Modest Conservative Judiciary Strikes Down Oil-Drilling Moratorium, Again

Two former oil-industry lawyers , appointed to the federal bench by President Ronald Reagan, voted today to block the Obama Administration’s six-month ban on deep-water oil drilling . In a 2-1 decision, with a Clinton appointee dissenting, the three-judge panel of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the drilling ban could not be kept in place while the Administration appealed an earlier lower-court ruling that had struck it down.

The lower-court decision was issued by Judge Martin Feldman, another Reagan appointee, whose last financial disclosure said he owned $15,000 worth of stock in Transocean , the company that owned the Deepwater Horizon rig.

Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal praised the judges’ decision to block the federal government’s attempt to regulate oil drilling, while he blamed the federal government for not regulating drilling. The Los Angeles Times quotes his statement:

“The reality is that we absolutely want drilling to be done safely and do not want another spill or one more drop of oil on our coast or in our water, but thousands of Louisianans should not have to lose their jobs because the federal government can’t adequately do its job of ensuring drilling is done safely,” he said.

Meanwhile, if all goes well, BP is now expected to get the Deepwater Horizon leak under control ” within days .”