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A project tracking federal judicial nominations and courts.

Defenders of Wildlife

Editorials and Opinion


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Editorial: Judge rightly lets environmental groups in on coal ash case (Winston-Salem Journal [NC] , 05/12/14)
"Cheers to Superior Court Judge Paul Ridgeway, whose ruling last week will allow environmental groups to have access to documents from Duke Energy and the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources relating to groundwater leaching from the company’s coal ash dumps. Ridgeway ruled that a coalition of environmental groups can participate in the state’s enforcement action against Duke Energy for the leaching, ...That’s how it should be. Good for Judge Ridgeway."

91-0 (Southern District of Florida Blog, 05/12/14)
David Markus: "That was the vote today, confirming Robin Rosenbaum to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals (filling Judge Rosemary Barkett's seat). CONGRATS TO JUDGE ROSENBAUM. She's only 47 years old and will be on the court a long time, helping to reshape it with other moderate judges appointed by President Obama -- Judges Jordan and Martin. Now another seat opens up on the district bench."

Journal Times editorial: State GOP right to reject measure on secession (Journal Times [Racine, WI], 05/11/14)
"Similarly, the party members were right to shoot down a resolution that said the Legislature should propose legislation to nullify certain federal laws, including the Affordable Care Act. If the Wisconsin Legislature or governor had the ability to nullify the Affordable Care Act, you can bet it would have been done already. The reality is that in our democracy, municipalities must follow state laws and states must follow federal laws."

Editorial: Addressing global climate change (Dallas Morning News, 05/11/14)
"The Obama administration outlined a number of steps it is taking to curtail greenhouse-gas emissions, make cars and buildings more energy efficient, and tighten pollution standards. Those are all laudable steps, especially considering the outsized percentage of global emissions that come from this country. But it’s nowhere near enough....The next step is for America to lead so that other polluting countries get the message, too."

Editorial: Shift from climate change debate to action (Newsday [NY], 05/09/14)
"On Long Island, climate change is a water issue, and the scientists describe major consequences: More than half of the nation's population lives in coastal communities that are "increasingly vulnerable" to climate change. That's us.... The Supreme Court's decision last month upholding the right of the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate pollution from coal-fired power plants that blows from the Midwest to the East Coast was critically important to clearing hurdles for the next set of rules."

Editorial: Climate-change report validates our biggest fears (Aspen Times [CO], 05/09/14)
"We hope this report spurs elected leaders to address climate change for what it is — a real threat to our quality of life and the earth that we inhabit. As Sen. Mark Udall recently said in a Capitol Hill speech, in which he implored leaders to pass a Renewable Energy Standard, Congress must take action to reduce its greenhouse-gas emissions."

Editorial: Climate change vs. GOP: Our view; Denial risks branding the party as one that refuses to participate in constructive governance. (USA Today, 05/09/14)
"The National Climate Assessment, released this week, adds to a mounting and overwhelming body of evidence that the effects of rising temperatures are here and now — and that even higher sea levels, more extreme weather and water shortages are in our future if nothing is done. ... denying that a problem even exists — which is common among the most vocal of Republicans — risks branding the party as one that is anti-science and refuses to participate in constructive governance."

Editorial: No denying it: Climate change is here-- and now (Sacramento Bee [CA] , 05/09/14)
"Climate change isn’t news to Californians.... Still, the latest National Climate Assessment, released this week, makes for urgent reading. It’s blunt, and its findings have dire implications, both nationally and for California ... The state and nation need to stay focused and plan for a long haul. The stakes are high, and the deniers – in Congress and elsewhere – don’t seem to be going to go away."

Editorial: Politics obscure science on climate change (Commercial Appeal [TN] , 05/09/14)
"There is an old saying among lawyers: If you can't argue the facts, argue the law, and if you can't do either, attack the opposing counsel."

Editorial: Our View: Cheers and Jeers (Times-News [ID] , 05/09/14)
"Jeers to climate change, which is already altering the world and the Northwest, says a sweeping federal report issued this week.... we’re already seeing its effects with increased tree die-off, insect infestations and jumping wildfire suppression costs.... Locally, longer droughts could set agriculture back for months..... t’s time we move past the political discussion and accept the data for what it is. Things like water conservation must be a priority going forward, especially amid our changing climate."

Editorial: As climate changes, we need coping strategies (Herald [Bradenton, FL] , 05/08/14)
"With barrier islands and other low-lying coastal and inland terrain, Manatee County sits in one of the nation's regions that are "exceptionally vulnerable" to rising ocean levels, extreme heat episodes and declining water resources....Let's work together on strategies for coping with a changing climate so future generations can also enjoy Manatee County."

Editorial: OUR VIEW New federal report shows the need to address climate change now (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel [WI], 05/08/14)
"Which means the United States not only must take the lead in efforts to mitigate climate change — such as a revenue-neutral carbon tax — but also find technologies and policies that can help communities adjust to the changes occurring around them.... Climate change is here; humans are causing it. Adjusting to that does not mean returning to the Stone Age or wrecking the economy. It does mean hard work and flexibility — and being willing to acknowledge scientific reality."

The New York Times on David Barron (Lawfare, 05/08/14)
Benjamin Wittes: "There is, however, one big, if subtle, thing wrong with the Times‘s editorial, and it’s the headline. It is quite misleading to describe Barron as the “lawyer behind the drone policy.” The drone policy—or policies, more precisely—came from the White House, from the CIA, and from the Pentagon in a complex interagency stew ultimately overseen, and pretty directly, by a man named Barack Obama. OLC’s job in that process is to field questions, when posed by others, about whether proposed executive activity would be lawful. The memos Barron wrote—at least to the extent we can judge them from summaries of them in the press and in the administration’s white paper—are not permissive with respect to targeted killing. As I explained in detail in this congressional testimony, they are actually quite narrow. One can argue about whether they are too narrow or whether they are appropriately cautious, but it’s actually difficult to imagine the administration’s having adopted a more limiting set of legal rules than it did."

Confirmation Update: More Good Judicial News (Southern District of Florida Blog, 05/08/14)
Jeff Marcus: "Today, Judges Darrin Gayles and Beth Bloom both were approved by voice vote by the Senate Judiciary Committee. Judge Robin Rosenbaum should have her vote in front of the full Senate completed sometime Monday. Best of luck to all three nominees."

Editorial: Climate Disruptions, Close to Home (New York Times, 05/07/14)
"The climate-change deniers in Congress and industry allies like Senator Mitch McConnell, who hails from a coal-producing state, will be ferocious, employing the usual disruptive legislative and legal stratagems. The surest antidotes are continued presidential resolve, backed by voters sensitized to climate warming’s dangers. The new report should help on both fronts."

Editorial: Climate change a planning reality (Honolulu Star Advertiser, 05/07/14)
"Nobody in Hawaii is ever more than a few miles away from the world's biggest reminder of potential climate-change impacts: the Pacific Ocean. Rising sea levels are known factors in accelerating erosion of coastlines and property loss. But according to a report distributed nationally this week, there's an even more ominous warning: depletion of the islands' drinking-water supply."

Editorial: Climate change means danger ahead (Charleston Gazette [WV] , 05/07/14)
"Most out-of-state owners who control West Virginia’s coal industry keep denying that climate change threatens humanity....Well, nearly all top scientists across America and the planet say the opposite."

Editorial: Urgent call to action on climate (Tampa Bay Times [FL], 05/07/14)
"A new federal report released this week underscores two key points on climate change. First, the impact is being felt now, and the responsibility to act cannot be sloughed off to future generations. Second, rising temperatures have real implications for everything from where and how we live to global security and the safety of the food and water supply. The report should especially motivate coastal states such as Florida to get serious about slowing man-made contributions to the crisis.... President Barack Obama was right to use the findings to stress the urgency to act."

How Mitch McConnell Is Exacting Revenge For Dems' Nuclear Option (Talking Points Memo, 05/07/14)
Sahil Kapur: "The best example of what Senate Republicans are up to is one grouping of 13 judicial nominees. All 13 have come up since the filibuster rule change. All 13 were ultimately unanimously confirmed by the Senate. But in each case, GOP senators attempted to filibuster their nominations, forcing delays before each nominee could come to a final vote. In other words, dozens of senators had no objection to these nominees but voted to block them anyway."

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney on First Circuit Nominee David Barron (The White House, 05/06/14)
"David Barron is an exceptionally qualified judicial nominee....last year, members of the Senate Judiciary Committee had access to the memo. And in his committee vote, Mr. Barron received unanimous Democratic support. We are confident that David Barron will be confirmed to the First Circuit Court of Appeals and that he will serve with distinction."

Eagle editorial: At least legislative session is over (Wichita Eagle [KS] , 05/06/14)
"Unfortunately, the session went wrong more often than not, including ... by trying to nullify federal law regarding the threatened status of the lesser prairie chicken."

Following GOP misstep, Senate slowly fills the federal bench (Maddow Blog {MSNBC], 05/06/14)
Steve Benen: "we haven’t seen a flurry of jurists fill vacancies on the federal bench like this in quite a long while. ... Republicans pushed obstructionism to levels literally without precedent in American history – even going so far as to say they would lock every nominee for the D.C. Circuit, regardless of merit – effectively giving Democrats no choice but to restore traditional Senate norms and reestablish majority rule on confirmation votes. Had Republicans not pushed so hard, the pre-nuclear rules would still be in effect and the GOP minority would still be in a position to stop at least some of these recent nominees. Democrats would have gritted their teeth, but they widely agreed the “nuclear option” was a last resort."

Daniel O. Jamison: Crisis in our federal courts (Fresno Bee [CA] , 05/06/14)
"As of April 26, there were 87 vacancies in the district and appellate courts, with more than 70 of those in the district courts. More than 40% are judicial emergencies due to caseloads requiring many more judges. ... Partisan politics, with each party out of power hoping to delay nominations until the party is in power, keep the process in limbo. A large number of the president's 50 nominees are holdovers from last year....Our local federal court is the ultimate example. There is only one judge when at least four are needed.... Noncriminal cases are randomly assigned to Sacramento federal court. The expense of the trip to Sacramento is a bar to the courthouse door for many. This is a crisis."

Editorial: Climate change; Study confirms what can already be seen: The effects are well under way (Durango Herald [CO], 05/06/14)
"There has been much debate over climate change and any potential political or societal response. It should be clear, however, any open questions at this point are in the margins or concern exactly how to respond. ... The questions worth debating now turn more on what can be done. That combating, resisting or adapting to climate change will be costly is self-evident and irrelevant. As is becoming clear, doing nothing would be even more expensive."

Editorial: States and cities need to act on climate change (Washington Post, 05/06/14)
"The bottom line is that every region of the country must both do its part to reduce carbon emissions and plan to adapt to the effects it is unlikely to avoid."

Climate change is here [Editorial]; Our view: Latest report underscores what Baltimoreans already know — severe weather is taxing America's aging infrastructure as global warming worsens (Baltimore Sun, 05/06/14)
"The reality is that the effects of man-made greenhouse gases are already being felt, from oceans that are becoming more acidic to rivers more prone to flooding. ...The Northeast is in danger not just because of heavy rains but because there are 64 million people living there, and supporting them requires a massive and complex infrastructure that needs to be better protected against the increasingly harsh climate. That level of investment is obviously not taking place today. Nor has the nation taken sufficient steps to slow down the burning of fossil fuels, the chief source of greenhouse gas emissions."

Judge Rosenbaum Update -- Full Senate Vote Likely Within the Week (Southern District of Florida Blog, 05/06/14)
Jeff Marcus: "Judge Robin Rosenbaum is FINALLY nearing a full Senate vote. Senate Majority Harry Reid laid the groundwork today by calling for a cloture vote on Judge Rosenbaum's nomination to occur no later than this Thursday. The timing of the actual final vote is unclear as Republicans can demand up to 30 hours of post-cloture delay. The Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously approved Judge Rosenbaum’s nomination in March and both Florida Senators are supporting her nomination. Her confirmation cannot come soon enough. Normally a court of twelve, the 11th Circuit currently only has eight full-time judges -- a fallout of the judicial confirmation gridlock."

Editorial: A court win for the EPA and a cleaner future (MetroWest Daily News [MA], 05/05/14)
"The Supreme Court decision handing the Environmental Protection Agency an important clean air victory Tuesday was refreshing in every sense of the word. The court's 6-2 ruling upheld the EPA's authority to limit power-plant emissions that blow across state lines. It's a crucial step forward for President Barack Obama's effort to improve the air quality of states downwind from polluting coal-fired plants. Better still, the ruling sets the stage for the EPA's new climate change regulations, which are expected to be released in June."

White House Infographic: This is the First Time Our Judicial Pool Has Been This Diverse (The White House, 05/05/14)
"The men and women the President has nominated to enforce our laws and deliver justice represent his unprecedented commitment expanding the diversity of our nation's highest courts."