According to the Associated Press, the oddest piece of Civil Rights Legislation had just been introduced in the Maine State Legislature. If passed, the bill would prohibit the state attorney general from investigating or prosecuting people or corporations based on their views on climate change. The bill would also forbid the state from instituting economic boycotts or handing out government contracts based on the same reason.

On one level, one would have thought that protection based on someone’s position on a scientific question is covered by the first amendment to the Constitution.

However, some state attorneys general are going after oil and gas companies for “deceiving” the public about the alleged effects of climate change, the idea that using fossil fuels pours carbon dioxide into the atmosphere that in turn causes the Earth’s temperature to rise. Despite some claims in the media, the matter is of some dispute in the scientific community. The controversy has not stopped some governments, including the now completed Obama administration, to grab more power over peoples’ lives.

The issue of climate change has become so controversial, that some people such as Bill Nye have advocated jailing individuals who are labeled “science deniers” who dispute climate change, including actual climate scientists such as Judith Curry. Because of the first amendment, America does not jail people for any kind of what George Orwell termed a “thought crime,” even coming from Nazis, racists, communists, or people who don’t think “Firefly” was the greatest TV show ever.

Still, absent a nationwide climate change skeptic protection bill, it would be an interesting first amendment test case for someone who could claim official government discrimination based on his or her views on the matter. What kind of defense would a public university mount for failing to grant tenure for a professor solely because of his or her position on climate change? “The science is settled!” is not likely to cut it if a plaintiff’s attorney is talented enough to gather some good expert witnesses with academic credentials.

In the meantime, climate change silliness is going to continue, at least until technology makes the controversy obsolete.

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