Congressional, religious, cultural and academic leaders urge Supreme Court to hear challenge to border wall

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Three briefs filed with U.S. Supreme Court supporting case brought by Defenders of Wildlife and Sierra Club

(04/18/2008) -

WASHINGTON – Fourteen members of the House of Representatives, including seven committee chairs, have filed a friend-of-the-court brief with the U.S. Supreme Court supporting Defenders of Wildlife and The Sierra Club’s arguments that the waiver authority granted to the Bush administration under the REAL ID Act is unconstitutional, and that this case should be heard by the Supreme Court.   

“The reality of the scope of power that the last Congress handed to the Bush administration under the REAL ID Act is starting to sink in with a lot of people, especially since the administration announced those unprecedented sweeping waivers on April 1,” said Rodger Schlickeisen, president of Defenders of Wildlife. “There was a huge ‘oops’ moment among some members of Congress. Offering their support for our constitutional challenge is one way that they can start reestablishing balance among the branches of government.”

Members of the House included on the friend-of-the-court brief are: Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie G. Thompson (D-Miss.), Energy & Commerce Committee Chairman John D. Dingell (D-Mich.), Transportation & Infrastructure Committee Chairman James L. Oberstar (D-Minn.), Education and Labor Committee Chairman George Miller (D-Calif.), Rules Committee Chairwoman Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.), Veteran Affairs Chairman Bob Filner (D-Calif.), Intelligence Committee Chairman Silvestre Reyes (D-Texas), Congressman Solomon Ortiz (D-Texas), Congressman Sam Farr (D-Calif.), Congresswoman Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-Texas), Congresswoman Susan A. Davis (D-Calif.), Congresswoman Hilda Solis (D-Calif.), Congressman Raul M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.), and Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke (D-N.Y.).

Two other amicus briefs were filed yesterday: One by a diverse coalition including the Tohono O’odham Nation, religious leaders, and historic preservation and conservation organizations, and a second by a group of 28 distinguished law professors and constitutional scholars.

To find the complete lists of groups and individuals included on those briefs, visit  

“Groups that have been looking at this issue from many different perspectives are now coming together to focus on this unconstitutional waiver authority, which makes a travesty of basic constitutional principles,” added Schlickeisen. “People around the nation are joining together and acting to put a stop to the Bush administration’s relentless maneuvering to build a senseless wall.”

Learn more about what Defenders is doing to protect wildlife along the border.


Defenders of Wildlife is dedicated to the protection of all native animals and plants in their natural communities.  With more than 1 million members and activists, Defenders of Wildlife is a leading advocate for innovative solutions to safeguard our wildlife heritage for generations to come.  For more information, visit



Joe Vickless, (202) 772-0237
Cat Lazaroff, (202) 772-3270

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