Summers v. Earth Island Institute
Public Citizen Litigation Group is assisting in representing a coalition of environmental groups in the Supreme Court of the United States in this case, in which the federal government seeks to limit dramatically the ability of citizens to challenge unlawful government regulations. The environmental groups filed the case originally to challenge the Forest Service’s promulgation of a regulation that deprives them of their statutory right to comment on and administratively appeal decisions of the Forest Service that implement forest plans. The lower courts ruled that the regulation was unlawful. Without challenging that determination, the federal government sought review by the Supreme Court, arguing that the lower courts should not have decided the case because it was not “ripe” for review and/or because the environmental groups lacked standing to challenge the rule. The government also argued that the lower courts should not have set aside the rule nationwide even if they were correct in determining that it was unlawful.
The Supreme Court decided to accept the case, and it will be argued in October 2008.
The questions presented are:
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U.S. Forest Service v. Earth Island Institute, et al.
Whether the court of appeals erred in ordering a preliminary injunction under the Administrative Procedure Act [barring the Forest Service from proceeding with two projects in the Eldorado National Forest], including by:
Asociación de Trabajadores Fronterizos v. Department of Labor
This suit alleged that the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) systematically violated The Trade Act of 1974 by failing to ensure that Spanish-speaking workers who lost their jobs in the wake of NAFTA received the vocational training to which they were entitled under the Trade Adjustment Assistance program. Although the program was intended to provide effective job retraining to workers who lose their jobs because of trade agreements, the DOL sent thousands of Hispanic trade-dislocated workers to remedial English classes that did not help the workers learn new job skills.
The lawsuit was filed by Public Citizen and Texas RioGrande Legal Aid on behalf of Asociación de Trabajadores Fronterizos (the Association of Border Workers, or ATF). The lawsuit was filed in federal court in DC and transferred to the Western District of Texas. The suit alleged that the DOL violated the law by allowing state agencies that implement the program to: 1) approve incomplete training; 2) renounce Congress' 80 percent wage replacement objective for all Trade Act training; and 3) ignore the preference for on-the-job training.
After ATF's motion for summary judgment was briefed and argued, the case was settled. The settlement requires DOL to spend $6.5 million on new job training for El Paso workers who previously received deficient training, and requires nationwide policy changes that will end each of the agency practices that the workers alleged were unlawful.
Jordan v. Riley
Public Citizen. et al. v. Mineta (2d Circuit)
Public Citizen, the New York Public Interest Research Group, and the Center for Auto Safety have successfully challenged the Department of Transportation's decision to allow installation of an ineffective system to warn drivers when their tires are under inflated.