■ Legal Threat Bubbling Beneath School Soda Contract, SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER REPORTER [7/17/03]: The man who brought the threat of an anti-obesity lawsuit to the Seattle School Board works in a university office about 3,000 miles away, with a sign hanging outside the door that reads "Torts R Us."
His 1989 white Ford van, once used to taxi his now-grown son around, has a vanity license plate reading "SUEBAST" -- short for "Sue the Bastards," a favorite credo.
John Banzhaf III, a public-interest lawyer and law professor
George Washington University in Washington, D.C., has a sense of humor
his targets may not find amusing at all.
The 63-year-old legal maverick who successfully took on the
industry has turned his attention to the nation's obesity epidemic, and
school districts that have exclusive contracts with soft-drink
manufacturers are squarely in his crosshairs. Link
■ Future Lawyers of America, FACEBOOK: Rebel With Many Causes: The George Washington University Law School catalog lists John F. Banzhaf III’s most celebrated and notorious course as Legal Activism.
The professor refers to this central part of his syllabus by a less scholarly title: Sue the Bastards.
His license plate once rendered the same sentiment semaphorically as SUE BAS. Link
■ Class Action; Law Professor John Banzhaf III Has a Talent for Stirring up Trouble, AMERICAN LAWYER MAGAZINE, [07/05]: John Banzhaf III may rank as legal academia's instigator in chief. From behind his large desk, littered with stacks of paper and empty Diet Coke cans, the professor at George Washington University Law School in D.C. files (or threatens) suits about as often as most people change clothes.
In his time at GW, Banzhaf and his students from his legal advocacy class (known as Banzhaf's Bandits) have sued the tobacco industry for product liability, won many sex discrimination claims, and successfully defended free speech. Their antismoking work prompted a ban on Joe Camel. In May their push for "potty parity" resulted in New York City's Women's Restroom Equity bill, requiring public venues to provide roughly two women's bathroom stalls for every men's stall or urinal. And another crusade prevented campus groups from restricting X-rated films on the GW campus.
A few years ago, shortly after Banzhaf brought the McDonald's action, Frontiers of Freedom launched banzhafwatch.com, a Web site monitoring Banzhaf's every legal move, down to the words on an old license plate, "SUE BAS," which stood for the nickname of his GW advocacy class, "Sue the Bastards." Link