Author: Brandon Middleton
Today we filed our reply brief in Stewart & Jasper Orchards v. Salazar. We represent a small group of almond and pistachio growers who have been deprived of critical water deliveries for the purported benefit of the delta smelt, a species of fish here in California. PLF contends in this case that the federal government's decision to restrict critical water deliveries on behalf of the delta smelt is unconstitutional. The federal government claims that the restrictions are a valid regulation of interstate commerce, but we argue that the Constitution's Commerce Clause only allows regulation of economic activities, not noncommercial, intrastate items like the delta smelt species.
The Ninth Circuit will hear oral arguments in this case at a yet-to-be determined date. The reply brief and PLF's opening brief in this case may be found at our delta smelt page, along with the briefs that have been filed by the federal government, the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Bay Institute (the intervenors in this case), and various amici curiae.