Readers will recall the unnecessary ban that the Obama Administration placed on deep offshore oil drilling in the wake of the BP oil spill. That order was viewed by Louisiana Senator David Vitter (R-LA) and others as politically motivated and highly damaging to the economy of the Gulf States.
In the wake of the ban, oil drilling companies won an injunction in federal court by successfully arguing that the ban was based on a fraudulent Interior Department report in which the statements of key scientists were edited to make it appear that they supported the drilling ban. They did not. Furthermore, the plaintiffs argued that the actions of the Obama Administration were "arbitrary and capricious and, therefore, unlawful."
Instead of respecting that order, the Obama Administration issued a new, nearly identical order to ban offshore oil drilling.
U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman, who issued the earlier injunction has found that the Obama Administration showed not only contempt for that earlier ruling, but defiance of a Federal court order. From Judge Feldman's order of February 2, 2011:
"the government did not simply reimpose a blanket moratorium; rather, each step the government took following the Court’s imposition of a preliminary injunction showcases its defiance: The government failed to seek a remand; it continually reaffirmed its intention and resolve to restore the moratorium; it even notified operators that though a preliminary injunction had issued, they could quickly expect a new moratorium.Contempt Four Times Over
"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 of this Court’s preliminary injunction Order."
The Judges criticism, while severe in legal terms, is mild when you consider the contempt that the Obama Administration showed for the American people and particularly those living in the Gulf States. First, by ignoring the economic needs of Gulf residents. Second, by resorting to fraud and doctoring the statements of oil drilling experts. Third, by re-imposing a ban that a federal judge had enjoined. Fourth, by using the BP oil spill to promote a political agenda that seeks to limit U.S. oil production at a time when gas prices continue to place greater economic hardship on the American people.
Contempt in Health Care Case Next?
In the wake of the decision by Judge Vinson who found ObamaCare unconstitutional, reports are that the Obama Administration continues to go full speed ahead with the implementation of the health care law regardless of the federal judge's ruling. One wonders how long it will be before a similar finding of contempt is issued in that case?
Imagine if Bush had defied a federal court?
But let's be honest. Federal judges could pile up rulings against the Obama Administration and they would be unlikely to respond any different than they have in the two instances above. Just imagine the outcry if President Bush had defied a federal court order. We would have protests in the streets that make the scene in Cairo look like a picnic.