Monday, April 20, 2009

Blumie And The Golfers

Pierrot says to Columbine in Edna St. Vincent Millay’s play Aria DeCapo, “Don't stand so near me! I am become a socialist. I love Humanity; but I hate people.”

In the same spirit, one might say that Attorney General Richard Blumenthal loves golf; but he hates golf courses.

Well, (ITALICS) new (END ITALICS) golf courses anyway.

As for environmentalists, Blumenthal loves most passionately those who agree with him.

The others? Eh!

The attorney general does not think that a new golf course at the present time would be economically viable. In view of the 30 percent corporation tax that Blumenthal’s Democrat cohorts in the legislature intend to slap on businesses in the state, it is a chancy proposition that (ITALICS) any (END ITALICS) new Connecticut business will be able to make a go of it. Pity the commentator who suggests that the litigation happy Blumenthal should sue those who wish to destroy the state through improvident taxation; Blumie would no doubt reply that such powers overreach his statutory bounds.

In attempting to stop development of a golf course displeasing to select environmental groups, Blumenthal has adopted what he has called “extraordinarily unusual” tactics.

According to a story in a Hartford paper, the attorney general, “who disagrees with the project's tentative approval by the state Department of Environmental Protection” has threatened suit if the project goes forward.

In order to sue the developer of the golf course, Blumenthal must abandon his statutory requirement to serve in his capacity as a lawyer whose chief obligation is to represent the state in civil litigation matters.

The golf course project has already received temporary approval from Department of Environmental Protection, and Blumenthal is required by statute – as it happens, the very law that created the modern attorney general’s office -- to represent the interests of state agencies, even those, such as the state Department of Environmental Protection, that occasionally make pronouncements distressing to the attorney general.

The series of events that led Blumenthal to leap over his statutory responsibilities in an effort to satisfy environmental groups that fall outside his purview is much less interesting than the fact that Blumenthal, by taking such a course, has divested himself of all statutory authority and left the state without effective legal representation to defend itself from a suit threatened by the attorney general acting, one hopes, in his capacity as a private citizen.

Such measures are more than “extraordinarily unusual.” They are perversely subversive, and probably should be regarded as illegal.

In the news story, Blumenthal assured the public that the developer of the golf course, Roland Betts, confessed in the course of a conversation in which Blumenthal was a participant that he could not make a go of the project unless part of it were devoted to housing.

The story does not mention what hat – that of the attorney general representing the interests of the state Department of Environmental Protection, or that of a private suit happy lawyer representing the interests of environmental lobbying groups he favors – Blumenthal was wearing at the time Betts told the attorney general that, at some future date, he might want to include housing as a component in his project.

Blumenthal, as is his wont, hubristically and immediately overstepped his authority. Convinced Betts had misrepresented himself before the state Department Environmental Protection, Blumenthal switched horses midstream, now threatening to sue Betts and, one imagines, the DEP that Blumenthal is by law supposed to be representing in litigation matters.

It may be important to point out that if (ITALICS) in the future (END ITALICS) Betts applied for housing permits, the state could well refuse him at that time. Betts’s present application, approved by the DEP, does not feature housing in plan for which the developer has received a temporary permit.

Should this mess come before a judge, one may hope the judge may have the presence of mind to notice that Blumenthal’s office has no standing when it sheds its statutory responsibilities and decides to represent the interests of lobbying groups mobilized against private developers who have been given a permit by the very agency Blumenthal is by law supposed to be representing.

It would take but one clear headed judge worth his salt to knock this nonsense into a cocked hat. But may Connecticut judges who lave the law are intimidated by Blumenthal’s bullying tactics and his facilitators on the Judiciary Committee. It is perhaps too much to expect courage of them.

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