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

April 28, 2003
Doug Kendall, 202-296-6889 x.3

President Bush has broken his promise to appoint judges who will interpret the law and not legislate from the bench. He promised the American people judges who would exercise restraint, but his nominees include judicial activists who would overturn environmental laws to further their ideological goals. For example:

  • Sixth Circuit nominee Jeffrey Sutton has vigorously advocated against federal protection of waters and wetlands that serve as critical habitat for migratory birds; against private actions for victims of environmental injustice; and against attorneys fees for successful environmental plaintiffs. After vigorously defending Sutton as just "a lawyer representing a client," the Administration has recently nominated Sutton's client, Alabama AG Bill Pryor, to the Eleventh Circuit.

  • Ninth Circuit nominee Carolyn Kuhl advocated overturning Supreme Court precedent in order to deny environmental and other groups the standing to protect the rights of their members in court.

  • 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."

President Bush's choices for lifetime seats on the federal bench should be truly conservative and respect the nation's legislative decisions to protect America's natural resources. The environmental community has worked hard for 30 years to pass laws that safeguard the public's health, safety, and the environment. We don't need liberal judges; we need judges who will act with restraint, be faithful to precedent, and uphold these important protections.



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