Save Your Bags

     If something works once, you know it’s going to be tried again.
     So I wasn’t terribly surprised to see the Save the Plastic Bag Coalition sue the County of Los Angeles the other day over a plan to phase out “single use” plastic bags. You may recall that a similar plaintiff (whose members are companies that – surprise! – sell plastic bags) got a court in Alameda County to halt a plastic bag ban because that County hadn’t done an environmental impact study.
     OK. Fair enough. Environmental impacts should be studied.
     But if you’re a lawyer representing the plastic bag industry, what do you do after the studies are done if those studies say that the environment just might be better off without single-use plastic bags?
     Stranger things have happened. A lot stranger things.
     Fortunately I’m here to offer some advice. Here are a couple of things to try next:
     Equal protection. Actually, I have a feeling some of the plastic bag lawyers have already thought of this.
     The L. A. County lawsuit goes on at some length not about how plastic bags are good for the environment – but about how bad paper bags are for the environment.
     So you can see what’s coming next: plastic bag discrimination suits.
     Antitrust. If only the paper companies can make bags, won’t they have market domination?
     OK, there are a lot of paper companies (at least I think there are), but regulating plastic would still be anti-competitive.
     If nothing else, there need to be studies done on market impact. Studying is what American jurisprudence is all about.
     JUDGING JUDGES? Do judges have supervisors?
     OK, I’ll admit I don’t know a lot about the judicial power structure but I didn’t think judges had supervisors. But check out a 9th U. S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling called Tekle v. Mukasey that contains this quote from one of the many really grumpy immigration judges out there: “I have one other comment, and again, I don’t care if the 9th Circuit wants to report this to my supervisor.”
     Is the supervisor going to dock his pay? Or maybe shorten his lunch break?
     Personally, I think this is a wonderful concept. Say you’re trying a case in front of some obnoxious judge who ignores all your objections. Instead of having to endure the abuse, you could demand to see his/her supervisor.
     Why spend years on appeals when you can get some relief right away from someone in authority?
     Maybe you could get the supervisor to bring in some extra judges to handle the line of lawyers outside the door waiting for rulings. Or at least bring some appetizers and wine out to the people waiting.
     By the way, I should note the other wonderful part of the IJ’s rant: “If an Immigration Judge makes an adverse credibility determination, they (the 9th Circuit) will, in only one case out of every 250 to 300, affirm it.”
     This prompted a somewhat defensive 9th Circuit panel to note that it had affirmed 80% of IJ adverse credibility rulings over a three-plus year period.
     Hmm. I wonder how many of the grumpy judge’s rulings were in that 80%. Somebody should have his supervisor check it out.
     JUST THOUGHT YOU’D LIKE TO KNOW. In case you were wondering, the D. C. Circuit of the U. S. Court of Appeals, in a case called Adams v. Rice has ruled that “engaging in sexual relations qualifies as a major life activity.”
     Well, at least if you’re lucky.

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