by Rocky Barker
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy’s decision that Congress did not violate the Constitution when it delisted wolves in the Rocky Mountains.
Idaho Republican Rep. Mike Simpson authored the rider to the 2012 Interior appropriations law that removed wolves from the protection of the Endangered Species Act in Idaho and Montana, and parts of Oregon, Washington, and Utah a year ago. That made this year’s hunting seasons in Idaho and Montana possible.
This case has made it clear that those who persist in trying to manage wildlife through the courts, in spite of all scientific evidence that this species has recovered, no longer have a defensible position,” Simpson said.
Molloy, whose own 2010 decision returned wolves to the endangered species list, was not happy when he issued a decision in August upholding Congress’ action on a lawsuit filed by the Alliance for the Wild Rockies, Friends of the Clearwater and WildEarth Guardians.
“If I were not constrained by what I believe is binding precedence from the Ninth Circuit,” Molloy said he would have said the rider is “unconstitutional because it violates the Separation of Powers Doctrine.” So it was no surprise that the Ninth Circuit upheld his opinion.
“It is clear that Congress intended to amend the law so as to avoid the usual course of administrative proceedings that include judicial review; otherwise, it would have been unnecessary for Congress to act at all,” the court wrote.
The appeals court said the Congressional action leaves in place standards that allow the agencies to enforce protections for wolves.
The law “does provide standards by which the agency is to evaluate the continuing viability of wolves in Montana and Idaho,” the court wrote.
The groups that lost obviously aren’t pleased.
“We are dismayed with the Court’s decision, which failed to uphold the Constitution, sets a bad precedent, and betrays the American vision for a truly wild West,” stated Wendy Keefover, Director of Carnivore Protection for WildEarth Guardians.