Clements: The American Farm Bureau Federation this week sent the U.S. Senate a letter of support for Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch. AFBF general counsel Ellen Steen says AFBF is urging a swift confirmation to allow the Supreme Court to move forward.
Steen: We have had a vacancy on the Supreme Court for more than a year now since Justice Scalia died. And we have a fantastically qualified nominee who’s been put forward by the president and we need this seat filled. There’s important work that needs to happen in the Supreme Court, work that matters to farmers and ranchers and all Americans, and that work needs to move forward.
Clements: Steen says future considerations by the Supreme Court important to American agriculture include issues related to the Waters of the U.S. Rule and critical habitat under the Endangered Species Act.
Steen: We have one very important case that’s already been accepted by the court, by the Supreme Court, and that will come up for agruement in the fall that Judge Gorsuch would get to take part in. It deals with which court is the proper court to hear challenges like the Waters of the U.S. challenge that we have pending. There’s also another very important issue that came up in a very negative fifth circuit opinion dealing with the designation of critical habitat under the Endangered Species Act that we really need to get before the court. In that one there hasn’t been a petition filed yet, but we hope and expect that it will be, and we need a full court.
Clements: She says these upcoming cases prove that there is a strong need to fill the bench with a well-qualified candidate.
Steen: Many important issues that concern farmers and ranchers ultimately wind up being decided in the Supreme Court and we need somebody who's going to interpret the law as Congress wrote it and not allow the agencies to run roughshod as they sometimes do over those laws. So, I just hope people will get engaged and tell their Senators that this needs to happen.
Clements: Micheal Clements, Washington.
Communications Assistant, AFBF