Monsanto Hopes Justice Thomas Will Be Its Sugar (Beet) Daddy

Way back in 2003, the European Union infuriated United States agricultural exporters by requiring all food and animal feed products linked in any way to transgenic crops to be clearly labeled as “genetically modified” (GM).

Currently, despite widespread controversy and protest surrounding the potential health and environmental risks of growing and using GMOs, the U.S. has still refused to restrict their use or implement labeling laws.

This comes as no surprise, however, when you consider that the companies most invested in producing GMOs have gone to painstaking lengths to make sure they have friends in the highest of places.

In 2001, J.E.M. Ag Supply v. Pioneer Hi-Bred, 534 U.S. 124 granted large biotech corporations like Monsanto extensive patent protection over genetically modified seeds. It might surprise you to learn that this case was authored by Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, a former lawyer for Monsanto.  

In Monsanto v. Geertson Seed Farms, No. 09-475, the U.S. Supreme Court will review a California appellate court decision ruling that the USDA illegally approved Monsanto’s GM sugar beets without determining whether organic farmers, consumers or the environment would be adversely effected.

Despite an obvious conflict of interest, Justice Thomas has refused to recuse himself, and has instead decided to reserve his power to rule on the GM sugar beet case.

EarthJustice reports:
Roundup Ready sugar beets were engineered by Monsanto to tolerate exposure to that corporation’s weed killer. Commercial production of Roundup Ready sugar beets can result in genetic contamination of organic and conventional crops, increased use of Roundup and other herbicides, and loss of consumer choice to buy products with sugar not derived from GE beets.

The case was passed to the Supreme Court in early March after federal district Judge Jeffrey White of the Northern District of California denied a preliminary request by a coalition of organic seed growers, and conservation and food safety groups seeking a temporary ban on genetically engineered (GE) sugar beets and sugar beet seeds.

While Judge White denied the preliminary injunction, he indicated that a permanent moratorium would likely be granted as soon as a full environmental review conducted by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service was completed.

Justice Thomas’ insistance to rule on this matter is suspicious, especially since Justice Stephen Breyer has already recused himself from the case because his brother, U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer in San Francisco, issued the initial 2007 ruling against Monsanto.

With thousands of lives and the health of our soil and water supplies at risk, it is unacceptable to allow this federal-corporate “back scratching” to continue any longer.

Take Action by Asking Justice Thomas to Recuse Himself from Supreme Court GMO Sugar Beet Case

Related Reading:

Bulgarian Government Bans GMO Crops

GMOs and Organ Damage

Month Without Monsanto: One Woman’s Attempt To Avoid GMOs

Tea-Party Ties to the Supreme Court?

Image Credit: Sugar Beet in the Field -


William C
William C10 months ago


W. C
W. C10 months ago

Thank you.

Angel Campbell
Angel Campbell5 years ago

The entire world should ban monsanto. Go organic.

Angel Campbell
Angel Campbell5 years ago

The entire world should ban monsanto. Go organic.

Shirley Townsend
Shirley T6 years ago

I am swamped right now. Would someone please start a petition for Justice Thomas to recuse himself on this case. You might also want to read:

If I had the time I would do it. But I would not be able to follow-up and get the signatures it needs.

Paul Blake ND
Paul Blake ND7 years ago

I am not surprised that Monsanto has former employee Thomas in the Supreme Court. They seem to have them throughout the government. They have had 14 of former employees cycled through the FDA in the last 20 years. Michael Taylor, of course is the best example of this revolving door policy.
1976 staff attorney FDA, assistant to the Commissioner.
1981 law firm representing Monsanto
1991 returned to FDA as Deputy Commissioner for Policy
1994 USDA, as Administrator of Food Safety & Inspection Service.
1996 returned to Monsanto Vice President for Public Policy
2009, senior advisor to FDA Commissioner
2010 appointed to FDA, Deputy Commissioner for Foods.

One day that house of cards called Monsanto and their government cronies are going to find themselves facing court and I hope jail time for their crimes against this world and humanity. Here is just a thumbnail sketch of their nasty track record. Agent Orange, Aspartame, PCB's, rBGH, DDT, Dioxins, Pesticides, Herbicides and of course GMO's sums up why everyone should fear, hate and despise this (I like this word) despicable company, Monsanto.

Jonathan Y.
Jonathan Y7 years ago

Impeach Thomas! His wife is now a recipient of teaparty donations-slight conflict of interest, no??

Mr. Obama, take a leaf from Franklin Roosevelt. Get rid of Thomas and put in a less activist judge.

Mary S.
Mary S7 years ago

Certain problems (like working for Monsanto as a lawyer and recusing himself now) should be covered by rules govening the the cases a Justices can work on...ANY conflict of interest should be an automatic disqualification to serve on that particlular case..even tho some of them think they are above the law they aren't.

Ronald N.
Ronald N7 years ago

This is a really big issue and considering the political climate, the corporate forces have the money to buy their way through anythng. It is upsetting to see even the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation teamed up with Monsanto to distribute GMO seeds in Africa. India is seeing Monsanto, Roundup ready eggplant and the US has it's problems with GM Alfalfa, sugar beets and new items seem to spring out of the blue.

I get the feeling that most of the pesticide, fertilizer distributors consider those who oppose GMO products as radicals and a nuisance. As I live in an agricultural region there is plenty of talk that is anti-progressive and pro-farmer. Generally the pro-farmer conservative movement is quite adamant that GMO's are the way to go. Frankly, there is little of an educative process as to the dangers of GMO seeds, yet they go on planting them. America is in trouble because we have such movements as the Tea Party. In general we see those who oppose the "Treehugger" no less than those who oppose GM seeds. How does the public reach farmers and a "market mentality" that espouses the continuance of these products? Why have these products become the mainstay of the grocery stores and the corporate system that turns the other way? Why do the politicians, continue to subsidize and favor this horrible food system?

I see the continuance as a major failure of our leaders to see beyond the scope of profits and monopolization. It is ideotic and the US is at the center of it!

Eric Expeditionary
Eric Gilmartin7 years ago

Justice Thomas only agrees with everything Justice Scalia says or writes anyway, so his recusing himself would simply mean one fewer right-wing Justice siding with corporations over actual people. Not that I endorse this, mind you, but he won't do the right thing, just the "Right" thing.