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Center for Biological Diversity v. Bernhardt

ELR Citation: 50 ELR 20015
Nos. 18-35629, (9th Cir., 12/30/2019)

The Ninth Circuit affirmed a district court's dismissal of an environmental group's request to compel DOI to reinstate the Refuges Rule, which prohibited Alaska's predator-control methods on national wildlife refuges as well as certain methods of hunting bears and wolves. The group argued that Congress' joint resolution disapproving the rule violated the Take Care Clause by requiring DOI to revoke a rule that the Department deemed necessary for managing the federal wildlife refuge system, and thus prevented the Department from implementing its constitutional duty to faithfully execute the laws. The court found that the group failed to state a plausible claim because validly enacted legislation requiring an agency to take a specified action did not impinge on the Take Care Clause or violate separation-of-powers principles. Congress properly enacted the joint resolution, validly amending DOI's authority to administer national wildlife refuges in Alaska, and thus did not prevent the president from exercising his constitutional duty to faithfully execute the laws. The group also argued that DOI acted ultra vires in adhering to the joint resolution and rescinding the rule because the resolution was invalid. But the court found it lacked jurisdiction to consider that claim because enacting a joint resolution of disapproval is an action under the Congressional Review Act (CRA), and Congress intended for the CRA to preclude judicial review. It therefore affirmed dismissal.