Maryland Legislature Threatens Law Clinic For Defending Chesapeake Bay

April 7, 2010

In Maryland, it seemed for a while the Chesapeake Bay didn't have any constitutional right to legal representation. Not if the Maryland legislature — which is heavily influenced by the poultry industry — had anything to say about it.

The legislature had been threatening to withhold funds for the University of Maryland law clinic because of a case it had been pursuing to reduce pollution from chicken farms into the Chesapeake Bay.

In the face of public outrage (and press coverage), the legislature partially backed down, announcing April 7, 2010, that it would fully fund the clinic. But the legislature left a sword over the law clinic's head by keeping a requirement that it report to the legislature on whom it represented.