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Thursday, May 13, 2010

Did Elena Kagan Shill for Monsanto on GMOs?

Posted By on Thu, May 13, 2010 at 2:24 PM

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Over at The Atlantic's online presence, Barry Estabrook, a former contributing editor for Gourmet, has a bone to pick with President Obama's Supreme Court nominee.

Some critics may question Elena Kagan's position on battlefield law; others, like Estabrook, voice concern about her stance on genetically modified crops. In March, in her capacity as solicitor general, Kagan filed a brief on behalf of massive biotechnology corporation Monsanto and its efforts to overturn a 2007 California ruling that resulted in a nationwide injunction on planting the company's modified alfalfa. The suit was originally brought by Geertson Seed Farms and a bevy of environmental groups claiming that errant pollen from Monsanto's alfalfa could waft into nearby fields of conventional alfalfa.

Monsanto is, of course, no stranger to high-profile lawsuits focused on the safety of its products and contamination risks. Estabrook is worried that Kagan's office weighed in on this case, even though the United States was not among the defendants, because Kagan is pro-GMO. We skimmed the brief (a slim, 51-page volume) and analyzed it with the staggering legal wisdom we amassed in four-and-a-half years of paralegal work.

Our conclusion? While arguments loom large over the standard under which a permanent injunction may be issued and potential problems with the district court hearing process, nowhere in those black-and-white pages does a three-headed, herbicide-breathing Kagan suddenly appear and scream, "I may fight losing battles supporting statutes regulating depictions of animal cruelty, but I care nothing about the security of our food supply!"

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Andrew Simmons

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