D. Brooks Smith first came to the attention of Community Rights
Counsel because of a truly disturbing takings ruling he issued
in 1995. In a case involving the Coal Industry and Retiree
Health Benefit Act, he ruled that forcing a company to pay
benefits to retired miners, benefits that they rightly earned,
would constitute an illegal taking of that company's property
-- this interpretation was rejected by other courts.
CRC also uncovered and brought to light a speech that Judge
Smith gave to the Federalist Society in 1993 where he took
an extraordinarily narrow view of the federal government's
Commerce Clause authority to protect the environment. For
more on the Commerce Clause, read
Chapter 2 in our Hostile Environment report.
For a good summary of the merits case on Judge Smith, see
the recent lead editorial in The New
York Times, dated May 22, 2002.
To read a memo regarding D. Brooks Smith and equal access
to justice, click here.
For more on the opposition by various organizations to D.
Brooks Smith, click