Page 2 - Public Citizen News November-December 2013

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November/December 2013
Public Citizen News
has anything comparable to our Alan Morri-
son Supreme Court Assistance Project, where
we offer help to many, many lawyers with
different kinds of Supreme Court cases that
involve the public interest.
Q: You co-authored an amicus brief in
Mc-
Cutcheon v. Federal Election Commission,
supporting upholding aggregate limits on
campaign spending. What are the potential
implications of this case?
NELSON:
This goes beyond what the Su-
preme Court has already unleashed in the
Citizens United
decision. That decision held
that corporations have the right to
spend money to back their favored
candidates and parties, but the
spending has to be at least theo-
retically independent of what the
candidates are doing, and thus (at
least in the eyes of the Supreme
Court) doesn’t pose the same
kind of risk of corruption as giv-
ing money directly to parties and
candidates. But if the challengers
in
McCutcheon
prevail, candidates
and party leaders will have the op-
portunity to solicit donors directly
for huge contributions, and the problem of
officials being beholden to big money will
get that much worse. We’ll likely know what
happens in the case sometime next spring.
Q: What is your favorite part of your job?
NELSON:
We spend a lot of time helping peo-
ple out — often lawyers who won a case in a
lower court and now have some big-shot law-
yers on the other side trying to take the case
up to the Supreme Court. Our goal in those
cases is not to go after the glory of arguing
and winning a big Supreme Court case, but
to convince the Supreme Court it shouldn’t
bother with the case. I love it when we get
word that the Supreme Court has decided not
to take one of those cases and I get a call or
email from whoever it is we helped just say-
ing thanks, and often adding that they would
have had no idea what to do or how to do it if
we hadn’t been there to help. I really treasure
those moments.
— Interview by Bridgette Blair
In this issue
Vol. 33, No. 6
Democracy
Demanding disclosure: Briefing emphasizes need
to inform about corporate political spending...... 1
Public Citizen celebrates milestones in effort
to overturn
Citizens United
............................... 6
Globalization and trade
Almost half the U.S. House opposes Fast Track .. 1
Litigation
Lawsuit presses for improved rear visibility
in vehicles . ....................................................... 1
Public Citizen challenges Facebook
settlement........................................................11
Public Citizen pushes for transparency in
consumer product case.................................... 12
Supreme Court to hear frequent flyer
pre-emption case............................................. 12
Health and safety
Compounding pharmacies
or big drugmakers? . ......................................... 8
America’s deadliest outbreak
from contaminated medicine............................ 9
Many top hospitals ban infant formula
marketing ....................................................... 10
Win! FDA adds black box warning
to tigecycline .................................................. 13
Government and financial reform
Report shows taxpayers are subsidizing CEO
bonuses .......................................................... 14
Public Citizen recommends
“Boilerplate” . ................................................. 15
“Foodopoly” ................................................... 15
“Citizen Koch” ................................................ 15
Other
Get to Know Public Citizen ................................2
President’s View ...............................................3
Stand Up for Main Street 2013 ............................7
Awards ........................................................... 10
In the Spotlight ............................................... 14
Public Citizen crossword ................................. 15
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President
Robert Weissman
Executive Vice President
Margrete Strand Rangnes
Public Citizen Inc. Board of Directors
Jason Adkins (chair), Joan Claybrook, Barbara Ehrenreich,
Andrew S. Friedman, Jim Hightower, Joy Howell, John Richard,
Anthony So, Robert Weissman (ex officio)
Public Citizen Foundation Board of Directors
Mark Chavez (chair), Jim Bildner, Robert C. Fellmeth,
David Halperin, Annie Leonard, Cynthia Renfro, Steve Skrovan,
Robert Weissman (ex officio)
Directors
Angela Bradbery, Communications; Michael Carome, M.D., Health Research;
Lisa Gilbert, Congress Watch; Tyson Slocum, Energy; Tom Smith, Texas;
Joe Stoshak, Chief Financial Officer; Lori Wallach, Global Trade Watch;
Allison Zieve, Litigation
Editor
Bridgette Blair
Get to Know Public Citizen
An ongoing series profiling Public Citizen leaders and staffers
Contributors
Sophia Barnes,
communications intern.
Bridgette Blair,
editor of Public Citizen News.
Angela Bradbery,
Public Citizen’s communications director.
Christine Hines,
consumer and civil justice counsel with
Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division.
Barbara Holzer,
Public Citizen’s broadcast and marketing manager.
Sam Jewler,
Public Citizen’s press office coordinator.
Kelly Ngo,
online advocacy organizer with Public Citizen’s
Congress Watch division.
Eva Seidelman,
researcher for Public Citizen’s Commercial Alert.
Sarah Sorscher,
attorney with Public Citizen’s
Health Research Group.
Ben Somberg,
Public Citizen’s press officer for regulatory affairs.
Robert Weissman,
Public Citizen president.
Dr. Sidney Wolfe,
founder and senior adviser of
Public Citizen’s Health Research Group.
Scott Nelson
It’s been more than a decade since Scott
Nelson made the leap from private practice
to public interest law at Public Citizen. He
has definitely made his mark. He has argued
major cases, and he has co-authored critical
amicus briefs in
Citizens United v. Federal
Election Commission
and, more recently, in
McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission
.
Q: What motivates you to practice public
interest law at Public Citizen?
NELSON:
I came to Public Citizen in large part
because I had always admired Alan Morrison
and other lawyers in the Litigation Group.
I’d actually gotten to know Alan from
being opposing counsel to Public
Citizen in a couple of cases during
my law firm days. I guess he thought
that I conducted myself honorably
and ably enough that when I told him
I was looking to move into a public
interest practice, he asked me to con-
sider working at Public Citizen. I told
him then, and would still say today,
that that was my dream job because
of what the Litigation Group does,
which is to pursue cases where we
believe that our side should win, and
to provide the quality of legal representation
necessary to create the best chance that the
side that
should
win
will
win. Of course, eve-
ning the odds isn’t always enough — judges
have some say in the matter, too, and they
don’t always agree with us.
Q: What is unique about the Public Citizen
Litigation Group?
NELSON:
We’ve maintained a tradition of
practicing law at the highest level and in that
way attracted really talented lawyers who
are willing to sacrifice the chance of making a
lot of money to do things that they think are
right. The colleagues I’ve had at Public Citi-
zen have been extraordinary. We constantly
learn from one another and maintain a close-
ness and camaraderie that is rare in legal
organizations or organizations of any kind.
We have a breadth of practice that I think is
unmatched in public interest law, as well as
a pool of expertise in Supreme Court practice
that is hard to match anywhere. And no one