A federal judge has denied the Obama administration's request to stay his ruling lifting a moratorium on offshore drilling moratorium until an appeals court could review the case.
In an emergency hearing Thursday, U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman denied the government's motion to stay pending appeal "for the same reasons given in [the] Court's June 22, 2010 order granting the plaintiffs' motion for preliminary injunction."
The judge's decision the first time around turned out to be a damning indictment of Ken Salazar and his Department of the Interior.
In a scathing 22-page ruling accompanying the injunction order, U.S. District Judge Feldman referred to the oil drilling ban as "overbearing," "heavy handed," "misleading," "confused," as well as "arbitrary and capricious." The drilling moratorium was declared May 6 in response to the massive BP oil spill and originally was to last only through the month, but on May 27 President Obama announced that he was extending it for six months...
...Judge Feldman took strong issue with claims of alleged scientific and engineering consensus cited in Secretary Salazar's report to justify the shutdown of drilling in the Gulf.
"Much to the government's discomfort and this Court's uneasiness," Judge Feldman wrote, "the [Salazar report] Summary also states that 'the recommendations contained in this report have been peer-reviewed by seven experts identified by the National Academy of Engineering.'" That claim has proven to be untrue. In fact, a supermajority of the experts involved reportedly oppose the moratorium and have denounced the report's claim as a "misrepresentation." As Judge Feldman noted, this "misleading" claim by the government is cause for "apprehension about the probity of the process that led to the Report."
In other words, the judge called Obama hack Ken Salazar a liar without actually calling him a liar.
Well played, Judge Feldman.
There's a good profile of Judge Feldman at Law.com, which is here for your reading enjoyment. Only one other judge on that bench has a better (i.e., lower) reversal rate.
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