After a lot of talk and not much action congressional members are finally standing up to Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff’s imperial powers. Yesterday, U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson, chair of Homeland Security, and 13 other congressional members announced they will file an Amicus Curiae brief at the end of the month to oppose Chertoff’s effort to brush aside laws in a rush to build a border wall. The Amicus urges the Supreme Court to hear a petition filed by Defenders of Wildlife and Sierra Club challenging Chertoff’s right to waive at least 39 federal environmental, historical and land protection laws.
The agency’s waiver will apply to 470 miles ranging from California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. A separate waiver has been signed for the 22-mile border fence-levee project to be built in Hidalgo County. In an Observer blog last week, Chertoff explained his reasons for filing the waiver.