Friday, August 3, 2018

Monsanto and science on trial


Editor's note

Hundreds of plaintiffs are suing Monsanto, contending that exposure to glyphosate – the active ingredient in its Roundup weedkiller – gave them cancer. The World Health Organization calls glyphosate a probable human carcinogen, but the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says that used properly, it does not threaten human health. Epidemiologist Richard G. “Bugs” Stevens of the University of Connecticut explains why proving causation in medicine is much like proving it in a jury trial – and why it’s not easy in either setting.

The #MeToo movement recently got a new and perhaps unlikely ally: Wall Street. Worried about the potential business risk of even a single sexual harassment complaint against a high-level employee, lawyers have been requiring companies to disclose such allegations. This kind of thing was unheard of only a few years ago, explains Elizabeth Tippett, a University of Oregon law professor who worked on many such deals in the past. What do they call it? The “Weinstein clause.”

The Trump administration on Thursday released its much-anticipated proposal to freeze national fuel economy standards and to revoke California’s historic ability to set more stringent mileage rules. UCLA law scholars Meredith Hankins and Nicholas Bryner analyze the legal arguments behind the move and explain the questions a legal clash between California and the federal government – which affects all states – will raise.

Jennifer Weeks

Environment + Energy Editor

Top stories

Guilty or innocent? Mike Mozart

Does Monsanto’s Roundup cause cancer? Trial highlights the difficulty of proving a link

Richard G. "Bugs" Stevens, University of Connecticut

Hundreds of lawsuits against Monsanto contend that its popular Roundup weed killer gave users cancer. But proving this kind of connection is challenging in both science and law.

Allies at last? Reuters/Brendan McDermid

#MeToo movement finds an unlikely champion in Wall Street with the new ‘Weinstein clause’

Elizabeth C. Tippett, University of Oregon

New legal boilerplate in corporate merger agreements signals just how important #MeToo has become – not just as a social movement but as a business risk.

California and the Trump administration are going different directions on mileage standards. AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli

Trump administration and California are on collision course over vehicle emissions rules

Meredith Hankins, University of California, Los Angeles; Nicholas Bryner, Louisiana State University

Law scholars from California unpack the legal questions raised by the Trump administration's plan to roll back mileage standards and revoke California's ability to set more stringent rules.

Ethics + Religion

  • Can you be Christian and support the death penalty?

    Mathew Schmalz, College of the Holy Cross

    Pope Francis has said that death penalty violates the dignity of a person. But, this might just deepen the debate among Christians, who for a long time have been divided over the issue.

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Today’s quote

"While they are an imperfect tool, these [fuel economy] regulations have pushed automakers to greatly increase vehicle fuel economy – and have saved consumers millions of dollars."


Government fuel economy standards for cars and trucks have worked


James M. Sallee

University of California, Berkeley

James M. Sallee

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