For Immediate Release – Aug 13, 2011
CONTACT: Mike Garrity, Executive Director, Alliance for the Wild Rockies 406-459-5936
Facing plans to kill hundreds of wolves in Montana and Idaho, the Alliance for the Wild Rockies, Friends of the Clearwater, and WildEarth Guardians are seeking an Emergency Injunction from the federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to stop the imminent hunts.
“Idaho plans to open a wolf hunting season on August 30, Montana’s wolf hunting season begins with an archery season on September 3, followed by a rifle season shortly thereafter, on September 15,” said Mike Garrity, Executive Director of the Alliance for the Wild Rockies. “Beginning in less than three weeks, hundreds of Gray Wolves that should be protected as endangered species are about to be hunted and killed. Our only option is to seek an Injunction to stop the illegal killing of wolves.”
“We believe that Congress violated the U.S. Constitution when Senator Jon Tester (D-Montana) used a rider on an appropriation bill to overturn the Federal Court’s decision that wolves should remain protected by the Endangered Species Act,” Garrity added.
Referring to a strongly-worded decision recently issued by Montana Federal District Judge Donald Molloy, Garrity explained that “although ruling that he was bound by previous decisions by the Ninth Circuit Court, Judge Molloy was very direct in his opinions on the use of non-related riders on appropriation bills such as used by Senator Tester. Not only did Tester circumvent the Endangered Species Act for pure political expediency, we believe that he violated the Separation of Powers upon which our government is founded by exempting his rider from judicial review.”
As an example, Garrity offered the following quotes directly from Molloy’s decision:
• “The way in which Congress acted in trying to achieve a debatable policy change by attaching a rider to the Department of Defense and Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act of 2011 is a tearing away, an undermining, and a disrespect for the fundamental idea of the rule of law.”
• “Political decisions derive their legitimacy from the proper function of the political process within the constraints of limited government, guided by a constitutional structure that acknowledges the importance of the doctrine of Separation of Powers. That legitimacy is enhanced by a meaningful, predictable, and transparent process.”
• “Inserting environmental policy changes into appropriations bills may be politically expedient, but it transgresses the process envisioned by the Constitution by avoiding the very debate on issues of political importance said to provide legitimacy. Policy changes of questionable political viability, such as occurred here, can be forced using insider tactics without debate by attaching riders to legislation that must be passed.“
“We’re continuing this battle because Judge Molloy’s ruling fully supports our contention that there is a well-established legal process that applies to every other species and that pure political expediency should not be the driving force by which of our nation’s imperiled animals and plants will or will not be protected for future generations,” Garrity explained.
The groups charge in their Complaint (attached) that the delisting rider, which was sponsored by Montana’s Democrat U.S. Senator Jon Tester and Idaho’s Republican Representative Mike Simpson, violates the U.S. Constitution because it specifically repeals a judicial decision and then exempts it from judicial review.
“While Congress absolutely has the right to make and amend laws, the wolf delisting rider (Section 1713 of the budget law, PL 112-10) does not amend the Endangered Species Act — it circumvents the judicial process by ordering the reinstatement of the 2009 rule that delisted wolves,” Garrity continued. “Moreover, by exempting it from judicial review it basically nullifies the Constitutional checks and balances between Congress and the Judicial Branch of government.”
“There’s little doubt that wolves are now facing drastic policies at the state level,’ Garrity said. “Wyoming has a ‘shoot on sight’ policy, Idaho just enacted a massive “open season’ that will kill hundreds of wolves and Montana announced it will allow up to 220 of the 566 wolves in the state to be killed this year – nearly half of the wolves to be shot by hunters and an unlimited amount to be killed by government shooters and trappers.”
“We are doing all we can to hold back the tide of wolf-killing in Montana, Idaho, and elsewhere in the Northern Rockies,” explained Garrity. ”This ecologically important species is being unfairly targeted out of ignorance and intolerance and now lack a federal shield from being killed.”
“But in the end, this is not just about wolves, it’s about the rule of law. If Congress can exempt this decision from judicial review, it can likewise exempt anything it does. That not only spells disaster for endangered species, but for our entire form of government. Judge Molloy hit the nail on the head when he said Tester’s rider is ‘a talisman that ipso facto sweeps aside Separation of Powers concerns.’”
“We agree with him,” Garrity continued, pointing to Molloy’s conclusion that reads: “If I were not constrained by what I believe is binding precedent from the Ninth Circuit, and on-point precedent from other circuits, I would hold Section 1713 [Tester's rider] is unconstitutional because it violates the Separation of Powers doctrine articulated by the Supreme Court in U.S. v. Klein.”
“We think, given the circumstances and the gravity of the Separation of Powers issue, that the Ninth Circuit will want to take a close look at the consequences of allowing Senator Tester’s unprecedented wolf rider to stand. And we intend to give them that opportunity with our Appeal.”
Please find the request for an Emergency Injunction attached.
Emergency Motion (August 13, 2011)
Exhibits (August 13, 2011)
Top Photo: Courtesy First People
Bottom Photo: Courtesy All About Wolves
Posted in: Wolf Wars, Wolf Delisting Lawsuit
Tags: Emergency injunction, US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, wolf wars, wolf hunts, Alliance for the Wild Rockies, Friends of the Clearwater, WildEarth Guardians, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming