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Presidential Authority to Revoke or Reduce National Monument Designations

March 28, 2017
By John Yoo, Todd Gaziano

National monument designations are like any other executive order or regulation, Presidents have the authority to revoke them at will.

Although the no President has ever revoked a national monument designation and thus such a decision has never been challenged in court, the authors argue the 1938 attorney general opinion which concluded the power granted to the president to create national monuments does not include the power to revoke prior designations was poorly reasoned and is inconsistent with constitutional, statutory and case law concerning the President's powers. Apart from any discretionary power the President has to undo monument designations, the President has the power invalidate prior monuments if they were illegal from their inception, and no court has ever overturned monument boundary adjustments and management changes made by Presidents to monuments created by their predecessors. 
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