Saturday, November 22, 2014

The coal company Murray Energy suing PUBLIC CITIZEN invokes Citizens United to claim a right meant for people.


There’s been a bizarre twist in Big Coal’s lawsuit against Public Citizen.

Last month, I alerted you that Public Citizen has been sued by a major coal company, Murray Energy, after we called out its attempts to block new rules intended to help protect workers and prevent air pollution.

Murray Energy is now claiming that Citizens United — the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that has allowed unlimited election spending by billionaires and Big Business to corrupt our democracy — may also give corporations privacy rights previously belonging only to people.

In response to our motion to dismiss the lawsuit, Murray Energy is arguing that radio ads we ran about it challenging new worker safety and clean air protections “invaded its privacy” and caused it “mental anguish and emotional distress.”

Remember, Murray Energy is a corporation.

And Murray Energy sued us, not the other way around.

But in this post-Citizens United, “corporations are people” world, companies claim to have human privacy that can be invaded and human feelings that can be hurt.

A hearing in the case is scheduled for December 9.

I wish we didn’t have to devote time and money to fighting a lawsuit that is the desperate act of a member of an industry engaged in a losing battle against the tide of history.

But we do.

Can you chip in right now so that we don’t have to eat into funding for real work while we defend ourselves from this attack? Go to

As if invoking Citizens United to claim a right intended for living, breathing human beings isn’t radical enough, Murray Energy goes even further, suggesting that it is willing to make this lawsuit about the truth of climate science itself.

It could be the Scopes Monkey Trial all over again.

To recap, here’s what we’re up against:

A corporation with very deep pockets — claiming that Citizens United entitles it to rights meant for people and seemingly eager to put science on trial — is suing us.

I hope you’ll make a contribution to help us fight back and keep standing up to corporate power.

Thank you for whatever you can chip in today.


Robert Weissman
President, Public Citizen

© 2014 Public Citizen • 1600 20th Street, NW / Washington, D.C. 20009

Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218. Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at] Go to

"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs

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