The environmental protections enjoyed by all Americans were placed at risk today when the Senate voted narrowly (54-43) to confirm Victor Wolski to a seat on the U.S. Court of Federal Claims (CFC). Not a single Senator who voted in favor of Mr. Wolski spoke on the Senate Floor before the vote, even after Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) spoke twice on the Floor today in opposition.
Mr. Wolski, a self-described libertarian ideologue, is expected to use his position at the court to promote his position that the “property rights” of corporations outweigh the need for common-sense environmental, public health, and other fundamental safeguards.
“Apparently, even supporters were embarrassed by Mr. Wolski’s extreme self-proclaimed libertarian ideology on the critical property rights issues he will decide on this important court,” said Glenn Sugameli, Senior Legislative Counsel at Earthjustice. “While this should not be a party issue, the lockstep party-line vote by Republican Senators to confirm Mr. Wolski demonstrates the need to block the most extreme nominees through filibusters. Unfortunately, the majority vote apparently reflects either ignorance of Mr. Wolski’s record or a willingness to ignore Senators’ constitutional advise-and-consent duty to exercise independent judgment on lifetime judicial nominees.”
The CFC decides nearly all property rights “takings” challenges to national environmental and other protections. Mr. Wolski has made it clear that his position on property rights and “takings” claims will favor corporations at the expense of public health, taxpayers, and the environment. In 1999, Victor Wolski stated, “Every single job I’ve taken since college has been ideologically oriented, trying to further my principles.” Mr. Wolski’s longest-held position was for the industry-funded Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF), where he brought sweeping property rights/takings challenges against environmental protections.
“The fact that Victor Wolski is a self-proclaimed ideologue on the very issues he would decide as a judge makes him uniquely unqualified to decide fairly whether taxpayers must pay corporations to comply with health, safety, environmental, and other safeguards,” said Sugameli. “Unfortunately, Mr. Wolski’s rigid ideology is apparently the only reason he was nominated.”
For more information see Judging the Environment.