An opinion published in the American Bar Association newsletter says the former US President George Bush did not have the authority under the Antiquities Act to declare the Marianas Trench Marine National Monument .
The opinion says President Bush created the Pacific marine protected areas using the authority under the Antiquities Act without in-depth scientific and environmental analysis, and without formal public comment.
They said the Antiquities Act contains no congressional authority to unilaterally create monuments beyond the 3-mile territorial limit traditionally applied to domestic statutes.
Just before he left office in January, the President created the Marianas Trench Marine National Monument surrounding the CNMI's islands of Farallon de Pajaros, Maug and Asuncion, and the Rose Atoll Marine National Monument in American Samoa.
The lawyers say the Antiquities Act was Mr Bush's most powerful top-down regulatory tool in his ocean policy.