October 17, 2017

An Open Letter to:     The Honorable Donald J. Trump, President of the United States

                                        The Honorable Ryan Zinke, Secretary of the Department of the Interior

                                        The Honorable Members of the United States Senate

This letter is not only to encourage your support – but also to highly recommend – that Ms. Karen Budd-Falen be appointed to serve our nation as the Director of the Bureau of Land Management (the “BLM”).

First, I believe it important to note that I am not writing because I am either Ms. Budd-Falen’s personal friend or even a professional associate. In fact, to the best of my recollection, our paths have crossed only once and that was almost 18 years ago at a meeting of New Mexico ranchers to discuss anticipated litigation with the U.S. Forest Service. Since that occasion, it is my regret that I have not had any other opportunity to either speak with her again, or work with her in any professional capacity. 

Rather, I am writing as a fellow attorney who, in the course of my career, has had a number of occasions from time to time over the last nearly two decades to encounter and appraise her tireless efforts to help facilitate the resolution of public land disputes throughout the West.

Her continuous commitment? To protect the rights of numerous individuals, groups and communities throughout the western United States against the overreach -- and, in some instances, outright abuses -- of those from elsewhere who would otherwise have been allowed to wrongfully exceed the scope of their lawful authority or legal rights.

Throughout Ms. Budd-Falen’s career, the foundational principles that appear to have consistently guided her work are: 

  • ·      That the freedoms we are entitled to in this country are the product of rights bestowed upon us, not by man, but by God;
  • ·      That our Constitution was written for the purpose of limiting our government’s ability, if not proclivity, to erode those rights; and
  • ·      That, unless those freedoms are vigorously defended, they will be vanquished in the course of time.

As a result, she is an attorney who possesses that rare blend of dedication, commitment, courage, integrity, character and honor to which most others in our profession only aspire.

Moreover, few in this country are more committed to the Bureau’s mandate to shepherd the multiple-use of federal lands or experienced in dealing with the many and varied conflicts that arise in the context of that mandate.

For these reasons, I humbly submit to you that it is my considered opinion that Ms. Budd-Falen is a person who is not only more than qualified to be placed at the helm of the BLM. The BLM could not perform its various duties nor satisfy its legal obligations to serve the nation as a whole better than it most assuredly will, if Ms. Karen Budd-Falen is appointed to be its Director.


Clifford Clark Nichols

Attorney at Law

© Clifford C. Nichols 2017 — Mr. Nichols, a former research associate of The Heritage Foundation; graduated from the University of California, Los AngelesSumma Cum Laude, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics, whereupon he was elected to membership in the Phi Beta Kappa society; followed by his obtaining a Juris Doctorate degree, Cum Laude, bestowed by the venerable Northwestern Pritzker University School of Law in Chicago, Illinois, where he had the pleasure of serving as a member of the Board of Editors of the Northwestern University Law Review. Today, Mr. Nichols is an attorney licensed to practice law in both California and New Mexico.