In This Episode
Today on Hot Take, Amy and Mary sit down with Leah Litman, a law professor from our sister show – Strict Scrutiny, about SCOTUS aka the most hated reality TV show in America. They discuss Roe v Wade, WV v EPA, Ted Cruz’s slimy finances, and the Republican Attorneys General Association otherwise known as the villains you need to know about.
Mary Annaise Heglar: Hey, hot cakes. Welcome to hot take. I’m Amy Westervelt.
Amy Westervelt: Good one.
Mary Annaise Heglar: Mm-hmm
Amy Westervelt: I’m the real Amy Westervelt.
Mary Annaise Heglar: mm-hmm
Amy Westervelt: You say yours?
Mary Annaise Heglar: you are I’m Mary Annaise Heglar um, so Amy, um, been hearing a lot of news coming out of, of the Supreme court, from the Roe decision to the gun law, even some news about Miranda rights and all of a sudden I’m hearing people use the abbreviation SCOTUS, like we’re all Washington insiders.
Amy Westervelt: it’s true. It’s true. It’s it’s um, it’s really, Ugh. I don’t know. It’s heavy. I, I feel like, um, There there’s gotta be a better way to, you know, find out what’s happening with our society this week than waking up early and like hitting refresh on the Supreme court page every two minutes. But I feel like that is, uh, a thing that I’ve been having to do a lot lately.
Mary Annaise Heglar: Oh I have a great way to keep up without doing all of that. I just follow you on Twitter.
Amy Westervelt: yeah, I, I feel like in like, kind of in a similar way to like, after the Trump election, a lot of people who were kind of not tuned into politics were suddenly very online and, you know, talking about it, you’re seeing that in response to, to the Supreme court right now. Um, but kind of, you know, rightly so, because a lot of people’s basic rights are really on the line right now.
Mary Annaise Heglar: Yeah. I mean, I’ve been side eyeing the Supreme court since the 2000 election.
Amy Westervelt: Yeah. Yeah. Fair.
Mary Annaise Heglar: but I, I feel like we heard about the right wing and Trump in particular reshaping the Supreme court for years, but I’m not sure folks knew exactly what that meant. And now we’re really starting to see the consequences.
Amy Westervelt: That’s right. So I think that, you know, people would talk about how Trump was appointing all these judges, not just the Supreme court justices, but all throughout the, the judicial system. And, um, and I don’t think that people quite understood what that meant. That like a lot of these justices are lifetime appointments, you know, like even the judge who got rid of the masking and vaccine mandates on planes, for example, that was a Trump appointee in Florida.
so these folks are now starting to have like a really major impact on all of our lives. and they’re really starting to shape. You know, climate policy in a big way too. So, we’re taping on Monday, June 27th, the Supreme court was supposed to issue a ruling in a big climate case today, that case is West Virginia versus EPA.
they have not released their ruling yet and they’re being…
Mary Annaise Heglar: Little coy,
Amy Westervelt: they’re being, yeah. Typically coy about when they might release it. It is still a long shot, but still a possibility that they will say we actually are not gonna issue a ruling on this. They could still say that. And they really shouldn’t because it’s this weird case where like the whole argument is about a policy that was never, um, actually implemented that, you know, it was, um, It was repealed by Trump and replaced by something insane and then Biden scrapped that and was like gonna make his whole own other thing.
But hasn’t actually managed to do that yet. And this case is saying, well, actually, um, technically the EPA is not explicitly authorized to regulate greenhouse gas emissions under the clean air act. because the clean air act was written in the early 1970s. So it didn’t mention greenhouse gases. uh, yeah.
Mary Annaise Heglar: Yeah.
Amy Westervelt: yes,
Mary Annaise Heglar: I wanna take a quick minute to talk about the Roe decision and just the way that’s been playing out across the discourse. so I don’t know. What have you been seeing that’s sticking out to you?
Amy Westervelt: Yeah, I think that, um, there’s a lot, like, I, I think that, you know, I’m seeing, I’m seeing people kind of, um, try to put this in the context of other rights, try to guess what will happen. Like, will the Republicans pass a federal ban on abortion as soon as they get power? Is there a way for the Democrats to prevent that from happening?
I’m seeing a lot of suggestions that basically, you know, we, we do kind of a three fur and like abolish the filibuster codify row into law. And then. Pack the court so that they can’t overturn it. And my, I, my add to that is also pass a law that says no one else can pack the court after you, cuz you know that like, they’re just gonna be like, it’s, it’s just gonna end up being like 200 judges you know?
Mary Annaise Heglar: right, right.
Amy Westervelt: Yeah. I don’t know, it’s weird cuz it’s like people have been talking about what will happen when Roe’s overturned for at least like two or three years now. Right. And so in this weird way there was like all this preparation for it, but I still feel like, um, know, folks were, were shocked. Yeah.
Mary Annaise Heglar: I mean, a lot of fundraising emails were prepped.
Amy Westervelt: that’s true. That is true.
Mary Annaise Heglar: I saw this viral video of a young woman being like, my rights shouldn’t be your fundraising talking point
Amy Westervelt: I saw that. Yes,
Mary Annaise Heglar: yeah. Democrats are gonna lose a lot of young voters if they do not get this shit together, honestly
Amy Westervelt: they have gotta do fucking something.
Mary Annaise Heglar: It almost seems like they’re doing it on, on purpose at this
Amy Westervelt: I just, I feel like on a, like, that’s the thing that has really jumped out to me too, in terms of like, how, how it intersects with climate. Like, I mean, we we’ve talked before about how reproductive justice intersects with climate, but just purely from a political standpoint, I’m like, like on climate, on this, on trans rights, on so many on gun reform, it’s like, everyone is just screaming for the Democrats to fucking do something and stop thinking that they’re living in this time where like politicing and civility is gonna do it.
Mary Annaise Heglar: Right, or it’s not a performance, honey, it’s a job,
Amy Westervelt: Right.
Mary Annaise Heglar: know, like you’re not on Broadway. I don’t need you to read me a poem. I need you to get some fucking work done
Amy Westervelt: The fucking song outside the Supreme Court steps too. I can’t take it.
Mary Annaise Heglar: I refuse to watch the clip. the other thing I’ve, I’ve seen a lot is people being like I will aid and abet people in search of abortions, people, if you’re gonna commit a crime
Amy Westervelt: Don’t announce it on the internet.
Mary Annaise Heglar: don’t tell the internet,
Amy Westervelt: Yep, exactly.
Mary Annaise Heglar: you are pre snitching on yourself,
Amy Westervelt: Exactly. I’ve also seen a bunch of people be like, please don’t trust these people that are saying that they’re gonna do this for you. Yeah.
Mary Annaise Heglar: because, if I’m about to like, take that procedure to the last person I’m gonna trust
Amy Westervelt: Is a stranger from the internet.
Mary Annaise Heglar: is a person who tweeted through it
Amy Westervelt: Yeah.
Mary Annaise Heglar: not even just a stranger from the internet, but like you’re tweeting through it.
Amy Westervelt: Yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Mary Annaise Heglar: what part of the game is that
Amy Westervelt: Yes,
Mary Annaise Heglar: real G’S moving silence. Shut the fuck up.
Amy Westervelt: exactly. Exactly. It’s true. It’s true. I saw this one, this one woman who her account got hacked. Like the tweet from her was like, I was scheduled to have an abortion tomorrow and now it’s canceled and I hate to do this, but I need the funds to like, get to another state or whatever. And like, here’s my Venmo.
Mary Annaise Heglar: Mm.
Amy Westervelt: Immediately under it. She was like, oh my God, I was hacked. This is not me. Don’t send money to this person. Like, you know, all of this. Um, so I’m sure there’s plenty of that kind of opportunism going on as well. Uh, but it’s, you know, I think it’s really scary. I think that the fact that like, they’re extending it to miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy and all of these things, IVF, like it’s, it really is genuinely about the bodily autonomy of, you know, people with uteruses.
Like there’s, there’s no, there’s no other way to slice it, you know? And it is absolutely the government exercising control over that.
Mary Annaise Heglar: Exactly. Exactly. And I mean, the other thing that I’ve been seeing this getting on my nerves is, and I’ve seen so much of this since Trump got elected is welcome to the Handmaid’s tale
Amy Westervelt: God read another book
Mary Annaise Heglar: I don’t know if you know this, but there are no other books. There’s no other books, Amy. And there certainly was never a woman named Octavia Butler.And she certainly never wrote parable of the sower and parable of the talents, the sequel
Amy Westervelt: yeah. Yep.
Mary Annaise Heglar: that Predicted all of this, including Donald Trump, including the Make America Great again, slogan.
Amy Westervelt: uncanny, like uncanny, I just started reading it again because I was like, it’s been, it’s been a few years and like we’ve lived through a lot of parable of the Sower esque stuff. I feel like I should read again. It is fucking wild. How accurate she was like, wow.
Mary Annaise Heglar: is eerie.
Amy Westervelt: Yeah.
Mary Annaise Heglar: am I reading a book or am I reading my journal?
Amy Westervelt: Yeah,
Mary Annaise Heglar: but handmaid’s tales somehow is the book that people come to. I aint seen no bitches in no red cloaks running around nowhere. Also, Handmaids tale complete fucks up on climate change. Octavia Butler is the one who made that real,
Amy Westervelt: That’s right.
Mary Annaise Heglar: Not Margaret Atwood. Octavia Butler is who Margaret Atwood wanted to be. And you can at me, you can send me all the hate mail. Send it to Bkahn@protocol.com hate mail.
Amy Westervelt: thanks, Brian. We love you. I do think it’s important that like, uh, the road decision and all of these other wild decisions, like just, just to sort of like, kind of list them a little bit. We have just in the last couple weeks, seen the Supreme court say that like bribing politicians is totally cool.
Now, dark money free for all,
Mary Annaise Heglar: Mm-hmm
Amy Westervelt: open carry guns. Like are you even an American if you can’t carry a gun out in public? No. Um, you know,
Mary Annaise Heglar: no
Amy Westervelt: prayer in schools.
Mary Annaise Heglar: love it.
Amy Westervelt: Yeah. And overturning Roe. Now we’re waiting to hear if they’re, if they’re going to say that, you know, um, the EPA doesn’t really have the authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions, and that is all happening against the backdrop of the January 6th insurrection hearings, which like, again, are questioning in a big way the legitimacy of the president who appointed three of these justices.
Mary Annaise Heglar: Exactly. So I’ve been, uh, binging the January 6th hearings, cuz I’ve running around too much over the past three weeks,
Amy Westervelt: Nice. A true crime binge. Yeah.
Mary Annaise Heglar: yeah. Um, I didn’t get to watch them in real time. So I’ve been trying to like catch up. one of the things that’s really sticking out to me is that uh, I think we forget that January 6th happened the same day that Georgia elected its first two democratic senators in forever
Amy Westervelt: Yes.
Mary Annaise Heglar: And like the emotional roller coaster of being like, oh my God, Senator WArnock
Amy Westervelt: remember that.
Mary Annaise Heglar: To, oh shit, they broke into the Capitol. Always.
Amy Westervelt: Yes, yes. Yes. It’s true. Cuz I remember watching, you know, everybody was kind of like watching to see what was gonna happen with that Senate race to see if the Democrats would take the majority in the Senate or not. Right. So like,, Yeah that’s the other thing too. Like I know that Joe Manchin and Kirsten Sinema have been a giant pain in everyone’s ass.
And I know that, you know, we only have a majority, not a super majority. I, I saw someone joking on Twitter about America being an, an MLM, like a multi-level marketing corporation, cuz they’re like, well now, okay, you got the majority, but what you really want is the super majority , you know, um, always it’s like, Nope, but, but I think it’s like, come on, man.
Like you cannot have all this shit happening when Democrats have control of the entire legislative branch and, and not like, take any responsibility for it. Ugh.
Mary Annaise Heglar: Yep. all of that brings back so much imagery, right? Because there’s only been a handful of black senators ever. There’s never been a black Senator from Georgia. And there are specific reasons for that. Like the first handful of black senators or black representatives elected right after the civil war.
Amy Westervelt: right.
Mary Annaise Heglar: and they were, you know, kind of run outta office by the Ku Klux Klan. And so that’s how we got the insurrection act, which is the exact framework that they’re using for the January 6th hearings. Um and one of the things I’m enjoying the most is Benny Thompson’s accent.
Amy Westervelt: he is so good.
Mary Annaise Heglar: he was kind of born for this moment and, know, I’m sure, I don’t know.
I should probably know more about Benny Thompson considering how long he’s been in office. Um, and as a Mississippian, but, um I’m sure there’s probably some policies that I don’t agree with him on. He’s probably a bit more moderate than me, but he is really taking center stage at this, at this hearing and it’s great to have most famous invisible politician from be him because that is who I think represents the south.
Um, and like, you know, he comes from people who have, who have fought for, for a very long time. And this is what that looks like in practice.
Amy Westervelt: right?
Mary Annaise Heglar: also, his accent is just, Ugh, molasse. Some barbecue sauce
Amy Westervelt: Yes, totally. I could listen to him. Yes. I could. I could listen to him narrate, like, you know, my grocery list and I would be like, Hmm, pleasant, you know,
Mary Annaise Heglar: I could listen to him, read the phone book
Amy Westervelt: Yeah. Yeah.
Mary Annaise Heglar: so I have really enjoyed that.
Amy Westervelt: Yeah,
Mary Annaise Heglar: however, the stuff that we’re learning uh, super harrowing, and also just goes to show how coordinated all of this shit was and how we underestimate these people to our peril.
Amy Westervelt: That’s true. you know, what really has been striking to me, especially watching those hearings while Supreme court stuff is going on, is that like, I think that, that people assume that the fact that, you know, there was all this crazy stuff going on and all these rules that were broken and norms that were broken and that, you know, these like Trump should have never even had these Supreme court picks and, you know, McConnell, um, should never have been able to block Obama’s Supreme court pick and all of that stuff that like, that will somehow stop it from happening.
Mary Annaise Heglar: right, i think it’s like, it was laughable and illegal.
Amy Westervelt: Yes.
Mary Annaise Heglar: they don’t give a fuck.
Amy Westervelt: Yeah. And yet these people are still Supreme court justices who are remaking the country that we live in, in a very big way.
Mary Annaise Heglar: confusing shamelessness for stupidity.
Amy Westervelt: right. Yeah. It’s like, I mean, actually what they’re showing is that if you don’t give a fuck about norms and civility, you can do whatever the fuck you want. And the Democrats are like, but what about tee time? You know what I mean? I’m just like, what the fuck are you doing? Like stop trying to be mannerly with these people.
Mary Annaise Heglar: Right.
Amy Westervelt: you know, and I just, I’m not saying, you know, I don’t know. I honestly, I do. I feel like, um, I feel like the whole, like when they go low, we go, high thing is just, is actually really like a toxic idea, cuz like.
Mary Annaise Heglar: toxic positivity.
Amy Westervelt: you go high, when they go low, then they’re just gonna kick you in the fucking balls. And that is what they’ve been doing for the last four years, five years, six years now, you know?
Mary Annaise Heglar: My whole life, honestly, um I feel like, you know, watching these decisions come out of the Supreme court and like watching all these rights get peeled away. and that against the backdrop of the January 6th hearings, like what becomes very clear is that life is definitely worse now it was before.
Uh, you know, like it’s worse now with Biden.
Amy Westervelt: Yeah. Yeah.
Mary Annaise Heglar: Um, but it would have been so much worse. Had Trump won. Trump actually succeeded in his coup and that’s like the rock and hard place that we’re in between right now
Amy Westervelt: right.I am seeing some people kind of connecting the dots on abortion in particular and, and actually even on climate where it’s like the only thing that will stop, this is a massive majority and (a good guy with a gun now) like a massive majority in Congress, you know, or I’m starting to see people, which I think is necessary too, because honestly I’m just like, okay, like, just so you know, Um, it’s not gonna stop at these things like even with West Virginia versus EPA, if, if the court has a sweeping ruling, that’s like, yeah, the clean air act can’t be used to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.
The next thing they’re gonna go after is air pollution regulations in general. And after that, it’s gonna be the EPA. I have had now two separate right wing operatives, tell me flat out that the goal is getting rid of the EPA entirely and they will absolutely fucking do it. And guess what? The EPA has only existed since 1970 and what, you know, we just saw Roe get gutted.
So the idea that the EPA is somehow safe is ridiculous. you know, so it’s like, but I, so honestly to me, I’m like, okay, two things, one. Yeah, sure. Like if we can get a massive majority in the government. Um, in, you know, this short of a time when we’ve ignored massive constituencies for years, go for it. But also, can we please start thinking about what it looks like to push for climate action in a world that doesn’t include the EPA or in a world that doesn’t include politicians that want to act on climate?
Like the political system is not the only way to get things done and like, I just feel like people need to use their imaginations a little bit.
Mary Annaise Heglar: Just a little,
Amy Westervelt: you know?
Mary Annaise Heglar: a little bit.
Amy Westervelt: Yeah.
Mary Annaise Heglar: we’re gonna get into more of the Supreme court stuff, um, through your reporting, Amy. Um, but first we’re gonna hear from Leah, from our fellow cricket pod, strict scrutiny, shows joined the cricket network the same day strict scrutiny has had their hands full with the Supreme court session. gonna walk us through some of what makes this current court unique, some of the big decisions this session and what the options are from here.
Amy Westervelt: That’s right. Leah Litman is actually a law professor on top of being a podcaster. I’m pretty sure she does. I’m pretty sure. Um, her day job pays her bills and, um, so she’s like the perfect person to kind of just set the stakes for us. Um, we’ll be back with her right after this break.
Amy Westervelt: Leah Lipman. Thank you for joining us. If you are not already subscribed to Leah’s podcast, strict scrutiny, go fix that. Um, critical listen right now, as we’re getting, you know, new and increasingly crazier rulings every day at the moment. Um, thanks for being here.
Leah Litman: Thanks so much for having me. I’m excited to be here.
Amy Westervelt: Yeah. Yeah. So, um, we were, of course expecting this West Virginia versus EPA decision this morning, we’re taping on Monday by the time this episode comes out, we may or may not have this ruling. um, so, uh, I guess, yeah, I’m just curious. Um, what, if anything, you’re looking for in, in that ruling and also I’m hoping you can kind of explain to people how weird it is that they’re ruling on this case in the first place.
Leah Litman: So I guess I’ll start
Amy Westervelt: Yeah.
Leah Litman: the weirdness because one thing I’m looking for is how they’re gonna address that weirdness. Um, so this case arose because Basically the Trump administration sought to limit the EPAs to address climate change. And what it did it adopted a regulation that said, don’t think that under the clean air act, the EPA has the authority to do some types of like generation policies, basically policies that try to create an incentive or encourage, you know, producers of greenhouse gases to move, you know, their method of producing energy from one form to another. a court concluded. Actually the Trump administration is wrong about what the clean air act mean and it didn’t comply with the required procedures for how agencies should make rules. And. You know, we’re going to that rule and tell the agency to try again. But that happened basically around the time of the transition to the Biden administration.
So then this case gets sent back to the agency and the agency says, well, we’re going to come up with a new rule about how we think we can these stationary sources, these emitters of greenhouse to reduce their emissions. And some Republican led states said, we, a minute, we don’t actually want the Biden administration to regulate greenhouse gasses.
So they asked the Supreme court. review this case and basically say, we think the Biden administration is going to do something illegal. We want you to stop them before they do that. And that’s like an unheard posture in a case challenging, in an agency rule because usually you wait to see what the agency does. And then you ask, does that agency rule with the statute, you know, is the agency authorized to do that thing, but here we don’t, we don’t know what the agency might do. And so this question is being asked very much in the abstract.
Amy Westervelt: Yeah. Um, do, I mean, it sounds, it seems to me like, just from, um, just from the oral arguments that the major questions doctrine is gonna come up in this ruling. Uh, could we, could we have you define what that is for people and, and, um, why it would come up in this case?
Leah Litman: So the major questions doctrine, it’s a little bit hard to define it because the Supreme court, honestly, hasn’t really defined it. It’s been kind of cagey and used it in different ways. some level it’s come to stand for the idea that if an agency does something that strikes the Republican justices as kind of a big deal, then has to specifically authorize that.
And that’s only a slight exaggeration because at the oral argument, in this case, justice, Brett Kavanaugh basically court’s prior cases. That way he said, look, the question is whether an agency has done something, quote, surprising now the court’s cases on the vaccines the CDCs, the center for disease controls, eviction moratorium, they framed the major as follows. When agency does something of. Economic or political significance,
Leah Litman: that thing has to have been explicitly by Congress. So basically the major questions doctrine is a rule that an agency can only do, you know, economically significant politically significant things Congress and specifically allows them to do so. I’m happy to talk about why that’s kind of like a big wrench in agency’s ability to address problems, but that’s kind of what it is
Amy Westervelt: well actually agencies aren’t constitutional. TSorry, that’s my conservative bro voice.
Leah Litman I was about to say is, is Neil Gorsuch on this podcast? I didn’t realize you had him as a guest.
Amy Westervelt: Can we talk about, um, so we’re, we’re again, talking in this, um, kind of in between zone, uh we’ve we’ve got the Dobbs verdict, which is overturning Roe. We’ve got the gun verdict that says, Nope, it’s you have a constitutional right to conceal a firearm now, apparently . And then just today we got this one that, that protects prayer in schools.
Are there other kind of big, um, structural rulings that, that you feel like have not gotten attention in, in this session?
Leah Litman: So frankly, I think that the climate case has been undercovered. I think, that case will have major implications for the federal government’s ability to tackle Climate change in the near future and also the administrative state more broadly. I think another big case is the remain in Mexico case.
That’s a case about the Biden administration tried to end what was just a humanitarian disaster of a Trump immigration policy that forcibly returned, um, individuals seeking to Mexico after they crossed the border. And, the Biden administration wanted to end that policy, uh, district court said, no, you know, you’re basically required to continue it. court of appeals said the same. So that’s another big case that I’m watching. There’s also a really big federal Indian law case Castro-Huerta, Um, that’s super important because it concerns the kind of continuing force and implications of the Supreme court’s major case, From McGirt versus Oklahoma, about.how the big chunks of Oklahoma,, were still part of a reservation because the boundaries of the reservation remained intact.
And that case was decided while Justice Ginsburg was still on the court. It was five, four with her and the And we don’t know Justice Barrett’s views on federal Indian law. And whether she will respect the precedent that justice Ginsburg was a part of. Yeah.
Amy Westervelt: I’m really curious to see which way she goes on the Brackeen case in the next session too. Cuz I, that one is, um, related to the Indian child welfare act. I know, you know this I’m just saying it for listeners but um, but like, ah, I don’t know. I, I feel like there’s, there’s gonna be some really, um, just unfortunate stuff coming for tribal sovereignty with this court too.
Leah Litman: Yeah And I think that Castro-Huerta case could be a sign about where justice Barrett might be on the Indian child welfare act case for next term..
Amy Westervelt: Yeah. Yeah. The thing,, the wrench in the works on that one, I think is her personal role as an evangelical adoptive mother. Like, and, and what is it like three of the justices have, are, are adoptive parents. And I don’t know. I feel like there’s like personal stories that are part of that case that like, I’m not sure how they’ll, they’ll sway them on that.
what’s your take on the legitimacy question and the fact that, you know, you are seeing these really, uh, low approval ratings for the Supreme court. You’re seeing a lot of people calling them in illegitimate court. Um, I don’t know. Does that matter? What, what might that do?
Leah Litman: I mean, yes, it matters in several different senses. You know, the court is able to enforce its judgements because people respect the court because the political branches are willing to respect decisions of the court. And court is pressing at the limits of its legitimacy by departing so starkly from, the views of most Americans are, you know, its decision overuling roe isnt supported by a majority of the public and it’s reaching decisions that are pretty out of step with where a majority of Americans are. But the, I think unfortunate reality is our political system. You know, the one that’s set up by the constitution is itself doesn’t always reflect majority preferences. It too enables minority views, whether it’s the makeup of the Senate, whether it’s the electoral college. And so the court doesn’t really have to be super concerned about public opinion. It has to be concerned about the public opinion that is, you know, factored through or filtered through, um, the electoral college and the Senate, you know, and if, and the extent the court’s opinions start to go so far a field of the outcomes of those elections. I think that might get us to a world where, you know, at least the federal branches are potentially not complying with Supreme court opinions. I think we are probably going to see more states and localities tried to design laws, like Texas’ SB8 to evade Supreme court decisions with which they disagree. but the reality is the Supreme court is an institution of our government, like any other institution. And yes, they do depend on, you know, trust and buy-in from people. And the court is vastly spending any and all capital It might have.
Mary Annaise Heglar: Wow, um, can you please make our day and tell us that Clarence Thomas could be impeached and maybe Amy Coney Barrett too.
Leah Litman: I mean, things are all hypothetically possible. Um, you know,
Mary Annaise Heglar: Let’s roll with it. ALl i heard was possible. So.
Leah Litman: okay. possible. I probably wouldn’t mark your calendars for those impeachment hearings anytime, but you know, all, I think the reality is that, like, there are a lot of things, a lot of things that are theoretically possible and fall within powers, you know, Congress, if it wanted to, could expand the size of the Supreme court tomorrow Congress, if it wanted to could eliminate the Supreme court’s jurisdiction over certain types of cases, right.
But, Like we don’t have a Congress that is willing to do that, but that possibility, I guess, is something um, that, that might give some people comfort.
Mary Annaise Heglar: you heard it here. Clarence Thomas can and should be impeached
Amy Westervelt: He’s the worst. I was listening to your last episode and I heard you, um, talk about how Clarence Thomas doesn’t get enough, uh, attention slash credit for being sort of like the intellectual godfather of this whole right wing judicial strategy. And I was like, yes, yes. I hate him so much.
Mary Annaise Heglar: I just, I feel like thurgood marshall is going to come and haunt him.
Amy Westervelt: I hope so.
Leah Litman: think about how much the Republican party changed the court by replacing Thurgood Marshall with Clarence Thomas and Ruth Bader Ginsburg withAmy Coney Barrett, Like,
Mary Annaise Heglar: or stealing the, um, the Scalia seat. it was Scalia who died recently right?
Leah Litman: yes. Yep.
Amy Westervelt: could you explain why, um, people like John Cornin are suddenly referencing Plessy versus Ferguson and brown versus board, again, that there are people talking about the Dred Scott decision, all of that stuff, uh, around Dobbs
Leah Litman: um, be a little bit of a longer answer. Uh, I guess I note three things. One is the majority in Dobbs invoked Brown versus Board of education, outlawing segregation in public schools, which overruled Plessy versus Ferguson, the decision upholding separate but equal. The decision overruling Roe said, look, it’s no big deal to overrule constitutional decisions.
Brown overruled Plessy. And if you say we can’t overrule decisions, then you are saying right, you would uphold Plessy. So partially what Senator Cornin is invoking. I mean, it’s a completely nonsensical analogy. dissent in Dobbs completely dispatches it, but that’s, that’s one thing that’s happening. The second thing is happening, uh, with respect to Dred Scott is in the regulation case Justice Thomas relied on some statements in Dred Scott as evidence about what the 2nd amendment and 14th amendment So he said, look in Dred Scott, the court said, um, uh, individuals who are descended from, um, Africa can’t be citizens because if they were citizens, then they would have the ability to carry guns in public.
And therefore the court and Dred Scott recognized that carrying guns in public you know, are a piece of what it means to be a citizen. And it’s like, look, dread, Scott is totally discredited. The 14th amendment right was enacted to repudiate Dred Scott’s views of the constitution. So why are we relying on this?
I don’t know, but that is part of why Dr. Scott is trending. Um, the third thing I would say is, look, you have to understand this is, it’s all just kind of part of a troll, you know, them like co-opting the narrative of racial justice and equity toward these extremely regressive ends.
Amy Westervelt: Right, right, right, Lord. All right.
Leah Litman: Sorry, you asked
Amy Westervelt: no, no, we wanted without, that’s what we wanted to know. Thank you so much. Um, awesome. Thanks again for, uh, for joining us. And we look forward to, um, to following all of your, your, you know, analysis of, of the upcoming rulings.
Leah Litman: likewise
Amy Westervelt: Thank you.
Leah Litman: take care.
Mary Annaise Heglar: that was bleak. cuz like. I kept seeing dread Scott’s face as y’all were talking because I think it, it gets lost that that’s an actual human being. Sometimes
Amy Westervelt: It’s really disturbing that that’s getting thrown around, um, right now.
Mary Annaise Heglar: I think it’s also because Dred is not a typical name.I’m not sure that people realized that that was like a person. At the time he was not recognized as a person. And, so you, yeah, it, it kind of gets lost that, like, you could think it’s Dred versus Scott or something. Like, you can kind of forget that this is a person who was like, I should have the right to my own, you know, body, to my own life. At that point at be you would be, would’ve been three fifths of a person,
Amy Westervelt: Right? So many, layers of, um, of disturbing that we’re hearing that referenced that people. Even today when they’re referencing that case, don’t necessarily know that Dred Scott was a person fighting for the right to be a person, um, in control of his own personhood, you know, and, and that, then you have Justice Thomas referencing that case as, uh, valid precedent to say that, um, being an American means being able to carry a gun around in public.
Just a lot of, uh, a lot of gross shit happening.
So I know, you know, that the road decision and the west Virginia Case are kind of on everyone’s radar, but I just wanna bring folks attention to a couple of other cases. So for example, uh, just a couple weeks ago, the case FEC versus Ted Cruz for Senate,, the court ruled that basically candidates can give their campaigns personal loans and then pay themselves back with interest.
Amy Westervelt: Um, I know,
Mary Annaise Heglar: Why am I not surprised that Ted Cruz is in the middle of this? So wouldn’t that mean that a donor can just give money to let’s say Schned Shuz and then he can give it to his campaign. So it’s totally untraceable. And Okay. Is there a cap on how much money they can move that way?
Amy Westervelt: Nope. Nope. There’s not.
Mary Annaise Heglar: And if not, and hear me out here, what’s stopping these climate billionaires from Uh not necessarily bribing, but imbibing, uh, certain senators, um, perhaps from states
Amy Westervelt: a good idea. Actually, it does kind of make me wonder, I mean like someone like a Ted Cruz, for example, I mean, I don’t, I, I guess I feel like he’s pretty ideologically driven, but I also feel like he is really driven by fame and money. So I’m like, is there a universe in which like, you know, Jeff Bezos could bribe Ted Cruz to like change his whole ideology.
Mary Annaise Heglar: Well, I didn’t say bribe Joe Manchin. I didn’t say that,
Amy Westervelt: It’s not a bribe anymore Mary, it’s perfectly legal campaign finance strategy, so
Mary Annaise Heglar: whatever. I didn’t say do it. I didn’t say
Amy Westervelt: mm-hmm
Mary Annaise Heglar: but could it be done.
Amy Westervelt: because he really, he really does. He really is kind of like driven by money. I don’t think he’s listening to constituents. Like I know that, um, yes. Okay. West Virginia’s a coal state, but coal hasn’t been like a, a good part of that state’s economy for quite a while.
And like, you know, there are, are other people in the state that, that don’t want the coal folks to continue to get handouts. So yeah an interesting proposition. Very interesting. Yes.
Mary Annaise Heglar: It’s just an idea that I didn’t propose.
Amy Westervelt: Just it’s just out there. It’s a, it’s a thought exercise. Um,
Mary Annaise Heglar: yeah, just float it by and here we are.
Amy Westervelt: Yeah. So of course, you know what this points to is even more dark money in politics. Uh, but there was another case in the, um, January session that I feel like really skated under the radar for folks. And it was called Americans for prosperity foundation versus Bonta. So Bonta is the attorney general of California and basically California adopted this statute several years ago.
That said that, um, you have to, you know, despite the fact that Citizens United made it possible for, um, people to give political donations anonymously and for corporations to give political donations anonymous. California still had this law in the books that basically kind of forced you to do it anyway.
And a bunch of these big right wing think tanks have been trying to get rid of this for a long time. They’ve been saying it’s like infringing on corporate free speech and infringing on right to privacy and all of these other things. And that is what this case was about. So the Americans for prosperity foundation is the foundation arm of the, the Koch’s, uh, state politics group Americans for prosperity
So this group, this is the group that like goes in and like really messes with state elections on behalf of the whole Koch network. Um, There’s like a whole documentary about this, about what they did in Montana. That I actually, I highly recommend, it’s called dark money, but, um, it’s about what Americans for prosperity did in that state, but they do it all over.
Um, and so, you know, all of these groups have been trying to get rid of this law in California. They file this case. They get a whole raft of what are called Amicus briefs. Or sometimes they hear people call them Amicus briefs. I don’t know which one is right. All I know is it’s Latin. Um and, and they, so they got all these people saying, you know, yeah, this is a huge issue.
And like the court should look at this law when they appealed the case to the Supreme court.
Mary Annaise Heglar: Yeah. The front of the court briefs. Um, I kind of know what those but I have a feeling there’s a shit time that I don’t know.
Amy Westervelt: So these, um, came about. Amicus a yeah. Or Amicus Amicus. Okay. So these came out a long time ago and, and initially it was a good idea. It was like, you know, um, I don’t know how many court documents you read, but like they always reference a whole bunch of other cases. Right? It’s like, in this case they said this, and it’s, it’s usually in the vein of, you know, you should, you should rule in this way cuz that’s in keeping what’s with what’s happened in other cases.
Um, and it’s, it’s not necessarily easy for lawyers to pull that together now, but it’s a lot easier than it was say 200 years ago when the internet didn’t exist. And um, not every library had like every case that had ever been, you know, argued. So you would have these friends of the court who would, uh, write a brief for the judge explaining what had happened in another similar case.
Um, And, you know, it was kind of a helpful thing. Nowadays, it’s more like these, um, groups will get kind of involved in different cases that are aligned with their mission in some way or another. And they will hire a lawyer to write a brief on their behalf to kind of like, um, throw their weight behind a particular type of ruling in a case, or increasingly there’s, they’re starting to be, um, they’re starting to show up like when cases are appealed to the Supreme court.
So as like a, a method of trying to convince the justices to take a case, which is, is fairly new and the other new thing is that since. 2010, which is when the citizens United case happened. Um, there’s just like no transparency in who’s funding these things. And, um, the court doesn’t really like the court sort of has transparency rules, but they’re like, they’re kind of dumb.
Um, they, I mean, they basically say that like, if someone paid for the like manual preparation of a brief, so like the printing of it and the distribution of it, then you have to disclose who that person was. Um, but it doesn’t say that, like, you have to disclose that, you know, the lawyer who wrote this brief was hired by the Cato foundation or, you know, Americans for prosperity or whatever.
Um, So it’s kind of meaningless. Uh, anyways, so when I first started looking into this, honestly, it didn’t make any sense to me cuz I was like, well, who cares if there’s more of them? Because like, It’s not like a judge is gonna be surprised to learn that this conservative think tank is against regulating businesses.
And like, why would that sway them in any particular direction? Um, so I asked Senator Sheldon Whitehouse about this. This is the Senator from Rhode Island. He’s actually the only politician that’s been talking about this. And he’s been really like banging the drum about how, you know, we need to, this is like this kind of undercover area of dark money in the courts that we need to get rid of.
Here’s a little bit from him, kind of explaining why, um, why this is a big deal and also like how it showed up in this particular case where the Americans for Prosperity folks were trying to get rid of this disclosure law in California.
Senator Sheldon Whitehouse: They pick Americans for Prosperity foundation as the petitioner to try to get this dark money constitutional, right. And when they do that, at least 50 dark money Amicee showed up. At the cert stage mm-hmm at the cert stage to push the Supreme court to take up this case. And by the way, it lurked for a very long, strange period of time at the Supreme court.
And they only took it up once they had Judge Barrett giving them six and they only took it up literally two days after the attack on the capital. When everybody in America was looking elsewhere. January 8th, they took the case up. So they’ve got the case of the twin of the Koch brothers political battleship supported by 50 dark money front groups that they take onto their docket in the shadow of the attack on the capital. And sure enough, they create a constitutional right to dark money for this group.
Amy Westervelt: So, yeah, I don’t know if you read this before Mary, but like, they basically like snuck this case through while the insurrection was happening.
Mary Annaise Heglar: Of course,
Amy Westervelt: They, like, they like waited for Amy Coney Barrett to officially be on the bench and then they took it up and then they like did all this shit, like while everyone was distracted by the, the instruction.
Mary Annaise Heglar: and also wasn’t Clarence Thomas’s wife, like hard at work on the insurrection, like take the personal day to support your wife
Amy Westervelt: yeah,
Mary Annaise Heglar: Like what the fuck, i thought he was a wife guy
Amy Westervelt: it’s true. It’s true. She was, she was hard at work on that while he was hard at work, making sure that all those groups would continue to have limitless dark money at their fingertips. They’re a real power Couple
Mary Annaise Heglar: Did the proud boys get like dark money?
Amy Westervelt: I would be very surprised if they didn’t. Um, yeah, like they’re too helpful to those groups for them not to get any support at all, you know, like I just. I don’t know.
Mary Annaise Heglar: Maybe they only take white money?
Amy Westervelt: so good.
Mary Annaise Heglar: That was, that was a fascist dad joke.
Amy Westervelt: Good one. That was really good. Um,
Mary Annaise Heglar: Yeah. So I hadn’t heard about this case at all. Um, that’s what really jumps out to me about the Supreme court coverage. Like you have to know where to go for it and then correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t see a lot of people interpreting what any of these rulings mean for climate.
Amy Westervelt: Oh, yeah, you’re not wrong. I don’t think that that happens really hardly at all. Uh, I mean, there’s like a pretty small pool of legal reporters in general. And then a lot of them work for law publications. And a lot of the law publications are very, very niche and they’re sort of, they’re behind a paywall and they cost, it’s like their main audience are law firms that will pay like thousands of dollars for this subscription.
You know what I mean? So it’s like the best law reporting is often behind a massive paywall. And then most of the time when you have, I mean, which is, you know, there are definitely people at some of the major papers who are covering, Um, particularly the Supreme court in various other cases, but most of those people are experts in the law and not experts on climate.
Amy Westervelt:: So I, I don’t know, like even something like this case where the Koch brothers were involved, I, none of the coverage I saw mentioned climate, it totally flew under the radar because of what was happening, you know, with the insurrection at the time.
Mary Annaise Heglar:yeah.
Yeah. mean, fair court documents, um, are exactly cute and cuddly. Um, and nobody, not everybody has a degree in legalese but it’s a skill to acquire that I’m glad you have.
Amy Westervelt: It’s true. I feel like people, um, the folks that are really good at like that understand constitutional law and, you know, know how to read the court documents or whatever are often not that up on all of the climate policy stuff. And then vice versa. Like I keep seeing climate reporters really misinterpreting the West Virginia versus EPA case because they don’t know the law part too.
Um, so that is definitely an area where I feel like it would be cool to see more papers, put like a, a, a duo, like a law reporter and a climate reporter on it. I don’t know. I really, I wish we would see that more with climate in general, but Yeah,
Mary Annaise Heglar: I will just also say that I feel like the burden of communicating about that case falls also on elected officials.
Amy Westervelt: Mm mm-hmm
Mary Annaise Heglar: they’re very good at communicating the law when it comes to Roe versus Wade.
Amy Westervelt: that’s true.
Mary Annaise Heglar: Why is it not incumbent on them to learn how to do the same when it comes to climate
Amy Westervelt: That’s very true, because also like the, the other thing in terms of, um, making this stuff accessible is like literally physically, a lot of the court documents are not accessible. Like you can download the ruling, you know, the Supreme court ruling. But if you wanted to see, like, what was the original complaint and who was involved and all of that kind of stuff, then, then you’re talking about this system called pacer, which is like, this insane system that you have to like, have a membership to, and you have to pay for every page of documents that you see, even if you just view them online, you still have to pay per page. Which I don’t know. I’m like these are supposed to be publicly available. There’s this huge, you know, barrier, both in terms of cost and in terms of like knowing that that system even exists and then how to access it and then how to use it, cuz it’s not straightforward in any way.
Mary Annaise Heglar: It is incumbent on officials to inform and educate their constituents about what is, and is not important and what the stakes are.
Amy Westervelt: That’s right.
Mary Annaise Heglar: and i’d like to see them take that more seriously when it comes to climate, instead of just being like, oh, well, people don’t care about it. Well, like, what is your job?
Amy Westervelt: it’s weird. It’s like the way that, that I’ve seen, um, public officials and even like climate advocates talk about this case, it’s like, it’s like, they’ll get really into the weeds of, you know, what this means for regulatory agencies in general and what it means for the clean air act or they’ll go totally the opposite way and go this case is gonna make it illegal to regulate CO2 emissions.And I’m like, these are both wrong.
Mary Annaise Heglar: Right. But this is what happens when all of the discourse happens on Twitter, which is a useful tool, but it’s where the discourse goes to be flattened.
Amy Westervelt: it’s true.
Mary Annaise Heglar: Which reminds me, what’s orange and sounds like a parrot?
Amy Westervelt: Hmm. What’s orange. And sounds like a parrot. Um, Ugh. I have no idea. What is it?
Mary Annaise Heglar: a carrot.
Amy Westervelt: A carrot
Mary Annaise Heglar: Yep.
Amy Westervelt: That was so much easier than I thought I was really trying to make it complicated.
Mary Annaise Heglar: you know, sometimes you just gotta go with the flow. All right. So obviously the Supreme court has a major impact on climate policy, there’s lots of other ways the courts can enable or block climate action too. Right? Like these RAGA guys, you’re always talking about your favorite boy band from the nineties.
Amy Westervelt: Yes they are. Um, okay. Yes. So I consider it a personal victory that the New York times finally mentioned fucking RAGA this past week. So RAGA stands for, they did. They actually mentioned it in a story about, so like what I’m, I’m constantly harping on the fact that if you see like more than three Republican attorneys, general show up in a case, you need to be talking about the Republican Attorneys’ General Association.
Which is RAGA, uh, because they coordinate these things. These are like coordinated efforts and they’re basically like the litigation arm of the Republican party. And I consistently see coverage of cases where there are like 17 conservative states, you know, say, blah, blah, blah. That never mentioned this whole machine operating in the background, which is very annoying, but the New York times actually talked about it.
So, um, and they talked about it in the context of West Virginia versus EPA, which is a total RAGA case. Um, so just a quick little history of RAGA. It started as a reaction to the tobacco litigation in the 1990s. Uh, at the time, a bunch of democratic attorneys, general brought various cases against the tobacco companies for withholding information about the health impacts of smoking.
Eventually there were so many of these cases that the industry opted to settle that became this thing that’s called the master settlement. Um, and they had to pay like tens of millions of dollars into a fund that all of these different states that had filed lawsuits kind of divvied up amongst themselves.
And at the time this was a pretty novel strategy for attorneys general to kind of like, you know, work together in a way to coordinate in this way. And the Republicans, it’s like one of the few times in recent history that the Republicans have kind of been like, whoa, that was a good strategy. We should do that.
You know? And so they started this thing. So it was the attorney’s general of Alabama, Texas, and South Carolina created RAGA. And then sort of the first order of the day was to get more Republican attorneys, general elected, cuz at the time they were also like vastly outnumbered by the Democrats in, in the attorney’s General’s offices.
So it was like, I don’t know, it was almost two to one. They were really heavily outnumbered. So they were kind of like, okay, step one, let’s get more of us. Um, and that totally worked Republican attorneys general now outnumber Dems, but just barely, like, I think this is something that actually Democrats should be paying attention to and doing something about.
Um, but then in 2010, when the citizens United case made dark money, a thing RAGA became this crazy litigation machine that was receiving like tens of millions of dollars from all of these different industries. So it was the Kochs, um, coal people, tobacco still, lots of pharma, lots of like industries that were worried about, um, class action suits and, and heavy regulation.
Mary Annaise Heglar: Yikes. Um, so for folks who don’t know Citizens United was a big Supreme Court case that basically said corporations the same rights as individuals to donate money anonymously to political causes. Um, I like to think of it as Mitt Romney’s campaign talking point. Remember when he was like, corporations are people, my friend and people were like,
Amy Westervelt: Yes.
Mary Annaise Heglar: that makes no sense, but he’s legally.Right. But also makes no sense when you say it out loud
Amy Westervelt: Yeah. It’s crazy. Corporations are people and money is speech. That’s, that’s how that’s like the easiest way to boil down Citizens United.
Mary Annaise Heglar: Up is down, air is water.
Amy Westervelt: Yeah. Yeah. It’s crazy. Because what that does is it means that, you know, a company or an industry group can donate tens of millions of dollars to a particular candidate anonymously, which means that then when that candidate does their bidding in office, people can’t be like, oh, well, this person’s in the pocket of big oil.
Um, because they can’t access those records. Um, there’s been plenty of, like, there has been a fair bit of, um, leaks around funding, uh, of various organizations. Actually. There’s been a few leaks around the funding of RAGA. That’s how we know that, like, you know, the Koch brothers are big donors and things like that, but, um, but it’s, you know, it’s just, it’s just like, uh, a way to make corruption less transparent.
That’s it? , you know, that’s it.
Mary Annaise Heglar: you know, I, I like for my corruption to be opaque.
Amy Westervelt: Yeah. Yeah. That’s what these guys were like. Let’s keep this behind the scenes it’s unseemly. Um, so, so anyway, um, people have been trying to get that ruling overturned ever since, because honestly, I do feel like you see this insane increase in, um, you know, just this corporate takeover of government happening from that ruling onward.
Like it, you know, they, corporations have always tried to influence government, but like this just like opened the floodgates and then it’s, and then, you know, you see these little cases, like we were just talking about the FEC versus Ted Cruz case,, the Americans for Prosperity Foundation versus Bonta where they’re, they’re continuing to whittle away at the very few remaining, um, kind of campaign finance protections that that would You know, keep corporations from just completely owning the government outright.
Mary Annaise Heglar: Yeah.
Amy Westervelt: yeah. Yeah,
Mary Annaise Heglar: Yeah. So corporations are people with full bodily autonomy and, women and people who give birth are not
Amy Westervelt: That’s right. That’s right. In fact, yes. corporations now officially have more rights than people with uteruses.
Mary Annaise Heglar: Right. And you know, know they’re not stopping here. Honestly. My biggest fear is they’re gonna come for the three fifth compromise and that might sound hysterical now but..
Amy Westervelt: oh my God. I wouldn’t put anything past this, um, this group. I mean, they, they have said, and, and like, you know, we’ll get into this as we talk more about RAGA too, cuz the folks who are behind this and the folks who are like behind the Federalist society, which is this very like shadowy group of lawyers and judges who have all like, these are all pieces right.
Of this like massive right wing takeover of the court system. And they are not shy about wanting to go back in time a hundred years or more. Um, and you know, if you look at who has rights and who doesn’t a hundred years or more, it’s not that many people having rights, you know, like,
Mary Annaise Heglar: It sincerely is not. And you know
Amy Westervelt: yeah,
Mary Annaise Heglar: Clarence Thomas would not have had rights.
Amy Westervelt: that’s right. That’s right. Yeah. Yeah. So, um, Citizens United happens. RAGA’s budget grows by tens of millions of dollars, and they didn’t have to report where any of this money was coming on, uh, was coming from. So, you know, you see this explosion in cases that are challenging a lot of these big laws that industries don’t like.
So this is where like, um, Leah mentioned the attack on the administrative state. This is, this is like what she’s talking about. These folks really want to see, you know, quote unquote, small government, but really like the way I don’t know, the way I’ve been thinking about it is like, basically more rights for corporations and less rights for actual people.
Mary Annaise Heglar: Yeah right. Especially the ones with uteruses.
Amy Westervelt: Yeah, but like, but really like all people, like they’re, they’re, it it’s really like freedom for corporations and, um, fewer and fewer freedoms and rights for the public. Yeah. I, I feel like too, like, I don’t know, to me I’m like, um, I’ve been, this is like a tiny detour, but I’ve been reading a lot of like, uh, early 20th century philosophers and stuff.
And there was like a definite panic. Um, at that time amongst the sort of like elite white intelligence that like basical, basically the public was too dumb to make decision. That like the idea of, of everybody having an equal vote was a terrible one. And that, um, like things needed to be done to ensure that kind of the unwashed masses could be shaped and molded to vote in the way that, you know, the people who were in power wanted them to vote.
And, and like, you just see that same kind of thinking in this stuff.,
Mary Annaise Heglar: This was Hamilton’s school of thought, right?
Amy Westervelt: Yes. Yes. Yeah. Yeah. So, um, so basically all these Republican attorneys, generals are now working kind of hand in glove with these right wing think tanks and with the GOP in general. And they’re coming up with cases that will allow them to challenge certain constitutional precedents or.rights. So, um, I, I, I talked to this woman, Lisa Graves last year, who like you, like every once in a while, you’ll talk to someone that really blows your mind about, you know, what’s, what’s going on in this country. and she was, she was one of those people. She was a Senate investigator for a really long time.
And then she ran the Center for Media and Democracy for a long time. Now she runs her own research firm called True North. Um, that kind of looks at what all these different groups are getting up to. What are they talking about in their meetings? Like, you know, what kinds of speeches are they giving at Federalist society events, things like that.
She’s I think like probably the most knowledgeable person that I’ve talked to on this stuff. So I just, I just wanna play you a little bit from her. Um, that kind of puts the Republican attorney’s General Association in, in the context of like the, the broader right wing mission right now.
Lisa Graves: The Republican attorney’s general association, where we know that it’s a pay to play operation. We know that it’s it’s uh, it has had enormously distorting effect on US law. it provides a mechanism for corporations to pass money to help, uh, attorneys general, in ways that they would not able to individually solicit for their own campaigns, given their role, their regulatory role over those very industries.
Mm. Um, and that’s been going on since RAGA was created back, uh, oh, more than 20 years ago now. And it has accelerated under some of the attorneys general who have, uh, led it like Scott Pruitt was, who was, you know, in my view, Another corrupt individual. Someone who, uh, was, uh, lax, uh, on ethical rules to say the least and who was willing to do the bidding of the oil industry in attacking climate legislation and climate rules.
Even the very modest CPP, the clean power plan, uh, rules, um, to advance the interests of the funders of RAGA.
Amy Westervelt: This conversation I had with her really like, um, made me have to like take a minute. like, I was just, I was like, wow, these fuckers, like, because they’re, so they’ve been, they’ve been working on it for so long and it’s like working, um, you know, it’s really,yeah, again and again again,.and these are the same fuckers that are doing the Indian child welfare act case too, by the way. And all, all of the tribal stuff. I mean, it’s like, and the fucking, um, freedom of prayer and school stuff, it’s all the same groups of people.
Um, so yeah, this is back when Scott Pruitt was the attorney general of Oklahoma. He was also the head of RAGA. And in that role, he put this case together. Was he the attorney general of West Virginia? No, he was not, but he was, he was the head of RAGA. So he was like, okay, we’re gonna put this case together.
Who’s gonna be the lead plaintiff, West Virginia. Let’s say you. Um, that was, that was actually the story that where the New York times mentioned RAGA, was talking about the origins of the West Virginia versus EPA case. So kudos to them for connecting all of the dots on that. Cuz I think that like, um, it’s important for people to understand that this was not like, this was not like some coal plant operator in West Virginia was like, it’s gonna cost me too much to comply with the clean power plan.
Like no, this was orchestrated by, um, industry funded, Republican officials.
Mary Annaise Heglar: Right, It’s all part of the same sort of agenda and strategy.
Amy Westervelt: That’s right.
Mary Annaise Heglar: All of these things are like the worst people are the same people and they all want the worst shit
Amy Westervelt: That’s right. right.
Mary Annaise Heglar: so, you know, I think it’s easy to kind of think like, oh, this is some scrappy coal miner who brought a case against the big, bad EPA And that is absolutely not what happened here.
Amy Westervelt: yeah.
Mary Annaise Heglar: fossil fuel industry fighting for itself under the guise of RAGA and also
Amy Westervelt: Yeah. That’s.
Mary Annaise Heglar: Yeah.
Amy Westervelt: That’s right. That’s exactly right. That’s right. And, and it’s not just this case. They are now showing up in every climate liability case that gets filed. So these are there’s about two dozen of these cases, and they basically say that, um, you know, states and counties and cities are starting to incur these massive bills for, to deal with climate change either in, in terms of, you know, disaster preparedness or disaster response or climate adaptation.
So whether you’re talking about like a sea wall or moving people from an area that’s just burning down every year, or, you know, real rebuilding homes after hurricanes, all of that stuff is expensive and it’s only getting more expensive. And so these, um, cities and counties and states have been saying, look, Um, if you guys had not been blocking climate policy all along, this problem wouldn’t be as bad as it is.
And therefore, like you should cough up some of the money here , you know, so RAGA shows up in all those cases now to say that this is, um, and, and I mean, you see actually that, that strategy is showing up here too. So they show up in the climate liability cases to say that these cases should be argued in federal court because they have to do with the clean air act.
And then what are they arguing in West Virginia versus EPA that the clean air act does not authorize the EPA to regulate greenhouse gas emissions , you know?
Mary Annaise Heglar: to clean up the air.
Amy Westervelt: right.
Mary Annaise Heglar: me more of that dirty shit, please. Thank you.
Amy Westervelt: Yeah. Yeah, exactly. So it’s like, it’s again, it’s like there’s there’s coordination amongst the attorneys genera,l there’s coordination across cases, so they’re looking at the, the legal landscape and saying like, okay, we need to fight in this way over here. But then we also need to like start whittling away at, you know, the authorities of the EPA, because we don’t want them to be able to, to work on this. Um, the RAGA folks also showed up in the Juliana case, which is the big youth climate case.
Um, they tried to intervene there to stop the US government from making any kind of a settlement with the, um, they also all joined on to Ken Paxton’s attempt to challenge the results of the 2020 election. Um, you know, so, so like voting rights, gun rights, abortion, Um, prayer in schools, uh, climate they’re they’re there on all of these things.
Tribal sovereignty. Yeah. It’s again and again, and again, the same people getting up to all of the same nefarious shit. Um, here’s, here’s Lisa Graves again, on what they’ve been getting up to lately and kind of like what their plan seems to be for, for, you know, now, and, and kind of the next few years.
Lisa Graves: We know that it is receiving a substantial amount of money uh, one of the emerging, big dark money operations, which is Leonard Leo’s operation.
Amy Westervelt: So Leonard Leo is, is the guy who ran the Federalist society for decades. This is an organization of conservative attorneys who kind of set themselves the task of picking judges. Um, they’re the ones that like have been. If like the Republican plan has been to take over the judiciary, the Federalist society is like kind of the execution mechanism there.
It’s like they have, they’re the ones that are saying, okay, put this judge in on this bench and let’s appoint this person. Um, Leonard Leo himself is credited with basically telling Trump to appoint, uh, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, and Barrett. So we have him in particular to thank for the current makeup of the Supreme court.
Lisa Graves: So now is, um, not just a recipient of. Donations from big oil and, and, uh, big, huge corporations, it’s also a major and they’ve particularly targeted states, and state AGS offices to advance Leonards term, uh, agenda, which he described to the council and national policy. this was, um, documented in that Washington post story. He described in that in a speech to CNP last year that his, that America stands at the precipice of what he called the revival of what he described as the quote structural constitution. Uh, and he told, uh, the CNP audience, um, that no one alive in that room had seen the type of legal revolution that America was about to see based on the appointments to the Supreme court and other courts revive this so-called structural constitution to the law, as it existed, pre-New Deal. um, and, uh, you know, that affects a whole host of laws. It affects civil rights laws. It, it will, it will affect labor laws and labor rights, environmental regulation, and more. And it’s an attempt in my view um, really limit the ability of Congress to pass laws, to limit the ability of agencies, to regulate corporations, um, and, and to, um, you know, sort of change, uh, the whole modern of, uh, government basically in terms of the administrative agencies, but also rights of citizens and the relationships between the United States as a, as a government and other governments, which obviously would include tribal governments.
Amy Westervelt: That is really interesting.
Lisa Graves: You mentioned tribes in that speech, but it is a, it’s a, it’s a, it’s an attempt by. and an assortment of lawyers who are elite lawyers like Paul Clement and others who have been, you know, advancing some of these, um, ideas. now they have a Supreme court that’s increasingly receptive to what I consider of be an extreme, radical, reactionary agenda to change our rights and, and limit our powers and our democracy through our representatives in ways that serve a very elite agenda. The agenda of the people who fund Leonard Leo and Leo’s operations and fund the RAGA, the Republican Attorney General’s association, and have been, um, really attempting to work a legal revolution through offices that we would otherwise consider to be independent.
Mary Annaise Heglar: Yeah. Yeah. I’ve read about this guy. Um, he’s been, you gotta give him, he is persistent. Yeah.
Amy Westervelt: I mean, this is like a 20 year project that he’s been working on. And as soon as like it, people started to figure out what was up with the Federalist society. He left the Federalist society and is now working with another organization called CRC advisors doing basically the same thing, but like with even less scrutiny, because of all of these dark money things
Mary Annaise Heglar: Yeah, that’s the thing about dark money. It’ll get the eyes off you.
Amy Westervelt: Yeah.
Mary Annaise Heglar: Hey. we gotta, gotta, gotta find a more long term strategy. Cuz when I say these people play the long game, they play the fucking long game.
Amy Westervelt: Yeah, no, they really do. And like, um, I, I just, yeah, I don’t know. I feel like, um, the idea that they would like to, and when I say they, I mean, not just, uh, the Republican party, but also these kind of big funders that are pulling the strings behind them and the folks like Leonard Leo and like the Koch brothers and whatnot.
Like they really, really, it genuinely would like to go back to like 1910 ish. Um, , you know, they want no regulations on business and no rights for people,, other than land owning white men.
Mary Annaise Heglar: Um, while the planet turns into a hellscape right? So like you’re going back to 1910
Amy Westervelt: Right, right.
Mary Annaise Heglar: but on a planet that’s been altered beyond recognition, or as they say in the military, FUBAR
Amy Westervelt: That’s right. That’s right. Exactly.
Mary Annaise Heglar: So
Amy Westervelt: Exactly.
Mary Annaise Heglar: yikes. Um, so that brings me to my next question. Um, why do pancakes always win at baseball? First of all?
Amy Westervelt: Hmm. Something about batter, uh, cuz they’ve got the best batter.
Mary Annaise Heglar: Fuck you.
Amy Westervelt: yes. Win, a win.
Mary Annaise Heglar: Second of all, what was the Supreme court ruling on constipation?
Amy Westervelt: Ah, um, it was a poop point. I don’t know. (laughter)
Mary Annaise Heglar: That’s more like it, that it was unconstitutional.
Amy Westervelt: so good. So good. I love a good constipation joke. (laughter)
Mary Annaise Heglar: Yep.
Amy Westervelt: Oh man.
Mary Annaise Heglar: you would enjoy that.
Mary Annaise Heglar: Okay. So lately, there’s been, this wave of the left is eating itself pieces, um, and it kind of started with this pretty controversial piece, um, that was published in the intercept about two weeks ago. Do you remember hearing about this?
Amy Westervelt: I do. Yeah, I do remember this. Mm-hmm . Mm.
Mary Annaise Heglar: it was basically saying that, um, nonprofits on the left have gotten too woke for their own goods and they’re just like stuck in all this quicksand of diversity, equity and inclusion is keeping them from actually achieving their mission, which be it reproductive rates or, environmental regulations, um, or whatever.
And there so caught up in all this wokeness and like and they’re, they’re younger, more idealistic staff is just like never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever satisfied. and. One of the things in there that like, I really hope these folks don’t do. Like, I, I hope they don’t do. There’s a bunch of executive directors who are wanting to do like a Harper style letter.
That’s fighting back against the wokeness
Amy Westervelt: oh dear.
Mary Annaise Heglar: and it’s like woah, uh,
that’s not gonna work out super well for you. Um, but so I wanna focus on Politico. Um, Politico came out with its own version of this type of journalism for his magazine this weekend. Um, but that was preceded by two pieces about the inner turmoil of big green groups in particular, asserting that the groups were missing out on key opportunities because of these overly idealistic young staffers who push the org to take on too much DEI that they forgot about GHG (greenhouse gasses).
Amy Westervelt: Mm, okay. Mm-hmm right, please.
Mary Annaise Heglar: This Politico is also the same group that published these exposes on three 50 back in February, about the environmental justice office of the EPA or about Gina McCarthy’s office. So it is, yeah, there’s a theme. Can I read you a couple of my favorite quotes from this article?.
Amy Westervelt: Yes. Okay.
Mary Annaise Heglar: okay, here’s one – losing a longtime environmental group. Officials said granted anonymity to protect relationship with client. Democrats will continue to take the environmental movement and environmental justice movement for granted because they’ve got no place else. Here’s another quote, the more familiar path for many donors involves reaching for political center and hoping to win over some moderate Republicans. For decades big green organizations were proudly non-partisan and openly cultivated Centris Republicans. It was a Republican president Richard Nixon, who signed the bill, creating the environmental protection agency. I’m gonna stop there and let you react.
Amy Westervelt: Okay, I feel like these are both blaming environmental groups and “wokeism” for something that is actually the fault of the fossil fuel industry. Like it’s not, it’s not the environmental movement’s fault that Republicans stopped giving a shit about the environment. It’s not because of quote unquote identity politics that that happened.
Uh it’s because like fo the fossil fuel industry was like the fuck you will, to all of the Republican politicians that they were funding, like come on. Uh,
Mary Annaise Heglar: And I will say that Bill Mckibben in, in one of these pieces was like the Republican party left the environmental movement, not the other way around.
Amy Westervelt: Exactly. Yes.
Mary Annaise Heglar: So full disclosure, I work at an environmental nonprofit.I’m gonna go ahead say it. if y’all thought I was paying my bills with podcasting money, sweetie.
Amy Westervelt: Good one. That’s a good one. Yeah. Uh
Mary Annaise Heglar: you, um, I keep my day to be her. I keep my day job and my public image separate because they’re separate things. I’m not a spokesperson for my employer and I keep those things So that allows me to say what I want when I want to, uh, like, so I got a lot of fucking problems with this coverage. of all, it takes for granted that these groups were successful before they got involved with all of this wokeness. And if that were true how the fuck on earth that climate change get this bad.
Amy Westervelt: exactly.
Mary Annaise Heglar: that’s not me shit talking any person or any organization. I think most of them would agree with you That climate change is a big fucking problem right now and that
Amy Westervelt: That’s right,
Mary Annaise Heglar: they didn’t solve it.
Amy Westervelt: right. That’s right.
Mary Annaise Heglar: and so, something was not working. so. These articles kind of assume, it just kind of takes for granted that like 350 was so successful. Sierra club was so successful. What happened? What happened was climate change?
Like, did you read the IPCC report? Like nobody’s winning here.
Amy Westervelt: Yeah, well, also what happened is that, um, again, I mean, I, I know I’m, I’m beating a dead horse here. I wish the fossil fuel industry was a dead horse um, but, but, uh, if you look at the actual data on this, the fossil fuel industry historically stops spending money on trying to influence the public one way or the other.
Whenever they feel like there’s no threat of policy being passed. So like when there was a threat of policy being passed, they ramped up in the late nineties. That’s why you see this huge uptick in climate denial over the first decade of the 2000s. Then, um, they kind of go away when Bush is president, right?
Like they don’t need, they don’t need to be spending money campaigning when they’ve got George W. Bush and fucking Dick Cheney in the white house. Right. Then you have Obama, you have Clinton, you have, you know, you have like these, these little spikes where they’re like, oh shit, oh shit. There might be a chance of something passing.
And like they spent as much. Um, to fuck with the, the Copenhagen summit when Obama was president, as they did, to make sure that Al Gore did not become president, um, that was a huge threat for them. And that is where you see, like, you know, that’s where you see, um, Uh, Waxman-Markey going to shit. That’s where you see the whole international climate policy sphere falling apart.
It was in the lead up to Copenhagen that 350 was actually seeing quite a bit of success. And that there was really like at that time, quite a bit of momentum behind the youth climate movement that existed then, and the industry spent, I mean, I mean like a factor of 10 more than they had spent in any previous year up to that on lobbying and advertising and everything else.
So I just, I like, I, it irritates me when, um, these stories like, don’t take that shit into account or act like, you know, oh, well of course the oil industry was gonna be doing that, but that shouldn’t have had an impact. Well, it does. We know that it does. It’s documented.
Mary Annaise Heglar: Exactly. My other problem with these articles is that they only talk to people in power
Amy Westervelt: Yes.
Mary Annaise Heglar: Granted, that might be because the people who don’t have power in these organizations, aren’t trying to talk to reporters because they don’t have job
Amy Westervelt: right.
Mary Annaise Heglar: security like that. But that also might be a good fucking reason to stop and think about whether you can do this story justice whether you have any business doing it at all.
Amy Westervelt: that’s right.
Mary Annaise Heglar: also it assumes that the environmental movement lives in these organizations, but it’s
Amy Westervelt: Mm-hmm
Mary Annaise Heglar: actually much bigger than that. And not a moment too soon,
Amy Westervelt: mm-hmm
Mary Annaise Heglar: Isn’t like whatever Sierra club does. That means that’s what the whole environmental movement is doing. Just like, it doesn’t mean whatever
Amy Westervelt: mm-hmm
Mary Annaise Heglar: planned parenthood is doing. That’s what the entire reproductive justice
Amy Westervelt: No, exactly. Exactly.
Mary Annaise Heglar: It’s absurd and it’s an outdated assumption.
Amy Westervelt: Mm-hmm mm-hmm
Mary Annaise Heglar: and then. this type of journalism, scapegoats, not just nonprofit groups, but younger staffers of color at those nonprofit groups, for the failure of the Biden administration to keep its own campaign promises.
Amy Westervelt: That is exactly right? Yes.
Mary Annaise Heglar: like, oh, we would’ve done climate action. If it weren’t for you, pesky kids who really wanted it, what, what, what the fuck sense that make? They’re your campaign promises, homie. They came outta your face. We saw you
Amy Westervelt: that’s right. That’s right. is right. Mm
Mary Annaise Heglar: So we wanted it too bad, so you didn’t do it. Like, what are you the fucked up tinker bell?
Amy Westervelt: mm-hmm mm-hmm mm-hmm
Mary Annaise Heglar: and that brings me to my biggest problem with this coverage, which is where is this energy for Exxon.
Amy Westervelt: that’s right..
Mary Annaise Heglar: Cause I, I looked at the rest of the co their coverage on their site. And so they don’t have a climate section. They have an energy and environment section, which is litter with this sort of palace intrigue type of shit.
Like somebody died to make them the National Inquirer for the environmental movement or some shit. like basic, are you a gossip brag or are you a journalism outlet? What the fuck are you?
Amy Westervelt: Yes, right?
Mary Annaise Heglar: I, so they have energy and environment and then they have sustainability, which like on the sustainability page on page one, you can get back to April today, right?
Like there’s not a lot of coverage over there. So if, is this your idea of a climate coverage strategy And
Amy Westervelt: Yeah. Yeah.
Mary Annaise Heglar: meanwhile how are you not aiming any of this fire at Exxon? Oh, right. They’re your funder.
Amy Westervelt: Well, as Chevron in particular, Chevron funds like Chevron funds, Politico’s energy newsletter. Um, Politico does a shitload of events with Chevron all throughout the year. So like, and you know, of course I’m sure that they would be like, oh, that’s just like terrible to insinuate that we would not be doing a good job of like, ah, advertising is totally separate from editorial, but like, okay, then do a fucking better job.
Yeah. Yeah. Yep.
Mary Annaise Heglar: Prove it! It’s just so I, I went on their site and I clicked on their, uh, one of their articles about the West Virginia case. And this is the opening line. The Supreme Court is expected to issue a ruling this month, hobbling the Biden administration’s efforts to reign in greenhouse gasses, but its impact could weaken Washington’s power to oversee wide swaths of American life.
Well beyond climate change, this is sentence one.
Amy Westervelt: Wow.
Mary Annaise Heglar: So we are already skipping past climate change in sentence Number one, climate change is actually
Amy Westervelt: Wow. Yeah,
Mary Annaise Heglar: a pretty fucking big deal. So like, can we stick with this for a second? And then it really quickly falls into this both sides type of pit.
Like it gets into like scientists say climate change is going to make floods and fires worse. Like, uh, science that climate change is making floods and fires worse.
Amy Westervelt: That’s right.
Mary Annaise Heglar: Science shows that climate change is making floods and fires worse. You don’t need all this equivocating.
Amy Westervelt: That’s right.
Mary Annaise Heglar: yeah.
Amy Westervelt: That’s right. Yeah. Yeah. I’ve noticed that. Like I, I see, um, in fact it’s like the only place where I see this kind of palace intrigue coverage, like on the regular about environmental groups. And it’s like, I’m not saying that, um, environmental groups are above scrutiny or that there shouldn’t be accountability, um, amongst the NGOs as well.
Like in fact to your earlier point, like, you know, if they were doing that great of a job, then wouldn’t, we have made more progress on climate change. I think there’s a lot of criticism to be made of, of actual strategies and things that they’ve tried that have failed. But like, I don’t, I don’t actually think that like what they’re focusing on is the reason that these organizations and their strategies have failed.
Um, and like, honestly, I would love to see Politico dig into the personal agendas of the major funders of these organizations. How about that instead of the like desires of, of low level staffers to be treated like humans, you know, because apparently that’s a problem like, let’s talk about, you know,
Mary Annaise Heglar: I would like to see Chevron dig into its own funders.
Amy Westervelt: that’s right. That’s right. It’s like, I don’t, I just, I feel like, yeah. I mean, in general, I feel like, look when we’re actually at a point where Oil companies are not dictating absolutely everything in the world. Then we should absolutely turn our attention to the bullshit that environmental NGOs get up to you know, but like until then, who cares?
I just, I don’t know. Yes,
Mary Annaise Heglar: How does your energy and environment section have more smoke for low level staffers at the Sierra club it does for Chevron?
Amy Westervelt: yes,
Mary Annaise Heglar: How is that possible?
Amy Westervelt: Yes. Yeah. That is wild. It’s really, really, it’s just not helpful. It’s like not a, no one was sitting around going like, you know, we need more of on the climate beat gossip. Um,
Mary Annaise Heglar: Right, you know what, you know what the title of the, uh, of the article was justice or overreach,
Amy Westervelt: oh my God.
Mary Annaise Heglar: the environmental movement embraces a broad array of the progressive causes. Well, as own agenda hangs in the balance. Sir there is so much out there about how all of these causes are connected to one another. And coalition building is never a distraction.
Amy Westervelt: yeah. I, I honestly I’m, I’m concerned by how much this talking point is coming up and like, and how much it is being glommed onto by the right. And then sort of repeated by the left.
Mary Annaise Heglar: so Is it being glommed onto by them or are they planting it?
Amy Westervelt: I don’t know. I don’t know, because you definitely see, I mean, you saw reactions like this, you know, to the green, new deal, when it first came out from, you know, supposed leftists and climate people that, you know, oh, you’re trying to combine too many things, blah, blah, blah. But, and it does make me think that like the right saw that and went, Ooh, perfect target.
Mary Annaise Heglar: mm-hmm. They don’t miss opportunities. I.
Amy Westervelt: let’s leverage the grievances of, of white people who feel a little bit miffed by, you know, identity politics or whatever. Um, because yeah, the reality is, and, and we, I talked about this last week with Yesenia. You and I have talked about this a bunch of times, um, from the very beginning, all of the groups that have pushed climate denial were working on all of these other things before, during, and after they have always worked on all of this shit together.
Um, you don’t see, there is no right wing organization that only works on climate denial, like Nile. Like there’s not, there’s just not . And so the idea that this is that, you know, oh, the, you know, progressives have painted climate with the wokeism brush and that’s causing a problem. It’s just not true.:So I wish that people would stop repeating it. Um, and maybe look into it a little bit more than just like a few, you know, Google searches.
Mary Annaise Heglar: or right, or, or only talking to people in very high leadership.
Amy Westervelt: who already agree with your thesis! Like I, I don’t know. Mm-hmm
Mary Annaise Heglar: if the problem, like, if you’re, if the thrust of the article is that these low level staffers are just like up to no good. Maybe talk to some, instead of just assuming you understand what their motives are, are assuming that, you know, and, and also like, I don’t know, maybe don’t like, maybe this isn’t, I don’t know. This just seems like a stupid way to fill a climate coverage, you know, trategy
Amy Westervelt: yeah, yeah. It is. It is.
Mary Annaise Heglar: It also lets the Biden administration off the hook for its own promises. It lets the fossil fuel industry off the hook for its own crimes.Right, so if the assistant at the environmental NGOs hadn’t unionized, we would’ve had greenhouse gas limits. What
And this idea that like the environmental movement gets taken for granted because it doesn’t have anywhere else to go because it’s alienated the Republican party, sweetie, where does the reproductive rights have to go, part, where do trans rights go? Where do other human rights causes go? They can’t go to the Republican party either, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t get to push the democratic party.
Amy Westervelt: Right, right. Exactly. I also think that like, I mean, I, I think I’ve already seen this in the wake, just in the few days since Roe was overturned, I have seen white, progressive men basically make the argument that like, Roe’s not that big of a deal compared to climate. And I’m like, I don’t, I don’t understand why we have to like always do this whole hierarchy thing.
you know, and I also feel like Rebecca Solnit made this really good point on our episode with her about how, you know, um, even just at a basic level, like if, if like half of your movements rights are be like basic rights are being threatened, that means that they’re gonna have less time and less money and less energy to work on climate.
You know, it’s gonna take like the, the Roe decision is gonna take some people out of the climate movement, you know? So is the attack on trans rights and like just purely from a numbers basis, you should want to stop that. Um,
Mary Annaise Heglar: I mean, I also, I also think it kind of splinters it, right? Because like,
Amy Westervelt: know? Yeah.
Mary Annaise Heglar: I think that’s why you have the environmental justice movement as a separate movement from the environmental movement or even the climate movement. Like those people didn’t stop caring about climate. Didn’t stop caring about the environmental movement.
They just didn’t trust whte the people in the mainstream movement. So they had to create their own.
Amy Westervelt: Mm mm-hmm
Mary Annaise Heglar: I think marginalized people are very good at multitasking and understanding that there are multiple threats to their lives that they have no choice but to organize against them. but it becomes a problem when it’s like, you see the assault on trans rights and you go, whoop sucks to be y’all. Um, but I’m going work on this climate thing
Amy Westervelt: sucks for them.
Mary Annaise Heglar: and, um, I’ll get to y’all later because you’ve alienated those people and they don’t trust you. They don’t trust this new world that you are trying to build.
Amy Westervelt: Mm-hmm
Mary Annaise Heglar: Right, that’s how I often felt about the mainstream environmental movement and like their silence when it came to, black lives matter and police violence, it was like, okay, so that’s cool. But I’m supposed to work with y’all on climate.Like I don’t trust you.
Amy Westervelt: right. Yeah. Yep. That’s exactly right.
Mary Annaise Heglar: Bottom line, shit talk is not a climate coveragestrategy
Amy Westervelt: Nope.
Mary Annaise Heglar: There’s better ways to tell this story. And there are bigger levers of power at play here. If you can’t tell the whole story maybe don’t tell it
Amy Westervelt: Yeah, exactly. Exactly.
Mary Annaise Heglar: Keep fucking that chicken
Amy Westervelt: I feel, I think I like it even better when you say it. So
bored. And resigned, I guess the chicken must continue to be fucked.