Captain Zero Loses Again, Episode CXI


Would You Trust This Man with Your Money?

Would You Trust This Man with Your Money?

You probably thought WC was all done with Captain Zero. Nope.

When we last left our ex-Governor, Sean “Captain Zero” Parnell, he was battling the Evil Federal Government yet again, whinging that it was just so Unfair that the Alaska population of the Polar Bear had been classified as endangered under the Endangered Species Act. Why it might interfere with Captain Zero’s secret plans to drill for more oil, generate more CO2, and melt still more of Alaska.

And Captain Zero won, sort of, persuading U.S. District Judge Ralph Beistline that the Feds had been arbitrary and capricious in finding that the near shore land, the barrier islands and the arctic ice of the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas were all critical habitat.

But the Bad Guys appealed to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals! And yesterday the court found that Judge Beistline had made a Big Mistake, and that the Evil Feds had gotten it right, and that there was nothing arbitrary or capricious about it. The court held,

In the final analysis, with respect to both Units 2 and 3, Plaintiffs disagree with the scope of FWS’s designation of critical habitat, but Plaintiffs cannot point to evidence that FWS failed to consider, or demonstrate that FWS’s stated reasons are irrational or unsupported by the record. FWS drew rational conclusions from the best available scientific data, which is what the statute requires. 16 U.S.C. § 1533(b)(2).

Doh! Captain Zero loses again!

We may have voted the Captain out of office. The Alaska economy just couldn’t have taken another four years of Parnellnomics. But the Captain has carried his perfect record in federal litigation forward, long after someone with a better grasp of arithmetic, law and science has moved into the Governor’s Mansion.

WC is too lazy to count the cases up, but it’s something like 0-15 or 0-16 for the Parnell Administration in federal court.

It’s true that WC, as a lawyer, approves of paying lawyers gobs and gobs of money as a general principle. But, by preference, Alaska lawyers, not $750 per hour Washington D.C. lawyers who are much, much better at persuading states to challenge long-settled legal principles than they are at winning those challenges. Let’s call it the Parnell Principle: stupid lawsuits against the federal government are a waste of time and credibility.

Today, Mrs. WC took her anti-nausea medication and attended an Idaho Legislature hearing on hiring a Utah lawyer to challenge federal ownership of land in the West.1 WC guesses the Idaho Legislature and Idaho Governor wouldn’t recognize the Parnell Principle if it bit them on the ass. And, if Idaho buys the sales pitch of the sweet-talking Utah lawyer, it will.


  1. The State of Idaho earlier negotiated and agreed to the Greater Sage Grouse recovery plan. And then turned around and sued the Feds because Idaho Governor Butch Otter didn’t like the plan he’d negotiated. So, yeah, the Parnell Principle is alive and well in WC’s adopted state. 
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