9th Circuit makes it easier for citizens to temporarily stop a gov't project

Court of Appeals limits scope of Supreme Court decision and overturns Judge Molloy-

A couple years ago in Winter v. Natural Resources Defense Council the U. S. Supreme Court continued its trend toward make it harder to temporarily stop government actions before irreparable harm was done. Applying this viewpoint, Montana federal district Judge Molloy let a timber sale begin and many trees were cut while conservationists were seeking an injunction on the sale so that their arguments could be heard.  This made it so if they won, they would not win because the project they sought to halt was completed.  Fortunately, in my view, the 9th Circuit overturned Molloy. This will allow  citizens to more easily get an injunction if they have strong arguments.

The precedent is not simple, but it does strengthen the hand of those opposing government projects from having their cases made moot by letting government build a powerline or whatever while the powerline, etc. is being litigated.

Appeals Court Rejects U.S. Request for Rehearing in Mont. Timber Case. By Lawrence Hurley of Greenwire. New York Times.





  1. mikepost Avatar

    Unfortunately the 9th curcuit has the highest level of overturned cases in the country, often due to flawed analysis. They were literally “chewed out” by the USSC on the last case overturned for poor legal thought processes.
    Dont put your hopes in this leaky bucket.

    1. JB Avatar

      It is interesting that you would place the blame squarely on the shoulders of 9th Circuit justices. I would think it would be intuitive that the most liberal federal court in the nation (the only one where the majority of justices were appointed by democrats) would be overturned by an extremely conservative Supreme Court?

      Ideological reasoning works both ways.

      1. mikepost Avatar

        Yes, but it has been going on for 30 years so you cant blame it all on Bush appointees…the 9th has been out of sync with all the other courts for most of that time.

        It is a shame that, as JimT comments, their horrible rep leaves them easy to attack and important issues lose out.

  2. JimT Avatar

    There are a number of law review pieces on standing and the particular animosity Scalia has for environmental cases and the issue of standing. It would NOT be a good thing if he got another crack at this particular issue. You can probably find them on line someplace with a seach with Scalia and environmental standing decisions as keywords.

    I read that piece on the so called scolding of the 9th circuit by Justice Kennedy. If you read the article, the admonishment is really quite mild given some decisions I have read in the past. Conservatives have been trying to break up the 9th circuit for decades because they actually dare to rule in other ways besides what pleases the conservatives in this country. I agree with JB…it is inevitable given this Supreme Court that the two courts would agree on everything. It is a good thing to have an independent Circuit..


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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