Confusion Reigns As Both Sides Claim Victory in Roundup Ready Alfalfa Case

Kansas Viewpoint

U.S. Supreme Court rules in favor of Monsanto; Center for Food Safety claims it is actually the winner

Published on: June 21, 2010
At first glance, it seems obvious that today's Supreme Court decision overturning the lower court decision to impose a nationwide injunction against the planting or harvesting of Roundup Ready alfalfa is a clear victory for Monsanto.

Not so, says the Center for Food Safety, which contends that the court's decision is actually a victory for its case against biotechnology because it remains illegal to plant or sell Roundup Ready seed -- until there is a decision on partial deregulation by the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, that is.

The potential for such a decision in short order is pretty substantial. APHIS is the agency that authorized total deregulation in the first place and APHIS put in place the restrictions for planting during eight years of production of RRA as a regulated crop.

The real winner in this case, it seems to me is APHIS. What the high court said is that the district court erred in issuing an injunction that prohibited APHIS from making the decision to partially deregulate pending a full Environmental Impact Statement.

Of course, there is still the potential that the minute APHIS does decide to allow partial deregulation, the busy, busy legal staff of the Center for Food Safety will promptly sue again.

CFS claims that Monsanto's PR department is "spinning" the ruling to make it appear favorable to the company. The contention doesn't pass my test for who is REALLY spinning the story. "Court rules 7-1 in favor of plaintiff in Monsanto v Geertsen Seed" is pretty straightforward. Let's review. The plaintiff here was Monsanto. Ruling for plaintiff. Seems pretty plain.

"Ruling against us is actually a victory for these complicated reasons" is a bit less clear-cut.

Maybe CFS is twirling its own spin machine with enough velocity that it makes it look like the whole world is turning.