Atlantic Legal Foundation

From SourceWatch
Jump to: navigation, search

The Atlantic Legal Foundation is a public interest law firm that advocates "limited and efficient government, free enterprise, individual liberty, school choice and sound science," according to its website.[1]

According to Greenpeace, "Like other conservative legal foundations, ALF champions economic free enterprise and limited government including the protection of property rights. The foundation takes special pride in its work on property rights. ALF trumpets their 'deep commitment to redressing the bias against business which manifests itself in favor of narrow "consumer" or "environmental" concerns' (ALF Annual Report, 1994)."[2]

Documents Contained at the Anti-Environmental Archives
Documents written by or referencing this person or organization are contained in the Anti-Environmental Archive, launched by Greenpeace on Earth Day, 2015. The archive contains 3,500 documents, some 27,000 pages, covering 350 organizations and individuals. The current archive includes mainly documents collected in the late 1980s through the early 2000s by The Clearinghouse on Environmental Advocacy and Research (CLEAR), an organization that tracked the rise of the so called "Wise Use" movement in the 1990s during the Clinton presidency. Access the index to the Anti-Environmental Archives here.

Ties to the Koch Brothers

Koch Wiki

The Koch brothers -- David and Charles -- are the right-wing billionaire co-owners of Koch Industries. As two of the richest people in the world, they are key funders of the right-wing infrastructure, including the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and the State Policy Network (SPN). In SourceWatch, key articles on the Kochs include: Koch Brothers, Koch Industries, Americans for Prosperity, American Encore, and Freedom Partners.

The Koch brothers' Claude R. Lambe Foundation made a $20,000 contribution to ALF in 2002.

ALF has submitted briefs in a number of cases with other legal foundations and organizations with ties to the Kochs, including the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, Citizens United, the Goldwater Institute, the Cato Institute, and the National Federation of Independent Business.[3][4][5]

Activities

According to its website, ALF works in four main areas of law:

  • School Choice (support for charter schools)
  • Sound Science (issues with expert testimony, especially in tort cases)
  • Constitutional Issues (free speech, federalism, property rights, etc.)
  • Corporate Governance ("battling intrusive regulations and activist courts while insisting that corporations make themselves more openly accountable to customers and shareholders")[6]

Support for Charter Schools

ALF runs a pro-charter school, anti-union website, defendcharterschools.org, and an associated program, the Atlantic Legal Foundation's Charter School Advocacy Program. The website offers "state-focused legal guides... to educate charter school leaders about what they must know regarding unionization efforts" as well as pro bono counsel and legal representation for "charter schools and charter school advocates."[7]

Staff of the program are listed as Briscoe R. Smith, Executive Director, and Martin S. Kaufman, Counsel.[8]

Cases

The following were some of the cases highlighted on ALF's website as of June 2014:[9]

Wal-Mart v. Dukes (2011)

In June 2011, the Supreme Court threw out the case Wal-Mart Stores, Inc v. Dukes et al., which NPR described as "a nationwide class action lawsuit brought against Wal-Mart on behalf of 1.5 million female employees." According to NPR, the 5-member majority argued that "in order to sue as a single class, the women would have to point to a discriminatory policy that affected all of them, and they could not do that."[10]

According to the New York Times, the decision "will almost certainly affect all sorts of other class-action suits, including ones brought by investors and consumers, because it tightened the definition of what constituted a common issue for a class action and said that judges must often consider the merits of plaintiffs' claims in deciding whether they may proceed as a class."[11]

ALF had filed "a friend of the court brief supporting Wal-Mart in the Supreme Court in opposing class certification."[12]

Sancho v. U.S. Department of Energy (2010)

In 2008, Luis Sancho and Walter L. Wagner filed a suit to stop the European Center for Nuclear Research from proceeding with building the Large Hadron Collider particle accelerator. According to the New York Times, the suit argued that the Hadron Collider was unsafe and "could produce, among other horrors, a tiny black hole, which, they say, could eat the Earth."[13] The case was dismissed on procedural grounds in August 2010.[14]

ALF represented three scientists who supported the defendants in the case and filed a brief arguing that the appellants' filing "show[ed] a deep and fundamental misunderstanding of the scientific process, and argue[d] that the LHC does not present a significant risk to the environment."[15]

Red Bank Charter School (2004)

In 2001, the Red Bank (New Jersey) Charter School petitioned to expand. In response, the ACLU and the New Jersey Education Association filed a suit, arguing that expansion would further segregate students and remove funding from the public school system. The ACLU argued "that the town cannot take funding away from the public schools in order to create a safe haven within the system for white students for which they (the white families) no longer have to pay themselves."[16]

ALF filed a brief in the case "on behalf of Excellent Education for Everyone, a broadly based school choice advocacy group in New Jersey," according to its website. In March 2004, the Superior Court of New Jersey approved the expansion of the charter school. ALF states that the decision "eliminates many potential road-blocks for New Jersey charters for when they seek renewal or expansion."[17]

Carrillo v. Lockheed Martin (2003)

In Carrillo v. Lockheed Martin, the California Supreme Court held that the plaintiffs, "a group of Redlands [Washington] plaintiffs seeking to recover costs of medical monitoring," were not eligible to be certified as a class.[18] The plaintiffs had alleged that Lockheed "discharged dangerous chemicals that contaminated the city’s drinking water with harmful toxins and that this contaminated water was used by a large portion of the city’s residents," and sought money from the defendants to fund a medical monitoring program and for punitive damages.[19]

ALF filed an amicus brief in the case, arguing that the original ruling allowing the case to proceed as a class action "was based on profoundly unsound science [and...] failed to adhere to the established criteria for class actions."[20]

Funding

Based on data collected by Media Matters, ALF has received funding from a number of right-wing foundations. The Sarah Scaife Foundation gave ALF $2,230,000 between 1988 and 2012, and the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation gave $70,000 between 2003 and 2010, with an additional $5,000 donation in 1991.[21]

ALF has also received funding from ExxonMobil, amounting to $25,000 between 2001 and 2012.[21]

Core Financials

2012[22]

  • Total Revenue: $443,683
  • Total Expenses: $498,202
  • Net Assets: $303, 401

2011[23]

  • Total Revenue: $662,713
  • Total Expenses: $489,669
  • Net Assets: $357,920

2010[24]

  • Total Revenue: $376,708
  • Total Expenses: $413,425
  • Net Assets: $184,876

Personnel

Board of Directors

As of June 2014:[1]

Contact

Address:
Atlantic Legal Foundation
2039 Palmer Ave. Suite 104
Larchmont, NY 10538
Phone: (914) 834-3322
Fax (914) 833-1022

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Atlantic Legal Foundation, Leadership, organizational website, accessed June 26, 2014.
  2. ExxonSecrets, Greenpeace Atlantic Legal Foundation, fact sheet, accessed June 26, 2014.
  3. Michael Reitz, "Center Files Brief at U.S. Supreme Court," Mackinac Center for Public Policy, April 23, 2014. Accessed June 25, 2014.
  4. NFIB, Cato Institute, Atlantic Legal Foundation, et al, Artemio. M. Ilagan, et ux. v. Engracia Ungacta, et al., amicus brief, January 7, 2013. Accessed June 26, 2014.
  5. Atlantic Legal Foundation, Mackinac Center for Public Policy, Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence, David H. Scheffer, et al., v. Civil Service Employees Association, amicus brief, accessed June 26, 2014.
  6. Atlantic Legal Foundation, Programs, organizational website, accessed June 26, 2014.
  7. Charter School Advocacy Program, Atlantic Legal Foundation, DefendCharterSchools.org, organizational website, accessed June 26, 2014.
  8. Charter School Advocacy Program, Atlantic Legal Foundation, Leadership, organizational website, accessed June 26, 2014.
  9. Atlantic Legal Foundation, Case Highlights, organizational website, accessed June 26, 2014.
  10. Nina Totenberg, "Supreme Court Limits Wal-Mart Discrimination Case," NPR, June 20, 2011. Accessed June 25, 2014.
  11. Adam Liptak, "Justices Rule for Wal-Mart in Class-Action Bias Case," New York Times, June 20, 2011. Accessed June 26, 2014.
  12. Atlantic Legal Foundation, "Supreme Court Decertifies Massive Class Action," case description, accessed June 26, 2014.
  13. Dennis Overbye, "Asking a Judge to Save the World, and Maybe a Whole Lot More," New York Times, March 29, 2008. Accessed June 26, 2014.
  14. Luke McKinney and Casey Kazan, "Courts Dismiss 'Mad Scientist' Case," Daily Galaxy, August 30, 2010. Accessed June 26, 2014.
  15. Atlantic Legal Foundation, "Sancho v. United States Department of Energy," case description, accessed June 26, 2014.
  16. American Civil Liberties Union, In the Matter of Red Bank Charter School, case description, accessed June 26, 2014.
  17. Atlantic Legal Foundation, "re Red Bank Charter School," case description, accessed June 26, 2014.
  18. Kenneth Ofgang, "High Court to Hear Redlands Water Contamination Case," Metropolitan News-Enterprise, July 17, 2003. Accessed June 26, 2014.
  19. Supreme Court of California, Lockheed Martin et al. v. Carillo et al., decision, March 3, 2003. Accessed June 26, 2014.
  20. Atlantic Legal Foundation, "Carrillo v. Lockheed Martin," case description, accessed June 26, 2014.
  21. 21.0 21.1 Conservative Transparency Project, Top Supporters of Atlantic Legal Foundation, American Bridge 21st Century Foundation, accessed June 26, 2014.
  22. Atlantic Legal Foundation, 2012 IRS form 990, organizational tax filing, May 20, 2013. Accessed June 26, 2014.
  23. Atlantic Legal Foundation, 2011 IRS form 990, organizational tax filing, August 15, 2012. Accessed June 26, 2014.
  24. Atlantic Legal Foundation, 2010 IRS form 990, organizational tax filing, August 17, 2011. Accessed June 26, 2014.