President's weekly report — May 3, 2013

May 03, 2013 | By ROB RIVETT

Environment — Endangered Species – Wolverine

We filed our comments on the listing of the Wolverine as a “distinct population segment” of a subspecies.  The problem here is that the Endangered Species Act does not countenance the listing of such a thing.  The government may list species, subspecies, and even “distinct population segment” of species, but not distinct population segments of subspecies.  This is more than an arcane academic argument because limiting the government to what the statute actually says could prevent more endless splitting of species and supspecies into smaller and smaller units for listing and the concomittant draconian federal regulation that follows. (image: Marvel Entertainment).

Environment — Endangered Species – Polar Bear

The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals denied our petition for rehearing in our challenge to the listing of the Polar Bear.  We continue to believe, however, that the Fish and Wildlife Service has simply failed to make the case required by the Endangered Specie Act to list the bear.  Neither current trends nor suppositions about future climate change provide adequate evidence that the bear is threatened with extinction.  We will ask the United States Supreme Court to take up the case.

Individual Rights — Free Speech

We filed an amicus brief this week in Liberty Coins v. Goodman, a challenge to Ohio’s Precious Metals Dealers Act.  As Lana Harfouth explains in her blog post, this Act makes it illegal to advertise a business that trades in precious metals — unless the business has first obtained an occupational license.  Put another way, one must have a license to engage in this particular form of commercial speech.  We believe that when the First Amendment states that “no law” shall abridge the freedom of speech, it actually means “no law.”

Environment — Wetlands

We filed our amicus brief in Belle v. United States, another case as described by Reed Hopper on our blog where the United States is refusing to permit judicial review of its determination that a landowner’s private property is wetlands subject to federal jurisdiction.

Property Rights — Farmland Extortion

After we had submitted comments, the California legislature declined to move forward on AB 823, a bill that, as described in our blog, would have required landowners to pay extortionate conditions if farmland is put to a nonfarming use.  Of course, the bill could rear its ugly head again through procedural sleight-of-hand, but it seems to be moribund for now.