Defenders of Wildlife v. Chertoff

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In Defenders of Wildlife v. Chertoff, 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 92648 (D.D.C. Dec. 18, 2007), the federal district court for the District of Columbia considered and rejected a challenge to the jurisdiction-stripping provision of the REAL ID Act, by which the Secretary of Homeland Security can execute a waiver of the applicability of all federal laws to a security project. In this case the waiver applied to a border-security project in Arizona, which included building a fence.[1]

Plaintiffs Defenders of Wildlife and the Sierra Club initially brought this lawsuit to challenge defendants' compliance with several environmental statutes with respect to the construction of physical barriers and roads along the U.S.-Mexico Border within the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area ("SPRNCA") in Arizona. Plaintiffs then amended their complaint to allege that the Secretary of Homeland Security's waiver of numerous federal environmental laws under section 102 of the REAL ID Act of 2005, Pub. L. No. 109-13, 119 Stat. 231, 306, 8 U.S.C. § 1103 note, is unconstitutional.

The Court held that the waiver does not offend the principles of separation of powers or the Nondelegation doctrine, rejected plaintiffs' constitutional attack, and granted defendants' motion to dismiss.