Ninth Circuit Sides with Ag Chris Carr in Fight to Uphold Congressional Review Act

Cindy Morley

Friday, January 10th, 2020

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A federal appeals court has backed Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr and other state attorneys general in a fight to uphold the Congressional Review Act.

This past March, Carr led a coalition of 13 state attorneys general in filing a friend-of-the-court brief in the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, defending the constitutionality of the Congressional Review Act (CRA) — a federal law that provides Congress with a streamlined process for reviewing, and, if necessary, nullifying new regulations by federal agencies.

Late last week, a panel of judges for the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals tossed out The Center for Biological Diversity lawsuit against the Fish and Wildlife Service — issuing an opinion upholding the constitutionality of the CRA. The Center for Biological Diversity sued the agency because it used the Congressional Review Act to stop Alaska from imposing certain hunting regulations. The court agreed with Carr and the 13-state coalition in holding that the CRA and the joint congressional resolutions are consistent with separation-of-powers principles and otherwise do not violate the Constitution.

“Too often, federal regulations cause unjustifiable harm to the states, and Congress plays a critical role in acting as a check on administrative agencies,” said Carr. “We, along with our partner states, have consistently argued that the Congressional Review Act is a lawful and effective tool for reining in administrative overreach, and we are glad the Ninth Circuit upheld this position.”

The Congressional Review Act gives Congress the ability to review federal regulations. The agencies must submit a report for approval to Congress before enacting new rules.

Carr and state attorneys general from Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas and Utah filed an amicus brief in March. They argued that the CRA is constitutionally sound based on the principles of the separation of power.