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“Public Interest” Led, Judge-Made Law: The Case of the Tree Planters

In a concerted and well-funded litigation effort, a soidisant public interest law firm is conducting a campaign against America’s reforestation industry. It managed to persuade a court to rewrite a section of the Fair Labor Standards Act concerning the obligation of an employer to reimburse nonimmigrant agricultural guest workers for certain expenses related to their accepting seasonal employment in the U.S. and is seeking, through litigation, to expand that holding to cover guest workers hired pursuant to other visa programs. That they are doing so at the expense of an entire industry, not to mention their clients’ livelihood,seems beside the point. Their goal, plainly, is to use the courts to rewrite the law to their liking. And they are making great progress