Sunday, January 23, 2005


More Work For Barbara Boxer

It appears you don't need any judicial experience to be a judge as far as Bush is concerned but having been a paid lobbyist and lawyer to the coal and cattle industries helps. Glenn Scherer explains in Courting Disaster.
William G. Myers III is George W. Bush's choice for a lifetime position on the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. That court's jurisdiction covers three-quarters of all federal lands, in nine Western states where contentious battles rage over energy, mining, timber and grazing.

Unlike most judicial nominees, Myers has never been a judge. Instead, his qualifications include decades as a paid lobbyist and lawyer to the coal and cattle industries. In his recent position as the Bush Interior Department's chief attorney, Myers tried to give away valuable federal lands to a mining company and imperiled Native American sacred sites. "His nomination is the epitome of the anti-environmental tilt of so many of President Bush's nominees," says Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.).
But one rejection is not enough for George W. Bush.
Democrats aggressively blocked Myers' appointment with a filibuster in 2004. So when his nomination lapsed at the end of this past congressional session, many legal experts assumed it was dead, along with the nominations of nine other judicial candidates that were blocked by Senate Democrats for their extremist ideology, industry ties and/or ethical problems. But on Dec. 23, while Americans were distracted by the holidays, the president gave his corporate backers (especially those in the energy and mining industries) a Christmas present: He announced his intent to renominate seven of the filibustered candidates, including Myers. (The other three were given the option of being renominated, but withdrew themselves from consideration.)
Lower Court nominations are as critical as Supreme Court nominations.
....Bush's nominations to the lower federal courts are as crucial to the environment. While the Supreme Court takes on less than 100 cases per year, the circuit (or appellate) courts hear more than 40,000 appeals annually and set most legal precedents that become the law of the land.

There are currently 37 federal judicial openings, with 15 of those on the circuit courts of appeal. For the environment, some of the key open judgeships include three vacancies on the District of Columbia Circuit (the court that hears most environmental cases involving executive-branch regulatory agencies such as the Interior Department, the U.S. EPA, and the Army Corps of Engineers), as well as seven vacancies on the West's 9th Circuit.

"In many ways, the courts are more important than either Congress or the executive-branch agencies," says Patrick Parenteau, professor of environmental law and director of the Environmental and Natural Resources Law Clinic at the Vermont Law School. "Congress may enact the laws, but it does so in very broad, sweeping terms. It is the courts that interpret, apply, and enforce the statutes." Without the courts, such landmark legislation as the Clean Air and Water Acts could have been stillborn, he says. "If you don't have courts and judges willing to take a strong stand, those laws never take effect on the ground. They don't change how things are done. The courts give teeth to environmental laws."
It is a long detailed piece and you can read the rest here.
This is where we are going to really need the likes of Barbara Boxer. Send a message to your Senators, my country is not to be given away or sold.

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