BILLINGS, Mont. (CBS4/AP) – A federal judge has ruled that the Trump administration’s leading steward of public lands has been serving unlawfully and blocked him from continuing in the position. U.S. District Judge Brian Morris said Friday that U.S. Bureau of Land Management acting director William Perry Pendley was never confirmed to the post by the U.S. Senate as required under the Constitution and served unlawfully for 424 days.

(credit: CBS)

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The ruling marks the latest pushback against the administration’s practice of filling key positions without U.S. Senate approval. Montana’s Democratic governor had sued to remove Pendley.

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The agency oversees almost a quarter-billion acres of land, including nearly 8.3 million acres in Colorado. In 2019, the Bureau of Land Management signed a lease agreement in Grand Junction, Colorado to solidify relocation of its headquarters from the District of Columbia.

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