Wednesday :: Jul 20, 2005

Roberts: the Bush's Buddy


by Mary

Over on MyDD Chris Bowers is correct to point out that one thing we do know about John Roberts is he is got Bush's nod because he has proven his fealty to Bush's governmental philosophy. And what is Bush's philosophy? Secrect government. Deferring to the President dictating who has rights and who does not. And a distain for the environment, after all, the environment is there to exploit for funnelling dollars in the pockets of the already rich.

Some answers we must have before this man gets a life-time appointment is how he would rule on the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). One pattern that is clear from the nominees that Bush has appointed to the court, when a case comes up before a Bush filled court, the environmental argument rarely wins.

[Environmental Law Institute] researchers reviewed 325 NEPA cases decided in federal trial and appellate courts from January 21, 2001 through June 30, 2004. In federal district courts, the study found that a plaintiff with pro-environmental goals had less than half the chance of success before a Republican-appointed judge (28%) than before a Democratic appointee (59%). Conversely, plaintiffs with pro-development or industry goals were successful only 14% of the time before Democratic appointees, but 58%--over four times as often--before Republican appointees.

Further, in the 23 cases decided so far by President George W. Bush's district court appointees, environmental plaintiffs successfully advanced NEPA claims in just 4 instances. Although it is too early to draw definitive conclusions about this trend, it represents a 17% success rate that is well below the average for all Republican appointees (28%), and less than half of the historical and current NEPA success rate before all judges (46%).

Similar results were observed in the federal courts of appeals, where cases are argued before three-judge panels. From January 2001 through June 2004, environmental plaintiffs in NEPA cases enjoyed a 52% chance of success before panels composed of two Democratic appointees and one Republican appointee, and a 75% success rate before panels composed of three Democratic appointees. But if those plaintiffs drew a panel with two or three Republican-appointed jurists, their chances were one in ten.

Letting someone on the court who is reflexively anti-environment is something that not only affects our lives and our rights, but the lives and world our descendents inhabit. Americans have a right to know what type of person will sit on the court and what that means for the future.

Mary :: 6:44 AM :: Comments (15) :: TrackBack (1) :: Digg It!