Environmentalists are cheering a bipartisan coalition of 14 U.S. Senators who agreed last week not to eliminate the minority’s right to filibuster judicial nominees. Several of the judges nominated by the White House to fill vacant posts have spotty environmental records at best, and the filibuster may be the only tool Senate Democrats will have to stymie any such appointment efforts.
For instance, the White House nomination of former Interior Department Solicitor William Myers to the U.S. Appeals Court has incensed the green community. Myers, a former lobbyist for mining and ranching interests, has publicly stated his disdain for environmental protections.
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), who helped broker the agreement, told reporters that Senate Democrats will maintain their right to use the filibuster to block Myers’ nomination if need be.
“The decision of moderate Senators to reach a compromise that allows them to step back from the brink of all-out partisan ‘nuclear’ warfare in the United States Senate is a victory for democracy, and for our nation’s protections for clean air, clean water, and special natural places,” comments Glenn Sugameli of the environmental law group Earthjustice.
“The fact that William Myers will not be allowed to be confirmed shows how important environmental protections have become to the issue of maintaining fair and independent courts,” Sugameli adds.