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Statement of Douglas T. Kendall
Executive Director, Community Rights Counsel

January 27, 2003
Doug Kendall, 202-296-6889 x3

President Bush has broken his fundamental promise to the nation concerning the judges he would appoint to the federal bench. He promised the American people judges who would exercise restraint and not make social policy from the bench. Yet there is strong evidence that many of his nominees for lifetime seats on the judiciary are hostile to our fundamental environmental protections and will advance an anti-environmental policy agenda with little regard for precedent and constitutional text. For example:

  • Sixth Circuit nominee Jeffrey S. Sutton is one of the country's leading advocates for a virulent form of judicial activism that would limit citizen access to justice and seriously undermine the ability of the federal government to protect the environment.

  • Ninth Circuit nominee Carolyn Kuhl has advocated overturning Supreme Court precedent in order to deny environmental and other groups the standing to protect the rights of their members in court. A Kuhl ruling, reversed on appeal, would have nullified a critical part of a law designed to protect public participation by citizens' groups.

  • Victor Wolski, nominated to the Court of Federal Claims, is a self-professed ideologue who has spent much of his career working with an industry-funded legal group that specializes in challenging environmental legislation in court. As he told the National Journal in 1999, "every single job I've taken since college has been ideologically orientated, trying to further my principles."

The environmental community has worked tirelessly for 30 years to pass strong laws that protect public health, safety, and the environment. Environmentalists ask only that President Bush appoint fair judges who will act with restraint, be faithful to precedent, and uphold and enforce the laws against pollution passed by Congress. Unfortunately, too many of the judges nominated to date by President Bush fail this simple test.



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