Four lawyers face an ethics complaint after helpfully pointing out that a study of mountaintop mining and birth defects in Appalachia "failed to account for consanquinity [sic], one of the most prominent sources of birth defects." In non-legalese: maybe those babies have defects because of how hillbillies like to screw within the family all the time.

The lawyers' firm, Crowell & Moring, has publicly apologized for the comment. Nevertheless, a law professor has just filed the ethics complaint, claiming that the comment might have been intended to drum up business from coal mining companies for Cromwell (which has represented the National Mining Association and other mining-related outfits). The complaint also points out that "research has conclusively established that Appalachians are no more prone to inbreeding than any other population, such as white-collar professionals or for that matter, attorneys that work at Crowell & Moring." Zing!

In related news, medical science has shown that most birth defects in Appalachia are caused by excessive moonshine abuse among expecting mothers.

[ABA Journal, Charleston Gazette. Image via AP]