This note provides a brief background to the Rescissions Act, outlines the Act's provisions and examines the Ninth Circuit Court's decisions interpreting these provisions prior to Oregon Natural Resources Council v. Thomas. Section III sets forth the facts and procedural history of ONRC II, the most recent meritorious lawsuit to fall victim to the provisions of the Rescissions Act. Section IV examines the Ninth Circuit Court's analysis and holding in ONRC II. Section V argues that although the Ninth Circuit's decision in ONRC II was correct under current standards, the result was fundamentally wrong. Section V also examines the rules prohibiting the attachment of substantive riders to appropriations bills, the effect of such riders on public participation, and the multiple misrepresentations made by sponsors in the course of soliciting support for the salvage rider. Finally, section V proposes a new standard to be applied by the courts when interpreting the provisions of a substantive rider attached to an appropriations bill in violation of House and Senate rules. Section VI concludes that the congressional rules prohibiting the attachment of riders to appropriations bills should not be waivable. Alternatively, if those rules are waived, the courts must look beyond the plain language of the subsequently enacted statute when interpreting its provisions. Section VII then briefly summarizes three additional cases decided by the Ninth Circuit subsequent to ONRC II.
Julie A. Coldicott,
Oregon Natural Resources Council v. Thomas; Another "Meritorious" Timber Lawsuit Fails: Do Substantive Riders Warrant an Exception to the Plain Language Rule?, 27 Golden Gate U. L. Rev.