Following the shameless Democratic Party sellout to big agriculture, extremist gun groups, and trophy hunting cartels with the 2011 wolf delisting “rider” an even more disturbing element was contained within that legislation. The “rider” was attached to a “must pass” spending bill and it stripped Endangered Species Act protections from gray wolves living in the Northern Rocky Mountains. Included at the end of this disgusting political pandering piece were these words that forbid court challenges of the delisting.
“shall not be subject to judicial review”
While most of the anger over this pandering piece of garbage bill was directed at the act of the delisting, not too much was made about the stripping of a fundamental right of American citizens: the right to challenge laws in the federal court system and the separation of powers. A constitutional challenge was filed against this onerous provision by several REAL conservation groups but for some inexplicable reason the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that giving away the court’s own powers was “constitutional.” I find it rather disturbing that the judicial system would allow their powers to be whittled away by overzealous factions within Congress.
“The rider goes against a bedrock principle of our democracy: checks and balances between branches of government,” stated Nicole Rosmarino of WildEarth Guardians. “Legislators can’t pick off specific court decisions they don’t like. That’s not fair for the wolf, and it’s certainly not good for our democracy.”
Now, history is repeating itself as anti-wolf legislators in Congress are preparing to introduce an equally onerous bill that will strip ESA protections from wolves in the Great Lakes and Wyoming following their relisting in December by a federal judge. This is a summary of the proposed legislation that is about to be introduced by anti-wolf politicians in the House. This bill is supported by anti-wolf elements from both sides of the political aisle:
· The Ribble/Lummis legislative fix would require the Fish and Wildlife Service to reissue the respective 2011 and 2012 rulings. The reissued rulings would not be subject to judicial review.
· This language does NOT modify the Endangered Species Act, NOR does it prevent the Fish and Wildlife Service from deciding to relist the gray wolf in the future if it determines that the wolf population is in need of federal protection.
· There is recent precedent for this legislative approach. In 2011, a similar, bipartisan fix was signed into law to protect the Fish and Wildlife’s decision to delist the gray wolf in Idaho and Montana.
SECTION 1. REISSUANCE OF FINAL RULE REGARDING GRAY WOLVES IN THE WESTERN GREAT LAKES. Before the end of the 60-day period beginning on the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary of the Interior shall reissue the final rule published on December 28, 2011 (76 Fed. Reg. 81666) without regard to any other provision of statute or regulation that applies to issuance of such rule. Such reissuance shall not be subject to judicial review.
SEC. 2. REISSUANCE OF FINAL RULE REGARDING GRAY WOLVES IN WYOMING. Before the end of the 60-day period beginning on the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary of the Interior shall reissue the final rule published on September 10, 2012 (77 Fed. Reg. 55530) without regard to any other provision of statute or regulation that applies to issuance of such rule. Such reissuance shall not be subject to judicial review.
Funny how proponents of this bill claim that it will not “modify” the ESA. Indeed, it won’t modify it at all. It will eviscerate it just as the 2011 rider did. The ESA is now just a shell of itself because anytime big money special interests are bothered by a court ruling or the listing of a species they can run to Congress and the pandering politicians up to and including the President will strip those protections away for political “gain.” It is not just wolves that this is occurring to. At the end of the year the “lame duck” congress a spending bill was passed, with presidential support, that blocked the federal government from listing the greater sage grouse as endangered:
Among one or two other things, the spending bill that President Obama signed this week forbids the federal government from listing the sage grouse as endangered.
What should be horrifying to wildlife advocates is that time and time again this president and his administration gives anti-wolf/anti-wildlife factions whatever they want and no one can figure out what their endgame is. The complete and total disconnect and lack of caring about wildlife from this president and his administration should be an affront to each and every environmentalist or real conservationist that voted for him. This is what Obama’s choice as Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Dan Ashe, had to say about how important wildlife is to his agency and Obama’s Administration:
Director Ashe told the small group that he sees a “giant clash” between those who favor conservation and those who favor economic development and that he believes that conservationists “must accept a world with fewer wolves, salmon, and spotted owls.” The Director of the very agency most responsible for protecting the nation’s biodiversity went on to say that, in the name of compromise, we must accept “a world with less biodiversity.”
Is it any wonder why Obama and his allies in Congress sells out wildlife any chance that they get when THIS is the type of person they put in charge of the agency directly responsible for the overall well being and survival of our wildlife?
That a president would sign a bill that blatantly discounts the separation of powers and tells Americans that they cannot challenge onerous legislation in the court should have constitutional scholars and civil rights advocates across the country horrified. YOU should be horrified as well. Can you imagine if such a provision were included in the Affordable Care Act legislation? How about a “rider” to a “must pass” bill that eliminates all legal challenges to Roe Vs Wade? How about a “rider” that legalizes all illegal immigrants in the country without judicial review? See where this is going? Congress and the Obama Administration have started to whittle away at the very foundation of our constitutional principles in order to protect the seat of a fake “Democrat” like Jon Tester so that he could show the yokels in Montana that he hates wolves as much as them. This should infuriate each and every American regardless of where they stand on the wolf debate.
As for the current attempt to undermine the Constitution and ESA this is what anti-wolf Tea Party Wisconsin Representative Reed Ribble had to say:
In the last two years, a combination of legislative and legal actions have heightened debate over the extent to which gray wolves should receive federal endangered species protections. In December, a federal judge overturned a US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) decision to remove gray wolves in the western Great Lakes Region from the Endangered Species Act.
Now, in response, a Wisconsin Congressman is sponsoring legislation to return management of gray wolves back to the state regulators in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan, and Wyoming. The bill, which has been drafted but has yet to be introduced, would delist the approximately 4,000 wolves in the region and allow them to be hunted.
“Wisconsin’s wolf population has significantly recovered over the last several decades, and I am confident in our state’s ability to manage the population,” Wisconsin Representative Reed Ribble, a Republican, told VICE News. “I am pursuing a bipartisan legislative fix that will allow the Great Lakes states to continue the effective work they are doing in managing wolf populations without tying the hands of the Fish and Wildlife Service or undermining the Endangered Species Act.”
Effective work? Mass overkill. 24/7/365 hounding. Plummeting populations. Ignoring public concerns. I suppose if eradication is your goal, as it likely is, then it certainly is “effective work.” I would also like to know how Ribble can make the claim with a straight face that his legislation wouldn’t “undermine” the ESA. The point of this legislation to undermine the ESA. A federal judge, appointed by Obama, made a sweeping and thoroughly backed up ruling showing that the anti-wolf U.S. Fish and Wildlife service did not follow the tenets of the ESA when it decided to delist the wolves in the Great Lakes and that the various state “management” plans did not provide adequate protections as is the intent of the ESA. Now Ribble and his coalition of anti-wolf GOPers and fake “Democrats” want to strip those reinstated ESA protections from wolves in the Great Lakes and Wyoming. If that isn’t the very definition of “undermining” I don’t know what is.
ALL Americans should take a step back and ask if giving up one our fundamental Constitutional rights to challenge onerous agency rules and legislation in courts is worth it just so freeloading big ag interests and trophy killing interests can eradicate a species they hate for a second time? If that is the case maybe when REAL progressives finally take power then every pro-environment, pro-woman, pro-social program, pro-healthcare piece of legislation should include that little stipulation at the end stating: “shall not be subject to judicial review.”