Patterico's Pontifications


Judge Lifts Offshore Moratorium

Filed under: Law,Obama — DRJ @ 11:34 am

[Guest post by DRJ]

New Orleans U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman today issued a preliminary injunction lifting the Obama Administration’s offshore drilling moratorium. The White House promised to appeal.

[EDIT: Here is the Court’s opinion in .pdf form. H/T cboldt.]

This is one of the first legal obstacles President Obama’s agenda and authority have faced. If he publicly addresses the ruling (other than through a spokesman), will the President deplore the ruling as wrong and ill-advised? Undoubtedly, although he probably won’t call it stupid as he did when the Cambridge police arrested Harvard Professor Henry Gates. The President might also ask Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Majority Leader Harry Reid to work on moratorium legislation, something that would be a difficult proposition for Southern legislators.

But, for now, the case will be appealed to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals and the White House will certainly ask for expedited settings. From this point on, however, the legal deadlines in this case may very well be measured in weeks or months instead of days.


18 Responses to “Judge Lifts Offshore Moratorium”

  1. Hornbeck v. Salazar
    – E.Dist. Louisiana 10-1663
    BP Oil Spill – Drilling Moratorium Decision

    cboldt (6df4b9)

  2. Isn’t the Fifth scheduled for its summer vacation?

    AD - RtR/OS! (2480c8)

  3. It doesn’t make any sense, but the answer is not to halt drilling, it’s to drill on-shore or in shallow water. But the Eco-freak lobby won’t allow that.

    Frank Drebbin (8096f2)

  4. “New Orleans U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman today issued a preliminary injunction lifting the Obama Administration’s offshore drilling moratorium:”

    I have a feeling he won’t be nominated to the SCOTUS anytime soon.

    Dave Surls (d93895)

  5. can’t write right now, too busy eating crow.

    ah, i thought i would never see it. i am not sure how i feel about the judge overruling the president. but i do know how i felt about the moritorium–it was retarded. so good result, but i have to think about how i feel about the way we got to it.

    Btw, this is the fifth circuit, so if anyone will uphold the judge’s decision, its them. maybe that makes it supreme court bound.

    [note: released from moderation. –Stashiu]

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  6. btw, cb, thanks for the link. drj should put it in the post.

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  7. Judge must not have drunk any water when in D.C.

    htom (412a17)

  8. IANAL, so could someone explain to me how they were able to get an essentially political decision overturned in the Courts?

    JD (28db4d)

  9. Yep, the 5th goes on vacation next week.

    We must not let the rule of law be destroyed.

    bill-tb (541ea9)

  10. Having read through the decision, I can see exactly what the problem was. The real giveaway that even a lawyer or judge can wrap their head around. The moratorium goes on and on about how drilling at below 1,000 ft suddenly becomes more dangerous. So… they ban all drilling below 500 ft. There is literally nothing in the report that at all supports the 500 foot number. it’s a signpost of an administration that is being stampeded into it, rather than thinking it through. Once they had that clearly capricious detail, the rest of it falls apart. The scientists saying that this is not their recommendation is a big part, as well as the simple logic: just because one failed, why should they think any of the other ones did.

    Given the fact that the APA clearly empowers the judge to do this, it seems like the judge is right.

    Now it might be possible for Salazar to come back with a better written moratorium and it might do better. But I think this one is dead in the water.

    You would think with a lawyer as president, they could get their legal sh-t together, at least.

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  11. Comment by JD — 6/22/2010 @ 12:26 pm

    Too much economic destruction to too many people for the Court to not grant an injunction, and the belief of the Judge that the Government would not prevail on the facts at trial.
    But, that’s just a layman’s opinion – and I don’t even have a Porsche.

    AD - RtR/OS! (2480c8)

  12. AD – That much I understand. I am wondering what the legal question is. But I should not discuss such things, since I am not a lawyer.

    JD (28db4d)

  13. Aaron…Why would we think a “Community Organizer” has any “at trial” legal skills?
    And, Mr. Holder demonstrated his legal skills in the Marc Rich matter.
    Wait until they have to confront BP in BK Court.

    AD - RtR/OS! (2480c8)

  14. Money quote:
    “Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Obama believes strongly that drilling at such depths does not make any sense and puts the safety of workers ‘at a danger that the president does not believe we can afford.'”

    Does not make any sense at all? Hold that one over his head at all costs.

    rudytbone (291994)

  15. rudy

    i completely agree. so let’s drill in shallow water and on land. you know, like in ANWR.

    Deep water is the most dangerous but its the only place they are allowed to drill.

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  16. JD,

    I wrote a lengthy reply to your comment #8 but I think I’ll put it into a post.

    DRJ (d43dcd)

  17. JD, this was a bill of attainder against the class of oil drillers for spills they had not been proven to cause.

    (no, I don’t believe this, it’s a joke).

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  18. This is how the moratorium supporters will attack Judge Feldman’s decision:

    U.S. District Court Judge Martin L.C. Feldman, who ruled today against the White House’s six-month moratorium on deepwater drilling, has owned stock in several companies with operations in the Gulf of Mexico.

    According to a financial disclosure report for the 2008 calendar year available on, Feldman owned stock in Transocean and Halliburton. He also received income in dividends from Hercules Offshore, ATP Oil and Gas Corp, Rowan Companies and Parker Drilling Co., which all operate in the Gulf.

    DRJ (d43dcd)

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