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Greens lament: Trump’s Supreme Court Pick Is ‘Consistently Anti-Environment’

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Trump’s Supreme Court Pick Is “Consistently Anti-Environment”
“I call him Lord Voldemort,” conservation lawyer Bill Snape said about Kavanaugh.

Posted on July 9, 2018, at 9:46 p.m.
Dan Vergano
Dan Vergano

Judge Brett Kavanaugh with President Donald Trump.

In naming Brett Kavanaugh as his pick for the Supreme Court’s open seat, President Donald Trump is advancing a judge widely seen as unfriendly to environmental regulation.

The seat opened in June with the retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy, providing an opportunity for Trump to tilt the court rightward for years to come.

Kavanaugh, 53, has served as a judge on the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit for 12 years, staking out steadily right-wing positions in many decisions. On the environment, Kavanaugh is likely to be hostile to regulation of pollution, climate, and endangered animals, conservation groups say.


BREAKING: President Trump has nominated Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

The Senate must make sure the next justice respects and enforces the laws that hold polluters in check and protect our environment and health. #SCOTUS

9:06 PM – Jul 9, 2018
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“He is pretty consistently anti-environment on every front,” Center for Biological Diversity senior counsel Bill Snape, a law professor at American University, told BuzzFeed News. “I call him Lord Voldemort,” said Professor Snape.

In 2016, Kavanaugh noted that, “The earth is warming. Humans are contributing.” He called a law intended to address climate change “laudable,” but also suggested that this was best left to Congress to sort out, rather than the courts.

And in past cases over the last decade, Kavanaugh has argued that climate and environmental regulation is a legal overreach — “even where science and emerging new information might be on the side of taking more environmental action,” said Joe Goffman of Harvard Law School’s Environmental Law Program.

In 2012, Kavanaugh wrote a 2-1 appeals court decision invalidating EPA rules regulating air pollution that crosses state lines, arguing that the agency had overstepped its authority and siding with power companies. The Supreme Court reversed the decision, with Kennedy agreeing with the majority. (Kavanaugh was once Kennedy’s clerk.)

“He read into the statute a provision that simply wasn’t there,” Goffman said. “The second mistake he made was to second guess the EPA on a very complicated technical decision that involved some very delicate judgement.”


BREAKING: Trump has nominated Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court. We oppose this choice because it jeopardizes people’s ability to rely on the courts to protect their health, safety, and the environment. #SCOTUSpick

9:11 PM – Jul 9, 2018

Earthjustice Calls On Senate to Reject Kavanaugh for Supreme Court
The following is a statement from Earthjustice President Trip Van Noppen in response to President Trump’s nomination of U.S. Circuit Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court:
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In 2011 Kavanaugh ruled that the sighting of four endangered fairy shrimp on a 143-acre parcel of land near San Diego did not make it “critical habitat” under endangered species rules. A similar case involving the designation of critical habitat for a frog species in Louisiana is now on the court’s fall docket. Kavanaugh would “destroy” the Endangered Species Act, said Snape, who led the fairy shrimp case for the losing side.