GUEST OPINION BY Tom Remington http://mainehuntingtoday.com
Were Federal Judge Donald Molloy of Montana a politician seeking public office, he would probably fit the mold most of us have become so used to despising. Intelligent Americans scoff at politicians who never answer questions directly, spin the truth and say things that sound good and yet have no substance. Shallow thinkers that Americans can be, enables those who speak with forked tongues, to practice their trickery and become good at it.
There are three sides to the wolf war debates taking place in the Idaho, Montana and Wyoming regions. This also now includes parts of Washington, Oregon and Utah. On one side you have the wolf lovers, determined, well financed, able to control the media, government agencies and can often provide their own “scientists” to refute or support any known agendas or claims.
On the other end of the spectrum are those who oppose the full protection of wolves. As within any group the level of opposition varies. The opposition is poorly funded, not well organized but getting better, has no control within the media but are attempting to make strides within the “new media” (Internet). Perhaps one of the best things going for this group are the scientists who can provide information to refute the standard scientific talking points, some of which are outdated and/or just plain false. The difficulty facing the opposition is getting the ruling class within the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Media and the Courts to heed these scientists’ information.
And yes, let’s not forget the mentioned third party. This group is perhaps the largest in terms of numbers, with tons of potential but are very ineffective. These are the people who don’t care or are not willing to expend effort to help.
It has become clear that the Endangered Species Act has become nothing more than a political tool used by environmentalists to achieve results within their agendas. It is no secret that judges within the courts vary considerably in their rulings based more on personal preferences than facts or even making consideration of what is right.
There have been many rulings by several judges over the years about wolves. It is my opinion that in all of these cases a judge could have ruled in the complete opposite of their own decisions and used the same spin to justify their decisions.
Most recently, the Senate Judiciary Committee questioned then candidate Elena Kagan as Barack Obama’s nominee for a Supreme Court Justice. For whatever the ineffectual questioning by members of the committee is worth, some voiced concern that Ms. Kagan would make rulings based on her personal beliefs and political agendas rather that a straight up interpretation of the law. To some this is referred to as being an “activist” judge.
Judges have become artists at deception, real politicians, learning the art of spinning words to make it sound as though they are caring, intelligent and following the rule of law in making their decisions.
This became extremely clear in Judge Donald Molloy’s recent ruling in Defenders of Wildlife v. Ken Salazar, in which he returned gray wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountains region to federal protection.
Many a pundit has beaten the subject to death as to whether or not Judge Molloy ruled accordingly, whether he followed science, whether he considered the destruction of other game animals as a result of too many wolves, whether he even gave thought to how wolves are affecting American citizens and how Molloy seemed to contradict himself within his own ruling. This debate will rage on for an eternity and will never end.
What I noticed most in Molloy’s ruling was what appeared to be his need to make an attempt to explain why he ruled the way he did; not for legal reasons but because, he being a member of the ruling class, knows better than anyone else and therefore because of the complicity of this case “steeped in stentorian agitprop”, as Molloy stated in his ruling, we must all cast down our opinions and our stentorian (loud) agitprop (propaganda) and follow him. He even goes so far as to call the differences between groups “Talmudic”, meaning hairsplitting.
Molloy’s Introduction to his ruling, consuming three and a half pages, appears to be the work of a skilled politician, adept at injecting all the fitting rhetorical talking points, sounding smart and avoiding answering the directed question .
First he pretends to understand what Congress had in mind when it voted the Endangered Species Act into law. Those of us clinging to the past might chose to think Congress actually knew and somewhat understood what the ESA was. I have little faith anymore that 1973 was much different than it is today and that few, if any, lawmakers bothered to read the Act before voting.
Molloy tries to convince us how the ESA was intended to not make enemies of groups and individuals, but is meant to save species. While attempting to convince us that the ESA contains all the necessary elements to rightly save species, if we only had his level of intelligence and blessed wisdom to see the light, and that if we simply apply what’s written in the ESA, there would be no problem with joining hands in a rousing rendition of “We are the World”.
While it all sounds good to a member of the “third” class of citizen, that is one who could care less, Molloy takes it upon himself to explain why he is all-knowing and his own stentorian agitpropist. He states that even though the ESA does not define specifically when a species is recovered, he claims it is so when that species no longer is in need of the ESA for protection. Well, duh! We all know that the ESA says that in consideration of protecting a species any one of five conditions must be met. The Act also says that in order to delist that same species, the condition that put it on the list must have been rectified. But that’s the extent to which it is defined. Molloy wants us to believe that it is within his authority to determine if that condition has been met.
Some may argue that Molloy is correct in his interpretation of the Act. If that interpretation was based on “the best available science” only, then the task becomes much simpler in fighting to convince the powers that be, i.e. the ruling class, whose science to follow.
Molloy tosses a monkey wrench into his political ramblings by saying that despite all of the information he just told us about how the ESA contains all that is necessary to rule the world of the wild, making such rulings isn’t as simple as that.
While the statute is bare, the implementing regulations define “recovered” to mean “no longer in need of the Act’s protection.” It is the Act’s definitions of “endangered” and “threatened” that provide the applicable standards for determining whether a species is recovered. Goble, Recovery at 72. Despite this reality, it is not necessarily the case that threatened or endangered status can be determined solely on the basis of scientific evidence alone. Beyond the question of risk is the issue of the acceptability of risk. Id at 73. The decision that a risk is acceptable regarding a specific species is, in tum, an ethical and policy judgment. That means, in many respects, the complications are political.
Then Molloy attempts to convince us that even though he just can’t rule based on scientific evidence alone and that the “complications are political”, he must rule within the context of the law, while implementing his judgment upon us subjects for what is deemed ethical and of good policy. All hail!
So there you have it. We have here a judge who, despite the Ninth Circuit judges majority declaration recently that judges need to base their ESA rulings on science and President Obama claiming his desire to return science to it “rightful” place, Molloy possesses the uncanny ability to make his rulings, no matter how politically complicated, while disregarding the stentorian agitprop and the Talmudic differences among enemies, he can rule within the context of the law; that is the Endangered Species Act. And his does this while casting his wisdom to the wind in knowing what is ethical and what is not. God bless the man!
And we are hoping against all hope that science will win out and this debate will return to one of a scientific nature, moving away from political.
Original article published by Tom Remington on August 16, 2010 http://mainehuntingtoday.com/bbb/2010/08/16/judge-donald-molloy-the-politician/
Posted by Gary Housley, Northern Ag Network