More on National Park Injunction

I’m reading through the decision.  Preliminary injunctions like this usually aren’t issued unless there’s a high probability of the plaintiff prevailing on the merits of the case, and the plaintiff also has to show a likelihood of irreparable harm.  At least that’s my understanding.  The heart of the decision in this case says:

Currently pending before the Court is Plaintiffs’ Motion for a Preliminary Injunction to enjoin implementation of the Final Rule. Because the Court finds that the Final Rule is the product of Defendants’ astoundingly flawed process, the Court holds that Plaintiffs are highly likely to prevail on the merits of their NEPA claims. The Court also holds that Plaintiffs have 4 met their burden to show a likelihood of irreparable harm, the absence of significant harm to other interested persons or entities, and that the public interest weighs in favor of preliminary injunctive relief. Having balanced all of these considerations and found that they weigh in favor of issuing a preliminary injunction, the Court shall GRANT Plaintiffs’ Motion for a Preliminary Injunction.

The decision goes on many pages discussing why the injunction is warranted, and I don’t honestly have suffiicient expertise to offer much.  The injunction essentially views the DOI’s application of a categorical exclusion of this rule as arbitrary and capricious:

This Court’s function is to “ensure that the agency has adequately considered and disclosed the environmental impact of its actions and that its decision is not arbitrary or capricious.” City of Olmsted Falls, Ohio v. Fed. Aviation Admin., 292 F.3d 261, 269 (D.C. Cir. 2002). The scope of this review includes an inquiry into whether the agency has made its decision based on “a consideration of the relevant facts” and whether it has “failed to consider an important aspect” of the issues associated with its decision. Motor Vehicle Mfrs. Ass’n, 463 U.S. at 43. Defendants’ failure to apply the correct standard by which to consider environmental impacts–by examining what the Final Rule authorized as opposed to the foreseeable consequences that would occur as a result of the Final Rule–is sufficient by itself to render the DOI’s decision to invoke a categorical exclusion arbitrary and capricious.

I definitely get the feeling in reading this decision that the judge in question doesn’t like, at all, the idea of guns being allowed in national parks, and sees it as inherently an environemntal concern, which I do not.  But that’s not to say the judge is wrong as a matter of law.

Plaintiffs emphasize that the DOI failed to distinguish its previous position that gun restrictions were a “basic mechanism . . . to protect the natural and cultural resources of the parks [and wildlife refuges] and to protect visitors and property within the parks.” Pls.’ Mot. at 26-27 (quoting 48 Fed. Reg. at 30252). Plaintiffs argue that the DOI’s “only mention of the prior rules was a description of how they operated,” Pls.’ Mot. at 26, and that this brief mention was insufficient to justify a reversal of its previous position. Id. at 25.

The D.C. Circuit has repeatedly explained that an agency’s unexplained “180 degree turn away from [precedent is] arbitrary and capricious,” and that an agency’s decision “to reverse its position in the face of a precedent it has not persuasively distinguished is quintessentially arbitrary and capricious.” La. Pub. Serv. Comm’n v. Fed. Energy Regulatory Comm’n, 184 F.3d 892, 897 (D.C. Cir. 1999) (citing Motor Vehicle Mfrs. Ass’n, 463 U.S. at 57) (“[a]n agency’s view of what is in the public interest may change, either with or without a change in circumstances. But an agency changing its course must supply a reasoned analysis”). “‘[T]he core concern underlying the prohibition of arbitrary and capricious agency action’ is that agency ‘ad hocery’ is impermissible.”

Ramaprakash v. Fed. Aviation Admin. & Nat’l Transp. Safety Bd., 346 F.3d 1121, 1130 (D.C. Cir. 2003) (quoting Pacific N.W. Newspaper Guild, Local 82 v. Nat’l Labor Relations Bd., 877 F.2d 998, 1003 (D.C. Cir. 1989)). See also ANR Pipeline Co. v. Fed. Energy Regulatory Comm’n, 71 F.3d 897, 901 (D.C. Cir. 1995) (“Where an agency departs from established precedent without a reasoned explanation, its decision will be vacated as arbitrary and capricious.”).

The good thing in all this is that the court granted NRA’s Motion to Interveine, meaning it will be NRA lawyers filing the appeal rather than Obama Administration lawyers.  I will leave the arguments as to why this injunction was improperly issued to people better trained in these matters than I.

6 thoughts on “More on National Park Injunction”

  1. How about we all agree to only carry copper solids in our firearms thus taking away any bogus ‘lead’ argument?


  2. Somebody probably needs to point out to that ignorant bitch that the vehicles passing through those parks all have massive amounts of lead in their BATTERIES. And I don’t recall reading anywhere the drivers had to file an enviro statement prior to entering the park.

  3. Just a minor setback. Please recall that this District CT had declared for the defendents in the DC case of Parker/Heller that was overturned by the Circuit Ct and that decision also affirmed in SC.

    So I am not surprised that her anti gun bias used the failure to conduct an environmental study as a basis to place an injunction to the rule.

    I believe that most rules are arbitary but that is just my take.

  4. I don’t understand the injunction citing ‘environmental impact’ concerns. Everything impacts the environment. By visiting a National Park, I make an impact. I leave trash in the bins, I make my contribution at the pit toilets, etc.

    Here’s the impact my concealed handgun would have on the environment in a National Park: none. Zero. Zip. Nada. Geshphincto.

    I challenge this judge to explain to me and the public at large exactly what changes when I leave BLM land and enter a National Park- as is the case in Utah at Capitol Reef National Park. Why is is that I can carry a handgun for self-defense on one side of a sign that reads “ENTERING CAPITOL REEF NATIONAL PARK” but not the other? What is fundamentally different about one spot on the ground as opposed to another 3 feet away?

    These judges are petty tyrants. And the Second Amendment is my CCW permit.

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