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President Bush on Thursday nominated Interior Department Solicitor General William Myers III to the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. Myers, 48, was criticized by environmentalists when nominated to be Interior Secretary Gail Norton’s right-hand man. If confirmed to the court, he would fill a spot to be created by Idaho’s Judge Thomas Nelson, who will take senior status in November. For several years before moving to Washington, D.C., Myers was with the Boise office of Holland & Hart. According to Idaho reports, his clients included those who make their living off public land. He has also been a lobbyist for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. Previously he worked in the Department of Energy and prior to that was legislative counsel to former Sen. Alan Simpson, R-Wyo. He has written extensively about public lands and policy, as well as something about which he is about to gain firsthand knowledge: the judicial confirmation process. In law review articles, Myers has criticized the handling of Robert Bork’s U.S. Supreme Court nomination. The confirmation process has become especially contentious recently, with Democrats filibustering two of Bush’s nominees. They may also be considering a filibuster of Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Carolyn Kuhl, a Ninth Circuit nominee who passed out of committee last week on a 10-9 party-line vote. As solicitor of the Department of the Interior, Myers repealed language in mining regulations allowing the secretary of the interior to veto mining projects that may cause substantial harm to the community. The department is also reconsidering grazing regulations that the livestock industry fought for years. Myers, who currently oversees 300 attorneys in 19 offices, also initiated an internal investigation into the handling of a lawsuit over Native-American trust accounts by referring questions to the department’s inspector general.

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