Western Caucus Members Submit Amicus Brief Supporting the Limit of Executive Abuses of the Antiquities Act

Today, Western Caucus members, led by Rep. Cliff Bentz (OR-02) and Chairman Dan Newhouse (WA-04), submitted an Amicus Brief to the Supreme Court supporting the limiting of presidential authority under the Antiquities Act. The brief is in support of the petitions for writ of certiorari urging the Supreme Court to review American Forest Resource Council v. the United States of America and Murphy Company v. Biden.
“For far too often, Congress has given the Executive Branch too much authority to manage and lock up Federal lands,” said Chairman Newhouse. “Both the Obama and Biden Administrations have abused the Antiquities Act to create new national monuments out of our federal lands to lock them up from development in opposition to the intent of Congress. It’s past time for members of Congress to reclaim authority relating to the Antiquities Act, which is why I signed on to this Amicus Brief to make our argument clear to the Supreme Court as they review cases.”
“The Constitution makes it clear that Congress, not the President, makes our laws. The President’s job is not to make law, but to enforce them. Yet, in recent years, Presidents have increasingly usurped congressional authority by using the Antiquities Act to 'Monumentize' millions upon millions of acres of public land rendering massive areas largely untouchable. This blatant disregard for the will of the people is an affront to the Constitution,” said Rep. Bentz. “In this brief we urge the Supreme Court to hear these cases and to make it clear that the President cannot circumvent Congress by rewriting our nation's public land laws with the stroke of a pen. This is about upholding the Constitution, protecting our public lands from being left to burn up, and that they can be properly managed with the their best interest in mind.”
“For far too long the executive branch has abused the Antiquities Act to cut off millions of acres of public lands, an action that greatly impacts rural communities across the country and ignores Congress’ directive on how those lands must be responsibly managed,” said Vice Chair Bruce Westerman (AR-04). “The President does not have the constitutional authority to lock away our federal land and waters, especially without any local input. I urge the Supreme Court to take up these two critical cases and set the record straight on the executive branch’s authority when it comes to regulating our federal lands and waters.”
“For years, the Obama and Biden Administrations used the Antiquities Act to institutionalize massive executive overreach, seizing acres and acres of land without consequence. In some Congressional Districts, almost 80% of rural land was set aside as public or federal land,” said Vice Chair Mariannette Miller-Meeks (IA-01). “We must preserve the use of federal lands for responsible recreational, agricultural, and energy use. I am proud to join my colleagues in urging the Supreme Court to curb executive overreach and require the Administration to consult Congress before making rash decisions about our federal lands.”
“I am proud to join my colleagues in asking the Supreme Court to impose a limit on a president’s authority under the Antiquities Act,” said Rep. Russ Fulcher (ID-01). “Congress should determine whether public land can become an untouchable national monument; not the president. The Biden Administration is taking land away Congress requires be sustainably harvested to generate revenue for rural counties. I have worked, on a bipartisan basis, to extend Good Neighbor Authority to counties and tribes, helping them with job creation and revenue from timber harvests, along with managing the risk of wildfires and good environmental stewardship of our forests. I hope the Supreme Court hears the message loud and clear: Congress – not the President – has the constitutional authority over federal lands.”
“Once again, the Biden administration is overstepping its authority and restricting more of our lands from use,” said Rep. Harriet Hageman (WY-AL). “The Antiquities Act is just one of many ways that the Biden administration is keeping Americans from gaining energy independence, enjoying sport & recreation activities, and restricting every ability to do anything except “conserve” land in the name of a ridiculous climate change agenda. I urge the Supreme Court to take up this case and to strike down this Biden abuse of office.”
Travis Joseph, American Forest Resource Council President, stated, “We thank Congressman Cliff Bentz for his leadership on the Congressional amicus brief, and for bringing awareness to these important issues on Capitol Hill. Congressman Bentz and his colleagues understand the Constitutional issues that are at stake; the need to maintain and strengthen the separation of powers; and to ensure that Congress - not the President - continues to make the laws on behalf of the Americans they represent.”
Joining Rep. Bentz and Chairman Newhouse in signing the brief include Congressional Western Caucus members Rep. Bruce Westerman (AR-04), Rep. Lauren Boebert (CO-03), Rep. Tom Tiffany (WI-07), Rep. Matt Rosendale (MT-02), Rep. Doug LaMalfa (CA-01), Rep. Ken Buck (CO-04), Rep. Mariannette Miller–Meeks (IA-01), Rep. Doug Lamborn (CO-05), Rep. Harriet Hageman (WY-AL), Rep. Andy Biggs (AZ-05), Rep. GT Thompson (PA-15), Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-05), Rep. Lori Chavez–DeRemer (OR-05), Rep. Tom McClintock (CA-05), Rep. Ryan Zinke (MT-01), Rep. Ken Calvert (CA-41), Rep. Pete Stauber (MN-08), Rep. Eli Crane (AZ-02), and Rep. Russ Fulcher (ID-01). 
Also signing the brief are Senator Jim Risch (R-ID), Senator Steve Daines (R-MT), Senator Mike Crapo (R-ID), Rep. John Rose (TN-06), Rep. Scott Perry (PA-10), Rep. Chuck Fleischmann (TN-03), Rep. Derrick Van Orden (WI-03), and Rep. Ben Cline (VA-06).
The amicus brief highlights several key concerns:

  • Presidential Overreach: The President's recent national
    monument designation in Oregon overrides Congress's directive for
    how these lands must be managed, specifically the O&C Act, which
    mandates sustained-yield timber production to generate revenue for
    rural communities. The President’s actions set a dangerous precedent
    of executive overreach on all federal lands and waters.
  • Economic Devastation: The President’s monument designation
    cripples forest-dependent communities and exacerbates the wildfire
    crisis by severely limiting essential forest management practices.
  • Constitutional Violation: The Constitution vests Congress, not the
    President, with the power to regulate federal lands. This case is an
    opportunity for the Supreme Court to reaffirm the separation of
    powers and protect the rights of American citizens.

Read the Amicus Brief here.

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