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enacted a joint resolution cancelling the Refuges Rule; and (3) that through this joint resolution, the Refuges Rule is no longer in effect.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

PLF scored another victory against bureaucratic overreach on May 9, when the federal court in Alaska dismissed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the Congressional Review Act (CRA). At issue in this lawsuit was a regulation known as the Refuges Rule, which greatly restricted access to and use of land within Alaskan Wildlife Refuges. Congress used the CRA to invalidate the rule—a move promptly challenged in court by the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD). Representing coalition of individual Alaskans and related organizations, PLF successfully intervened to support the CRA’s constitutionality.

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