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Legal Ethics

Judge Holds Interior Department in Contempt for ‘Dismissive Conduct’

Posted Feb 4, 2011 12:02 PM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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A federal judge in New Orleans has held the Interior Department in civil contempt for its “dismissive conduct” after he struck down its moratorium on deepwater oil drilling.

U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman said that after his initial decision enjoining Interior’s moratorium, the department implemented a new drilling ban that was nearly the same as the one he had struck down.

The Wall Street Journal, the Associated Press and Bloomberg News also have stories.

In his order, Feldman cited the plaintiff’s argument: ‘Each step the government took following the court’s imposition of a preliminary injunction showcases its defiance.” The judge cited the government’s “determined disregard” of his order and its “dismissive conduct” in granting a motion for legal fees.

Feldman is also overseeing a case challenging the second moratorium, which ended in October, according to the AP account.

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