For the first time ever, a nominee for a lifetime federal judgeship has been forced to withdraw because his anti-environmental record generated bi-partisan opposition. Earthjustice hailed the belated decision by William Gerry Myers III to ask that his nomination to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit be withdrawn.
Myers was blocked by bipartisan Senate action. Unlike court of appeals nominees William Haynes, Terrence Boyle and Michael Wallace, who have also withdrawn, Myers was blocked by the bi-partisan “Gang of 14” agreement that saved the Senate filibuster. In that agreement, seven Republican and seven Democratic senators provided for confirmation of certain controversial judges but specifically exempted Myers.
Myers was the first nominee opposed by Senators primarily on environmental grounds, and the first to be formally opposed by Native American groups. “The Senate blocked William Myers’s nomination because of his discredited actions as the Interior Department’s top lawyer.” said Glenn Sugameli, Senior Legislative Counsel at Earthjustice. “As the Department’s Solicitor, he unjustifiably favored mining companies and other special interests at the expense of his responsibilities to enforce the laws that protect taxpayers, tribal rights, and the environment. Myers’ legal positions as Interior Solicitor were rejected by the Interior Department and by federal and state courts.”
“The only thing that distinguished William Myers’ record was the very thing that disqualified him from serving as a federal court judge: his unjustified anti-environmental actions when he had a duty to enforce the law.” Sugameli said. “Myers’s withdrawal is long overdue, and a victory for the environment. We hope that President Bush will abandon his practice of selecting judicial nominees like William Myers and others Earthjustice has opposed because of their unjustified, anti-environmental records.”
“As a lifetime Ninth Circuit judge, Myers would have had the power to turn his pro-industry bias into legal precedents governing nine Western states that contain nearly three-quarters of our public lands. Myers’ history of opposing citizens’ access to justice and unfairly favoring special interests over environmental protections showed that his presence on that court would have dealt a devastating blow to the health and well-being of citizens and communities in those states,” said Sugameli.
For more information on the environmental records of Myers and other judicial nominees, visit www.judgingtheenvironment.org