Federal judge holds Obama administration in contempt over drilling “permitorium”

posted at 2:55 pm on February 3, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

When Judge Martin Feldman ordered the federal government to end its moratorium on deep-sea drilling, he actually meant it.  In a ruling earlier today, the federal judge in New Orleans has held the Obama administration in contempt for its “defiance” in reimposing the moratorium through other means:

The Obama Administration acted in contempt by continuing its deepwater drilling moratorium after the policy was struck down, a New Orleans judge ruled.

Interior Department regulators acted with “determined disregard” by lifting and reinstituting a series of policy changes that restricted offshore drilling, following the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history, U.S. District Judge, Martin Feldman of New Orleans ruled yesterday.

“Each step the government took following the court’s imposition of a preliminary injunction showcases its defiance,” Feldman said in the ruling.

“Such dismissive conduct, viewed in tandem with the re- imposition of a second blanket and substantively identical moratorium, and in light of the national importance of this case, provide this court with clear and convincing evidence of the government’s contempt,” Feldman said.

The government has not issued a permit to drill in nine months, evidence that the White House has attempted to evade Feldman’s orders.  The lawsuit alleges that thousands of jobs have been lost in the “permitorium,” as some have dubbed the policy, and that the loss of American production has hiked costs and made the US more dependent than ever on imports.  It also drove investment in exploration out of the US and into places like Brazil.  The economic damage from the permitorium will take years to reverse, as major rigs have already departed the Gulf.

Feldman ruled that the government had to pay the legal fees for the lawsuit, which are “substantial,” according to the firm handling it.  That means taxpayers get the bill both ways.

What legal impact does a contempt ruling have on an administration?  Not much, although a failure to comply with court orders could eventually lead to removing Ken Salazar from his post at Interior, if Congress gets fed up enough with it.  It will likely have a great deal more political impact, though — and certainly will provide House Oversight chair Darrell Issa with a new issue to investigate.


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Would one of our lawyers here please correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think an entity, in this case the ‘administration’, can be held in contempt of court. It has to be a person or persons. This judge needs to get to the bottom of who actually ordered re-imposition of the moritorium and drag his/her/their butts into his courtroom.

Trafalgar on February 3, 2011 at 3:28 PM

Good luck with heading down that black hole.

How about this. Obama is the Chief Executive. His subordinates are answerable to him and everything that happens in HIS executive branch is HIS responsibility.
That’s why he is the President. Goes along with certain rights and responsibilities.

Slap the contempt order right on his forehead, y’know the place where he suggested he should display his non-existant birth certificate. Then let HIM name the flunkies that he would like to hang out to dry. While he’s doing that, impeach and remove him.

tigerlily on February 3, 2011 at 6:31 PM

Nothing more appropriate than a My Cousin Vinny quote . . .

You wuz serious bout dat?

BigAlSouth on February 3, 2011 at 6:42 PM

Because everyone will eventually buy an oil-related product, the president is well within his rights to do this under the commerce clause.

crr66

/sarc

xblade on February 3, 2011 at 6:46 PM

Because everyone will eventually buy an oil-related product, the president is well within his rights to do this under the commerce clause.

crr66

/sarc

xblade on February 3, 2011 at 6:46 PM

Further, because oil-related products are taxed, the president can act in any way he chooses under the necessary and proper clause.

/more sarc

massrighty on February 3, 2011 at 6:50 PM

The Harvard legal scholar, lecturer & former Law Review editor Barrack Obama should know better.

You’d think he would. Since he knows the law so well.

portlandon on February 3, 2011 at 2:59 PM

I don’t believe Bammie knows the law well enough to understand the warning tag on a mattress.

slickwillie2001 on February 3, 2011 at 7:02 PM

If the Obama administration ignores federal court rulings….im adding the Obamacare decision in with this case, doesnt that put impeachment on the table?

I dont mean to throw that word around, but once a President decides he is above the law and acts accordingly, is there any other action that can be taken?

Obama is not only a horrible President but now he is treading into waters that can only be described as dangerously close to criminal…..

What a dark era for the United States.

Or am i totally looney?

alecj on February 3, 2011 at 7:23 PM

What a dark era for the United States.

Or am i totally looney?

alecj on February 3, 2011 at 7:23 PM

It’s possible that both things are true…
/s

massrighty on February 3, 2011 at 7:28 PM

Give Salazar (Sect. of the Interior) a deadline to start issuing permits in a diligent manner or issue a bench warrant for his arrest.

KW64 on February 3, 2011 at 7:44 PM

Today’s ruling by Judge Feldman is an ATOM BOMB.

In a sane country, we would now draw up impeachment charges against President Obama and throw him as far out of the White House as can be done.

Coupled with his insistence on ignoring Judge Vinson’s voiding of Obamacare, we have a LAWLESS TYRANT in the presidency.

This man needs to go NOW – by any means, no matter what.

America is under full-blown constitutional assault.

Now is the time for me to re-post links to the footage I shot from 20 feet away of Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal last July 24th at the Cajundome in Lafayette, La..

Yes, I’m not a pro cameraman, but listen once again to Bobby’s words!

Part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r5hyE3FUm6w

Part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Czk8Lqs7yNM&feature=related

As I was hollering about last fall, the moratorium was NEVER LIFTED BECAUSE OBAMA FIRST LIED, THEN DEFIED, THE FEDERAL JUDGE WHO STRUCK IT DOWN!

There are NO new deep-water drilling permits being issued at all! Are any of your gas prices up?

Are there “For Sale” signs all over south Louisiana?

OBAMA THREW THE CIRCUIT BREAKER ON THE U.S. ECOMONY LAST YEAR – HE SHUT OFF YOUR DOMESTIC OIL! I HOLLERED AS LOUD AS I COULD THEN, AND NOW IT’S HERE!

IMPEACH THE PRESIDENT, NOW!!!!!!!!!

We have ALL the ammo we need! Obamacare, the moratorium, and, of course, his G-D birth certificate!.

This lawless, un-American president must GO. NOW.

cane_loader on February 3, 2011 at 7:47 PM

What a dark era for the United States.

Or am i totally looney?

alecj on February 3, 2011 at 7:23 PM

As long as we have a justice department that is controlled by political hacks nothing will be done and with a political party that cares nothing about our institutions we are lost in the woods without a map out. I cannot remember a time in this country where at least a majority of both parties serving cared about our three branches of government. Something has gone seriously wrong.

whbates on February 3, 2011 at 7:50 PM

In 1974, Theodore Geisel, AKA “Dr. Seuss,” sent his friend, Washington Post columnist Art Buchwald, a copy of a section of his book, “Marvin K. Mooney, Will You Please Go Now?”

Dr, Seuss had crossed out the name, “Marvin K. Mooney,” and replaced it with the name, “Richard M. Nixon.”

Buchwald published Dr. Seuss’ letter in its entirety in a Washington Post column, dated July 30, 1974.

Ten days later, Nixon was gone.

A link to the original column is here:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/04/19/AR2006041901099.html

In honor of Theodore Geisel’s talent and perspicacity, I will re-publish his letter, with an apropos update:

————————————

Richard M. Nixon Will You Please Go Now!

By Art Buchwald
Tuesday, July 30, 1974

My good friend Dr. Seuss wrote a book a few years ago titled “Marvin K. Mooney Will You Please Go Now!” He sent me a copy the other day and crossed out “Marvin K. Mooney” and replaced it with “Richard M. Nixon.” It sounded like fun so I asked him if I could reprint it. Please read it aloud.

“Barack H. Obama will you please go now!
The time has come.
The time has come.
The time is now.
Just go.
Go.
Go!
I don’t care how.
You can go by foot.
You can go by cow.
Barack H. Obama will you please go now!
You can go on skates.
You can go on skis.
You can go in a hat.
But
Please go.
Please!
I don’t care.
You can go
By bike.
You can go
On a Zike-Bike
If you like.
If you like
You can go
In an old blue shoe.
Just go, go, GO!
Please do, do, do, DO!
Barack H. Obama
I don’t care how.
Barack H. Obama
Will you please
GO NOW!
You can go on stilts.
You can go by fish.
You can go in a Crunk-Car
If you wish.
If you wish
You may go
By lion’s tale.
Or stamp yourself
And go by mail.
Barack H. Obama
Don’t you know
The time has come
To go, go, GO!
Get on your way!
Barack H.!
You might like going in a Zumble-Zay.
You can go by balloon . . .
Or broomstick.
Or
You can go by camel
In a bureau drawer.
You can go by bumble-boat
. . . or jet.
I don’t care how you go.
Just get!
Barack H. Obama!
I don’t care how.
Barack H. Obama
Will you please
GO NOW!
I said
GO
And
GO
I meant . . .
The time had come
So . . .
Barack WENT.”

cane_loader on February 3, 2011 at 8:16 PM

He seems impeachable for this and the continuation of the Obamacare atrocity despite ruling. I wonder if the robbery of the G.M. stockholders, contrary to law would also be ammo, as well as voter intimidation traceable back to him.

Unfortunately, Slick Willie seems to still be a celeb., despite being impeached and nearly convicted, so I’m guessing this wouldn’t be such a scarlet letter for “the One”, especially since his race apparently confers immunity to norms of behavior and adherence to the law.

trl on February 3, 2011 at 8:36 PM

I owe a lot to Barack. My vocabulary of pejorative terms has quadrupled in size since he slithered into office.

sclemens on February 3, 2011 at 9:46 PM

He seems impeachable for this and the continuation of the Obamacare atrocity despite ruling. I wonder if the robbery of the G.M. stockholders, contrary to law would also be ammo, as well as voter intimidation traceable back to him.

Unfortunately, Slick Willie seems to still be a celeb., despite being impeached and nearly convicted, so I’m guessing this wouldn’t be such a scarlet letter for “the One”, especially since his race apparently confers immunity to norms of behavior and adherence to the law.

trl on February 3, 2011 at 8:36 PM

Oh yes, obama’s robbery of the GM/Chrysler secured bondholders is VERY criminal. It alone, should have gotten him a prison sentence, never mind impeachment.

We also need to find out the truth about where a trillion dollars of stimulus went under his watch. Let’s not forget all of the LIES, i.e., “Shovel Ready”; speaking more than once to the to the nation on national hookup with both Houses of Congress present, spouting lie after lie about abortion in obamacare, immigrant coverage, keeping doctors and insurance, reducing the deficit, Medicare will not be touched to pay for it, etc.

That kind of lying on such a grand scale in such an exalted high profile surrounding about such a serious subject is quite a misdemeanor, imo.

Anyway, we could go on and on. The impeachment counts are almost unlimited. He has to go. Problem is, those who can trigger the Constitutional levers of power to address this, refuse. Obama knows they’re spineless to stop him. So what good is the Constitution?

tigerlily on February 3, 2011 at 10:20 PM

The only one who will get this party started is Palin.
Hope to hear from her soon.

tigerlily on February 3, 2011 at 10:33 PM

I want to see some of the Obama administration if not B. Hussien Obama himself escorted to jail.

TrickyDick on February 3, 2011 at 11:02 PM

I just searched the CNN site for this story . . . nothing. The “mainstream” news media is spiking this.

WannabeAnglican on February 3, 2011 at 11:11 PM

The only one who will get this party started is Palin.
Hope to hear from her soon.

tigerlily on February 3, 2011 at 10:33 PM

Yes. The only one.

rrpjr on February 4, 2011 at 12:09 AM

So when will we find the Obama Administration in contempt of the middle class? Obama chooses the environment over the middle class every time.

Blue Collar Todd on February 4, 2011 at 12:10 AM

Obama is creating a constitutional crisis. Didn’t see that coming. /s

I studied political science in undergrad, and learned the courts are the weakest of the three branches when push comes to shove. Obama knows this. Congress is the most powerful, but also the most diffuse and hard to coordinate. You have to get at least two of the branches working in tandem to defeat another. Though if the Supreme Court issued this contempt order, Obama would have at least created a firestorm by ignoring it.

If things get really serious, like in all banana republics it all eventually boils down to whom the military (or a well armed militia) supports.

scotash on February 4, 2011 at 3:08 AM

Obama should be impeached.

Sherman1864 on February 4, 2011 at 5:03 AM

I know this is wayyyyy off topic, but I CANNOT WAIT until Ed comments on the exclusive interview Amanpour just conducted with Murbark where Murbark says he rejected Obamas call for him to step down ASAP by telling Amanpour that he told Obama “”you don’t understand the Egyptian culture and what would happen if I step down now.”

ULTIMATE REJECTION of a U.S. President!

Indy82 on February 3, 2011 at 3:09 PM

Heh, and here I thought he, of all people, KNEW! This Wise Latina woman read most of Zach. last night, and Egypt is mentioned three times; needless to say, finger-zapping time will come with a vengeance if they don’t sit down and shut up.

I interpreted the first two mentions as an involvement of Egypt in the attempt to destroy the house of Israel, and the last one a warning-a serious warning, with the word “IF”.

ProudPalinFan on February 4, 2011 at 7:20 AM

Now for this disobedience of the court, let’s follow suit, shall we? I mean, if President WTF does not follow a court ruling, why should we?

IMPEACH.OBAMA.NOW!

ProudPalinFan on February 4, 2011 at 7:21 AM

OT (kinda sorta):
He’s disregarded this court order.
Judge Vinson also said “hey buddy, this HC law ain’t cuttin’ it”. Are they still pursuing implementation of the HC law? I mean, the Dems voted earlier this week NOT to repeal an unconstitutional (for the time being) law. Seems like anything and everything about the HC law should immediately cease and desist.

Am I missing something here; or is this fraternity house completely ignoring the rule of law? I think they need to bring Sebellius up front and have her state her name and her business.

And if they ARE ignoring the Rule of Law, what is the name for that? Lying sc*mbags is one name, but there must a legalese word for it…

Yellowdog12 on February 4, 2011 at 8:30 AM

Sorry anyone…found my answers on the “Pinto” post.

Yellowdog12 on February 4, 2011 at 8:37 AM

To the people saying Impeach Obama, wake up — he has less than two years left and no way would he get removed by the Senate. Why waste the resources in the House on Obama and Impeachment. Not going to happen. Do some of you not remember what happened with Clinton and how long it took?

Where you get Obama is in the election and these issues need to be right at the top – ignoring Federal rulings.

PhiKapMom on February 4, 2011 at 9:23 AM

Is there annnything close to an impeachable moment here? Which low level flunky will be doing the perp walk for dear leader? Let the permits flow!

Kissmygrits on February 4, 2011 at 10:27 AM

Subpeona time. Where is Salizar anyway?

Rock on.

percysunshine on February 4, 2011 at 10:43 AM

How many well-paying jobs have been lost because of this insanity? It is time for a march on Washington.

SC.Charlie on February 4, 2011 at 11:59 AM

How many well-paying jobs have been lost because of this insanity? It is time for a march on Washington.

SC.Charlie on February 4, 2011 at 11:59 AM

A good friend of mine is a Gulf deep water construction dude, who has been out of work for 4 months now. He said it ws clear – back in June/July that due to the moretorium and most importantly – the permits needed to be filed 6 months out for work – werent even AGREED UPON.

Not only is Obama and his admin in contempt of court, costing my buddy and thousands of others out of work – but the process of generating a permit to work was purposely delayed, nowing the overlap would equal – no drilling.

He is about to get married, is a saver – so is ok for now – but due to his diving certs and permits- he can basically work anywhere in the world and already has feelers out for S America – Europe, because as he said “it may be years before they even figure out the permits, before they get to drilling allowance and contracts.

Thats why rigs have been pulling out since the summer.

Odie1941 on February 4, 2011 at 12:21 PM

Stupid judge…will have about as much luck as any court with the wherewithal (balls that is) to demand he prove his citizenship status. Basically, go stuff yourself.

Dr. ZhivBlago on February 4, 2011 at 5:54 PM

Obama’s contempt for this country is the same as the contempt for this court. If the fact that he sold out Britain’s nuclear secrets as appeasemrnt to the Russians for the START treaty is true, this is an impeachable offense. There has to be leadership in the country to repel this type of treasonous behavior. regardless of his refusal to obey a direct court order. Obama is in the process of selling out the Egyptian people to the Muslim Brotherhood. It is as if we have been invaded by a foreign power who recognizes not our values or our laws.

volsense on February 4, 2011 at 7:34 PM

Somebody said that Obama is dangerously close to criminal. Nonsense. He passed that line years ago. He is a criminal, and all support him are criminals. and there is no ethical person who would contest that.

proconstitution on February 4, 2011 at 8:07 PM

Nothing more appropriate than a My Cousin Vinny quote . . .

You wuz serious bout dat?

BigAlSouth on February 3, 2011 at 6:42 PM

…well your honor, the two yoots….

Two Yoots??

Yeah, two yoots !!

LOL , loved that movie even though it had a loud and clear anti-death penalty message within it !

cableguy615 on February 4, 2011 at 8:20 PM

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