Weekly litigation report — July 7, 2018

July 07, 2018 | By JAMES BURLING

17 states urge the Supreme Court to grant PLF case and overrule Chevron deference

 On Thursday, Texas—joined by 16 other states—filed an amicus brief supporting our petition in California Sea Urchin Commission v. Combs. The states’ brief explains that “the time has come to reconsider Chevron deference, and this case provides an appropriate vehicle.” This controversial doctrine forbids courts from being neutral judges in cases concerning government agencies. Instead, they must defer to agency’s interpretations of the law unless patently absurd. Texas’ brief explains the doctrine’s myriad shortcomings: Chevron upends the Constitution’s separation or powers, frustrates Due Process protections, and undermines federalism.  Our case has also drawn support from our friends at the Cato Institute, Goldwater Institute, and Cause of Action Institute; the Buckeye Institute; and the Landmark Legal Foundation. For more, see our blog post.

Court sanctions agency’s failure to review endangered species listings

The California Endangered Species Act requires that the Department of Fish and Wildlife review every five years the status of every plant and animal found on the state’s endangered species list. Today, in California Cattlemen’s Association v. Department of Fish & Wildlife,  the San Diego Superior Court issued an unfavorable decision in a case involving the Department of Fish and Wildlife’s failure to conduct 231 status reviews as required by California law. In so doing, the Court credited the Department’s speculation that performing the status reviews will deprive the Department of the resources it needed. The Department’s resource estimates, however, were based not on five-year status reviews, but on the more complex initial one-time 12-month status reviews found in a different part of the California Endangered Species Act. Unfortunately, the court’s decision deprives California of the information necessary to administer CESA and excuses the Department’s failure to follow the law. We are considering our next steps.