|Doesn't enough of Wyoming look like this already? (Source: The Wilderness Society)|
The state tried to argue that by protecting roadless areas — which is a Good Thing for animals like elk — the Forest Service was creating "wilderness."
And "wilderness," in the legal sense, must be created by Congress, not the executive branch.
But the judges disagreed:
In a 120-page decision, the court said that full wilderness protection was far deeper than the mere banning of roads in certain places and that the Forest Service had broad jurisdiction in setting the balance of uses on the lands that it manages.This was the Tenth Circuit Court in Denver—the Ninth Circuit had reached a similar conclusion two years ago.
“The Forest Service did not usurp Congressional authority because the roadless rule did not establish de facto wilderness,” the court said in a decision written by Judge Jerome A. Holmes, who was nominated to the court by President George W. Bush.
I am no legal scholar, but I think that as long as the different federal appellate courts agree, the Supreme Court is less likely to be interested in such a case. Qualified legal experts are welcome to enlighten me. But Wyoming could always try another appeal.