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UMD Law Clinic acts in direct contravention to their mission statement

Laws and LegislationJustice System

Two points I would like to make regarding Mr. Rodricks' column ("To monitor farm pollution, use drones," Mar. 24).

First, I generally agree that the governor and the legislature should stay out of the University of Maryland Law Clinic's business, but when the law clinic goes so far afield and acts in direct contravention to their stated mission, someone needs to hold them accountable. Their dean certainly isn't going to, nor is their Board of Visitors. Consider this: a core commitment of the law school's mission statement is, "The pursuit of justice through improving legal delivery systems and serving those who have been disadvantaged by the legal system or denied access to it."

The law clinic's client was the Waterkeeper Alliance, which was founded and is led by Robert Kennedy Jr. According to its annual report, its fiscal 2012 revenues were $4.6 million, and expenses were $3.4 million; that is a $1.2 million profit for one year (and they are a non-profit). Waterkeeper Alliance routinely, as a matter of practice, and as a means to achieve its goals, institutes lawsuits across the country.

Indeed, are they the type of client who has been disadvantaged by the legal system? Or denied access to it? Why should Maryland taxpayers provide funding for the litigation exploits of this group? Or of any group for that matter? If the law clinic represented the tea party for instance, I hardly think you would be defending them.

Second, the underlying assumption of your article is that Eastern Shore chicken farming does in fact pollute the Chesapeake Bay. That may or may not be true, I don't know. What I do know is that Waterkeeper Alliance had the perfect, hand-picked opportunity to prove it. They had nationally recognized environmental law professors and hundreds of thousands of hours of legal work at their disposal, provided at no cost to them (but at a cost to you and me), and they did not prove it. Why not?

Gillis Green

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