Lawmaker Wants Judge on Endangered Species List; Animal Protection Group Wants Retraction

Critics see a veiled threat in a Montana congressman’s assertions that a federal judge should be put on the endangered species list for his ruling on protections for wolves.

In a speech last week to Montana’s legislature, U.S. Rep. Denny Rehberg didn’t identify the judge, but he was referring to Donald Molloy, the Helena Independent Record reports. Molloy ruled last year that the wolves should remain on the endangered species list.

“When I first heard his decision, like many of you I wanted to take action immediately,” Rehberg said. “I asked: How can we put some of these judicial activists on the endangered species list?”

A spokesman for Rehberg told the New York Times that the Republican congressman “did not threaten anyone, let alone a federal judge. Nor would he.” But the judge’s children didn’t see it that way. They told the Independent Record they saw the words as a threat “either veiled or outright.”

An animal protection group, the Center for Biological Diversity, is also raising objections. In a press release, executive director Kierán Suckling said Rehberg’s remarks “border on incitement and should be retracted.”

“In light of the recent killing of federal Judge John Roll in Tucson, who also sometimes ruled in favor of the environment, Representative Rehberg’s veiled threats are more than reprehensible,” Suckling said.

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