Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) continued his attempts to divide the American people today by trying to force a vote next Tuesday on controversial judicial nominee William G. Myers III, a former beef and mining industry lobbyist. This morning, Senator Frist announced that he will file a cloture petition this afternoon to end debate on whether Myers’ should be confirmed, setting off a filibuster of another of President Bush’s extreme judicial nominees.
For the first time, a judicial nominee’s extreme record on protections for the environment and Native American rights will be the focus of a filibuster. Myers’ nomination to a lifetime seat on the powerful Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has prompted record opposition by tribal leaders, conservation groups, labor, and civil rights organizations — including many groups that have never before opposed a judicial nominee.
“William Myers is the most anti-environmental judicial nominee that we’ve ever seen,” said Earthjustice Senior Legislative Counsel Glenn Sugameli. “Nearly every public statement he has ever made and every professional action he has ever taken has been for the benefit of the mining and beef industries at the expense of our nation’s public lands, clean air and water, and wildlife, and to the detriment of the rights of Native Americans.”
As a Ninth Circuit judge, Myers would have the power to turn his pro-industry ideology into legal precedents governing nine Western states that contain nearly three-quarters of our public lands, and the homes of hundreds of thousands of Native Americans. From his seat on the bench, Myers could effectively rewrite the laws protecting these states.
As an activist lawyer and lobbyist for the mining and beef industries, Myers unsuccessfully argued in Supreme Court briefs that Clean Water Act and Endangered Species Act safeguards were unconstitutional. As the Interior Department’s chief lawyer, Myers continued to promote these special interests — in one of his two formal decisions, he cleared the way for a previously rejected cyanide heap-leach gold mine that would pollute the environment and destroy the Quechan Indian Tribe’s sacred sites. In November 2003, a federal judge held that Myers’ legal opinion badly misinterpreted the law.
“As his opinions as Interior Solicitor demonstrate, Mr. Myers sees nothing wrong with using his public office to advance his personal agenda, which matches that of the mining and beef industries who employed him for most of his career,” added Sugameli. “Worse, he is willing to twist the law to reach the result he’d like to see. We call on the Senate to reject his nomination to the Ninth Circuit Court of appeals, and deny him the opportunity to do in the courts what he tried to do as Interior Solicitor.”
For comprehensive information on Myers’ nomination, click here.