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To A High Court cover

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    • 978-1-03-918050-5
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  • Paperback Edition
    • 978-1-03-918048-2
    • 6.0 x 9.0 inches
    • Black & White interior
    • 348 pages
  • Hardcover Edition
    • 978-1-03-918049-9
    • 6.0 x 9.0 inches
    • Black & White interior
    • 348 pages
  • Keywords
    • USA environmental policy,
    • USA Supreme Court decisions,
    • American transportation industry,
    • American railroad monopolies,
    • waste management policy,
    • law school environment,
    • Vietnam War demonstrations

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To A High Court
Five Bold Law Students Challenge Corporate Greed and Change the Law
by Neil Thomas Proto

Fall 1971. Richard Nixon is in the White House. Five George Washington University law students form Students Challenging Regulatory Agency Procedures (SCRAP). SCRAP's intent: to challenge the corporate greed of the nation's railroads and the failure of the government to protect the environment, especially through compliance with the newly enacted National Environmental Policy Act. Author Neil Thomas Proto, then SCRAP's chair, draws from contemporaneous notes and transcripts and builds a narrative with photographs and actual dialogue to take you through eight months of battle against the government, powerful law firms, the nation's railroads, and national environmental organizations—all while SCRAP's members are studying law, only blocks from the disquiet in the White House and amid the threat and reality of anti-war demonstrations. Having enough of the deceit and the empty commitments of change, in spring 1972, SCRAP sues the United States. As success emerges, SCRAP's adversaries stymied, the critical legal question remains: Does SCRAP have "standing to sue—the right to be in court at all? That question reaches the Supreme Court of the United States.

"We have a remarkable situation here. Five law students … have tied up all the railroads in the country.…" —Erwin Griswold, Solicitor General of the United States, former dean of the Harvard Law School, to the United States Supreme Court (February 28, 1973) "A large part of the story's appeal is its setting in the personal lives ofSCRAP's members … [anti-war demonstrations] … law school and the bar exam, … romantic interests and … deeply held philosophical beliefs.… [R]eal people.… the power of resourcefulness, determination, and audacity [with] recollections of our idealism.…" —Antoinette R. Stone, Esq. "Making Law By Making Trouble," The Philadelphia Lawyer "[T]he imagination and persistence of students can sometimes achieve more than professionals.…" —John Bonine, Professor of Law, University of Oregon School of Law "I wish every student of the law shared [such] moments." —William H. Rodgers, Jr., Ret. Professor of Law, University of Washington Law School "Students fighting Goliaths.… I can't wait for the movie." —Dan Lauria, actor, writer, and director

Neil Thomas Proto is a lawyer who has also taught at Yale University and Georgetown University's McCourt School of Public Policy. His books include Fearless: A. Bartlett Giamatti and the Battle for Fairness in America and The Rights of My People: Liliuokalani's Enduring Battle with the United States 1893–1917. He lives in Washington, DC.


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