December 22, 2017

PLF files another—and hopefully the last—brief against a challenge to the Congressional Review Act

By Oliver J. Dunford Attorney

Today—on behalf of itself and its clients Kurt WhiteheadJoe Letarte, the Alaska Outdoor Council, and Big Game Forever—PLF filed a reply brief in support of its Renewed Motion to Dismiss Center for Biological Diversity v. Zinke, a case that challenges Congress’ use of the Congressional Review Act to overturn a Department of Interior regulation (Refuges Rule) that had severely restricted certain types of hunting in Alaska’s National Wildlife Refuges. CBD’s claims are wholly without merit.

CBD admits (1) that Congress, having delegated to Interior regulatory authority over Alaska’s refuges, may modify that delegation; (2) that Congress, pursuant to the constitutional requirements of bicameralism and presentment, enacted a joint resolution cancelling the Refuges Rule; and (3) that through this joint resolution, the Refuges Rule is no longer in effect. That should be end of the matter, but CBD won’t admit defeat and instead raises a series of absurd arguments. First, CBD claims that Congress must jump through additional procedural hoops, found nowhere in the Constitution, before enacting a valid law. It also claims that the Take Care Clause requires the President to enforce certain laws—but not the joint resolution or the Congressional Review Act. Finally, CBD asserts that the cancellation of the Refuges Rule muddies the scope of Interior’s delegated authority. But if that’s true, then the court would have to invalidate the delegated authority, not the laws that refine the authority. Briefing is now complete on the dismissal motions, and we hope that CBD’s suit will be quickly dismissed.

For more information, see our case page here, and our previous reports on this case here, here, and here.

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Center for Biological Diversity v. Zinke

The Center for Biological Diversity, a group that favors expansive government control over the environment, sued Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke when Congress voted, pursuant to the Congressional Review Act, to rescind an Alaska wildlife refuge rule related to predator control. CBD argues that the CRA is an unconstitutional abridgment of executive power, and that regulations cannot be rescinded by Congress unless it also rewrites the underlying legislation. Representing itself as well as a coalition of individual Alaskans and related organizations, PLF seeks to intervene in support of the rule’s rescission and the constitutionality of the Congressional Review Act.

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