Press Room

As Kavanaugh Hearings Begin, Audubon Asks Senators to Protect Judicial Principles

“More than one million members are watching,” and seek respect for science and precedent in next SCOTUS justice

WASHINGTON — As the Senate Judiciary Committee begins hearings to consider Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to replace retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy on the U.S. Supreme Court, the National Audubon Society calls on Senators to explore and ensure Judge Kavanaugh’s commitment to longstanding judicial principles. Pointing to Kavanaugh’s judicial record as cause for concern, Sarah Greenberger, Audubon’s Senior Vice President, Conservation Policy, issued the following statement:

“The Supreme Court matters to birds and to an organization that’s devoted over 113 years to protecting them and the places they need. Kavanaugh’s record gives us cause for concern.

“In his opinions, he has at times abandoned traditional judicial principles, undermined clean air and water laws, and consistently decided cases to deny protection to vulnerable species.  Similarly, his decisions have limited organizations like Audubon’s ability to access courts to enforce environmental protections while making it easier for corporations to bring cases to weaken them.

“Particularly troubling are his decisions in White Stallion v. EPA and Mingo Logan v. EPA where he tied the hands of the EPA in regulating mercury pollution and toxic mining waste in water ways. Or in Otay Mesa Property v. U.S. Department of the Interior, in which Judge Kavanaugh limited the Interior Department’s ability to designate critical habitat for an endangered species by substituting his judgment on the adequacy of scientific research for that of federal wildlife scientists.  

“Audubon and our partners are currently in federal court to defend the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, which may end up in front of a Justice Kavanaugh. Decades of precedent in the interpretation and implementation of the law by both Republican and Democratic administrations has made it our most important bird protection law. It has inspired some businesses to lead the way with innovations that have saved birds by the million. It’s rescued avian species that once verged on extinction. And it’s held companies accountable for the bird deaths they cause.

“Audubon and its more than one million members are watching this hearing. We call on Senators charged with confirming the next Supreme Court Justice to question more than whether he is a capable judge, but whether he will approach the law in a manner that ensures both birds and people thrive now and into the future.”

The National Audubon Society protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow, throughout the Americas using science, advocacy, education and on-the-ground conservation. Audubon’s state programs, nature centers, chapters and partners have an unparalleled wingspan that reaches millions of people each year to inform, inspire and unite diverse communities in conservation action. Since 1905, Audubon’s vision has been a world in which people and wildlife thrive. Audubon is a nonprofit conservation organization. Learn more at www.audubon.org and @audubonsociety.

Contact: Anne Singer, asinger@audubon.org, 202-271-4679

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