2004 Scorecard Vote
The Bush Administration has continued its long track record of nominating federal judges who are hostile to basic environmental safeguards. The nominee with perhaps the most extensive anti-environment credentials to date is William G. Myers III, nominated in May 2003 for a lifetime seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which decides the fate of federal environmental safeguards in nine Western states.
As the Interior Department's solicitor, Myers cleared the way for a previously rejected cyanide heap-leach gold mine that would pollute the environment and destroy sites sacred to the Quechan Indian tribe. In November 2003, a federal judge held that Myers' opinion had badly misinterpreted the law.
Prior to joining the Interior Department, as a lobbyist for mining and grazing interests, Myers launched sweeping attacks on important environmental safeguards. He compared the federal government's management of the nation's public lands to King George III's "tyrannical" rule over the American colonies. He denounced the California Desert Protection Act--a law passed with overwhelming bipartisan support--as "an example of legislative hubris." He challenged Congress' constitutional authority to prevent the destruction of wetlands, and he called for elevating property rights to the level of a "fundamental" constitutional right, a position that would strike down many environmental and public-health protections.
After Senate opponents announced they would filibuster Myers' confirmation, Myers' supporters moved to invoke cloture, which would have cut off debate and cleared the way for a vote. On July 20, 2004, the Senate voted 53-44 in favor of the motion (Senate roll call vote 158). NO is the pro-environment vote. The tally fell short of the 60 votes needed to invoke cloture. At press time, Myers' nomination remained in limbo.