The wokies have been trying for a long time to grant “rights” to rivers and gorillas and turtles. The “conservatives” have been screeching about these “rights”.
First, stop screeching. This is an inevitable and automatic result of the lethal Enlightenment lie of “rights”. You invented this crap and you have been insisting for 250 years that everyone and everything has “rights”. When you participate in a concept designed by demons to destroy culture and civilization, you shouldn’t be surprised that it destroys culture and civilization.
Second, treating inanimate objects as plaintiffs or defendants is nothing new or special. ‘Action in rem’ is a strongly established part of common law, and it often leads to some interesting cases.
US vs One Solid Gold Object In The Form Of A Rooster is a good story, atypically told in a lively narrative by Wikipedia.
In 1958 Dick Graves, owner of Sparks Casino, wanted a solid gold rooster as a centerpiece to keep the suckers aiming high. (Blatantly obvious Freudian implications!) He needed to acquire a large amount of gold, and ran into a Federal limit on individual gold ownership. He persuaded the SF mint to sell him the gold, and they granted an official exception to the rule for his specific purpose (or maybe for a sufficient bribe.) But then the Secret Service decided to overrule the mint. They raided the casino and seized the rooster.
The rooster was then held in a federal bank vault until the case was heard as the judge refused to grant bail to it. Whilst the golden rooster statue was in federal custody, Graves responded to the denial of release by placing a bronze copy of the rooster dressed in a striped prison uniform in his casino in the meantime.
The jury found in favor of the rooster, since Graves had been given official permission BY THE FUCKING GOVERNMENT before the fucking government OVERRULED ITSELF. Juries usually get things right by NATURAL LAW.
Roosters and rivers are not real plaintiffs and defendants. If a river “sues” a polluter, juries will understand who’s really suing who, and will reach a sane conclusion.
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Footnote: Most of the in rem cases include a wildly specific name for the property that is suing or being sued. Precision is obviously necessary in this situation. But here’s a case where precision failed, and where a shrewd lawyer could have appealed:
Nebraska v. One 1970 2-Door Sedan Rambler (Gremlin). The state seized the “Rambler (Gremlin)” because it was transporting weed. Not overly surprising. Gremlins were good fast cars that sold cheap. Gremlins thus had the same qualities as previous rum-running cars like early-30s Ford V8s. The defense lawyers made several fussy claims but missed the most obvious: THERE WAS NO SUCH THING as a “Rambler (Gremlin)”. It was just a Gremlin or an AMC Gremlin. AMC stopped using the Rambler brand in 1969. Calling a Gremlin a “Rambler (Gremlin)” is like calling a GTO an “Oakland (Pontiac)” or calling a Continental a “Leland (Lincoln)”.