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Washington Supreme Court Establishes 'Very Important Precedent' for Climate Necessity Defense in Case of Valve-Turner Ken Ward

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/09/06/washington-supreme-court-establishes-very-important-precedent-climate-necessity

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I have to be happy for Ken Ward and activists like him, if this ruling holds, which it probably won’t.

Meanwhile, the icecap dissolves. But we got great press, signed up more members, and won a court ruling! My qualm: Given the urgent necessity of stopping those turning the planet into a global greenhouse gas chamber, and the current power of the malefactors, I don’t see any alternative to a global uprising.

Nice court rulings might marginally delay, promote, or have no effect on that uprising. The real story here is the action, which is part of that uprising. Not the silly court.

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Reminds me of the Monkey Wrench Gang from the 1970’s

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The next step, if this ruling were to be upheld, is how do deal with people that go beyond cutting locks.
Blowing up a power station as an example. Can we somehow justify this with the defense: “Trying to avert climate disaster and save the planet?”

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Not legally. My point is: The court is a house of straw, not a reliable shelter.

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Might start to get away with it for a while - until someone is accidentally killed.

Agreed, with this exception to your last two sentences: the three-judge panel is anything but silly, and its action–the ruling–is most certainly part of the necessary uprising. Take the win, Bubba.

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A win would be anything making a difference to Mama, which pretty much boils down to extraction. Extraction goes on and on, amid the furious flurry of paperwork from scrupulous legal scholars. Sorry, Guild, I’m allowed to honestly admit my own well-founded reaction: Big woop, now can we stop extraction, or does that have to wait until Antarctica joins Greenland in this downward spiral?

(Antarctica is getting impatient, actually.)

Agreed. The courts have been on the level for the most part. But what happens when all of those right-wing judges that trump and Moscow Mitch are seating start making these decisions?

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Yes, somewhere Ed Abbey is smiling in approval. My personal favorite quote of his: “Human society is like a stew–if you don’t keep it stirred up, you get a lot of scum on top.”

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Sounds like a good reasoning for term limits of one sort or another.

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The ruling provides a legal basis for exactly the kind of direct action we–and Mama–need.

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Yeah, that worries me too. If we and they live long enough, I guess we’ll find out.

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In a legal context where any such basis will inevitably be trashed by the Supremes, no? I don’t get it.

Maybe, maybe not, but in the meantime, people will be less afraid to engage in direct action.

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I doubt that fear is restraining people so much as acquired helplessness – an overwhelming symptom of oppression. More than official hypocrisies in the state, which are legion, it’s that helplessness infecting people’s souls which needs to be confronted. If that sort of liberation is our intention, then it’s always a legitimate question: When you celebrate occasional temporary “victories” in the legal system of a totally corrupt state, you might merely be setting people up for inevitable disappointment – thus furthering the ossification of acquired helplessness.

Thanks for an interesting chat, anyhow!

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The ruling is final. A state Court of Appeals reversed the trial court’s decision to to allow Ward to present a necessity defense. The state Supreme Court just declined to review that decision.

These were state judicial decisions. Nothing to do with the federal judiciary.

Gandalf: Please don’t try what you suggest. If you are foolish enough to post that suggestion on line then you are not sharp enough to get away with it. Or you are a provocateur.