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Supreme Court Rejects 'Green' Challenge to Border Fence
CNSNews ^ | June 24, 2008 | Randy Hall

Posted on 06/24/2008 6:43:56 AM PDT by Mr. Mojo

( - An appeal by environmental groups to stop the federal government from waiving regulations during construction of a fence along the U.S.-Mexican border was turned down by the Supreme Court on Monday.

In its decision, the high court rejected a plea from Defenders of Wildlife and the Sierra Club to challenge a provision of a 2005 law that gives the U.S. Department of Homeland Security the authority to bypass environmental and other laws obstructing completion of the border fence.

The controversy began after Michael Chertoff, secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, invoked the REAL ID Act while issuing more than 30 waivers for the planned barrier along the Mexican border across nearly 500 miles in California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas.

The two "green" groups challenged Chertoff's action in court by claiming that the waivers represented an unconstitutional repeal of federal laws and amounted to an unconstitutional delegation of legislative power to the secretary.

At the heart of the lawsuit was a waiver issued by the secretary this past October after a judge temporarily blocked construction of a two-mile section of fence in the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area in southeastern Arizona.

The environmental groups described the area as "unique and biologically diverse," containing more than 250 species of migratory birds.

But under the law passed by the GOP-controlled Congress three years ago, Chertoff has sole discretion to ignore all legal requirements when he decides it is necessary to speed up construction of barriers along the border. Congress also set limited, streamlined judicial review of such waivers.

A federal judge later upheld Chertoff's action, and that section of the fence has since been completed even though the matter was appealed to the Supreme Court.

Fourteen Democratic members of the House of Representatives, including six committee chairmen, expressed support for the appeal, but Justice Department attorneys urged the Court to reject it because the decision did not conflict with any ruling in any other court.

On Monday, the Supreme Court denied the appeal without comment.

Laura Keehner, press secretary for the Department of Homeland Security, said the administration "is obviously pleased" with the court's refusal to consider the case. "The American people expect this department to enforce the rule of law at the border."

As Cybercast News Service previously reported, even with his waiver authority, Chertoff said earlier this month that the border probably will not be fully secured until 2011, two years after President Bush leaves office.

Nevertheless, Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), chairman of the House's homeland security committee, said in a news release on Monday that he is "extremely disappointed" with the court's decision. "This waiver will only prolong the department from addressing the real issue: their lack of a comprehensive border security plan.

"Without a comprehensive plan, this fence is just another quick fix," added Thompson, who described Chertoff's waiver authority as "questionable" and stressed that the secretary "has a responsibility to act prudently and to consult with all stakeholders."

"The Supreme Court's decision not to hear our challenge to the waiver authority under REAL ID is unfortunate," Oliver Bernstein, spokesperson for the Sierra Club, told Cybercast News Service on Monday.

"This decision leaves one man -- the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security -- with the extraordinary power to ignore any and all of the laws designed to protect the American people, our lands and our natural resources," Bernstein said.

"Today's decision will allow DHS to continue to waive key health, environmental and safety laws that have protected communities, wildlife, archeological, historic and cultural resources, Native American sacred sites and burials, and public lands for decades," the Sierra Club spokesperson stated.

"Congress could correct the unconstitutional authority created by REAL ID, and flagrantly abused by the Bush administration, by passing legislation designed to restore the balance of power assured by the U.S. Constitution," Bernstein continued.

"In doing so, it would ensure protection of our borderlands, wildlife and communities at risk from this ineffective and destructive wall," he said.

Even though a broader challenge to Chertoff's waiver authority has been filed in a federal court in El Paso, Texas, Brian Segee, staff attorney for the Defenders of Wildlife, agreed that "the only thing that can stop the construction of this very destructive border wall is Congress."

Regarding Monday's decision, Segee commented: "It does send a surprising and disturbing message that the broadest waiver in American history, unprecedented in its scope, is not worthy of the court's consideration."

However, Bob Dane, press secretary with the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), told Cybercast News Service on Monday that the real issue "isn't the fence's impact on the environment."

"It's the impact illegal aliens coming across the border are having on the environment all across the country, including jobs," Dane said.

The FAIR spokesman praised the Supreme Court decision, adding that now "there is one less wall in the way of building the border fence" between the U.S. and Mexico.

TOPICS: Front Page News; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: aliens; border; borderfence; environment; greens; immigrantlist; ruling; scotus; seebreakingnews

1 posted on 06/24/2008 6:43:57 AM PDT by Mr. Mojo
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Comment #2 Removed by Moderator

To: Mr. Mojo
The environmental groups described the area as "unique and biologically diverse

Yeah, but so is a teenager's bedroom; so what?

3 posted on 06/24/2008 7:19:04 AM PDT by doodad
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To: doodad

The environmental groups described the area as “unique and biologically diverse”.....

Who gives a crap! It’s more important to stop a smuggled nuke bomb from going off in a high density area. Later, we can worry about unique and diverse! Put a cork in it!

4 posted on 06/24/2008 7:47:23 AM PDT by AngelesCrestHighway
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To: Mr. Mojo
The environmental groups described the area as "unique and biologically diverse," containing more than 250 species of migratory birds.

Last I checked 'migratory birds' F-L-Y. So a fence or a50' High Wall wouldn't stop them, now would it.

5 posted on 06/24/2008 8:45:38 AM PDT by Condor51 (I have guns in my nightstand because a Cop won't fit)
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To: Mr. Mojo

That ain’t the American Way, buddy. No, siree.
Listen here, professor. You’re the one who need
an American History lesson. You don’t know nothin’
about Lady Liberty standin’ there in the harbor,
with her torch on high screamin’ out to all the nations
in the world: “Send me your poor, your deadbeats,
your filthy.” And all the nations send ‘em in here,
they come swarming in like ants. Your Spanish P.R.’s
from the Caribboin, your Japs, your Chinamen, your
Krauts and your Hebes and your English fags. All of
‘em come in here and they’re all free to live in their
own separate sections where they feel safe. And they’ll
bust your head if you go in there. That’s what makes
America great, buddy.


6 posted on 06/24/2008 10:55:24 AM PDT by Jo Nuvark (Those who bless Israel will be blessed, those who curse Israel will be cursed. Gen 12:3)
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