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Bullock v. United States Bureau of Land Management

ELR Citation: 50 ELR 20226
Nos. 4:20-cv-00062-BMM, (D. Mont., 09/25/2020) (Morris, J.)

A district court held that William Perry Pendley was unlawfully serving as the acting director of BLM. The governor of Montana and the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation argued that Pendley was unlawfully serving as the acting director in violation of the Appointments Clause, the Federal Vacancies Reform Act (FVRA), and the APA. The court found, among other things, that Pendley's ascent to acting BLM director did not follow any of the permissible paths set forth by the U.S. Constitution or the FVRA, that he had not been nominated by the president nor been confirmed by the Senate to serve as the director, nor was he a member of the permitted category of individuals who could serve in an acting capacity under the FVRA, and thus served unlawfully as the acting director. It therefore enjoined Pendley from exercising authority of the BLM director and directed the parties to file briefs within 10 days addressing which of Pendley's acts should be set aside.