The League of Conservation Voters (LCV) works to turn environmental values into national, state and local priorities. Each year, LCV publishes the National Environmental Scorecard, which details the voting records of members of Congress on environmental legislation. The Scorecard is distributed to LCV members, concerned voters nationwide, and the media.
We urge you to oppose the judicial nomination of Ryan Nelson to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. During his time in the Department of Justice’s Environment and Natural Resources Division (ENRD), Nelson oversaw legal defense of the George W. Bush administration’s efforts to benefit polluters and roll back critical environmental protections. This included advising on the government’s arguments in Massachusetts v. EPA, where the administration unsuccessfully sought to avoid regulating greenhouse gases.
Nelson represented the Department of Justice in Earth Island Institute v. Hogarth (2007), arguing that tuna should be labeled as “dolphin-safe” even if caught using nets that had caused over six million dolphin deaths. He also argued Bering Strait Citizens for Responsible Resource Development v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (2008), defending the Corps decision to issue permits to dump nearly 16 million cubic yards of mining waste into a nearby wetlands.
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, the largest circuit court covering nearly three-quarters of the United States’ public lands, serves a critical role in deciding some of our nation’s most important environmental cases. Nelson’s role in the Bush administration and his actions during that time display his willingness to undermine fundamental environmental laws, and raise concerns about his ability to serve objectively on the court.
For these reasons, LCV strongly urges you to oppose the judicial nomination of Ryan Nelson to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. We will consider including this confirmation vote in the 2018 Scorecard. If you need more information, please call my office at (202) 785-8683 and ask to speak with a member of our government relations team.