Jenner & Block

First Circuit Revives Suit that Challenges the EPA’s Plan to Limit Academic Scientists on Advisory Boards

Jenner & Block won a significant First Circuit appeal on behalf of pro bono clients, the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) and Dr. Elizabeth Anne Sheppard, a public health professor.  At issue is a directive from then-EPA Administrator E. Scott Pruitt dating to October 2017.  In that directive, Mr. Pruitt planned to exclude anyone who had received EPA grants to fund their research from serving on any of the 23 EPA scientific advisory boards.  Filed in January 2018, the lawsuit argues that “the effect of the ban, which has no precedent and no counterpart at any other federal agency or department, is to single out academic scientists and experts by excluding them from serving EPA in the public interest.”

On March 23, the First Circuit ruled that the lawsuit, Union of Concerned Scientists and Elizabeth Anne Sheppard v. US EPA et al., may proceed.  The court reversed the lower court’s judgment dismissing the case as unreviewable and sent the case back to the lower court for further consideration of the claims.  The unanimous three-judge panel said that the directive effectively "purged" 8,000 otherwise-qualified scientists from the rolls.

Partner Lindsay C. Harrison leads the team. The First Circuit appeal was argued by Partner Zachary C. Schauf, with assistance from Associates Samuel C. Birnbaum and Julian Ginos and Paralegal Cheryl Olson. “This case is an important victory for scientific integrity,” Ms. Harrison said in a statement.

PEOPLE: Lindsay C. Harrison, Zachary C. Schauf, Samuel C. Birnbaum, Julian J. Ginos

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