being driven by “a desire to signal virtue to political bedfellows who are behind these lawsuits.”

“Rarely has this Court seen a more cynical change in position,” Suncor wrote in its brief. “The current administration’s view of this case is shot through with flaws.”

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