Judging the Environment In The News
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Records of Obama's Four D.C. Circuit Picks Offer Minimal Insight on Environmental Views (BNA, 02/12/14)
Glenn Sugameli, an attorney with Defenders of Wildlife who runs Judging the Environment, a project that monitors federal judicial selection, told Bloomberg BNA that judges tend to relate to their former clients. From the perspective of environmental groups, the four new judges may not be the ideal picks because they don't have extensive backgrounds working for public interest groups, he said.
“These are not necessarily the ideal nominees if the question is: Do we want to win cases?” Sugameli said. “But they are pretty much ideal if we want them to follow the facts, follow the Constitution and understand what's at stake.”
Echoing sentiments expressed by other observers, Sugameli said the four Obama appointees are well-regarded in the legal world, and they understand administrative law, which is a large part of environmental law. They are dedicated to spending the time and effort to decide complex environmental cases, he said.
“There's very good reason to believe that the decisions they write or join will be carefully written and will actually examine all the issues,” he said.
COURTS: EPA air cases on deck as Obama appointee joins D.C. Circuit bench (Greenwire, 09/06/13)
Srinivasan is "clearly very bright, extremely qualified and he has a mass of experience," said Glenn Sugameli, who tracks the D.C. Circuit for Defenders of Wildlife. "And he's relatively young. He is in a position where he could have a big influence on the court."
Standing is a "very broad, sweeping issue," Sugameli said. "It tends to be more of a potential constitutional barrier to Congress' clear intent to give citizens the right to enforce environmental statutes. ... So those cases can be critical."
D.C. Circuit -- at heart of nomination battle -- has handed major victories to EPA (Greenwire, 08/26/13)
Glenn Sugameli, who tracks the D.C. Circuit for Defenders of Wildlife, said EPA should do well at the D.C. Circuit because of the Supreme Court's ruling in 1984's Chevron v. Natural Resources Defense Council. The ruling said that as long as EPA interpreted the law reasonably in crafting regulations, courts should defer to the agency.
But opinions like Kavanaugh's in the CSAPR case, Sugameli said, can have an outsized impact. "The major issue is, even if you have a series of pretty good or decent opinions, one really bad opinion can be so bad on the facts or so bad on the law that you're inviting a series of challenges," Sugameli said. Environmentalists argue that Obama must fill the vacancies on the circuit so rulings like the CSAPR decision are reviewed by the circuit en banc, meaning before all of the circuit's judges. After a decision, the losing party may petition for an en banc review. It takes the votes of a majority of active judges on the circuit to grant such a request. Sugameli and other environmentalists contend that if the court had been more balanced at the time, the CSAPR decision would have earned en banc review because of Rogers' forceful dissent. "You don't have enough judges to have the mass that's required to rein in very extreme opinions," Sugameli said.
COURTS: Obama nominates 3 to D.C. Circuit (Greenwire, 06/04/13)
"The Grassley bill is a joke," said Glenn Sugameli, who tracks judicial nominations for Defenders of Wildlife. "The D.C. Circuit has an exclusive or leading role in upholding or gutting a broad range of national environmental safeguards."
Environmentalists Back D.C. Circuit Nominees Despite Wilkins' EPA Record (Inside EPA, 06/04/13)
“The [confirmation] fight is going to be over the need to slash the court by a third,” says a source with the Judging the Environment Project, a group that tracks judicial nominees' environmental records.... The source with the Judging the Environment project says filling the slots is important, citing an April 5 report from the Judicial Conference of the United States, which found that the court needs 11 judges to issue timely and well-reasoned decisions.
The source adds all three nominees have “an enormous amount of experience” with administrative law and constitutional law, which are the underpinning of the environmental statutes. The source said there is little information out there that is critical of the nominees."
Courts: Obama's pick for D.C. Circuit set for Senate hearing (Environment & Energy (E & E) Daily, 04/09/13)
Jeremy P. Jacobs: ""The bottom line is this is extremely important for conservation and environmental groups because this is the court that has exclusive authority to decide, under major environmental statutes, what will be the protections for people, wildlife and the environment," said Glenn Sugameli, an attorney with Defenders of Wildlife who follows judicial nominations closely. "In many cases, it's a mini-Supreme Court," he added. "If you can't confirm Sri, who are you going to confirm?" Sugameli asked."
Courts: Republicans again block D.C. Circuit nominee (Greenwire, 03/06/13)
Jeremy P. Jacobs: "Environmental groups immediately criticized Republicans. Glenn Sugameli of Defenders of Wildlife, who tracks judicial nominations, said the Republican arguments against Halligan were "dishonest and clearly erroneous." He echoed Schumer's claims that Republicans were simply trying to avoid "allowing any balance" on the D.C. Circuit."
COURTS: Senate Judiciary panel approves D.C. Circuit nominee (Environment & Energy (E & E) Daily, 02/15/13)
"The D.C. Circuit is the nation's second most important court, with exclusive or primary authority to decide whether a broad range of national environmental and health safeguards will be struck down or upheld and enforced," said Glenn Sugameli, who follows judicial appointments at Defenders of Wildlife.
He added it is "essential" for Obama to fill the vacancies.
"Obama is the first president in many decades with no D.C. Circuit judges," Sugameli said. "In contrast, a Democratic Senate confirmed four of President George W. Bush's nominees, including to the 10th and 11th seats."
COURTS: Liberals push Obama to restock powerful D.C. Circuit (Greenwire, 02/06/13)
Jeremy P. Jacobs: "The D.C. Circuit is the second most important court for the environment in the country after the Supreme Court," said Glenn Sugameli, who tracks judicial nominations for Defenders of Wildlife. "For the vast majority of the cases, it has the final say for safeguards for air, water and other toxic threats. The court is at a point where it desperately needs new judges."
Obama presented with opportunity to shape DC Circuit with new vacancy (SNL FERC Power Report, 12/12/12)
"I certainly think he can have an ability to moderate the court," Glenn Sugameli, senior attorney with Defenders of Wildlife and an expert on federal judicial selection, said Dec. 7. "He has the responsibility to put four judges in the court. That could obviously change the court and influence the court for some time to come. Sugameli said that with Democrats' gains in the Senate in the November elections, Obama will have an easier road ahead filling the court's empty seats. Failure to fill all the seats in the D.C. Circuit, asserted Sugameli, can have negative consequences. With fewer active judges, securing an en banc review by the D.C. Circuit - obtained through a majority of the active judges voting for it - is harder, he said. The vacancies could undermine attempts by the EPA to get an en banc review of the D.C. Circuit's decision to toss out the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule on the grounds that the EPA overreached in how it set limits on power plant emissions."
Courts: Judge opens door for Obama by taking senior status (Environment & Energy (E & E) Daily, 11/30/12)
"Glenn Sugameli, a lawyer at Defenders of Wildlife who tracks judicial nominations, said the vacancy "demonstrates the urgency to bring the vital D.C. Circuit appeals court back to the 11-judge strength that it had when the Democratic Senate confirmed four of President George W. Bush's nominees to that court.""
Republicans block Geraci’s nomination (Daily Record [NY], 09/22/12)
nominations, proposed by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. “There’s still a possibility that they could agree and confirm some or all of those nominations,” Glenn Sugameli, head of Judging the Environment’s judicial nominations project in Washington, D.C., said Friday. “Nobody has opposed any of the 14 nominees who came through committee on voice votes.” Sugameli said unless the Republicans agree to allow a vote, there would not be enough time to vote on the pending nominees before the Senate recesses until after the Nov. 6 general election. He was not optimistic action would be taken between the elections and when the 113th Congress is seated in January. “It’s a total crap shoot,” Sugameli said. “The idea that maybe we might get to one of these in the lame duck session is no comfort at all. The idea that you might have to wait to fill these judicial emergencies until well into next year is outrageous. This is appalling.” Sugameli called McConnell’s statistics “a numbers game” and said there is no reason for Republicans to object. He agreed with Reid that votes on district court nominees who have the support of their home senators and are unopposed have never been blocked before. Sugameli said there is no reason to leave the judicial nominations hanging, “other than sheer partisan obstruction,” something he said he has never seen before in all the years he has been following judicial nominations. “This still stuns me,” he said. “It’s a big deal because there are over 800 district judges and they’re the judges who hold trials and decide issues that are critical to ordinary people, companies and others,” Sugameli said. “That’s where justice delayed is justice denied is especially true, at the trial court level.” “There is plenty of recent precedent for confirming at least the 17 pending nominees,” Sugameli said. “Something still could happen. It should happen. It always has happened. What tends to happen is that nominations, including judicial nominations, are the last thing they do before they walk out the door.”
Court Vacancies Mire Appeals (Congressional Quarterly, 09/17/12)
"The D.C. Circuit agreed to just one en banc review in each of its last two terms. “The vacancies really do have an impact,” says Glenn Sugameli, a staff attorney for Defenders of Wildlife, an environmental advocacy group in Washington."
G. Sugameli: Even more bad news for 'breathers' (Sun Journal [ME] , 09/04/12)
Glenn Sugameli Letter to the Editor: Maine’s U.S. senators joined a filibuster that may undermine the Sun Journal’s conclusion in the aptly headlined editorial “Court ruling more bad news for breathers” (Aug. 26): that “The EPA can appeal the decision to the full District of Columbia Court of Appeals and it should do so as quickly as possible.” The editorial also noted “that two Bush-era appointees to the court voted to postpone the (Clean Air Act) regulations, while the Clinton appointee blasted the decision as an ‘absurdity’ unsupported by the factual record.” Three of the four George W. Bush judges the Senate confirmed to the D.C. Circuit continue on the court, including a member of the panel majority who filled the court’s 11th seat. Now, however, the court has three vacancies, so that five of the eight active judges would have to vote to review the 2-1 panel decision. Maine GOP Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins voted last December to filibuster President Barack Obama’s nomination of Caitlin Halligan to the D.C. Circuit’s ninth seat. A Washington Post editorial opined: “It is a disgrace to the party that Lisa Murkowski of Alaska was the only Republican to endorse an up-or-down vote.”
The missing judge (Concord Monitor [NH] , 08/31/12)
Glenn Sugameli Letter to the Editor: "But for one thing, the conclusion of the Monitor's Aug. 24 editorial, "Court ruling keeps the poison coming," that the Environmental Protection Agency "should appeal the panel's decision to the full nine-member court," would be correct. Last December, however, Republican senators, including New Hampshire's Kelly Ayotte, filibustered Caitlin Halligan, President Obama's nominee to fill the D.C. Circuit's ninth seat. As a result, the court still has three vacancies and only eight active judges. An appeal to the full court would require that five judges vote to review the 2-1 panel decision that overturned safeguards against air pollution from upwind states. The editorial noted that "Judge Brett Kavanaugh wrote (the majority) opinion joined by Judge Thomas Griffith. Both men were appointed by President George W. Bush; the dissenting judge was appointed by President Bill Clinton." Three of the four Bush judges the Senate confirmed to the D.C. Circuit continue on the court, including a member of the panel majority who filled the court's 11th seat."
The Other Health Case: D.C. Circuit Judges Reject Challenges to EPA Rules on Greenhouse Gases. (American Constitution Society Blog, 07/06/12)
Glenn Sugameli Guest Post: "This importance of the issues in Coalition for Responsible Regulation v. Environmental Protection Agency is augmented by synergistic factors. These include: (1) the court that decided them; (2) the judges who joined the unsigned per curiam opinion; (3) the high likelihood that their ruling is the final judicial word; (4) the very strong language the judges used; and (5) the decision’s impact in confirming the scientific facts of climate change."
JUDGES: Enviro groups at White House summit urge action on nominations (Greenwire, 05/07/12)
Representatives from environmental groups were among those attending a White House summit this morning aimed at putting the spotlight on the slow rate at which the Senate has approved judicial nominations.
Defenders of Wildlife, the Sierra Club, the League of Conservation Voters and the Environmental Working Group were among 150 groups participating, according to Glenn Sugameli, a lawyer at Defenders of Wildlife. Attorney General Eric Holder was among the administration officials taking part. ...
Obama's nominees have "disproportionately been the subject of partisan, unwarranted attacks," said Sugameli, who attended the meeting.
Different CO2 take (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review [PA] , 07/07/11)
Glenn Sugameli, Letter to the Editor: "The editorial "The EPA & the courts: The CO2 question" (June 27 and TribLIVE.com) misdescribes a new U.S. Supreme Court decision while ignoring a previous one.
First, only federal common law claims were barred by the latest ruling; it did not, as the editorial claims, reject "a lawsuit that sought to use public-nuisance laws to force utilities to cut CO2 emissions." In fact, the decision asked lower courts to decide if the Clean Air Act allows the case's state common law public nuisance claims and noted that the Clean Water Act allows "nuisance claim(s) pursuant to the law of the source State."
Second, the editorial misleadingly claims that "EPA's fallacious classification of carbon dioxide as a pollutant was left unaddressed. ... Not at issue was EPA regulating CO2 as a pollutant ..."
In 2007, however, the court ruled that "Because greenhouse gases fit well within the Clean Air Act's capacious definition of 'air pollutant,' we hold that EPA has the statutory authority to regulate the emission of such gases from new motor vehicles." In the current case, only Justices Alito and Thomas distanced themselves from that 2007 ruling, noting that they assumed "for the sake of argument" that it is correct."
Court is correct on air authority (Chattanooga Times Free Press [TN] , 06/25/11)
Glenn Sugameli, Letter to the Editor: The Free Press editorial, “Nobody wants pollution, but ...,” (June 22) accurately describes the U.S. Supreme Court’s new ruling reaffirming the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Air Act authority to curb global warming.
Unfortunately, the editorial misleadingly states that: “We all want clean air and clean water. But obviously, proper regulation of such matters cannot be reasonably prescribed by our federal courts.”
The court set forth for global warming a general “prescribed order of decisionmaking — the first decider under the Act is the expert administrative agency, the second, federal judges” reviewing EPA rulemaking.
Moreover, for clean water, and potentially for clean air issues including global warming, the court reaffirmed the centuries-old federal judicial role in regulating pollution. Specifically, the Court reiterated that the Clean Water Act does not bar an injured individual’s “nuisance claim pursuant to the law of the source State” and allowed lower courts to decide if the Clean Air Act allowed global warming nuisance claims under state common law.
Sugameli Comment on: The Other Decision: The Supreme Court Extinguishes Creative Climate Change Litigation (Huffington Post, 06/22/11)
"Prof. Brescia's valuable analysis may confuse readers on one point. I suggest that he clarify that the ruling is limited to FEDERAL nuisance law claims. E.g. he refers to: 'the plaintiffs alleging that these defendants' emissions were creating a nuisance under federal and state common law. … Yet, in a definitive, 8-0 decision released yesterday, the Supreme Court foreclosed this avenue of redress in the area of air quality and climate change.' He accurately mentions that 'federal common law offers no redress to the litigants at this time.' but is silent on the state common law claims, which may well confuse readers. The Court quoted its prior holding that the Clean Water Act does not preclude aggrieved individuals from bringing a 'nuisance claim pursuant to the law of the source State' and allowed lower courts to decide if the Clean Air Act allowed nuisance claims under state common law in this case. AEP v. CT at pp. 15-16. Ilya Shapiro's Cato Institute analysis: 'In Global Warming Case, Supreme Court Reaches Correct Result But Leaves Room for Mischievous Litigation' lamented that 'the Court left open the possibility of claims on state common-law grounds such as nuisance.'"
SENATE: Enviro groups urge action on judicial confirmations (Environment & Energy (E & E) Daily, 02/15/11)
Glenn Sugameli, who tracks judicial nominations for Defenders of Wildlife, said filling judicial vacancies is important to environmental groups because "people and endangered wildlife suffer and die when corporations illegally continue to pollute and destroy the environment for years because of the massive court backlogs caused by empty judgeships."
Judgeships lie vacant as Senate Republicans stall confirmations (Daily Princetonian [Princeton University, NJ], 10/19/10)
"[F]ederal court access has suffered as holds placed on candidates caused vacancies to soar. The number of vacant judgeships that U.S. courts have declared “judicial emergencies” has risen to 49, from 20." Glenn Sugameli '76, published Letter to the Editor
Federal Judicial Vacancy Crisis Deepens as Unnamed Senate Republicans Block Floor Votes on All 23 Pending Judicial Nominees (American Constitution Society Blog, 09/30/10)
Glenn Sugameli Guest Post: "nominees remain frozen, however, despite announced support from Republican home-state senators who are unable to convince their colleagues to allow a vote (or are unwilling to follow Sen. Alexander's successful example). These include Utah Sens. Orrin Hatch and Robert Bennett (10th Circuit nominee Scott Matheson, Jr.); Arizona Sens. Jon Kyl and John McCain (9th Circuit nominee Mary Murguia); Mississippi Sens. Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker (district court nominee Carlton Reeves); and North Carolina's Richard Burr (4th Circuit nominee Albert Diaz and district court nominee Catherine Eagles)."
A Friend of the Earth Joins the Supreme Court (Earth Connection, 08/10/10)
"More than 40 national environmental organizations actively supported President Obama’s appointment of Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court. In a letter to Senators prior to last Thursday’s Senate approval of Kagan’s confirmation, the groups cited her “understanding of the importance of fair Court decisions that uphold, enforce, and correctly interpret laws that protect people, wildlife, and the environment.”"
Environmental Groups Smile on Kagan's Ascension to Supreme Court (Environment News Service, 08/06/10)
"A letter signed by 45 groups and sent to the senators on Tuesday says, "Kagan is extremely well qualified to serve on the Supreme Court and we endorse her nomination without qualification."
The groups that signed the letter include some of the country's largest and most influential organizations such as the League of Conservation Voters, Earthjustice, the Wilderness Society, the Sierra Club, Defenders of Wildlife, Audubon, the National Hispanic Environmental Council and Greenpeace USA. Regional conservation groups are also represented."
SENATE: Kagan confirmed for Supreme Court (Environment & Energy (E & E) Daily, 08/05/10)
"Kagan was backed by some of the nation's largest environmental advocacy groups, 45 of which sent a letter urging the Senate to approve her nomination. The letter, which was written and circulated by Defenders of Wildlife, pointed to her statements during confirmation hearings that Congress has broad authority to pass environmental laws and that the Supreme Court should give them deference.
"The court is narrowly and deeply split on critical constitutional and statutory environmental protection issues," the letter said. "Kagan's record and her Supreme Court confirmation hearing testimony demonstrate an essential understanding of the importance of fair Court decisions that uphold, enforce and correctly interpret laws that protect people, wildlife, and the environment.""
SUPREME COURT: Graham joins Democrats as Judiciary panel approves Kagan (Greenwire, 07/20/10)
"35 environmental organizations ... backed her in a letter sent yesterday to Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), the committee's ranking member. ..."The court is narrowly and deeply split on critical constitutional and statutory environmental protection issues," says the letter, which was written and circulated by Defenders of Wildlife. "Kagan's record and her Supreme Court confirmation hearing testimony demonstrate an essential understanding of the importance of fair Court decisions that uphold, enforce and correctly interpret laws that protect people, wildlife, and the environment.""
Joint Letter from Environmental Organizations (ABA Journal, 07/19/10)
Senate Judiciary Committee link to: July 19, 2010 - Joint Letter from Environmental Organizations [Defenders of Wildlife, Audubon, Greenpeace USA, Earthjustice, League of Conservation Voters, Endangered Species Coalition, Sierra Club, Friends of the Earth, The Wilderness Society, Advocates for the West, Alaska Center for the Environment, Alaska Wildlife Alliance, Kentucky Resources Council, Inc., Audubon Society of Rhode Island, Magic, Californians for Alternatives to Toxics, McKenzie Guardians, Citizens for Public Resources, Midwest Environmental Advocates, Conservation Northwest, Montana Environmental Information Center, Endangered Habitats League, Northwest Environmental Advocates, Friends of Blackwater, Oregon Wild, Great Old Broads for Wilderness, Public Lands Without Livestock, Green Delaware, Soda Mountain Wilderness Council, Gulf Restoration Network, WaterWatch of Oregon, Idaho Conservation League, WildEarth Guardians, Idaho Rivers United, The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation]
SUPREME COURT: After week of hearings, Kagan seen as taking Stevens' place on enviro cases (Environment & Energy (E & E) Daily, 07/02/10)
"Kagan encouragingly emphasized the role of Congress in defining within broad limits who should have standing to enforce the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Endangered Species Act and other laws," said Glenn Sugameli, a staff attorney at Defenders of Wildlife, who leads the advocacy group's Judging the Environment project.
Elena Kagan started Harvard environmental law program (USA Today, 05/11/10)
"She has an in-depth knowledge of the nuts and bolts of how issues work in the real world," Glenn Sugameli, an attorney at Defenders of Wildlife and founder of Judging the Environment, which monitors federal courts, tells Grist.
Elena Kagan, climate realist (Grist, 05/10/10)
"She has an in-depth knowledge of the nuts and bolts of how issues work in the real world," said Glenn Sugameli, an attorney at Defenders of Wildlife and founder of Judging the Environment, which monitors federal courts. "That's important because, if you look at the current court, they're almost all lifetime ‘judicial monastery' types. They're so used to looking at things from a judge's standpoint that they don't really understand them."
More Reaction to Kagan Nomination (Legal Times, 05/10/10)
Glenn Sugameli, staff attorney, Defenders of Wildlife “We welcome President Obama’s Supreme Court nomination of Elena Kagan, whose record shows an essential understanding of the importance of upholding and enforcing laws that protect people, wildlife and the environment. While she was dean of Harvard Law School, Kagan made environmental law a top priority. She helped found the Environmental Law Program, and in one of her most prominent hires, recruited prominent environmental scholar Jody Freeman to lead the program. Kagan also started an Environmental Law & Policy Clinic where students provide vital assistance on cases and policy. It is critical that Justice Stevens’ successor be fair-minded and experienced and understand why environmental laws were written.”
Obama Nominates Solicitor General Kagan to the U.S. Supreme Court (Environment News Service, 05/10/10)
Glenn Sugameli, founder and head of the environmental community's Judging the Environment project, said, "We welcome President Obama's Supreme Court nomination of Elena Kagan, whose record shows an essential understanding of the importance of upholding and enforcing laws that protect people, wildlife and the environment."
"While she was dean of Harvard Law School, Kagan made environmental law a top priority," said Sugameli. "She helped found the Environmental Law Program, and, in one of her most prominent hires, recruited prominent environmental scholar Jody Freeman to lead the program. Kagan also started an Environmental Law and Policy Clinic where students provide vital assistance on cases and policy."
"It is critical that Justice Stevens' successor be fair-minded and experienced and understand why environmental laws were written," Sugameli said.
SUPREME COURT: Kagan introduced as nominee (Greenwire, 05/10/10)
"We look forward to the Senate's deliberations on this important nomination as the court is sharply and closely divided on the fate of basic environmental safeguards and citizens' access to court. Respect for and understanding of environmental laws that protect all Americans are essential," said Glenn Sugameli, a staff attorney at Defenders of Wildlife who leads the advocacy group's Judging the Environment project. "The next justice will help determine the fate of basic environmental safeguards for decades to come."
Wednesday round-up (SCOTUSBlog, 04/28/10)
"Glenn Sugameli, writing for ACSblog, recalls the perceived unlikelihood of the Monsanto petition being granted and reviews the Court’s recent record in environmental cases."
The Supreme Court’s Activist, Pro-Corporate Opinions and Case Selection (American Constitution Society Blog, 04/26/10)
Judging the Environment's Glenn Sugameli Guest Post: "understanding how the activist Court has undermined laws that protect ordinary Americans requires that attention must be paid to one-sided decisions whether or not to review environmental and other cases."
Earth Day Highlights Importance of Judicial Nominations, Lawmakers and Advocates Say (American Constitution Society Blog, 04/22/10)
"Federal courts decide the fate of lawsuits that attack safeguards for clean air, clean water, endangered species, and special natural places," Judging the Environment's Glenn Sugameli recently wrote at ACSblog. "Judges must uphold anti-pollution and conservation laws against unjustifiable claims that their enactment exceeded Congress' Commerce Clause authority, and that they take away non-existent 'property rights' to pollute." "Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens's retirement highlights just how much Americans rely on fair and independent judges to uphold and enforce laws that protect people and our environment," Sugameli concludes. EPA administrator Lisa P. Jackson echoed Sugameli's sentiments today.
Wednesday round-up (SCOTUSBlog, 04/14/10)
At ACSblog, Glenn Sugameli contends that Stevens’s replacement should be a strong proponent of environmental protections. Jonathan Hiskes of Grist asks “How green are Obama’s potential Supreme Court picks?” and evaluates the environmental records of the three leading candidates.
What the green movement needs from the next Supreme Court justice (Grist, 04/14/10)
"Federal-court watcher Glenn Sugameli suggests two ways President Obama's next Supreme Court nominee can help make the court more ecologically intelligent. Nine years ago Sugameli founded Judging the Environment, a clearinghouse for info on how federal judges (who get lifetime appointments) determine environmental policy. He's also a staff attorney at Defenders of Wildlife,"
Environmentalists Losing Key Supreme Court Ally (Environment (change.org), 04/12/10)
Stevens' successor will "help determine the fate of basic environmental safeguards for decades to come," says Glenn Sugameli, founder of the website Judging the Environment. "Four of the remaining Justices unjustifiably attempted to gut the Clean Air Act’s global warming provisions, and to reinterpret the Constitution to selectively prohibit access to court in the 2007 Massachusetts v. EPA case. In that case, Justice Stevens’s vote was decisive."
Roundup: Lawmakers And Activists On Stevens (National Journal, 04/09/10)
Glenn Sugameli, founder of the Judging the Environment project, wrote that Stevens "has a lengthy, very distinguished, and lasting legacy of upholding laws that safeguard our environment. President Obama's selection of a new justice will help determine the fate of basic environmental safeguards for decades to come."
Interest Groups Weigh In on Stevens (Wall Street Journal, 04/09/10)
Glenn Sugameli, staff attorney for the Judging the Environment website on federal judicial nominations: “Retiring Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens has a lengthy, very distinguished, and lasting legacy of upholding laws that safeguard our environment. President Obama’s selection of a new justice will help determine the fate of basic environmental safeguards for decades to come.”
SUPREME COURT: Stevens to retire at term's end (Greenwire, 04/09/10)
Environmental groups consider Stevens a fairly reliable vote in their favor, said Glenn Sugameli, a federal courts expert and staff attorney at Defenders of Wildlife...."Stevens has a lengthy, very distinguished and lasting legacy of upholding laws that safeguard our environment," Sugameli said. "President Obama's selection of a new justice will help determine the fate of basic environmental safeguards for decades to come."
SUPREME COURT: Stevens to decide on retirement next month (Greenwire, 03/16/10)
While environmental groups would lose one of their most reliable supporters, said Glenn Sugameli, a staff attorney at Defenders of Wildlife, they will also lose a justice with "intangibles" -- including a relatively strong rapport with key swing vote Justice Anthony Kennedy. Kennedy joined the majority in Massachusetts v. EPA, which provided the legal basis for EPA's emerging effort to curb emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.
"Any change on the Supreme Court could help decide the fate of environmental laws for decades to come. The court is very closely split, 5-4, on a number of major environmental issues," Sugameli said. "A new nominee will obviously be much younger and will likely be around to decide issues that nobody's really even thought of yet."
Supreme Court Denies 3 High-Profile Environmental Cases (Greenwire, 02/23/10)
The Supreme Court's decision to pass on the case leaves the Federal Circuit's decision as the precedent for future takings cases involving federal agencies. Because that court is the destination for nearly all appeals on federal claims cases, the ruling carries substantial weight, said Glenn Sugameli, a staff attorney with Defenders of Wildlife.
"A decision at that level is normally final right now, absent Supreme Court review," Sugameli said. If the Supreme Court had stepped in and sided with Rose Acre Farms on the takings claim, he added, "you could end up with all levels of government always erring on the side of not protecting public health."
COURTS: Senate to vote on long-delayed 11th Circuit nominee (Environment & Energy (E & E) Daily, 01/19/10)
Glenn Sugameli, a staff attorney with Defenders of Wildlife, said he has been surprised to see a nominee wait months for confirmation when no one has voiced significant opposition.
"It's a very strange process right now, and it may very well determine the fate of environmental laws for decades to come," Sugameli said.
SUPREME COURT: Senate confirms Sotomayor, 68-31 (Environment & Energy (E & E) Daily, 08/06/09)
Sotomayor has received near-unanimous support from national, regional and local environmental groups .... "Environmental cases have gained significant importance in the Supreme Court in the last few years," said Earthjustice President Trip Van Noppen in a statement released after the vote. "During her confirmation hearings, Senators routinely questioned Judge Sotomayor on her perspective on the Clean Water Act and other environmental laws. It is obvious that environmental issues are receiving much more play and will continue to be major Supreme Court issues in the years to come. It is clear that smart and fair judges are essential to safeguarding our nation's environment and the public health."
Sotomayor Hearings Repeatedly Touched on Enviro Issues (New York Times, 07/17/09)
Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor addressed major issues of concern to the environmental community during Senate Judiciary Committee hearings that ended yesterday, shedding some light on how she would approach cases concerning regulatory takings, the Constitution's Commerce Clause, as well as her views on upholding congressional action regarding protective measures such as the Clean Water Act.
"Environmental issues received more play than some may have thought they would during the week," said Glenn Sugameli, senior counsel for Earthjustice.
SUPREME COURT: Sotomayor questioned about upholding environmental protections (Environment & Energy (E & E) Daily, 07/15/09)
"Sotomayor's emphasis on paying particular attention to congressional findings was reassuring, as was her stress on deference to Congress in this context and in responding to Senator Cardin's concerns with Supreme Court decisions that he recognized have undermined the Clean Water Act," said Glenn Sugameli, senior counsel for Earthjustice.
Enviros back Sotomayor for Supreme Court (Grist, 07/12/09)
"More than 60 environmental and Native American groups—including the Sierra Club, Earthjustice, Greenpeace USA, the League of Conservation Voters, and the Center for Biological Diversity—have sent a letter [PDF] to leaders of the Senate Judiciary Committee offering unqualified support for her nomination. ... 'As recent, closely divided decisions demonstrate, the Supreme Court is playing a crucial role in environmental protections,' says Glenn Sugameli, senior policy counsel at Earthjustice."
Get Behind Supreme Court Nominee Sotomayor—60 Green Groups Already Have Yes, she's a strong, Hispanic woman—and she's green, too. (planet green, 07/10/09)
"60 of the nation's top environmental and conservation groups, including EarthJustice, the Sierra Club, Greenpeace, and the National Wildlife Federation, have drafted a letter voicing their support for Sotomayor....
The groups have written their endorsement because they've surveyed her judicial record and found that she's fair, measured, and thorough in her decisions."
60 Environmental Groups Support Sotomayor for Supreme Court (Environment News Service, 07/09/09)
"Our support for President Obama's nomination of Judge Sotomayor continues," said Trip Van Noppen, president of the nonprofit environmental law firm Earthjustice. "We are pleased that so many environmental groups agree." ... The letter was signed by some of the largest groups in the United States, including the League of Conservation Voters, Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace USA, the National Audubon Society, the Sierra Club, the National Wildlife Federation and The Wilderness Society. In total, they represent millions of members. ...
White House Press Release: What They're Saying About Judge Sotomayor (The White House, 06/19/09)
Earthjustice Said Sotomayor Possessed "Some Of The Strongest Qualifications Of Any Supreme Court Nominee In Many Years," Praised "Invaluable Perspectives" In Environmental Law. "The following statement is from Glenn Sugameli, senior legislative counsel and head of Earthjustice’s judicial nominations project since 2001: "Earthjustice welcomes President Obama’s Supreme Court nomination of Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Sonia Sotomayor, who has some of the strongest qualifications of any Supreme Court nominee in many years, including the most federal judicial experience in 100 years. Judge Sotomayor is well qualified in light of her personal, academic, legal, and judicial experience . Her knowledge, understanding and service as a federal trial and appellate court judge provide invaluable perspectives for deciding environmental protection and related issues, as reflected in her 80-page Riverkeeper v. EPA opinion." [Earthjustice Press Release, 5/26/09]
Judge Sonia Sotomayor: an environmental pragmatist (Examiner, 05/27/09)
Jean Williams, Seattle Environmental Policy Examiner quotes Earthjustice's Glenn Sugameli. Williams concludes: "The choice of Judge Sonia Sotomayor for a place at the U.S. Supreme Court table, is a bold, forwarding thinking choice, to help form a more inclusive, sensible, open-minded, balanced, and diversified American legacy."
Justice Sotomayor? (Deseret News [UT] , 05/26/09)
Jay Evensen's perspectives on the news quotes Earthjustice on Sotomayor nomination.
Flawed argument (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette [PA] , 04/15/09)
Letter to the Editor from Judging the Environment's Glenn Sugameli on misleading syndicated column promoting the discredited "nondelegation doctrine."
Columnist wrong (Corpus Christi Caller-Times [TX] , 04/04/09)
Published Letter to the Editor from Judging the Environment's Glenn Sugameli.
Court minority misinterprets laws (Roanoke Times [VA], 02/15/09)
Published Letter to the Editor from Judging the Environment's Glenn Sugameli commenting on recent editorial.
Congress can overturn court’s misinterpretation (News Journal (DE), 02/09/09)
Published Letter to the Editor from Earthjustice's Glenn Sugameli on threats to court access from Supreme Court misinterpretation of statutes and the Constitution.
Obstructionist court (Gainesville Sun [FL] , 02/09/09)
Published Letter to the Editor from Judging the Environment's Glenn Sugameli on threats to access to court.
EarthJustice Legal Defense Fund (Capital Research Center, 02/01/09)
"“Judging the Environment” (http://www.
judgingtheenvironment.org/) provides a
handy searchable database of arguments
green groups can use to oppose a Bush appointee.
If you type in the name of an appointee
and click on a legal or environmental issue (e.g. Clean Air or The Commerce Clause) you
will be directed to statements, resolutions,
and “letters of concern” issued by dozens of
environmental groups giving reasons why
the appointee should be rejected. Glenn Sugameli, a senior legislative counsel ...
heads up the project, which keeps
tabs on “extreme nominees.”"
Not so fine (Oakland Tribune [CA] , 01/26/09)
Published letter to the editor from Earthjustice's Glenn Sugameli responding to an editorial and discussing Alito and Roberts, access to courts, clean air and water, and worker rights.
Look Beyond Constitutional Interpretation When Picking Judges (American Constitution Society Blog, 12/22/08)
Commentary by Earthjustice's Glenn Sugameli: "The records of potential and pending judicial nominees on constitutional interpretation are a vital consideration, but far from the only one. Lifetime judges must also be competent, fair and independent, and must fairly interpret and apply the statutes, treaties, and judge-made 'common law' that are at issue in the vast majority of cases."
Poor picks for judges, poor view of Senate role (The Hill, 10/15/08)
Published Letter to the Editor from Earthjustice's Glenn Sugameli: Bush has pressured the Senate to confirm judges who would further political agendas by rewriting our Constitution and laws. Roberts and Alito fell one vote short of gutting basic water and air pollution laws.
Sound and Fury, Signifying Nothing, Obstructs Senate Debate on Global Warming (South Florida Sun-Sentinel, 06/05/08)
Earthjustice's Glenn Sugameli: "After one judge was confirmed, scheduled votes on two 6th Circuit nominees were delayed by Republican Senators. The votes had already been re-scheduled for June 12th. Senators should reject this unjustifiable effort to obstruct this serious global warming debate."
Article Discussion: Climate bill stalls in Senate after dispute (Denver Post [CO] , 06/05/08)
Earthjustice: "Senate opponents derailed Floor debate on bi-partisan climate change legislation.... they attempted to mask their cynical strategy of filibustering on behalf of the coal and oil industry by fabricating false claims that a deal to confirm three judges had been broken."
Bush wants ideological fights, not judges (Politico, 10/08/07)
Glenn Sugameli, Opinion Column: "All too often, President Bush’s previous and current nominees for lifetime federal judgeships have been chosen precisely because their extreme records will reignite ideological battles, ensuring they will not be confirmed at all or without a major fight.... There is a better way. President Bush could respect senators’ “advise and consent” role, forgo needless fights and fill vacancies with mainstream judges."
MINING: OSM says former mine owners not liable for new SMCRA violations (Land Letter, 10/12/06)
"Glenn Sugameli, an attorney for Earthjustice who has litigated coal mining cases in the past, said OSM's regulatory record on mine ownership and control is rife with problems. In some cases, he said, mining companies who violate SMCRA avoid responsibility by dismantling an existing corporation and forming a new one under a different name. In other cases, he said, mining companies will try to disassociate themselves with a problem mine by pinning blame for violations on independent contractors. 'There are real problems here, and they have recurred over and over again,' Sugameli said.
'If those regulations are weakened or loopholes are created that allow companies to avoid responsibility by creating another company, then it eliminates a very vital tool' for enforcing SMCRA, Sugameli added."
Groups see methyl bromide ruling as potential signal of limits on court access.(AIR) (Pesticide & Toxic Chemical News, 03/13/06)
"It's another disturbing decision cutting back on access [to the courts]," Glenn Sugameli, senior attorney at Earthjustice, told PTCN.
Sugameli agreed it would be difficult to define precisely what constitute a "substantial probability" of injury, making the approach used by several other federal courts of appeal--basing standing on an increased risk of injury--the proper approach.
He said access to the courts has been an issue of concern for Earthjustice and other environmental groups with respect to a number of Bush judicial nominees, including the two new members of the Supreme Court--Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito.
Earthjustice Opposes Alito Nomination (Daily Kos, 12/20/05)
"Today Earthjustice (the law firm for the environment) announced that for the first time in almost 20 years, they are opposing a Supreme Court nominee. Read below to find out why Alito presents a direct threat to the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, the Endangered Species Act, and the Safe Drinking Water Act. And also read how Alito wants to put in place barriers that will prevent average citizens from using the courts to protect themselves and their communities."
Bush's vision: a new environment (Seattle Times [WA] , 11/12/04)
Quotes Judging the Environment's Glenn Sugameli on impact of judicial nominations "particularly on the U.S. Supreme Court and the D.C. Circuit."
Bush to revive push for conservatives on federal bench (Seattle Times [WA] , 11/07/02)
""We also have concerns with people already on the courts who have extreme views that threaten basic protections for the environment and public health," said Glenn Sugameli, an attorney "
Disputes cloud Norton's nomination to lead Interior (Houston Chronicle, 01/18/01)
"property rights arguments often are used to justify development on and near federal lands, said Glenn Sugameli, an attorney ...
"Whoever is interior secretary will have enormous authority over public lands and resources and will make decisions that affect everyone's property rights, and we think it's critical to make them with an eye on the interests of everyone downstream, downwind and downhill, remembering the public's resources," he said."
Hatch introduces takings compensation bill: Utah senator's effort faces uphill battle (Endangered Species & Wetlands Report, 06/01/97)
"But Glenn Sugameli, counsel with the Nationa Wilidlife Federation, called the effort 'the last gasp of the radical, failed takings concept.' Sugameli said the bill is virtually identical to one introduced by Hatch in the last Congress, which garnered 34 sponsors. By contrast, only 10 other senators had signed on to Hatch's bill as of June 9. . . . Sugameli, however, said the bill 'would destroy the property rights of homeowners by giving developers a right to profit at the expense of the property, health and safety of their neighbors.' He called it more 'extreme than takings proposlas that were rejected by 60 percent of the voters in statewide referenda in Arizona in 1994 and Washington State in 1995.'"
Defeat of Latest Takings Bill Is Temporary Gain (Salt Lake Tribune [UT] , 07/30/96)
"Speaking at the Outdoor Writers Association of America conference in Duluth, Minn., National Wildlife Federation lawyer Glenn Sugameli, Washington, D.C., said takings bills are a reaction to laws that restrain inappropriate uses of private property.
"These laws were enacted to protect against threats to private property, people and public resources, from the Dust Bowl to Love Canal," he said. "Examples abound. Wetlands laws prevent pollution, flooding and loss of recreational and commercial fishing jobs. Soil-conservation laws prevent disastrous effects on land, water and surrounding development. Watershed-protection laws preserve fresh water sources. Takings bills favor profits at the expense of neighboring homeowners and the public, essentially reversing established law.""
DEBATE GIVES NEW TAKE ON CONSERVATION AND PROPERTY RIGHTS (Buffalo News [NY], 06/20/96)
"On Tuesday, the annual conference of the Outdoor Writers Association of America heard a debate between the Defenders of Property Rights, the lobbying organization that has helped promote the legislation, and the National Wildlife Federation, which is against the bills. ... Glenn P. Sugamelli, the National Wildlife Federation counsel for conservation programs, documented other incidents, including a 1995 case where a West Virginia strip mine was threatening to undermine hundreds of homes and another strip-mining incident when the collapse of a coal company refuse pile that had dammed a stream took 125 lives and destroyed 1,000 homes. ... such laws, the conservation lawyer said, would hamstring federal agencies and cause them to look over their shoulders, fearing their budgets would be diminished by settlement claims. In effect, clean air or clean water regulations would be put on hold, along with the Endangered Species Act, he said. And with 24 states now espousing such laws, it could mean local zoning laws might be affected. ... "The Supreme Court ruled against them," Sugameli said. "They supported the concept that wildlife belongs to everyone and rejected the feudal concept that the landed aristocracy own and control all wildlife." Many of the assembled newspaper and magazine writers here are pretty conservative and against government spending, sloth and bureaucratic paper-shuffling. Yet many seemed reluctant to go along with the idea that property rights must always take precedence over saving a duck marsh, or a trout stream."
Seeing red over green in the Contract (Washington Times, 01/22/95)
"In pursuing regulatory reform, "extremists are trying to take away the ability of Americans to act through their government to protect neighboring property owners and the public welfare," according to National Wildlife Federation attorney Glenn Sugameli."
Claims Court Crusader: Chief Judge Smith Puts Property Rights Up Front (Legal Times, 08/17/92)
Tom Castleton: "'He's been getting a lot of publicity,' says Glenn Sugameli, counsel for the National Wildlife Federation, 'because his decisions are on the edge-- or beyond the edge.' . . . Sugameli of the National Wildlife Federation points out that Smith proudly said at a recent Federalist Society conference that his legal heroes were failed Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork and [Richard] Epstein. . . . Sugameli is appalled at Smith's admiration for hte scholar. 'Now, for ht eman who is chief judge is the United States Claims COurt to say that one of his heroes is Richard Epstein, who has the ultimate extreme view on what is a taking, and that view is that the boday of 20th-century legislation is a taking, is shocking,' Sugameli says. As a prime example of Smith's approach, Sugameli and others point to Loceladies Harbor, Inc. v. United States. . . . Sugameli says that in Loveladies Harbor, Smith chose not to guage the Clean Water ACt's effect of the entire 250 acres, 199 of which have been devleoped. . . . Sugameli, for instance, points out that Smith 'seems to be focusing very, very heavily on the private costs to the landowner and not adequately weighing the concerns of the public, adjacent landowners and others who are severely injured if development results in flooding or pollution.'"
'Just Compensation:' The little-known federal Claims Court is trying to slam the brakes on environmental and other regulations by applying the 5th Amendment dictate that payment be made when private property is taken for public use. (National Journal, 06/13/92)
W. John Moore: "'The decisions from Judge Loren Smith are extremely disturbing because they really do misinterpret existing law. They find takings where, in our opinion, none exist,' Glenn Sugameli, a lawyer with the National Wildlife Federaiton in Washington, added. . . . "But Sugameli on the National Wildlife Federation said it is too early for property rights avocates to declare victory. According to Sugameli and other takings experts, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit appears ready to overturn at least one of the recent Claims Court decisions. And a recent procedural ruling by the appellate court has prompted the Justice Department to ask the Claims Court to reconsider another of its recent rulings, he added. . . . 'A trend that is disturbing may be righting itself, and that would be a welcome development,' Sugameli said."
Environment: Downsizing downside? (National Journal, 02/29/92)
"National Widlife Federation counsel Glenn Sugameli said, however, that the standards can be met through new technologies that make cars safer and criticized the court's decisions as 'judicial activism by conservatives.'"
JUNKING CARS: IS IT EFFICIENT AS CAFE, BUT FASTER, CHEAPER? (Greenwire, 10/24/91)
"Glenn Sugameli, Nat'l Wildlife Federation: "Getting rid of old cars that would be retired in a year or two is not as important" as improved mileage standards for new cars that will be on the road for the next 10 to 20 years."
STUDY URGES SCRAPPING OF OLD CARS TO SAVE FUEL (Journal of Commerce, 10/24/91)
""Getting rid of old cars that would be retired in a year or two is not as important" as improving mileage standards for new cars that will be on the road for the next 10 to 20 years, criticized Glenn Sugameli, an attorney for the National Wildlife Federation."
The Road Not Taken: Cleaner, more fuel-efficient cars of tomorrow are aleady here, but economics and politics are keeping them from the showroom (National Wildlife, 08/01/91)
Sharon Begley: Such arguments infuriate conservationists, who blame automakers, not consumers, for resisting "every improvement in auto efficiency, safety and emissions," says Glenn Sugameli, a National Wildlife Federation attorney, "while spending a billion dollars a year to create, not respond to, consumer desires for overpowered muscle cars." . . . "Current technologies can improve the gas mileage of the entire fleet," says NWF's Sugameli, "so Americans can choose from a full range of cars and light trucks that save money on gasoline, and reduce pollution."
Gasoline at Low Price, But Benefits May Fade (New York Times, 07/26/91)
"The low price misleads consumers, too, said Glenn P. Sugameli, a specialist in energy issues at the National Wildlife Federation. "If there was a consistent trend toward higher gasoline prices, the consumer and auto companies would have a clear signal that more efficient cars is where they should be going," he said. Because price will not provide that signal, a strong auto-mileage bill is more necessary than ever, he said."
Quayle's Quiet Coup (National Journal, 07/06/91)
Kirk Victor: "I't gives the Attorney General virtual carte blanche to veto or indefinitely delay any federal regulation on any issue, no matter how badly that regulation is needed to protect people's rights to breathe clean air, to have the health and safety of food assured and a wide variety of other rights," said Glenn P. Sugameli, counsel for public lands at the National Wildlife Federation.'"
Auto Fuel Efficiency: Going the Extra Mile (National Journal, 05/11/91)
Margaret E. Kriz: "'The political reality on that committee is that Johnston can't come up with what we think is a realistic number without losing all the REpublicans on his committee,' said GLenn Sugameli, pulbic lands and energy counsel for the National Wildlife Federation. As environmentalists see it, a 'realistic number' would have to be at least as high as Bryan's. 'I don't think we could support anything below that,' Sugameli said."
Automakers urged to cut performance, save fuel (Atlanta Journal Constitution, 05/10/91)
"More than 75 percent of the 440 model-year 1991 passenger cars also available in 1990 became less fuel efficient or showed no improvement in their fuel economy, said Glenn P. Sugameli, counsel for the National Wildlife Federation.
"If this trend is not reversed, the overall efficiency of the United States on-the-road fleet will peak and then actually begin to drop as new cars start replacing more efficient older cars," Mr. Sugameli told the House Subcommittee on Energy and Power last month.
He spoke on behalf of more than a dozen other environmental groups."