A few months back, I wrote about a global warming lawsuit in Mississippi, Comer v. Murphy Oil. Landowners were suing an oil company for supposedly causing global warming, which supposedly caused Hurricane Katrina to hit them with extra ferocity. The astounding, mind-numbing 5th Circuit decision (written by two Clinton appointees) to let this lawsuit go forward was vacated, and the case was sent to an en banc panel.
This suit is now getting far less attention, because trial lawyers’ energies are now being spent in hopes of cashing in on the misery caused by the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. But last week, the 5th Circuit’s en banc panel had to drop the case because too many of the judges recused themselves. As a result, the Comer suit’s probable next stop is the Supreme Court, which will probably also consider a similar case involving electric utilities.
Will the Court allow a jury in Mississippi to decide whether global warming caused Hurricane Katrina? Will it allow a lawsuit over what is clearly a political question, which could result in everyone on the planet suing everyone else on the planet? Realize that this doesn’t end with an obscure oil company — after all, individual drivers are the ones who actually release the carbon contained in gasoline, whether they drive Priuses or Hummers. You may be served any day.
And in the meantime, take a lesson on the damage that liberal judges can cause.